William Wilson Hunter.

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as being in the present District of Bellary are — Bellary, the head-
quarters of the District, with a population (including the garrison) of
53,460; Adoni, 22,441; HosPET, 10,219; Kampti, 9828; Raidrug,
8766; Yemiganur, 6963; and Harpanhalli, 6536.

Kanarese and Telugu are the languages spoken, the former language
prevailing in the western, and both being used in the eastern


Agriculture. — Of the total area (3,762,286 acres), 3,574,504 were in
1881-82 returned as assessed; 40,154 acres for the first crop, and 1941
for the second, — total, 42,095 acres, — were cultivated under irrigation ;
and 1,365,639 were cultivated without irrigation : total cultivated area,
1,407,734 acres. The cultivable area not under cultivation was returned
at 2,087,995 acres; pasture and forest lands, 98,347 acres; and barren
or waste lands, 170,524 acres : total uncultivated area, 2,356,866 acres.
Of the total area, 815,300 acres are held in indm., or revenue free.
The cultivated area is officially divided into ' wet ' and ' dry ' lands.
' Dry ' land is that in which there is no artificial irrigation. The chief
crops are cholam, rdgi, and korra^ and on these depends the food
supply of the masses. 'Wet' lands, or those artificially irrigated, are
almost exclusively devoted to rice and sugar-cane. On other 'dry'
lands are raised cocoa-nut, betel leaf, plantains, areca-nut, wheat,
tobacco, chillies, turmeric, vegetables, and fruits. Cotton is grown on
dry land, the regar^ or ' black cotton soil,' being the soil always pre-
ferred, the out-turn on the red ferruginous or grey calcareous soils being
on the average only 25 per cent, of that on the black soil. A fair crop
would be 240 lbs. of uncleaned, or 60 lbs. of cleaned, cotton. Exotic
varieties of cotton (Hinganghat, New Orleans, Sea Island, etc.) have
been tried, and have hitherto failed. The total area under the various
crops is thus estimated — grain crops, 1,117,878 acres; orchard and
garden produce, 9881; tobacco, 4061 ; hemp and other drugs, 1237;
condiments and spices, 6759; sugar-cane, 8448; sugar palms, etc., 2161 ;
oil-seeds, 50,512; cotton, 205,895; indigo, 323; jute, 715; flax and
other fibres, 664 acres. Manure, wherever obtainable, is applied, and
the use of green foliage for this purpose, in 'wet' lands, is almost
universal. No regular rotation of crops obtains, but the principle that
two exhausting crops should not be sown successively on the same field
is everywhere recognised.

According to the statistics of 1881-82, there were in the District
11,757 buffaloes, 120,883 bullocks, 49,560 cow^s, 9022 donkeys, 89,566
goats, 169,122 sheep, 694 horses, 2218 ponies, 112 mules, 77 camels,
13,764 pigs, 56 boats, 13,264 carts, and 58,983 ploughs. The prices
of produce ruling in the District at the end of 1881-82, per mmmd of
80 lbs., were — for rice, 6s. 3d.; for wheat, 4s. 4jd.; for other grains,
from 2S. to 4s. 9d.; for salt, 8s.; for sugar, 26s. 6d. ; for linseed, 6s. 3d.;
and for cotton, 7s. The price of field bullocks ranges from ;£3, i6s.
tO;£" 10 a pair ; and of sheep, 6s. to 7s. each. Buffaloes, though cheaper,
are seldom used. The agricultural implements correspond in character
to those in use in Europe, but are all of the most primitive kind.
An improvement, however, has been remarked of late in many points.
Thus the old cart with solid wheels of stone or wood, the axle revolving
with the wheel, is giving place to open wheels, with tire, spokes, and


fixed axle. Again, in outbreaks of cattle distemper, the efficacy of
segregation has of late been recognised.

