B. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) Rice.

Mysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) online

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"It was this establishment," wrote Sir Mark Cubbon, " which enabled

' The particulars are taken from a pamphlet coiitainint; the hisUjry of liic Amril
Mahal, compiled from the Records of the Department by Captain M. A. Kowlandson,
and one on Ilunsur, by Dr. CJilchrist ; with corrections by Majtir Mclnroy, the officer
formerly in charge, to whom I was indebted for them.


Ilaidar Ali to march loo miles in two days and a half to the relief of
Chidambram, and after every defeat to draw off his guns in the face of his
enemies ; which enabled Tipii Sultan to cross the peninsula in one month
for the recovery of Bednur, and to march sixty-three miles in two days
before (General Mcdows ; which, in later times, enabled General Pritzler
to march 346 miles in 25 days in pursuit of the Peshwa : and which enabled
(icncral Campbell, after the failure of his Bengal equipments, to advance
upon Ava and bring the war to a favourable termination. It was also this
establishment which enabled the Duke of Wellington to execute those
movements of unexampled rapidity which are the admiration of every mili-
tary man, and in consideration of whose services he recommended it to pro-
tection in a letter addressed at the close of the war to the Commander-in-
Chief." Allusions in the Wellington Despatches show that the Great Duke
often, during the Peninsular War in Spain, regretted that he had not the
assistance of the Amrit IMahdl cattle.

After the capture of Seringapatam, the Breeding establishment was
intrusted to the native government, and the Public Cattle department to an
agent ; but the inducements which had led Haidar and Tipu to keep up
its efficiency were wanting, and by the end of 1813 the cattle had degener-
ated to such a degree that the management was taken over by the British,
and 10,914 head of breeding cattle, the exact number made over to the
Raja's government in 1800, received back. A Commissariat officer (Captain
Harvey) was placed in charge, with a suitable establishment, and up to the
31st July, 1816, the number of cattle had increased to 14,399, exclusive of 900
calves transferred as fit for service. By 1823 the original number had nearly
doubled itself, besides supplying for the public service young bullocks equal
to one-fourth part of the increased establishment. In i860, from motives of
economy, Sir Charles Trevelyan ordered the establishment to be broken up,
and the herds to be sold ; but the results were to the detriment of the public
service. The Amrit Mahal was therefore, with the cordial approval and
assistance of the then Maharaja, re-established in December 1867, with
5,935 head of cattle. In 1871 there were 9,800 head of all sizes, exclusive
of 1,000 young male cattle in the Training Depot. It was arranged that a
certain number of bulls should be handed over to the Mysore Government
annually, to be stationed at various points in the country for the purpose of
improving the breed of cattle used by the ryots.

The Cc.ttle were divided into 30 herds, containing from 200 to 700 head of
cattle each ; for the grazing of which, 208 kdvals or pasture grounds were
allotted in various parts of the country.' They are divided into hot weather,
wet weather and cold weather kdvals, according to the seasons of the year
during which they are of most use. The hot weather kdvals are generally
the beds of tanks in which grass springs up during the hot months, and near
which there are trees for the purpose of affording shade to the cattle during

' Though a herd consists of both males and females of various ages, they are not
allowed to graze in immediate company, each being divided into seven lots, called
pals, to prevent their injuring one another. The average number of attendants or
graziers is one to every fifty head of cattle.


the heat of the clay. These are very vakiable kavals, and are reserved as
far as possible for the sole use of the Government cattle. The cold and wet
weather kdvals are those which during those seasons have plenty of grass
and water, but which during the hot weather dry up and are of little use to
the department ; in both the latter descriptions of kdvals the ryots' cattle
are permitted to graze certain fi.xed portions, and after the Government
cattle have left for their annual visit to the jungles, the shervci^drs are
permitted to sell some part of the grazing, and from the funds thus obtained
the kdvalgdrs or guards are paid and other expenses met. This privilege
ceases at the end of July each year.

