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British under Major Adams ; and the governor in command of the
fort capitulated after a two days' bombardment. The greater part of
the country, especially to the south of the Ganges, remained for some
time in the hands of semi-independent chieftains, the most powerful
of these being the Raja of Kharagpur, who ruled at one time over
24 parganas. The founder of this family was a Rajput soldier of
fortune, who overthrew the original Khetauri proprietors by an act
of gross treachery ; and in the reign of the emperor Jahanglr his son
and successor strengthened his position by embracing Islam and taking
a wife from the imperial zandna. The downfall of the line dates from
the British occupation, when the ancestral estates were rapidly sold
one after another for arrears of revenue, a large portion being bought
by the Maharaja of Darbhanga. Other ancient families are those of
Gidhaur and of the Rajas of Pharkiya, the latter of whom trace their
descent from a Rajput who first brought the lawless tribes of Dosadhs
under subjection in the reign of Humayiln, and subsequently received
a zaviindari grant in 1494. Portions of the property still continue in
his family, but the estate has been much broken up by subdivision and
alienation. The modern history of Monghyr will be found in the
article on Bhagalpur District, within which it was included in the
earlier days of English administration. The local records do not give



the dale of the establishment of the District as a subsidiary executive
circle, but this change appears to have been effected about the begin-
ning of the nineteenth century. In 1832 Monghyr was made an
independent Deputy-Collectorship and Joint-Magistracy, and the title
of Magistrate and Collector was subsequently given to the District

The District contains several remains of antiquarian interest. In
addition to the great fort at Monghyr, there are the ruins of other
forts at Indpe (near Jamui), Naulakhagarh near Khaira, Chakai, Jai-
niangalgarh in the Kabartal and Naula in the Begusarai subdivision.
Buddhist remains are to be found at Rajaona and Hasanganj near
Luckeesarai, and at Uren near Kajra. There is an inscription of about
the tenth centurv at Kashtharani Ghat and another referring to the
Bengal Sultan Rukn-ud-din Kaikaus (1297) at Luckeesarai. The oldest
extant building of the Muhammadan period is the dargdh of Shah
Nafah, built in 1497-8 by Daniyal, son of Ala-ud-dln Husain, king of

The population increased from 1,814,638 in 1872 to 1,969,950 in
i88r, to 2,036.021 in 1891, and to 2,068,804 in 1901. The District is
fairly healthy, though cholera is epidemic ; and the
falling off in the rate of progress indicated by the
census returns is chiefly due to the appearance of plague in 1900,
whicli, in addition to the consequent mortality, caused a large number
of persons to leave the District. The principal statistics of the Census
of 1 90 1 are shown below: —



u Number of


•;: a;




Percentage of
variation in

population be-
tween 1891
and IQOI.

Number of

persons able to

read and


Area in squ



Monghyr .
Begusarai .

District total

1.578 3

1,593 I

751 ■••






+ 0-4

+ 5-2


3,922 4




-H 1.6


Note.— In 1904. and 1905 changes of jurisdiction were effected, with the result that
the area of the Monghyr subdivision was increased to 1,895 square miles, and that of
the Jamui sul)di\isioii ledured to 1,276 square miles. The population of the sub-
divisions as now constitute'd is i,()'50,84o and 374,908, and tlie density 555 and 294
persons respectively per square mile.

I'he density is greatest north of the Canges, where there are 693 per-
sons per square mile, as compared with only 412 persons in the south
Gangetic tract, while in the extreme south, on the borders of Hazari-
bagh, there are barely 250 persons per square mile. The greatest
growth has occurred in the fertile Begusarai subdivision on the north


of the Ganges ; but the sparsely inhabited hilly thdiias in the south-
east also show a steady development. The four towns are Monghyk,
the head-quarters, Jamalpur, Sheikhpura, and Khagaria, the first
two being municipalities. There is considerable emigration among
the labouring classes, especially to Central and North Bengal and to
Assam. The vernacular in the north is the Maithili, and in the
south the MagadhI dialect of Biharl. Hindus constitute 90-3 per cent,
of the total population and Muhammadans 9-5 per cent.

The most numerous Hindu castes are Ahlrs and Goalas (240,000),
Babhans (189,000), Dhanuks (132,000), Musahars (123,000), Dosadhs
(115,000), and Koiris (110,000); while Brahmans, Chamars and
Kandus, Rajputs, Tantis, and Telis have each more than 50,000
representatives. The Babhans are for the most part occupancy ryots
or tenure-holders. The Musahars, Dosadhs, and Chamars may be
considered semi-Hinduized aborigines. The Musalmans are chiefly
Shaikhs, Jolahas, and Kunjras. Two-thirds of the population are
supported by agriculture, 13 -6 per cent, by industries, i-i per cent, by
commerce, and i'6 by the professions.

