William Wilson Hunter.

The imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 3) online

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The representative of the Brahuis in politics is the Khan of
Khckit, himself a Brahui, and a lineal descendant of Kumbar,
the head of one of their chief tribes, the Kumbarani. This
tribe is divided into three distinct ranks, namely, the Ahmadzais,
the Khanf, and the Kumbarani. The Kumbaranis only partially
intermarry with the other two, i.e. they receive wives from them, but
not husbands.

Brindaban— Town and municipality in Muttra (Mathura) District,
North- Western Provinces, situated on the right bank of the Jumna, in
a peninsula formed by a northward bend of the river, 6 miles north of
Muttra, Lat. 27 23' 20" n., long. 77° 44' IO " E - Population (1881)
21,467, namely, 20,629 Hindus, 794 Muhammadans, 32 Jains, and
1 2 Christians ; area of town site, 486 acres. Municipal revenue in
1881-82, ^2085, of which ^1828 was derived from octroi, or an
average of is. 8|d. per head of municipal population (21,467). Brind-
aban ranks amongst the holiest cities of the Hindus, and contains a
large number of temples, shrines, and sacred sites. Among the most
noticeable may be mentioned the temple of Gobind Deva, erected in
1590 by Raja Man Singh of Ambar, governor of Kabul and Behar
under Akbar, which was originally capped with five towers, all now
destroyed. Government has recently repaired the temple at a cost of
about ^3400, and in 1883 a further sum was devoted to the same
purpose. Among the other principal shrines are the temple of Madan
Mohan, a form of Krishna, on the river bank, at the upper end of the
town; that of Gopinath, built by Raesili-Ji about 1580; and the great
temple of the Seths, dedicated to Rang-Ji, and constructed between
1845 and 185 1 at a cost of 45 lakhs of rupees (say, ^450,000).
Handsome ghats or flights of stone bathing-steps line the bank of the
Jumna; and above, the temples and houses rise picturesquely with
decorated facades. The Khusal-bagh is a picturesque garden sur-
rounded with a masonry wall, and is situated close to the town.
Ahaliya Bai, the Maratha queen of Indore, built a large well of red
sandstone, with 57 steps leading down to the water's edge. Two other
tanks, known as the Brahma-Kiind and the Govind-Kund, possess great
sanctity for Hindus. Many private houses are built of hewn sandstone.
Anglo-vernacular school, and dispensary. Brindaban is one of the great
places of pilgrimage of India, and is annually resorted to by thousands
of Hindus from the most distant provinces. It is now easily reached



BROACH. ioi

by the branch line from the East India Railway to Muttra city, only
6 miles from Brindaban.

Broach (Bharuch). — British District in the Northern Division of
the Bombay Presidency, lying between 21 26' and 22 5' n. lat, and
between 72 34' and 73° 12' e. long.; area, 1453 square miles; popu-
lation according to the Census of 1881, 326,930 souls. The District is
bounded on the north by the river Mahi, which separates it from the
territory of Cambay ; on the east and south-east by the Native States
of Baroda and Rajpipla; on the south by the river Kim, which
separates it from Surat District. To the west lies the Gulf of Cambay,
along the shore of which the District stretches for a distance of 54
miles. Number of villages on the Government rent-roll, 405. Land
revenue (1880-81) ^224,278 ; total revenue (gross) ,£253,581.

Physical Features. — The District forms an alluvial plain 54 miles in
length, sloping gently westwards to the shores of the Gulf of Cambay
(Khambhat), and varying in breadth from 20 to 40 miles. With the
exception of a few hillocks of sand-drift along the line of coast, and
some mounds in the neighbourhood of Broach city, the level of the
plain is unbroken by any rising ground. The Mahi and Kim— the
former a river of 300 miles in length, with a drainage area estimated
at from 15,000 to 17,000 square miles; and the latter with a course
of 70 miles and a drainage area of about 700 square miles — form
respectively the northern and southern boundaries of the District.
Between these limits are two other rivers which discharge their waters
through the Broach plain into the Gulf of Cambay— the Dhadhar about
20 miles south of the Mahi, and the Narbada (Nerbudda) between the
Dhadhar and the Kim. The Dhadhar passes through the Broach plain
for 24 miles, or about one-third of the entire length of its course; and
the Narbada, with a total length of between 700 and 800 miles, and a
drainage area estimated at about 36,400 square miles, flows for the last
70 miles of its course through the District, gradually widening into an
estuary, whose shores when they fall away into the Gulf of Cambay are
more than 13 miles apart. The water of these rivers is not made use
of for irrigation ; and though each has a tidal estuary extending for
several miles inland, none of them, except the Narbada, and for a
short distance the Dhadhar, is serviceable for purposes of navigation.
Owing to the height of the banks of its rivers, the District is, for
drainage purposes, to a great extent dependent on creeks or backwaters
running inland, either directly from the coast-line or from the banks of
rivers at points in their course below the limit of tidal influence. Ot
the salt-water creeks or backwaters, the three most important are the
Mota, breaking off from the Dhadhar river about 6 miles west of the
town of Amod ; the Bhukhi, running inland from the right bank of the
Narbada, about 15 miles west of the town of Broach; and the Uand,



xo2 BROACH.

