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a palace with gilded walls and roof. On the right-hand side of the
gates leading to the palaces were placed bazars. Of the existing
objects of interest, the most notable are two tombs in the village of
Sojale, about 2 miles to the north-east of the town, built in 1484 in
honour of Mubarak Saiyid, one of the ministers of Mahmud Begara,
and of his wife's brothers. Mehmadabad has been a municipality
since 1863, with an average income of Rs. 9,500 during the decade end-
ing 1901. In 1903-4 its income was Rs. 9,600. The town contains
a dispensary and four schools, three (including an English middle
school with 57 pupils) for boys and one for girls, attended by 427 and
102 pupils respectively.

Mehndawal. — Town in the Khalilabad tahsll of Bastl District,
United Provinces, situated in 26° 59' N. and 83° 7' E., 27 miles
north-east of Basti town. Population (1901), 10,143. Mehndawal
is administered under Act XX of 1856, with an income of about
Rs. 1,000. It is the chief commercial centre in the District, being
a great mart for trade with Nepal ; but it has suffered from the open-
ing of railway stations elsewhere. Most of the town consists of mud
hovels, but there are several fine market-places. It also contains
a dispensary and a school with 88 pupils.

Mehsana Tdi\\x\L2i. — Ta/i/ka in the Kadi/n7«/, Baroda State, with
an area of 195 square miles. The population fell from 83,651 in 1891
to 75,254 in 1901. The taluka contains one town, Mehsana (popula-
tion, 9,393), the head-quarters ; and 83 villages. Its aspect is some-
times that of an even plain, sometimes that of a gently undulating
country. The Rupen and KhSri flow through the northern portion.



The surfiice soil is generally light and sandy. In 1904-5 the land
revenue was Rs. 2,51,000.

Mehsana Town. — Head-quarters of the tdluka of the same name,
Kadi/n?;//, Baroda State, situated in 23° 42' N. and 72° 37' E. Popu-
lation (1901), 9,393. The town is chiefly important as a railway centre,
for here the Gaikwar's State railways from Kheralu, Patan, and Viram-
gam converge to meet the main line of the Rajputana-Malwa Railway.
It is the most central town in the/ra;//, and in 1904 became the head-
quarters in place of Kadi. A magnificent building, which forms a con-
spicuous object close to the town, has recently been erected, partly for
the purposes of public offices and partly as a palace for the Oaikwar.
Otherwise there are no buildings of any great mark. Mehsana is
administered by a municipality, receiving an annual grant of Rs. 4,700.
It possesses Anglo-vernacular and vernacular schools, a dispensary,
a magistrate's court, and local offices.

Mehwas Estates.— A group of six estates in the West Khandesh
District of Bombay, lying between 21° 30' and 22° N. and 74° 10' and
74° 50' E., in the extreme west of Khandesh, situated partly among the
western extremities of the Satpuras, and partly on the low ground below
the hills, spanning the interval between the Narbada and Tapti rivers.
Population (1901), 14,639. The estimated gross yearly revenue is
Rs. 70,000. The tract is broken and wild, and more or less covered
with forest ; it is abundantly watered by mountain streams flowing
into the Narbada and Tapti. The climate is unhealthy and feverish
from October to March. The estates are inhabited chiefly by BhTls,
with a sprinkling of Pavras. In all parts there is a great deal of rich
black soil, but cultivation has much decreased since the famine of 1900.
As the supply of grain does not meet the local demand, the people eke
out a living on fruits, roots, and other forest produce. The main
articles of trade are timber, mahud flowers and seed, and myrabolams.
The chieftains settle petty cases, but all important matters go before
the Collector and Assistant Collector, who are respectively Agent and
Assistant Agent. Civil and criminal justice are regulated by rules
framed under Act XI of 1846. The six estates are: —

Area in

Number of



Tribute paid

square miles.




to Government.



Chikhli .
















vSingpur .























The ancestors of the Chikhli chieftain originally held lands from
RajpTpla ; Jiva, the founder of the family, taking advantage of the
turbulent times, established his power over 84 villages. A sum of
Rs. 3,000, assigned by Government as an hereditary allowance, made
mainly for foot and horse police in lieu of the blackmail formerly
levied, was discontinued in the time of Ramsing (1854-74). The
ancestors of the Raisingpur (Gauli) chieftain were feudatories of
Rajplpla, and are said to have been ruined on its subversion by the
Gaikwar (i 763-1813). The remaining four chieftains were originally
dependants of the chief of Budhawal ; but in 1845 ^^'^^ latter was
removed on suspicion of conniving at robberies in the neighbouring
British territories, and his lands have since lapsed to Government.

