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modern Haidarabad. The date 713 marks the first Arab invasion
of the District. Between 1019 and 1026 the invasions of Mahmud of
Ghazni took place, and in 1351 the Samma tribe from Cutch (Kachchh)
setded first at Sehwan and afterwards at Tatta. Close under the Makli
Hills stood Samui, the capital of the Samma dynasty of princes, origi-
nally a Hindu or Buddhist race, who maintained their independence of
the Muhammadan power from 135 1 to 15 21. Converted to the faith
of Islam about the close of the 14th century, they still continued
to retain their practical autonomy, in spite of a nominal allegiance
tendered to Firoz Tughlak of Delhi; and the town of Tatta, where
they generally resided, became in after years the chief centre of popu-
lation and commerce for the whole of Sind.

In 152 1, Shah Beg, founder of the Arghiin dynasty, completely defeated
the last Samma prince, and established his own claim to the sovereignty
of the lower Indus valley. After a continuance of only thirty-four years,
however, the Arghiin line became extinct in the person of Shah Husain,
son of the founder, who died childless in 1554. Mirza Jani Beg, the last
local ruler of Tatta, was defeated by an army of the Mughal Emperor
Akbar in 1592 ; and the District, together with the rest of Sind, became
incorporated with the Miiltan (Mooltan) suhah in the imperial organiza-
tion of the country. 'The country of Tatta,' however, was made over
to Jani Beg, who entered the Mughal service after his defeat, and
compromised for his indei)endence by accepting his former territories
in jdg'ir. Continued struggles for the governorship of Tatta led
Jahangir to abolish the hereditary viceroyalty, and to appoint instead
special lieutenants holding office during the imperial pleasure. The
town of Karachi itself appears to have attained little importance


either under the native dynasties or the Mughal administration. Its
rise into notice began with the period of the Talpur Mirs, who succeeded
the Kalhora princes in 1793 {see Haidarabad). They first recognised
the value of the harbour for commerce. The capture of the Manora
fort in 1S39 put the British in possession of the town. The District
was ceded in November 1842. Karachi town grew rapidly under the
inew administration, and became the principal port of Xorth-Western
India. Karachi District, as at first constituted, did not embrace so wide
an area as at present; but in 1S61, a portion of the Indus Delta, com-
posing the present Shahbandar Sub-division, was taken from Haidarabad,
and incorporated with this District.

Popidatio7i. — The Census of 1872 returned the population of Karachi
District at 426,722. The total number of inhabitants in the Dis-
trict on 17th February 1881 amounted to 478,688 persons, scattered
over an area of 14,115 square miles, inhabiting an aggregate of 723
towns and villages, and dwelling in 87,059 houses. In the nine
years ending 1881, there has thus been an increase of 51,966, or I2'i7
per cent. From the data given by the Census of 1881, the following
averages may be deduced: — Persons per square mile, 33*91; villages
per square mile, 0*05 ; persons per village, 538 ; and per town, 30,437.
Classified according to sex, there were — males, 265,988; females,
212,700; proportion of males, 55*5 per cent. Classified according to
age, there were, under 15 years — 105,823 boys, 86,252 girls; total
children, 192,075, or 40'i per cent. As regards religious distinctions,
Karachi is an essentially Muhammadan District, the Census showing
a total of 390,067 Musalmans, as against 68,975 Hindus. The
Muhammadans include 382,811 Sunnis, 6967 Shias, 52 Wahabis, and
237 'other' Muhammadans. Divided into tribes, there are 85,314
Baluchi's, 2686 Pathans, 7314 Sayyids, 8092 Shaikhs, 246,760 Sindhis,
and 39,901 'other' Muhammadans. There are 10,819 Sikhs, mostly
trading in the towns. The Hindu population embraces 3883 Brahmans,
359 Rajputs, 43,869 Lohanas, and 20,864 'other' Hindus ; 3050 are re-
turned as aboriginal tribes. The Christian population includes the large
number of 4674 persons (including the garrison); while 9 Jains, 969
Parsis, 106 Jews, 3 Buddhists, and 16 Brahmos complete the total.

