Great Britain. India Office.

Imperial gazetteer of India .. (Volume 17) online

. (page 27 of 51)
Online LibraryGreat Britain. India OfficeImperial gazetteer of India .. (Volume 17) → online text (page 27 of 51)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


wing. In addition to these, three other spots are known as the Artist,
Sphinx, and Bartle Points. Of the several smaller bluffs the seven
most important are : Alexander, Little Chauk, One Tree Hill, Danger,
Echo, Landscape, and Monkey.

K very striking view is obtained, especially in the evening light, from
Panorama Point. The level plain extends from the foot of the hill to
the broken coast-line, about 40 miles off. The great city of Bombay,
with its towers and shipping, lies under the sunset, and the ocean
stretches beyond. Besides the beauty of the summit and of its views,
a great charm in Matheran is the plateau or terrace that almost
encircles the hill from 200 to 300 feet below its crest. This belt has a
rich soil, yearly freshened by mould washed down from the higher land.
The hill-sides are scarred by several small streams, which, though dry
during the greater part of the year, bear in their clean-swept rocky
channels traces of the strength of their monsoon floods. The rides
through the woods have a special freshness from the sea-breeze ; and,
although the elevation is not lofty enough to counteract the heats of
sunniier, it suffices to render Matheran a cool and salubrious retreat
for the citizens of Bombay during the spring and autumn months.

In spite of the heavy rainfall, even the largest streams cease to flow
soon after Christmas. Of eleven springs, only two — Harrison's on the
east and Malet's on the west of the main hill-top — last throughout the
year. The latter has never been known to fiiil, and supplies the only
drinking-water used by European visitors. Matheran is singularly free
from malaria ; there is no marsh on any part of the hill, every stream
bed is a bare rock, and in almost all seasons the forest can be entered
without risk. This freedom from malaria makes Matheran a healthy
place to most visitors. The returns for the ten years ending 1903 give
an average yearly rainfall of 251 inches. The thermometer readings
show that, on an average, December and January are the coldest
months, with a mean maximum of 66°, and May and June the
warmest, with a mean of 82°.

According to the Census of 1901, the total number of inhabitants,
inclusive of the local hill-men, was 3,060, rising to 4,738 in the hot
season. The majority of visitors to Matheran are PansTs, of whom the



MATIARI 221

greatest number come from Bombay. As a place of resort Matheraii
has two seasons : after the rains in October and November, and from
April I to the middle of June. The management of the station is
entrusted to the Civil Surgeon, who, with the title of Superintendent,
has within its limits the powers of a first-class Magistrate. Subject to
the Collector of Kolaba, he has the entire management of the station,
looking after the repairs of roads, settling the charges of palancjuin-
bearers, pony-keepers, and porters, and regulating the ue-e of water,
the conservancy arrangements, and the market. A municipality was
established in 1905. The receipts are estimated at Rs. 15,000.

The chief public buildings are the post and telegraph offices, the
Bairamji Jijibhoy Hospital, the Superintendent's residence, the police
lines, the resthouse, the hotels, market, the library, gymkhana, a church,
and a Catholic chapel. There is one school. The leading Points on
the hill-top may be comfortably seen in three rides or walks from one
of the hotels. Excursions may also be made to Prabal Point, where
there is a fort of the same name, which signifies ' mighty.' For this
place the excursionist starts from Louisa Point, which overlooks
a majestic cliff, whence in the rainy season a cataract 100 feet in
width falls into the valley below by a single leap of 1,000 feet. Until
within the last fifty years, Matheran hill was inhabited solely by wild
forest races of non-Aryan origin and predatory habits — Dhangars,
Thakurs, and Kathkaris. These still linger on the slopes and at the
foot of the hills, but their little communities have considerably declined
in numbers. Some of them may still be seen at the weekly Sunday
ba^car on the hill. Interesting accounts of Matheran have been pub-
lished by J. Y. Smith, M.D. (Edinburgh, 1871), and by Mrs. A. K.
Oliver (Bombay, 1905).

