Great Britain. India Office.

Imperial gazetteer of India .. (Volume 15) online

. (page 50 of 50)
Online LibraryGreat Britain. India OfficeImperial gazetteer of India .. (Volume 15) → online text (page 50 of 50)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


been regularly surveyed, but their area (including several large game
preserves) is estimated at about 1,400 square miles. There was no
attempt at forest conservancy till about 1880, and it is only within
recent years that any real progress has been made. Several blocks
have been demarcated and entirely closed to cutting and grazing, and
plantations and nurseries have been started. The receipts — derived
from grazing fees and the sale of wood, grass, and minor produce such
as gum, honey, and wax — have risen from Rs. 37,000 in 189 1-2 to
over Rs. 69,000 in 1903-4, and the net revenue in the last year was
Ks- 33, 3°°-

The mineral products are insignificant. Iron is found near Indar-
garh in the north and Shahabad in the east ; the ore is rudely smelted,
and the small quantity of metal obtained is used locally. Good building
stone is found throughout the State.

The most important indigenous industry is that of cotton-weaving.
The muslins of Kotah city have a more than local reputation ; they are
T A k° tn w hite and coloured, the colours being in some

communications. cases P art i cu 'arly pleasing, and are occasionally orna-
mented by the introduction of gold or silver threads
while still on the loom. Cloths are printed and dyed at the capital and
several other places. The tie and dye work (called chundri bandish) of
Baran is very interesting, but the demand for it is annually diminishing,
probably because of the increased import of cheap printed foreign



TRADE AND COMMUNICATIONS 419

cloths. Among other manufactures may be mentioned silver table-
ornaments and rough country paper at the capital, embroidered
elephant and horse-trappings at Shergarh, inlaid work on ivory, buffalo
horn, or mother-of-pearl at Etawah, lacquered toys and other articles
at Gianta and Indargarh, and pottery at the place last mentioned.
There is a small cotton-ginning factory at Palaita about 25 miles east
of Kotah city ; it is a private concern started in 1898, and when work-
ing gives employment to about thirty persons.

The chief exports are cereals and pulses, opium, oilseeds, cotton, and
hides ; while the chief imports are salt, English piece-goods, yarn, rice,
sugar, gur (molasses), iron and other metals, dry fruits, leathern goods,
and paper. The trade is mostly with Bombay, Calcutta, and Cawnpore,
and the neighbouring States of Rajputana and Central India. The
opium, which is claimed to be as good as, if not superior to, the Malwa
product, is manufactured into two different shapes. That for the
Chinese market, which is sent mostly to the Government depot at
Baran and thence to Bombay, is prepared in balls, while that for
home consumption or for other States in Rajputana — chiefly Blkaner,
Jaisalmer, and Jodhpur — is made up into cakes. The chief centres
of trade are Kotah city and Baran, and the principal trading castes are
the Mahajans and Bohras.

The only railway in the State is the Blna-Baran branch of the Great
Indian Peninsula Railway, which was opened for traffic in May, 1899.
The section within Kotah limits (about 29 miles) is the property of the
Darbar, cost more than 17 lakhs, and has four stations. The net
earnings of this section during the five years ending 1904 averaged
Rs. 24,000 per annum, or a little less than \\ per cent, on the capital
outlay. The actual figures for 1904 were : gross earnings, Rs. 52,000 ;
expenses, Rs. 26,000; and net profits, Rs. 26,000, or about 1-55 per
cent, on the capital outlay. An extension of this line from Baran
to Marwar Junction on the Rajputana-Malwa Railway has been sur-
veyed, and the greater part of the earthwork within Kotah limits was
constructed by famine labour in 1899-1900. A line from Nagda (in
Gwalior in the south) to Muttra has recently been sanctioned and work
has commenced ; it is to run via the Mukandwara pass to Kotah city,
and thence north-east through Bundi and past Indargarh.

The total length of metalled roads is 143 miles, and of unmetalled
roads 410 miles ; they were all constructed and are maintained by the
Public Works department of the State. The more important metalled
roads lead from the capital to Baran, Bundi, and Jhalrapatan.

Prior to 1899 the State had a postal service of its own, which
cost about Rs. 5,000 annually ; but in that year the Darbar adopted
Imperial postal unity, and there are now 32 British post offices, 2
of which (at Kotah and Baran) are also telegraph offices.



