B. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) Rice.

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

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cipline and general working of the Police, was available for other general
duties (excepting magisterial duties in connection with jiolice cases),
whenever such could t)e i)erformed without prejudice to his own duties.


Kvcry effort was used to make the service popular. Station-houses
were huilt wherever shelter was not available, and huts constructed
where accommodation was not easily procurable, liatta was also given
at hilly and ghat stations, and suitable clothing i.ssued to the men of
the Force.

The ordinary weapon of the "Rural Police was a stout bamboo cudgel,
about I \ inch thick and 40 inches long, fitted with brass ferules at the
ends, on one end of which the name of the peon and his number were
engraved. A few fusils with sword bayonets were issued, but the want
of training to the use of firearms on the part of the men, and the
inadequate accommodation for their careful storage, proved obstacles to
the Force being more generally supplied with these weapons; but
arrangements were made to issue them to men stationed in isolated
localities where they were specially needed.

In August 1879, the Chief Commissioner assumed direct control of
the Police through his Secretary in the General Department, while the
Military Assistant supervised the discipline, clothing and equipment of
the Force. In December 1880, a further organization was introduced,
rendered necessary by the changes made in the Mysore Commission
and the abolition of Police Assistant Commissionerships. The general
management of the Police duties of the District was placed directly in
the hands of the Deputy Commissioner, with liberty to employ a
General Assistant Commissioner on any particular duty. Amildars were
put in executive charge of the Police of their taluqs and the Inspectors
were made their assistants in the Police branch. The number of
officers was considerably reduced, being regulated by the number of
taluqs and stations. At the same time the number of constables was
increased in some instances, and the Police Force maintained by the
Seringapatam and Ganjam municipalities was absorbed into the District

With regard to distribution, 365 officers and 3,454 men were
employed on patrol beat and other duties, and 51 officers and 318 men
in guarding lock-ups, treasuries, and on escort duty, while 596 were on
duty in towns. The total sanctioned strength, including those
maintained by Municipalities, was 510 officers and 4,061 men, or a
total of 4,571- The cost of the Force was Rs. 5,99,976, of which
Rs. 5,24,942 was payable from State revenues and the remaining
^s. 75,034 from other sources.

Nothing much was done in regard to resuscitating the \'illage Police,
but its status was improving, and great care was exercised in selecting
influential and intelligent men for Patelships. Since the Amildars
had been invested with Police functions more interest was taken in



the working of the Village Police. In the famine many villages were
defended by these with great courage against the attacks of dacoits,
and the criminals pursued and ap[)rehended.

Of the officers, 28 were Christians, 171 Muhammadans, 2S7 Hindus
and others. Of the men, 30 were Christians, 1,495 Muhammadans,
2,701 Hindus and others.

In 1880 there were 6,881 cases of cognizable criuK; in which the
Police were engaged, and convictions were obtained in 84-62 per cent.
The Police arrested 7,015 persons, of whom 65 "9 1 per cent, were
convicted. In non-cognizable crime, the Police arrested 692 persons,
of whom 472 were convicted.


Under the previous Native Governments there was no Engineering
staff as we now understand it, and the Administration which succeeded
in 1 83 1 made no immediate change in this respect. The Super-
intendents of Divisions and the Amildars of Taluqs carried out all
descriptions of work through Native Mestris and Mutsaddis attached
to the taluqs, and the maintenance of tanks and channels was always
regarded as specially appertaining to Revenue officials. But the
want of professional assistance in the matter of roads and bridges
early pressed itself on the Administration, and the post of a
Superintendent of Maramat was created in 1834. The attention of
this officer was almost exclusively devoted to designing and executing
original works.

