S. (Seshayangar) Srinivasa Raghavaiyangar.

Memorandum on the progress of the Madras presidency during the last forty years of British administration online

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MEMORANDUM



ON THB






PROGKESS OF THE MADRAS PRESIDENCY

DUEING THE LAST FOETY YEAES

OF BRITISH ADMINISTRATION. *



MEMORANDUM



ON THE



PROGRESS OF THE MADRAS PRESIDENCY



DURING THE LAST FORTY YEARS



OF BRITISH ADMINISTRATION.



BY
S. SRINIVASA EAGHAYAIYANGAE, B.A., Dewan Bahadur, C.T.E.

Inspector-Ueneral of Registration, Madras.



MADRAS:
PRINTED BY THE SUPERINTENDENT, GOVERNMENT PRES^,

• ^18 9 3,

, ANTIQUARIAN ROCK-SELLER,
49, VENKATACHALA MUDALY ST..



PREFACE TO THE -FIEST EDITION.



In July 1890, Lord Connemara entrusted to me the task of
examining whether the economic condition of the Madras
Presidency has, on the whole, improved or deteriorated
during the last 40 or 50 years of British administration and
of writing a Memorandum on the subject. I was given to
understand that the conclusions arrived at should be based
not only on information officially on record but also on the
results of independent inquiries. To ascertain whether any
and what improvement has taken place in the condition of
the masses of the population, it was, of course, necessary
that an idea should be formed as to their condition in the
past, and, for this purpose, I had to collect and read up a
great mass of old reports. This took up a deal of time, and
I was able to write only the preliminary portion of this
Memorandum before the end of 1890. The departure of Lord
Connemara to England and pressure of other official work
led to the preparation of this Memorandum being laid aside
for some time, and I was able to resume the work only in the
latter half of 1891. Since then I have been more or less
engaged on it, but as the work has had to be carried on in
addition to my other official duties, it has not been possible
to finish it earlier. The interval, however, has been utilized
for collecting information on such matters as prices of com-
modities, wages of labour, &c., in order that it might be used
for testing information obtained from official sources. The
Government has permitted me to add another section to this
Memorandum containing suggestions as to certain special
measures to be adopted for the amelioration of the agricul-
tural classes in connection with land settlements, agricultural
banks, agricultural and industrial education, &c.j and to revise
the 'statistics given in the appendices to the Memorandum



vi PREFACE,

with reference to the results of the last census. This will
be done as soon as the results of the census become avail-
able, which will be very shortly, and the Memorandum will
then be issued in a complete form.

2. I have endeavoured to make the statistics given in
the memorandum as accurate as possible, but I can scarcely
hope that I have fully succeeded. The information given
as regards the state of things in former centuries, though
derived from sources which are the best available, is admit-
tedly imperfect, but this does not invalidate in any way the
general conclusions arrived at.

3. The subject being many-sided, it is, of course, not
possible in a first attempt to do more than break ground as
regards the various questions dealt with. I have, therefore,
printed as appendices to the Memorandum such official and
other papers as throw light on the questions discussed, for
purposes of easy reference in subsequent inquiries. This
accounts also for the large quantity of statistical information
and the large number of quotations given in the earlier por-
tions of my Memorandum. Much of this information is new
to the generation that is growing up, though not new to the
generation that is passing away.

4. In conclusion, I wish to point out that the subject
dealt with is the improvement in the material condition of
the Presidency, and though there are other points of view
from which the question of national well-being has to be
considered, improvement in the material condition is the
foundation on which improvement in other respects should
be built up. I venture to think that if the question be
impartially considered, there can be no two opinions as to
the very great advance made by the country during the last
40 years.

Madras, S. S.

nth April 1892.



tREFAOE. Vll



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.



The additional section containing suggestions as to measures
to be adopted for the amelioration of the condition of the
agricultural classes has now been completed, and the Memo-
randum is accordingly issued in a complete form.

I have made a few verbal changes in portions of the
Memorandum already issued and added foot-notes in three or
four places to make my meaning clearer on some points to
prevent misapprehension. I have also given in the appendix
extracts from a reply published by me in the Madras Mail
to some criticisms which appeared in the Calcutta Review
on the question of pressure of population and one or two
important matters bearing on the condition of the agri-
cultural population.

The statistics given in the appendices have been revised,
as far as possible, with reference to the results of the last
census. Tiie Board of Revenue having furnished revised
figures as regards the acreage of holdings for some of the
earlier years, these have been adopted in the statement of
acreage of holdings printed in the appendix. I have retained
the life-table for the population of the Presidency taken fram
the census report of 1881, as the table prepared in connec-
tion with the census of 1891 relates to the population of the
Madras city alone. The comparative table of persons classi-
fied under various occupations in 1871 and 1881 has also been
retained unaltered, as owing to a radical change of classifica-
tion adopted for the census of 1891, a comparison between
the results of this census and those of the earlier censuses
has not been found possible.

No pains have been spared to render the statistics as
accurate as possible, but considering the great mass of figures



.i. . . .

Vlll PREFACE.



dealt with, it is not possible to say that all chances of error
have been excluded. If any errors are brought to notice,
I shall thankfully correct the,m and issue an erratuna.

