William Wilson Hunter.

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Besides the regular Aluhammadan population (descendants of local
converts to Islam), generally in poor circumstances, employed chiefly in
agriculture and by Government as messengers and police, there are, in
Kanara, two special bodies of foreign Muhammadan settlers. Of these,
the most important and well-to-do are the Navayatas or seamen, repre-
sentatives of the colonies of Arab merchants, of whom a remnant still
exists along the whole coast-line of the Bombay Presidency, from Gogo
southwards. The other foreign Musalman community is the Sidis,
descendants of African slaves formerly owned by the Portuguese.
Although they have intermarried for several generations with the low-
caste population of the District, the Sidis have not lost their original
peculiarities. They still possess the woolly hair and black skin of the
pure negro. They are for the most part very poor, and, settled in
remote forests, live on the produce of little patches of rude cultivation.

The Christians in the District, who are almost all Roman Catholics,
belong to two classes, of which the first consists of a few families from
Goa, of Portuguese extraction, though much mixed by intermarriage
with the natives of the country ; the second are descendants of local
converts to Christianity. Christians of the higher class are clerks, the
rest principally artisans and labourers. The total number of Christians
in 1881 was 14,509, of whom 14,390 were Roman CathoHcs, 62 Presby-
terians, and 39 Episcopalians, 2 Lutherans, and 16 'other' Protestants.

As regards occupation, the Census of 1881 distributed the males
into the following six main groups: — (i) Professional class, including
State officials of every description and the learned professions,
6217; (2) domestic class, including servants, inn and lodging-house
keepers, 3986 ; (3) commercial class, including bankers, merchants,
carriers, etc., 4343 ; (4) agricultural and pastoral class, including
gardeners, 97,514; (5) industrial class, including all manufacturers and
artisans, 21,366; (6) indefinite and non-productive class, comprising
labourers, male children, and persons of unspecified occupation,


Of the 1109 towns and villages in North Kanara District, 547 contained

in 1881 a population of less than two hundred; 382 from two to five

hundred; in from five hundred to one thousand; 47 from one to two

thousand ; 8 from two to three thousand ; 6 from three to five thousand ;

6 from five to ten thousand ; and 2 from ten to fifteen thousand.

There are famous Jain temples at Gersoppa and Bhatkal, and forts
of some antiquity at Mirjan and Sadashivgad. Gokarn and Banwasi,
also, have fine old granite temples.

Agriculture, etc. — Agriculture gives employment to 260,897 persons,
or 61-84 per cent, of the entire population. Of the total number,
150,059 are returned as ' workers,' and the remainder as ' dependants.
The cultivated portions of the low lands are either sandy plains, lying


along the shore and the banks of rivers, or narrow, well-watered valleys,
which are for the most part planted with rice, cocoa-nut groves, and
areca or betel-nut gardens. In the uplands, the soil is generally a
stiff clay, retentive of moisture. Owing to the want of inhabitants, and
also to the malarious climate, many fertile and well-irrigated valleys lie
waste, and covered wdth forest. North Kanara has not yet (1884) been
surveyed, and no trustworthy statistics are available as to the area
under cultivation or that devoted to the different crops. An approxi-
mate estimate in 1872 returned the area under tillage at 333,175
acres, or 12 2 per cent, of the total area of the District as then

Rice, of which there are many varieties, is the staple crop. Rdgi
(Eleusine corocana), sugar-cane, and safflower are also grown to a
considerable extent ; and cocoa-nuts, areca-nuts, the lesser cardamoms
(Elettaria Cardamoraum), and pepper are produced in gardens in large
quantities for home consumption and for export. The culture of
chayroot is still very limited, but its red, black, and chocolate dyes
are coming into repute in Europe. Cochineal is largely exported to
England. Coffee is grown to a very small extent; and, compared
with the system followed by European planters in the Wynad and
Mysore State, its cultivation is slovenly. Rice and garden lands are
irrigated, the w^ater being obtained from perennial streams. Near
villages, especially on the coast, there are groves and avenues of
Alexandrian laurel, which attains a large size. The cocoa-nut palm
(Cocos nucifera) is common along the coast, and is the chief liquor-
yielding tree in the District. The approximate area of land under
cocoa-nut palms is 13,700 acres, which at a rough average of 100 trees
per acre gives a total of 1,370,000 trees. In 1882-83, the tapping fee was
six shillings per tree. Palms grown solely for their nuts are calculated
to yield on good coast garden land a net yearly profit of about £,^.
The areca-nut gardens, which are situated in the upland valleys, are
surrounded by strong fences, within which are planted rows of cocoa-
nut, jack, and mango trees. The pd7i or betel-leaf creeper (Piper bede)
is extensively grown ; also the areca palm. The upland gardens also
contain pepper, cardamoms, ginger, plantains ; and sometimes pumelo,
orange, lime, and iron-wood trees {ndg-chdmpa) (Mesua ferrea) are found
in these higher tracts.

