William Wilson Hunter.

The imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 3) online

. (page 53 of 56)
Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 3) → online text (page 53 of 56)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Commerce, etc.— The chief imports into Chittagong are piece-goods,
salt, and earth-oil, and the principal exports tea and jute, the latter
being largely shipped from this port in preference to Calcutta. The
District trade is virtually that of Chittagong town and port, and the
statistics are given fully in the article on Chittagong town {post, p. 445).
Besides the town and port of Chittagong, the chief seats of trade in
the District are Cox's Bazar, Mahajan-hat, Nazir-hat, and Roaja-hat ;

CH1TTAG0NG. 44 1

but nearly every village has a permanent hat or market held twice a

Manufactures are not carried on to any great extent in the District.
A little coarse cloth is woven from cotton, and common kinds of pottery
and silver and gold ornaments of inferior workmanship are made. There
are several steam rice husking mills ; and ship-building is carried on.
The carpenters are skilful, but a want of energy is observable in this
industry. In 1881-82, there were in Chittagong 386 miles of road,
maintained at a total cost of ^8969. There are several natural creeks,
which furnish excellent means of communication. The more important
of these have a total length of about 36 miles, and, together with the
roads above mentioned, are kept up by the District Road Committee.
These waterways are all under the Canal Tolls Act, and are let out to
farmers, who levy a fixed toll. The Dacca Trunk Road, of which 45
miles lie within the District, is maintained by Government. Chittagong
District will shortly be brought in connection with the regular railway
system of India; surveys have been carried out for a line from
Chittagong town to the Meghna at Daiidkandi in Noakhalf District,
opposite Narainganj in Dacca, a length of 128 miles. A ferry service
between Daiidkandi and Narainganj will connect the Chittagong line
with the Dacca- Maimansingh Railway now under construction. At
Comilla in Tipperah District, the Chittagong line will connect the
project with the projected railway northwards to i\ssam and Cachar.

Tea. — Tea cultivation was introduced into the District in 1840, in
which year some tea-seeds were received from Assam, and a few China
plants from the Calcutta Botanical Gardens. Three years later, the
first tea was manufactured in Chittagong. In the end of 1862, a single
planter, who visited the District, took up 20,000 acres of land ; after
this, other speculators came forward, applications for allotments of waste
lands poured in, and a number of gardens were started, many of which
failed through the fault of the managers, or from unsuitable sites having
been chosen. Most of the lands intended for tea-planting are held in
fee-simple, having been purchased under the Waste-Land Rules.
Rich land, with good drainage, is considered the best for the growth of
tea ; most of the suitable and accessible sites have been already taken
up for cultivation. The number of plantations in 1872 was 13; the
area under cultivation, 1203 acres; area taken up for planting, but not
then planted, 23,687 acres. The approximate yield was 205,112 lbs.,
or an average of 198 lbs. per acre of mature plant. In 1S68-69, the
number of chests exported was 502, of about 86 lbs. each ; estimated
value, ^4016. In 1872-73, 3342 chests were exported, valued at
,£29,977 ; in 1873-74, 4427 chests, valued at ,£30,147. In 18S1-S2,
810,397 lbs. of tea were exported, of the value ot ,£65,117.