Meiktila Division. — South-eastern Division of Upper Burma, lying
wholly in the dry zone, between 19° 27' and 22° i' N. and 94° 43' and
96° 54' E., with an area of 10,852 square miles. It comprises four
Districts : Kyaukse, Meiktila, Yamethin, and Myingyan. Kyaukse,
Meiktila, and Yamethin lie, one south of the other in the order named,
on each side of the Mandalay-Rangoon railway, while Myingyan
extends westwards from the borders of Kyaukse and Meiktila to the
Irrawaddy. The Division is bounded on the north by Mandalay and
Sagaing : on the east by the Southern Shan States ; on the south by
Toungoo and Magwe ; and on the west by Minbu, Pakokku, and
Sagaing. The population was 901,924 in 1891 and 992,807 in 1901.
The distribution in the latter year is shown in the following table : —


Area in
square miles.


Land revenue
and ihathameda,

■ ^V^~^' ^

in thousands
of rupees.

Kyaukse .
Meiktila .
Yamethin .
Myingyan .











There are 4,415 villages and 6 towns: Myingyan (population,
16,139), PviNMANA in Yamethin District (14,388), Yamethin (8,680),
Meiktila (7,203), Nyaungo-Pagan (6,254), and Kyaukse (5,420).
The head-quarters are at Meiktila, situated near the centre of the
Division, and connected by rail with the three outlying District head-
quarters. INIyingyan is a commercial centre of some importance, and
Yamethin and Pyinmana are trade centres. The population is almost
exclusively Burmese, the total number of Burmans in 1901 being
963,228. The only other indigenous races Tound in any strength are
the Shans, inhabiting the hills on the borders of the Shan States, who


numbered 2,071 at the last ("ensus, and the Karens (2,718), who
approach their northernmost limit in Burma proper in the Yamethin
hills. There were 14,536 Musalmans and 5,143 Hindus in 1901, of
whom the greater number, though not all, were natives of India.

Meiktila District. — District in the Meiktila Division of Upper
Burma, lying between 2o°4o'and 2i°25'N. and 95°28'and 96°35'E.,
with an area of 2,183 square miles. It is the most easterly of the
Districts forming the dry zone of Burma, and is bounded on the north
by the Districts of Kyaukse and Myingyan ; on the south by Yamethin
and Magwe ; on the east by various small States of the Myelat division
of the Southern Shan States ; and on the west by Myingyan and
Magwe. The District slopes generally from west to

east until the Samon river is reached, after which it ysica

' aspects.

gradually rises again to meet the flanks of the outer-
most Shan hills. The central portion of the western boundary runs
along the crest of a ridge of moderate altitude, with parallel ridges of
lesser height on either side. Here the ground is rocky and boulder-
strewn, and the vegetation scanty, consisting mainly of stunted
trees and scrub. To the north and south of these ridges the country
in the west, though still high, becomes flatter, and for a considerable
distance east of the border the District is scored from north to south
by deep watercourses with precipitous sides. The Mahlaing town-
ship, occupying the north-western quarter, has an undulating surface,
characterized by ridges running north and south. It has few level
plains, and the valleys are often so narrow that the fields look like
a winding river of grain. The south-western corner, comprising the
Meiktila township, is also of a rolling character, though here the
broken ground extends to a greater distance from the western
boundary than farther north. Bounding the Mahlaing township on
the east, and bisecting the District, is a ridge called the Minwin
kondafi, extending from the northern boundary of the District to a
little south of Meiktila town. The town of Meiktila itself is built on
this ridge, at an altitude of about 800 feet. Nearly parallel to the
konda/i and about 12 miles distant from it on the east is another ridge,
known as the Pwemingyi kondafi in the north, and the Tetbyindaung
in the south. Both ridges have a gravelly and practically uncultivable
soil. The intervening valley, 12 to 15 miles in width, runs the whole
length of the District, and is level and waterlogged in parts. Low
hills and stretches of rising ground, composed in part of nodular lime-
stone, are met with here and there, chiefly on the west. Meiktila is
almost the only District of Burma which possesses no navigable water-
ways. Its most important river is the Samon, which, rising in Yamethin,
enters Meiktila in the south-east near the foot of the Shan hills, and
flows due north into Kyaukse. It is not, however, navigable within