As regards occupation, the male population is divided into six
main groups: — (r) Professional class, including State officials of every
kind and the learned professions, 4917 ; (2) domestic servants, inn and
lodging-house keepers, 6516; (3) commercial class, including bankers,
\ merchants, carriers, etc., 14,220 ; (4) agricultural and pastoral class,
including gardeners, 83,390 ; (5) industrial class, including all manu-
facturers and artisans, 29,830 ; (6) indefinite and non-productive class,
comprising general labourers, male children, and persons of unspecified
occupation, 127,115.


Of the 723 towns and villages in the District, 227 contain less than
two hundred inhabitants ; 242 between two and five hundred ; 166
between five hundred and one thousand ; 65 between one and two
thousand; 12 between tw^o and three thousand; 4 between three and
five thousand ; 6 between five and ten thousand ; and i over fifty
thousand. The fi^llowing are the chief towns: — Karachi, 73,560;
KoTRi, 8922; Sehwan, 4524; BuBAK, 2836; Dadu, 2270; Tatta,
8830; Keti-Bandar, 2141 ; Manjhand, 2654; and Mirpur Batoro,

Agriculture. — In the Karachi Sub-division, cultivation exists only on
a few isolated spots, and depends upon wells, springs, or natural rainfall.
Here the chief crops are jodr, bdjj-a, barley, and sugar-cane, grown
chiefly on the Malir plain, distant fi-om Karachi city some 12 miles,
and easily accessible by rail. In Jerruck and Shahbandar, where
numerous creeks and channels intersect the alluvial flats, rice
forms the staple crop ; but wheat, sugar - cane, millets, cotton, and
tobacco are also grown. The Western Nara Canal supplies the
means of irrigation in Sehwan Sub-division. In the barren hills
of Kohistan, agriculture is practically unknown ; and the nomad
population devotes itself almost entirely to grazing cattle in the
southern plains, where abundance of forage springs up spontaneously
after every fall of rain. The harvest seasons recognised in the District
are three in number — kharif, sown in May or June, and reaped in
October, November, or December ; rabi, sown in November or
December, and reaped in March or April ; and adhdwa, sown in
January, and reaped in March.

In 1882-83, out of the 9,033,600 acres in the District, only 594,638
acres were cultivated land bearing assessment and in occupation;
65,584 acres were fallow; while 209,805 acres, though cultivable and
assessed, were not in occupation. Irrigation is afforded by upwards of
1350 miles of natural and artificial water channels. Of the area cropped,
43,165 acres were under wheat, 18,023 under barley, 146,581 under
rice, 109,171 under millets (Jodr and bdjra), 21,896 under other
cereals, 5548 under garden produce, 1366 under sugar-cane, 40,618
under oil-seeds, 700 acres under cotton, 78 under other fibres, 4918
under pulse, 407 under tobacco, and 24,856 under other products;
giving a total of 417,327 acres, of which 17,557 acres were twice
cropped. In regard to cotton, a decrease in the average out-turn
took place in 1882-83. The prices of agricultural produce ruling
during 1882 were, per inaiind oi 82 lbs., as follows: — Wheat, 6s. 8|d. ;
barley, 3s. 8-Jd. ; best rice, 8s. 2d. ; common rice, 4s. 9|d. ; millet,
from 3s. 6d. to 4s. 4d. ; gram, 4s. 5^d. ; salt, 4s. 6|d. ; flour, 9s. 4|d. ;
ddl, 7s. ; ghi, £2, 19s. 2|d. The wages of skilled labour were in the
same period from is. 6d. to 3s. a day; unskilled, 7^d. to is. 3d. Cart-


hire, 5s. a day; boat-hire, 4s. a day; camel-hire, is. a day for baggage
camels, and from is. 6d. to 2s. a day for others.