Administration.— When Chittagong was ceded to the English in


1760, it contained an area of 2987 square miles, and yielded (inclusive
of grants for the maintenance of a military force) a revenue of
Sikhd Rs. 323,135. The earlier tables of revenue and expenditure
contain so many items which are mere matters of account, transfer,
and deposit, that they are useless for comparative purposes. In
1881-82, the net revenue of the District was ^149,320. The land^
tax forms the most important item of revenue. In 1790 there were
onlv 3376 estates, and 5384 proprietors, paying a total land revenue
°f ^5^412, or ^15, 4s. 6|d. per estate. By 1850-51, the number
of estates had risen to 40,764, and of proprietors to 61,040; land
revenue, ^78,414 ; average per estate, £i t 18s. 5jd. The number of
estates paying rent to Government in 1870-71 was 29,408, and the
number of proprietors or coparceners, 52,047 ; the average land revenue
paid by each estate being £2, ns. ijd., and the average paid by each
proprietor, £i 9 8s. iofd. The term 'estate,' however, is not always
used in the same sense, and is sometimes made to include under
tenures. In 1881-82, there were about 29,000 estates paying revenue
to Government, and 5 khds viahals, or estates in which the Government
is absolute proprietor, and collects the rent direct from the tenants.
There were also nearly 36,000 rent-free properties. The revenue from
the five Government estates in 1881-82 aggregated ,£13,172, and from
the 29,000 private estates, ^£66,608; total, ^£79,780. The rent-free
properties pay only towards local rates, such as the Road Cess and the
Postal Cess. A large special establishment is maintained for the
purpose of inquiring into and registering all titles to land. The number
of magisterial courts in 1880-81 was 10, and of civil and revenue
courts, 13. For police purposes, the District is divided into 13 thdiids.
The regular police force consisted in 1880-81 of 385 men of all ranks,
maintained at a total cost of ^7227. There was also a municipal force
of 61 men, costing ^"633, and a village police consisting of 2037 men,
receiving ^922 1 in money and lands. The total machinery, therefore,
for the protection of person and property in the District consisted of
2483 officers and men, maintained at a total cost of ;£i 7,081 ; giving
one man to every 1 square mile, and for every 456 of the population.
The District possesses a central jail at Chittagong, and a lock-up at
Cox's Bazar. The average daily number of prisoners in 1881 was 135.
An English school was first established by Government in Chittagong in
1836, and in 1869 a high school (subsequently developed into a college)
was opened in connection with it. The college department contained
17 pupils in 1882, and the collegiate school, 455 pupils. Since the
introduction of the scheme for the encouragement of primary education,
the number of Government and aided schools established up to March
1882 was 786, attended by 21,288 pupils. Apart from Government aid
or inspection, Chittagong District stands exceptionally high in the general


diffusion of indigenous elementary education. For the special require-
ments of the Muhammadan community, a Madrasa has been established
at Chittagong, maintained out of the proceeds of the Mohsin Endowment
fund, a bequest made by a benevolent Muhammadan. The pupils
numbered 314 in March 18S2, of whom 28 were boarders. For adminis-
trative purposes, Chittagong is divided into two Sub-divisions. The fiscal
sub-division into pargands has not been introduced into this District.

Medical Aspects. — Chittagong is very unhealthy. Every form of
malarious disease is met with, intermittent fever being the most common.
This fever seldom proves directly fatal ; but its constant recurrence
causes enlargement of the spleen and liver, anaemia, dropsy, and
ultimately death from debility. The District is hardly ever entirely free
from cholera. Amongst other causes to which the unhealthiness of
Chittagong has been attributed, are the numerous tidal creeks and khdls
(which have been described as ' simply a series of open sewers, without
the advantage of ever being well flushed '), and the extraordinarily large
number of tanks scattered over the lowlands, which are never cleaned,
and are almost invariably choked with weeds and decaying vegetation.
Chittagong town being open to the sea-breeze, which usually prevails
during the day, is cool ; but the atmosphere is often laden with moisture,
and heavy night dews and occasional fogs are the result. Average
annual temperature, 77-6° F. The average temperature in 1881 was
77°, the highest maximum recorded being 92-2° in March, and the
lowest minimum 47-6° in January. Average annual rainfall for twenty-
five years ending 1881 was 103-58 inches. The rainfall in 1881 was
9576 inches, or 7-82 inches below the average. [For further infor-
mation regarding Chittagong, see the Statistical Account of Bengal,
vol. vi. pp. 106-223 (London: Triibner & Co., 1876). Also Revenue
History of Chittagong, by H. J. S. Cotton, Esq. (Calcutta, 1880);
Census Report of Bengal for 188 1 ; and the Annual Administration
Reports for Bengal from 1880 to 1883.]

Chittagong.— Head-quarters Sub-division of the District of same
name, Bengal; lying between 21 50' and 22 59' N. lat, and between
91 30' and 92 ° 14' 45" e. long. Area, 1630 square miles, with n 01
villages and towns, and 181,415 occupied houses. Population (1881),
namely, Muhammadans, 673,949; Hindus, 261,510; Buddhists, 34,480;
Christians, 1041 ; and 'others,' 13 : total, 970,993, being 454,4° J males
and 516,592 females. Average density of population, 596 persons per
square mile; houses per square mile, 115; persons per village, 882 ;
persons per house, 5 -3. The Sub-division consists of the 9 police circles
(thdnds) of Chittagong, Kumiria, Mirkasarai, Hathazari, Phatikchari,
Raojan, Patia, Satkanki, and Banskhali. In 1883, it contained 13
civil and 6 criminal courts ; strength of regular police, 335 men ;
village watchmen {c/iaukidars), 1802.