Mathura. — District, tahsl/, and city in the United Provinces. See

MUI'TKA.

Mathwar. — Thaki/nit in the Bhopawar Agency, Central India.

Matiari {Mafdri). — Town in the Hala tdluka of Hyderabad Dis-
trict, Sind, Bombay, situated in 25° 36' N. and 68° 29' E., on a
slight eminence, 20 miles south of Hala town, and r6 miles north
of Hyderabad. Population (1901), 6,608. The local trade includes
grain, oilseeds, cotton, silk piece-goods, and sugar. Matiari is said to
have been founded in 1322, and j)ossesses, besides a fine Jama Masjid,
built in 1803, the tombs of two saints f)f renowned sanctity. At these
shrines annual fairs are held in Sei)tember and October, and each is
attended by from 2,000 to 3,000 Muhammadans. The mimicipalit}',
established in 1868, had an average income during the decade
ending 1901 of Rs. 9,000. In 1903-4 the income was Rs. 3,650.
The town contains a dispensary and four schools, of which one is
for girls.

p 2



222 MATLA

Matla.— Village in the iJistrict of the Twenty-four Targanas, Bengal.
See Canni.w;, Port.

Matra Timba. — Petty State in Kathiawar, Bombay.

Mattancheri. — Commercial capital of Cochin State, Madras, and
head-quarters of the Cochin taluk, situated in 9° 57' N. and 76°
15' E., on the backwater opposite to Ernakulam and adjoining the
British town of Cochin, Area, 2\ square miles ; population (1901),
20,061, of whom 9,466 are Hindus, 5,607 Christians, 4,489 MusaP
mans, and 474 Jews. It is the centre of a considerable export and
import trade, which is almost entirely in the hands of Banias and
Cutchi Memons from the Bombay Presidency. There are several
steam oil-mills in the neighbourhood, and a hydraulic press in the
centre of the town. Mattancheri is said to have been formerly the
capital of the Slate, and contains a spacious old palace of quaint
Dutch design, where the Rajas of Cochin are still installed. Histo-
rically the most interesting part of the place is what is known as the
Jews' Town, which is exclusively inhabited by the White and Black
Jews. I'hey settled here after their expulsion from Cranganur by the
Portuguese in the sixteenth century, and formed a prosperous colony.
But of late 'years they have been declining in both numbers and
affluence. They have three old .synagogues in the town. Among
modern institutions of note are the large and richly endowed Konkani
temple of Tirumala Devaswam, and the women and children's hospital,
which contains accommodation for 20 in-patients.

Mau Tahsil (i). — Eastern taJisiI of Banda District, United Pro-
vinces, conterminous with the pargana of Chhibun, lying along the
Jumna, between 25° 5' and 25° 24' N. and 81° 7' and 81° 34' E., with
an area of 316 square miles. It is included in the Karwi subdivision
of the District. Population fell from 73,658 in 1891 to 64,921 in
1901. There are 164 villages and one town, Rajapur (population,
5,491). The demand for land revenue in 1903-4 was Rs. 86,000,
and for cesses Rs. 14,000. The density of population, 205 persons
per square mile, is slightly below the District average. In the south
the outer range of the Vindhyas crosses the tahsil in three terraces.
The forests and jungles are gradually diminishing, owing to the export
of wood to Allahabad. In 1903 4 less than one square mile was
irrigated, out of 132 square miles under cultivation.

