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times a cultivator who grows the mulberry keeps worms as well, and also
reels off the cocoons himself ; but more generally the three operations
of growing the mulberry, rearing worms, and reeling silk, are kept quite
distinct, and are performed by different persons. The cocoons used
at the factories are either bought by contract direct from the breeders,
or through commission agents. The European factory at Ganutia, and
its branch filatures, have been alluded to above. But in addition to
these there are numerous little village filatures, worked by native
families. These village filatures, with perhaps one pair of basins apiece,
are situated in the peasant's homestead, and worked in a very rude
way. The raw silk from the English factory finds its way to the
Calcutta and European markets. That reeled in the villages is partly
consumed locally, and partly sent to the Murshidabad market, and to
the silk-consuming towns of the North-Western Provinces and the
Punjab. Some part also finds its way to the looms of Surat and
Ahmadabad in Bombay, or is worked up into dhuti fringes in the
Central Provinces. The Bombay weavers buy a kind of raw silk called
bhursut woven from ten cocoons, and therefore thicker than the five
or six cocoon thread which finds favour in the Calcutta market. The
local fabrics of silk are plain piece-goods ; but very little silk-weaving
is carried on. The weavers who manufacture silk fabrics generally
work under a system of advances from the Murshidabad silk dealers.
A few, however, are sufficiently enterprising to invest their little
capital on their own account.

Tasar silk is manufactured in the western parts of the District, and
at Ilambazar on the north bank of the Ajai. The trade in tasar silk
cloth has declined of late years, owing to a falling off in the demand in
the Calcutta market. Cotton-weaving is carried on to a considerable
extent, giving employment to 7500 cotton-weavers, and this industry
appears to have more vitality in Birbhum than in some other Bengal
Districts. The cultivators buy in the market the cotton of the North-
Western Provinces, have it spun into rude yarn by the women, and
take the yarn to the village weaver, who weaves it up into coarse cloth,
under the eye of the owner or a representative, who always sits by to
see that the yarn is not stolen. Some widows eke out a livelihood by
spinning cotton, and spinning the Brdhmanical thread is an occupation
usually confined to Brahman widows. The preparation of indigo and
shell-lac are among the other industries, and attempts have recently
been made to utilize the local supply of iron. The ores have Ion-
been worked on the rough native mode of smelting ; and the object of


the recent attempts was to ascertain whether more extended operations
might not be profitably carried out according to European processes,
under competent supervision. Although the iron produced seems to
have been of good quality and well suited for manufacturing purposes,
the experiment was not a financial success, and the enterprise

Administration. — The administrative staff of the District in 1881-82
consisted of a Magistrate-Collector, Joint Magistrate, and European
Deputy Collector, 4 native Deputy Collectors, District superintendent of
police with an assistant, civil and sessions judge and sub-judge, 4 subor-
dinate civil judges {munsifs), civil surgeon, district engineer, 12 honorary
magistrates, 4 rural sub - registrars, etc. In consequence of the
numerous changes which have taken place from time to time in the
area of Birbhum District, it is impossible to compare with any accuracy
the revenue and expenditure at different periods ; but the figures at our
disposal show, in a very distinct way, the prosperity which the District
has enjoyed under British rule. In 1790-91, the net revenue of the
District, which then consisted of Birbhum (including the greater part of
the Santal Parganas) and Bishnupur, was ,£108,270, and the net civil
expenditure ^"6281. At the time of the Permanent Settlement (1793),
Bishnupur or Binkura was separated from Birbhum, and in 1820-21
the revenue had fallen to ^78,248, the expenditure being ;£i 1,930.
In 1850-51, the revenue was .£89,300, and the expenditure .£23,719.
In 1860-61, the revenue amounted to .£93,795, and the expenditure
to ,£23,207. Subsequent to i860 the area of the District was further
reduced by the transfer of several parganas, but the revenue and ex-
penditure continued to increase; and in 1870-71 the total net revenue
was .£102,841, or nearly the same as that of the united District in
1790, while the net civil expenditure was .£28,054, or more than four
times what it was in 1790. In 1881-82, after the area of the District
had been increased by the transfer of Rampur-hat police circle from
Murshidabad, the total revenue of Birbhum amounted to ,£124,372,
and the net civil expenditure to ,£43,295, or seven times the amount
of expenditure in 1790. In 1790-91, the joint land revenue of
Birbhum and Bankura amounted to .£106,071; in 1870-71, the land
revenue of Birbhum alone was ,£73,558; and in 1881, ^"80,174.
With the increasing prosperity of the District, the machinery for the
protection of person and property has been improved. The police
force employed for this purpose in 1881 consisted of (1) a regular
police, composed of 2 superior and 47 subordinate officers and 208
constables; (2) a small municipal force of 1 native officer and 16 men
for the protection of Suri ; and (3) a village watch of 7614 ghdtwdls and
chaukiddrs : total, 7898 officers and men, or 1 man to every 100 of
the population. The cost of maintaining the District and municipal