Commerce and Trade, etc. — The traffic of the District centres mainly
in the town and port of Karachi. The staple exports consist of grain,
principally wheat, cotton, and wool.

Karachi Disirict contains three seaports, namely, Karachi, Keti,
and Sirganda. The average value of the foreign trade, which
is practically confined to Karachi port, for the five years ending
1882-83, was — imports, x^797»645 ^ exports, ^1,633,428; total,
;^2,43i,o73. In 1882-83, the value of the imports was ;^i, 219,058,
and exports, ^^{^z, 661, 754 ; total, ^3,880,812, or ^1,449,739 above
the average of the five years. The average value of the coastwise
trade for all ports for the five years ending 1882-83 ^^'^s — imports,
;£2,iii,i6i ; exports, ^973.693 ; total, ^3,084,854. In 1882-83, the
coastwise trade was returned as follows : — Imports, ^2,141,273 ;
exports, ^1,159,113; total, ^3.300^386, or ^215,532 above the
average of the five years. For details of the import and export trade,
see the article on Karachi town, where the sea-borne foreign commerce
of the District, and practically of the Province of Sind, is centred.
The coast-borne trade includes re-imports and re-exports from and to
Karachi, which are included in the values of the foreign trade given

Extensive salt deposits of the purest description occur in Shah-
bandar Sub-division, on the Sirganda creek, a branch of the Indus,
accessible for small craft of from 50 to 60 tons burthen. Accord-
ing to Captain Burke, of the Bombay Engineers, who surveyed the
beds in 1847, they are capable of supplying the whole world with all
the salt it needed for a hundred years. Owing to the double excise
duty, however, Sirganda salt was long unable to compete with inferior
descriptions sent from other quarters ; and the removal of the export
duties in 1868 has not improved the trade to the extent anticipated.

The Sind, Punjab, and Delhi Railway runs through the entire
length of the District, from Karachi to Phulji, via Kotri, a distance
of over 230 miles, with 15 stations, the principal ones being Karachi
City and Cantonment, Jungshahi (for Tatta), Meting (for Jerruck),
Kotri, Laki, and Sehwan. It forms the outlet not only for local pro-
ducts, but for a large wheat traflic from the North-West Provinces.
The sea-fishery of the District is carried on by the Muhana tribe
of Musalmans, who reside for the most part at Karachi. The
principal fish caught on the coast are sharks, rays, and skates. The
pearl oyster is found at several places on the coast, and the Mirs
conduct pearl operations on their own account. Under British
rule, the right has been let for a small sum ; but the pearls are very
inferior in size and quality, so that the industry has greatly dechned of

VOL. vii. 2 F



late years. Considerable fisheries also exist in the river Indus, chiefly
for the fish known as pala; and Government derives a small revenue
from this source.

The local manufactures are confined to Karachi town ; Tatta is noted
for lujigis, and Bubak, near Sehwan, for carpets. Numerous fairs are
held in the District ; 35 only are of importance, lasting from one to
four days, and attended by from 500 to 16,000 persons.

