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In the The working plan for the Kambam valley forests, which was

Kambam sanctioned in 1901,* is somewhat more complicated. It divides the

vallej. ^

^ See B.P., Forest No. 385, dated 18th September 1900, in which the plan is
printed in extenso.

' See B.P., Forest No. 310, dated 30th September 1901, in which it ii printed
in full.


total area into six classes of forest; namely , areas to be treated as CHAP. V.
(tt) fuel reserves, (b) ground for browsing goats, (c) evergreen Forests.
forest, (d) timber tracts, (e) land for grazing cattle, and (f) unpro-
duotive and unworkable portions.

The first of these, the fuel reserves, are small and are to be
worked on the system of exploitation known as ' coppice with
standards ' on a rotation of 30 years, browsing and grazing being
prohibited. In the next class of forest, the land provided for
browsing goats, cattle as well as goats are to be admitted, but no
felling is to be allowed. The third class, the evergreen forests,
are to be left untouched as protectors of the sources of streams.
No felling is to be allowed in them nor any grazing nor browsing.
As they contain no grass and 'are difficult of access, goats and
cattle are as a matter of fact never driven to them even now.

The timber tracts, the fourth of the above classes, are to be
rigidly protected from fire in the hope that in time seedlings may
spring up and reclothe the many open spaces left by former reck-
less felling, and eventually selected patches are to be planted up.
Previously, fii-es ran every year through the shrubs and coarse
grass which now covers these gaps, and killed all seedlings ; and
even now the greatest damage is caused by the fires which
annually burn the whole of the Travaucore jungles along the
boundary and the violence of which is so great that no ordinary
fire-line is enough to stop them. Goats are to be excluded, but
cattle are to be admitted to help in keeping down the grass and so
minimising the spread of any fires which occur. There is at
present little demand for timber from Gfovernment reserves in this
part of the district, as large quantities are imported from Travau-
core State down the ghat from the Periyar lake.

The last of the workable arpas, the land for cattle-grazing,
includes the poorer compartments on tbe west side of the valley
under the precipitous cliffs already referred to. The trees here
are of inferior species, few in number, widely scattered, and mostly
hacked to pieces by the villagers. Even if the damaged stock
could be cut back and protected for a long period it is thought
doubtful whether it would bo of much value, and therefore this
area is to be left open for grazing on the usual terms.









Artb and

Occupations — Agriculture and pasture. Arts and Industries— Blanket-makin
— Cotton-weaving — Silk -weaving — Appliances — Dyeing — Gold and silver
thread— Wax-printing — Cottou-spinning — Cigar-making — Coffee-curing —
Oils —Tanning — Wood-oarving — Metal-work — Bangles — Minor industi'ies.
Trade — Exports — Imports —Mechanism of trade. Weights and Measures
— Tables of weight— Measures for grain — Liquids — Land — Distance— And
time— Coinage.

In every district iu this Presidency the number of people
who subsist bj agriculture and the tending of flocks and herds
greatlj exceeds the proportion employed in all other callings put
together, and in Madura this preponderance is more marked than
usual, nearly three-fourths of the people living directly or in-
directly by the land. The census figures of 1901 showed that 87
per cent, of the agriculturists were cultivators of their own land
and that less than 2 per cent, owned land without cultivating it.
Peasant proprietorship thus greatly predominates over all other
classes of tenure. Of those who lived by farm-labour but pos-
sessed no fields of their own, nine-tenths were day-labourers and
only one-tenth farm-servants engaged for long terms. This is a
very different state of things from that prevailing in some other
districts, Tanjore for example, where the agricultural cooly is
very commonly the servant of the big land-holder and bound
down to him by numerous pecuniary and other obligations.

Agricultural methods have been referred to in Chapter IV
above, and in Chapter I will be found some account of the
cattle, sheep and goats of the district. It remains to consider
here the callings which are connected with arts and industries and
with trade. The ordinary village handicrafts of the blacksmith,
carpenter, potter and the rest do not differ from the normal, and it refer briefly to the methods of the other artisans.

The industry which employs the largest number of hands is
weaving, '^but the proportion of the people subsisting by it is
smaller than the average for the Presidency as a whole. The
materials employed are wool, silk and cotton, aud it will be found
that the"greater part of the work is done by people of foreign
castes, who have come to the district from elsewhere.



