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The Imperial Gazetteer of India.











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Indore {Indor). — Large Native State in Malwa, Central India,
composing the territories of the Holkar dynasty. The political
relations of the Indore State are conducted direct with the Agent of
the Governor-General for Central India. The name of the State is
taken from that of the capital, Indore city. Area, 8400 square miles.
In 1878, the population was estimated (without enumeration) at
635,000. Population (1881) 1,054,237; density of population, 125
persons per square mile. The revenue of the Mahdrajd was ;^707,44o
in 1881-82.

The State consists of several isolated tracts. But since 186 1,
arrangements have been made to concentrate the territory as much
as possible ; and lands which were formerly held by Holkar in
Ahmadnagar District of Bombay Presidency and in the Deccan have
been exchanged for lands in Nimawar, and for the pargands of Barwai,
Dhurgaon, Khasrawar, and Mandesar, bordering on the Narbada
(Nerbudda) river and the tract in which Indore city is situated. This
territory, within which is the British cantonment of Mhow (Mau), is
bounded on the north by part of Sindhia's dominions ; on the east
by the States of Dewis and Dhar and the District of Nimar; on
the south by Khandesh District of Bombay Presidency; and on
the west by Barwani and Dhar. It lies between 21° 24 and
24° 14' N. lat., and betw^een 74° 28' and 77° 10' e. long. Its length
from north to south is 120 miles, its breadth 82 miles; and it is nearly
bisected by the Narbada river. The next largest portion of Holkar's
dominions is that annexed to the town of Rampura, north of Indore,
lying between 24° 3' and 24° 40' n. lat, and between 75° 6' and 76°
12' E. long. This tract is 70 miles in length from east to west, and



40 in breadth. Its principal towns are Rampura, Bhanpura, and
Chandwara. a third division, also north of Indore, includes the town
of Mehidpur, in lat. 23° 29' n., and long. 75° 42' e. A fourth portion,
westward of Indore, contains the town of Dhie, in lat. 22° 10' n., and
long. 74*^ 39' E. Besides several smaller estates in Malwd., including
Satwas Nimawar recently acquired by exchange, there are over 160
khdsgi or royal villages, most of them fairly populous. These
villages are, so to speak, free of the law and the State judges. The
revenue accruing to the Mahdraja from this peculiar khdsgi property
was in 1873 over ;^6o,ooo, and ;£"46,o2o in 1881-82.

Physical Aspects. — The northern parts of the State are watered
by the Chambal and its tributaries, and the tracts to the south by
the Narbada. The latter are traversed by the Vindhya range from
east to west. They form a section of the Narbada valley, and are
bounded on the south by the Sdtpura mountains. The Narbada flows
in a deep channel between precipitous banks of basaltic rock, and
during the rains rushes down with great rapidity and in a large volume
of water. The ascent from the Narbadd valley to the higher portions
of the State is in some places abrupt, and presents imposing precipices.
The railway climbs about 600 feet up this southern escarpment of the
Vindhyas, by steep gradients at places amounting to i in 40. The valley
of Mandesar, in the centre of the State, has an elevation of between 600
and 700 feet above sea-level. The general appearance of the country is
that of an undulating valley, intersected by low rocky ranges, in some
parts thickly clothed with stunted jungle of dhdk, babul, and other scrub-
wood. Jungle of the same nature also covers considerable tracts in
the plains. Like the rest of Malwa, the soil of Indore is fertile, con-
sisting largely of the rich black loam known as 'cotton-soil.' It is
formed apparently from the detritus of the trap mountains, and rests
upon a platform of trap, about 30 feet below the surface. This forma-
tion holds in the water, so that the rainfall of 36 inches is amply
sufficient. The principal crops are wheat, rice, millets, pulses, oil-
seeds, sugar-cane, and cotton. Cotton is chiefly grown in Malwa
and Nimdr. The soil is peculiarly suited to the growth of the poppy
plant, the cultivation of which is general. Tobacco of excellent quahty
is grown to a considerable extent. The forests of the State form two
belts, one in the south, bordering on the Sdtpura range, which is
considered to be malarious, and another, which is healthier, in the
Vmdhya Hills. Teak is being cultivated, and encouragement is given
to the production of lac. Wild animals include the tiger, leopard,
hunting leopard {chUa\ lynx, hysena, jackal, and fox, 7ulgdi (Portax
pictus), and two species of wild cattle, the bison (Gav^us gaurus), found
m the Katkut and other jungles, and the wild bufi-alo (Bubalus ami)
on the Satpuras. Crocodiles and many venomous snakes are found.


