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the body and pinned so as to resemble the Abar's sleeveless coat.
As a cloak and covering for their knapsack, they wear over the
shoulders a half cape made of the back hairy fibres of a palm tree,
which at a distance looks like a bear's skin. Their arms are the bow
and arrow and long straight sword, the arrows being generally poisoned.
They also make shafts from a species of bamboo, which is said to be
naturally poisonous.

'The time of the men is chiefly occupied in journeys to the plains,
with loads of manj'it and other produce, or in hunting. They have
various methods for entrapping animals of all kinds, from an elephant
to a mouse, and all is food that comes to their net. The flesh of a
tiger is prized as food for men ; it gives them strength and courage.
It is not suited for women ; it would make them too strong-minded.

' Polygamy is practised to a great extent by the chiefs. There is no
limit, but his means of purchase, to the number of wives a man may
possess ; and (as amongst the Mishmis) when he dies, his son or heir
will become the husband of all the women except his own mother. . . .

' With the poorer classes, a man has to work hard to earn the means
of buying a wife ; and from this, the practice of polyandry results in a
few instances.

' . . . The Miri women make faithful and obedient wives. . . . They
are trained never to complain or give an angry answer; and they appear
to cheerfully bear the hard burden imposed on them, which includes
nearly the whole of the field labour, and an equal share of the carrying
work of their journeys to the plains.

' Every village has a certain extent of ground to which their cultiva-
tion is limited, but not more than one-fifth of this is under cultivation
each season. They cultivate each patch two successive years, then suffer
it to lie fallow four or five years, taking up instead the land that has
been longest fallow. They have, like the Abars, a superstition which
deters them from breaking up fresh ground so long as their available
fallow is sufficient, — a dread of offending the spirits of the woods by
unnecessarily cutting down trees. Their crops are — dus rice, millets,
Indian corn, yams, sweet potatoes, tobacco, and red-pepper ; but they
barely grow sufficient for their own consumption, and would often be

MIRL ^^^

very hard pressed for food if it were not for the large stock of dried
meat they take care to have always on hand. Not less than two-thirds
of the Panibotia Miris spend several months of the year in the plains ;
and their main occupation whilst there is to procure meat and fisli, dry
it, and carry it back to the hills.

' There are no people on the face of the earth more ignorant of arts
and manufactures than the Mi'ri tribe. They are decenily clad, because
they can exchange the wild produce of their hills for clothes, and they
])urchase cloth with the money received from Government as black-
mail commutation : but they cannot make for themselves any article of
clothing, unless the cane bands and bamboo crinolines can be so called.
The most distant tribes, their cognates, manufacture coarse cotton
cloths ; but though the Mfris are in constant communication with them,
as well as with the people of the plains, they have not the remotest idea
of weaving. They cannot journey two or three days from their village
witliout having to cross a considerable river. If it be not fordable, a
rough raft of kdkii bamboos (Bambusa gigantea) is hastily constructed ;
but though constantly requiring them, and annually using them in their
journeys to the plains, they have never yet attempted to construct a
canoe. This is the more strange as the Abars of the Dihcng river
make canoes for use and for sale.

' The religious observances of the Mi'ris are confined to the slaughter
of animals in the name of the sylvan spirits, and vaticination by the
examination of the entrails of birds when the deities have been invoked
after such sacrifices. They profess a belief in a future state, and have
an indefinite idea of a god who presides in the region of departed
souls ; but as they call this god Jam Raja, he is believed to be the
Hindu Yama.

' They, however, bury their dead as if they were sending them on a
long journey, fully clothed and equipped with arms, travelling-pouch,
and caps, in a deep grave surrounded by strong timbers to prevent the
earth from pressing on them ; nor do they omit to supply the departed
with food for his journey, cooking utensils, and ornaments, according
to the position he enjoyed in life, in order that Jam Raja may know
whom he has to deal with. They attach great importance to their dead
being thus disposed of, and buried near the graves of their ancestors.
If a man of rank and influence die in the plains, his body is immedi-
ately conveyed to the hills to be so interred, should the disease of
which he died be not deemed contagious.