The cultivated area is parcelled out into 76,087 separate holdings,
the average holding being about 15 acres of 'dry' and 0*46 acres of
'wet' land; the average assessment is is. 5|d. per acre of 'dry,' and
IIS. 4jd. per acre of 'wet ' land. Of the total number of landholders,
49,406, or more than half, occupy holdings paying less than ^i ; only
about 13,337 occupy holdings paying more than ^3 per annum. The
'wet' land of the District stands on the official register at 2 percent, of
the total area ; the sources of irrigation being tanks of all sizes (454),
river channels (loi), spring channels (418), and wells (8731).

Prices have for many years been steadily rising ; and where money
payments obtain, agricultural labourers and ordinary artisans now
receive double, and even treble, the wages given before 1850. The field
labourers, however, are, as a rule, paid in kind, and the rise of prices,
therefore, has not affected them. In other respects, the cultivator class
has benefited, the cotton-growers notably, many of whom during the
American war made considerable fortunes. Rice during 1840-50
averaged 24 lbs. for the shilling, between 1850-60 it rose to 20 lbs.,
and since i860 has averaged 10 lbs. for the shilling ; cholam during the
same period rose from 58 to 38 and 23 lbs. for the shilling, and rdgt
from 62 to 46 and 25 lbs. ; cotton also rose in value from 68 shillings
per candy to no and 292 shillings.

Natiu-al Calaifiities. — The earliest famine recorded is that of 1 792-93.
In that year rice sold at 4 lbs. for the shilling, and cholam, the staple
food of the masses, at 12 lbs. for the shilling. In 1803, prices rose
300 per cent., and wholesale emigration took place. In 1833, the year
of the Gantur (Guntoor) famine, when in that District 150,000 persons,
out of a total of 500,000, perished from want of food, cholera followed
the famine, and in Gooty (Giiti) and Bellary 12,000 persons died during
the outbreak. Grain riots occurred in several places, and there was a con-
siderable mortality from starvation. Disasters, local in their incidence,
accumulated in Bellary between the years 1851-54. A storm swept over
the District, damaging the tanks and irrigation works, in 1 85 1 ; and before
the repairs were completed, heavy and unseasonable rainfall (1852)
ruined the crops. In 1853, the total fall of rain was only 6 inches, and
famine set in. One-third of the cattle in the District died, but owing to
the prompt recourse to relief works the mortality among the people was
not great. In 1866, the failure of the rains doubled the price of food,
and relief works being opened, 21,000 persons crowded to them.
Cholera broke out, and in many villages the death-rate was so high that
the panic-stricken inhabitants ceased to burn or bury their dead. The
storm of 1851, above referred to, was of remarkable violence, and, being
accompanied by torrents of rain, swept away the towns of Guliem and


Nagaradona, as well as several villages, destroyed the roads and canals,
and breached 253 of the largest tanks in the District. Much valuable
land was rendered sterile by the deposits of sand, and the loss in
property and cattle was enormous. Bellary formed one of the Districts
most severely affected in the great famine of 1876-77. It was the
centre of an extensive system of organized relief, both in the shape of
public works and gratuitous distributions of food.

Commerce and Trade. — Among the agricultural products of the District,
cotton takes the first place. In the raw^ state it is largely exported
both to Madras and Bombay, \vhere it is pronounced equal to the best
Western growth ; and the manufacture of cotton goods — cloth, rope,
tape, and carpets — occupies large numbers of the people. Oil-seeds,
sugar-cane, hemp, and indigo, all represent important mercantile
interests. In woollen goods, the chief articles of export are the
blankets of the Kudlighi taluk^ for which there is a demand all over
the Madras Presidency. The woollen carpets, however, cannot com-
pete with those of EUore and Mysore. Chintz-stamping still forms an
important industry in the Gooty taluk of Anantapur District, where also
there is a considerable manufacture of glass bangles. Iron-smelting is
carried on in the Hospet and other taluks.

