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and colour to the hill people of Chamba and Kangra. Slavery is
common, and the slave trade forms one of the principal items of
revenue of the Chitral rulers. Trade is carried on chiefly by barter.
Caravans of petty merchants pass through Chitral annually between
Peshawar, Panjkora, Swat, and Jalalabad on the south, and Badakshan
Kiinduz, Balkh, Turkistan, Kolab, and Yarkand on the north. Very
few but Afghans trade between Yarkand and Peshawar. The Chitral
State owns the supremacy of Kashmir.

Chitravati. — River in Cuddapah (Kadapa) District, Madras Presi-
dency. It rises at Nandidriig in Mysore, and, flowing across Bellary
District, joins the Pennar in the Jamalamadugu taluk.

Ohitrawao. — Petty State of Gohelwar District, Kathiawar, Bombay
Presidency. Consists of 1 village, with 1 independent tribute-payer.
Estimated revenue in 1881, £ido. Pays tribute of ^49 to the
Gaekwar of Baroda, and ^3, 16s. to Junagarh.

Chittagong. — Division or Commissionership of Bengal, lying be-
tween 20 45' and 24 16' n. lat, and between 90 32' and 92 44' e.
long. ; comprising the Districts of Chittagong, Noakhali, Tipperah,
and the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Bounded on the north by the Hill
Tipperah State ; on the east by the hilly tract inhabited by Lushais and
other half-savage tribes; on the south by Akyab District in British



CHITTAGONG. 433

Burma ; and on the west by the Bay of Bengal and the Meghna estuary.
Area, 12,118 square miles; number of towns and villages, 11.113:
number of occupied houses, 492,722. Total population (1881)
3,574,048, namely, males 1,774,336, and females 1,799,712 ; average
density of population, 295 persons per square mile ; villages per square
mile, "92; houses per square mile, 42-10; persons per village, 322;
persons per occupied house, 7*25. Divided according to religion,
Muhammadans number 2,425,610; Hindus, 1,017,963; Buddhists,
128,568; Christians, 1891 ; Sikhs, 5; Brahmos, 8; and 'others,' 3.
Approximate land revenue, ,£290,654.

Chittagong. — District in the Lieutenant-Governorship of Bengal.
lying between 20 45' and 22 59' N. lat, and between 91 30' and 92'
25' e. long. Area, 2567 square miles; population, according to the
Census of 1881, 1,132,341. Bounded on the north-west and north
by the river Pheni, which separates it from the British Districts of
Noakhali and Tipperah, and from the semi - independent State of
Hill Tipperah ; on the east by the Hill Tracts of Chittagong and the
Arakan Province of British Burma, the river NaT forming the frontier ;
and on the west by the Bay of Bengal. The chief town and admini-
strative head-quarters is Chittagong or Islamabad.

Physical Aspects. — Chittagong District consists of a long and narrow
strip of coast, backed by low ranges of hills, lying between the Bay of
Bengal and the Chittagong and Arakan Hill Tracts. Its length is
about 165 miles, and its average breadth about 15 miles. The low-
ranges of hills run, through the greater part of their length, almost
parallel with each other, and with the coast-line. The level strip of
land between the coast and the first of these ranges is intersected by
numerous large tidal creeks, especially an alluvial tract in the central
portion of the District opposite the islands of Maheshkhal and Kutabdia,
which in character and general appearance greatly resembles the Gan-
getic Sundarbans. These creeks are navigable, but are not used to
any great extent for purposes of commerce ; and in the Sundarban
tract alluded to, they are silting up at their mouths. New land is thus
constantly being formed, which soon becomes covered with mangrove,
scrub, and palms. The principal rivers of the District are the Karna-
phuli and the Sangu, both of which are navigable throughout the year.
The Pheni, which forms the boundary between Chittagong and Noa-
khali, can hardly be called a river of the District, and nowhere inter-
sects it. The Karnaphuli rises in the north-east of the Chittagong Hill
Tracts, and, after a very tortuous westerly and south-westerly course
through Chittagong, falls into the Bay of Bengal. Chittagong town and
port are situated on the north bank of this river, about 12 miles from
its mouth. Up to this point it is navigable by large sea-going ships
and steamers, and throughout its entire course in the District by large