Population.— T\i^ first attempt at a systematic Census was made in
1 88 1, before which date all estimates of the population were more or
less conjectural. The ruling class in Indore are Marathas. There are
the usual other sub-divisions of Hindus, a few Muhammadans, and a
considerable number of the aboriginal tribes of Gonds and Bhils.
With the exception of these wild races, the inhabitants of Indore
and Mdlwa are a cultivating rather than a fighting population. The
regular army {ain fauj) of the Maharaja is chiefly recruited from
Northern India, beyond his own territories, and contains a large pro-
portion of men from the British Provinces of Oudh, the North-West,
and the Punjab. The Vindhya and Satpura ranges are the home of the
Bhils, where they have been settled from time immemorial. The Bhil
race is one of the wildest in India, living for the most part on jungle
products and game, or on the plunder of more civilised neighbours.
They have, however, of late been brought into more peaceable habits of
life ; and many are now employed as soldiers and police, in which
capacity they have proved themselves useful and trustworthy. The
Malwa Bhil corps is a British force (1881) 527 strong, supplying detach-
ments to the Satpura Hills, Rajpur, Barwani, and Ratlam. The corps
supports a regimental school, some of the pupils in which are Bhils.
The Bhils are not, however, utilized in the regular army of Holkar.

In 1866-67, the total population of the Indore State was put down at
744,822, while in 1878 it was estimated at 635,000. The first regular
Census of 1881 returned a total population for the whole State of
1,054,237. These are sub-divided as follows: — Males, 559,616, or
53 per cent.; females, 494,621, or 47 per cent. The State con-
tains 3734 towns and villages; occupied houses, 193,662; persons
per occupied house, 5 •44- The religious division of the people is
thus shown in the Census of 1881 -.—Hindus, 892,675, or 84*6 per
cent.; Muhammadans, 72,747, or 6-85 per cent. ; Jains, 1645; Parsis,
127 ; Christians, 52. 601, or -5 per cent., are returned as Sikhs, and
86,390, or 8-1 per cent., as aborigines— mostly Gonds (7312) and
Bhils (55,582). Separated into castes, there are 78,750 Brahmans,
93,760 Rajputs, 43,945 Chamars, 36,053 Giijurs, 45,94© Baniyas,
25,451 Kunbis or cultivators; and other low castes. There are 7 towns
with from one to two thousand inhabitants ; 4 with from two to three
thousand ; 4 with from three to five thousand ; i with from five to ten
thousand ; and i with over fifty thousand.

Railways.— T\iQ principal public work undertaken of late years in
Indore, has been the extension to this territory of the general railway
system of India. A State Railway, at present managed by the Bombay,
Baroda, and Central India line, under the Imperial Department of
Public Works, runs from Khandwa junction (353 miles from Bombay)
through Mhow (Mau) to Indore city, a distance of 85! miles. The


branch is known as the Holkar State Railway as far as Indore,
and is on the metre gauge (3 feet 3I inches). The Hne was con-
structed by means of a loan of 100 lakhs of rupees (^1,000,000),
made by the Maharaja Holkar to the British Government for a period
of 1 01 years, to bear interest at the rate of 4 J per cent, per annum.
The Maharaja also ceded the land required for the railway, free of
charge ; and the British Government has full civil and criminal juris-
diction,' short of absolute sovereignty, over it. The Maharaja receives
one-half of the surplus profit of the line, in excess of the 4 J per cent,
interest on the capital invested. The principal engineering works on
the railway are the ascent of the Vindhya escarpment already referred
to, and the construction of a bridge across the Narbada, with 14 spans
of 200 feet wrought-iron girders. The bridge was opened in October
1876. From Indore the hne passes through part of Sindhia's dominions,
Ratlam, Jaora, and Mewar, connecting Indore with Nasirabad
(Nuseerabad), and finally with Delhi and Agra. This northern section
was made out of a loan to the British Government, ultimately amounting
to I J millions sterling, by the Maharaja Sindhia, at 4 per cent, interest,
for the construction of two lines through his dominions, namely from
Gwalior to Agra, and from Indore to Nemach. Both lines are completed.
The Indore-Nemach line has been amalgamated with the Rajputana
State Railway, and the whole line, from Indore to Nasirabad, is known
as the Rajputana-Mcalwa State Railway. In 1881, a line between
Chittor and Nasirabad was opened for public trafiic.