In July 1854, the Court of Directors, in consideration of the pro-
sperous condition of the finances of Mysore, desired that opportunity
should be taken to execute " such works of unusual magnitude and
importance as might appear calculated to promote in the largest degree
the development of the resources of the country." Sir Mark Cubbon,
in reply, proposed to construct the Mari Kanave reservoir, as the only
large irrigation work coming within the scope of the Court's require-
ments ; but as the Superintendents were " overwhelmed with the
revenue and judicial business of their Divisions," and as the Commis-
sioner had " daily and hourly forced on him the conviction of the utter
breakdown of the attempt to maintain the roads by native agency
without the necessary minute supervision of P^uropean Officers," he
suggested that a Superintendent of Roads should be appointed, with a
proper staff. After further correspondence, the Department of Public
Works was constituted in June 1856, and consisted of a Chief Engineer
and an Assistant Chief I'jigineer for the direction, and of five Executive


ICnginccrs, fcnir Assistant ILnginecrs, and eleven Upper and nineteen
Lower Subordinates for construction.

The charge of the roads was completely handed over to the new
I )cpartment. Not so, however, the tanks and cliannels, which were still
left under the charge of Revenue officers. It was only by a species of
lapse that the Executive Engineers found themselves in charge of such
special works as appeared necessary from their own personal inspection,
or as were brought to their notice by Revenue officers. 'I"he anomalies
which thus sprung up were in a great measure put an end to in 1863,
by a Committee which assigned the charge of tanks definitely to the
Revenue officers, with specific powers of sanction, reserving for the
Department of Public Works such works as called for professional
supervision. This arrangement gradually gave place to a better
system of tank management, which had been shown to be necessitated
by the tank-system peculiar to Mysore, involving as it does the solution
of hydraulic questions of no ordinary difficulty, and demanding the
services of a highly-trained professional department.

After prolonged discussion, the Secretary of State for India approved
of the formation of an Irrigation Department for carrying out the objects
in view. By this arrangement, the Revenue officers remained as before
charged with the up-keep of such tanks as were not immediately being
dealt with by the Irrigation Department. These latter selected specific
series for immediate work, and brought the tanks composing them up
to standard, to be afterwards made over to cultivators for perpetual
maintenance, with the exception of works like waste weirs, sluices, &€.,
which required departmental management, and for which provision was
made partly by annual grants and partly from the irrigation cess of
two annas per rupee of wet land assessment. The avowed object of
this plan was that while the whole of the tanks in the country should be
brought up to a standard of safety, and their future up-keep thrown
upon the most interested parties — the ryots — under stringent regula-
tions, nothing but simple conservancy would of necessity be imposed on
the succeeding Native Government, who would be thus enabled
effectually to control the whole without the aid of a highly-trained
engineering staff.

So also for the irrigation channels under the Kaveri, Hemavati,
Lakshmantirtha and Shimsha rivers, a separate Channel Conservancy
establishment was formed in 1S64 under the supervision of Revenue
Officers ; and the Public ^^'orks Department only carried out such
original works as necessarily required their supervision. But in 1870
the charge of the channels and the direction of the Conservancy estab-
lishment were made over to the Superintending Engineer for Irrigation.


In 1873 the Public Works Department was separated into two distinct
branches, one for Roads and Buildings, and the other for Irrigation.

In the matter of labour, Mysore had always presented serious diffi-
culties, owing partly to the sparseness of the population (chiefly on the
west and south), and partly to the fact that the great bulk of the people
were cultivators, whose presence on their own fields was generally
called for at the very season when public works required to be pushed
on with vigour. The attractions offered by the tea and coffee estates
on the Nilgiris, in Wainad, Coorg, Manjarabad and Nagar, the advent
of the Railway, together with the great extension of public works, both
imperial and local, and the impetus given to private undertakings of
all kinds, combined to raise the price of labour very high. As nearly
as could be ascertained from an analysis of the rates for labour at each
decade during the previous 40 years, it would appear that the price of
unskilled labour had doubled since 1850, and that of skilled labour
risen threefold.