VOL. III. 2 E



434 CHITTAGONG.

cargo boats. The principal tributary of the Karnaphuli is the Halda.
The Sangu, which takes its rise in the south-eastern corner of the
Arakan Hill Tracts, also follows a very circuitous course, and finally
enters the Bay of Bengal 10 miles south of the Karnaphuli. It is
navigable by large cargo boats for a distance of 30 miles throughout
the year, and its chief tributary, the Dolu, for 7 miles all the year
round, and 14 miles in the rainy season. Smaller streams and
watercourses, navigable throughout the rainy season by small native
boats, intersect the District in all directions. A considerable portion
of the low-lying tract of Chittagong is protected by embankments
from the sea. The principal of these embankments are those in
the island of Kutabdia, and the Gandamara dykes built to protect the
village of Gandamara. Most of the embankments, including those
just named, were for some time abandoned by Government, and
destroyed by the sea. They have been recently reconstructed. There
are five principal hill ranges in the District — namely (1) the Sitakund;
(2) the Goliasi; (3) the Satkania; (4) the Maskhal ; and (5) the
Teknaf range. Of these, the most interesting is the first-named, which
contains the sacred peak of Chandranath or Sitakund, 1155 feet in
height, the highest hill in the District. There are no lakes in Chitta-
gong District. The canals or artificial watercourses consist of a line
of re-opened creeks in the coast tract, solely used for navigation. One
of these canals or creeks commences on the coast 1 2 miles north of
the mouth of the Karnaphuli, and falls into that river just below
Chittagong town; the others form a line of communication between
the Karnaphuli river and the sea at Jalkadar opposite Kutabdia island.
They are leased out annually under the Canal Tolls Act to farmers
who levy a fixed rate of toll. These creeks are very important, and
the line formed by them is one of the great highways of the District.
Numerous ferries are established across the principal rivers and
streams, the tolls of which, with one or two exceptions, are leased out
annually in the same manner as the canals. Most of the villages
possess water communication ; and nearly every inhabitant of the
District may be said to live more or less by river traffic. Grain, cotton,
pottery, firewood, dried fish, and bamboos form the chief articles of
local river trade. The sea and river fisheries are very valuable, and
form a means of livelihood to a large section of the population. The
chief localities for inland fisheries are the rivers Karnaphuli, Sangu,
Halda, and Chandkhali ; but the sea-coast fishery at Sonadia and
Kali Daha is the most extensive. The dried fish are principally sent
to Chittagong town ; but with the exception of sharks' fins, which are
exported to Rangoon, there is no exportation of fish from the District.
The jungle products consist of reeds, canes, and bamboos, mostly
brought from the valleys in the hill ranges, where the hill slopes



CHITTAGONG. 435

afford abundant pasturage for cattle. No coal or minerals are known
to exist in Chittagong. A hot spring on the sacred hill of SlTAKUND
is a great place of pilgrimage, and is visited by pious Hindus from
all parts of India. There is also a salt-spring, known by the name cf
Labanakhya, situated about 3 miles north of the Sitakund, which is
also reputed to be of great sanctity, and is visited by large numbers
of pilgrims. The wild animals of the District consist of the tiger,
elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, wild boar, and deer. There is a con-
siderable export trade in king-fisher skins to Burma and China.

History. — Chittagong originally formed part of the extensive Hindu
kingdom of Tipperah ; but, prior to its conquest by the Muham-
madans, it had frequently changed masters. Lying on the frontier
between Bengal and Burma, it formed a source of chronic feud between
the Hindu King of Tipperah and the Buddhist King of Arakan. The
District was probably first conquered by the Muhammadans during the
period of Afghan supremacy in Bengal, between the 13th and 16th
centuries. The Portuguese historian, Faria de Souza, states that, in
1538, the Viceroy of Goa despatched an envoy to the Afghan King
of Bengal, who landed at Chittagong, and proceeded thence to
the capital at Gaur. The king, however, being suspicious of the
intentions of the Portuguese, seized thirteen members of the embassy
at Gaur, together with their ship's company. In revenge for this
outrage, the Portuguese, some months afterwards, burned Chittagong.
During the struggle between the Mughals and Afghans for the
supremacy in Bengal, towards the close of the 16th century, Chitta
gong seems to have been reconquered by the Raja of Arakan, and
annexed to his kingdom as a tributary Province ; this reconquest, how-
ever, was ignored by the Mughals, after the final expulsion of the
Afghans from Bengal. Todar Mall, Akbar's finance minister, continued
to treat the District as an integral part of the Muhammadan dominions;
and, in 1582, fixed its assessment on the rent-roll of the Empire ' by
estimation' at ^28, 560. As a matter of fact, Chittagong was then a
Province of Arakan, and remained so until 1666, when it was reannexed
to the Mughal Empire. In 1638, Matak Rai, a Magh chief, held
Chittagong on behalf of the Arakan Raja ; but, having displeased his
prince, and fearing punishment, he sought the protection of the
Mughals, acknowledged himself a vassal of the Delhi Empire, and
nominally made over the sovereignty of his territory to the Governor of
Bengal. Soon after this, the depredations of the Arakanese became
intolerable. For many years they had been making piratical incursions
into the Muhammadan territory, penetrating far up the rivers of Bengal,
and carrying into slavery the inhabitants of all the river-side villages.
The Maghs were aided by numbers of half-caste Portuguese adventurers,
retained in the employ of the Raja of Arakan. To such an extent



