Charles Alfred Browne.

An introduction to the geography and history of India, and the countries adjacent; online

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early history of this province. It is
mentioned in 1582 by Abul Fazil as an
independent state, governed by a chief
styled the rao of Kuch, whose authority

KUCH. 99

History, appears subsequently to have been con-
siderably extended, as about the middle
of the 18th century, the rao Dasul is
said to have held garrisons in parts of
Sind, Ajmeer, and the Guzerat Penin-
sula. After his death much confusion
and anarchy ensued, and the province
was the scene of numerous revolutions
effected by the mercenary troops, chiefly
Arabs and Sindees, until order was
finally restored by the British. Owing
to its poverty, and the difficulties of its
situation, this petty principality continu-
ed unconquered and independent until
1819, when Bhooj was captured by the
British, who were compelled to interfere
to repress the banditti, who were conti-
nually issuing from the Kuch territories,
and laying waste the neighbouring pro-
vinces. Since that period it has remain-
ed under the general government of the
rao, subject to the control of the British,
and it is garrisoned by British troops.
Subordinate to the rao are a number of
petty chieftains.

Religion. Hindooism and Mahotnedanism.

Language. The general language of the province
is styled the Kuchhee. It is a dialect
derived from the Sanskrit, of which it
retains many words in purity, but it is
much mixed with Sindee and Goojratee.
It has no peculiar written character.
The language of business throughout
Kuch, is the Goojratee, and the Gooj-
ratee character is used for correspon-








North, Ajmeer ; east, Malvva, and
Khandesh; south, Aurungabad, and the
yea ; west, the sea, and Kuch.

Puttunwara, Ederwara, Doongurpoor,
Banswara, Jhutwar, Chowal, Kattwar or
the Peninsula, Ahmedabad, Kaira, Soont T
Sunawara, Barrea, Barode, Baroach, Raj-
peepla, Surat.

Banas, Subrmuttee, Mhye or Mahe,
Nurbudda, and Tuptee. The Banas
flows along the north-western frontier,
into the Run. The Subrmuttee rises in
Ajmeer and flows southward into the
Gulf of Cambay. The Mhye enters the
province in the Banswara district, and
flows south-westerly into the Gulf of

The northern and eastern districts of
this province are mountainous, rugged,
arid jungly. The central districts form
an extensive plain, generally well water-
ed, open, and fertile. The south-western
portion, forming the division of Kattiwar,
or Kattwad, approaches the shape of a
peninsula, having an arm of the sea, call-
ed the Gulf of Cambay, on its eastern
side, the sea on its south, and the Gulf of
Kuch on its west. The Gulf of Cambay
is about 150 miles in length. The sur-
face of the peninsula in general is hilly*


General remarkably well watered throughout,
D tion nP and fertile. On the north-west, Guzerat
is separated from Kuch by the Run and
the Banas river, and the adjacent dis-
tricts consist chiefly of arid plains, or salt
swamps and jungles.

Produc- Wheat, rice, and other grains ; cotton,
hemp, indigo, opium, sugar, honey, salt-
petre, and various seed-oils ; horses and
cattle of a superior description, hides,
and timber. There are cornelian mines
in Rajpeepla, and jaspers and agates are
procured in Ederwara and other hilly
districts. The Kattivad supplies abund-
ance of white clay, used by the Hindoos
for the purpose of marking their fore-
heads. Large quantities of salt are ob-
tained from the Run. The manufactures
are principally coarse cotton fabrics and

Towns. Deesa, Palhanpoor, Radhunpoor, Put-

tun, Eder, Ahmednuggur, Doongurpoor,
Banswara, Pathree, Bejapoor, Nuwanug-
gur, Poorbunder, Joonagur, Puttun-Som-
nath, Diu, Ahmedabad, Kaira, Kup-
purwunj, Cambay, Bhownuggur, Gogo,
Soonth, Lunawara, Barrea, Chumpaneer,
Baroda, Chandod, Jiunboseer, Baroch,
Nandod, Rajpeepla, Surat, Sacheen, Bul-
sar, Dhurmpoor, and Daman.

Deesa is situated on the Banas river, in
lat. 24 9' N. long. 72 8' E. It is chief-
ly noticed on account of its being the
most advanced military station of the
British on the Guzerat frontier.

Travelling distance from Kaira 117


Palkanpoor is situated about 12 miles
to the eastward of Deesa, It is a popu-
lous town, and the capital of a small
Mahomedan principality tributary to the
Gaikowar. It contains about 30,000 in-

Radhunpoor is situated in lat. 23 40'
N. long. 71 31' E. It is the residence
of a Mahomedan chieftain, the descen-
dant of the last Mahomedan governors
of the province of Guzerat.