Formerly, in the most open parts of the forest, nomadic cultivation
by brushwood burning (kumdri) was carried on, principally by
tribes of Maratha extraction. In the cold season, the hillmen used
to cut down the bushes and lower branches of the larger trees, and
burn them before the rains set in. In some places the seed was
sown in the ashes on the fall of the first rains, the soil having been
untouched by implements of any kind.


Compared with the rest of Bombay, the greater part of North
Kanara has hitherto nominally been in the hands of large proprietors.
But since the introduction of the Revenue Survey, the ease with which
land can be divided has shown that many of the large estates were in
reality groups of moderate-sized holdings. In 1882-83, the agricultural
stock of the District consisted of 286,365 horned cattle, 454 horses,
116 asses, 7020 sheep and goats, 45^539 ploughs, and 4561 carts.

Commerce, etc. — The District contains 12 ports, of which five —
Kirwdr, Kiimpta, Ankola, Bhatkal, and Honawar— are important.
Out of ^1,841, 173 (the total value of the trade at these ports in 1876),
^1,199,077 represented exports, and ^642,096 imports. In 1881, the
value of the imports into Karwar alone, the chief town and port of the
District, was ^189,776 ; and the value of the exports in the same year,
^272,714. Rice, cotton, timber, cocoa-nuts, and spices are the prin-
cipal articles of export. The cotton comes from Dharwar, Mysore,
Bellary, and the Nizam's Dominions, and is shipped from Karwar and
Kumpta. The chief articles of import are piece-goods, silk, metal,
sugar, and spirits. The Karwar and Kumpta carvers in sandal-wood
and ebony have successfully exhibited their workmanship at many
Industrial Exhibitions in Europe. Salt, made from January to June
in lands rented from Government, is one of the chief manufactures.
Oil-pressing from cocoa-nuts is also an important industry. Govern-
ment sawmills are situated near Yellapur in the heart of the forest.
Lighthouses are situated at Karwar, Kumpta, and Oyster Rock
{q.v). The most important annual fairs are at Gokarn, Sirsi, and Ulvi
in Supa. The principal lines of road are from Kddra to Belgium
via Supa, from Karwar to Dhdrwar via Yellapur, from Kumpta to
Dharwar via Sirsi, and the coast road from Ankola to Belki. Besides
these trunk roads many branch lines have been made. Rates of
interest vary according to the credit of the borrower, from 12 to 24
per cent, per annum. Except a few Christians, the labouring classes
are almost all Hindus.

The daily wages of unskilled labour vary from 3d. to 6d., and
of skilled labour from is. to 2s. The hire of carts per diem is from
2S. to 4s. each; and of boats, is. 6d. to 6s. The current prices, per
inaundoi 80 lbs., of the chief articles of food during 1882-83 were—
rice, 8s. 6d. for the best, and 6s. lod. for the second quality; wheat,
6s. 6d. ; millets, 5s. ; gram, 6s. 6d. ; salt, 6s. 7d. ; ddl, or split pease,
7s. 4d.; ghi, ^3, 14s. 9d.

Administration. — The total gross imperial revenue of North Kanara
District amounted in 1882-83 to £\\'],']'^o. The land-tax, as else-
where throughout India, forms the principal source of revenue, yielding
^88,316. Excise duties brought in ^12,873 ; stamps, ;^699i ; forest
produce, ^47,720. The District local funds, created since 1863 for


works of public utility and rural education, amounted to ^7312.
There are 6 municipalities with an aggregate municipal population of
39,757, and a total income (1882-83) of ;2^3948; municipal expendi-
ture, ;£"4033; incidence of municipal taxation, is. 7d. per head of the
population. The administration of North Kanara, in revenue matters,
is entrusted to a Collector and two Assistants, who are covenanted
civilians, with a Deputy Collector for treasury work.

For the settlement of civil disputes there are 5 courts; 26 officers
share the administration of criminal justice. The average distance of
villages from nearest court is 10 miles. Total strength of the
regular police, 662 officers and men, averaging i man to every 5-9
square miles and to every 636 persons. Yearly cost of police,
^,^11,192, being ;£'2, 17s. 2d. per square mile, and 6Jd. per head of

Education has spread widely of late years. In 1865-66 there were
16 schools, attended by 929 pupils; by 1882-83 the number of schools
had risen to 121, with 8351 pupils, or nearly 2 per cent, of the popula-
tion, averaging i school for every 9 inhabited villages. There are
three libraries or reading-rooms in the District, one at Karwar of con-
siderable size, one at Kiimpta, and one at Sirsi. There is also a printing
press in the District.