436 CH1TTAG0NG.

were these depredations carried, that in a map of Bengal by Major J.
Rennel, Surveyor-General, published in 1794, a note is entered across
the portion of the Sundarbans, immediately south of Bakarganj town,
that ' this part of the country has been deserted on account of the
ravages of the Muggs.' It is, however, probable that only a portion of
the deserted tract was laid waste by the Maghs, and that the true cause
of the desolation is the change which has taken place in the river
system of the delta.

In 1664-65, Shaista Khan, then Governor of Bengal, resolved to put
an end to these piratical incursions, and for that purpose undertook an
expedition against the Arakan Raja on such a scale as would secure
the permanent conquest of Chittagong. He accordingly assembled a
powerful fleet of boats, and an army 13,000 strong. Of this force,
3000 were despatched in the fleet, under the command of an officer
named Husain Beg, with orders to clear the rivers and islands of the
pirates. The remaining force was placed under the command of his
son Buzurg Umed Khan, with instructions to proceed by land and
co-operate with the fleet. The expedition was a complete success.
The ports at the mouth of the Meghna, and Sandwip island, were
captured by the fleet. The Portuguese auxiliaries to the Raja of
Arakan having been invited to assist the Mughals — under a threat
from the general that if they failed he would, on the capture of Chitta-
gong, put them to the sword — deserted the Raja's service, and sailed
for Sandwip, where they were received by the Imperial general, and a
residence assigned to them 12 miles below 7 Dacca. The army under
Umed Khan advanced by land, and after defeating the Arakanese in
various encounters, finally carried the town of Chittagong by storm,
which was thereupon re-annexed to Bengal, and its name changed to
Islamabad, the Residence of the Faithful.

Twenty years after the occurrence of these events (1685), the first
connection of the English with Chittagong took place. In that year,
the East India Company, in consequence of disputes with the Nawab
of Bengal, sent out an expedition under Admiral Nicholson, with
instructions to seize Chittagong and fortify it on behalf of the English.
Owing to circumstances which occurred at Hiigli (see Hugli District),
the Admiral never proceeded to Chittagong, and the District did not
pass into our possession until 1760, w r hen it was ceded to the East
India Company, along with Bardwan and Midnapur, by Mir Kasim.
The administration of Chittagong was at once placed in the hands of
an English ' Chief with a Council, and the District soon settled down
into a well-regulated English Province. Immediately after the annexa-
tion of Arakan by the King of Burma, a large immigration of Maghs
took place into Chittagong, caused by the oppressions and exactions to
which they were subjected by the Burmese Government. To this



CHITTAGONG. 437

immigration the first Burmese War may be indirectly traced. The
Viceroy of Arakan despatched a military force to compel the return ot
the emigrants ; and, although this force was withdrawn for other and
more pressing needs elsewhere, aggressions on the frontier continued,
which culminated in the forcible seizure of the island of Shahpuri at
the mouth of the Naf river, which had been many years in the undis-
puted occupation of the British. In the war of 1824 which ensued, a
strong Burmese force, 8000 strong, marching on Chittagong, surrounded
and annihilated a British detachment of about 300 Sepoys and 2 guns
at Ramu, a frontier village to the south. Before the Burmese com-
mander could follow up his success, the setting in of the rains rendered
the roads impassable ; and soon afterwards, on the capture of Rangoon,
the Arakan force was recalled.

The only event of any importance in the recent history of the
District was in connection with the Mutiny of 1857. In that year, the
2nd, 3rd, and 4th Companies of the 34th Native Infantry, stationed at
Chittagong, suddenly broke into mutiny on the night of the iSth
November, plundered the treasury, released the prisoners in the jail,
and murdered a native constable, but abstained from molesting their
inhabitants, and took their way into Hill Tipperah. They were
promptly pursued, and broken up • the Raja of Hill Tipperah and the
hillmen arrested all stragglers, and sent them in to the British
authorities. Since 1857, nothing has occurred to disturb the peace
and good order of the District.