Puttun is situated on the south side of
the Suruswate river, in lat. 23 48' N.
long. 72 2' E. This was the ancient
capital of Guzerat, and was formerly
styled Nuhrwala.

Nuwanuggur is situated on the west-
ern coast of the Peninsula, in lat. 22
55' N. long. 70 14' E. It is a large
town, the capital of a tributary chief,
styled the Jam of Nuwanuggur, and is
noted for various cotton manufactures.

Poorbundur, on the south-western coast
of the peninsula, in lat. 21 39' N. long.
69 45' E., is a large and populous town,
and one of the principal trading ports of

Puttun-Somnath, on the south-west
coast of the Peninsula, in lat. 20 53' N.
long. 70 35' E,, is noted on account of
its celebrity as a place of pilgrimage for
the Hindoos. There was formerly a
temple here, in which was an idol of very
great repute. Mahmood of Ghuznee, al-
lured by the report of its riches, attacked
and captured the town in 1024, and des-
troyed the idol. The Brahmins entreat-
ed him to spare the image, and even
offered a very large sum of money for its


ransom, but Mahmood was deaf to their
solicitations. The idol was broken in
pieces, when, to the agreeable surprise of
the Mahomedans, an immense store of
precious stones, as well as of money, was
found concealed inside it. The idol was
in fact the treasury of the Brahmins, who
had therefore good reason for the great
love they professed towards it.

Ahmedabad is situated on the banks of
the Subrmuttee, in lat. 23 1' N. long 72
42' E. This was the Mahomedan capital
of the province, and was formerly one of
the most opulent and commercial cities in
this quarter of India, but under its Mah-
ratta rulers it was nearly ruined. It
suffered greatly from the earthquake in
1819, but has since much improved. Its-
population is estimated at 100,000 inha-

Travelling distance from Bombay 321
miles, from Delhi 610.

Kaira is situated about 40 miles to the
north of Cambay, in lat. 22 47' N. long.
72 48' E. It is a large and neat town,
the capital of the eastern division of the
British territories in Guzerat, and the
principal military station in the province.

Travelling distance from Bombay 334

Cambay is a seaport, situated at the
head of the Gulf of Cambay, in lat. 22
21' N. long. 72 48' E. It is an ancient
town, and was formerly of considerable
commercial importance. The silversmiths
at this place are still noted for their skill
in embossing.

Chumpaneer is a hill fortress situat-
ed upon a large mountain or rock rising


Towns. about 2500 feet above the surrounding
level plain. At its foot there are the
remains of an ancient city, the ruins of
which extend for several miles round,
said to have been the capital of a Hindoo
principality long prior to the first Maho-
medan invasion.

Baroda is situated in lat. 22 21' N.
long. 73 23' E. This is the capital of
the Gaikowar. It is a large and flourish-
ing town, and contains about 100,000

Travelling distance from Bombay 281

Baroch, or Broach, is situated on the
north bank of the Nurbudda, about 25
miles from the sea, in lat. 21 46' N.
long. 73 14' E. At an early period this
place is noticed in history as a very
flourishing seaport. It has since much
declined, but still carries on a considera-
ble coasting trade. Its present popula-
tion is estimated at about 30,000 inhabi-
tants, including a large proportion of
Banyans and Parsees.

Travelling distance from Bombay 221

Surat, or Soorut, is situated on the
south bank of the Tuptee, about 20 miles
from its junction with the sea, in lat. 21
IV N. long. 73 7' E. This is one of
the most ancient cities of Hindoostan,
being mentioned in the Ramayana. After
the discovery of the passage to India by
way of the Cape of Good Hope, Surat
became the principal resort of European
trading vessels. Factories were estab-
lished by the different European nations,
und its population is said to have ixicreas-


Towns, e d to 800,000 persons. In latter times
the trade of Surat has much declined,
other ports having risen into notice, and
its manufactures not now being in so
much request. It is now the capital of
Guzerat, and the residence of the princi-
pal British authorities in the province.
The town is large, but ugly and badly
built ; and contains about 180,000 inha-

Travelling distance from Bombay 180

Sacheen, in lat. 21 4' N. long. 73 5'
E. is noted as the residence of a petty
chief, the head of a small principality of

Daman, a seaport, in lat. 20 25' N,
long. 72 58' E. belongs to the Portu-
guese. It was formerly a place of much
commerce. At present it is noted chiefly
for ship building.

Travelling distance from Bombay 100

Name. The origin of the name is not known.