4 2o EOT AH STATE

So far as records show, the famine of 1 899-1900 was the first that
ever visited the State. When in former times famines were devastating
the surrounding districts, Kotah remained free from
severe distress, and was able to help her neighbours
with grain and grass. In 1804 the regent (Zalim Singh) was able to fill
the State coffers by selling grain at about 8 seers for the rupee, and
Kotah is said to have supported the whole population of Rajwara as
well as Holkar's army. In 1868, and again in 1877, the rains were late
in coming, and the kharif crop was meagre ; but the spring harvest
was up to the average, and, though prices ruled high for a time, there
was, on the whole, little suffering. The famine of 1 899-1 900 was
severe, and the entire State was affected. The rainfall in 1899 was
but 15^ inches, of which more than 7 fell on one day (July 8), and after
that date the rain practically ceased. The out-turn of the kharif was
18 per cent, of the normal, and rabi crops were sown only on irrigated
land. The advent of the railway to Baran had created a greatly
increased export trade, and the high prices prevailing in other parts of
India tempted the dealers to get rid of their stores of grain in spite
of the local demand. The difficulties of the situation were enhanced
by an unprecedented wave of immigration from the western States of
Rajputana, and from Mewar, Bundi, and Ajmer-Merwara. Thousands
of needy foreigners poured into Kotah with vast herds of cattle, and
by December, 1899, the grazing resources of the country had been
exhausted. The Maharao was insistent from the first on a generous
treatment of the sufferers, and by his personal example did not a little
to mitigate distress. Poorhouses were opened at the capital in Septem-
ber, 1899, and subsequently at other places, and relief works were
started in October; other forms of relief were famine kitchens, the
grant of doles of grain to the infirm and old and to parda-nashln
women, advances to agriculturists, and the gift of clothes, bullocks, and
seed-grain. More than six million units were relieved on works, and
three millions gratuitously, at a cost of 7^ lakhs. The total expenditure,
including advances to agriculturists, exceeded 9-5 lakhs, and over 15
lakhs of land revenue was suspended. The mortality among human
beings was considerable, and, though the forests and grass-preserves
were thrown open to free grazing, 25 per cent, of the live-stock are said
1" have perished.

The administration is carried on by His Highness the Maharao,

assisted by a Diwan. Since 1901 the administrative divisions have

Administration ^ een rern °delled, and there are now 19 niza?nats and

4 tahslls. Each of the former is under a nazim, and

each of the latter under a fahsi/dtir, and these officers are assisted

respectively by naib-nazims and naib-tahsildars.

for the guidance of its judiciary the State has its own codes, framed



ADMINISTRA TION 4 2 1

in 1874 largely on the lines of the British Indian enactments, and
amended from time to time by circulars issued by the Darbar. The
lowest courts are those of the tahsllddrs (usually third-class magistrates)
and nazims (generally second-class magistrates) ; they can also try civil
suits not exceeding Rs. 300 in value. Appeals against their decrees in
criminal cases lie to one of three divisional magistrates (faujddrs), who
are further empowered to pass a sentence of two years' imprisonment
and Rs. 500 fine. Similarly, appeals against the decisions of nazims,
&c, in civil cases lie to one of two courts, which can also deal with
original suits not exceeding Rs. 1,000 in value. Over the faujddrs and
the two courts just mentioned is the Civil and Sessions Judge, who can
try all suits of any description or value, and can pass a sentence of
seven years' imprisonment and Rs. 1,000 fine. The highest court and
final appellate authority is known as the Mahakma khds ; it is presided
over by the Maharao, who alone can pass a death sentence.

The ordinary revenue in a normal year is about 31 lakhs, and the
ordinary expenditure about 26 lakhs. The chief sources of revenue
are : land about 24 lakhs, and customs about 4 lakhs. The chief
items of expenditure are : army and police, 5 lakhs ; tribute to Govern-
ment, including contribution towards the cost of the 42nd (Deoli)
Regiment, 4-3 lakhs ; revenue and judicial staff (including Mahakma
khds), 3-8 lakhs; public works department, 2-5 lakhs ; palace and privy-
purse, 2-3 lakhs; charitable and religious grants and pensions, i-8
lakhs ; and kdrkhdnas (i.e. stables, elephants, camels, bullocks, &c),
1-2 lakhs. In the disastrous famine year of 1899- 1900 the receipts
were about half the average, and the Darbar had to borrow from
Government and private sources almost a year's revenue to enable it
to carry on the administration and afford the necessary relief to its
distressed population. The result is that the State now owes about
13 lakhs, though it has a large cash balance, besides investments.