Population. — Prior to 1872, no systematic attempt was made to
enumerate the population of Chittagong. In that year, the population
over an area corresponding to the present limits of the District
{i.e. allowing for transfers to and from neighbouring Districts), was
returned at 1,127,402 souls. By the last Census of 1881, the number
was returned at 1,132,341, or an increase of only 4939, or less than
one-half per cent. The population of the District may be said to be
now stationary, and indeed the males show an actual falling off of '82 per
cent. It must be remembered, however, that cholera is endemic in the
District, that a peculiarly fatal and debilitating fever has raged for years,
and that great loss of life was caused in the seaboard tracts by the cyclone
of the 31st October 1876. Moreover, the cheapness of land and the high
wages of labour in Arakan attract many settlers every year from Chitta-
gong. Area of District, 2567 square miles ; number of towns and villages,
1376; number of houses, 218,705, of which 211,387 were occupied and
7318 unoccupied; average density of population, 441*11 persons per
square mile ; towns and villages, -54 per square mile ; houses per square
mile, 85-20 ; persons per village, 823 ; persons per occupied house, 5-36.
Classified according to sex there were— males, 53i> 6 49> and females,
600,692; proportion of males, 46-9 per cent, of the total population.



438 CHITTAGONG.

The excess of the female over the male population of Chittagong is
attributed to the fact, that the District supplies laskars or native sailors
for vessels trading in Indian waters, and also sends a number of
labourers to Arakan in the cold season, during which the Census was
taken. Classified according to religion, there were — Muhammadans,
801,986, or 70*82 per cent, of the population; Hindus, 275,177, or
24*28 per cent, j Buddhists, 54,110, or 4*77 per cent.; Christians,
1055; Sikhs, 5; and Brahmos, 8. The aboriginal tribes numbered
1356 in 1881, most of whom are Nats or demon-worshippers, but they
are returned in the above figures as Hindus by religion. Among the
high Hindu castes Brahmans numbered 21,355, an d Rajputs 1040.
Among the other castes the most numerous are the following: — Baniya,
8030; Barm, 47 66 ; Dhobi, 11,446; Jaliya, 15,312; Jugi, 27,351;
Kaibartta, 4542 ; Kayasth, the most numerous caste in the District,
72,370; Kumbhar, 5095; Napit, 15,382; Sudra, 29,334; and Tanti,
5248. The Muhammadan community is divided according to sect
into Sunnis, 797,452; Shias, 3569; and unspecified, 965. Of the
Christian population, 211 are Europeans; the great majority of the
remainder being Firinghis, the descendants of the early Portuguese
adventurers who played such an important part in the history of Chitta-
gong two centuries ago. At one time they were extensive shipowners
and wealthy men, but they are now fast decreasing in importance. In
the interior, a few of them follow agricultural pursuits ; but for the most
part they reside in Chittagong town. Even as late as the beginning of
the present century, the Firinghis possessed large numbers of slaves,
often exceeding 50 in one family. The process of miscegenation which
has been long going on has completely deprived the present descen-
dants of the Portuguese of any resemblance to their ancestors; and
except by their dress, they are hardly distinguishable in appearance
from the natives. By neglect of education, the Firinghis have allowed
the natives to outstrip them, and many appointments, of which they
had formerly the monopoly, are now held by Hindus and Muham-
madans.

Town and Rural Population. — The population is altogether rural; and,
with the exception of the municipality of Chittagong, there is no town
containing more than 5000 inhabitants. The population of Chitta-
gong Town is 20.969; Cox's Bazar (population 4363) is the only
other town of any importance in the District, and in it more than
three-fourths of the population are Maghs. Of the 1376 villages and
towns in the District, 356 contain less than two hundred inhabitants ;
408 from two hundred to five hundred; 273 from five hundred to a
thousand; 201 from one thousand to two thousand; 78 from two
thousand to three thousand ; 38 from three thousand to five thousand ;
21 village unions (mauzds) from five thousand to ten thousand; and









CJ11TTAG0NG. 439

1 town (Chittagong) upwards of twenty thousand inhabitants. The
principal villages are Phatikchari, Kumiria, Hathazan, Raojan, Patia,

Satkania, Chandranath (on Sitakund Hill, a much frequented place of
pilgrimage), Maskhal (in the island of the same name), Chakaria, and
Ramu. Near Rajakul, a village to the south of Ramu, are the remains
of an old fort which, it is supposed, belonged to a Magh chieftain; but
there are singularly few relics in the District suggestive of its historica'
importance.

