William Wilson Hunter.

The imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 3) online

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No event in the modern annals of Cawnpur calls for special notice
until the unhappy incidents of the Mutiny of 1857. The part which
the city bore in that great struggle is a matter of imperial rather
than of local history. Although we never lost possession of Cawnpur
District for more than a few days during the whole rebellion,
yet we had to maintain a continuous contest with the insurgents
from May to December 1857. Baji Rao, the last of the Peshwas,



282 CAWNPUR.

had taken up his residence, in exile, at the picturesque little town
of Bithur on the Ganges, in this District. On the Peshwa's death his
adopted son, Dundhu Panth, was not permitted to assume the titles
of his father. As ' Nana Sahib ' his name has since become familiar
upon every lip. Shortly after the outbreak at Meerut, this disaffected
prince was placed in charge of the treasury at Cawnpur. Early in June
it was thought desirable to entrench the barracks, and all Europeans
were brought within the entrenchment. On the 6th of June, the 2nd
Cavalry and 1st Native Infantry rose in revolt, seized the treasury, broke
open the jail, and burnt the public offices. They then marched out
one stage on the road to Delhi, and were joined by the 53rd and 54th
Regiments. The Nana immediately went out to their camp, and per-
suaded them, by promises of pillage, to return. He next attacked the
entrenched Europeans with a brisk cannonade, kept up for three weeks.
The strength of the garrison within the entrenchments will never be
known, but it has been estimated at between 750 and 1000, including
persons of every rank and colour, sex and age — about 400 males being
able to bear arms. The siege called from the beleaguered a display
of heroism unsurpassed in history. Under an almost vertical sun,
with the thermometer at between ioo° and 120 R, the little band
fought with dogged valour behind their wretched bulwarks, their eyes
sore with dust and glare, and their hands blistered with the heated gun-
barrels. Three assaults by the rebels were defeated, but at great loss
of life to the defenders. Many died from sunstroke, and women and
children were struck down by bullets as well as fighting men.

By the 26th of June, the position of the besieged became untenable,
and they capitulated on a sworn promise of protection. The Nana
agreed to send them to Allahabad, and next day they marched out to
the Satichaura ghat or landing-place and got into the boats ; but before
they could push off, they were fired on from all sides. Two boats only
got under weigh, one of which was at once swamped by a round
shot ; the other went down the river under fire from both banks, and
most of the Europeans were killed. A few escaped for a while to
Shiorajpur, where some were captured, and the remainder massacred,
except four. The soldiers in the boats were mostly shot upon the spot ;
the women and children were carried off to the Savada Kothi, where
they were all cut to pieces, by the Nana's orders, at the first sound of
Havelock's guns outside Cawnpur. About 200 hundred bodies were
taken out of the well into which they were thrown, where the well-known
Memorial now stands.

General Havelock fought the battles of Aung and the Pandu
Nadi on the 15th of July, and next day took Cawnpur by storm.
The 17th and 18th were devoted to the recovery of the city, and the
19th to the destruction of Bithur and the Nana's palaces. Two or



CA WNPUJL 28 3

three unsuccessful attempts to cross into Oudh were hazarded, but no
actual advance was made until the arrival of reinforcements under
General Outram towards the end of August. Lord Clyde's column
passed through to the relief of LUCKNOW on the 19th of October, and
Colonel Greathed followed a week later. In November, the Gwahor
mutineers crossed the Jumna, and, being joined by a large force of Oudh
rebels, attacked Cawnpur on the 27th, and obtained possession of the
city which they held till Lord Clyde marched in the next evening. On
the 6th of December, Lord Clyde routed them with great loss, and took
all their guns. General Walpole then led a column through the country
towns, restoring order in Akbarpur, Rasiilabad, and Derapur. The
District was not completely pacified till after the fall of Kalpi in May
1858 • but that event rendered its reorganization easy, and when Firoz
Shah fled through it in December 1858, his passage caused no

disturbance. .