At all times the labour needed for the repairs of tanks and channels
had i)resented special difficulties, and under native rule was no doubt
met by expedients not now available. In addition to the forced labour
then resorted to, there was in many instances a tank establishment
{kere baiides) who, in return for certain lands held rent-free, were
required to maintain buffaloes for bringing earth to the tank embank-
ments. Whatever remained of this old institution was being put an end
to, by the members being released from service and allowed to retain
their inam lands on payment of a small quit-rent.

There were also bodies of men called Kamatis, who, in return for
certain privileges, were liable to be called on for effecting repairs within
their respective taluqs ; as also a corps called Khalihats, who were
organized for general service in all parts of the Province on road or
irrigation works as might be required. The origin of this corps, which,
among other privileges, enjoyed freedom frcjm house-tax, was, however,
of comparatively recent date. 'J'hey were originally palanquin bearers,
maintained by the State on the main road from Palmanair to My.sore
via Bangalore, their services to travellers being, it is understood,
rendered gratis. With the increase of travellers, and tlic introduction
of other means of locomotion than palanquins, the specific employment
for this corps ceased, and the men were as a body turned over to the
ISIaramat in 1841, and afterwards to the new Department of Public
Works. In i860 the Kdmatis and Khalihdts were fused into a single
corps of 10 companies, 100 strong each, with an establishment of
Jamedars, Dafedars, Mutsaddis, ut whatever the

' .Supposed to have been erected in 1656.
^ Supposed to have been constructed in 1727.

3 '^


facts, it is at least clear that they are extremely ancient, and that
however defective as tested by our modern ideas in these matters, their
original construction exhibits a boldness and an appreciation of the
conditions of structure, which, under the circumstances of the times,
excite the greatest admiration. In addition to the anicuts now in
use, the remains of probaVjly more than three times as many others are
still visible when the rivers arc low. From some of these the original
excavations made for the old channels are still apparent, while from
others channels do not appear to have been excavated. It is therefore
clear that the success that resulted from the construction of the works
that are still in use was not obtained without a very large proportion
of failures, and the perseverance displayed by the constructors in spite
of these failures is none the less remarkable, and shows the high value
placed in former ages on irrigation works.

During the regency of Divan Purnaiya, 77;^ lakhs were expended on
public works, of which 315 were devoted to irrigation works, but only
67,000 to roads, and this not till he had been five years in power. The
former sum was to a great extent absorbed in the repair of old tanks
and channels, the majority of which had fallen into a ruinous condition
during the reigns of Haidar and Tipu. A further expenditure of
\']\ lakhs was incurred on the project of a canal, now known as
Purnaiya's Nala, whose object was to bring the holy waters of the
Kaveri into Mysore and also Nanjangud, but which entirely failed in
its intention. The other items of expenditure were: — Near 15 lakhs
on construction and repair of forts, those of Bangalore and Channa-
patna being the principal works ; 55 lakhs on the Wellesley Bridge
over the Kaveri at Seringapatam ; above 3^ lakhs on travellers'
bungalows, (S:c. ; near 2 lakhs on maths, chatrams and other religious
buildings; li lakh on taluq cutcherries and other civil buildings;
1 1 lakh on Webbe's monument near the French Rocks.

For the period of the Maharaja's direct government, information can
be gathered only from the condition in which public works were found
at the time of the British assumption. From Colonel Green's report, it
appears that there existed in 1831 only three roads in any way entitled
to the appellation — viz , the road from Naikneri to Mysore via Banga-
lore ; the road from Seringapatam to Sira and Bellary ; and the road
from Bangalore to Harihar : and all of these were very indifferent,
having portions running through swamps, the passage of which would
detain the baggage of a regiment an entire day ; other places bore the
appearance of watercourses with beds of river sand, the soil having
been washed away far below the level of the surrounding country.
The better order in which some few portions were preserved was in a


great measure neutralized by the almost total absence of bridges, which
in a country like Mysore, situated between the two monsoons, was a
most serious inconvenience, and throughout the year kept the progress
of the merchant, or the traveller, perpetually liable to interruption. It
was no uncommon thing for a regiment, or even the tappal runners, to
be detained for several days at a nullah not i6 miles from Bangalore,
and there were several other such impediments in different places on
the three roads, where lives were annually lost to a considerable