Mau Tahsil (2). — T??//^// of Jhansi District, United Provinces, con-
terminous with the pargana of the same name, lying between 25° d'
and 25° 29' N. and 78° 49' and 79° 19' E., with an area of 439 square
miles. Population fell from 115,724 in 1891 to 100,298 in 1901.
U'here are 164 villages and only one town, Mau-Ranipur (population,
17,231), the tahsil head-quarters. The demand for land revenue in
1903-4 was Rs. 1,23,000, and for cesses Rs. 21,000. The density of



AfAu TOiry 223

population, 228 persons per square mile, is considerably above the
District average. The tahsll is bounded on the east by the Dhasan
river, but towards the south and west is much intermixed with portions
of Orchha State. The southern portion is generally wild and hilly,
dotted with artificial lakes and fertile irrigated valleys, but displaying
also great tracts of barren waste. In the centre the country is more
open and there is little irrigation. Farther north again the soil is
chiefly black soil, deteriorating near the wild nullahs which fringe the
Dhasan ; this part has suffered much from the inroads of kdns {Saccha-
rum spontaneum). In 1902-3 the area under cultivation was 190 square
miles, of which 13 were irrigated, wells supplying more than three-
fourths of the irrigated area.

Mau Town (r). — firitish cantonment in Indore .State, Central
India. See Mhow.

Mau Town (or Maunath Bhanjan) (2). — Town in the Muhammad,
abad tahsll of Azamgarh District, United Provinces, situated in 25° 57'
N. and 83° 34' E., on the right bank of the Tons and on the Bengal and
North-A\'estern Railway, at the junction of the branch from Shahganj
through Azamgarh town with the line from Gorakhpur to Benares.
Population (1901), 17,696, The town is of some antiquity, though
the date of its foundation has not been ascertained. It is mentioned
in the Ain-i-Akbarl as the head-quarters of a mahal or pargaua ; and
during the reign of Shah Jahan that emperor bestowed the town upon
his daughter, Jahanara Begam, and it received in a special degree the
royal favour. A sarai built by this lady still exists. At that period
the town is said to have contained 84 muhallas, or wards, and 360
mosques. At the time of the cession to the British, Mau was held in
jdglr by one of the Oudh Begams ; but the town had suffered severely
from previous misrule, and has never regained its former prosperity.
A commercial resident was appointed for Mau and Azamgarh in 1802 ;
and in addition to the ordinary country traffic, investments in Mau
cloths were made for some years on behalf of the Company. Private
enterprise kept up the trade for a time after the abolition of the
Company's monopoly ; but the introduction of English-made yarn and
cloth gave a great blow to it. Since the opening of the railway, how-
ever, trade has revived to some extent, and fewer weavers leave the
town to seek employment in the mills of Bombay and Calcutta. The
population largely consists of fanatical Julahas (]\Iuhammadan weavers),
and religious friction is always present. In 1893 Mau was the scene of
sanguinary riots, arising from the agitation against the slaughter of kine.
There are no public buildings besides the dispensary, police station,
and post office ; but Mau is an important railway centre, and contains
the head-quarters of an Engineer, a l^istrict Traffic Superintendent,
and a Locomotive Superintendent. It is administered under Act XX



2 24 ^f'U^ TOJJW

of 1856, with an income of about Rs. 3,000. Muslin and satin are
largely woven, and there is a small manufacture of silk. There
are two schools for boys with 83 pupils, and two for girls with 77.

Mau Aimma. — Town in the Soraon /a/isi/ of Allahabad District,
United Provinces, situated in 25° 42' N. and 81° 56' E., on the
metalled road from Allahabad city to l^'yzabad and on a branch
of the Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway. Population (1901), 6,769.
This was the first place in the District in which plague broke out
in 1899, having been imported direct from Bombay. Mau Aimma
is administered under Act XX of 1856, with an income of about
Rs. 1,000. It was once celebrated for its cotton cloth ; but the
industry has declined and many of the Julaha inhabitants (Muham-
madan weavers) now seek work in Bombay. There is, however, a
flourishing local traffic in grain, cloth, cotton, sugar, and tobacco, which
is likely to increase since the opening of a railway. The school
has about 64 pu])ils.