the limits of the District, being more or less dry, except during the
rains. Between it and the Pwemingyi ridge is a valley, 6 or 7 miles
in width, which gradually rises towards the south, and is irrigated by
numerous tanks. The Thinbon chaung rises on the eastern slopes of
Popa, flows in a north-easterly direction through the Mahlaing and
A\'undwin townships, and falls eventually into the Sanion at the ex-
treme northern end of the District, ^^'ithin the limits of Meiktila the
Panlaung is merely a mountain brook.

One of the main features is the Meiktila lake, situated on the
Minwin ridge, about 800 feet above sea-level. This artificial stretch
of water is about 7 miles long and 3^ square miles in extent, and at
the centre, near Meiktila, is so narrow as to be practically divided into
two sections, north and south. The northern lake is diminishing in
capacity yearly, owing to the deposit of silt from its feeder streams, the
Shanmange and the Mondaing ; and both sections are subject to very
rapid rises after heavy rain over their area of supply. Another impor-
tant piece of water is the Nyaungyan-Minhla tank or lake, situated near
the southern border of the District. It derives its water from the
Chaunggauk and Chaungmagyi streams, both of which rise in the west,
the former bounding the District on the south, the latter watering a
considerable area of Yamethin District. The Nyaungyan and Minhla
tanks were originally separated, but have now been joined by a canal.

The whole of the District is occupied by rocks of Upper Tertiary
(pliocene) age, covered to a great extent with alluvium. In the western
portion of the Mahlaing township the abrupt dip of the strata, visible
to the naked eye by reason of the erosive action of the streams, appears
to indicate that the tract has been the scene of violent volcanic up-
heavals, the slopes in some cases being not less than 70° to 80° from
the horizontal. In the western areas the trunks of large petrified trees
are found in the alluvium, and in some cases large areas are strewn
with fragments of fossilized wood.

The vegetation of the District resembles that of Kyaukse. In the
plains it is of a very dry type ; and sparse scrub jungle, with cactus,
tamarind, cutch, and several species of capers, covers the greater
part of the non-cultivated area. On the hills in the east the growth is
more luxuriant, and the bamboo is found. Its main features are
described under the head of Forests below.

Tigers, bears, bison, elephants, and silwhar are all found, but only
to the east of the Sanion near the hills. Leopards are said to be
increasing in numbers. Other kinds of deer besides the samhar are
shot in the plains, and in the cold season ducks and snipe are plentiful.
As in most of the dry zone Districts, snakes (including the cobra, the
knrait, and the Russell's viper) are very common.

Meiktila lies along the eastern edge of the dry zone of Upper


Burma. The climate is dry but very healthy, except in the tarai east
of the Samon river, where malarial fever is always prevalent. The
cold season begins in November and ends in February, while the hot
season lasts from February to June and the rains from June to October.
The most unhealthy period is at the close of the rains. The great heat
during the hot months is tempered by high winds, which blow con-
tinually from the south and south-west from March to May, and during
a large portion of the rainy season as well, and the daily range of
temperature is considerable. The minimum temperature in 1902 was
62° in January, while the maximum was 101° in May, and the mean for
the year was 73° minimum and 89° maximum.

The rainfall is extremely capricious and always scanty. Only in
three years since annexation (1886) can it be said to have been timely
and abundant. Generally speaking, the annual amount received varies
from 25 to 30 inches over the whole District. In 1891-2, however,
only i2i inches fell throughout the year, while in 1896-7, though the
total was 28 inches, more than half fell in June and July. The rain-
fall is not only capricious in time but in the choice of localities, some
tracts being left quite unwatered in some years, while others receive
more than their due share.

It is reported that in 1872 there was a flood caused by the overflow-
ing of the Samon river, which inundated a large portion of the country
and destroyed all the crops. It is seldom, however, that the District
suffers from an excess of water.