The chief means of road communication are the Bombay and Agra
Trunk Road, which ruHS through Indore and Mhow, with a branch to
Dhar. Another road, 80 miles in length, joins Indore with Khandwa,
crossing the Narbada by the railway bridge. A metalled roadway is
also in course of construction between Mhow and Nasirabad.

hidustries. — At Indore there is in constant work a steam cotton mill
belonging to the Maharaja. The weight of cloth produced in 1881
was 565,349 lbs. In 1878, the number of spindles was 10,000.
Opium manufacture is another important industry; and in 1880-81,
i3j837 chests were exported from Indore, yielding a revenue of
^70, now of ;^65 (1885), per chest to the British Government at
the border customs stations. In 1882-83, the number of chests was
12,477, ^rid the British revenue, ^873,390. The payment of revenue
is made on weighment of the chests (140J lbs.), the rate levied being
now ;£"65 per chest. The Governor-General's Agent is ex officio
Opium Agent for the States of Central India and a part of Rajputana.
The central weighing ofiice is in Indore, with seven subordinate assistant
agencies in the principal local marts, Ujjain, Jaora, Dhar, Bhopal,
Chittor, Mandesar, and Ratlam. All of these are on lines of railway,
except Dhar. Much of the best land in Indore is taken up for opium,


which is the best paying crop. The export of cereals, although important
in years of exceptional productiveness, is not considerable in ordinary
seasons. Wheat is probably destined, however, to become a large staple
trade, notwithstanding the export duty levied on it by the Maharaja.

History. — The history of Indore, as a separate State, only dates from
the first half of the last century. The Holkar family are Marathas of
the Dhangar or goat-herd tribe. The founder of the dynasty was
Malhar Rdo, the son of a shepherd, who was born about 1693, in the
village of Hoi or Hal on the Nira river in the Deccan, from whence
the family derives the surname of Holkar, the affix ' kar ' or ' kur '
signifying inhabitant. In his youth Malhar Rao abandoned his heredi-
tary peaceful occupation, and joined a small body of cavalry in the
service of a Maratha noble. He early distinguished himself; and
about 1724 he entered the service of the Peshwa as the commander of
500 horse. After this, his rise was rapid, and four years later he
was rewarded by large tracts of land, the nucleus of the present
principality. In 1732 he filled the post of principal general to the
Peshwa, and defeated the army of the Mughal viceroy of Malwa.
Indore, with the greater portion of the conquered country, was assigned
to Malhar Rao for the support of his troops; and in 1735 he was
appointed commander of the Maratha forces north of the Narbada.
During the next twelve years he was constantly employed, — in
campaigns against the Mughals, in assisting at the expulsion of the
Portuguese from Bassein, and in aiding the Nawab Wazir Safdar
Jang in preserving Oudh from the Rohillas. During all this time his
possessions and influence rapidly increased, and raised him to a fore-
most position among the chiefs of India. At the battle of Panipat in
1761, Malhar Rao divided with Sindhia the command of the right win^^
of the Maratha army. It is asserted that Malhar Rao did not here
fight with his old spirit. He probably foresaw the event of the battle ;
at any rate, he retreated with his contingent before the defeat had
become a rout.

After Panipat, Malhar Rao retired to Central India, and employed
himself in reducing his vast possessions to coherence and order. He
died in 1765, leaving a principality bringing in an annual revenue of
three-quarters of a million sterling. He was succeeded by his grand-
son, Mali Rao, a lad who died insane nine months after his accession.
The administration was then assumed by the famous Ahalya Bai, Mali
Rao's mother, who prosperously ruled the State in conjunction with her
commander-in-chief Tukaji Rao, for thirty years. She died in 1795,
and was not long survived by Tukaji Rao; after whose death the power
of the house of Holkar was nearly extinguished by family quarrels, and
by the dissensions which distracted the whole Maratha confederacy at
the close of the last century. The fortunes of the family were,


however, restored by Jaswant Rao, an illegitimate son of Tiikaji, who,
after a signal reverse from the army of Sindhia, employed European
officers to reorganize and discipline his army. In 1802 he defeated
the united army of Sindhia and the Peshwa at the battle of Poona
(Puna), and possessed himself of that city. The treaty of Bassein
between the Peshwa and the British Government, resulted in the Peshwa
being restored to his capital as a virtual vassal of the British; and
Jaswant Rao returned to his own domininions.