' Of migrations, or their own origin, the hill Miris can only sny that
they were made for the hills and appointed to dwell there ; and that
they were originally much farther north, but discovered Assam by
following the flights of birds, and found it to their advantage to settle
on its borders. There can be no doubt that the hill Mi'ris do their

VOL. IX. 2 F


utmost to deter the people of the wild clans to the north from visiting
the plains ; but the north-men occasionally creep down bearing heavy
loads oi manj'it, and, beyond looking more savage and unkempt, they
are undistinguishable from the poorer class of Miris. They are
described, however, as living in detached houses, as, whenever they
have attempted to form into a society, fierce feuds and summary
vengeance, or the dread of it, soon break up the community. Thrown
on their own resources, they have acquired the art of forging their own
ddos^ which the jNIiris know not, and their women weave coarse narrow

Mirkasarai. — Town and police station {tJidiid) cf the head-quarters
Sub-division, Noakhali District, Bengal ; recently transferred to this
District from Chittagong. Situated in lat. 22° 46' 4" n., and long. 91°
37' 10" E., on the old Imperial High Road from Dacca to Chittagong.
Population (1881) under 5000.

Mirpur. — Idluk in Rohri Sub-division, Shikarpur District, Sind,
Bombay Presidency; situated between 27' 19' and 28° 8' n. lat., and
between 69° 13' and 70° 11' e. long. Area, 17207 square miles.
Population (1872) 42,127; (1881) 39,112, namely, 21,169 niales and
17,943 females, dwelling in 84 villages and 7172 houses. Hindus
number 4230; Muhammadans, 31,898; Sikhs, 976; and aboriginal
tribes, 2008. Gross revenue (1881-82), ;£836i. In 1882-83, the area
assessed to land revenue was 44,515 acres, and the area actually culti-
vated 38,174 acres. In 1884, the tdluk contained 3 criminal courts;
police stations {thdnds), 7 ; regular police, t,^ men.

Mirpur. — Town in Rohri Sub-division, Shikarpur District, Sind,
Bombay Presidency, and head - quarters of the viukhtidrkdr of
Mirpur tdluk; 55 miles north-east of Rohri town. Lat. 28° i' 15" n.,
long. 69° 35' E. Contains a court-house and treasury, and a tappdddr's
office ; also a travellers' bungalow, post-office, and police lines.
Population inconsiderable. Small trade in grain and gJii. The town
was founded by Mir Musii Khan Talpur about 1739 ■^•^•) ^^^d is a
station on the Sind, Punjab, and Delhi Railway.

Mirpur. — Town in the Frontier District, Upper Sind, Bombay
Presidency ; situated in the Thai tdluk, 20 miles east of Jacobabad, in
lat. 28° 11' N., long. 68° 46' e. It has a thdiid or police circle, and
is the head-quarters of a tappdddr. Considerable trade in grain, and
a manufacture of embroidered shoes.

Mirpur Batoro. — Tdluk in Shahbandar Sub-division, Karachi
(Kurrachee) District, Sind, Bombay Presidency ; situated between
24° 28' and 25° N. lat., and between 68° 12' and 68° 27' e. long.
Area, 268 square miles. Population (1872) 31,645; (1881) 32,179,
namely, 17,924 males and 14,255 females, dwelling in i town and
74 villages, with 6298 houses. Hindus number 3727 ; Muham-


madans, 27,865 ; Sikhs, 229 ; aboriginal tribes, 354 ; and Christians, 4.
Gross revenue (18S1-82), ^£"6743. In 1882-83, the area assessed
to land revenue was 66,252 acres, and the area actually cultivated
27,372 acres. In 1884, the taluk contained i civil and 2 criminal
courts ; police stations, 5 ; regular police, 43 men.