Medical Aspects. — The rainfall varies on the coast from 100 inches a
year at Karwar to 163 at Kiimpta. In the uplands the rainfall is less,
being on an average about 72 inches. Fever of a severe type is the
prevalent disease. In i860, a severe epidemic of fever broke out,
and, gradually spreading over the whole District, extended eastwards
into the rice tracts of Dharwar. During 1861 and 1862, the fever
raged with great severity both along the sea-coast and in the Dharwar
and Hubli Sub-divisions. The Sanitary Commissioner to the Bombay
Government was deputed to investigate the cause, but no definite
results were arrived at. The people believed that the appearance of
the disease was recurrent in cycles of eighty Jupiter or sixty solar years,
together with the flowering of the bamboo. The bamboo has, how-
ever, since then flowered and died throughout the District, but no
increase in the local fever is apparent. During 1872, small-pox was
very prevalent. In 1881, 9 dispensaries afforded relief to 988 in-door
and 36,981 out-door patients, and in 1882-83, 11,802 persons were
vaccinated. The death-rate in 1882 was returned at 25-6 per thousand;
but this must be considerably below the truth, as the average for the
previous five years was 40 per thousand. [For further information
regarding North Kanara,see the Bombay Gazetteer,\o\. xv. parts I. and II.,
published under Government orders (Government Central Press, Bombay,
1883). Also Seleciio?is from the Records of the Bombay Gover?wient, No.
clxiii., 1883; the Bombay Census Report of 1881 ; and the several


Administration and Departmental Reports of the Bombay Presidency

from 1880 to 1883.]

Kanara {Canara\ South. — District in the Madras Presidency;
situated on the western coast, between 14° 31' and 15° 31' n. lat., and
between 74° i' and 75° 2' e. long. It is bounded on the north by
North Kinara (Bombay Presidency), on the south by Malabar, on the
east by Mysore State and Coorg, and on the west by the Indian Ocean.
Area, 3902 square miles. Population (1881) 959,514- The admini-
strative head-quarters and chief town is Mangalore.

Physical Aspects.— ^onih Kanara is intersected with streams, and,
from the broken nature of the country, the scenery is most varied and
picturesque. Abundant vegetation, extensive forests, numerous groves
of cocoa-nut palms along the coast, and rice-fields in every valley, give
refreshing greenness to the prospect. The most densely inhabited
tract, which is situated along the seaboard from north to south of its entire
length, and extends into the interior for from 5 to 25 miles, may be
roughly described as a broken table-land of laterite, the height of which
varies from 200 to 400 feet near the coast and rises to 600 feet towards
the Western Ghats. Inland, this so-called table-land is bounded by the
lower spurs running down from the Ghats. These spurs, which are
numerous and of every conceivable form, are for the most part forest-
clad, and consist, like the parent mountains, of gneiss, schist, quartz,
hornblende, and granite. Of detached mountains, properly so called,
there are none; but the rock of Jamalabad, near Beltangadi, and the
hill known as the Ass's Ears, are well-knowm landmarks. The laterite
downs near the coast are furrowed in every direction by numerous
valleys of rich alluvial soil, by which the heavy rainfall of the south-
western monsoon drains away. The laterite itself is an iron clay lying
on the top of a granite bed. The granite is found at the base of every
river, and constantly breaks above the surface of the laterite m round
conical hills, sometimes covered with small trees, and in other places

naked and bare. k i ir

The Western Ghats, rising from 3000 to 6000 feet, form a bulwark
and boundary on the eastern side of the District. They are crossed
by several passes. The chief of these passes are the Sampaji, Agumbi
Charmadi, Haidargadi or Hassangadi, Manjarabad, and Kolur, all ot
which connect the plateau of Mysore and Coorg with the lowlands
of South Kanara. Up to these passes, good cart roads lead from

Mangalore. • i «.i.

None of the rivers of the District exceeds 100 miles m length.
All take their rise in the Western Ghats, and, owing to the unfailing and
heavy monsoon, become raging torrents at one time of the year and
sluggish streams at another. Many of them are navigable during the
dry season for from 15 to 25 miles from the coast, and admit of a


considerable boat traffic, which brings down to the coast the coffee
and other produce of Mysore and Coorg, and the rice grown in the
interior. The principal of these rivers are the Netravati, the Gurpiir,
the Gangoli (or Gurget-hole), and the Chendragiri (or Puiswinni). From
the nature of the country, with its numberless streams and their uncer-
tain fords, the loss from drowning every year is considerable, the annual
average number of deaths being 130. Owing to the rapid fall of the
streams, especially in the interior, water might be used as a motive
power without difficulty, but it is not so applied by the people. There
is a small and pretty lake at Karkal, and an undrained fresh -water
lagoon at Kundapur.