The Amrit Mahal cattle comprise three varieties, called the Hallikar,^
Hagalvadi and Chitaldroog, from the districts which originally produced
them, and may be readily distinguished from every other breed in India
by the peculiar shape and beauty of their heads and the symmetry of
their form. They seldom attain an extraordinary height, but in pro-
portion to their size are remarkably deep and wide in the chest, long
and broad in the back, round in the barrel, well ribbed up and strong
in the shoulder and limb." They are active, fiery, and walk faster than
troops ; in a word, they seem to constitute a distinct species, and
possess the same superiority over other bullocks, in every valuable
quality, that thoroughbreds do over other horses. The cows of this
breed are white, but the males have generally an admixture of blue over
the fore and hind quarters. There is a fourth variety of coloured
cattle, which are considered inferior to the white in energy and per-
severance, though they rather surpass them in size. As the former
breed is the most perfect that is known, it would only tend to its
deterioration to cross it with any other, and the bulls are accordingly
bred in the best herds, and individuals, selected from the best specimens,
distributed to improve the breeds in the other herds.

A cow of this breed is supposed to give about one pucka seer of
milk a day, and the calf could not be deprived of any part of it without

* An absurd legend is current among the herdsmen of the department regarding
the origin of the Hallikdr. They state that Haidar Ali, after one of his trips to the
south, l)rought Ijack to the Mysore country a number of cows of the small Brahmani
caste. These cows were turned loose into a kaval (in the Tumki'ir District) in which
there were great numbers of antelope, and a cross between the l)ig black bucks and
the small Brahmani cows gave the present Hallikar breed. In support of the story
they point to the small spot below the eye, common to antelope and to Hallikar cattle.

* The general characters of a good bullock are a round liarrel, stout strong legs,
and l)road forehead. The average height is 48 inches, and 50 inches was about the
highest standard. But the average height has very much increased since the re-
cstablishment of the department in 1 866. Some of the bullocks now run up to
53i inches. Of course weight is also a material consideration. The average is
idxHit 12 maunds or 43 stone, l)ut no means have been adopted to determine this

20 2 FAUMA

I)ciii^ inalcrially injured in its growth. The calves remain wilii their
mothers during the day, but are separated from them at night, and are
kept in a fold under charge of the herdsmen until they are three months
old, when they begin to graze and get strength. In the cold season,
when the herbage is abundant, they are generally weaned at the age of
five months ; but such as are brought forth later in the year cannot be
sei)arated from their mothers till after the hot weather. After
separation, care is taken to conduct them to the richest pastures in
the neighbourhood, and they are never supplied with any other food.

Heifers begin to breed between three and a half and four years old,
and bring forth six or seven times. Twenty cows are allowed to one
bull. The bulls begin to propagate at five years of age and retain their
vigour till ten, when they are discarded from the herds. The average
annual amount of births is fifty per cent on the number of cows, and
the proportion of male and female calves is nearly equal.

The whole of the cattle, bulls, cows and calves subsist entirely on
what the pastures afford, and on the stalks of the castor, bailer, kulti,
and other nourishing plants, which are left on the ground for their use
after the harvest in the months of January, February and March. This
brings them into excellent condition at the most favourable season for
the cows taking the bull. In the dry weather, when a want of forage
and water prevails in the open country, the herds are conducted to the
south-western jungles, where the natural moisture of the soil, the early
showers, and the shelter afforded by the trees are favourable to vegeta-
tion. They arrive there in May and return to their pastures in
September, when the grass is in great abundance all over Mysore.

The calves are castrated in November, the cold weather being found
peculiarly favourable to the success of the operation, and invariably
between the age of five and twelve months, as their growth is supposed
to be promoted by early castration ; and it is attended with this impor-
tant advantage, that it prevents the cows being impregnated by inferior
bulls and consequently prevents the breed from degenerating. They
are separated from the herds after four years of age and transferred to
the Public Cattle Department when turned of five, perfectly trained and
fit for work. They arrive at their full strength at seven and are past
their vigour at twelve ; they work till fourteen or fifteen, after which
they decline rapidly and generally die at eighteen years of age. The
cattle of these herds are kept in their wild state, without shelter of any
description ; they are very fiery and cannot be approached by
strangers without the protection of the herdsmen. It requires several
months to break them in, and the employment is extremely difficult
and daneerous.