Population.— Cawnpur is one of the Districts where agriculture and
population have almost reached their utmost limit, and there is a
tendency to emigration towards other parts of the country, where
employment is more easily obtained. In 1853, the total population
was returned at 1,174,556 persons. In 1865, it had risen to 1,192,836;
but in 1872, with a slight decrease of area, the number was ascertained
to be 1,156,055. The last Census, in 1881, taken upon an area
of 2370 square miles (or 34 square miles in excess of the area returned
in 1872), disclosed a total population of 1,181,396 persons, distributed
among 1970 villages or towns, and inhabiting an aggregate of 201,172
houses. These figures yield the following averages : — Persons per
square mile, 49M ; villages per square mile, '8; houses per square
mile, 84-8 ; persons per village, 600 ; persons per house, 5 -8. Classified
according to sex, there were— males, 628,891; females, 55 2 >5°5; P r0 "
portion of males, 53-2 per cent. As regards religious distinctions,
Cawnpur is more essentially Hindu than the neighbouring Districts.
In 1881, the Census returned the Hindus at 1,084,964, or 91-9 per cent,
of the population; Muhammadans numbered 93>°73, or 7"8 per cent. ;
Christians, 3200; Jains, 114; Jews, 23; Parsfs, 16; and Sikhs, 6.
Among the Hindu population, the Brahmans rank first, in numbers as
in caste, with a total of 181,234 persons. The Rajputs were returned
at 91 722 persons. These two castes form the chief land-holding
bodies in the District. The Baniyas had 38,489 members, engaged, as
usual, in commercial pursuits. Of the inferior castes, the Chamars
(129,713) were the most numerous; most of them are labourers m the
poorest condition. Next come the Ahirs (117,090), Kurmis 55,437 ,
Kachhfs (48,472), Gadarids (42,507), Korfs ( 4 i,547), Lodhas (42,185),
Telis (27,769), and Ndis (25,845). Amongst Musalman tribes, the
Shaikhs are the most important.



284 CA WNPUR.

With regard to the occupations of the people, the Census Report
classifies the male population into the following six main divisions :
— (i) Professional class, including Government officials, military,
and the learned professions, 17,506; (2) domestic servants, hotel
and lodging-house keepers, etc., 4044 ; (3) commercial class, includ-
ing merchants, traders, carriers, etc., 15,611; (4) agricultural and
pastoral class, including gardeners, 277,375 ; (5) manufacturing, artisan,
and other industrial classes, 84,913; (6) indefinite and non-produc-
tive (comprising 36,451 labourers, 8 men of rank and property, and
192,983 unspecified, including children), 229,442.

The village organization is of the same general type which is
common throughout the Lower Doab. First comes the body of land-
owners, generally Rajputs or Brahmans; below them rank the
old hereditary cultivators, who possess rights of occupancy, and are
often descendants or clansmen of former landowners ; third in social
importance are the Baniyas, shopkeepers, and petty bankers ; the fourth
stratum consists of tenants-at-will, who till the land for a bare subsist-
ence; while the lowest class of all is composed of the artisans and
labourers, indispensable to the native system, such as the barber, the
potter, the washerman, the tanner, the scavenger, and the water-carrier.

The District contained in '1881 four towns with upwards of 5000
inhabitants, namely, Cawnpur City (including cantonments), 151,444;
Bithiir, 6685; Bilhaur, 5589; and Akbarpur, 5131. These figures
show an urban population of 169,149 persons, leaving 1,012,147 f° r tne
rural population. The greater part of the inhabitants are scattered over
the face of the country in small villages. Of the total of 1970 villages
and towns, 530 contained less than 200 inhabitants, 785 from 200 to
500, 394 from 500 to 1000, 204 from 1000 to 2000, and 61 upwards
of 2000 inhabitants. The male adult agricultural population was
returned at 275,494, or 23*32 per cent, of the total population, 11,555
being returned as landholders, 210,368 as cultivators, 1532 as estate
officers, and 52,039 as agricultural labourers.

As regards the condition of the people, the Settlement Officer has
come to the conclusion that though a certain proportion of the agri-
cultural class, such as Chamars and many Muhammadans, live barely
above starvation-point, yet the cultivating population as a whole are
fairly well off. The extension of irrigation and the rise in the prices
of produce has placed the industrial classes above want; while the
increased demand for labour has given a greater fixity to the daily
income, small as it is, of the labouring class. Careful calculations by
the Settlement Officer show that a Chamar, with a five-acre holding,
ought to make a profit of £4, 12s. per annum; a Kachhi (market-
gardener), with an eight-acre holding, a profit of £9, is. per annum;
and a Kurmi, with fifteen acres, a profit of .£13, us. per annum. In



CA WNPUR. 285

this calculation, the profit includes the wages of the cultivator, and the
labour of his wife and family.

