William Wilson Hunter.

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grow upon their slopes.

The boundary rivers form the only interesting feature in Jalaun.
Of these, the great stream of the Jumna is the chief, and indeed the
only navigable river, even during the rainy season. Its banks, here as
elsewhere, are high on the southern side ; but its bed is obstructed
by numerous sandbanks and shallows. The Pahiij, which forms the
western boundary for the greater part of its course, has steep and
rocky banks ; and the Betwa, to the south, is rapid and unnavigable.
The litde river Non flows through the centre of the District, which it
drains instead of watering, by innumerable small ravines. The District
contains no lakes or jhtls of importance, and no canals. It has no
mineral wealth or forests. Woods which formerly existed along the river
banks have been cleared, with the exception of the preserves of the
Rajas of Rampur and Gopalpur, and the want of timber and even fuel
is severely felt. As a whole, Jalaun is wanting in picturesqueness or
beauty, but possesses great fertility and abundant agricultural resources,
which, in the hands of a more enterprising and intelligent peasantry,
might be easily developed into wealth and prosperity. Unfortunately,



94 JALA UN,

however, the general poverty and apathy of Bundelkhand at present
weigh heavily upon the District, and greatly retard its progress.

History. — Before the Aryan immigration, the region now known
as Jalaun appears to have been inhabited by Bhils ; but its early
history, after the Aryan conquest, is as mythical as the annals of other
Indian countries. The first period concerning which anything can be
stated with certainty is that of the Naga dynasty, which lasted from the
ist to the 3rd century of the Christian era. A short account of their rule
has been given under the District of Banda. After the dissolution of
the Narwar monarchy, a period of dynastic struggles appears to have
succeeded, during which the principal families of Bundelkhand in
later times first rose into prominence. The eastern portion of the
Naga dominions fell under the power of the Chandelas ; while the
western Districts, including that of Jalaun, were ruled by a Rajput clan,
the Kachhwahas. They seem to have held the greater portion of the
District until the invasion of the Bundelas in the 14th century. But
the town of Kalpi on the Jumna, the gate of the west, was conquered
for the Musalman Princes of Ghor by Kutab-ud-din as early as the
year 11 96 a.d. It was guarded by a strong Muhammadan garrison,
and became the head-quarters for the administration of all their terri-
tories beyond the Jumna, and the starting-point for their expeditions
both into Bengal and the Deccan. When, early in the 14th century,
the Bundelas, a race of hardy mountaineers, poured down from their
southern fastnesses upon the fertile plain of the Betwd and the Pahiij,
they occupied the greater part of Jalaun, and even succeeded for a
short time in holding the fortified post of Kalpi. That important
possession, however, was soon recovered by the Musalmans, and
passed with the rest of their territories under the sway of the Mughal
Emperors.

Akbar's governors at Kalpi maintained a nominal authority over the
surrounding country ; but the Bundela Rajas in the south were prac-
tically independent of the Court of Delhi. Under Jahangir and Shah
Jahan, the native princes were in a state of chronic revolt, which
culminated in the war of independence under Chhatar Sal. On the
outbreak of his rebellion in 1671, he occupied a large Province
to the south of the Jumna, including the modern District of Jalaun.
Setting out from this base, he reduced the whole of Bundelkhand, in
which task he was assisted by the Marathas, then for the first time
overrunning Central India under their earhest Peshwa, Baji Rao.
Chhatar Sal died in 1734? and left by his will one-third of his dominions
to his Marathd ally, on condition that his descendants should be main-
tained in the remainder. The Marathas displayed their usual alacrity
in occupying the territory thus bequeathed them, and in making such
additions as from time to time seemed practicable. Their governor



JALA UN. 95

had his head-quarters at the important strategic post of Kalpi ; and
before long succeeded in quietly annexing the whole of Bundelkhand.

Under Maratha rule, the country was a prey to constant anarchy and
intestine strife. The hills in the region south of the Betwa were
crowned by the mud forts of robber chiefs, who swooped down upon
the fertile plains, and left nothing to the miserable cultivators beyond
the barest necessaries of life. To this period must be traced the origin
of all the poverty and desolation which still, after nearly forty years of
British rule, are conspicuous throughout the District. Our first con-
nection with Jalaun arose from the treaty of Bassein in 1802. By that
arrangement, the Peshwa agreed to cede certain portions of territory for
the support of a British force. In order to carry out these terms, a
supplementary arrangement was made with Raja Himmat Bahadur, by
which his aid was purchased in exchange for a cession of lands. {See
Banda District.) Kalpi and the surrounding country were included
in this grant. Himmat Bahadur, however, died in 1804; and the
pargand of Kalpi was thereupon handed over by the British to Nana
Govind Rdo, who was in possession of the rest of the District. He had
assisted Shamsher Bahadur, the Nawab of Banda, in his opposition to
the British occupation ; but, after two years, he submitted to the new
rulers, and was restored to all his possessions.