Wool is only used for making coarse blankets. The Kura-
bas, a Canarese-speaking community who immigrated to the
district iu years gone by from the Mysore and Deccan country,
weave these articles from the wool of the black and white sheep.
The industry is practically confined to the Dindigul, Palni and
Periyakulam taluks and (except the actual shearing of the sheep)
is carried out by the women. The sheep are first shorn when
they are six months old and thereafter twice annually, in January
and June, until their death, which generally occurs in their
seventh year. The black wool is sorted by hand from the white,
and the blankets are either black, white, a mixture of the two,
black with white borders, or vice versa. The wool is never dyed.
It is spun by hand and woven on a primitive horizontal loom
fitted with clumsy appliances. The warp threads are first
stiffened with a paste made of crushed tamarind seed and water.
The finished article, the demand for which is entirely local, is
usually six cubits long by three wide and is sold at the weekly
markets at prices varying from As. 12 to Es. 2.

Cotton is woven into fabrics of very varying quality. The
coarsest of these are the thick white dupatis iu which the ryots
are wont to wrap themselves in the cold season and which cost
from Ke. 1-4 to Rs. '■^ apiece. These are woven from machine-
made yarn and are never dyed. Tbey are chiefly made by a few
Kaikolans in Palni and Ayakkudi, and some Eavutans in the
latter place; by Paraiyans in a number of villages in the Kanni-
vddi zamindari and the "Vedasandur division of Dindigul taluk •
aud by Native Christians (originally Ambattans by caste) and
Rdvutans in Sdttangudi and some other [)laces in Tiruraangalam.
In Timmarasanayakkantir, Saliyans weave narrow strips of a
similar coarse fabric which are sown together and used for
making native tents and jardahs.

The cloths commonly worn by the women of the middle
and lower classes are made by several different castes in many
different places and vary greatly in quality. In Dindigul taluk
the chief centres are Dindigul and Ambaturai. In Dindigul,
about 100 families of Seniyans (who speak Canarese) make the
coarser varieties from English yarn, and some 600 families of the
Gujarati Patnulkarans (see p. 109) weave the better kinds
and also make a pecnliar class of cloths for men in which silk
spun with special fineness and silver thread imported from France
are used, and which are mostly exported to Madras. In Amba-
turai and two or three neighbouring villages Canarese-speakino-
Sedans make the ooramoner kinds of women's cloths. They buy



Arts and




CHAP. VI. the yarn and dye it themselves with imported aniline and alizarine
Arts and pigments, and export the finished article to Tanjore and Burma.
Industries, j^ Tadikkombu, Kaikolans weave similar fabrics.

In Nilakk6ttai taluk the chief centres are Mullipallam,
Tenkarai (on the opposite side of the Vaigai) and Vattilagundu.
At the first of these the weavers are Sedans, some 300 looms arc
at work and women's cloths are woven from yam imported from
Madura and dyed locally with imported colours. They are sent
in considerable quantities to Colombo and the Tinnevelly district.
In Tenkarai, Kaikolans working at piece-rates for Patnulkaran
capitalists, and in Yattilagundu, Patnulkarans and Seniyans,
carry on a similar industry on a smaller scale.

In Palni taluk the weaving is mainly done in the head-quarter
town. There, about 200 Sedan, 150 Seniyan, and 50 Kaikolan
families make like stuifs in a similar manner. The Kaikolans
usually work at piece-rates for capitalists belongipg to the other
two communities. Some 300 Patnulkaran houses are also
employed in making cloths with silk borders for men. The silk
is obtained from Coimbatore, Kumbakonam and Madras, and the
stuffs are exported to the Tanjore, Salem and Coimbatore districts.

In Periyakulam taluk the Saliyans of Timmarasanayakkanur,
already mentioned, have lately taken to making coarse cloths for
women ; the Sedans and Padmasales of Vadugapatti, hamlet of
M^lamangalpm, have each about 100 looms working at similar
fabrics ; and the Patnulkarans of Melaraangalam and Periyakulam
turn out the same stuffs and also handkerchiefs with silk borders.