Chittagong. — Chief town and administrative head-quarters of
Chittagong District, and the second port in Bengal. Lat. 22 21' 3" n.,
long. 91 52' 44" e. ; area, 9 square miles; population (1881) 20,969,
namelv, 14,478 Muhammadans, 5660 Hindus, and 831 'others.' Of
the total population, 12,180 are males and only 8789 females, the
excess of males being due to the fact that many men come into the
town from other parts in search of employment, leaving their families at
home. Chittagong is situated on the right bank of the Karnaphuli
river, about 12 miles from its mouth. The town is merely an agglomera-
tion of small villages grouped together for municipal purposes. The
houses occupied by the European residents are scattered over a con-
siderable area, each house on a separate hill. These hills, though
small, are very steep, and, with one or two exceptions, it is impossible
to drive to the top. The principal streets are Diwan-bazar and its con-
tinuation Chandanpura-bazar, which run through the town from north
to south. Besides the houses of the European and the principal native
residents, the chief brick buildings are the Government offices, circuit
house, and dak bungalow, churches (Roman Catholic and Protestant),
several large mosques, a home for European sailors, hotel, schools, and
dispensary. The municipal income for the year 1881-82 was ,£2593,
derived mainly from the house-tax; rate of taxation, 2s. per head.
The notorious unhealthiness of Chittagong is partly attributable to the
existence of a large number of stagnant pools and tanks, from which
malarious exhalations arise. Malaria is also carried by the prevalent
wind (from the south or south-west) from the extensive chars, or
marshy islands, which have been thrown up in the river opposite the
town. Efforts are being made to improve the sanitary condition of the

Chittagong has long been an important place of trade, and the early
Portuguese merchants gave it the name of Porto Grando. The establish-
ment of the European settlements on the Hiigli caused it to sink for a
time into comparative insignificance. But of late it has gradually been
resuming its place as a great centre of commerce ; and the port, which
is one of the best in India, is frequented by vessels from foreign
countries as well as from the Indian Presidencies. Unfortunately it is
comparatively inaccessible to native craft coming from Tipperah,
Noakhali, Dacca, and Bakarganj, which must, before entering the river,
round a point where rough weather is often encountered. This risk
they will not run, except during a short period from December to
March, which covers most of the rice season, but does not allow of a
traffic in oil-seed, jute, etc. As a remedy for this, a proposal is now
(1883) before the Government of India for a line of railway from
Chittagong to Daiidkandi, in Tipperah District, with a ferry service to
Narainganj, which will go far to make Chittagong the port for the trade


of the whole of Eastern Bengal. The length of the line would be
128 miles, and the work presents no engineering difficulties.

The trade of the port is steadily increasing, and in 1881-82, both in
regard to foreign and coasting trade, was larger than in any previous
year. The number of vessels which entered the port in 1860-61 was
66 — tonnage, 9743; in 1865, the number of vessels was 221, with a
tonnage of 44,282; in 1874-75, it was 220 — tonnage, 83,900. In 1860-61,
100 vessels cleared — tonnage, 14,499; in 1865-66, the number of
ships cleared was 247, with a tonnage of 47>9°5 \ 1874—75, it was 215,
with a tonnage of 86,264. In 1881-82 no fewer than 771 sea-
going vessels, with a tonnage of 191,540, entered ; and 773 vessels, of a
tonnage of 188,599, cleared from Chittagong port. As regards trade
statistics, the merchandise imported into or exported from Chittagong
by country boats during 1881-82 was— imports, 1,736,408 cwts., value
^471,861 ; and exports, 251,343 cwts., valued at ^£140,830. Total
inland import and export trade in 1881-82, 1,987,751 cwts., valued
at ^"612,692. As regards the sea-borne trade, the imports amounted
to ,£899,977 in value in 1881-82; and the exports to ,£986,369.
Total value of sea-borne import and export trade in 1881-82,
,£1,886,346. The port dues and pilotage fees on vessels in 1881-82
yielded ^£6082. The principal sea imports are salt, which was
imported to the extent of 275,564 cwts. in 1881-82; and European
twist, yarn, and piece-goods, to the value of ^£i 86,450. The exports
included rice (864,462 cwts. in 1881-82); jute and gunny (613,471
cwts.); and tea (736,817 lbs., value ,£67,117).