A tradition of doubtful authenticity relates that the name Matila

(meaning ' it does not reach ') was given by Anawrata, king of Pagan,

to the present town of Meiktila to commemorate the
, , r , ^ , History,

death from exhaustion of a horseman sent to report

whether the lake extended to Popa, who returned with a negative
answer on his lips. From the earliest times the District formed an
integral part of the kingdom of Upper Burma, whether centred at
Pagan, Ava, Amarapura, or Mandalay. The first place of note in the
District mentioned in the Burmese chronicles is Pindale, now a village
in the Wundwin township, which is said to have been founded by
Sulathanbawa, a king of the Tharekhettra dynasty {see Prome Dis-
trict). Later, in the eleventh century, Anawrata is reported to have
visited Meiktila, and to have made the north embankment of the lake.
The same monarch is credited with the foundation of Hlaingdet (1030).
On the break up of the Pagan kingdom the country came under Shan
dominion, and formed a portion of the principalities that strove for
mastery in Upper Burma till the rise of the Toungoo dynasty. In
due course it was absorbed into the Burmese empire of Pegu and later
into the kingdom of Ava, of which it formed a part at the time of the
annexation of Upper Burma. The country was disturbed during the


cold season of 1885-6, hut was occupied by troops from Pagan
in March, 1886, when a force advanced through Mahlaing and
Meiktila to Yamethin, a civil officer being left at Mahlaing and a
military post being established at Meiktila, which was for the time
made over to Yamethin District. At that time the Mahlaing township
formed part of Myingyan, but the present District was constituted in
October of the same year. The garrison of Meiktila was engaged
during 1886 with the Yamethin dacoits on the one side and the
Kyaukse dacoits on the other, while in the District itself were rebel
leaders who had served the Myinzaing prince {see Kyaukse District).
These were driven out again and again from their head-quarters at the
foot of the Shan hills, whence they were in the habit of retiring to the
Yengan and Lawksawk States on being pressed. A former Burmese
cavalry officer, one Tun E, rendered valuable service at this time with
a strong force of horse and foot, which he raised and maintained at his
own expense. As time went on the outposts were gradually advanced,
and the bands were dispersed, with a loss, however, of about 1 1 officers
and 80 men during the year. In 1887 the dacoits at the foot of the
Shan hills were attacked by a combined expedition from Kyaukse and
M-eiktila, and were driven with some loss from a strong position ; and
after that the District remained undisturbed, with the exception of the
south-east portion, bordering on Myingyan District, which was raided
from time to time by the cattle-lifters of Popa and the neighbouring
country. By 1888 the District was practically settled.

There are a number of notable pagodas in the Mahlaing, Wundwin,
and Thazi township.s, the fame of some of which extends far beyond
the District limits. The chief of these is the Shwezigon at Pindale, to
which pilgrimages are made from all parts of Upper Burma. Others
are the Shwesiswe, the Sutaungbyi, the Shwemoktaw, and the Shwe-
yinhmyaw. Legend credits king Narapadisithu of Pagan with having
built the Sutaungbyi. The Meiktila township contains six remarkable
shrines, the Shwesawlu, the Nagayon, the Shwelehla, the Sigongyi, the
Nandawya, and the Shwemyindin. When Anawrata, king of Pagan,
came to repair the banks of the lake, he is said to have founded the
Shwelehla and Nagayon pagodas, while his son. Saw Lu, built the Nan-
dawya pagoda to the north of the Meiktila fort. This last is called,
indifferently, the Saw Lu or Nandawya pagoda, because in 1796 liodaw-
paya, the consolidator of Alaungpaya's conquests, built a temporary
palace (Burmese, nafidaw) at the lake side opposite the pagoda. At
the same time his son founded the Sigongyi pagoda, north of the lake.

The population of Meiktila District was 217,280 in 1891 and 252,305

^ . . in 190 1. Its distribution in the hitler year is shown

Population. • , , , ,

m the table on the next i)age.

'J'he only District from which there has been any considerable



immigration is Myingyan. The greater part of the emigration is
directed to Kyaukse and Yamethin Districts and to Lower Burma.
In the hills in the east the villages are few and far between, but else-
where the population is thick enough to raise the density in the District
as a whole to over 100 persons per square mile. There are a certain
number of representatives of the religions of India, but 98 per cent, of
the community are Buddhist, and about the same proportion are
speakers of Burmese. Shan is spoken far less than in the adjoining
District of Yamethin.


Area in square

Number of




Percentage of
variation in
population be-
tween 1 89 1
and 1901.