Agriculture.— The system of tillage in Cawnpur is that common to
the whole Doab. There are two main agricultural seasons, the kharif
or autumn harvest, and the rabi, or spring harvest. The kharif crops
are sown after the first rain in June, and include rice, maize, bdjrajodr,
cotton, indigo, etc. Most of these staples are reaped in October,
but the early rice is harvested in September, while cotton is not ready
for picking until February. The rabi crops are sown in October
or November, and reaped in March or April ; they consist chiefly of
wheat, barley, oats, peas, and pulses. Manure is used, where it can be
obtained, for both harvests, and land is allowed to lie fallow whenever
the cultivator can afford it. Spring and autumn crops are not often
taken off the same land ; but sometimes a crop of early rice is reaped in
September, and a second crop of some other kind is put into the ground
in the following month. The staple product of the District is wheat,
but the cultivation of cotton has received a great impetus since the
American war. Among the minor crops are oil-seeds, opium, spices,
tobacco, and potatoes. Sugar-cane is extensively grown on the better
soils, and indigo is specially cultivated for the sake of the seed,
which is exported in large quantities to Behar. The various branches
of the Ganges Canal afford abundant opportunities for irrigation, and
the shallow ponds which collect after the rains are used by the villagers
for the same purpose. In pargands Rasulabad and Shiorajpur a succes-
sion of swampy bottoms, the former bed of a considerable stream, runs
in an irregular line across the country for about 25 miles ; the water left
in them after the rainy season is employed to irrigate the spring crops,
while rice is grown in their moist basins after the surface has been thus
partially drained.

Of the District area of 2370 square miles, 1363*9 s q uare miles were
returned as under cultivation in 1882-83, 353*6 square miles as cultiv-
able, and 642 square miles as cultivable waste; while 10 square miles
were revenue-free or otherwise unassessed. The area under the
different crops in 1882-83 (including land twice cropped) was thus
distributed — kharif 481,208 acres, and rabi, 453*885 acres. Of
the kharif crop, jodr occupied 191,987 acres; bdjra, 33,077 acres;
maize, 37,837 acres; cotton, io 4 ,475 acres; sugar-cane, 6233 acres;
and indigo, 59,100. Of the rabi crops, wheat took up 58,850 acres ;
wheat and barley, 32,811 acres; wheat and gram, 22,142; barley,
12,805 acres; barley and gram, 262,162 acres ; and gram, 51,327.

Cawnpur District has always had a reputation for poverty. Densely
populated, and with a large proportion of industrious Kachhi, Kurmi,
and Lodha cultivators ; having ample facilities for irrigation over at least
two-thirds of its area, with free communication in every direction, there



286 CA WNPUR.

has been little room left for increase of cultivation and enhanced pro-
sperity since this part of Oudh passed under British rule. Some
advance has undoubtedly been made within the last forty years, mainly
through the enhanced prices for all kinds of agricultural produce.

In the northern flargands, jodr and wheat are grown in large propor-
tions; while in the southern pargands, barely 2 per cent, of the area is
under wheat, and bdjra forms the staple crop. Rice is chiefly grown in
Bilhaur, Rasiilabad, and the southern part of Shiorajpur ; while northern
Shiorajpur is covered with indigo, small native factories studding the
entire area north of the Pandu. The sources of irrigation are the
various distributaries of the Ganges Canal, wells, and in a less degree,
ponds, lakes, and rivers. The total irrigated area in 1882-83 was
244,468 acres, 131,545 acres being watered from Government works,
and 112,923 acres by private enterprise.

The average rates of rent in Cawnpur for cultivators with rights of
occupancy are returned at 8s. iofd. per acre for resident and 8s. 1 Jd.
for non-resident cultivators. Resident tenants-at-will pay 9s. 4§d. an
acre, and non-resident tenants-at-will, 7 s. 8f d. per acre. Of the entire
cultivated area, 617 per cent, is held by cultivators with occupancy
rights, and 18-9 per cent, by tenants-at-will; while io*6 per cent, is sir
or home-farm land of the zaminddrs, and the balance of 8 8 per cent,
consists of revenue-free land, etc. The adult male agricultural popu-
lation, excluding farm-labourers, numbered 221,923 in 1881, cultivating
an average of 3*18 acres each. The total population, however, entirely
dependent on the soil, is returned at 736,397, or 62*33 per cent, of the
District population. Total Government land revenue, including local
rates and cesses paid on land, ^252,840, or an average of 5s. iofd. per
cultivated acre. Total amount of rent actually paid by the cultivators,
including cesses, .£376,964, or an average of 8s. 7|d. per cultivated acre.
Cash rents are the rule. Occasionally a landlord sub-lets a portion of
his homestead land (sir) on the metayer system. Newly-broken uplands,
where the quality of the soil is a matter of doubt for the first year,
are also generally held at first on a division of the produce. The
agricultural stock of the District was returned as follows at the time
of the settlement operations: — Plough cattle and buffaloes, 218,295;
cows, 171,275; draught cattle, 96,217; sheep, 29,820; goats, 78,890.