Christians number 1,433, of whom 423 are natives. The Baptist
Mission, which is said to have been established at Monghyr in 18 16,
has stations at Begusarai and Luckeesarai. There are two European
missionaries, and two European ladies also work among the native
women. The United Free Church of Scotland opened a branch at
Chakai in 1879, which works chiefly among the Santals ; the mission
maintains a hospital, with a branch dispensary and several schools.

The fertile plain north of the Ganges, from the boundary of Dar-
bhanga District to the mouth of the Gandak, is almost entirely under
cultivation, the chief crops being bhadol and rabi. ... „

The depressed tract to the east of this grows fine
rabi crops in some places and rice in others ; but during the rains it is
to a large extent inundated and uninhabited, and there are large tracts
of pasture where herds graze in the dry and hot season. South of the
Ganges the cultivated area lies chiefly in the basin of the Kiul river and
its tributaries, and in pargana Kharagpur, where the largest area is
under winter rice. The tract to the north of Sheikhpura and west
of Luckeesarai, which is also liable to inundation, is nearly all devoted
to bhadol and rabi.

The chief agricultural statistics for 1903-4 are shown in the table
on the next page, areas being in square miles.

About 67 per cent, of the cultivated area is estimated to be twice

In the Begusarai subdivision north of the Ganges, for which exact
figures are available on account of the survey in progress, it has been
found that in the Begusarai thdna 79 per cent, and in Teghra 86 per

VOL. XV 11 c c



cent, of ihc loial area is cultivated. In both /hdnas maize is the most
important crop, covering about one-fourth of the total. Wheat, gram,
marud, and barley are also extensively grown. Winter rice accounts
for less than lo per cent, of the land in Begusarai and less than 5 per
cent, in Teghra. Indig(-) is grown on 3 per cent, of the area in Begu-
sarai and on 5 per cent, of that in Teghra. In the whole District, rice
is the crop most extensively grown, and ii was estimated to cover
447 square miles in 1903-4. The chief variety is winter rice, which is
raised for the most part south of the Ganges. Among other crops the
poppy is important, but is cultivated only in the southern portion of
the District; while tobacco is almost confined to the portion north
of the Ganges.



Cul.ivate.1. ^'e^S'*^ j


JamuT* ....

Begusarai ....


I. .578




116 1

83 1


J. 424


" Owing to changes of jurisdiction, the area of the Monghyr subdivision has sub-
sequently been increased to 1,895 square miles, and that ol the Jainui subdivision
has been reduced to 1,276 square miles.

Cultivation is extending chiefly in the low-lying lands of the Gogri
thdna, where the recently constructed railway from Hajipur to Katihar
has prevented inundation from the south. During the decade ending
1 901-2 an average of Rs. 3,000 i)er annum was advanced under the
Land Improvement Loans ,\ct ; these advances are granted chiefly for
improving the means of irrigation. In the same iieriod an average
of Rs. 7,000 per annum was advanced under the Agriculturists' Loans
Act, large loans being granted where necessar}- 011 accotint of the
failure of the crops owing lo drought or flood.

The cattle are generally small and inferior to the breeds in Patna
and Shahabad Districts. There is ample j)asturage among the hills in
the south during the rainy season, and (jii the grass lands of Pharkiya
in the dry season.

The only large irrigation work is in the Kharagpur estates of the
Maharaja of Darbhanga. While the estate was under the Court of
^\'ards, a dam was built across the river Man about two miles above
Kharagpur, by which water is banked up in a valley and thence
distributed by irrigation channels over an area of about 28 square
miles. This useful scheme, which cost less than 7 lakhs, has been
chiefly instrumental in raising the rent-roll of the estates by more than
300 per cent, or from about Rs. 40,000 to nearly Rs. 1,30,000.
Elsewhere in the southern portion of the District there are a few


artificial irrigation channels taking off from hill-streams, but the
principal method of irrigation consists in storing water in artificial
reservoirs, known as dhars. Wells are also used for irrigation purposes
north of the Ganges, where artificial irrigation is little required as the
country is subject to inundation during the rains.