Number of

persons able to

read and




Mahlaing .
Wundwin .

District total













+ 17
+ 13

+ 27
-f II




I 1 1.233



-f 16


The number of Burmans in 1901 was 245,900, or slightly over
97 per cent, of the total population. In the hills in the east of the
District are about 1,300 Danus, who are regarded as Shans by the
Burmans and as Burmans by the Shans ; they are of mixed Shan and
Burmese blood, and talk bad Burmese. At Ywagyi a village is
inhabited by paydkyuns or pagoda slaves, alleged to be the descen-
dants of 400 men assigned to the pagoda by king Anawrata. The
Indian immigrants in 1901 numbered 2,700, out of a total of 2,600
Musalmans and 1,600 Hindus, so that about 1,500 of the repre-
sentatives of these Indian religions must have been born in the
country. In the Thazi township is a colony of Burmese-speaking
Muhammadans, who account for a large proportion of this last total.
They are the reputed descendants of a regiment in the army of king
Mindon, who were said to be the offspring of a force of 3,000 men
sent to Burma by the emperor of Delhi in the seventeenth or eighteenth
century. About half the Indian population is domiciled in Meiktila
town and cantonment. In 1901 the number of persons directly
dependent upon agriculture was 178,370, representing 71 per cent, of
the total population.

There are about 500 Christians, largely British soldiers, the majority
of whom are Anglicans or Roman Catholics. There is not much
active mission work in the District. The total of native Christians
is 234.

The agricultural conditions are typical of the dry zone, Meiktila

2 8o



beini; probably the poorest of all the Districts lying in that area. Rice
is grown in suitable tracts ; where it cannot be raised, the ordinary
crops of the dry zone are cultivated. The soil in the
valleys near the two ridges described above is covered
with kyaiii, a yellowish soil, greasy and slightly clayey when wet, hard
when dry, and fit only for rice, of which it produces the poorest crops.
The best rice tract is composed of black cotton soil {sane net), a stiff,
tenacious, and adhesive clay. An ample supply of water is, however,
a more important factor in the production of rice in Meiktila than a
good quality of soil ; and the only good crops are obtained on the lands
irrigated from the numerous tanks in the Meiktila and Nyaungvan-
Minhla systems, and the weirs thrown across the Thinbon chaung. A
considerable area of rice land, especially the valley between the t^vo
ridges mentioned above, is impregnated with natron or soda {satpja),
an element which necessitates constant supplies of clean water to the
crops. The beds of some of the streams unfortunately show abundant
traces of the presence of natron, and the evil is spreading. Even when
fresh water is constantly supplied, a 5«//j'a-impregnated field will not
produce the full crop of an ordinary field ; and if the water stands for
long it turns the colour of congealed blood, and the rice stalks are apt
to bend over and break and assume a bedraggled and rusty appearance.
The methods of rice cultivation do not differ from those in use in Upper
Burma generally. Practically all the kaukkyi (wet-season) rice is trans-
planted from nurseries. Joivar takes the place of kaukkyi on rice lands
in years of scanty rainfall. Cotton is cultivated for the most part on
the high ground in the north-west, and is only grown as a rule once
on the same ground in three years, sesamum, Jo7vdr, or beans inter-
vening. Early sesamum {hnanyin) is reaped between June and
September ; late sesamum and joivar between October and January.
Other crops cultivated in the District are chillies, peas and beans,
tomatoes, maize, onions, gram, sweet-potatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins,
brinjals, Goa beans, betel-vines, sugar-cane, and toddy-palms.

The following table gives the main agricultural statistics of the
District for 1903 4, in stjuare miles: —


Total area.








Meiktila .
Mahlaing .
Wundwin .







The staple crop is rice (practically all kaukkyi or wet-season rice),
grown on 202 square miles, a figure approached only by that iorjowdr^


which covers 188 square miles. A large area (135 square miles) is
under sesamum, a crop generally followed by a second harvest of rice,
Jowdr, maize, or beans. Nearly 52 square miles in the Meiktila township
alone produce early sesamum. In 1903-4 about 40 square miles were
under cotton. Of this area, 31 square miles lay in the Mahlaing town-
ship, adjoining the main cotton-producing area in Myingyan District.
Meiktila grows the largest chilli crop in the Province, 17 square miles

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