In 1882, the rates of wages were as follows: — Coolies and unskilled
labourers, 5^d. to 6fd. per diem; agricultural labourers, 4^d. to
5^d. ; bricklayers and carpenters, 9d. to is. Women receive about
one-fifth less than men, while children are paid from one-half to one-
third of the wages of adults. The following were the average prices of
food-stuffs in 1882 : — Wheat, 17J sers per rupee, or 6s. 4^d. per cwt. ;
rice, 15 sers per rupee, or 7s. 6d. per cwt. ; jodr, 27 J sers per rupee, or
4s. per cwt. ; bdjra, 25^ sers per rupee, or 4s. 4jd. per cwt.



CAWNPUR. 287

Natural Calamities. — Cawnpur suffers, like other Districts of the
Doab, from drought and its natural consequence, famine. It is not so
severely visited in this respect as the country farther to the west; but
neither, on the other hand, does it share the comparative immunity of
the region immediately eastward. It was the most westerly of all the
Districts which experienced the terrible famine of 1770. In 1783-84,
both autumn and spring crops failed, and the people and cattle died by
thousands. The distress was worst beyond the Jumna, and the starving
hordes of Bundelkhand crossed the river into Cawnpur only to die on
their arrival. The next great drought was that of 1803-4, when most
of the kharif crops and the whole rabi harvest perished for want of
rain. The famine of 1837 visited Cawnpur with frightful severity.
During July, August, and September no rain fell, and not a blade of
vegetation was produced ; the cattle died in herds, and whole villages
were depopulated. The pargands along the Ganges suffered most ; and
though revenue was remitted, and relief works were started, immense
tracts of arable land fell out of cultivation, as neither men nor cattle
were left to till them. A little of the autumn crops escaped along the
Jumna, and a few patches were cultivated for the spring harvest by
means of irrigation. In 1860-61, the distress was worst in the Upper
Doab and Rohilkhand, but did not reach so far east as Cawnpur in
its full intensity. The scarcity was quite sufficient, however, to put
pressure on the lower classes, and crimes against property became much
more frequent than usual. In 1868-69, 1873-74, and 1878, Cawnpur
escaped almost unhurt ; and it is hoped that the existing means of
communication, combined with the grand opportunities for irrigation
afforded by the Ganges Canal, will suffice to protect it in future from
the worst extremity of famine.

Commerce and Trade, etc. — The District as a whole has a considerable
agricultural trade in raw materials, especially grain, cotton, and indigo-
seed. In the city of Cawnpur, saddlery, boots, and other leathern
articles are manufactured in large quantities. The Elgin and Muir
Cotton Mills, under European supervision, afford employment to a great
number of hands, and supply the native weavers with yarn for their
looms. Leather goods, textile fabrics, and tents are largely exported.
There is a large Government tannery and leather manufactory in the
old fort, for the supply of accoutrements for the army. Government
flour mills grind corn for commissariat purposes. For many years
past, Cawnpur showed a tendency to increase its business, to the
detriment of other local markets, such as Farukhabad. It has long been
the principal entrepot for commerce arriving from Oudh, Rohilkhand,
the remoter Doab villages, and Bundelkhand. Quite lately, however,
symptoms of a reactionary tendency have been observed, owing doubt-
less to the extension of the railway system, which favours the develop-



2 88 CAWNPUR.

ment of local centres and the general diffusion of commerce. The
bankers and large traders of Cawnpur are chiefly Baniyas and Rajputs.
They have correspondents at Calcutta, Patna, Benares, Mirzapur, Allah-
abad, Agra, and Hathras ; and they act in turn as agents for firms at
those places. The means of communication are ample. The East
Indian Railway passes through the whole length of the District, with
five stations within its boundaries. The Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway
sends its Cawnpur branch across the river Ganges by a girder bridge,
and has a station at the town. The Grand Trunk Road also traverses
the District, parallel to the Ganges, with a length of 64 miles; it conveys
most of the local heavy traffic. There are other metalled roads to
Kalpi and to Hamirpur (crossing the Jumna by pontoon bridges); while
unmetalled roads, raised and bridged throughout, connect all the minor
local centres. A great deal of country produce, such as grain, indigo-
seed, wood, and hides, is still conveyed by water along the Ganges and
the Jumna.