an inlet from the shore of the Gulf of Cambay, about 8 miles north of
the mouth of the Kim river.

The surface of the plain consists, over almost its entire area, of
black cotton soil, highly fertile and well cultivated. This black soil
covers deposits of brown clay, containing nodular limestone above and
gravel and sand underneath. Within 30 miles of the coast hardly any
rocks are to be seen. Farther inland, the gravels and clays of the
nummulitic series begin to appear, and in the south of the District trap
crops out. Conglomerate and limestone are also found in this tract,
but otherwise the plain of Broach contains no minerals. Except for a
tract of waste land 161 acres in extent, lately set apart for the growth
of babul trees (Acacia), the District is without forests ; and only in the
few villages where the lighter varieties of soil are found is the plain
well covered with trees. The Palmyra palm is the only liquor-yielding
tree of the District, and it is largely found south of the Narbada. Of
the fruit-trees are the mango, guava, and tamarind. On an island in
the Narbada (Nerbudda), about 12 miles above Broach, is a famous
banian or bar (Ficus Indicus) tree, known as the Kabir bar, because,
as the story goes, it sprang from a twig which the sage Kabir once used
for cleaning his teeth. About the year 1780, this tree is said to have
had 350 large and over 3000 small stems, the principal of which
enclosed a space nearly 2000 feet in circumference; in the march of an
army this tree had been known to have sheltered 7000 men. Nearly
50 years later (April 1825) Bishop Heber wrote of this tree, 'Though
a considerable part of the tree has within the last few years been washed
away, enough remains to make it one of the most noble groves in the
world.' Since then it has suffered much from age and floods, and is
now little more than a ruin.

The domestic animals are cows, buffaloes, oxen, camels, horses, asses,
sheep, and goats. The cattle of the District are of two breeds— the
small indigenous bullock, and the large ox of Northern Gujarat. The
smaller breed of bullocks, which are generally driven in riding carts,
are worth from £6 to ^12 a pair ; the larger sort, used for ploughing,
are worth from ^15 to ^20. Well-to-do cultivators pay much atten-
tion to the appearance and condition of their cattle. Cultivation is
too general to allow much scope for wild animals. The hog, wolf, and
antelope almost exhaust the list. Of birds, the chief are the floriken,
sand grouse, partridge, quail, duck, snipe, and crane. The District is
well supplied with fish— fresh-water, salt-water, and migratory.

Population.— -The earliest year for which an estimate of the popu-
lation is available is 1820, when the number of inhabitants was returned
at 229,527, or 173 to the square mile. In 1851, the number was
290,984, or 200 to the square mile. The Census of 1872 gave a
total population of 350,322 persons, or 257-97 to the square mile.



BROACH. 103

The Census of 18S1 returned a total population of 326,930, or 225 to
the square mile; of these the males numbered 168,482, the females
158,448 ; occupying 13,588 houses in 4 towns and 58,647 houses in 401
villages. The number of unoccupied houses was returned at 19,45 7.
Classified according to religion, there were 115,542 male and 107,296
female Hindus: total, 222,838; 34,280 male and 32,968 female
Muhammadans : total, 67,248 ; Christians, 115; Jains, 3768 ; Jews, 18 ;
Parsfs, 3042; Buddhists, 2; Brahmos, 3; and aborigines, 29,896.
Under the term Hindu are included Brahmans, who numbered 13,161 ;
Rajputs, 16,710; Chamars, 3417; Darjis and Shimpis, 1964 ; Dhobis,
1094 ; Dublas, 18,037 ; Barbers, 3577 5 Kanbi's, 27,142 ; Kolfs, 52,500 ;
Kumbhars, 4451 ; Lohanas, 918; Lohars, or blacksmiths, 1690; Mali's,
or gardeners, 401 ; Mahar and Dhers, 15,553; Sonars, or goldsmiths,
2181; Sutars, or carpenters, 2 3 2o;Telis, or oilmen, 3380. The
aborigines are almost entirely Bhils. The agricultural population was
returned at 190,443, or 58-25 per cent, of the total, of which 128,776,
or 39-4 per cent, were workers.