Mirpur Batoro. — Chief town and municipality of the Mirpiir
Batoro taluk in Shahbandar Sub-division, Karachi District, Sind,
Bombay Presidency; situated in lat. 24° 44' n., and long. 68° 17'
30" E., on the Fatiah Canal, 13 miles north-east of Sujawal, and 26
north of Mugalbhin. Head-quarters of a inukhtidrkdr and a tappdddr.
Contains a bdzdr, dharmsdla^ etc. Population (1881) 3102. Municipal
income (1881-82), £^zi \ incidence of taxation, is. lofd. Large
export of grain ; transit trade in cloth, ghi, and miscellaneous articles.
The main industries of the place are dyeing, and the manufacture of
country liquor.

Mirpur Yi\A%.—Tdluk of Hala Sub-division, Haidarabad (Hydt
abad) District, Sind, Bombay Presidency; situated between 25° i:
45" and 25° 48' N. lat., and between 68' 54' and 69° 17' 30" e. long
Area, 561-4 square miles. Population (1872) 22,449; (i88i) 24,979,
namely, 13,737 males and 11,242 females, dwelling in 39 villages,
with 5128 houses. Hindus number 4367; Muhammadans, 17,222;
Sikhs, 697 ; and aboriginal tribes, 2693. Gross revenue (1S80-S1),
;£"6587. In 1882-S3, the area assessed to land revenue was 66,518
acres, and the area actually cultivated 22,935 acres. In 1884, the
tdluk contained 2 criminal courts ; police stations {t/idiids), 4 ; regular
jjolice, 25 men.

Mirpur Khas. — Chief town of the Mirpur Khas tdluk, Hala
Sub-division, Haidarabad District, Sind, Bombay Presidency ; situated
in lat. 25° 31' 45" N., and long. 69° 3' e., on the Letwah Canal, and
also on the high road to Haidarabad and Umarkot, 38 miles south-east
of Hala, and 41 miles east-north-east of Haidarabad 7'ia Alahyar-jo-
Tanda (17 miles distant). Contains a staging bungalow and the usual
public offices. Population (1881) below 2000. Local trade in grain,
cotton (said to be the finest in Sind), and piece-goods, valued at ^4200.
The annual value of the transit trade is estimated at ^5700. Mirpur
is a comparatively modern town, having been built in 1806 by Mir All
Murad Talpur. It was the capital of Mir Sher Muhammad Khdn
I'alpur, whose army was defeated in 1843 by Sir Charles Napier at
Dabba (Dabo) near Haidarabad.

Mirpur Sakro. — Tdluk in Jerruck (Jhirak) Sub-division, Karachi
(Kurrachee) District, Sind, Bombay Presidency. Area, 1108 square
miles. Population (1872) 22,614; (1881) 21,711, namely, 11,809
males and 9902 females, dwelling in 16 vilLages, with 4290 houses.
Hindus numbered 1959; Muhammadans, 19,531; and Sikhs, 221.


Gross revenue (1SS3), ^^3759- The town of Mirpur Sakro lies in lat.
24° 33' N., and long. 67° 40' e. In 1882-83, ^^ ^^^a assessed to
land revenue was 28,271 acres, and the area actually cultivated 13,457
acres. In 1883, the taluk contained 2 criminal courts; police circles
{f /lands), 5 ; regular police, 35 men.

Mirta. — Town in Jodhpur State, Rdjputana. — See Merta.

Mirzapur. — District in the Lieutenant-Governorship of the North-
western Provinces, lying between 23° 51' 30" and 25° 31' n, lat., and
between 82° 9' 15" and 83° 36' e. long. Area, 5223 square miles.
Population (18S1) 1,136,796 persons. Mirzapur forms the southern-
most District of the Benares Division. It is bounded on the north
by Jaunpur and Benares ; on the east by the Bengal Districts of
Shahabad and Lohardaga; on the south by the Sarguja Tributary
State ; and on the west by Allahabad District and the territories of the
Maharaja of Rewa. The administrative head-quarters are at the city
of Mirzapur.