A portion of the Madras Railway (north-west line), 56 miles, runs
just within the north-eastern boundary of the District, passing the
town of Adoni, a branch line from Guntakal station, 32 miles in
length, being carried due west to the town of Bellary. A section of the
Southern Maratha State Railway also falls within the District, running
for a distance of 40 miles, due west, from Bellary to Hospet. There
are 974 miles of imperial and local roads. A District road cess,
levied at the rate of about iM. in every 2s. of land revenue, provides
for the maintenance of the roads. The principal ferries over the
Tungabhadra are at Hampsagra, Hathalli, and Madavaram, and those
over the Hagari at Permadavanhalli and Moka. The right of ferrying
is rented out at about ^£^900 per annum, which supplements the regular
road fund. Numerous local funds contribute to the District revenue.
The ' public bungalow fund,' derived from the fees paid by travellers
for accommodation in the public rest-houses ; the pound fund and the
chaidtri fund, derived from economies in the administration of the
resources of endowed charities, sufficiently denote the institutions of
the District. A District Gazette is published in the town of Bellary
monthly, and a private printing-press is also maintained.

Ad^ninistration. — Until 1808, when Bellary was first recognised as a
separate District, its history forms part of that of the Ceded Provinces
generally. With the rest it suffered throughout all the changes of
government from anarchy and extortionate revenue collectors. In
1800, when the District was ceded to the Company, it was found that


30,000 armed men, in the pay of 80 different chiefs, were quartered
upon the people, and maintained entirely by forcible requisitions from
the cultivating classes. Colonel Monro, the first Collector, surveyed
the Ceded Provinces, Bellary included ; and, assessing the lands at
something below the average of the nominal revenue under the Mysore
rulers and the Nizam, settled for each field directly with the actual
cultivator. The revenue collections from the Bellary taluks, during
the nine years in which this system obtained, averaged annually
^2^227,142. In 1808, the Ceded Tracts were divided into the two
Districts of Bellary and Cuddapah ; and when the system of triennial
leases was introduced in the following year, the revenue collections
in Bellary alone rose to ^249,514 per annum. In 181 2, the triennial
leases were changed to decennial, the result being at the end of the
ten years a decreased average of receipts, ^£"243, 207, — a decrease
owing to the general reduction of assessment directed in 1820. In
1822, the original system of settling with the cultivators direct was
reverted to, and a further general decrease of assessments introduced.
The result was a further reduction of the average of land revenue, pure
and simple, between the years 1822 and 1830 to ;^207,373 per annum ;
between 1830 and 1840 it rose to ^^292, 000 ; between 1840 and 1850,
fell again tO;^2 2i,ooo ; and between 1850 and 1869, rose to ;j^336,ooo.

On the 5th January 1882, the old Bellary District was divided into the
two Districts of Anantapur and Bellary. For administrative purposes
the present District is sub-divided into the following 8 taluks, namely,
Adoni, Allur, Bellary, Harpaxhalli, Havinhudgalli, Hospet,
KuDLiGHi, and Raidrug. Including Anantapur, the total net revenue
of the District in 1881-82 amounted to £,2^i,^%2)t ^s follows: land
revenue, ;£i85,56i ; dbkdri (spirits and drugs), ^£"49,187; stamps,
;^i5,6i7 ; assessed taxes, ^3218. Under the name of motarfa a tax
had from an early period been levied from the non-agricultural classes,
and being continued under British administration until 1837, yielded,
on the average, ^£"28,206 per annum. In i860, motar/a was formally
abolished, and the income tax imposed. This in turn was abandoned
in 1865, between which date and 1869 various substitutes, in the shape
of licence and certificate taxes, were tried. In 1869 the income tax
was again established, and was continued at various rates till 1873.
The hcence tax has been levied since 1878.