The practice of separating into small distinct classes has in Broach
been carried so far that, in a Hindu population of 222,838 persons, there
are representatives of 142 distinct castes, which are again split up into
numerous sub-divisions. Among Musalmans there are two classes
distinct in origin, though now considerably mixed by intermarriage—
Muhammadan immigrants, and converts to Islam. These comprise
four classes, Sayyid, Mughal, Pathan, and Shaikh, with a total popula-
tion of 67,248 persons. Of the Musalmans whose origin is traced to
Hindu converts, the most important are the Borahs (Boharas), who
include two main classes, distinct from each other in occupation and in
sect, one engaged in trade, and who are mostly Ismaili Shias, the
other employed almost entirely in tilling the fields, belonging to the
Sunni sect, and forming nearly half of the entire Musalman population
of the District. For other classes of converted Hindus— the Mole-
salams (formerly Rajputs), the Maleks, the Momnas, and the Shekhs-
no separate figures are available. With the exception of the Borahs,
who are a well-to-do body, the Broach Musalmans are for the most part
in a depressed condition. Besides the above classes, there is among
the orthodox Musalmans of Broach a peculiar community called
Nagoris, who have long been settled in the District. They are said to
derive their name from their former home, Nagor, a town m Alalia .
they are now carters and labourers. ,

The chief agricultural classes of Broach District are Kanbis,
Rajputs, Kachchhis, Mali's, and Kolis ; the trading classes arc
Vaishnava Baniyas, as well as Sarawaks or Jains, Borahs of the Shia
sect, and Parsis. The cultivating Borahs are a hard-working and
intelligent but somewhat turbulent body of men. In language ana



I04 BROACH.

habits they resemble the Kanbis and other Hindus, but are distinguish-
able by their beard as well as by a peculiar cast of countenance. While
professing the faith of Islam, they do not intermarry with other Musal-
nuins. The Kanbis, as peaceable as they are industrious, form the
most respectable part of the rural population ; they are well acquainted
with the qualities and powers of all varieties of the soil. The Rajputs
afford an instance of a complete change from the fierceness and turbu-
lence of a martial class, to the quietness, obedience, and industry of
tillers of the soil. The Kolis, who stand lower in the social scale than
the Kanbis, formerly bore a bad reputation as plunderers, but they
are now a reformed race. In many villages they are as steady and
hard-working cultivators as any in the District. A few Parsi's are
engaged in agriculture, and are said to be active and skilful husband-
men. Most of the members of this class deal in merchandize, and
together with the Sarawaks form the two most wealthy sections of the
trading community. The Census Report of 1881 returned the male
population according to occupation under the following six main
headings : (1) Professional class, including civil and military, all
Government officials, and the learned professions, 8450; (2) domestic
servants, inn and lodging-house keepers, etc., 2693 ; (3) commercial
class, including bankers, merchants, traders, carriers, etc., 3973; (4)
agricultural and pastoral class, including gardeners, 71,420; (5) industrial
class, including all manufacturers and artisans, 63,732; (6) indefinite
and non-productive, including general labourers, male children, and
persons of unspecified occupation, 168,482.

Of the whole population, about 20 per cent, live in towns containing
more than 5000 inhabitants. Originally the towns were walled, and
each was provided with its own fort. Within the circuit of the walls
lived the richest part of the people, dwelling in well-built houses;
without were the poorer classes, lodged chiefly in hovels. Though the
fortifications have now been allowed to fall into decay, a marked
distinction still remains between the town proper and its suburbs. The
villages have in general a thriving appearance, arising from the com-
mon use of tiles for the houses instead of thatch ; and the trees with
which they are surrounded contribute to give a pleasing effect. The
respectable inhabitants have their houses together in courts or closes,
with an entrance common to all the families who belong to the same
close, which is shut at night for the protection of the cattle. Formerly
many of the villages were surrounded by walls of mud or burnt brick
as a shelter against the attacks of freebooters, but now only one village
remains walled, and its fortifications are said to be broken down in many
places. Exclusive of 14 hamlets, there were, in 1881, 405 inhabited
towns and villages, giving an average of 0-29 village to each square
mile, and 807-23 inhabitants to each village. Of these 405 towns and



BROACH. 105

villages, 14 contained less than one hundred inhabitants; 32 from one
to two hundred ; 161 from two to five hundred ; 129 from five hundred
to a thousand; 50 from one to two thousand; 11 from two to three-
thousand ; 4 from three to five thousand ; 2 from five to ten thousand ;
1 from ten to fifteen thousand ; and one from twenty to fifty thousand
inhabitants.