But the most important cotton-weaving centre in all the
district is Madura itself, where the industry is in the hands o^
the Patnulkarans. The fabrics they make are better woven and
of more varied designs than those of any other place and are
exported in large quantities to Madras and elsewhere. Their
white cloths made from European yarn and ornamented with
borders of gold or silver thread are especially famous.
Silk-weaving. This community is the only caste in the district which manu-
factures all-silk goods as distinct from those containing merely
an admixture of silk or ornamented with silk borders. The
industry is practically confined to Madura town, but there it is
of much importance. Both cloths and turba^ls are made and the
latter, which usually have borders of gold or silver thread, are in
great demand. The raw material is imported from Bombay and,
to a less extent, from Calcutta, Kollegal and Mysore State.



Except in Madura, tho looms and otlier appliances used by UHA.P. VI.
the weavers are of the kind usual elsewliere and call for no special Arts and

description. The women and children of the weaver castes do '

much of the preliminary work, such as preparing the warp.

In Madura the Patnulkarans have made several attempts to Appliances,
introduce improved machinery. A few fly-shuttle looms have
been tried, but they are not popular for use with the higher couuts
of yarn, as thej are apt to break the warp threads. Warping
is not usually done in the ordinary method (walking up and .
down a long line of sticks stuck in the ground and winding the
thread off the spindle in and out of these) but the thread is
wound on to a series of iron pegs arranged on a square wooden
frame. This enables the work to be done indoors and in all
weathers. A patent has been taken out for a modification of the
country loom which enables it to weave figures on the borders of
cloths, and another patent for an entirely new kind of loom has
been applied for.

Except in Madura, again, nothing has been done to improve Djeing.
dyeing processes or to prevent the imported aniline and alizarine
compounds from ousting the native vegetable pigments.

In Madura a number of Patnulkaran firms are carrying on
dyeing operations on a large scale and on improved lines and
vegetable products are generally employed for their silk fabrics.
Kamela powder (collected from the surface glands of the capsules
of the tree Mallotus Philippinensis) is used for yellow, lac for red
and indigo for blue. 'I'he dye called ' Madura red ' used once to
be very famous, and efforts have chiefly been directed to the
production of this. The dye is generally made as follows : The
ashes of a plant called Mww'i (Salicorma Tndica), which grows wild
in certain parts of tho district, are stirred with cold water and
the solution left to stand till the evening. Some of it is then
mixed with ground-nut oil (or, if the thread to be dyed is of the
finer varieties, with gingeliy oil) which becomes emulsified and
milky in appearance. In this mordant the thread is soaked all
night, and next day it is dried in tho sun. This alternate soak-
ing and drying is repeated for ten days, and on the eleventh
the thread is taken to the Yaigai (the water of which river is
said to be especially favourable to dyeing operations) and left to
soak there in running water for some hours. Bj that time it is
beautifully white. Next, the roots of OUenlanclia umbellatd (chay-
root, imhurdn in the vernacular) and the dried leaves of the shrub
Memecyhn edule {Myam) are steeped together in water for some
time, and to this solution is added some of a Grer man alizarine dye,


CHAP. VI. The thread is again soaked in this for a night, and next boiled
Arts and for two hours ; and then it is taken to the river, left in running
iNDPSTRiKs. .^y^^gj, fQj goj^e time and finally dried in the sun. It is now the
fine red colour which is so popular. Deeper shades are obtained
by giving additional steepings in tlie dye-solution. For certain
special kinds of fabrics, the alizarine dye is sometimes replaced
by vegetable pigments, but this is rarf.

Gold and Madura used to be famous for the manufacture of the gold

silver thread, j^^^j silver thread (or ' lace,' as it is sometimes called) which
figures so largely in the borders of the more expensive kinds of
cloths and turbans. The local weavers now use the cheaper
French and English thread exclusively, but a few Musalmans
stil] carry on the industry to supply a demand which survives in
Tinnevelly, Trichinopoly and Travancore. They melt silver and
lead in a clay crucible and cast the alloy into thin bars. These
are hammered still thinner and then drawn through a series of
holes of gradually diminishing size until they are transformed
into exceedingly fine wire. The women then hammer this flat to
make the thread. Gold thread is made in the same way, the
silver bars being coated with gold before being ' drawn ' into
wii*e. Grold is so ductile that it continues to cover the silver with
a fine coating right through to the end of the process.