In 1806, Kalpi was finally made over to the British, in exchange
for certain villages, and formed part of the extensive District of
Bundelkhand. The remainder of Jalaun was left in the hands of
Govind Rao, and after his death passed to his son, and ultimately to his
son's widow, a girl of only fourteen years. During the minority of her
brother, whom she was permitted to adopt, the Jalaun State became
wretchedly impoverished, and only yielded in 1838 one-fourth of the
revenue which it was estimated to produce in 1803. The country fell
almost into a wilderness, and many villages were entirely depopulated
by emigration. But the boy chief died without issue in 1840, and
his territories lapsed to the British Government. In the following
year, Chirg^on, a neighbouring Native State, was annexed, owing to
the rebellion of its chief. In 1844, three oih^x pargands were ceded by
Sindhia for the support of the Gwalior Contingent. At various later
dates, portions of Jalaun were made over to Hamirpur, Jhansi, and
other surrounding Districts: and in 1856, the present boundaries were
substantially settled. During the period of British rule before the
Mutiny, Jalaun, like other portions of Bundelkhand, recovered its
prosperity only by very slow degrees. The zaminddrs had been left
heavily in debt, and almost ruined, by the government of Govind Rao ;
and the assessments made at the various subsequent settlements fol-
lowed, perhaps, too closely the native system. Property was so greatly
depreciated, that in some cases no purchasers could be found for



96 . JALA UN.

estates which had lapsed to the Government. This state of things
continued down to the outbreak of the Mutiny in the spring of 1857.

News of the rising at Cawnpur reached Kalpi early in June ; and
shortly afterwards, intelligence arrived that the Europeans at Jhansi
had been massacred. Thereupon the men of the 53rd Native Infantry
deserted their officers; and on the 15th of June, the Jhansi mutineers
reached the District, and murdered all the Europeans on whom they
could lay their hands. Meanwhile, the Giirsarai chief, Kesho Rao,
adopted a wavering policy, and assumed supreme authority in the
District, — at first on the ground that it had been entrusted to him by
the Deputy Commissioner, but afterwards on his own responsibility.
He kept a few European officers as prisoners for some months, until
after the defeat of the infamous Nana Sahib and his flight from Cawnpur ;
but those events induced him to change his tone, and to treat with
General Neil for their restoration. After sending them in safety to
Cawnpur, the chief established himself for a time at Jalaun ; but upon
the arrival of Tantia Topi in October, the usual anarchic quarrels arose.
Kesho Rao was deposed ; his son was seized by the rebels ; and the
mutineers of Jalaun, joining those of Gwalior, set out for Cawnpur.
Meanwhile, the natives everywhere revelled in the licence of plunder
and murder which the Mutiny had spread through all Bundelkhand.
In May 1858, after the fall of Jhansi, Sir Hugh Rose's force entered the
District, and routed the rebels at Kiinch. There he left some troops of
the Giirsarai chief, whose allegiance had returned with the advent of
the British forces. A Deputy Commissioner was put in charge of the
District at Kiinch, and Sir Hugh Rose advanced to attack the strong
rebel position at Kalpi. On the 23rd May, he drove them from that
post, and shortly afterwards marched in pursuit towards Gwalior.
Unfortunately he was unable to leave any troops in garrison, except a
small body to guard the passage at Kalpi; and accordingly, on his
withdrawal, the western portion of the District fell once more into
anarchy. Plundering went on as before ; and in July and August, the
rebels again attacked and pillaged Kiinch and Jalaun. The latter town
was immediately recovered by a detachment from the garrison at Kalpi ;
but it was not till September that the guerilla leaders were defeated,
and some further time elapsed before the work of reorganization could
be effected. Since the Mutiny, the condition of Jalaun appears to have
been steadily, if very slowly, improving ; and it is hoped that the more
lenient fiscal arrangements of the present day will conduce to the
prosperity of this still backward region.