The fisheries in the Ganges and Gandak and in the large y'/^J/i' lying
in pargana Pharkiya are very extensive, and the supply of fish is
abundant during the greater part of the year. There is an extensive
trade in the shells of the fresh- water mussel ( Unid) and marsh snail
{Ampu/laria), which are collected in tons in the Pharkiya marshes and,
when burned, yield a very pure lime.

Minerals are entirely confined to the tract lying south of the Ganges.
Galena, a sulphuret of lead containing a small quantity of silver, is
found in the hill tracts of the Chakai pargana, and minium or
protoxide of lead in the beds of the Kharagpur hill streams. Mica
occurs in the belt of schists and gneissose granite which stretches
north-eastwards from Gaya District to near Nawadih (Jha-Jha) on the
East Indian Railway. In 1903-4 four mines were worked, with an
output of 227 tons. Iron ores are found in the schists of the
Kharagpur hills, and in several places ochreous ores are employed as
pigments. Slates are quarried near Jamalpur, the output in 1903 - I.
being 2 1 3 tons ; and stone quarries are also worked. Felspar fit for
the manufacture of porcelain occurs in abundance in the south of the
District. Corundum is obtained from the hills near Jamili, but the
precious forms are not met with. Travertine is found near Gidhaur
and in the Kharagpur hills.

Monghyr has long been famous for its manufacture of firearms,
which was introduced when there was a Musalman garrison in the fort.
A serviceable double-barrelled gun can be obtained at
Monghyr for Rs. 30, a single-barrelled gun for Rs. 15, communic^a'tfons.
and a large double-barrelled pistol tor the same sum.
Swords and iron articles ot various kinds are also made, but of no
special excellence. Cotton-weaving is largely carried on ; and there are
a few dyers and calico printers, the centre of the latter industry being
Sheikhpura. Coarse blankets are woven by a few families of Gareris.
Among other minor industries may be mentioned cabinet-making and
boat-making, soap-boiling, making porous water-bottles of cla}', carving
lingams or emblems of Siva out of chlorite, basket- weaving, and straw
work. Sticks, jewellery cases, and other articles are made of ebony
and inlaid with ivory or bone. Imitation fish are made of silver and
used as caskets and scent phials. Sheikhpura is noted for its manu-
facture of tubes for the hiikka or native pipe. The East Indian
Railway Company's works at Jamalpur are the largest manufacturing
workshops in India, employing over 9,000 hands. .All the constituent

c c 2


parts of a locomotive can now be constructed there, and railway
material of all descriptions is manufactured from malleable iron, cast
iron, and steel. The manufacture of indigo has declined, the out-turn
of dye in 1903-4 being 85 tons. The Gidhaur ^^.v*-/- (raw sugar) from
the Jamui subdivision has a special reputation, and generally sells at
higher prices than that manufactured in other places. Aerated water
is made from various mineral springs.

The District is favourably situated for trade by both rail and river.
The most important river marts are Khagaria on the Gandak, and
Simaria, Monghyr, and Gogri on the Ganges. Barhiya, Luckeesarai,
Jamalpur, Sheikhpura, and Bariarpur are the chief centres of trade on
the railway, while a considerable volume of traffic passes via Tarapur to
Sultanganj station in Bhagalpur District. The chief articles of import
are piece-goods, coal and coke, rice, and sugar. The exports consist
mainly of agricultural produce, the chief items being gram and pulses,
linseed, wheat, mustard, rapeseed, chillies, and tobacco leaf. There
is also a considerable export of raw sugar, and an equal import of
refined sugar ; gki also is largely ex[)orted. The chief trading castes
are the local Baniyas, but there are many Marwari.s in the towns and
larger villages.

South of the Ganges the loop-line of the East Indian Railway
(broad gauge) passes through the District from east to west, and the
chord-line from north-west to south-east, while the South Bihar
Railway runs through the Sheikhpura thdna westwards to Gaya. The
Katihar-Hajipur section of the Bengal and North-Western Railway
(metre gauge) traverses the District north of the Ganges from east to
west. The District board maintains 95 miles of metalled and 1,471
miles of unmetalled roads, including 194 miles of village tracks. The
most important roads are : the Tirhut road running westwards from
the north bank of the Ganges opposite to Monghyr town, the Monghyr-
Bhagalpur and jNlonghyr-Batna roads, and the roads from Bariarpur to
Kharagpur, and from Luckeesarai to Sheikhpura and to Jamui. The
District board controls 56 ferries.

