B. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) Rice.

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well thatched. At any convenient time within three months it is
opened, dried two days in the sun, and then trodden out by oxen.
The seed, having been thoroughly dried in the sun, is preserved in
straw i?iude. The remainder is put into pits, or hagevii ; where, if care
has been taken to dig the pit in dry soil, it will keep in perfect
preservation for ten years.

Rdgi is always ground into flour, as wanted, by means of a hand-mill
called Msa-gcinu. In this operation it loses nothing by measure. The
flour is dressed in various ways. The most common are, a kind of
pudding called hittii, and two kinds of cakes called rotti and doshe,
both of which are fried in oil. For all kinds of cattle, the ragi straw is
reckoned superior to that of rice.'

' The following is an estimate by Dr. Forbes Watson of the food-value of ragi and
other Indian grains, taken from Mr. Elliot's l)ook {Experiences of a Planter).

"The position of ragi as food, when compared with some of the other Indian
cereals, appears from the following table : —





Name of the Grain










Number of analyzed samples






Per cent.

Per cent.

Per cent.

Per cent.

Per cent.







Nitrogenous matter

Ciluten, alljumen, &c. ...

1 3 '42





Cellulose or woody fibre

2 69





Carbonoiis viatter

Starch, gum, &c.






Fat or oil






Oxide of iron




































Phosphoric acid






Sulphuric acid ...






Silica ...






The order according to which these cereals are arranged is determined by the
amount of nitrogenous matter they contain. Wheat stands pre-eminent, followed by
bajree and jowaree [or sajje and jola], w-hilst rice and ragi occupy the lowest position.
It will be observed that, in order to avoid the perturbations in the natural order
which may arise from a varying amount of moisture in the grains, all the analyses
have been reduced to a common moisture of twelve per cent. , which is that to which
all grains more or less approach. The numbers inserted in the table are, therefore,
true comparative numbers.

The ragis grown at different places seem to show almost a greater latitude in com-
position than most of the other grains. Among the seven samples analyzed the
amount of nitrogenous matter varies between 5-49 and 9*24 per cent., so that, although


Tbta or ndt rdgi is not the same with that cultivated on dry grounds,
although in the sense adopted by botanists it is not specifically
different ; but the seed which is raised on dry fields will not thrive in
gardens ; nor will that which is raised in gardens thrive without
irrigation. Garden ragi is always transplanted, and hence it is called
ndti. The following is the process followed in the Kolar District.
For the seedling bed, dig the ground in Pushya (Dec. — Jan.) and give
it a little dung. Divide it into squares, and let it have some more
manure. Then sow the seed very thick ; cover it with dung, and give
it water, which must be repeated once in three days. The ground
into which it is to be transplanted, is in Pushya ploughed five
times, and must be dunged and divided into squares with proper
channels. About the beginning of Magha, or end of January,
water the seedlings well, and pull them up by the roots : tie them in
bundles, and put them in water. Then reduce to mud the ground into
which they are to be transplanted, and place the young ragi in it, with
four inches distance between each plant. Next day water, and every
third day for a month this must be repeated. Then weed with a small

the average is inferior to the rice, there are samples which may be richer in nitrogen
than most of the rices. Still, this is only one aspect of the question. The amount
of nitrogen is too often looked upon as the only exponent of the nutritive value.
This is a very circumscribed view of the extremely complicated and many-sided
problem of nutrition. Each of the normal components of the human body can
become of paramount importance under certain conditions. The oxide of iron in the
ash of the grains amounts only to some tenths of a per cent. ; but still the regular
supply even of this small quantity is essential for the proper performance of the vital
functions, as it is indispensalole in the formation of the blood-corpuscles. A dearth
of iron would, therefore, be just as fatal as a want of the nitrogenous, or carbonous,
or other principal constituent of food. In judging, therefore, of the relative value of
an article of food, the amounts of nitrogen and carbon cannot be relied on as the sole
guide. The mineral constituents must be taken into account. At the time when I
published my first analyses of ragi, these extended only to the organic compounds of
the grain, and the position which I then assigned to it — guided only l)y the percentage
of nitrogen — has been borne out by the subsequent analyses. Since then, however, a
detailed examination of the ash has been made, which yielded some remarkable con-
clusions. The ragi seems to be uncommonly rich in certain important mineral con-
stituents. The amount of phosphoric acid in ragi is only lower by one-fourth than
that in wheat, and it is more than twice as high as in rice. It contains eight times as
much iron, and eight times as much potassa as rice, and, indeed, more of potassa
than any of the other grains. It is, likewise, exceptionally rich in lime. The ash,
composed, as it chiefly is, of the most important elements, amounts on the average
to 2j per cent, in ragi, as compared with 0760 per cent, contained in rice. It is
therefore possible, if not indeed probable, that the large amount and favour-
al)le composition of the ragi ash may more than counterbalance its inferiority in
nitrogen, so that although, according to the nutritive standard hitherto in use, it must
be put below rice, ragi may still be, on the whole, a food satisfying by itself more
completely the numerous exigencies of an article of human diet than rice."'