In 1881, the total number of houses was 91,692, or an average of
63 'io per square mile. Of these, about one-fourth were built of stone
or fire-baked brick, and roofed with tile. The remainder had outer
walls of mud or sun-dried brick, and thatched roofs. A well-to-do
trader's house generally contains furniture worth altogether about ^,47.
Of this amount, cots, cupboards, couches, boxes, carpets, quilts, and
mattresses represent about ^27, and cooking pots about .£20. A
well-to-do cultivator owns one or two strong wooden boxes, wooden
bedsteads and flock coverlets, worth altogether about ^14? besides
cooking pots worth ,£10. An artisan in middling circumstances
possesses one or two mattresses, two or three beds, cooking and drinking
pots, worth altogether about ^2, 8s. A poor labourer has only a few
earthen jars and one or two mattresses, worth about a shilling or two.

Trade Guilds. — The trade guilds of Broach include the leading
capitalists of the city, the bankers and money-changers, cotton dealers,
agents, and those engaged in the business of insurance ; other unions
represent the smaller trades, and are conducted on the panchdyat system
common throughout India. Details of the constitution and objects of
these associations are given in the article on the District of Ahmadabad,
where the system is more fully developed than in Broach. One of the
main sources of revenue of the chief guild of Broach city is a tax of
from 6d. to is. per bale levied by the managers on cotton. Except in
the case of cotton bills, there is also a charge of |d. on every bill of
exchange negotiated. The receipts from these taxes are applied to
Hindu objects of charity and religion. The chief institution main-
tained is the hospital (pdnjrdpol) for old and sick animals, supported at
a yearly cost of about ^"530. In addition to fees and fines levied upon
members for breaches of trade rules, some of the guilds adopt special
means for collecting funds. Money-changers, grain-dealers, grocers,
and tobacco merchants, make the observance of their trade holidays—
the 2nd, the nth, and the last day of each fortnight— a source of
revenue to the general body. On the occasion of these holidays, only
one shop is allowed to remain open in each market. The right to open
this shop is put up to auction, and the amount of the bid is kept for
caste purposes. Similarly the bankers, cotton dealers, insurers, and
bricklayers have, for trade purposes, imposed a tax on the members ot
their craft or calling. In the case of other classes, the necessary sums
are collected by subscription among the members of the caste.



,o6 BROACH.

Village Of/hials.— At the time of the introduction of British rule
(1803), there was in many villages an association of members of the pro-
prietary body, by which the amount of the State demand was distributed
according to a fixed proportion among the members. The peculiarities
of this joint and sharehold tenure (bhdgddri) have to some extent
disappeared before the system of collecting the revenue direct from the
different shareholders ; but in most places the village organization still
remains tolerably complete. The staff of village servants includes as a
rule the head-man, pdtel ; the clerk, taldti ; the family priest, ghdmot ;
the potter, kumbhdr ; the barber, hajjdm ; the carpenter, sutdr ; the
blacksmith, lohdr; the tailor, darzi ; the shoemaker, mochi ; the washer-
man, dhobi ; the tanner, khdlpa ; the sweeper, dher ; the scavenger,
bhangi ; the watchman, wartania or rakha. Besides this establishment,
in some villages are to be found the water-drawer, kosia ; the water-
supplier, parabio ; goldsmith, soni or sonar ; singer, bdrot or bhdt ;
teacher, dkhiin ; physician, baidya ; astronomer, joshi ; strolling players,
bhavdyd ; Hindu devotees, gosdin or bairdgi ; and Musalman devotees,
fakir. The head-men retain to the present day much of their former
influence. They are in many cases rich, and possess a strong hold
over the villagers by reason of their business as money-lenders.

Agriculture. — Exclusive of lands belonging to other territory situated
within its limits, Broach District contains a total area of 1453 square
miles or 933,764 acres, of which 193,886 acres, or 2076 per cent, are
alienated, and 243,556 acres, or 26*08 per cent., are uncultivable waste,
including the area of village sites, roads, rivers, reservoirs, and the tracts of
salt land liable to be flooded at specially high tides. The total area of
State cultivable assessed land is therefore 496,322 acres, of which 463,475,
or 93'38 per cent, were occupied in 1880-81, and 32,847, or 6-62 per
cent, were unoccupied or lying w r aste. About 2633 acres of salt land
have been taken up by private individuals for reclamation. These
lands have been leased by Government on special conditions, rent free
for the first ten years, and for the following twenty years at rents vary-
ing from 6d. to is. per acre, to be subject to the usual assessment rates
after thirty years. The land is for agricultural purposes divided into
two main classes, light soils and black soils j the former compose about
one-fourth, and the latter three-fourths of the entire area. There is
also a rich alluvial deposit known as b/tdt/id, in which products of all
kinds, especially tobacco and castor-oil plants, are raised. The holders
of land belong to two classes— proprietors of large estates or thdkurs,
and peasant proprietors or rdyats. Of the total assessed area, 47,017
acres, or 6-8 1 per cent., are in the possession of men belonging to the
landlord class, who are the heirs of old Rajput families. A peasant
proprietor is either a member of a cultivating community, or an inde-
pendent holder with an individual interest in the land he tills. Of the