Administratio7i. — The administration of this extensive District is
conducted by a Collector-Magistrate, assisted by the several Deputy
Collectors, as well as by the Huzilt Deputy Collector, permanently sta-
tioned at head-quarters. The District and Sessions Judge, with his prin-
cipal court at Karachi, holds periodical sessions at Kotri, Tatta, Batoro,
Sehwan, and one other town. In 1882-83, there were 5 civil judges
and 38 stipendary magistrates in the District ; maximum distance of a
village from nearest court, 60 miles ; average distance, 6 miles. The
canals of the District form a separate charge, under the superintendence
of officials appointed by the Public Works Department. The total
police force in the District in 1882 numbered 1376 officers and men,
being i policeman to every 9*5 square miles and to every 324 of the
population. The police were maintained at a cost in 1882 of ;£2 5,o2 9.
The gross imperial revenue in 1882-83 amounted to ;£"i56^32 7, of
which sum ^77,503 was contributed by the land-tax. The small
amount yielded by the land revenue is due to the large proportion,
viz. 90-4 per cent, of barren or desert area within the District. The
revenue from excise amounted to ^17,131. There are 26 forests in
the District, with an aggregate area of 137 square miles. Most of them
lie along the banks of the Indus, in the Shahbandar Sub-division.
Education has made some advance, but the progress is more striking
in Karachi than in the villages of the interior. The total number of
State inspected schools in 1882-83 amounted to 71, with a roll of 5197
pupils. This is exclusive of unaided or indigenous schools, uninspected
by the Education Department; and in 188 1 the Census Report returned
6081 boys and 791 girls as under instruction, besides 18,563 males and
1 1 79 females able to read and write, but not under instruction. For
fiscal and administrative purposes, the District is sub-divided into the
4 Sub-divisions of Karachi, Sehwan, Jerruck, and Shahbandar,
each of which see separately.

Medical Aspects. — The climate of Karachi city and the neighbouring
country, which is in every direction open to the sea-breeze, possesses a
great superiority to that which prevails throughout the remainder of
Sind. The hill country of Kohistan is also cooler in summer and
warmer in winter than is the case in the plains. In the north, on the
other hand, near the barren Laki range of hills, the heat often becomes
insupportable. The hot season commences about the middle or


end of March, reaches its maximum in the month of July, and lasts
till the end of August, when the temperature once more becomes
tcjlerably cool. The rainfall at Karachi is slight and fluctuating,
the average hardly exceeding 5 inches per annum. Sometimes one or
two years elapse with scarcely a shower. The fall for the four years
ending 1874 was 0-12, 7-60, 2-50, and 8-29 inches respectively. In
1874, the maximum reached by the thermometer was 101° F., and
the minimum 42°. Karachi city is said to enjoy the healthiest climate
in all Sind. Fevers prevail at the setting in of the cold season ; and in
the hot weather, external inflammations, ulcers, and skin diseases cause
much trouble. Cholera appeared in an epidemic form in 1865, 1867,
and 1869, in the last of which years terrible mortality occurred in the
town of Kotri. In 1882-S3, 9871 births were registered and 8807
deaths, giving a death-rate of 18 "4 per 1000. Fever caused by far the
largest portion of the deaths. The mean ratio of deaths during the
five years ending 1882 was 16 per thousand. In the same year 22,258
persons were vaccinated. [For further information regarding Karachi
District, see the Gazetteer of the Province of Siiid, by Mr. A. W. Hughes
(London, George Bell & Co., 1876, second edition). Also Mr. Stack's
Memorandian upon the Current Land Revenue Settlements in the tem-
porarily settled farts of British India., p. 551 ; the Bombay Census
Report of 1881 ; and the several Provincial Administration and Depart-
mental Reports from 1880 to 1883.]

Karachi {Kurrachee). — Taluk or Sub-division of Karachi District,
Sind, Bombay Presidency ; situated in the south-west of the District,
between 24° 44' and 26° 4' n. lat, and between 66° 41' 45" and 67°
59' 15" E. long. Area, 1291 square miles; containing i town and 3
villages, with 12,654 houses. Population (188 1) 88,588, namely,
52,270 males and 36,318 females. Hindus numbered 25,690; Muham-
madans, 52,845 ; Sikhs, 2640 ; aboriginal tribes, 2194 ; Christians, 4165 ;
Jews, 93; Parsis, 937; Jains, 9; Brahmos, 12 ; and Buddhists, 3.