People. — All enumerations of the population previous to 1865 were
so imperfect as to be practically useless, even if they were not rendered
unavailable for purposes of comparison by great differences in the area
of the District. The Census of 1865 showed the total number of



JALA UN. 97

inhabitants to be 405,604. In 1872, the population had decreased to
404,447, being a falling off of '3 per cent., the decrease being due to
deaths from famine and emigration, particularly in 1869. By 1881 the
population had recovered itself, and was returned at 418,142, showing
an increase of 13,695, or 3-4 percent., in the nine years since 1872. The
general results arrived at by the Census of 188 1 may be summarized as
under: — Area of the District, 1469 square miles; number of towns and
villages, 857; number of houses, 66,734; persons per square mile,
284*5 ; inhabited villages per square mile, 0*58 ; houses per square
mile, 45 '4 ; persons per village, 488; persons per house, 6 '2. Classified
according to sex, there were 216,145 males and 201,997 females; pro-
portion of males, 52 per cent. Classified according to age, there were,
under 15 years — males 80,555, and females 70,260; total children,
150,815, or 36*07 per cent. : 15 years and upwards — males 135,590,
and females 131,737 ; total adults, 267,327, or 63*93 per cent. About
89 per cent, of the inhabitants belong to the rural, and 1 1 per cent,
to the urban, population. As regards religion, Hindus numbered
392,332, or 93*8 per cent, of the total population; Muhammadans,
25,666, or 6*o per cent.; Jains, 130 ; and Christians, 14.

The principal landowning tribes are — Brahmans, numbering 53,887 ;
Kayasths, 8790; Kiirmis, 18,473; Giijars, 6583; and the Kachhwahas
and Sengars, whose numbers are not returned separately in the
Census Report. The Kachhwahas, who are Rajputs, are the
leading clan of the District, and comprise most of the great native
families. The Sengars, a clan originally Brahman, which has inter-
married with Rajputs, and is now ranked amongst them, are also
numerous and influential; during the Mutiny they were conspicuous
as plunderers. Total Rajputs, 40,7 3 3- The Maratha pandits, who
formed part of the governing body till 1840, are few in number, but
wealthy; in 1857 they were almost unanimously rebellious. Many of
them have since emigrated to Gwalior or to the Maratha country.
The other most numerous Hindu castes in the District are the
following: — Baniyas, 16,464; Ahirs, 13,639; Chamars, 60,232;
Gadarias, 12,121; Kachhis, 28,418; Koris, 21,164; and Lodhis,
12,305. The Musalmans have no social or political importance,
and in sect they are almost exclusively Sunnis. There is no native
Christian settlement, nor has the Brahma Samaj made any progress in
the District.

As regards occupations, the Census Report returns the male
population under six classes:— (i) Professional, including Government
officials and the learned professions, 5216; (2) domestic servants,
board and lodging-house keepers, 1433 ; (3) commercial class, including
merchants, traders, carriers, etc., 3780; (4) agricultural and pastoral
class, including gardeners, 84,294; (5) manufacturing and industrial

VOL. VII. G



98 JALA UN.

class, 31,498; (6) indefinite and non-productive class, including general
labourers, male children, etc., 89,924. There were four towns in 1881
with a population exceeding 5000, namely, Kalpi, 14,306; Kunch,
13,739; Jalaun, 10,057; and Urai, 7738. Of minor villages and
towns, 336 contain less than two hundred inhabitants ; 275 between
two hundred and five hundred; 151 between five hundred and a
thousand ; 71 between one thousand and two thousand ; and 20 between
two thousand and five thousand inhabitants. The language in common
use is a dialect of Hindi, but a corrupt form of Urdii is spoken in the
Muhammadan villages.

Agriculture.— 'T\iQ staple crops of the District are cereals, gram, and

cotton. Of these, gram occupies the largest area ; and next in point of

acreage come wheat, and the two millets known as jodr and bdjra.

Cotton was very extensively cultivated during the scarcity caused by the

American war ; and although the total out-turn is now only one-tenth

of that produced in 1864, it still ranks fifth of all crops grown in

Jalaun. About 5 lakhs worth (say ^50,000) is exported annually.

Oil-seeds, dye-stuffs, and sugar-cane are also raised, but in no large

quantities. The seasons are those prevalent throughout Bundelkhand,

— the kharif or autumn crops, sown in June or August, consist chiefly

of millets and cotton ; the rabi or spring crops, sown in November

or December, are mainly gram and wheat. Of the total area of

1477 square miles in 1881, 952 square miles were returned as

under cultivation, 215 as cultivable, 259 as uncultivable, and the

remainder as revenue-free and non-assessed. This is exclusive of 85

square miles comprising the three semi -independent chiefships of

Rampura, Jagamanpur, and Gopalpur, concerning which no details

are available, and which pay no tribute or revenue to Government.