Kotah had formerly a silver coinage of its own, minted at the capital
and Gagraun (probably since the time of Shah Alam II), while in the
restored districts the coins of the Jhalawar State were current. The
rupees were in value generally equal, if not superior, to the similar coins
of British India ; but in 1899, when large purchases of grain had to be
made outside the State, the rate of exchange fell, and at one time both
the Kotah and Jhalawar rupees were at a discount of 24 per cent.
The Darbar thereupon resolved to abolish the local coins and intro-
duce British currency as the sole legal tender in the State. This very
desirable reform was, with the assistance of Government, carried out
between March 1 and August 31, 1901, at the rate of 114 Kotah (or
118 Jhalawar) rupees for 100 British rupees.

The land tenures are the usual jagir, tnud.fi, and khdlsa, and it is
estimated that the estates held on the first two tenures occupy about one-



4 2 2 KOTAH STATE

fourth of the area of the State. The jagirdars hold on a semi-feudal
tenure, and are not dispossessed save for disloyalty or misconduct ; they
have the power of alienating a portion of their estates as a provision for
younger sons or other near relatives, and they may raise money by
a mortgage, but it cannot be foreclosed. No succession or adoption
can take place without the Maharao's consent, and in most cases
a nazarana or fee on succession is levied. The majority of the
jagirdars pay an annual tribute, and some of them have also to supply
horsemen or foot-soldiers for the service of the State. Lands are
granted on the nutafi tenure to individuals as a reward for service
or in lieu of pay or in charity, and also to temples and religious
institutions for their upkeep. They are usually revenue free. In the
khalsa area the tenure of land was very widely changed early in the
nineteenth century by the administrative measures of the regent, Zalim
Singh. Before his time two-fifths of the produce belonged to the State,
and the remainder to the cultivator after deduction of ^village expenses.
Zalim Singh surveyed the lands and imposed a fixed money-rate per
blgha, making the settlement with each cultivator, and giving the village
officers only a percentage on collections. By rigorously exacting the
revenue, he soon broke down all the hereditary tenures, and got almost
the whole cultivated land under his direct proprietary management,
using the cultivators as tenants-at-will or as farm-labourers. A very
great area was thus turned into a vast government farm ; and while the
proprietary status of the peasantry entirely disappeared, the country
was brought under an extent of productive cultivation said to be with-
out precedent, before or since, in Rajputana. At the present time the
chief claims to be the absolute owner of the soil, and no cultivator has
the right to transfer or alienate any of the lands he cultivates. So long,
however, as the cultivator pays his revenue punctually he is left in
undisturbed possession of his holding, and if he wishes to relinquish
any portion thereof he can do so in accordance with the rules in force.
In some of the ceded districts the manotidari system is in force, under
which the manotidar or money-lender finances the cultivators, is re-
sponsible for their payments, and collects what he can from them,
while elsewhere the land revenue system is ryotivari.

The rates fixed by Zalim Singh remained more or less in force till
about 1882-5 in the case of the restored tracts, and 1877-86 in the
case of the rest of the territory, when fresh settlements were made,
which are still in force. The rates per acre vary from 4^ annas
to Rs. 5-8 for 'dry' land, and from Rs. 2-4 to Rs. 17-9 for irri-
gated land. A revision of the settlement is now in progress, operations
having been started at the end of 1904.

The Public Works department has been under the charge of a quali-
fied European Engineer since 1878, and the total expenditure down to



ADMINISTRA TION 4 2 3

the end of 1905 amounts to about 80 lakhs. The principal works
carried out comprise the metalled and most of the fair-weather roads,
the masonry causeways over the Kali Sind and other rivers, the
pontoon-bridge over the Chambal, the earthwork of the proposed
Baran-Marwar Railway, several important irrigation tanks and canals,
the Maharao's new palace (with electric light installation), the Victoria
Hospital for women, numerous other hospitals and dispensaries, the
Central jail, the public offices, resthouses, &c.