The water on the right bank of the river Karnaphuli (the side on
which the port is situated) is becoming shallower every year — a fact
which is accounted for by the action of the river. About two miles
above Chittagong, the stream sets strongly against the right bank, and
being thrown off with considerable force, strikes with increasing
vehemence against the left bank, about a mile above the town. Broad
strips of land are thus yearly washed away into the river, and a large
char or sandbank has formed in front of the upper portion of the town.
Artificial means have been taken to protect the port; and the current,
again thrown off, sets against the left bank once more, and has
scoured out a new channel, separated from the shipping by a char in
the middle of the river.

Chittagong has more than once played a conspicuous part in history.
It was besieged and captured in 1665 by the Mughals, under Umed
Khan, who changed the name of the place to Islamabad (vide Chitta-
gong District). In 1857, on the night of the 18th November, the men
of the 34th Native Infantry, stationed at Chittagong, suddenly mutinied.
They released all the prisoners in the jail, killing one native constable,
and early on the morning of the 19th left the station, carrying away


with them three Government elephants, some ammunition, and treasure
to the value of about ,£27,800, of which about ^5000 was subsequently
recovered. No one but the native constable was killed ; and the hneute
was not of any serious consequence.

Chittagong Hill Tracts. — District in the Chittagong Division of
the Lieutenant-Governorship of Bengal, lying between 21° 13' and 2$
47' n. lat., and between 91° 46' and 92 49' e. long. Area, 5419 square
miles. Population (1881) 101,597 souls. Bounded on the north by
Hill Tipperah State, on the west by Chittagong District, and on the
south by the Burmese District of Akyab. The eastern boundary is
formed by a line running from the south-east corner of Hill Tipperah,
along the course of the Tiiilenpiii or Sajjiik river, to its junction with
the Karnaphuli ; thence along the course of the Tuichang, across the
Uipiim range to the west, and along the Thega Khal to its headwaters ;
thence westward along the watershed of the Weybong-tang, until it
meets the southern hill station of Keokradong on the Arakan frontier.
The administrative head-quarters are at Rangamati, but the most
populous place in the District is Bandarban.

Physical Aspects. — The District is divided into four valleys, constituted
by its four principal rivers — the Pheni, the Karnaphuli, the Sangu,
the Matamuri, and their tributaries — and marked by chains of hills
running from the south in a north-westerly direction. The Sangu and
Matamuri rivers, until they enter the plains, run parallel to the ranges,
forming two regular valleys ; the Karnaphuli and Pheni flow transversely
across the main line of the hills, and the valleys here are formed by large
tributaries of the Karnaphuli entering the river at right angles to its course.
The general aspect of the District has been described as 'a tangled mass
of hill, ravine, and cliff, covered with dense tree, bush, and creeper jungle.
The intervals between the smaller hill ranges are filled up with a mass
of jungle, low hills, small watercourses, and swamps of all sizes and
descriptions, so erratic in their configuration as to render any description
impossible. . . . From the summits of the main ranges, the view of
the apparently boundless sea of forest is grand in the extreme. View r ed
from these points, the lower jungle almost assumes the appearance of
a level green plain, while in reality it is one of the most difficult
countries to pass through that can be imagined.' Along the valleys
and courses of the chief rivers, the scenery is of a different character,
being for the most part dull and uninteresting. The banks of the
rivers are generally covered with tall elephant grass or dense jungle,
which effectually prevents any view being obtained of the surrounding
country. There are, however, some striking exceptions to this account
of the river scenery ; and Captain T. H. Lewin (to whose Hill Tracts
of Chittagong and the Dwellers therein, this article is greatly indebted)
has described in very eloquent language the scenes which are occasionally