Ma-ubin District {Ma-u tree, Nauclea Cadai)iba).—\y\^\.\\QX of the
Irrawaddy Division, Lower Burma, lying between 16° 30' and i7°25''N.
and 95'^ 15' and 95° 55' E. It is bounded on the north by Henzada
District ; on the east by Hanthawaddy ; on the west by Myaungmya
and Bassein ; and on the south by Pyapon. The District is at the
head of the lower delta of the Irrawaddy, which enters it on the north,
and shortly afterwards, at the upper end of what is known as Ma-ubin
Island, sends an important offshoot called the To
aspects '""^ Chma Bakir river to the east. The maui stream,

under the name of the Vazudaing, passes on to the
south-west, and divides into a number of other tidal channels in
Myaungmya and Pyapon Districts. The surface of the country
is generally low, the greater part being subject to annual inundation,
except where protected by embankments. During the rains the
Irrawaddy rises about 25 feet higher than in the dry season, and,
where unhindered by dikes, spreads over the country and forms
vast lakes, out of which the higher lands emerge like islands. As
is the case with all silt-depositing rivers, the surface of the country
close to the banks is higher than it is inland, so that between the
main streams there is not a watershed but a depression. These
low-lying plains are covered with long grass interspersed with trees,
and, though very fertile, are generally too deeply flooded to be
cultivable. Lying within the main banks of the river are numerous
large sandbanks and islands, flooded during the rains, but furnishing
excellent ground for vegetable gardens in the dry season and extensive
grazing grounds for the cattle. The permanent cultivation, except
where there arc embankments, is practically confined to the land
immediately adjoining the main banks of the river.



ALl- UBTX lUS TR U 'T



225



The District is an alluvial flat, unbroken by any rising ground, and
it cannot be said to possess any geological features worthy of record.
The vegetation, which is largely swam[), resembles that in Hantha-
WADDY District, in the tracts farther from the sea. The fauna is
similar to that of Mvaungmya and Pvapon. The elephant and
tiger are scarce, but leopards are not uncommon and crocodiles
abound.

The climate is generally healthy, but at the same time most
enervating. The approximate mean temperature is about 82°. Low-
lying and moist, the District swarms with mc^quitoes. The European
houses at the head-quarters are provided with rooms of which the
doors and windows are made of perforated zinc to keep out these
pests, and in places the villagers have to protect not only their
own bodies but those of their cattle at night by means of gauze
curtains. Though the District is wet and flat, disastrous floods are
extremely rare, owing to the embankments ; and when they occur,
they are restricted to small areas.

The rainfall is heaviest in the south, averaging 92 inches at Ma-ubin,
83 inches at Pantanaw, 80 inches at ^'andoon, and 72 inches at the
northernmost station, Danubyu, ox an annual average of 82 inches
for the District altogether. In the north it is more variable than
in the south, but on the whole it is fairly regular and seldom
insufficient.

Danubyu, in the north of the District, on the western bank of the
Irrawaddy, is the only place c)f historical importance. It is famous
for the stand made against the British by the
Burmese general, the Maha Bandula, in 1825.
The side of the fort facing the river was nearly a mile long, and
behind it was a garrison of 20,000 men. This position was unsuccess-
fully attacked by two columns under General Cotton, the greater part
of the troops engaged being killed or wounded. Reinforcements were
applied for, and the Commander-in-Chief, Sir Archibald Campbell,
brought up his batteries. On the first day of the bombardment
the Maha Bandula was killed by the bursting of a shell, and the
Burmans thereupon evacuated the place. In the War of 1852 no
attempt was made to hold Danubyu ; but after the occupation of
I'rome a force was gathered by an ex-t/wgyt named Nga Myat Tun,
who repeatedly drove back, with considerable loss, the small detach
ments sent against him. After some delay his stronghold was carried
by a larger British force, and the country gradually settled down.
Part of the fort walls are still to be seen at Danubyu, occupied by
monasteries ; and under the shadow of the Nandawgon pagoda is
a small cemetery containing the remains of those who fell in the
second \\'ar.