Bounded north by Kohistan and the Hab river ; on the west by the
Hab and the Arabian Sea ; on the south by the Arabian Sea ; and on the
east by Jerruck. Hilly towards the north and west, where several lofty
and barren ranges occur. A small chain of hills runs for some miles
parallel to the Hab river, terminating in the headland of Ras Muar
or Cape Monze, a landmark for sailors making the port of Karachi.
The hills afford good pasturage after the rains for cattle sent from the
lowlands. The taluk contains no canals, but is drained by several
mountain torrents, the chief of which are the Malir and Layari. Salt
marshes occur along the sea-coast, and abound with mangroves and
other marsh trees. The hot springs of Pir Mangho are within the taluk,
7 miles north of Karachi city. There are no forests. Crocodiles,
leopards, and wild sheep are found. Sharks and sardines {Clupea


neohoivii) frequent the coast. Revenue in 1882-83, exclusiye of the
revenue of Karachi city, jQa'J'JS- The only municipality is that of
Karachi. Much of the fertile portion of the taluk is devoted to raising
vegetables and fruit for the Karachi market. Custard-apples, guavas,
mangoes, oranges, grapes, and melons are produced. Up to 1876 no
regular settlement had been effected. According to the system then in
force, there were two rates of land-tax — those on garden and dry crop
lands, the former being about 2s. and the latter is. The taluk contains
2 civil and 6 criminal courts ; police-stations {thdnds), 5 ; regular police,
579 i^"ien.

Karachi (Kurfachee). — Seaport, chief town, cantonment, and munici-
pality in Karachi District, Sind Province, Bombay Presidency. Karachi
is situated in lat. 24° 51' 9" n., and long. 67° 4' 15" e., at the extreme
northern end of the Indus Delta, near the southern base of the Pab
Mountains of Baluchistan. Population (1881) 73,560 (town, 68,332 ;
cantonment, 5228).

Position, etc. — The bay of Karachi is formed by the projecting head-
land of Manora Point, the extremity of a reef 10 miles in length, which
supplies a natural barrier against the waters of the Arabian Sea. The
opening of the bay between Manora and the opposite sanitarium of
Clifton has a width of about 3|- miles ; but the mouth is blocked by a
group of rocky islets, known as the ' Oyster Rocks,' as well as by the
larger island of Kiamari, a little in the rear. The harbour stretches for

5 miles northward from Manora Head to the narrows of the Layari
river, and about the same distance from the old town of Karachi on
the eastern shore to the extreme western point. Only a small portion
of this extensive area, however, is capable of accommodating large
vessels. Manora Head, the first object visible to a voyager approach-
ing Karachi from the sea, is crowned by a lighthouse, having a fixed
light 120 feet above sea-level, and visible for 17 miles around in clear
weather. The point also affords room for a fort, said to have been
first erected in 1797, the port and pilot establishment, the buildings
in connection with the harbour improvements, and a portion of the
Indo-European telegraph department. Besides a library, billiard-room,
and European school, Manora possesses an English church, intended for
the crews of vessels frequenting the harbour.

On the opposite side of the mouth, the island of Kiamari forms
the landing-place for all passengers and goods bound for Karachi,
and has three piers. A road running along the Napier Mole, 3 miles
long, connects the island with the town and mainland. The Sind,
Punjab, and Delhi Railway also extends to Kiamari ; but instead
of following the mole it takes a more circuitous route to the south
by the edge of a large lagoon, the waters of which are passed through
the mole by a fine screw-pile bridge, 1200 feet in length, erected


in 1865 at a cost of ^47,500, so as to allow them to flow unin-
terruptedly into the harbour as a means of scouring the channel.
At the northern extremity of this bridge, and running in a westerly
direction, stands the native jetty, built of stone at an expense of
,7^43,300. At the end of the mole, on the mainland side, the custom-
house runs right across the road, which pierces it by five arches, thus
intercepting all traffic.