At the age of three years the catching of bullocks takes place, previous
to which they are nearly as wild as the inhabitants of the jungle. The
bullocks are first driven into a large oval enclosure, which they are made
to enter with much difficulty. This conmiunicates with a square yard,
surrounding an inner enclosure about twenty feet square, which is
surrounded with a strong fence made of wooden posts placed close together
and about twelve feet high. When they are collected in this, the opening
is closed. The trainers then ascend on the top of the fence, and throw a
noose round each of the bullock's horns. This done, the end of the rope is
passed between posts near the ground, and the animal is drawn close up
and secured by people on the outside. The passage is then opened and old
trained bullocks admitted. One of the latter is bound by the neck to one
of the wild animals, which being done, the rope is loosened, when he
immediately endeavours to escape. His trained comrade, however, to
whom he is coupled, restrains him, though but partially ; accordingly the
two leave the enclosure at tolerable speed. The rope by which the
untrained bullock was originally noosed is allowed to remain attached to
his horns, and when they approach one of the strong posts placed in the
immediate vicinity of the enclosure the rope is quickly turned round it, by
whicli the animals are again brought up. The untrained bullock is then
well secured by the neck, with as little latitude of motion as possible.
There he is kept alone for about two days, until he becomes considerably
tamed and worn out with unceasing efforts to escape. The next operation
consists in attaching to the animal a couple of blocks of wood so heavy as
to be moved with some difficulty, and giving him as much liberty as this
admits of. He is then admitted to the company of old trained cattle, and
from the twofold effects of example and partial restraint he gradually
becomes submissive. The bullocks arc now grazed in the vicinity of Hunsur
for a further period of three years, being tied up regularly each evening in
lines. Tiiey are then transferred to the Public Cattle Department to undergo
final breaking for the public service.

Since the Rendition the following changes have taken place: — On the
i-st January, 1882, the Mysore Government purchased the Amrit Mahal
cattle from the Madras Government, there being at that time 30 herds,
with ] 2,502 head, of which 4,618 were cows and 177 breeding bulls. It
was stipulated that the Department should supply the Madras Govern-
ment for ten years with three-year-old bullocks at Rs. 50 per head, to a
number not exceeding 400 annually. In 1886 this limit was reduced
to 200 of four years old at the same price. The herds were therefore
broken up in 1887 and their number reduced to sixteen. In 1889
steps were taken to form special herds of big and fine cattle. There
are thus 23 herds now (1894) under six darogas. The steers are not
caught near Hunsur, but in different kavals, and are accustomed to
being tied up before being handed over to Madras. Others are sold at
reduced rates or distributed to raiyats at suitable places. Kach of the

204 /'.UW.I

darogas has also a shcc[) farm, wlicrc the country ewes are crossed by
cross-bred Kashmir rams.

At the Hissar ('attle Farm in the Punjab, artillery cattle are bred
from the Mysore cross to serve as " leaders." At the Bhadgaon Farm
of the Bombay (lovernnient cattle-breeding has l^een established for
over eleven years, the herd having taken its origin from the Mysore
Amrit Mahal. The main object has been to breed Mysore bulls for
crossing and improving the cattle of the country around. "As I
passed through the district, I saw evidence," writes Dr. Voelcker, " of
the impress which the Mysore cattle reared at the Farm had made
upon some of the other cattle, and how superior to the ordinary cattle
were those which had the Mysore ' touch ' in them." ^

Mddcsvaran Betta — This breed comes from the jungles and hills
near Biligirirangan Betta, on the south-eastern frontier of Mysore.
They are larger than the Amrit Mahal cattle, but are loosely made and
not well ribbed up. They have heavy loose-hanging dewlaps, sloping
broad foreheads, and large muzzles. They are very heavy slow
animals, but crossed with a Hallikar bull they form excellent cattle
for draught and ploughing. Of this cross-breed are the cattle mostly
used by the large cart owners who carry on trade from towns in the
Mysore territory to the Western Coast, Bellary and other places.

KdnkdnJialli. — This breed comes from Kankanhalli, in the south-
east of Mysore ; they are very like the Madesvaran Betta breed, but are
generally smaller, though larger than the Amrit Mahal breed. They
have thick horns, broad sloping foreheads, and white, very thick skins.
In all other respects the remarks regarding the Madesvaran Betta breed
are applicable to the Kankanhalli.