Yf^^, In Madura town some ten or twenty persons practise the art

printing. of wax- printing which is so extensively carried on at Kumbako-

nani, Conjeeveram and Wallajahbad. This consists in printing
designs on the cloth in wax with metal blocks, or drawing them
by hand with a kind of iron pen provided with a ball of aloe
fibre to act (somewhat on the principle employed in a fountain
pen) as a reservoir for the wax. When the designs are finished,
the fabric is immersed in the dye-tub, and then, while the body of
it takes the dye, the design (being protected by the wax) remains
unaffected and retains its original colour. The wax is then melted
off by plunging the fabric into hot water and the design appears
in white on a coloured ground. If required, the design itself can
afterwards be separately dyed by putting the whole cloth, into a
tub of some other pigment. Cloths for both men and women,
and also handkerchiefs, are manufactured in this manner.

A primitive method also employed for producing a rude pat-
tern on a cloth consists in knotting small portions of the stuff at
regular intervals with bits of string. These knotted parts are
not touched by the dye and remain white while all the rest of the
oloth is coloured.


Connected with the weaving industry is the cotton-spinning thap. vi.
which is done at Messrs. Harvej's steam mill near the Madura Arts and

railway-station. This began work in 1892, has a capital of ten '

lakhs, of which eight are paid up, and in the last year for which Cotton-
figures are available contained 36,000 spindles, employed daily ^i'"^"^"^*
1,600 men, women and children and consumed annually over 2-j
million pounds of cotton.

Of the industries which are concerned with the manufacture of Cigai-
the agricultural products of tlie district, the most important is the *"* '"°"
making of the well-known Dindigul cheroots.

Before the railway reached that town, most of the Madura
tobacco was sent to Trichiuopoly, which was then the centre of
the cheroot-trade. The first firm to begin work on any consider-
able scale in Dindigul were Messrs. Kuppusvami Nayudu, who
started business about 1850. Their cheroots were roughly tied
up in plantain leaves, packed in bamboo baskets and exported by
cart. Some years later, Captain E. A, Campbell of the Indian
Army, who had been growing coffee and exotic cotton and silk on
the Sirumalais, entered the trade. He copied the shapes of the
Havana and Manila cigars, introduced wooden boxes and made
other improvements. Mr. Neuberg of Bombay followed, and
eventually transferred his business to his nephew, Mr. J. Heimpel.
The latter's factory was in the extensive compound across the road
opposite the Roman Catholic church He was the first to intro-
duce the ' wrappers ' of -Java, Sumatra and other foreign tobaccos
which are now universally used and to substantially raise the price
of the cheroots, lie closed his business about 1890. His agent,
Mr. Menge], who had already parted from him and established a
separate concern, now developed this latter and eventually formed
it into a Company with a capital of two lakhs. He died in 1900
and the Company ceased active opei-ations in the next year.
About 1890 Messrs. Spencer & Co. entered the field, and they
now have practically a monopoly of tliis trade in the district. In
the latest year for which figures are available they employed at
Dindigul 1,100 hands daily and made annually 16 million cigars
valued at Rs. 4,40,000. The process of manufacture consists iu
boiling the selected leaves in a specially-prejjared ^wash' -
boiling has superseded soaking, as it kills the tobacco weevil —
'stripping,' or removing the midrib of the leaf, and ' rolling/
or making the finished cheroot. Each ' roller ' works with two or
three boys, who make the ' fillers,' or inside part of the cheroot,
and hand them to him to roll and cover with the ' wrapper.'
The cheroots are finally cut by machinery into the required
lengths, examined, bundled and passed to the boxing department-




Arts and






Coffee is cured at ' Vans Agnew's ' and ' St. Mary's' estates
on the Sirumalais, and at two otlier properties known as the
Manalur and Pillaivali estates on the Lower Palnis.

The cliief oil made in the district is gingelly, which is used by
all castes for cooking and by some for oil-baths. It is expressed
in the ordinary country mill by Vaniyans. In Nattam the peojDle
of this caste have three mills of European pattern. Castor-oil,
used for lighting, is made on a smaller scale by first roasting the
seed and then boiling it witli water and skimming off the oil as it
rises to the surface. Oil from the seeds of the nim or margosa
tree is much employed medicinally, and is used by some few
castes, such as Kalians and Yalaiyans, for oil-baths. On the
Sirumalais, some Labbais from Vdniyambadi distil oil from the
lemon-grass which grows there. The product is exported to other
parts of India.