By the Natives it is usually pronounced

inhabit- The inhabitants of this province com-
prise a great variety of classes, the prin-
cipal of which are the following, Johrejas
and other tribes of Rajpoots, Jhuts, Kat-
ties, Koolees, Bheels, Banyans, Parsees,
Boras, Siddees, and Mahrattas. The
Katties, according to their own tradi-
tions, are of Hindoo origin. From the
earliest period of their history they have
been professed thieves, considering rob-
bery to be the express object of their


inhabit- creation, and their proper and lawful
mode of subsistence. The higher classes
have always practised female infanticide.
They chiefly inhabit the Peninsula.

The Koolees are a wild predatory tribe
spread in considerable numbers through-
out the province, forming numerous clans
under the command of different chieftains.
They have always been noted as a most
turbulent race, delighting in war and
bloodshed, and preferring plunder to any
other means of subsistence. They are
hardy and brave, and with the Bheels,
were, for a long series of years, the in-
cessant disturbers of the province, until
coerced by the British into more regular
habits. The Portuguese at an early pe-
riod used the name coolie as a term of
reproach, and from them it has passed in
the same sense to the English. This
must not be confounded with the word
cooly, commonly used in Southern India,
which is derived from the Tamil and
merely means a labourer for hire. The
Bheels, whose principal country is the
province of Aurungabad, do not greatly
differ from the Koolees, except as being
still more savage and uncivilised. Pro-
bably both the Koolees and Bheels are
of the same race, and it is the common
belief in Guzerat, that these rude tribes
are the original inhabitants of the pro-

The Banyans, or Vunyas, are a tribe
of Hindoos, the whole of whom are mer-
chants or tradesmen.

The Parsees, or, as the name originally
signified, the Persians, are the descend-
ants of the ancient Guebres (Gubrs) or


inhabit- fire-worshippers of Persia ; the followers
of the once predominant religion of the
Magi, who left their country on its con-
quest by the Mahomedans. At first
they retired to Ormus in the Persian
Gulf, where they learned the art of ship-
building, and also acquired some know-
ledge of navigation. After a few years
they quitted Ormus, and proceeded to the
island of Din, on the south coast of Gu-
% zerat, from which place they afterwards
removed to the Continent, landing at
a place called Sejan, in about 20 N.
lat. where they permanently established
themselves. From this they subsequent-
ly spread over the western coast of In-
dia, and soon, from their superior intelli-
gence and industry, acquired wealth and
importance. As ship-builders especially,
they are remarkably skilful. Their total
number is estimated at about 200,000

The Boras are a singular class of men
found in all the larger towns of Guzerat,
and in parts of Khandesh and the adja-
cent provinces, who, although Mahome-
dans in religion, are Jews in features,
manners, and character. They form
everywhere a distinct community, and
are noted for their skill in trading and
their extreme devotion to gain. They
profess to be quite uncertain as to their
own origin.

The Siddees, or Seedees, are the de-
scendants of Abyssinian s, who were for-
merly much employed under the Moo-
ghul government for its naval service,
and also in the army. The sailors of
this province have always been consi-


inhabit- dered tlie best in India, especially those
of Gogo, and other parts of Kattivad.

Bhats are more numerous in Guzerat,
than in any part of India. These men
may be described in general as itinerant
bards. During the sway of the Native
princes, even to a very recent period,
they possessed unbounded influence, every
chief having his bhat, and all classes
looking upon their persons as sacred.
They were regularly employed by the
Native governments in the collection of
revenue, and by individuals for the re-
covery of debts. In order to enforce the
payment of claims, for which they had
become security, these men were in the
habit of performing or threatening to
perform traga, that is, they would com-
mit suicide, or more frequently put to
death some aged female or child of their
family, in presence of the party, causing
them to break their engagement, and in
such veneration are they held by the
superstitious Natives, that in almost
every case the threat would prove effec-

The Grassias, who have been much
noted in the history of this province for
the last two centuries, are not a distinct
tribe, but are simply plunderers of all
descriptions and castes, both Mahome-
dans and Hindoos.