police in 1881 was ^5749» of which ^55 8 9 was derived from
imperial funds, equal to an average of 3§& per head of the population ;
and exclusive of an estimated sum of ^13,392 contributed in money or
lands by the zaminddrs and villagers. In 1881, 804 persons were con-
victed of 'cognisable ' and 533 of ' non-cognisable' offences, or 1 person
to every 594 of the population.

There are seven thdnds or police circles in the District, namely —
Surf, Dubrajpur, Sakulipur, Rampur-hat, Maureswar, and Nalhati,
besides nine outpost stations. There are two jails in Birbhum, one
at Surf, and the other (a lock-up) at Rampur-hat. The daily average
jail population in 1881 was 185-16, or 1 person always in jail to
every 4294 of the population of the District. These figures are,
however, illusory, as they include a large proportion of prisoners sent
from the Santal Parganas, where there is no proper jail. Education
has made rapid progress of late years. In 1856-57, there were only
3 Government and aided schools in the whole District; by 1872-73,
the number of Government and aided schools had risen to 129,
attended by 4439 pupils. In addition to these, there were 17
inspected unaided schools, attended by 445 pupils, and about 550
uninspected, with an estimated attendance of more than 7000 more.
The total number of pupils attending inspected schools in that year was
4884. By 1 88 1, the total number of Government aided and inspected
schools had risen to 613, attended by n, 777 pupils, or 1 to every 67 of
the population. The number of schools not inspected by the Depart-
ment had fallen to 20 in 1881, with 399 pupils.

Medical Aspects.— -The mean annual temperature of Birbhum, accord-
ing to the latest calculation, is 77-25° R, and the average annual rain-
fall 56-49 inches. The District has long been famous for its salubrity ;
but unhappily within the last few years the epidemic fever of Bardwan,
after effecting so much devastation in adjoining Districts, has extended
to Birbhum, causing great mortality, which has resulted in a de-
crease of the population to the extent of 6-95 per cent, during the
nine years between 1872 and 1881. An account of this fever will be
found in the article on Bardwan. The only endemic diseases prevalent
in the District are leprosy and elephantiasis ; cholera has of late years
become more general. [For further information regarding Birbhum
District, see my Statistical Account of Bengal, vol. iv. pp. 311 to 457
(Triibner & Co., London, 1876). Also Report on the District of Bir-
bhum, by Captain W. S. Sherwill, Revenue Surveyor (1855); Census
Report of Bengal for 1881 ; and the Provincial Administration Reports
from 1880 to 1883.]

Birchigaon.— Mountain pass in Kumaun District, North-Western
Provinces; on the route from Almora by the river Gori and the Untha
Dhiira Pass to South- Western Tibet. Lat. 30 12' n., long. So 17' e.


Distant 114 miles north-east of Almora. Lies over the skirts of two
peaks, with heights of 18,166 and 19,225 feet above the sea respec-
tively; elevation of crest of pass, about 15,000 feet.

Birda Hills. — See Barda Hills.

Birganj. — Village and police station in Dinajpur District, Bengal ;
situated on the Dhapd, a tributary of the Purnabhaba river. Lat. 25
51' 30" n., long. 88° 41' 40" e. Small local trade.