Tanning was until recently a flourishing industry in the Begam-
par suburb of Dindigul, where the Edvutans owned about 25
tanneries. Only seven of these now survive, the competition of
chrome tanning having resulted in the others being shut up.
The workmen inostly come from Pondicherry, and formerly
belonged to several tanneries there which were afterwards closed.
Hides and skins are now collected at Dindigul and merely
dried and sent to Madras for export.

The wood-carving of Madura town has more than a local
reputation. Good examples of it may be seen over the doorways
of some of the better houses, iu the haJydna mahdl in the
Minakshi temple, and on the great cars belonging to this insti-
tution which were made about a dozen years ago.

' It is celebrated for its boldness of form, due to the influence of
the stone-carvers, for its delicate tracery on flat siu-faces, probably
first introduced by men from the Bombay side, for the fine carving
of panels decorated with scenes from the legend of^the Mahabharata,
and for the excellent modelling of the swamis, which suggests the
influence of sandalwood carvers from Mysore and Western India. At
the present day the best work is done in the Madura Technical
School, an institution maintained by the District Board which has
done much to revive decadeut art indostries, and, by finding new
markets for the productions of the skilled art workmen, has encour-
aged them to maintain the old high standard of work.' '

The only work in metals which is known outside the district
is the manufacture at Dindigul of locks and safes. The locks
are imitations of Chubb's patents and are purchased in con-

^ Monograph on Wood'Carvinrj in foutliern India, hy Mr. E. Thurston.


siderable quaDtities hj Goverument, Tlie firm which established CHAP. VI.

the industry (Sankaraline-achari Brothers) is not now llourishinff, ^^"^^ ^^^

. . . Industries,
and many of its workmen have left it for younger rivals, ' _I

Dindigul also takes the lead in the district in the manufacture
of the usual bell-metal vessels. At Silaimalaipatti also, near
Peraijur in the Tirumangalam taluk, about 40 families of
Kannans make brass platters, water-pots, drinking-bowls, cattle-
bells, etc. The same industry is carried on by the same caste at
Kannapattinear SandaijiH" in the Siime taluk, and at Nilakkottai,
Periyakulam, Uttamapalaiyam Jind other place.?. At Nilakkottai
bell-metal gongs are made.

Bangles are manufactured from Jac by Gtizula Balijas in Bangles.
Tirumangalam, Periyakulam, Melamangalara and a few other
villages. The process consists in melting lac and lirick dust,
pounding the result in a mortar, cutting it into strips, moulding
these into bangles over a fire, and finally decorating them, while
still hot, with copper foil, etc.

Minor industries include the making of combs of wood and Minor
buffalo horn by Dommaras at Palui ; the weaving of common
mats from horai grass by I'lavutans and Kuravaus in many
villages ; the making of baskets from split bamboo by Medak-
karans in Palni and the neighbourhood ; tJie turning and
colouring with lac (.f wooden toys by Tachchans in Airavadaualliir
near Madura; and saltpetre manufacture by Tjipiliyans in
Periyakulam. Palni, Solavandan and other villages.

Statistics of 'trade are not compiled for each district separately, Trade.
and the figures for Madura are lumped with those of Tinnevelly.
It is impossible, therefore, to speak with exactness of the course
of commerce.

The chief exports include cheroots, hides and skins, locks ^xpoi'ts.
and safes from Dindigul; plantains, coffee, bamboos and forest,
produce (such as dyes, tans, honey, etc.) from the Sirumalais
and Palnis ; cardamoms from the Palnis and from tbe Kannan
Devan Hills Produce Company's property on the ^rravancore
range ; dry grain from the Palni taluk ; cotton from Tirumanga-
lam, which goes to the various presses in Tinnevelly district;
garlic from the Upper Palnis ; paddy, and silk and cotton fabrics
from Madura.

The chief imports are articles which the district does not itself I^ipoi'^s.
produce, such as European piece-goods, iron and kerosine
from Madras, salt from Tinnevelly, sugar from Nelliknppam and
■0 forth.





of trade.



Tables of

Madura is tlie chief trade centre and the railway receipts there
are larger than at any other station on the South Indian line.
Dindig-ul follows next, and then the head-quarters of the various
taluks and Bodinayakkanur, through which last all the produce
of tlie Kannan Devan hills travels to the railway at Ammaya-

The trading castes are principally Ravutans, Shanans, Chettis
and Lingayats. Grain-brokers are often Vell^las. The Ndttu-
kottai Chettis are the financiers of the district.

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