Civil justice is administered by four grades of courts, — the village
mu?isifs ; the District ??iu7isifs ; the subordinate judge's ; and the court
of the District judge. The last is also the sessions court for criminal
cases ; subordinate to it are the village magistrates, the subordinate
magistrates, and the full power European magistracy. For the con-
finement of prisoners there is a sub-jail in each taluk, with one District
jail at Bellary. The last is capable of holding 400 prisoners.

BELLARY. ' 249

The village police of the District aggregates a total strength of 1574.
The regular police force numbered in 1881-82, 698 officers and men of
all ranks, being in the proportion of i to every 1077 of the population.
The total cost of maintenance of the force in that year amounted to
;^i 8,400. The municipalities are 2 in number — Bellary and Adoni
— with annual incomes of ;2^8ooo and ;£'2ooo respecUvely, expended
yearly to almost the full amount in local improvements. Education of
an elementary kind is carried on in the J>id/ or village indigenous
schools, of which there were in 1882, 267 with an average attendance
of 4800 pupils, one or more of these schools being established
in every considerable hamlet. For higher-class teaching, grants
in aid are given to 10 schools, while 2 Anglo-vernacular and
I Provincial school at Bellary with a daily attendance of 320 are
supported by Government, the fees of the scholars covering only
about a third of the expenses. The London Missionary Society and
the Roman Catholic Church have old-established missions in the
District, maintaining between them several schools and two asylums
for the poor.

Medical Aspects.— Tht climate is extremely dry, the average annual
rainfall being only 20 inches. The daily temperature ranges from 67°
to 83" F. in November and December, and rises to an average of 93°
during April, the yearly mean from January to October inclusive being
84°. Since 1820, eighteen years have been officially recorded as seasons
of epidemic cholera, the mortality in 1845 being 18,000, and in 1866
over 20,000. Fever exists in an endemic form, but in 1834, 1841, and
1866, the mortaUty from this cause was especially high; in 1880 the
number of deaths was returned at 9559. Ophthalmia is common, owing
to the dryness of the atmosphere and the glare from the granite rocks.
Cattle-disease was epidemic in 1842, 1843, and 1844; occurring agam
in 1847, 1848, and 1849. In 1857, the loss of cattle from murrain
was very great, as also in 1868. Gratuitous medical advice and attend-
ance is provided for the poorer classes by the civil dispensaries at
Harpanhalli, Kadlighi, Allur, Hospet, Adoni, and Bellary— the expenses
being defrayed partly by local subscription, but mainly by municipal
grants. These dispensaries, as a rule, are only resorted to by the poor
after charms and exorcisms have failed. The mortuary returns for the
District during the three years ending 1870 gave an average mortality
of 21,000, or about 13 per thousand on the total population. In 1880
the total number of deaths from all causes amounted to 26,227, or
about 16 per thousand. [For further information regarding Bellary, see
the Manual of the Bellary District, by J. Kelsall, Esq., C.S. (Madras,
1872). Also the Madras Cens2is Report for 1881, and the Madras
Provincial Administration Reports from 1880 to 1883. For the famine
aspects of Bellary District, which are but slightly touched on in this


article, see the Report of the Indian Famine Commission (London, iSSo),
and its Appendices.]

Bellary.— 27?////^ of Bellary District, Madras Presidency. Situated
between lat. 14° 57' and 15° 42' n., and long. 76° 44' and 77° 16' e. ;
area, 925 square miles; containing 162 towns and villages, with
29,359 houses, and a total population in 1S81 of 148,937, being 75,821
males, and 73,116 females. Land revenue (1881-82) ^,27,507;
excise, ^6620. The taluk lies in the angle formed by the Tunga-
bhadra and Hagari rivers, a level expanse of black cotton soil. The
Copper mountain, so called from the mines worked by Haidar Ali, and
the Bellary Rock, on which the fort is built, are the only important
physical features. Nearly two-thirds of the total area are under
cultivation, of which about 7000 acres are artificially irrigated. The
tanks, 5 in number, are all insignificant. The channels from the
rivers irrigate only 4000 acres, and the normal rainfall is very light.
This taluk, therefore, is considered one of the most arid in the District.
It contains three civil and three revenue courts.