hoc, and water once in four days. It ripens in three months from the
time when the seed was sown; and in a middling crop, produces twenty
fold. It is only sown on the ground at times when no other crop could
be procured, as the expense of cultivation nearly equals the value of the
crop. Another kind of nat ragi cultivated in Sira as a Vais'akha crop is
called tripati.

Avare — is never cultivated alone, but always with ragi, as
described above. When ripe, the legumes are nearly dry. The plant
having been cut and for one day exposed to the .sun, is beaten with a
stick to separate the seed. That which is designed for seed is
preserved in mudes ; while that for consumption is kept in pots, and
is used in curries. The straw is eaten by all kinds of cattle except

Togari (or Tovari) — is also cultivated only with ragi, as described
above. It is cut when almost dry, then put up in heaps, and on the
day after it is opened to dry in the sun. The grain is beaten out with
a stick ; and that intended for sowing must be preserved in a straw
miide. It is used in curry. After the seed has been threshed, cattle
eat the husks of the legume. The straw is used for fuel. A larger
variety, called hiruka togari, is produced by garden cultivation. -

The best soil for the cultivation of these three articles is the black
soil, or ere bht'imi; which yields a crop of ragi every year, and even
without manure will give a considerable return ; but when it can be
procured, dung is always given. After a crop oi jbla, ragi does not
thrive ; but j61a succeeds after a crop of ragi. The next best soil for
ragi, and the one most commonly used, is the kebbe or red soil. In
this also it is sometimes cultivated without dung ; but it requires to be
manured at least once in two or three years. In maralu, or sandy, and
dare soils, it every year requires dung,

Jola — next to ragi is the most considerable dry crop. In the south
it is often sown for fodder; for, when the crop is not uncommonly good,

1 The following is Professor Church's analysis of avare beans : —







The nutrient ratio deduced is I : ;

- According to the same authority i lb of the pea would contain i oz 361 grains of
water, 3 oz 208 grains of albuminoids, and 9 oz 1 1 grains of starch. The nutrient
ratio would be about 1:3: the nutrient value 80.

In 100 parts
Husked With husk

In I lb
oz grs


.. I2-I

I 410

24-4 .

.. 22-4

3 255

57-8 .

•• 54-2

S 294

1-5 ■



I "2 .

.. 6-5 ...

I 17

3-0 .

• • 3-4


he nutrient value 80.

JO LA 113

the grain is no object. It is cut and given to the cattle at a time when
ragi straw is not- to be procured. Previously to being given to cattle,
however, it must be dried, as the green straw is found to be very
pernicious. There are two kinds of jbla ; the white (/>///) and red
{ke7npii). When they are intended to be cut for the grain, these are
sown separately ; as the red kind ripens in three months, while four are
required to ripen the white jola. A red ragi soil is preferred for it,
and crops of ragi and jola are generally taken alternately, the crop of
ragi having an extraordinary allowance of dung. The j6]a requires less
rain than the ragi, and admits of a second crop of hurali being taken
after it; and thus, in the course of two years, there are on the same
ground three crops.

The j61a is both made into flour for puddings and cakes, and is
boiled whole to eat with curry, like rice. It is a good grain; but at the
utmost does not keep above two years.