The Ganges, which intersects the District from west to east i'or
70 miles, is navigable at all seasons by river steamers and the largest
country boats ; and a considerable river traffic is carried on. The
steamers of the India General and River Steam Navigation Companies
convey goods and passengers to places between Calcutta and I'atna.
The East Indian Railway has also a steamer service between Monghyr,
Mansi, and Gogri, and a ferry service across the Ganges opposite
Monghyr in connexion with the Bengal and North-Western Railway.
The Little Gandak and Tiljuga are navigable all the year round, but
(^iily small craft of 10 tons burden can ply on them in the hot season.
During the rains a large portion of the northern part of the District


remains under water, and boats are then largelj' used as a means of

The famine of 1865-6 was severely felt in the south-west of the
District, and there were a large number of deaths from starvation and
diseases engendered by want. In 1874 another
failure of the rice crop threatened famine, which
was, however, averted by the facilities for importation afforded by the
railway and by the relief which Government provided on a lavish scale;
the total expenditure on this occasion amounted to 23-30 lakhs, of
which the larger portion consisted of advances. The crops were again
short in 1891, especially in the north of the District, and relief works
were open for some months. They were only resorted to by a small
proportion of the population, and the number on relief at no time rose
above 2,171. In 1896-7 the poor suffered from the high prices
consequent on famine elsewhere, but the crops were fairly good.

For administrative purposes the District is divided into three sub-
divisions, with head-quarters at Monghyr, Jamui, and Begusarai.

The District Magistrate-Collector is usually assisted ....

, , ^ er • .• r T • . Administration.

at head-quarters by a staff consisting 01 a Joint-
Magistrate and six Deputy-Magistrate-Collectors ; while the subdivisions
of Begusarai and JamuI are each in charge of a Joint Magistrate.

Subordinate to the District Judge for the disposal of civil suits are
a Sub-Judge and five Munsifs, of whom two sit at Monghyr, two at
Begusarai, and one at Jamui. Criminal courts include those of the
District and Sessions Judge, who is also Judge of Bhagalpur, and
the above-mentioned magistrates. Riots are a very common form of
crime, due generally to disputes about land ; burglaries are numerous,
and dacoities are occasionally committed.

Sarkar Monghyr, assessed by Todar Mai at 7-41 lakhs, appears
to have embraced areas not included within the present Monghyr
District, and to have been almost entirely unsubdued ; it was probably
also largely unexplored. At the time of the British accession to the
Diwani in 1765 it was assessed to a net revenue of 8'o8 lakhs, and
covered 8,270 square miles. It is not, in fact, practicable to institute
any comparison between the present revenue of Monghyr District and
the figures for years earlier than 1850, as till that year the land, excise,
and other revenue was for the most part paid into the Bhagalpur
treasury, and the accounts were not kept separately. Subdivision of
landed property has gone on rapidly ; the number of estates in 1903-4
amounted to 8,027, of which 7,916 with a current demand of 7-77 lakhs
are permanently settled, 65 with a demand of Rs. 52,000 are temporarily
settled, and 46 with a demand of Rs. 72,000 are held direct by Govern-
ment. Owing to the backward condition of the country at the time of
the Permanent Settlement, the incidence of the land revenue is very


.\rOXG H ) 'R DIS TRH ^ T

low, aniouniiny to only lo annas per cultivated acre, or less than
1 8 per cent, of the rental. Survey and settlement operations have
been completed in the portion of the District north of the Ganges and
in the Government estates south of that river. Occupancy holdings
average 1-75 acres in the Begusarai thana, where there are large diiira
holdings and J/ilIs, and 1-35 acres in Teghra ; and the average rent is
Rs. 3-14-7 per acre in Begusarai, compared with Rs. 3-6-2 in Teghra.
For the whole District the incidence of rental per cultivated acre
is about Rs. 5 10-9. In the south the tenure known as bhaoli is
common ; under this system the tenant pays a rent in kind equal
to a certain proportion of the out-turn in each year, which is usually
one-half the produce.

The following table shows the collections of land revenue and of
total revenue (principal heads only), in thousands of rupees: —


1890-1. i 1900-1. 1 1903-4.

Land revenue
Total revenue .





Outside the municipalities of Monghyr and Jamalpur, local affairs
are managed by the District board, with the assistance of local boards
in each subdivision. In 1903-4 its income was Rs. 3,41,000, of which
Rs. 1,58,000 was derived from rates ; and the expenditure was
R-''- 3>i3,ooo, the chief item being Rs. 2,11,000 spent on public works.