-6



MA-UBIN DISTRICT



Originally part of Henzada and Rangoon, a new District, embracing
the present Ma-ubin District, and called after the village of Thongwa
near Ma-ubin, was formed in 1875. This area was divided, in conse-
quence of the rapid spread of cultivation and large increase in the
population, first in 1893 on the formation of Myaungmya District,
and again in 1903 when the District of Pyapon came into existence.
At the last change the name of Ma-ubin was substituted for that
of Thongwa.

The population of the area now forming Ma-ubin District was
176,000 in 1881 ; 216,930 in 1891 ; and 283,122 in 1901. Its
distribution in 1901 is shown in the following table:



Townsliip.


5
s

t

£;22

483

331

305

1,641


Number of


Population.




Percentage of
variation in

population be-
tween i8gi
and 1901.


Number of

persons able to

read and

write.


c


Villages.


Ma-ubin .
Pantanaw .
Yandoon .
Dnnubyu .

District total


I
I

I
I

4


118
92
81

127


77,792
62,374
57,923
85,033


149
129

175

27s


+ 58
+ 29
— I
+ 39


21,800
16,416

'4,285
18,087


41S


283,122


173


+ 30


70,588



The chief towns are Yandoon and Ma-ubin, the District head-
quarters. The decrease of population in the Yandoon township
during the ten years ending igor is largely due to a falling off in
the inhabitants of Yandoon town, the trade of which was killed
by the opening of the railway to Mandalay. Elsewhere the growth
during the decade in question has been conspicuou.s, being largely
due to the attractions presented by the rich delta areas to the in-
habitants of the poorer tracts farther north. The stream of immi-
gration flows mainly from the Districts of Magwe, Myingyan, Mandalay,
Pakokku, and from the Upper and Lower Chindwin. By far the
greater part of the population is Buddhist ; in 1901 Musalmans
numbered 3,500 and Hindus 4,800. In all 200,000 of the population
spoke Burmese, and 70,000 Karen.

Between two-thirds and three-fourths of the population are Burmans ;
of the balance the greater part is made up of Karens, who numbered
70,000 in T901, forming nearly half of the population of the Pantanaw
township, one-fourth of that of the Yandoon township, and a fifth
of that of the Ma-ubin township. Not quite 60 per cent, of the popu-
lation is agricultural. Owing to territorial changes, it is not possible
to show from the census figures the occupations of the remainder,
most of whom are doubtless petty traders or fishermen.

riic nati\e Christian population in 1901 numbered 5,100 (mainly



AGRICULTURE



227



Agriculture.



Karen converts). The American Baptist Mission works among the
Karens (Pwos and Sgaws), and Roman Catholic missionaries have sta-
tions at Ma-ubin and Yandoon. Both these missions maintain schools.

The soil is a stiff yellow clay, deficient in lime, but well adapted
to the cultivation of rice. It is so rich that systematic ploughing
is rarely resorted to. Large areas, especially in the
inundated tracts, are not ploughed at all, but the
long grass is cut down and burnt, and the rice sown broadcast
without transplanting. The lands along the margins of the rivers,
enriched by an annual deposit of silt, produce tobacco, chillies, and
other crops. The whole of the Danubyu and most of the Ma-ubin
township, with parts of Pantanaw and Yandoon, are protected by
embankments. The largest of these is the Ma-ubin Island embank-
ment, nearly 80 miles in length, which encloses a large area to the
west of the town of Ma-ubin. A somewhat smaller area to the east
is protected by the Thongwa Island embankment, between 30 and
40 miles in length. In the north of the District is the southern
end of the Henzada embankment, which extends along the western
bank of the Irrawaddy for nearly 40 miles, ending near the town
of Pantanaw. The area thus protected is approximately 360 square
miles. On unprotected lands the deposit of silt is artificially increased
by cutting channels through the high banks, at right angles to the
river, to the low-lying country beyond. This artificial raising of the
level enables crops to be grown on stretches which would otherwise
be too low for cultivation.