Physical Aspects. — The District of Mirzapur extends over a larger
area than any other in the North-Western Provinces, and exhibits a
corresponding diversity of natural features. It has an extreme length
of 102 miles from north to south, and an average width of 52 miles
from east to west. The mountain ranges of the Vindhyas and the
Kaimur, crossing it in the last-named direction, mark out the country
into several w^ell- defined physical divisions. The tract north of the
Vindhyas forms part of the alluvial valley of the Ganges, and extends
across either bank of the sacred river. The portion on its left or
northern bank consists of a perfectly level plain, presenting the usual
characteristics of the Gangetic lowlands. From its southern bank the
District slopes upward gradually to the Vindhyan Hills, whose sand-
stone spurs descend to the river near Bindachal and at Chanar
(Chunar), while projections and ravines run down into the plain along
its whole southern boundary.

The high plateau between the Vindhyas, which overlook the Ganges,
and the Kaimur range, which overhangs the valley of the Son (Soane)
to the south, has a length of about 70 miles, with a breadth varying
from 20 to 30 miles. It consists of a table-land with an elevation of
from 300 to 500 feet above the plain, or from 600 to 800 feet above
sea-level. The Karamnasa takes its rise in this middle region, but
does not become a considerable river until it debouches upon the
Gangetic plain near Kera Mangraur. The eastern portion of the
plateau comprises the southern half of Kera Mangraur pargand, a
revenue-free estate, forming a portion of the family domains of the
Maharaja of Benares, which has been set apart as a vast preserve
for deer and large game shooting. This tract, which is known as
tdluk Naugarh, is intersected everywhere by low-wooded ridges, with


intervening valleys walered by hill torrents, which find their way, some
to the Karamnasa, some to the Chandrai)rabha, and so to the plains
and the Ganges beyond. The whole taluk, nearly 300 sc^uare miles
in extent, is a vast forest, with here and there a few clearings, each
containing one or more villages interspersed at wide intervals over its
surface. The scenery is among the wildest and most beautiful in the
District. The tract called the Daman-i-Koh, where the hills meet the
plains, is specially pictures(|ue. The Karanmasa reaches the plains
by a succession of leaps, including two falls known as the Deodari
and the Chhanpathar, which, from their height and beauty, are
deserving of special notice. The lesser stream of the Chandraprabha
leaves the plateau at Purwadari by a single cascade, 400 feet in height,
whence it passes through a gloomy and precipitous gorge, 7 miles in
length, to the open country beyond.

After passing the crest of the Kaimur hills, a more rugged,
imposing, and elevated range than the Vindhyas, an abrupt descent of
400 or 500 feet leads down into the third tract, the valley of the Son
(Soane) and its tributaries. The valley is reached by several more or
less practicable passes, the finest and easiest of which is the Kiwai ghat
above Markundi, on the Chanar-Sarguja road. The basin of the main
river itself lies at the foot of the Kaimur chain, and comprises a strip of
alluvial land stretching about 4 miles on either side of its bed. Next,
as the traveller moves southward, come the transverse valleys of its
affluents, the Rehand and Kanhar, flowing at right angles to the Son,
and separated from one another by low hill ridges. Finally, in the
extreme south, the Singrauli basin, between the Rehand and the
Pangan, consists of a low-lying depression, composed of metamorphic
rocks, overlaid in part by glacial boulder beds and coal strata. Alluvial
deposits of black loam fill in the centre of the basin. The Son is
navigable during the rainy season, when rafts of wood and bamboos are
floated down to Patna, near its mouth.

The eastern portion of the plateau has extensive tracts of ^ low
jungle, interspersed with larger trees ; while the Son valley is widely
covered with forest, and presents beautiful scenery, deep and thickly
wooded gorges from the Kaimur range penetrating far into the
hollow beneath, forming a fine contrast with its flat and tame appear-
ance. Mirzapur is the only District of the North-Western Provinces
which stretches to any great extent from the alluvial Gangetic plain
into the central rock-area of India ; and its geological features comprise
most of the characteristic formations of the peninsula. Tigers, leopards,
and bears occur commonly in the southern jungles ; while sdmbhar,
hyenas, wolves, wild ho-, spotted deer, ml-di, and antelopes abound in
many parts. As ^ rule, game birds are very scarce in iVIirzdpur, and
the aquatic species particularly so.