The District contains 18 police stations and independent outposts.
In 1903-4 the force subordinate to the District Superintendent con-
sisted of 3 inspectors, 2>}> sub-inspectors, 34 head constables, and
415 constables ; there was, in addition, a rural police of 3x0 daffadars
and 3,599 chaukiddrs. The District jail at Monghyr has accommo-
dation for 274 prisoners, and subsidiary jails at Jamui and Begusarai
for 72.

The great majority of the population are illiterate, only 2-9 per cent.
5-8 males and 0-2 females) being able to read and write in 1901.
'J'he number of pupils under instruction decreased from 30,617 in
1882-3 to 25,449 in 1892-3, after which there was a large increase;
but it again declined to 25,738 in 1900-1, when the attendance fell
off very greatly owing to the outbreak of plague. In 1903-4, 28,752
boys and 2,841 girls were at school, being respectively 18-9 and
1-7 per cent, of those of school-gcjing age. The number of educational
institutions, public and private, in that year was 1,326, including one
Arts college, 22 secondary, 1,025 primary, and 278 special schools.
The most important of these are the Diamond Jubilee College and
the District school in Monghyr town, and the high schools at Begusarai
and Jamfu. Among aborigines a few Santals in the south attend


primary schools. The expenditure on education was 1-33 lakhs, of which
Rs. 9,000 was met from Provincial funds, Rs. 42,000 from District
funds, Rs. 4,000 from municipal funds, and Rs. 60,000 from fees.

In 1903 the District contained 13 dispensaries, of which 6 had
accommodation for a total of 132 in-patients. The cases of 8o,coo
out-patients and 1,200 in-patients were treated during the year, and
5,503 operations were performed. The expenditure was Rs. 32,000, of
which Rs. 800 was met from Government contributions, Rs, 12,000
from Local and Rs. 5,000 from municipal funds, and Rs. ro,ooo
from private subscriptions.

Vaccination is compulsory only in municipal areas. In 1903-4 the
number of persons successfully vaccinated was 76,000, representing
37-9 per 1,000 of the population.

[M. Martin (Buchanan Hamilton), Eastern India, vol. ii (1838) ;
Sir W. W. Hunter, Statistical Account of BengaJ, vol. xv (1877).]

Monghyr Subdivision. — Head-quarters subdivision of Monghyr
District, Bengal, lying between 24° 57' and 25° 49' N. and 85° 36' and
86° 51' E., with an area of 1,895 square miles. The subdivision is
divided into two portions by the Ganges. The northern portion
is a low, but fertile, alluvial plain ; the south is also to a great extent
alluvial, but the general level is higher and the surface more undulating,
and it contains hill ranges which gradually converge towards Monghyr
town. The population in 1901 was 874,611, compared with 870,755
in 1891, the density being 554 persons per square mile. At the time
of the Census it comprised an area of 1,578 square miles, but the
Sheikhpura thana was subsequently transferred to it from the Jamui
subdivision. The population of the subdivision as now constituted is
1,050,840, and the density 555 persons per square mile. It contains
four towns, Monghyr (population, 35,880), the head-quarters, Jamal-
PUR (13,929), Khaoaria (11,492), and Sheikhpura (10,135); ^i"^d
1,262 villages. The chief centres of trade are Monghyr town and
Khagaria. The head-quarters of the locomotive department of the East
Indian Railway are situated at Jamalpur. Kiul near Luckeesarai is
an important railway junction.

Monghyr Town (J/z/z/o^f;-).— Head-quarters of Monghyr District,
Bengal, situated in 25° 23' N. and 86° 28' E., on the south bank of
the Ganges. The origin of the name of Monghyr is very uncertain.
It is said that the place was formerly called Madgalpur, or Madgalasram,
from its having been the abode of Madgal Muni, a hermit saint who
lived in early Hindu times. Another explanation, founded on the
authority of the ffarivansa, derives the name from a certain Madgal
Raja, one of the sons of Visvamitra, son of a Gadhi Raja, who received
this part of his father's dominions. Dr. Buchanan Hamilton states
that on an inscription seven or eight centuries old, found at Monghyr


and perhaps more ancient ihan the Ilarh'ansia, the name is written
Madgagiri, or 'the hill of Madga,' and not Madgalpurl, or 'the abode
of Madgal.' The existence, therefore, of both the saint and the prince
is very doubtful. Possibly the original name was Munigriha, ' the
abode of the 7nuni,' and was corrupted into Munglr, in the same way
as Rajagriha has been corrupted into Rajglr.

Tradition assigns the foundation of the town to Chandra Gupta,
after whom it was called Guptagarh, a name which has been found
inscribed on a rock at Kashtharani Ghat at the north-western corner

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