There was not, at the time of the assumption of the country in 183 1,
a single pass through the Western Ghats practicable for cattle with
loads. At the Agumbi Pass, in the Nagar country, which was the
most frequented, it was usual to carry everything of value on coolies,
the hire for which was \ a rupee per bullock load. Thus, when the
bales exceeded the number of porters, who were a peculiar caste of
men of a limited number, or when the latter were away at festivals, it
was not an extraordinary thing for a merchant to be detained at the
ghat ten days or a fortnight, before his turn came or there were means
available by which his goods might pass the ghat. The approach to
the head of the pass was marked by lame cattle, bleeding and bruised,
with horns broken off in scrambling about the stones on the pass,
while the atmosphere was tainted with the effluvia of the carcases
of bullocks which, taxed beyond their strength, had perished by the

As regards irrigation works, in some cases where the Raja's Govern-
ment had attempted to arrest the decay accruing to a tank, the
measures adopted had an opposite effect to that which was intended ;
the remedy was worse than the disease, in reality accelerating the failure
of the biwd it was desired to preserve. This arose from the intentional
mismanagement of the parties employed to carry the earth repairs into
effect, whose object, if paid for their labour, was to secure, by the
breaching of the bund they had been engaged to strengthen, another
and more advantageous contract the following year ; or when, as
appears to have been the more usual mode of executing Sarkar work,
they were not paid at all, to get through their forced labour as easily as
they could.

From 1831-1856 the sum of 30] lakhs was spent on irrigation
works, 284 lakhs on roads, and 6 lakhs on buildings. As regards the
first, individual works were much improved, and many almost wholly
reconstructed from the ruinous condition into which the Maharaja's
Government had allowed them to drift ; yet little advance was made
on the native method of maintenance, because the interdependence

3 B 2



of the tanks, and the necessity for dcahng with them in series, was
not suf¥icicntly recognized and acted upon. So also with river
channels, although some improvements were introduced, such as the
construction of brick facings to some of the anicuts when under
repair, yet most of the radical defects in these works were left
without remedy.

With regard to roads and bridges the case however was different.
The roads constructed at this period not only connected all head-
quarter stations with Bangalore, but some of them were great through
lines, extending on all sides to the frontiers of the Province. Altogether
1,597 miles of road, with 309 bridges, and 1,998 drains were constructed
in the Province after the transfer of Government and before a regular
Department of Public Works was organized.

Among the miscellaneous works executed was the commencement in
1853, and in great part completion, of flying and permanent electric
telegraph lines, — one from Attibele near Oossoor to Rampur on the
Bellary frontier, being a length of 191 miles ; the other from Bangalore
to Kankan-halla on the Nilgiri road, length 143 miles — at a cost of
Rs. 1,03,639 for the lines, and Rs. 8,253 fo'" offices at Bangalore and

Since the formation of the Department Public Works in 1856, the
expenditure for 20 years under the several heads, exclusive of establish-
ment, may be thus stated : —

Class Of Work.

Original Works.




Civil Buildings

Agricultural and Irrigation
Communications ...
Miscellaneous Public Improve-












Total Rs....




Under military^ the chief expenditure was due to the construction in
1865-6 of a new Cantonment for a Native Infantry Regiment at Mysore,
which, however, had subsequently to be abandoned owing to the
unhealthiness of the situation.

Of civil buildings the largest works were the Public Offices at
Bangalore, built between 1S64 and 1868, at a cost of Rs. 4,27,980
including site ; with the Central Jail and the Bowring Civil Hospital,

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 87 of 98)