The village cattle vary very much in size, colour and characteristics ;
in some parts very fair cattle may be seen, but as a general rule the
village cattle are a stunted inferior race. The cows generally give
from half to one seer of milk per diem, though occasionally some may
be met which give three seers, but it will be generally found that
these have been fed on nutritious food, such as oil-cake, cotton-seed
and such like. The bullocks are small, but for their size do a sur-
prising amount of work.

Buffalo.' — Of the buffalo there are three varieties, the Hullu, the
Gaiijri or Gujarat, and the Chokatu, which comes from the country
bordering on the river Krishna.

The Hullu is by far the most common, and is the native breed of the
country. The female has a calf every year, and gives milk for seven

^ Report on the Improz'eineut of Indian Agriculture, 204.

- Much of the information in the following paragraphs is from Buchanan.



months. Besides what the calf draws from her, she gives twice a day
about a quart of milk. She generally bears from ten to twelve calves,
and is very unruly when the keeper attempts to milk her without the
calf being present. They will convey a greater weight, either in a cart
or on their back, than a common ox ; but walk very slowly, do not
endure heat, and cannot easily travel more than seven miles a day.

The two stranger breeds are greatly superior in size to the Hullu ;
but in this country they very soon degenerate. The females breed
once in two or three years only, and produce in all about si.x calves.
For two years after each parturition they continue to give a large
(quantity of milk ; but in the third year their milk begins to ;
and it entirely ceases about two months before the time of calving. In
this country, besides what the calf is allowed, they give daily from six
to eight quarts of milk and require no more food than the common
breed, neither do they refuse their milk should the calf be removed or
die. The males are entirely reserved for breeding or for carrying
loads ; one of them will carry as much as six oxen, and will walk

Sheep. — These are of three varieties, the Kiiruba)- or ordinary breed,
so called from the caste which rears it; the Gol/ar, which is less
common and which owes its name to the same cause ; and the Ye/aga,
which is the rarest of the three. \Miite, brown and l)lack colours are
found in all three breeds. The Kurubar is a small sheep, with horns
curling backwards. Both its flesh and wool are superior to those of the
other two varieties. The dollar is distinguished from the Kurubar bv
its large size, coarser wool, longer neck and different formation as to
the head and jaws. The Yejaga, which is rare, is longer in the leg. and
stands higher than the other breeds, but is less bulky and more
resembles a goat in structure of the body and limbs. The sheep of this
variety are never shorn of their wool, being too coarse for manufacture,
and they shed their coats once a year. This is the breed which
is used for draught and carriage of children. The Gollar sheep are
left out at night at all seasons and in all weathers, and do not appear
to suffer from the exposure, while the Kurubars and Yelagas are
invariably housed at night. The different breeds are never mixed,
chiefly owing to antagonism between the Kurubar and Gollar castes;
but even in the absence of enmity between the shepherds it is doubtful
whether the two varieties could ever be brought to mix, and it is pretty
well established that the Yejaga will not amalgamate with the other
two. They are solely dependent on jjasturage, being never fed on grain.

Sheep, with the exception of the Yelagas, are shorn twice a year, and
fifty fleeces amount to about a maund weight. The wool is all coarse,

2o6 FA UNA

and is made into rougli kanitjlis. The shepherds usually hand over
loo fleeces to the weaver, who gives them in return a kambli. There
was formerly a (iovernment manufactory at Hunsilr, which turned out
good blankets made from the wool of the white sheep in the Govern-
ment farm. This has been abolished.

" The woolly breed of sheep, which exists throughout Mysore, is
fairly esteemed," says Dr. Shortt, "both for its mutton-forming and
wool-producing qualities. The rams have large heavy horns, wrinkled
and encircled outwards, and their points inwards and forwards. The
head is large and heavy-looking, with a prominent Roman nose. The
ears are of moderate size and pointed, and the tail short, never exceed-
ing 3 to 4 inches. The ewes are mostly hornless. They are occasion-
ally met with small light horns, seldom exceeding 3 to 4 inches in
length. The prevailing colour is from a light to a very dark grey or
black. The ram stands 25 inches, and the ewe 23 inches in height.
The ordinary live weight is from 40 to 60 lbs., but gram-fed wethers
attain from 60 to 80 lbs. They have fairly compact carcases, with
good width, prominence and depth of chest ; the body is well wooled
and rectangularly formed ; in picked specimens the counter is full and
the shoulder is fairly filled w^hen in condition. The fleece never
exceeds 3 to 4 lbs., and the staple averages 3 to 4 inches in length.
An ordinary sheep fetches from 2 to 3 rupees in the market, fat wethers
7 to 10 rupees each.