The j6/a that is cultivated on dry field in Madgiri is of three kinds :
agara, kempu, and hasani. They are all, probably, mere varieties.
The best soil for them is a black clay ; and the next, the same mixed
with sand. For ragi these soils are of a poor quality ; but on the same
dry field j6]a and ragi may be alternately cultivated without injuring
either. In Wais'akha, or the second month after the vernal equinox,
plough four times. After the next rain sow the seed. It is sown
either broad-cast or by dropping it in the furrow after the plough.
Smooth the field by drawing a plank over it. It requires neither
weeding nor manure. For fodder its straw is inferior to that of rdgi,
but superior to that of rice. Agara jd]a ripens in 4^ months, kcinpu
and hasaru in four months. Their produce is rather less in the order
they are mentioned.

Towards llarihar the jola crop is always accompanied by one or
more of the following articles : avare, togari, hasaru, 7)iadiki, hurali, and
alasandi. These being intended chiefly for family use, a portion of
each is wanted, and every man puts in his j6]a field a drill or two of
each kind. Jd]a thrives on black clay, but is also sown on the red
earth, and even sometimes on the stony soil. In Chaitra the field is
hoed with a heg-kuiifc, which requires from six to eight oxen to draw it ;
for this is the month following the vernal equinox, when the soil is very
dry and hard. In the following month the field is ploughed once, and
then manured. In the month preceding the summer solstice, the seed
is sown after a rain by means of the drill ; while the rows of the
accompanying grains are put in by means of the sudike, which is tied
to the drill. The field is then smoothed with the bohi kuitk, a hoe
drawn by oxen, of lighter make than the heg-kunte. On the twentieth



day the field is weeded willi the cdc kuii/c, and (jii the twenty-eighth
day this is repeated. Tn five incjinlis the juja ripens, without further

In the north of the Tumkiir District a few fields (jf watered land are
entirely allotted for the cultivation of /'/// Jo/a. The soil of these is a
rich black mould, but does not require much water. Only one crop a
year is taken. The produce is great, not only as an immense increase
on the seed sown, but as affording a great deal of food. The following
is the mode of cultivation : — Begin to plough in Vais'dkha and in the
course of seven months plough eight or nine times. Then manure
with dung, mud from the bottom of tanks, and leaves of the honge ;
and if there be no rain, water the field before .sowing. Previous to
being planted, the seed must have been soaked in water. A man then
draws furrows with a plough, and another places the seed in the
furrows at the distance of four or five inches. By the next furrow it
is covered. The field is then smoothed by drawing over it a plank, on
one end of which a man stands, and by this means that forms a low
ridge. Thus throughout the field, at the distance of six feet, which is
the length of the plank, parallel rows of ridges are produced. The
intermediate spaces are divided into oblong plots by forming with the
hand ridges which at every eight or twelve cubits distance cross the
others at right angles. At the same time the areas of the plots are
exactly levelled. The waterings, after the first month, must be given
once in twelve or fourteen days. In some villages the farmers weed
the Jo/a when it is six weeks old ; in others they do not take this
trouble. Some people around every field of Jo/a plant a row of
kitsumba seeds, and the prickly nature of that plant keeps aw\iy cattle.

Bi/i Jo/a is sometimes sown in place of the ^^ais'akha crop of rice.
This must be followed by a Karttika crop of ragi, as after it the
produce of rice would be very small. The jdla also thrives best after a
Karttika crop of ragi. Agara Jo/a is also sometimes seen in place of
the Vais'akha crop on rice ground. It ripens in four months.

Save. — There are three kinds of save cultivated in the east : /ian\

' The nutrient ratio oi Jo/a is given In- Professor Church as i : S\, and the nutrient
value as 86. It contains, he tells us, '86 per cent, of phosphoric acid and '21 per
cent, of potash. The following is his analysis of the grain : —

In TOO parts

In I lb


... 12-5

2 OZ O


... 9-3

I ,, 214


... 72-3

II ,, 248



,, 140



,, 154


... 17

,, 119

SAVE 115

/cari, and M/ or ^/7/. They are never intermixed, and the cultivation
of the first kind differs from that of the other two. For /lari save
plough three times in the same manner as for ragi. If there be any to
spare, give the field dung, sow broad-cast, and harrow with the bullock-
rake. In three months the grain ripens without farther trouble ; when
it is cut down, stacked on the field for six days, and then trodden out.
It keeps best in the store-house, and is never made into flour. Cattle
eat the straw without injury, but it is inferior to the straw of either ragi
or rice. For the other two kinds, plough three times in the course of
Ashadha (June — July) ; then, after the first good rain, sow broad-cast,
plough in the seed, and harrow. They do not necessarily require
dung ; but if any can be spared, they will grow the better for it. When
ripe, which happens also in three months, they are managed as the
other kind is. The seed .ind produce of all are nearly the same.