History. Qf fae ear jy history of this province
we have no accounts on which any de-
pendence can be placed. According to
Abool Fazil it was first invaded by the
Mahomedans in 1025, when it was enter-
ed and overrun by Sooltan Mahmood of


History. Ghuznee, who conquered its native prince,
named Jamund, and plundered Nuhrwala,
his capital. Guzerat was subsequently
annexed to the dominions of the Pathan
empire of Delhi, but, in the 15th century,
again became an independent kingdom un-
der a dynasty of Rajpoot princes who had
adopted the Mahomedan faith. In 1572,
during the reign of Akber, this dynasty
was overthrown, and the province was
once more annexed to the Delhi empire.
After the death of Aurungzeb in 1707,
Guzerat was overrun by hordes of Mah-
rattas, and about 1724 was finally sever-
ed from the Mooghul dominions. Previ-
ously to this, Juwan Khan Babi had
established himself as the soobadar of
Guzerat, though not regularly appointed
by the emperor ; and his family continu-
ed with much bravery to dispute the
sovereignty of the province with the
Mahrattas until 1774, when Ahniedabad,
their capital, was taken, and the Babi
family reduced to the small principality
of Rahdunpoor. The Peshwa and the
Gaikowar continued to possess the great-
er part of the province until 1318, when
the whole of the Peshwa's portion came
under the authority of the British, who
had before acquired some of the mar-
itime districts, including Surat. The
Gaikowar is the descendant of a Mahrat-
ta leader, who acquired his power nearly
at the same period, and by the same
course of proceeding as the Peshwa.
Pellajee Gaikowar, the founder of the
sovereignty, was a village potel, who
after many struggles and intrigues suc-
ceeded in establishing his authority as an


History, independent chief. At present the pro-
vince is divided between the Gaikowar
and the British, with numerous minor
chiefs, more or less dependent upon these
powers and tributary to them, the Gai-
kowar himself having always been in
alliance with the British, and protected
by them.

Religion. Hindooism and Mahomedanism. The
various rude tribes which have been no-
ticed in this province generally consider
themselves followers of the Brahminical
system. They know very little, how-
ever, of Hindooism, and mostly worship
the sun. Amongst the Hindoos the Jains
are numerous.

Language. The general language of the province
is the Goojratee. It is written in a cha-
racter closely resembling the Nagree
and it may be termed the grand mercan-
tile language of Western India.



North, Ajmeer, Agra, Allahabad ; east,
Allahabad, Gondwana ; south, Khandesh ;
west, Guzerat.

Divisions. The province is now usually consider^
ed as consisting of three divisions : 1st,
The territories of Sindia 2nd, The terri-
tories of Holkar 3rd, Those of Bhopal.


Rivers. The principal are the Mhye, Seepra,

Chumbal, Purbuttee, Kalee, Sind, and
Betwa, all of which have their sources
in or near the Vindhya mountains.

The Mhye flows northward into Aj-
meer, where it turns to the westward
through Guzerat into the Gulf of Cambay.

The Seepra flows northward into Aj-
meer, where it joins the Chumbul.

The Chumbul flows northward into
Ajrneer, where it turns to the eastward
into Agra, and falls into the Jumna.

The Purbuttee flows northward and
joins the Chumbul in Ajmeer.

The Kalee flows north-easterly into
Agra, where it falls into the Jumna.

The Betwa also flows north-easterly,
and falls into the Jumna, in Allahabad.

General This province consists of an elevated
tSn" p table land generally open, excepting
towards the frontiers, but diversified with
conical flat topped hills and low cross
ridges. It has numerous rivers and
streams flowing in opposite directions,
its level being above that of all the ad-
jacent provinces; and it enjoys a mild
and healthful climate, with a rich and
fertile soil. .

A ridge of mountains separates it from
Ajmeer on the north west, and the great
Vindhyan range forms its southern fron-
tier along the line of the Nurbudda,
from which branches run up the eastern
and western sides.

Produc- Wheat, grain, peas, maize, and other
grains ; the first two being articles of ex-
port. Rice is also grown, but only in


Produc- small quantities. Sugar, tobacco, cotton,
and a little indigo. The Malwa tobacco
is the best in India, and is much sought
after. The grapes also of this province
have long been celebrated for their rich-
ness. But the staple article of produce
is opium, the soil and climate of Malwa
appearing to be particularly well adapted
for the cultivation of the poppy. An im-
mense quantity of this pernicious drug is
annually supplied from this province.

Towns. Rajgurh, Khemlasa, Leronje, Mahid-

poor, Oojein, Sarungpoor, Bhopal, Bhil-
sea, Salemow, Mundoogurh, Indoor.

Mahidpoor is a small town situated on
the right bank of the Seepra, about twen-
ty-four miles to the northward of Oojein.
It is noticed on account of a great battle
which was fought there on the 21st
December, 1817, between the army of
Mulhar rao Holkar and the British
troops, when the Mahrattas were en-
tirely defeated with great loss.

Oojein is situated on the right bank of
the Seepra in lat. 23 11' N. long. 75
35' E.