" This breed furnishes the chief fighting rams of Southern India, for
which purpose good picked male rams are sought after by native Rajas,
Zamindars and others. They are much petted and pampered, till they
grow quite savage ; they will butt and also strike with their fore-feet ;
and I have also seen in one or two instances a propensity to bite. They
are pitted against each other, and large sums of money staked on
the result. In fighting, they run a tilt by first moving backwards some
short distance to add force to the impulse of their weight ; and fre-
quently in the fight they have their heads or horns broken. These
rams, from special selection and good feed, often attain 30 inches in
height and over 80 lbs. in weight. Size does not necessarily ensure
success in the battle, as I have seen the largest ram of the kind I
remember ever having met with, run away after a few tilts from one
that was very much smaller. All the breeds of sheep in Southern
India are pugnacious and reared to fight, the preference alwaj-s being
given to the black woolly breeds of ?^Iysore or to those of Coimbatore.
This breed extends from Mysore to Bellary, where after a time the
Avool frequently changes into long lank hair."

For many years Sir Mark Cubbon had an experimental sheep farm at


Heraganhalli, Nagamangala taluq, under the charge of a European
Commissariat subordinate officer. Merino rams were imported yearly
from AustraHa and the cross-breeds distributed all over the country.
The breed of sheep throughout the Province was thus immensely
improved both as to size, quality of mutton, and wool. The wool was
sent in bales by the Mysore (Government to England for sale, as well
as for the purpose of being manufactured into blankets and serge.
The farm was given up in 1863, as it did not pay expenses. This was
owing apparently to sheep-breeding alone receiving attention : if other
branches of farming had been combined, the results would probably
have been more favourable.

In 1888 a flock of fifteen rams and ewes was imported from Australia
with the view of improving the fleece of the country breed. A flock
of white sheep and their lambs by an acclimatized merino ram had also
been collected for breeding purposes. The lambs thus bred are larger
and the fleece of the sheep much better than those of the ordinary
sheep of the country. Some have been sent to Haidarabad and others
sold or distributed to raiyats for breeding.

Goats. — There are two kinds of goats, the long-legged or nteke, and
the short-legged or kaiichi incke, but the two can propagate together.
In every flock of sheep there is commonly a proportion of 10 or
20 nicke to 100 sheep. This does not interfere with the pasture
of the sheep, for the goats live entirely on the leaves of bushes and
trees. One male is kept for twenty females. Of those not wanted for
breeding, the shepherd sacrifices some for his own use v/hile they are
young ; the remainder he castrates and sells to the butcher. The
female breeds at two years of age. They breed once a year, about
four times, after which they are generally killed by the shepherds for
their own use. For three months the kid is allowed the whole milk ;
afterwards the mother is milked once a day for two months ; and eight
goats will give a quart of milk. The excrement of both sheep and
eoats is much used for manure.



The aboriginal inhabitants of Mysore cannot probably be now traced
with any degree of certainty, though remains of prehistoric races
abound in stone monuments of different kinds, elsewhere described.
On various scientific grounds India appears to have been originally
part of a continent (to which the name Lemuria is sometimes given)
stretching west to Africa and east to Cochin China and Australia, of
which Madagascar on the one side, and the islands included in
Melanesia in the Indian Archipelago on the other, are some of the
principal existing remains.^ Of the primeval human races whose home
it may have been, there survived (according to a theory of Professor
Huxley's, developed by Professor Haeckel of Jena) two, namely, a
woolly-haired and a smooth-haired. From the former sprang the
Hottentots and negroes in Africa westwards and the Papuans of New
Guinea eastwards ; from the latter, represented perhaps by the natives
of Australia, were derived the straight-haired and the curly-haired
races. The first were the progenitors of the Malays of the islands in

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 25 of 98)