Bistory. — Mirzapur has always formed part of the Benares Province,
and its annals under the Rajas of Benares belong rather to the account
of that District. To this day, the whole of the Bhadohi and Kera
Mangraur pargands are included among the family domains of the
Maharaja, who exercises considerable revenue powers.

The earlier chronicles of the District centre around the towns of
jMirzapur and Chanar. The latter stronghold, perched upon a project-
ing sandstone outlier of the Vindhyan range, derives its name from the
footprint of a deity, who descended upon the spot during the heroic
period. Long afterwards, Bharti Nath, King of Ujjain, a younger brother
of the famous hero Vikramaditya, became a religious devotee, and settled
upon this hill. His shrine still remains one of the holiest places in

At a more historic date, Prithwi Raj took up his abode at Chanar
(Chunar), and brought the surrounding tract under cultivation. After
his death, Khair-ud-din Sabuktagin conquered the country from his
successor, and a mutilated inscription over the gateway of Chanar fort
commemorates its ransom from the hands of a Musalman invader. It
fell once more before a general of Muhammad Shah, who appointed a
Bahelia as governor of the fort. The family of the Bahelias retained
the office, with a permanence very rare in Indian history, till the
surrender of the fortress to the British after the battle of Buxar (Baksar)
in 1764. Sher Khan, the Rohilla, obtained possession of Chanar in
1530 by marrying the widow of its late commandant; and two years later,
Humayiin besieged and captured the place. In 1575, the Mughals
again took Chanar, and settled the neighbouring country. About
1750 it came into the hands of Raja Balwant Singh of Benares.
Unsuccessfully besieged by Major Munro in 1763, Chanar passed
under British rule after the victory of Buxar in the succeeding year.
In 1 781, Warren Hastings, when trying to coerce Raja Chait Singh of
Benares, had to take refuge at Chanar from August 21st to September
30th; when Chait Singh fled to Gwalior, after a vain resistance to Major
Popham's force at Latifpur.

After the establishment of Mahip Narayan Singh as Raja of Benares
in the place of his rebellious kinsman, the District disappears from
history till the date of the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857. At first only a Sikh
guard had charge of the treasury at Mirzapur, but after the outbreaks
at Benares on the ist and at Jaunpur on the 5th of June, Colonel Pott
arrived with part of the 47th Native Infantry. The Sikhs were called
in to Allahabad on the 8th ; and next day, strong rumours of intended
attacks by the rebels being current, all the officers, except Mr. Tucker,
retired to Chanar. On the loth, Mn Tucker attacked and defeated the
insurgents; and on the T3th, a detachment of the ist Madras Fusiliers
arrived at Mirzapur, and destroyed Gaura, a stronghold of the river


dakdits. In Bhadohi /^ar^^afid, Adwant Singh, head of the Thdkurs,
rebelled, but was captured and hanged. The Thakurs vowed
vengeance, attacked Mr. Moore, Joint-Magistrate of Mirzapur, at Pali
factory, and murdered him, together with two planters, while endeavour-
ing to make his escape. On the 26th June, the Banda and Fatehpur
fugitives arrived and passed on to Allahabad. On the nth August, the
Dinapur mutineers entered the District, but were put to flight by three
companies of the 5th, and left Mirzapur at once. Kuar Singh, the
rebel zamiiiddr of Shahabad District, made an incursion on the 8th
September after his defeat at Arrah, but the people compelled him
to pass on to Banda. On the i6th, when the 50th Native Infantry
mutinied at Nagod, the officers and 200 faithful men marched through
Rewa to Mirzapur. No further disturbance occurred till Mr. Tucker
made an expedition against Bijaigarh in January 1858, drove the
rebels across the Son, and re-established order, which was not again