The cropped area increased from 312 square miles in 1 890-1
to 562 in 1900-1. For 1903-4 the main agricultural statistics (in
square miles) are as follows : —



Township.


Total.


Cultivated.


Irrigated.


Forests.


Ma-ubin ....

Pantanaw

Yandoon

Danuh}u

Total


522

331
30.T


216

125
lOQ

1 78


0.2
O-I

0-3
0.4


1

- 20


1,641


628


I


20



The area under rice (all kaukkyi) in 1903-4 was 533 square miles,
and that under plantains and other fruit trees 17,000 acres. Tobacco,
mostly in Danubyu, covered 3,500 acres, and chillies in Pantanaw
6,300 acres. The average rice holding measures a little over 20 acres.
Holdings are smaller in the north than in the south.

There is a certain amount of cattle-breeding. Few ponies are
kept, as there is little use for them. Reserves for grazing are more
than 45,000 acres in extent.



:28 MA-UBIX DISTRICT

The fisheries are usually in fresh-water lakes and streams con-
nected with the Irrawaddy, and subject to tidal influence, but affected
. . to a much greater extent by the monsoon floods.

They are mostly in the southern townships of Panta-
naw and Ala-ubin. All but a small part of the revenue is derived
from leased fisheries, which realized more than ']\ lakhs in 1903-4,
almost one-third of the total revenue in the Province from this
source. The waters leased are carefully demarcated and mapped,
and the right to fish is let by auction every three years. Licences
for netting are also issued and are made use of in the navigable
waterways. These yielded in the same year Rs. 12,800. The leased
fisheries are usually worked by means of weirs and bamboo traps.
An exhaustive inquiry made by Major Maxwell between 1897 and
1899 resulted in the larger fisheries being subdivided, and none
now yields much over Rs. 7,000 a year. The fresh fish is taken
to Rangoon and other places by boat. A great deal is made into
fish-paste (iigapi), and exported to all parts of Burma. The industry
has declined with the spread of cultivation, the rule being that where
the interests of the fisherman and the cultivator are irreconcilable
those of the former must yield. The construction of embankments,
the chief enemy of the fisherman, has now probably reached its
limit, and to avoid disputes the spheres of interest of the fisherman
and the cultivator have been delimited. The fisherman's average
profits are lower than the cultivator's, partly because the industry is
highly speculative and, though the takings are occasionally enormous,
losses are very common ; partly because fishing is the hereditary
occupation of the earlier Talaing inhabitants, who cling to it for
sentimental reasons. The fisheries are looked after liy a special
staff of two inkimivuns and four inspectors.

The forests are unimportant, consisting of five small Reserves in
the \'andoon subdivision, with an area of only 30 square miles.

No artistic work is produced in the District. The manufacture

of fine mats from the reed called thin (P/iry/iiti/n dichoiomum) gives

employment to a number of women in the north.

iradeand -j-]^^, reed, after being steeped in water, is split and
communications. ....... \ „, ' . ,

the rind peeled off in two layers. 1 he outer rind

is smoother than the rest and is woven separately into a fine mat,

under which a coarser one, made of the inner rind, is placed. The

two are then tacked together and the result is the thinbyii^ the

Burman's ordinary bed. A smart mat-weaver can turn out a mat

6 feet by 2-| feet in one day. A few rice-mills are worked in the

District.

The principal exports are rice, fish-paste {ugapi) dispatched from

\'andoon to all parts of Burma, and horns and hides. They are



A DAffXlS TRA 770 X 229

practically all river-borne. A good deal of firewood goes to Rangoon.
The imports consist for the most part of hardware, piece-goods, and



Online LibraryGreat Britain. India OfficeImperial gazetteer of India .. (Volume 17) → online text (page 27 of 51)