In the Maratha war of 1803, Jaswant Rao Holkar held aloof,
apparently intending to take advantage of the hostilities to aggrandize
himself at Sindhia's expense. His schemes, however, were rendered
hopeless by the treaty of Sarji Anjengaon; and after making a series
of inadmissible proposals for an aUiance, Holkar seems to have hastily
determined, unaided and alone, to provoke hostilities with the British.
In the war which followed, Holkar obtained a temporary advantage by
compelling Colonel Monson to retreat with great loss. Holkar at once
invaded British territory. Here, however, fortune deserted him, and,
after successive defeats, he was forced to retire upon the Punjab, closely
followed by Lord Lake, to whom, in December 1805, he surrendered
himself, and signed a treaty on the banks of the Beas (Bias) river. By the
treaty he gave up the territories which had been occupied by the British
in the course of the war. These, however, were restored to him in the
following year. Jaswant Rao afterwards became insane, and died in
181 1, leaving the regency in the hands of a favourite concubine, Tulsi
Bai, during the minority of his son, Malhar Rao Holkar. For some
years, the State was torn by internal dissensions, and overrun by
Pindari marauders. The army mutinied, and the queen regent
petitioned that she and the youthful Raja might be received under
British protection. While negotiations were proceeding, however, war
broke out between the British and the Peshwa. A hostile bearing was
assumed by the Indore Court. The queen regent was seized and
murdered. Her murder was followed by the complete defeat of
Holkar's army at Mehidpur, and the treaty of Mandesar on the 6th
January 1818, which deprived him of much territory, and reduced him
to the position of a feudatory prince. The terms of this treaty still
govern the relations of the British Government with the State.

Malhar Rao Holkar died in 1833, at the age of 28, without issue,
but his widow adopted, as his son, a child, Martand Rao. This adop-
tion proved unpopular ; and a few weeks afterwards, Martand Rao was
summarily deposed by a cousin, Hari Rao, who had been in prison
since 18 19, in consequence of an unsuccessful rebellion, and whose
accession was welcomed by the troops and people. His long imprison-
ment had, however, unfitted him to govern, and his reign was a period
of intrigue and disorder. Hari Rao died in 1843, '^^d ^^^s adopted


son, who succeeded him, survived only for a few months, dying un-
married and without an heir. The selection was declared to rest with
the British Government. Tiikaji Rao (the present Maharaja), the
second son of Bhao Holkar, at that time eleven years of age, was
chosen and formally installed. During his minority, the administra-
tion, was conducted by a regency; but in 1852, the young Maharaja
attained his majority, and was invested with the entire management
of the affairs of the State. Since 1852 there has been little or no
change in the political relations of Indore with the British Govern-
ment. During the Mutiny of 1857, a considerable portion of the State
troops rose against the British, and besieged Sir Henry Durand, the
English pohtical Resident at Indore. With some difficulty the Resident
succeeded in retiring to Bhopal with the English women and children.
The Mahdrdja remained loyal. His rebellious troops a few weeks
afterwards laid down their arms, and order was restored.

The relations of Indore with the British Government are — that
the British undertake to protect the State ; and to mediate in case of
differences with other States. The Maharaja Holkar on his part engaged
to abstain from direct communication with other States ; to limit his
military establishments ; to employ no Europeans or Americans in his
service without the consent of the British Government; and to afford every
facility towards the purchase and transport of supplies for the auxiUary
force to be maintained for his protection. The Maharaja has received a
sanad of adoption. He has been created a Knight Grand Commander
of the Star of India, a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire,
and is entitled permanently to a salute of 19 guns in British territory,
and to a salute of 2 1 guns in his own territory. The present Maharaja
enjoys a personal salute of 21 guns in British territory, and has been
made a Counsellor of the Empress. Indore maintains a military
establishment of 3100 regular and 2150 irregular infantry, 2100 regular
and 1200 irregular cavalry, and 340 artillerymen, with nominally 24
field-guns equipped. As already stated, the regular army of the
Maharaja Holkar (ain fnuj) is recruited chiefly from the British Pro-
vinces of Gudh and the North-West. There are also two companies
of Sikhs from the Punjab. The Mahdraja has powers of life and death.