Though the work has outgrown the limits of a Memoran-
dum, the original form has been retained, the object through-
out being not so much to furnish cut and dry conclusions as
to indicate the methods of investigation to be pursued and
furnish materials as far as possible for forming a judgment
as to the improvement which has taken place in the condition
of the agricultural classes, and as to the further measures to
be taken for their amelioration. On some of the subjects
dealt with under the latter head, such as agricultural and
technical education and widening the scope of local adminis-
tration, my remarks are necessarily general, as my intention
is to point out the necessity for increased attention in certain
directions, and not to lay down the precise measures to be
adopted, the determination of which must, of course, be based
on a thorough investigation of the conditions of the localities
to which they are to be applied. It is hardly necessary to add
that the views I have expressed on these and other matters
are my individual opinions submitted for the consideration
of Government, and are not to be understood as reflecting
the opinions of the Government itself.

I must in conclusion express my grateful acknowledg-
ments to several gentlemen who have favoured me with the
results of their observation and experience in connection
with the inquiry forming the subject-matter of the Memoran-
dum, and to Mr. Hill, the Superintendent of the Government
Press, for the ready and willing assistance afforded by him in
passing this work through the press. My thanks are also
due to Mr. Cardozo, by whose kindness I have been enabled
to prefix a map of the Presidency to the Memorandum.

Palmaner, S. S.

2\st May 1893.



CONTENTS.



Para. Page
INTRODUCTORY REMARKS 1 1



Section I.— THE STATE OF THE COUNTRY AND THE CONDI-
TION OF THE PEOPLE IN FORMER CENTURIES. 2-11 1-19

1. Scantiness of information as to the condition of the people in

former centuries ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 2 1

2. Pandya, Chola and Vijianagar Dynasties ... ... ... ... 3 2

3. Frequency of -wars and backward state of the country ... ... 4 2-4

4. Famines and epidemics very desti'uctive in former times ... 5 4-8

5. The land-tax collected by Native sovereigns, heavy and oppres-

sive ... 6 8-10

6. The character of the revenue adnwnistration under the Vijia-

nagar sovereigns ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 7 10,11

7. The enormous revenue of former rulers ... ... ... ... 8 12,13

8. The devices resorted to with a view to inci'ease revenue ... 9 13, 14

9. Temples, palaces, &c., erected by means of forced labour ... 10' 14, 15
10. Tavernier's accoiint of the state of the country and the condi-
tion of the people ... ... ... ... ... ... .,. 11 15-19



Section II.— THE CONDITION OF THE PRESIDENCY AT THE

END OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY WHEN '

MOST OF THE PROVINCES OF SOUTHERN

INDIA WERE ACQUIRED BY THE BRITISH ... 12-14 19-24

1. State of the districts and the condition of the population ... 12 19-22

2. Insecimty of property, obstriictions to trade, uncertainty in the

value of the currency and heavy taxation ... ... ... 13 22,23

3. Poverty of the agricultural classes .. . ,., .,. 14 23,24

Section III.— THE CONDITION OF THE AGRICULTURAL
CLASSES UNDER BRITISH ADMINISTRATION
DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE PRESENT
CENTURY :.. 15-18 24-36

1. fiarly land settlements and the condition of the country during

the first 30 years of the century ... ... ... ... ... 15 24-27

2. Agricultural depression from 1834 to 1854 and its causes ... 16 27, 28

3. The condition of the ryots as disclosed in the reports of the

CoUectors of the several districts 17 28-33

4. The measures taken to ameliorate the condition of ryots and the

state of communications ... ... ... - ... ... ... 18 33-36

Section IV.— NARRATIVE OF THE PRINCIPAL FACTS BEAR-
ING ON THE CONDITION OF THE AGRICUL-
TURAL CLASSES FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE
PRESENT CENTURY TO THE PRESENT TIME... 19-21 36-43

1. The cessation of the period of agi'icultural depression and the

commencement of a period of prosperity and internal reforms 19 36-39

'J. There-action ... ,,. " ... ... ... ... ... ... 20 39-42

8. Fai>;iine of 1876-78 21. 42,43



CONTENTS. *



Section V.— STATISTICS SHOWING THE ■ IMPROVEMENT IN
THE CONDITION OF THE PEOPLE SINCE 1850.

1. Introductory ...

2. Increase of population

■ 3. Increase in the acreage of cultivation

4. Alleged decrease qf rainfall

5. Alleged deterioration of the soil by over-cropping

6. Prices ...

7. Effect of the improvement of communications on prices

8. Trade — its dimensions

9. The advantages of trade

10. The progress of trade in the principal articles of export

11. The progress of trade in imported articles and the low cost at

which they are now obtained

12. How far the rapid ei^pansion of foreign trade is " enforced" ...

13. Balance of trade ... ....

14. Effect of private remittances to England

15. The effect of remittances to England on the rates of exchange.

16. Imports of gold and silver into India .. ...

17. European exploitation ... ... ... .„

18. Decadence of old indigenous industries

19. The decay of hand-loom weavers, a necessary stage in in-

dustrial development
2



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