The District is rich in a fine clay, well adapted for pottery, and
several firms are engaged in the manufacture of machine-made tiles, etc.
Kaolin is also of frequent occurrence underlying the laterite. Gold is
found in small quantities at Mijar, garnets at Subramanya and Kemphalla.
Iron exists in the Udipi and Upparangadi taluks^ but it is not worked.

The forest land is of vast extent, but the exact area is unknown,
as the District has never been surveyed. Most of the land is private
property, and only a few forests near the Ghats are owned by Govern-
ment. At present the large timber forests are almost entirely confined
to scattered portions of the Ghats and the immediate neighbourhood.
Great portion of the uncultivated tract reaches to within a few miles
of the coast, and supports a secondary and fuel-producing growth,
— broken up and terminated towards the seaboard by undulating
pasture ground of somewhat poor description. The Forest Depart-
ment has failed to realize much revenue, owing to unsettled claims
of the rdyats to the greater portion of the forest. The principal
products are — timber, bamboos, fuel, cardamoms, wild arrowroot
(Curcuma angustifolia), gall-nuts, gamboge, catechu; fibrous barks
(several kinds), cinnamon (both bark and oil); gums; resins (from
several forest trees, principally from the genus Dipterocarpus) ; dyes
(various, but mainly of a sombre colour). These products, together with
honey and beeswax, are collected by the Malaikudis or hillmen ; but
the total export from the District is not important. There is a large
yearly out-turn of sandal oil, amounting in value to over ;£i 5,000, but
this is merely manufactured in Kanara, the sandal- wood being brought
from Mysore for the purpose. Of timber trees, the best both in quality
and quantity are the following : — Matti or banapu (Terminalia tomen-
tosa), kiral /^^^^///(Hopea parviflora), iriil ox jambe (Xylia dolabriformis),
marawa or hondl (Terminalia paniculata), blackwood (Dalbergia latifolia),
jack (Artocarpus integrifolia), wild jack (Artocarpus hirsuta), wild mango
(Mangifera indica), poon spar (Calophyllum tomentosum), ebony
(Diospyros Ebenum), iron -wood (Mesua ferrea), palmyra (Borassus
fiabelliformis), cedar (Cedrela Toon), bengay (Pterocarpus Marsupium),


jben-teak (Lagerstrcemia, more than one species), and others of the
genera Terminalia, Acacia, Ualbergia, and Dipterocarpus. The forests
:formerly abounded in game, which, however, is rapidly decreasing under
lincessant shooting without any close season. One effect of the great
destruction of game is, that tigers and other beasts of prey are driven
by the decreasing quantity of hog and deer to feed upon cattle.
Elephants, tiger, leopard, sdmbhar, the axis, and other small deer, and
wild hog are to be found; but the Kanara jungles are the especial
ihome of the bison. The people will not kill snakes, and, as a rule, no
rewards are claimed for their destruction. The total number of deaths
in 1882 from snake-bite and from wild beasts is returned at 27.

History. — The history of South Kanara is not easily traced. From

an ethnological standpoint, the country has no independent existence.

The southern portion is Malayalam, the middle Tuluva, and only the

north in any sense Kdnarese. The very name is a misnomer. Kanara

or the Kdrnatadesa (the country where the Kanarese people dwell and

the Kanarese tongue is spoken) is properly the land above the Ghats,

, of which Mysore, Coorg, and part of the Ceded Districts form the

I most considerable tract. By one of the strange errors of history, the

j name strictly applicable to this region (Karnatic) has been transferred

Uo the Tamil country below the Eastern Ghats, while the name of

! Kanara is given to the Malabar-Tuluva country on the western coast.

• South Kanara, at least as far north as Udipi, formed part of the ancient

kingdom of Kerala; and certainly, as far north as the Chendragiri

river, the people and language belong to Malabar. Passing over the

legendary period of Parasu Rama, in 1252 a.d. a Pandyan prince is

found conquering and ruling the country, and his successors giving

place (1336) to the Vijayanagar Raj. In 1564, when the power of

the latter dynasty was broken at the battle of Talikot, the governor

of Bednur (originally only a rich rdyat) threw off his allegiance and

established the kingdom of Bednur, to which in process of time

Kanara from Honor to Nileshwar was added. In the earlier dealings

of the Company's factors with the Cherakal Raja, this kingdom is

; spoken of as 'our enemy Canara.' The northern part of Kanara,

! probably as far south as the confines of Tuluva, was ruled in early

I times by the Kadamba (a.d. 161 to 714) and Ballala (714-1335)

dynasties. The Ikkeri Rajas of Tuluva (1560 to 1763), like the

Bednur Rajas, to whom latterly they became feudatory, rose to power

on the ruins of Vijayanagar.