Populatio?i. —T\\& Census of 1S53 returned the total number of
inhabitants at 1,104,315. By 1865 the number had decreased to
1,055,735, showing a decrease of 48,580, or 4-6 per cent., although the
area had increased meanwhile by 48 square miles. The enumeration
of 1872 disclosed a further fall to 1,015,826, being a decrease of 39,909
persons, or 3-9 per cent., although the area had again increased by 17
square miles. The total decrease for the 19 years ending in 1872
amounted to 88,489 persons, or 87 per cent., in spite of an increase
of area amounting to 65 square miles, or \'2 per cent. The density
of population, which was 214 persons per square mile in 1853, fell to
203 in 1865, and to 195 in 1872. No apparent reason for these facts
can be alleged, except the decadence in the commercial prosperity
of Mirzapur city. In 1881, however, the Census showed an increase,
and returned the total population above that of 1853. In 18S1 the
population of Mirzapur District numbered 1,136,796, showing a density
of 217-6 persons per square mile, as against 214 per square mile m
1853, 203 per square mile in 1865, and 195 per square mile in 1872.
The total increase between 1872 (on an area corresponding with that of
the present District) and 1881 was 120,970, or 11-97 per cent in the
nine years.

The results of the Census of iSSi maybe briefly summarized as
follows :— Area of District, 5223 square miles; towns, 3; and villages,
4352; density of population, 217-6 persons per square mile; villages
per square mile, -8; persons per town or village, 261 : houses per
square mile, 33-8 ; inmates per house, 6-4. Total population,
1,136,796, namely, males 567,304, and females 569,492; proportion
of males, 49-9 per cent. Classified according to age, there were—
under 15 years of age, males 226,306, and females 210,458; total


children, 436,764, or 38-4 per cent, of the District population : 15
years and upwards, males 34.0,998, and females 359,034; total adults
700,032, or 6 1 '6 per cent.

As regards religion, the District still remains almost exclusively
Hindu, the adherents of that creed numbering 1,061,998, or 93-4 per
cent. ; as against 73,507 jNIuhammadans, or 6*4 per cent. Sikhs
numbered 3S8 ; Jains, 200; Christians, 701 ; and Brahmos, 2. The
ethnical division of the Hindus yielded the following results : —
The higher castes comprised — Brahman, 165,489, the most numerous
caste in the District; Rajput, 51,065; Kayasth, 12,404; and Baniya,
25,606. The other important Hindu castes, according to numerical
superiority, are returned as follows : — Chamar, skinners and field
labourers, 142,826; Ahir, cowherds, 111,156; Mallah, boatmen,
80,408; Kiirmi or Kunbi, landholders and cultivators, 67,429 ; Kachhi,
landholders and cultivators, 41,834 ; Kahar, palanquin-bearers, water-
carriers, and labourers, 28,751; Teli, oilmen, 24,388; Lobar, blacksmiths,
235837; Gadaria, shepherds, 22,771 ; Pasf, village watchmen, labourers,
and cultivators, 21,937; Kahvar, distillers, 18,094 ; Kumbhar, potters,
17.684; Nai, barbers, 15,873; Bayar, cultivators, 13,092 ; Loniya, salt-
workers, 11,671; Dhobf, washermen, 11,094; Halwai, confectioners,
7943 ; Bansphor, workers in bamboo, 71 16; Sonar, goldsmiths, 5438 ;
and Bhurji, 5292. The Bhars, or representatives of the aboriginal
tribe once dominant in the Xorth-west, are now represented in IMirza-
pur by only 3169 low -caste labourers and cultivators. The other
aboriginal and semi-aboriginal tribes include — Kol, 31,970; Kharwar,
14,280; Bind, 8376; and Cheru, 4307. These aboriginal and quasi-
aboriginal tribes are all returned as Hindus in religion.

The Muhammadan population, 73,507 in number, are almost
entirely of the Sunni or orthodox sect; only 1090 being returned as
Shias, and there are no representatives of other sects. By race or
family, the Muhammadans include Shaikhs, Sayyids, IVIughals, Pathans,

Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 9) → online text (page 54 of 64)