Administration. — The revenue of the State is steadily increasing. In
1875, ^^ revenue amounted to ;£"459,8oo, and the expenditure to
;^4o5,ioo. In 1878, the revenue was returned at ;^5 12,300, and
the expenditure at ;^4 16,600. By 1881-82, the revenue of the
State had increased to ^707,440; the expenditure for the same
period being ^2^527,170. Of the latter sum, ;£"i 20,810 defrayed
the charges for the palace establishment; ^^172, 320 the charges
for the army and police ; ;^74,48o the charges for public works ;
^4410 for education; ^5180 for courts of justice; ;£'ii9o for the


postal system; and ;^294o for hospitals and dispensaries. In
1881-82, the cost of the State-jail system was ^2620. The revenue
items of importance in 1881-82 were as follow: — Land revenue,
^^449,400; customs, ;£'73,i7o; abkdri^ or excise, ;^i 1,280; tributes,
^^15,850; stamps, ;^477o; fines, ;^988o ; post-office, ;£" 680 ; mint,
^^2790; and miscellaneous, ;^4o,65o.

In 1881-82, there were altogether 107 schools in Indore territory; the
number of pupils was 4942, or 353 more than in the year preceding.
Within the limits of the Residency at Indore is situated the Rajkumar
College, for the education of the sons of the native chiefs, nobles, and
upper classes in Central India, affiliated to the Calcutta University.
But the Rajkumdr College, although situated at Indore, has no special
connection with the State. It is mainly supported from imperial
and local British funds. The College educates from 12 to 20 sons of
Chiefs ; and the Principal, by desire of the Chiefs, exercises a general
supervision over the more important English-teaching schools in
Central India. There is also a Residency School for the sons of persons
residing within the limits of the British Residency at Indore. It has
upwards of 200 pupils. The Canadian Presbyterian Mission has recently
established another school within the Residency limits. The Maha-
raja has also a High School at Indore, teaching up to the matriculation
standard, which is chiefly attended by the sons of the official class
(Deccani Brahmans) and bankers of the city. The Maharajd's College at
Indore educates almost exclusively Deccani Brahmans. At Mandesar
and Khargaon there are English schools ; and in the Mardthi schools at
Maheswar, Rampura, Kanod, and Barwdi, English classes have been
formed. The law and Sanskrit schools were established in 1875;
there are three girls' schools in the State, two of them at Indore city,
well attended. There are, besides, 9 Mardthi, 36 Hindi, 8 Sanskrit,

9 Persian, and 14 Hindi-Marathi schools. The State expenditure on
education in 1881-82 was ;^44io.

The administration of justice is carried on by means of a Sadr or
central court at Indore, presided over by English-speaking native judges.
Three subsidiary zild courts are also established at Indore, Mandesar,
and Ram.pura. At each of these three places there is a State jail.

Climate. — The climate of Indore State is sultry, the temperature
ranging from 60° to 90° F. within doors. The annual rainfall at Indore
city during the fourteen years ending 1881 averaged 3671 inches;
the rainfall in 1881 was 317 inches. The city has a charitable hospital,
leper asylum, and dispensary. Cholera frequently ravages the State.

Indore. — Chief town of Indore State, and capital of the Maharaja
Holkar's territories ; situated on the left bank of the Katki river, near
its junction with the Khan river, in lat. 22° 42' n., and long. 75° 54' e.
Height above sea-level, 1786 feet. Indore is the residence of the


Alaharaja, and of the Political Agent to the Governor-General for Central
India. The town is of modern date, having been built by Ahalya Bai
{circ. 1770), after the death of Malhar Rao, the founder of the State.
The former capital of the tract within which the city is situated,
previous to the Maratha invasion, was Kampail, 18 miles to the south-
east. Kampail has dwindled to a village. The Court of Holkar was
transferred to Indore in 1818; and now Indore is a prosperous city
connected with the railway systems of Bombay and Northern and
Eastern India. The population of the city in 1881 was 75,401, of
whom 41,484 are males and 33,917 females. Hindus numbered
57,234; Muhammadans, 16,674; 'others,' 1493.

Indore stands on an elevated and healthy site. Of recent years
modern improvements have been introduced. Roads have been
metalled, drains built, the water-supply cared for, and the principal
streets lighted. The palace of the Maharaja, with its lofty, many-
storied gateway, is conspicuous from every part of the city. Among
the chief objects of interest are the Lai Bagh or garden, with its
pleasant summer palace and interesting collection of animals, the
mint, high school, market-place, reading-room, dispensary, and large
cotton mill. The Maharaja takes a keen interest in his cotton
factory, and has spent a large sum of money upon it. To the
west of the city is an antelope preserve, where sport with hunting-

Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 7) → online text (page 1 of 57)