Bellary ( Valahari).—Q\<\Qi town of Bellary District, ALadras Presi-
dency. Lat. 15° 8' 51" N., long. 76° 57' 15" e. ; houses, 10,611;
population (1881) 53,460, namely, 34,636 Hindus, 15,068 Muhamma-
dans, 3566 Christians (including the European garrison), and 190
'others;' municipal income (1881-82) ;,£"6ooo ; incidence of taxation
per head, is. i^d. Being the head-quarters of the District Administra-
tion, and of a brigade of the Madras army, Bellary possesses all the
public establishments and offices pertaining to a civil and military
station of the first class. Situated on an arid plain that stretches from
the foot of a mass of granitic rock, 450 feet in height and about 2 miles
in circuit, the town is defended by two lines of fortifications. The
upper fort crowns the rock, and being inaccessible in the face of even
the smallest force, may be considered impregnable by assault. The
lower fort, containing the arsenal, guards the eastern base. On this
side stand several public buildings, including the post-office and com-
missariat stores. Southward stretches the native quarter, Cowle Bazar,
Bruce-pettah, and Mellor-pettah, containing the finest military market
in Southern India. A large tank, nearly 3 miles in circumference
when quite full, but which, being very shallow, is as a rule dry for a
part of every year, lies on this side of the rock. On the west are
grouped the regimental lines, substantial buildings with accommodation
for two European and two Native regiments ; the present force consists
of one regiment of British infantry, a battery of artillery, two regiments
of Native infantry, and one of Native cavalry — total strength, 2809.
On the northern side stand the civil lines, with the public oftices,
churches, dispensary, and school, railway station and telegraph office.
By rail, Madras is 305 miles distant.


The climate being very dry (in consequence of the winds passing over
such an extent of heated plain), Bellary is considered a healthy station ;
but the heat is great, the mean registered in April being 93° R, and the
normal annual rainfall amounts to only i6\ inches. Of late years, water
has been scarce, having fallen to a lower level in the wells. The old
springs seem to be drying up, and much of the water now produced is too
brackish for use, owing to the presence of chloride of soda and carbonate
of lime in large proportions in the soil. Trees are grown with greater
difficulty, and gardens are becoming few^ The opening of the railway
has given an impetus, however, to the cotton traffic and the trade of
the town. No local manufactures of importance exist. ^ The history of
Bellary dates from the reign of Krishna Raya of Vijayanagar. ^ A
dependant of that court built a fort here ; and his descendants, paying
an annual tribute, held it for many years. Even after the battle of
Talikot, when Bellary had passed under the rule of the Muhammadan
dynasty of Bijapur, they continued in semi-independent possession. In
1650, the Raja of Bellary defeated the descendant of the Vijayanagar
Rajas, who had claimed tribute from him, and for a century the feud
continued between the. two families. But the District then passed,
with its neighbours, into the hands of the Nizam; and Bellary was
given as part of the estate of Adoni to Basalat Jang, the Nizam's
brother. Being called upon for tribute, the Raja rashly appealed for
help to Haidar Ali, w^ho at once advanced upon the place by forced
marches, defeated the Nizam's troops in a battle at the foot of the rock,
and seized the fort for himself. The present fortifications were built by
a staff" of French engineers— tradition adding that, after the new citadel
had been completed, Haidar Ali hanged the French engineers at the
gate, as he found that his fort could be commanded by a neighbouring
rock higher than the site selected. Till 1792, Tipu Sultan remained
in possession, but in that year his stronghold fell by the partition
treaty to the Nizam, by whom it was ceded in 1800 to the British
Government. ^

Bellavi. — Village in Tumkiir District, Mysore State. Lat. 13
25' N., long. 77° 5' E. ; population (1881) 1263. The streets are wide,
with uniformly built shops. At the fair held weekly on Monday,
trade is carried on to the value of ^2000. Great mart for export

Belo.— Village in the fdluk of Sujawal, Karachi (Kurrachee) District,
Sind, Bombay Presidency. Lat. 24° 44 N., long. 68° 8' 30" e. ; 4 miles
from the river Indus and the head-quarters station of the taluk. Distant
32f miles from Mughalbin, and 10^ miles from Dero. Police station,
dharmsdla for travellers, and post-office. The Hindu population consists
chiefly of Lohanos and Bhatias ; and the Muhammadan population of
Sayyids and Muhanas.