In Madgiri the best soil for same is considered to be the red or ash-
coloured, containing a good deal of sand, which is common on high
places, ^^'ithout much manure, this ground does not bear constant
cropping. After resting a year or more, it is first cultivated for Jiiirali
and next season for same. If manure can be procured, a crop of nigi
is taken, and then it has another fallow. Dung being a scarce article,
in place of the ragi a second crop of same is taken ; but it is a bad one.
If the fallow has been long, and high bushes have grown up, after
burning these, the crop of hurali will be great, and two or three good
crops of same will follow. AVhen good ragi soil has for a year or more
been waste, and is to be brought again into cultivation, the first crop
ought to be same ; for ragi thrives very ill on land that is not constantly
cultivated. In this case, the same gives a great quantity of straw, but
little grain. When the rains have failed, so that the ragi has not been
sown, or when, in consequence of drought, it has died, should the end
of the season be favourable, a crop of same is taken from the fields
that are usually cultivated with ragi. This crop also runs to straw, and
the following crop of ragi requires more dung than usual. In the
course of thirty days, any time between the middle of April and
middle of July, plough three or four times. Then after a good rain, or
one which makes the water run on the surface of the ground, harrow
with the rake drawn by oxen, and sow the same seed with the drill,
putting in with the sudikc rows of the pulses called hurali ox togari.
In four months, without farther trouble, it ripens.

The same in Sira is of three kinds : /'///, kari, and nialiga or iiiujika.
The cultivation for the three kinds is the same, but the seeds are always
kept separate. The soil that agrees with them is the mara/u, and dare,
or poor sandy and stony lands. This soil, if it were dunged, would


every year produce a croi) of same ; Init, as that can seldom be spared,
the same is ahvays succeeded by a crop of hurali, which restores the
ground \ and alternate crops of these grains may be continued, without
any fallow, or without injury to the soil. Bili sdvie ripens in 3^ and
kari in four months ; the inalit^a requires only three months, and is
therefore preferred when the rains begin late; but it gives little straw,
and therefore in favourable seasons the others are more eligible. Same
straw is here reckoned better fodder than that of rice ; and, when
mixed with the husks of hurali or togari, is preferred even to that of
ragi. Except in case of necessity, jdja straw is never used.

Save in the south is never sown on the ere or black clay, and rarely
on the kebbe, or red soil ; the two worst qualities of land being
considered as sufficiently good for such a crop. In the spring the field
is ploughed five times. At the commencement of the heavy rains it is
sown broad-cast, and the seed is covered by a ploughing. Even in the
worst soil, there is no absolute necessity for dung ; but when any can
be spared, the crop will doubtless be benefited by manure. It ripens
without further care in three months, is cut close to the ground, and
gathered into stacks. Five or six days afterwards it is spread on a
threshing-floor, and the grain is trampled out by oxen. That intended
for sowing is dried in the sun, and tied up in straw viudes. The
remainder is preserved in kanajas. It is sometimes boiled whole, like
rice ; at others, ground into flour for cakes. All kinds of cattle eat the
straw, which is also esteemed the best for stuffing pack-saddles.'

Navane. — There are two varieties cultivated in the Mysore District ;
the one called gidda, or short ; and the other jbtu. or long ; and dodda,
or great. Unless a quantity of dung can be spared, it is never sown on
the two worst soils. On the two best soils it requires no manure, and
does not injure the succeeding crop of ragi. In the spring, plough six
times. When the heavy rains commence, sow, and plough in the seed.
It requires neither weeding nor hoeing, and ripens in three months.
Cut it close to the ground, and stack it for eight days ; then spread it
to the sun for a day, and on the next tread out the grain with oxen.
The seed for sowing must be well dried in the sun, and preserved in
a fjiude. The remainder is kept in a kanaja. It is made into flour for
hittu or pudding, and is also frequently boiled whole, like rice. The
straw is used for fodder, but is not good. The jbtu navaiie is some-
times put in drills with ragi, in place of the avare or togari.