The kharif or autumn food crop in 1881 was grown over an area of

182,548 acres, and non-food crops over 70,533 acres. The rabi ox

spring harvest area was returned at 370,384 acres of food crops, and

5501 acres of non-food crops. Total kharif and rabi area, including

land twice cropped, 629,966 acres. The cultivation of the al plant

(Morinda citrifolia) holds a prominent place in the District, and the

dyeing of cloths therefrom is the staple industry of the towns of Kiinch,

Kalpi, Sayyidnagar, and Kotra. The total produce of grain is estimated

at 2,987,292 maunds, or 2,194,745 cwts., of which 2,313,210 maunds

are required for home consumption, leaving 674,081 maunds^ or 495,241

cwts., valued at ^134,816, for export.

Rotation of crops is practised to a slight extent, and exhausting staples
are sown only after a long rest. Manuring is not resorted to, except in
the case of sugar-cane and other expensive produce. The practice is,
however, on the increase. Irrigation was employed in 1881 over
18,889 acres. Of this area, 7719 acres, situated in pargand Kiinch to



JALA UN. 99

the south of the District, are watered by the natural channel known as
the/^z/, which flows from the uplands in the Native State of Samthar.
The remainder is artificially irrigated from wells; only an insignificant
fraction being supplied from tanks. A scheme is (1883) in progress,
however, for damming up the Betwa, and distributing abundant irriga-
tion by means of canals. Jalaun has suffered at times, like the sur-
rounding Districts, from the noxious kd?is grass. The condition of the
peasantry is still far from comfortable; their houses and villages are
squalid, and the usual apathetic poverty of Bundelkhand is noticeable
in their dress and surroundings. Both zaminddrs and cultivators are
generally deeply in debt to the village banker ; and they have learned
to look upon such indebtedness as the normal economical state.

About one-half of the land is held by cultivators possessing rights of
occupancy. A holding of 90 acres is considered large ; one of 20 to 25
acres, a fair middle-sized farm. The adult male agricultural population
in 1881 was returned at 83,991, namely, landholders, 8960 ; estate
agents, 719; cultivators, 57,961; and field labourers, 15,033. The
adult female agriculturists numbered 35,844, namely, landholders,
1819 ; cultivators, 26,612; and field labourers, 7413. Total amount
of Government assessment, including local rates and cesses levied on
the land, ;^ 108, 643, or 3s. 6|d. per cultivated acre. Total rental,
including cesses, etc., paid by the cultivators, ;£'2o6,8i5, or 6s. 7d. per
cultivated acre. Rents run from 2s. 7d. to 7s. 6d. per acre, according
to the nature of the soil and the caste of the tenant, the lower castes,
such as Kurmis and Kachhis, paying more than Bundelas and
Rajputs for lands of the same quality. The average rate on all
classes of land is 5s. 4jd. per acre. Profits are hoarded, or spent in
jewellery for the women ; nothing is employed as capital in land
improvements or investment. Wages have risen much of late years ;
the chief causes being the rise in price of food-stuffs, the increased
demand for labour on the railways, and the cessation of the former
stream of immigrants from Oudh. whose people now find employment
and security under British rule in their own country. These various
influences have produced a rise of 25 per cent, during the last ten
years. The average wages of tailors are now about 7jd. per diem;
carpenters, blacksmiths, head masons, 6d. per diem ; common
masons, road-makers, 3d. to 4jd. ; boys, 2 Jd. ; women and children,
|d. to ijd. xA.gricultural wages are paid to a great extent in kind.
The average prices of the chief food-grains in 1882-83 (in Jalaun
pargana) were as follows :~Gram, 29 sers the rupee, or 3s. lod.
per c\v\.. ; Jodr, 28 sers the rupee, or 4s. per cwt. ; wheat, 21 strs
the rupee, or 5s. 4d. per cwt. ; common rice, 14 se?'s per rupee, or 8s.
per cwt.