BROACH. 107

whole number of villages in the District, the lands of 244, or 59-5 1 per
cent, were in 1S62 held by corporations of shareholders, and the
remaining 166 villages, or 48-49 per cent., by individual cultivators.
Of the whole area of the Government land. 457> 8 ° 6 acres > or 9 2 * 2 4 per
cent., are held under the ordinary survey tenure for a term of thirty
years, at rates subject to revision. The land alienated by the State is
held at a fixed quit-rent. The assessment and quit-rent paid and payable
to the State amounts to ,£226,629; the local cess, to £il^ l ° '• total,
^244,139.

There are two harvests in the year, (1) the early or kharif, and (2) the
late or rabl. The early crops are sown in June, and, except cotton,
which is seldom ready for picking before February, are harvested in
October and November. The late crops are sown in October, and
reaped in February. A field of black soil requires only one ploughing,
and is seldom manured. Light soils, on the other hand, are ploughed
three or four times, and are generally manured. The entire set of
implements used on a farm may be valued at from^i, 10s. to £2.
The agricultural stock in the possession of the cultivators of State or
khdlsd villages in 1880-81 numbered 26,228 ploughs, 18,489 carts,
59,326 bullocks, 47,676 buffaloes, 13,430 cows > 77° horses, 11S2
mares, 611 foals, 20,420 sheep and goats, and 11 71 asses. Of 463.475
acres of Government land occupied in the year 1880-81, 65,026 acres,
or 13-90 per cent., were fallow or under grass. Of the 399> o6 3 acres
under actual cultivation in 1880-81, grain crops occupied 185,713
acres, or 46-5 per cent. ; pulses, 36,177 acres, or 9-1 percent. ; tobacco,
1499 acres, or 0-3 per cent. ; sugar-cane, 139 acres; indigo, 232 acres ;
oil-seeds, 10,460 acres, or 27 per cent.; cotton, 162,979 acres, or 40-9
per cent. ; miscellaneous crops, 1864 acres, or 0-4 per cent. Since the
year 181 2, attempts have been made from time to time to improve
the cultivation and preparation of cotton. So far, the result has been
to show that foreign varieties will not thrive in the District. In the
matter of ginning considerable improvements have been made. By the
introduction of the Piatt Macarthy Rolley Gin in 1S64, the old native
hand-gin (charkha) has been entirely supplanted.

The years 1630, 1631, and i 7 55 are said to have been seasons of
scarcity in which, owing to the failure of crops, remissions of revenue
were granted. In 1760, 1761, i 7 73, ^86, and 1787, portions of the
District verged so closely upon famine that the revenue had to be very
largely remitted. The great famine of 1790 was caused by the entire
failure of the ordinary rainfall. Since the beginning of the present
century, six years of scarcity, amounting almost to famine, are recorded.
The year 1819 was marked by excessive rainfall, and 1838, 1840. and
1868 by total or partial failure of rain. In 1812, the District suffered
from the ravages of locusts, and in 1835 from frost. Years of partial



10S BROACH.

drought have also been numerous. In 1878, the autumnal crops failed
in two of the western taluks, on account of excessive moisture due to
heavy rainfall ; all the fields sown after a certain period were attacked
by swarms of grubs. The cotton crop in all seasons is liable to be
injured by the boll-worm.

Communications and Trade.— There are 13 lines of road, extending
over a total distance of 147 J miles, and 28 miles of railway running
through the District. Till within the last fifteen years, the highway ot
the trade of the District, as well as of the trade of a large section of
Gujarat and Western Malwa, passed through the ports of Broach and
Tankari down the estuaries of the Narbada (Nerbudda) and Dhadhar.
Since the opening of the railway, the trade by sea has greatly fallen off.
It is still, however, large enough to support a fleet of small coasting
vessels, and occasionally attracts into the Narbada foreign ships of
large size. Strictly speaking, there are no harbours along the coast line



Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 3) → online text (page 13 of 56)