Toward Madgiri the navane is of three kinds, /'///, which is cultivated

' The following analysis of the grain (with husk) is given by Professor Church : —
In 100 parts there are contained, water I2'0 ; albuminoids, 8*4 ; starch, 72'5 ; oil, 3"0 ;
fibre, 2*2 ; ash fg. The nutrient ratio is i : 9"S, and the nutrient value 88.

NA VANE 1 1 7

on watered land ; kt'iiipii, wliich is cultivated in palm gardens ; and
/iio/ne, which is cultivated in dry field. It is sometimes sown along
with cotton, but it is also cultivated separately. It grows on both ragi
and jola ground, and does not injure the succeeding crop of either.
In the course of twenty or thirty days, any time in Jyeshtha, Ashadha,
or Sravana, the third, fourth, and fifth months after the vernal equinox,
plough four times. If dung can be obtained, it ought to be put on
after the first ploughing. With the next rain, harrow with the rake
drawn by oxen, sow broad-cast, and harrow again. The straw is
reckoned next in quality to that of ragi ; but the grain, in the opinion
of the natives, is inferior.

The navane cultivated on dry field in Sira is that called In/i, and is
raised either on the two poorer soils, or on a black mould that has been
prepared for it by a crop of the pulse called hesaru. It is considered
as exhausting to the ground ; but this is obviated by ploughing up the
field immediately after the navane has been cut, thus exposing the soil
to the air. In the two months following the vernal equinox, plough
four times. \\'ith the next good rain, harrow with the rake drawn by
oxen, and sow the seed with the drill ; putting navane in the kurige, and
the pulse called avare in the sudike. In three months it ripens without
farther trouble. For cattle, the straw is better than that of rice.

Baragu — is of two kinds ; white and black. A sandy soil of any
kind agrees with this corn, which is also valuable as requiring very
little rain. The straw is better fodder than that of rice. In the second
month after the vernal equinox, plough three times. After the next
rain, in the following month, either sow with the drill, and harrow with
the rake drawn by oxen, or sow broad-cast, and plough in the seed.
In three months it ripens without fi\rther trouble, and in a favourable
season produces sixteen seeds.

There is only one kind cultivated in Kolar. After the heavy rains
have ceased, plough twice, and without manure sow broad-cast, and
plough in the seed. Without any farther trouble it ripens in two
months and a half, is cut down close by the ground, stacked for one or
two days, and then trodden out. The grain is kept in store-houses,
and preserves well for two years. It is boiled entire, like rice. The
straw is only used for fuel. A good crop produces twelve seeds, a
middling one, eight. It requires a rich black clay.'

Haraka — as it is found to injure the succeeding crop of ragi, is
never in the south cultivated on the best soil, and rarely on that of the

' The following is given hy Professor Church as the chemical composition of the
grain : — In lOO parts there are, water, I2"0 ; albuminoids, I2"6 ; starch, 69"4; oil,3"6 ;
fibre, I 'O ; ash i "4. The nutrient ratio is i : 6, and the nutrient value 89.

m8 J' lor a

second quality. It is coinnionly followed by a crop of horse gram, and
is seldom allowed any manure. In the si)ring plough five times. The
dung, if any be given, must be put on before the last ploughing. When
the heavy rains commence, sow broad-cast, and plough in the seed :
next day form drills of togari in the same manner as with ragi. When
the sprouts are a span high, hoe with the kunte, once longitudinally and
once across the field. Next weed with the iijare. It ripens in six
months ; and having been cut down near the root, is stacked for six days.
It is then trodden out by cattle. The seed reserved for sowing must be
well dried in the sun. The remainder is preserved in the katiaja, but
does not keep long. It is both boiled like rice, and made into flour
for dressing as hittu, or pudding. The straw is eaten by every kind of
cattle ; but, of all the fodders used here, this is reckoned the worst.

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 15 of 98)