Two principal thoroughfares lead from the custom-house to the
Karachi cantonments, known respectively as the Bandar and the
.M'Leod roads. The oldest portion of the town is situated along
the former route, close to the harbour, containing the most thickly
I^opulated quarter in Karachi. The municipality has lately widened
and paved the streets, and effected other improvements which must
conduce to the health of the inhabitants, who are chiefly Hindu and
Muhammadan merchants. The Layari, a river only in name, as it
contains water only some three or four times a year, separates this
quarter from the Layari suburb. On the M'Leod Road are situated
the court-house, the new Bank of Bombay, the Agra Bank, the Chamber
of Commerce, Messrs. Mackenzie & Cosser's ironworks, and three
important cotton-press houses — the M'Leod Road presses, owned by
the Sind Press Company, capable of turning out daily 350 pressed bales
of cotton; the Tyabji presses, erected in 1865 at a cost of ^22,000,
and turning out 250 bales ; and the Albert presses, leased to the Sind
Press Company, and turning out 390 bales. This quarter also contains
the charitable dispensary, the railway station, several schools, a new
Hindu temple, and most of the offices belonging to European merchants.
The Afghan sardi, intended for the use of Kafilas, or caravans from
Kandahar, rebuilt by the municipality in 1873 at a cost of ^1954,
covers an area of about 3 acres. Nearer to the cantonments, a number
of bungalows stand on the intervening space ; while the civil lines skirt
the cantonment itself to the eastward.

The military quarter, which is situated to the north and east of the
town proper, consists of three portions — the depot lines, the artillery
lines, and the European infantry lines. The depot lines are the oldest
military portion of Karachi, and supply accommodation to troops passing
up-country from the sea or vice versa. The depot was abolished in 187 1,
and all invalid soldiers from the Punjab are now sent by rail to Bombay
via Jabalpur. The artillery lines have three fine upper-storied barracks,
a hospital, gunsheds, workshops, racket-courts, bowling-alleys, and a
plunge-bath. The European infantry lines can house an entire regiment.
The Government garden, distant about half a mile from cantonments,
covers an area of 40 acres, neatly laid out with trees and shrubs.

Chief Buildings.— T\\Q architecture of Karachi is essentially modern
and Anglo-Indian. The principal church is the Anglican one of the


Holy Trinity, situated in the cantonments. It stands in a large open
space, 15 acres in extent, and consists of a heavy, ungainly Italian nave,
with a disproportionately tall and ugly tower. The old Roman Catholic
Chapel of St. Patrick, also situated in the cantonments, cannot be said
to represent any particular style of architecture, and has now been con-
verted into a school for boys, since the construction of a new building
called St. Patrick's Church. St. Patrick's school is a fine stone building,
capable of accommodating 40 boarders and 200 day-scholars. The
European and Indo-European school, founded in 1854, under the
auspices of the late Sir Bartle Frere, then Commissioner of Sind, occu-
pies a handsome stone structure in the depot lines. The other chief
modern institutions include the Presbyterian Church of St. Andrew,
Christ's Church and mission schools, the Napier Barracks, Gisri Military
Sanitarium, and post-office. The Frere Hall, a municipal building
named in honour of the late Commissioner, stands on a slight elevation
near Trinity Church. It was opened in a somewhat unfinished state in
October 1865, up to which date ;^i 7,391 had been expended upon its
erection. This hall, which is a comparatively good specimen of slightly
adapted Venetian Gothic, contains the Karachi General Library and
Museum. Government House, the residence of the Commissioner of
Sind, is situated in the civil quarter, and consists of a central building
with two wings, approached by five separate carriage drives. Though
commodious and comfortable in its interior arrangements, the exterior
can lay no claim to architectural beauty. It was originally built by Sir
Charles Napier when Governor of the Province. It was purchased by
Government for ^5000 in 1847, and an upper storey was added by
General Jacob when acting-Commissioner in 1856.

History. — Karachi came into British possession in 1842. The town
may be regarded as almost a creation of British rule, its extensive com-
merce, splendid harbour works, and numerous flourishing institutions
having all sprung up since the introduction of our settled administration.
Before 1725, no town whatever appears to have existed on the site;

Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 7) → online text (page 54 of 57)