Occupations. — The Census Report of 1881 divides the male popula.
tion as regards occupation into the following six main classes: — (1)
Professional class, including all civil and military officials, and the
learned professions, 10,905 ; (2) domestic servants, inn and lodging-
house keepers, etc., 7522 ; (3) Commercial class, including bankers,
merchants, traders, carriers, etc., 18,006; (4) agricultural and pastoral
class, including gardeners, 142,267 ; (5) manufacturing and industrial
class, including artisans, 34,014 ; (6) indefinite and non-productive,
including male children, general labourers, and persons of unspecified
occupation, 318,335.

Agriculture. — Rice is the staple crop of Chittagong. There are
three harvests in the year — boro, or spring rice ; dus, the autumn
crop ; and aman, or winter rice. These are further sub-divided into
^ principal varieties. Other crops are Indian corn, wheat, barley,
peas, jute, flax, mustard, sugar-cane, pan, cotton, tobacco, and tea.
Of these the most important are the three last-named. An account
of the cultivation of cotton and tobacco in the Hill Tracts will be
found in the Statistical Account of Bengal, vol. vi. pp. 199-207. The
introduction of tea into the District dates from 1840, in which year
some tea-seed was received from Assam and three China plants from
Calcutta. Three years later, the first tea was manufactured in the
District. According to the latest returns, the total cultivated area
in Chittagong amounts to 544,640 acres, and the area cultivable but
not cultivated to 21,120 acres. Almost the whole — 537,472 acres —
of the cultivated area is devoted to food-crops. The average pro
duce per acre of rice is about 15 maunds or 11 cwts. ; wheat, 11
cwts. ; inferior grains, 12 cwts. ; oil-seeds, 5 J cwts. ; tobacco, 7 cwts.
The average rent for good land is about £1, 2s. 6d. an acre ; and
for poor soil, about 12s. Rich alluvial land along the banks of
rivers, suited to the cultivation of tobacco, pan, and other special
crops, is rented at much higher rates, the average being £2, 2s.
an acre. Wages have increased very considerably of late years. In
1850-51, day-labourers and ploughmen received ijd. a day ; in
1860-61, they earned from 3 Jd. to 5Jd. ; by 1870-71, the wage for the
same class of labour had risen as high as 6d. and 7.W., and in 1882,
9d. and is. In the same way, smiths, bricklayers, and carpenters, who,



44 o CHITTAGONG.

in 1850-51, were paid 2jd. a day, earned in 1860-61, 4|d. to 6fd.,

and in 1870-71, 7jd. The average price of the best cleaned rice in
1870-71 was 6s. iod. a cwt., and of coarse rice, 5s. The average
price per cwt. of other produce was returned in the same year as
follows :— Wheat, 6s. 2d. ; linseed, 6s. ; jute, 8s. 2d. ; cotton, £1, 4s. 6d. ;
sugar, £1, 15s. 6d. ; salt, 15s. Manure is used to some extent in
Chittagong, and irrigation is effected by means of the numerous water-
courses. Pan gardens are allowed to lie fallow for two years after three
successive crops have been obtained. Sugar-cane is not grown two
successive years on the same land. Chittagong is essentially a District
of small estates. The peasantry, as a rule, are in good circumstances,
seldom in debt, and very independent ; many of them add to their
income derived from agriculture, by working as labourers, boatmen,
petty traders, etc. They are, however, of an exceedingly litigious and
quarrelsome disposition, having recourse to the District Courts on the
most frivolous pretext.

Natural Calamities.— Blights occur from time to time, but not to
such an extent as to affect the general food-supply of the District.
The lands along the coast are often flooded by the sea, and much injury
is done, for the existing embankments do not afford adequate protection
against the encroachments of the water. Chittagong is also exposed to
storms, but serious injury is rare. A severe cyclone passed over the
southern portion of the District in October 1872, causing considerable
loss of life and destruction of property. The cyclone and storm-wave
of the 31st October 1876 swept the seaboard with still more disastrous
results. This last inundation extended inland for a distance of from
three to six miles, except where the mouths of rivers and creeks
afforded the storm-wave an easy entrance, and there the flood passed
much farther up and spread over the country for miles. It is estimated
that 12,000 persons were drowned in Chittagong alone, and 14,788 are
said to have perished in the cholera epidemic which succeeded the
inundation. Famine is unknown in the District, and could only result
from a combination of extensive loss of local crops, with great scarcity
in the Gangetic Delta and in Burma. Drought is almost unknown in the
District, and no demand exists for any irrigation works. The maximum
price of rice in 1866, the year of the great Orissa famine, was 13s. 8d. a
cwt., and of unhusked paddy, 5s. 5d. a cwt.



Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 3) → online text (page 52 of 56)