Natural Calaviiiies. — Drought is the great danger to be apprehended



loo JALA UN.

in Jalaun. Famine or scarcity from that cause occurred in 1783, in
1833, in 1837, and in 1848. The last important drought was that in
August and September of 1868. Two-thirds of the autumn, and one-
half of the cold-weather, crops were then destroyed. No actual famine
resulted, but great distress prevailed, especially in the remote southern
villages, until the summer of 1869. The surplus grain of the Doab
passed through Kalpi southward and westward in large quantities. At
Urai, rations of i lb. per adult and ^ lb. per child were distributed
by Government. Large numbers were also assisted by private
charity at Kalpi. In the south, relief works were opened in the
shape of road-making and excavation of tanks. The total cost of the
relief operations amounted to ^1864, and the average number of
persons daily relieved was 1800. The maximum price of gram during
the scarcity was 9 sers 3 chhaidks the rupee, or about 12s. 2:|d. per cwt.
Jalaun is more favourably situated for communication with the Doab,
via Kalpi and Shergarhghat, than any other District of the Jhansi
Division; but even here the agricultural population suffered much
hardship in 1868, and lost one-third of their cattle. It was necessary to
suspend the collection of a large portion of the revenue; but no
advances were needed for the purpose of buying seed, as was the case
in neighbouring Districts to the south.

Comnm-ce and Trade. — Jalaun is almost entirely an agricultural
District, and its chief exports are cotton and grain. Kalpi is the
great mart of the District, through which traffic passes north-westward
by Cawnpur, and south-eastward toward Mirzapur and Calcutta. Kiinch
is also a considerable trading town. The business of the outlying
villages is chiefly conducted at fairs, where English cloth and other
European goods are beginning to make their appearance. There are
scarcely any manufactures of sufficient importance to deserve record.
Coarse cotton cloth is woven for home use ; and the dyeing of such
fabrics with the red al dye, obtained from the root of Morinda citrifolia
grown in the District, is the staple industry of the principal towns. No
mines or forests exist in Jalaun. The communications are moderately
good. The river traffic by Kalpi is chiefly for through goods ; and the
Jumna is little used as a highway. The nearest railway station is at
Phaphiind on the East Indian line, in Etawah District, which is con-
nected with the towns of Urai and Jalaun by a good commercial road,
crossing the river at Shergarh. There is also a great military road from
Kalpi to Jhansi, metalled throughout. Total length of roads, 534!- miles.
In times of flood, however, the Betwa and the Pahuj are often im-
passable for days,

Admmtstraiio?i. — It is almost impossible to give any intelligible
account of the fiscal history of this District within reasonable limits,
owing to the frequent changes, transfers, and redistribution of villages



JALA UN. loi

and /^zr^w/Ji made with the surrounding Districts and Native States.
When Jalaun was first taken over by the British Government from the
family of Govind Rao, the last chief, who died without heirs in
1840, it was already greatly impoverished by their misgovern-
ment'. The existing assessments were found to be too high, and
successive reductions became necessary from time to time. After
the Mutiny, a lighter settlement was introduced, which seems to be
working beneficially for the restoration of agricultural prosperity. The
revenue in i860 amounted to ^128,026, and the expenditure to
;£"47,6oi, or rather more than one-third of the revenue. In 1870, the
receipts had fallen to ;£ii2,i28, and the expenditure to ^24,813, or
rather m.ore than one-fifth of the revenue. The immense difference in
the expenditure at these two dates, amounting to a decrease of nearly
one-half, is chiefly due to the great retrenchment in the items of justice,
police, and pubhc works. In 1882-83, the total revenue of Jalaun was
^120,624, of which ^90,942, or 75-39 per cent, was derived from the
land-tax. The other principal items are excise, stamps, and fees in

courts of justice.

The administration is on the non- regulation system, which unites
civil, criminal, and fiscal functions in the same officer. The District
is administered by i Deputy Commissioner, 2 Assistant^ Com-
missioners, 3 extra-Assistant Commissioners, and 5 tahsilddrs. It
contains 25 police stations. The regular and municipal police in 1882
numbered 573 men, maintained at a cost of ^5818, of which ^5018
was paid from imperial revenues. There were also 1237 village watch-
men, paid at the rate of 3 rupees a month. The total machinery,
therefore, for the protection of person and property, consisted in 1882
of 18 10 men, giving i man to every o-8i square mile of the area and
to every 231 of the population. The statistics of crime in the same
year were as follows :— Murder, 6 cases; robbery, 3; house-trespass,
224; theft, 759; cattle theft, 64. There is i jail in the District, the
average daily number of prisoners in which was 114 in 1882. Educa-
tion has been progressing slowly of late years. In i860 there were
1434 children under instruction in Government-inspected schools; in
1871, the number had increased to 2703; in 1882-83, the Government
schools were returned at 98, with 2597 pupils. This, however, is
exclusive of private and uninspected indigenous schools; and the
Census of 1881 returned 4013 boys and 28 girls as under instruction,
besides 13,761 males and 86 females able to read and write, but not
under instruction. The District is divided into 5 fiscal divisions,



Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 7) → online text (page 12 of 57)