Belona. — Town in Katol tahsil^ Nagpur District, Central Provinces ;
situated on the banks of a small tributary of the Wardha, 4 miles
north-west of Mo war town. Population (1881) 3269, namely, Hindus,
3189; Muhammadans, 38; Jains, 25; aboriginal tribes, 17. A purely
agricultural town, with a school and market place.

Belsand Kalan. — Village in Muzafflirpur District, Bengal ; situated
on the east bank of the old Baghmati river, about 27 miles from
Muzaffarpur on the Kantai and Sitamarhi road, and 13 miles from Sita-
marhi town. Lat. 26' 26' 48" N., long. 85° 26' 30" e. Population (18S1)
2403, namely, 1986 Hindus, 414 Muhammadans, and 3 Christians.
Indigo factory, i)rimary vernacular school, and police station.

Bellir. — Tdlick in Hassan District, Mysore State. Area, 236 square
miles. Land revenue, exclusive of water rates, (1881-82) ;£'9402.

Bellir. — Village in Hassan District, Mysore State ; on the right bank
of Yagachi river; 23 miles by road north-west of Hassan. Lat. 13° 9'
45" N., long. 75' 54' 40" E. ; population (1881) 2917. An ancient
city, known in the Puranas and on inscriptions as Velapura, and locally
regarded as the Dakslwia Vdrandsi or Southern Benares. It owes its
sanctity to the celebrated temple of Chenna Kesava, adorned with
carvings and sculptures from the master hand of Jakanacharjya. This
building was erected and endowed by a king of the Hoysala Ballala
dynasty, on the occasion of his conversion from the Jain faith to the
worship of Vishnu, about the middle of the 12th century. The annual
festival, held for five days in April, is attended by 5000 persons. Head-
quarters of taluk of the same name.

Ben. — A sluggish stream in Hoshiarpur and Jalandhar (Jullundur)
Districts, Punjab. Known as the East or White {Safed) Ben, to
distinguish it from another stream of the same name in Kapiirthala
territory. Formed by the confluence of torrents from the Siwalik
Hills; skirts for 35 miles the boundary between Hoshiarpur and
Jalandhar, during which it receives at right angles numerous affluents
from the hills to the north-east ; turns westward near the town of
Malakpur; follows a serpentine course through the plain, and falls
into the Sutlej (Satlaj) 4 miles above its junction with the (Beas) Bias.
Crossed by bridge on Grand Trunk Road 3 miles from Jalandhar
cantonment ; fordable in cold weather. Banks too steep to admit of
irrigation by overflow, but watering is practised by means of Persian
wheels. The West or Black {Siyah) Ben also rises in the Siwaliks, in
Pargana Dasurya, runs through Hoshidrpur and the Kapiirthala State,
and falls into the Beas 10 miles above its junction with the Sutlej.
Bridge on Grand Trunk Road beyond Dialpur in Kapiirthala.

Ben. — Small stream in Gurdaspur District, Punjab, formed by the
junction of several brooks enclosing the town of Sukhuchak. Passes to
east of Shakargarh, crosses roads from Gurdaspur to Shakargarh and


Sialkot, and falls into the Ravi almost opposite Dera Nanak. Length
about 25 miles. Slender thread of water in dry weather; large volume
during rains. Much used for purposes of irrigation.

Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 2) → online text (page 30 of 55)