This is one of the most ancient cities
in India, and is particularly noted in
Hindoo geography as being on the first
meridian, called the Meridian of Lunka ?
which sometimes also takes the name of
this city, and is called the Meridian of
Oojein. The ancient city, which was
greatly celebrated as one of the principal
seats of Hindoo learning, has long since
gone to ruins. The modern town which
stands about a mile further to the south,
was until recently the capital of the Siu~

MALWA. 113

Towns. dia Mahrattas. It is a large and popu-
lous place, and contains many handsome
pagodas and other buildings, with some
remarkably good sculptures. It had for-
merly an observatory, built by raja Jey
Sing, which however has been allowed to
go to ruin.

Among the inhabitants are a large
proportion of Mahomedans, of the class
denominated Boras.

Travelling distance from Bombay 500
miles, from Nagpoor 340.

Bhopal is situated about 100 miles to
the eastward of Oojein, on the frontier of
the province, having one gate in Malwa,
and the opposite one in Gondwana.

It is the capital of the nabob of Bho-
pal, but in other respects is not a place
of any particular note.

Bhiteea is a large town on the east
side of the Betwa, about thirty-two miles
to the north-eastward of Bhopal. It is
celebrated for the tobacco of the sur-
rounding district, which is carried to all
parts of India,

Mundoogurh, or Mandoo, is situated in
the Vindhya mountains, about 65 miles
south-westerly from Oojein, in lat. 22
23' N. long. 75 20' E. This place is
now in ruins and uninhabited, but it was
formerly much celebrated as the capital
of the Pathan sovereigns of Malwa, dur-
ing the 15th and 16th centuries. It was
then twenty-eight miles in circumference,
and contained many splendid edifices, the
ruins of which still remain.

Indoor is situated in lat. 22 42' N.
long. 75 50' E. It is the capital of the
Holkar Mahrattas, and is a large and


populous town, but contains few build-
ings of any note.

Name, The origin of the name of this pro-

vince is not correctly known.

inhabit- The inhabitants are principally Raj-
poots, and Mahrattas, with a few Maho-
raedans, chiefly in the district of Bhopal.
The mountains are occupied by Bheels
and other savage tribes.

History. This province appears in very early
times to have formed a kingdom of con-
siderable note among the Hindoos, the
rajas of Oojein, which was then the
capital, being frequently mentioned in
the Pooranas and other Hindoo records.
Early in the 13th century it was in-
vaded by the Pathan sovereigns of Delhi,
by whom it was either wholly subdued
or rendered tributary. It subsequently
became an independent sovereignty under
an Afghan or Pathan chief, whose de-
scendants continued in possession until
about the middle of the 16th century,
when the province was subdued by the
emperor of Delhi, to whom it remained
subject until the death of Aurungzeb in
1707. It was then invaded arid overrun
ty the Mahrattas, and about the year
1732, it was finally separated from the
Mooghul empire. Many years of the
most wretched anarchy succeeded, which
terminated in the formation of several
distinct principalities, now chiefly com-
prehended in the territories of Oojein or
Sindia, Indoor or Holkar, and Bhopal.
The founder of the Sindia dynasty.

1IALWA. 115

History. Jyapa Sindia, was a follower of the se-
cond Peshwa of the Mahrattas, Bajee
rao, by whom he was employed in va-
rious important commands. This chiefs
grandson was the celebrated Mahajee
Sindia, a most active and enterprising
leader, who, during his life time, complete-
ly controlled the whole Mahratta empire.
Having formed a powerful army, disci-
plined by European Officers, he succeed-
ed in subduing a large portion of Hin-
doostan Proper, compelled the Rajpoot
states to pay him tribute, obtained pos-
session of Delhi, and extended his domi-
nions till they came in contact with the
British territories under the Bengal Pre-
sidency. Having no son he adopted his
nephew Dowlut rao Sindia, who succeed-
ed to the throne in 1794. This chief
from the moment of his succession, occu-
pied himself in a systematic course of
conquest on all sides, and in 1803 he
entered into a confederacy with the raja
of Nagpore against the British. In the
war which ensued, and which lasted lit-
tle more than four months, his troops
were repeatedly defeated by Generals
Lake and Wellesley, and he was com-
pelled to agree to a peace, which depriv-
ed him of more than half of his domin-
ions, and reduced him for some time to
a state of very little importance. Hia
country afterwards fell into a state of
great confusion, partly through bad
government, and partly through the in-
creasing power of the Pindarees, whom
he had at first encouraged, but was even-
tually quite unable to control. These
were bands of mounted marauders, com-

Online LibraryCharles Alfred BrowneAn introduction to the geography and history of India, and the countries adjacent; → online text (page 7 of 26)