In 1763, when Haidar Ali conquered Bednur, he despatched detach-
ments to secure the western coast; and Mangalore and Basriir were
occupied within a fev>r months of the fall of the capital. Immediate
steps were taken to utilize the possession of the seaboard and to found
a Mysorean navy; and in 1766, Haidar pa'^sed through the District to


the conquest of Malabar. Two years afterwards, an English force from
Bombay captured Haidar's fleet, and occupied Honor and Mangalore,
only to surrender them a few months later to Haidar's troops under
Tipii. One of Tipii's first acts was the deportation and forcible
conversion to Muhammadanism of a large portion of the Christian
inhabitants of Kanara. In 1783-84, South Kanara was again the scene
of war between the English and Mysore troops, which terminated, after
a gallant defence of over nine months, in the evacuation of Mangalore.
South Kanara finally became a British possession in 1791.

In 1834, on the occasion of the deposition of the Coorg Raja, the
inhabitants of Amara and Suliya petitioned for annexation. In 1837,
the Government complied with their request, and the Maganis were
added to the Puttiir Division of South Kanara. This, however,
caused great dissatisfaction. One Kalianappa Subraya, taking advan-
tage of the feeling of loyalty still retained towards the old Coorg
dynasty, raised an insurrection in the same year. The imbecility of
the commandant of the troops and the timidity of the Collector gave
courage to what was at first a mere riot. The insurrection spread, and
the troops retreated from Puttiir to Mangalore. The rebels followed
and sacked the civil offices and jail in the face of the troops, but
soon retired and broke up into small gangs of marauders. These
were speedily dispersed, and the ringleaders seized and punished ; and
in a very short while the whole country was quieted. At no time was this
insurrection formidable ; the men were armed with clubs and a few match-
locks, and a determined front would have broken it at any time. The
records were destroyed, however, and much property plundered. In i860
the Province was divided into two Districts, North and South Kanara,
of which the former was transferred to the Bombay Presidency in 1862.

Population. — The population of the District has been enumerated
from time to time. Before 187 1, the returns were made up by the
village officers as part of their ordinary duty. An elaborate and com-
plete Census of the District, taken in 1871, disclosed a total population
of 919,513 persons, of whom 787,183 were Hindus, 82,803 Muham-
madans, 49,517 Christians, and 10 'others.' The population in 1881
was returned at 959,514, living in 3 towns and 1279 villages, occupying
171,432 houses; average density, 246 persons to the square mile.
Males numbered 472,236, or 49*2 per cent, of the whole; females,
487,278. Towns and villages per square mile, -328 ; houses per square
mile, 44; persons per house, 5*6.

Distributed according to religion, Hindus numbered 797,43° J
Muhammadans, 93,652; Christians, 58,215 ; Jains, 10,044; Parsis, 16;
and 'others,' 157. Among the Hindus were — Brahmans, 106,415;
Rajputs, 287; Balijas, 94,464; Valayans, 36,099; Goudas, 41,338;
Kammalans, 22,513; Kushavans, 24,883; Parayans, 130,000; Idigas,


136,146; Vanniyans, 10,918; and other less numerous castes. The
IVIuhammadans include 273 Mappilas, 7 Mughals, 350 Pathans, 49
Sayyids, 282 Shaikhs, and 92,691 'unspecified.'

Of the 1282 towns and villages in the District, 236 contained less than
two hundred inhabitants; 400 from two to five hundred; 370 from five
hundred to one thousand; 198 from one to two thousand; 4S from
two to three thousand ; 24 from three to five thousand ; 5 from five to
ten thousand ; and i over twenty thousand. The principal of these
towns are Mangalore, Bantwal, and Udipi.

'J'he male population is, for the purpose of exhibiting the occupations
of the people, divided into six main groups :— (i) Professional class,
including State officials of every description, and the learned profes-
sions, 11,946; (2) domestic servants, inn and lodging-house keepers,
5623 ; (3) commercial class, including bankers, merchants, carriers, etc.,
10,516 ; (4) agricultural and pastoral class, including gardeners, 220,086 ;

Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 7) → online text (page 45 of 57)