The military force which the Maharao may maintain is limited to
15,000 men, and the actual strength in 1905 was 7,913 of all ranks :
namely, cavalry 910 (609 irregular), artillerymen 353, and infantry
6,650 (5,456 irregular). There are also 193 guns, of which 62 are said
to be unserviceable. The force cost about 4-8 lakhs in 1904-5, and is
largely employed on police duties or in garrisoning forts. There are
no British cantonments in Kotah ; but under the treaty of 1838, as
amended in 1844, the Darbar contributes 2 lakhs yearly towards the
cost of the 42nd (Deoli) Regiment, of which His Highness has been an
honorary major since January, 1903.

There are two main bodies of police : namely, one for the city (177
of all ranks) under the kotwal ; and the other for the districts, number-
ing 5,260, and including 3,490 sepoys and sowars belonging to the
army, and 1,668 chaukidars or village watchmen under a General
Superintendent. The districts are divided into six separate charges,
each under an Assistant Superintendent, and there are altogether 39
thanas or police stations and 516 outposts. Excluding the men be-
longing to the army, and the chaukidars, who receive revenue-free
lands for their services, the force costs about Rs. 45,000 a year.

Besides the Central jail at the capital, there are small lock-ups at the
head-quarters of each district, in which persons under trial or those
sentenced to short terms of imprisonment are confined.

In regard to the literacy of its population, Kotah stands last but one
among the twenty States and chiefships of Rajputana, with 1-5 per cent,
of the population (2-9 males and o-i females) able to read and write.
The first State school was started in 1867, when two teachers were
appointed, one of Sanskrit and the other of Persian. In 1874 English
and Hindi classes were added ; but this was the only educational insti-
tution maintained by the Darbar up to 1881, when the daily average
attendance was 186. In 1891 there were 19 State schools with a daily
average attendance of 752, and by 1901 these figures had increased to
36 and 1,106 respectively. Similarly, the State expenditure on educa-
tion rose from about Rs. 4,000 in 1880-r to nearly Rs. 9,000 in
1 890-1, and to Rs. 25,000 in 1900-1. Omitting indigenous and
private schools not under the department, there were 41 educational
institutions maintained by the Darbar in 1905, and the number on the



4 2 4 KOTAH STATE

rolls was 2,447 (including 115 girls). The daily average attendance in
1904-5 was 1,586 (75 being girls); and the total expenditure, including
Rs. 5,000 on account of boys attending the Mayo College at Ajmer,
was Rs. 33,000. Of these 41 schools, 39 are primary; and of the
latter, 5 are for girls. The only notable institutions are the Maharao's
high school and the nobles' school, which are noticed in the article on
Kotah City. In spite of the fact that no fees are levied anywhere,
and that everything in the shape of books, paper, pens, &c, is supplied
free, the mass of the people are apathetic and do not care to have their
children taught.

The State possesses 2 1 hospitals, including that attached to the jail,
with accommodation for 216 in-patients. In 1904 the number of cases
treated was 105,464 (1,808 being those of in-patients), and 3,765 opera-
tions were performed.

Vaccination appears to have been started about 1866-7 anc * is
nowhere compulsory. In 1904-5 a staff of five men successfully
vaccinated 16,351 persons, or 30 per 1,000 of the population. The
total State expenditure in 1904-5 on medical institutions, including
vaccination and a share of the pay of the Agency Surgeon and his
establishment, was about Rs. 60,000.

[W. Stratton, Kotah and the Haras (Ajmer, 1899); P. A. Weir and
J. Crofts, Medico-topographical Account of Kotah (1900); Kotah Ad-
ministration Reports (annually from 1894-5).]

Kotah City. — Capital of the State of the same name in Rajputana,
situated on the right bank of the Chambal in 25 n' N. and 75 51' E.,
about 45 miles by metalled road west of Baran station on the Blna-
Baran branch of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, and about 120
miles south-east of Ajmer. It is said that, in the fourteenth century,
some Bhils of the Koteah clan who then lived here were attacked
and ousted by Jet Singh, the grandson of Rao Dewa of Bundi, who
settled in the place, and built a town which he called Kotah. It was
held by Bundi till 1625, when, with its dependencies, it was granted by
Jahangir to Madho Singh, the first chief of Kotah, and became the
capital of the State then formed. It has since increased in size and
importance, and is now one of the eight cities of Rajputana. It is
surrounded on three sides by a high and massive crenelated wall, with
well-fortified bastions at regular intervals, while on the west the river
Chambal— 400 yards wide and crossed by an iron pontoon-bridge,
except in the rains, when the passage is made by ferry — forms a natural
barrier. The city possesses six massive double gates closed nightly at
1 1 p.m., and may be divided into three well-defined and distinct areas,
each separated from the next by a high wall : namely, Ladpura, Ram-
pura, and the city proper, the latter including the old town or purdni
basti. In the southern extremity is the old palace, an imposing pile



KOTAH CITY 425

of buildings overlooking the river. Of the numerous temples, the most
famous is that of MathureshjT, the idol in which is said to have been
brought from Gokul in Muttra, while the oldest is probably that of
Nilkanth Mahadeo.