Administration. — The ordinary staff of the District consists of a
Collector-Magistrate, two Joint Magistrates, an Assistant, and two
Deputies. In 1876, the whole amount of revenue — imperial, municipal,
and local — raised in the District amounted to ,£303,361 ; while in
1880-81 the gross revenue amounted to .£390,286, of which ^214,924
was derived from the land-tax. In 1881 the strength of the regular
District police force consisted of 552 officers and men, and the canton-
ment and town police, of 428 of all ranks, maintained at a cost of
^10,372, of which ^7480 is contributed from the provincial revenue.
These figures show one policeman to every 2*39 square miles and every
1 171 of the population ; with an expenditure at the rate of £4, 14s. per
square mile, and 2§d. per inhabitant. The regular police was supple-
mented by a body of 2852 chankiddrs or village watchmen, maintained
by the landholders or villagers, or one to every 414 of the population.
The District jail contained in 1880-81 a daily average of 382 prisoners,
of whom 348 were males and 34 females. There are 29 imperial and
4 local post-offices in the District. The Government has a telegraph-
office at Cawnpur, and the East Indian Railway telegraph-offices at all
its stations. Education was carried on in 1881 by means of 234 schools
under State inspection, maintained or assisted by Government, with
a total of 7082 pupils on 31st March. The total cost of these
schools in 1880-81 amounted to ^5537, of which ^1892 was paid
from the provincial revenue, the remainder being derived from endow-
ments, grants, fees, etc. The above figures do not include private
uninspected schools, for which returns are not available. The Census
of 1881, however, returned a total of 11,035 D °y s at school, out of a
total male population of 628,891, or one in 56; and 278 girls at school
out of a total female population of 552,505, or one in 1987. For fiscal



CAWNPUR CITY. =«9

purposes Cawnpur is sub-divided into 9 tahsih and 90 fargands. The
District contains only one municipality— Cawnpur city (f.v.).

Medical Aspects.-^ climate of Cawnpur is like that of the other
Doab Districts. From the middle of April to the 1st of July it is
excessively hot and dry, and westerly winds prevail. After this, the
monsoon is ushered in by damp east winds. The rainy season lasts
till the end of September or beginning of October; the cold weather
commences about the 1st of November. The District is on the whole
well drained, and is therefore fairly healthy during the rains. The
average annual rainfall for the 3° years ending 1880 was 29-23 inches.
During this period, the maximum was 4 8'7 inches in 1867, and the
minimum was to inches in i860. The rainfall in 1880 was 22-13
inches or 7-13 inches below the average. The total number of deaths
reported in 1881 was 48,978, or 41 per thousand of the population ; the
average death-rate per thousand during the previous six years was 36-9°.
There are 7 dispensaries in the District-* Cawnpur, Nawabganj,
Generalganj, Bhogmpur, Ghatampur, Derapur, and Bithur; the firs
three being in the city and station. During the year 1881, 34,547
persons were treated in these institutions, of whom 993 were in-door
patients and 33 ,554 out-door. [For further information regarding
Cawnpur see the Gazetteer of the North-Western Provinces, vol. v.. pp.
?! 69 Government Press; Allahabad, i88t> Also the Settlement
Report ofCaumpur, by J. N. Wright, Esq., C.S. (1878) ; the Census
Report of 1881 for the North-Western Provinces; and the Administra-
tion Reports of the Provinces from 1880 to 1883.]

CawTlBUr City.— Administrative head-quarters of Cawnpur District,
Norm-Western Provinces, lying on the right bank of the river Ganges
, 3 o miles above its junction with the Jumna at Allahabad Lat
26" 28' 15" n., and long. 80° 23' 45" *• Distant from Calcutta 628
miles north-west, from Delhi 266 miles south-east. Cawnpur is the
fourth city in size and importance of the North-Western Provmces and
Oudh; including the native city, cantonments and evil station it
covers an area of 60x5 acres, and has a population, according to the
Census of 1881, of i S i,444 souls. Elevation above sea-level, about

Nation and Appearance.-The cantonments and civil station of
Cawnpur lie along the right bank of the Ganges, wh, e the nativ c, y
stretches inland toward the south-west, and also fills up the space
b t^en the military and civil portions of the European quarter
Starting from the east, on the Allahabad road, the race-course first
me^he eye of the approaching visitor. The Native Cavalry Lines
Tucceed to the westward, after which comes the brigade parade ground
North-east of the latter lie the European Infantry barracks and St. Johns
Church ; while the intervening ground, between these cantonments and

VOL. III.



290 CAWNPUR CITY.

the river bank, is occupied by the Memorial Church, built on the site of
Wheeler's entrenchments in 1857, the club, the artillery lines, and the
various military offices. The city covers the plain north of the parade
ground ; and the Ganges shore is here lined by the Memorial Gardens,



Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 3) → online text (page 34 of 56)