to be met with. Near Rangamati, on the Karnaphulf river, for
example, 'the character of the scenery' — writes Captain Lewin —
' changes from its usual dull monotony of reaches of still water and
walls of dark-green verdure, to a scene of marvellous beauty, resem-
bling somewhat the view on the Rhine near the Lurleiberg. Dark cliffs
of brown vitreous rock, patched and mottled with lichens and mosses
of various colours, tower up on either hand ; while, occasionally, on
the right or left, shoots back a dark gorge of impenetrable jungle.'
The same writer describes exquisite bits of scenery along some of
the affluents of the Matamuri river. The chief rivers of the District
have already been named, and will be found fully described under their
respective names. The most important of them, the Karnaphulf, called
by the hillmen Kynsa Khyoung, rises in a lofty range of hills to the
north-east, and, after flowing by a most tortuous course through the Hill
Tracts, enters Chittagong District at the village of Chandraguna. The
Sangu, which rises in the hill range dividing the District from Arakan,
after a course, generally northerly, of about 125 miles, reaches Bandar-
ban, below which point it is affected by the tide. The Pheni forms the
northern boundary of the District. Although all these rivers are of
great depth during the rains, the rapidity and violence of their currents,
their sharp turns and whirling eddies, render them, practically speaking,
unavailable for large craft within the limits of the District, and present
considerable dangers to small boats. In addition to these rivers, the
District is intersected by a network of hill streams, navigable for some
distance by canoes, but which cannot be classed as navigable rivers.
A mountain lake of great beauty, situated on the east side of the
Ramakri Tang hill, was discovered in 1875 by Lieutenant Gordon, the
officer in charge of the Sangu Sub-division. It is about a mile long by
a quarter of a mile broad, and well stocked with fish. The mountains
of the District are steep, and can only be ascended slowly and painfully
by men, along known zig-zag paths, or by cutting similar tracks through
the jungle with which they are covered. The highest hills are — Rang-
rang-dang (2789 feet) and Lurain Tang (2355 feet), both peaks in the
Tyambang range; and Basitang (2181 feet), the principal peak of a
range of the same name. Valuable forest trees are found throughout
almost the entire area of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Nearly the
whole area (5419 square miles) was, in 1S71, declared to be Government
forest ; and the collection of all the revenue tolls in the District, which
had previously been leased to the hill chiefs, was transferred to the
Forest Department. The amount realized by Government in 1S70-71,
by leasing out the right to levy tolls on forest produce, was ^1013 ;
the amount realized by the Forest Department at its 19 toll stations in
1880-81 was ,£7306, the expenditure incurred during that year being
onlv'^1242. Both lignite and coal have been found in the Chittagong


Hill Tracts, and specimens have been analyzed ; but the proportion of
ash proved too large to hold out any prospect of working the mineral
at a profit. Limestone is also found, but of an inferior quality, and its
manufacture has proved unprofitable. Sandstone exists in abundance.
Salt-licks are found at many places, and are utilized by the Kukis as
sources of the local salt-supply by boiling down the water in conical
earthen pots. Elephants are found in great numbers, and a consider-
able portion of the Government supply is derived from the forests of
this District. During the years 1866-68, the officers of the Elephant
{Khedd) Department captured and took away no fewer than 200 of
these animals. The rhinoceros is common, and tigers are numerous.
Among other animals met with are the leopard, the Malay black bear,
the jungle cat, the wild buffalo, the barking deer, the s&mbhar deer,
the lemur, and several kinds of monkeys. Snakes are eaten by the
hill people, and are eagerly sought after ; numerous varieties are found.
The boa-constrictor is common, and often grows to an enormous size.
Amongst the birds of the District may be mentioned the Polyplectron
and the maturd or Arakan pheasant, button quails, jungle fowl, wood
pigeons, and a few partridges, wild duck, and snipe.

Hisioiy. — The history of the Chittagong Hill Tracts is a record of
constantly-recurring raids on the part of the bordering hill tribes, against
whom it has more than once been necessary to send punitive military
expeditions. The earliest record of our dealings with the people of
these hills is a letter from the Chief of Chittagong to Warren Hastings,
the Governor-General, dated 10th April 1777, complaining of the
violence and aggressions of a mountaineer named Rd.mu Khan, the
leader of a band of Kukis or Lushais. Again, in the end of the same
year, military help was required 'for the protection of the inhabitants
against the Kukis.' In i860, the same tribe made a murderous raid
into Tipperah District, killing 186 British subjects, and taking too
prisoners. In January of the following year, a military force was
assembled at Barkal to punish the offenders. The village of the
chief, 18 miles north-east of Barkal, was found deserted and in flames ;
and the negotiations which followed for the pacification of the country
ended in the submission of Rattan Puiya in October 1861. In 1864,
1865, and 1866, the Shendus made several raids; and between 1866
and 187 1, the Haulong clan of Lushais gave constant trouble. In
1870-71, this tribe perpetrated in Cachar a series of raids of an un-
usually aggravated character, in the course of which the lives of several
Europeans were sacrificed, and the daughter of a planter, together with
many native British subjects, was carried away captive by the raiders.
These outrages determined the Government to undertake effective
reprisals. Two military columns entered the Lushai country simul-

Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 3) → online text (page 53 of 56)