The population has been gradually decreasing, as the following
figures show : in 1881, 40,270; in 1891, 38,620; and in 1901, 33,657.
This is said to be due partly to the fact that the place, situated on the
western border of the State and at a considerable distance from
the railway, is not a general trade centre, and partly because, with the
improved administration and the greater security afforded to life and
property, the people have spread more into the country. Another
probable reason for the falling off in population is the unhealthiness of
the site, caused by the water of the Kishor Sagar (or lake) on the east
percolating through the soil to the river on the west. The greater pro-
portional decrease in the last decade is certainly due to the famine
of 1 899-1900 and the severe outbreak of malarial fever that im-
mediately followed it. Of the total population in 1901, Hindus num-
bered 23,132, or nearly 69 per cent., and Musalmans 9,027, or about
27 per cent. The principal manufactures are muslins, both white and
coloured, silver table-ornaments, and a little country paper. An oppor-
tunity for seeing the various industries occurs each year, when an
exhibition is held generally in February. A municipal committee,
which was formed in 1874, has done much to improve the sanitation
of the place. The income (derived mainly from an octroi duty on
all imports) and the expenditure are each about Rs. 20,000 a year.
The Central jail is a commodious and well-managed building, with
accommodation for 468 prisoners. The daily average number in 1904
was 428, the expenditure exceeded Rs. 23,000, and the profits from
manufactures (carpets, rugs, cotton cloth, &c.) were about Rs. 2,000.
Excluding private educational institutions, there are 4 schools main-
tained by the State, which were attended in 1904-5 by about 400 boys
and 30 girls. The Maharao's high school and the nobles' school teach
up to the matriculation standard of the Allahabad University. Attached
to the high school is a class recently started for flafte'dris, in which sur-
veying is taught; and the nobles' school has a boarding-house where
the boys are fed and lodged free by the State. Including the hospital
attached to the jail, there are four medical institutions at Kotah, with
accommodation for 79 in-patients. The Victoria Hospital, reserved for
females, was opened in 1890 and has 22 beds. Among places of
interest in the neighbourhood of the city may be mentioned the
Maharao's new palace, called after him the Umed Bhawan, which is
lighted with electricity ; the extensive and well-kept gardens, containing
a public library and reading-room ; and several palaces, such as the
Amar Niwas, the Brij Bilas, and the Chhatarpura.



426



KO TAH-JHALA J J AR A GENC Y



Kotah- Jhalawar Agency. — Political Charge in the south-east of
Rajputana, lying between 23 45' and 25 51' N. and 75 28' and
77 26' E. It is bounded on the north by Jaipur and the Aligarh
district of Tonk ; on the west by Bundi and Udaipur ; on the south-
west and south by several States of Central India and the Pirawa
district of Tonk ; and on the east by Gwalior and the Chhabra district
of Tonk. The head-quarters of the Political Agent are at Kotah. The
population has varied: (1881) 857,763, (1891) 869,868, and (1901)
^35»°54- Tn e decrease of nearly 27 per cent, during the last decade
was due to the famine of 1899- 1900 and the severe epidemic of malarial
fever that followed it. The total area is 6,494 square miles, and the
density of population is 98 persons per square mile, as compared with
76 for Rajputana as a whole. As regards size the Agency ranks fifth,
and as regards population seventh, among the eight political divisions
of Rajputana. In 1901 Hindus formed 89 per cent, of the total and
Musalmans more than 7 per cent. There were also 356 Christians
(including 340 natives). The Agency is made up of the two States
shown below : —



State.


Area in
square miles.


Population,
1901.


Normal land revenue

(k/ia/sa), in thousands

of rupees.


Kotah . .

Jhalawar

Total


5,684
8lO


544, s 79
9



Online LibraryGreat Britain. India OfficeImperial gazetteer of India .. (Volume 15) → online text (page 50 of 50)