Birhar. — Pargand in Faizabad (Fyzabad) District, Oudh ; bounded
on the north by the river Gogra, separating it from Basti District in the
North-Western Provinces ; on the east by Azamgarh District ; and on
the south and west by Surharpur, Akbarpur, and Tanda pargands.
Picturesquely studded with clumps of bamboos, and groves of mango
and mahud trees. Area, 221 square miles, of which 122 are cultivated.
Of the 387 villages which constitute the pargand, no less than 376 form
the Birhar estate, held by eight Palwar Rajput proprietors, paying an
aggregate Government land revenue of ^14, 2 19, out of a total of
;£ 15,989. All the villages except 12 are held under tdlukddri tenure.
Population according to the Census of 1881 — Hindus, 121,851;
Muhammadans, 15,989 : total, 137,840, namely, 69,650 males and
68,190 females. Brahmans comprise 15 per cent, of the population;
Rajputs, 5 per cent. ; Koris and Kiirmis, altogether 4 per cent. ;
other Hindus, 64 per cent. ; Muhammadans, 9 per cent. Markets held
in 19 villages.

Biria {Bairid). — Town in Ballia District, North-Western Provinces,
situated in lat. 25 46' n., long. 84 31' 35" e., on the high road from
Ballia to Chhaprd, and is almost equidistant from the Ganges and
Gogra rivers. Population (1881) 9160, namely, 7564 Hindus, and
1596 Muhammadans; area of town site, 82 acres. A small municipal
income is realized for police and conservancy purposes, under the pro-
visions of Act xx. of 1856. The town is little more than a conglomera-
tion of mud-built houses, traversed from east to west by one good
street. The import trade is of no importance, but there are consider-
able exports of sugar and coarse cloth. The town contains a
number of sugar-refineries, the produce of which, together with that
of the surrounding villages, is exported to Agra and Calcutta. Weaving
looms number 350 ; the cloth manufactured is exported to Lower
Bengal. Shoes and leather work are sent to Ballia, Ghazipur, and
Dumraon. Market twice a week. The nearest railway station is
Raghunathganj, on the East Indian Railway, 16 miles south of the
town, on the opposite side of the Ganges.

Birkul (Beercool). — Village in Midnapur District, Bengal; situated
on the sea-coast in the south of the District, close to the north boundary
of Balasor. Lat. 21 40' 40" n., long. 87 32' e. Population (1881)
150. Birkul has long been known as a pleasant hot-weather retreat


from Calcutta, and was a favourite resort of Warren Hastings.
Proposals have been put forth to make the place a summer sanitarium,
but no practical steps have yet been taken to that end. There is a
delightful sea-breeze, and the only drawback is scarcity of fresh water,
which has to be brought from a considerable distance. Travellers'
bungalow. Birkul is distant about 26 miles by road from the sub-
divisional station of Kanthf (Contai).

Birkul. — Embankment in Midnapur District, Bengal ; commences
at Khadalgobra village in Birkul parga?id, and, running generally
parallel with the coast-line of the Bay of Bengal for a distance of 41
miles, terminates at the village of Syamchak in Keoramal pargand.
This line of embankment is now called the sea-dyke.

Birnagar (or Uld). — Town in Rdnaghat Sub-division of Nadiya
District, Bengal. Lat 23° 14' 30" N., long. 88° 36' 10" e. Population
(1881) 4321, namely, males 1947, and females 2374. A second-class
municipality, with an income in 1881 of ^"273. A festival lasting three
days, and attended by 10,000 pilgrims, is held here in June, in honour
of the goddess Ulai Chandi, the goddess of cholera, one of the forms
of the wife of Siva.

Birpur. — Village in Bhagalpur District, Bengal ; situated on the Nepal
frontier. Lat. 26 32' n., long. 87 3' e. ; population about 3660. A brisk
trade was formerly carried on here ; but the place is fast losing its import-
ance, as the merchants, fearing that further inroads of the Kiisf river
may carry away their storehouses, are gradually abandoning the village.

Birsilpur {Barsalpur). — Town in Jaisalmir (Jeysulmere) State, Raj-
putana ; on the route from BahaValpur to Bap, 90 miles south-east of
the former. Lat. 28 n' 20" N., long. 72 15' 5" e. ; population about
2000. The town is said to have been founded in the 2nd century :
it contains a small fort, completely commanded by a high sandhill a
mile to the south-west.

Binidankarayapiiram. — The ancient capital of the Chalukya
kings, in Godavarf District, Madras Presidency. The present village
of Bikkavolu (q.v.), which occupies the old site, abounds in ruins of
the former town.

Binipa.— -River of Cuttack District, Bengal ; an offshoot from the
left or north bank of the Mahanadi, from which river it branches
opposite the town of Cuttack. After flowing north-east for about 15
miles, nearly parallel with the Calcutta road, it receives on its left
bank the Genguti, which, after receiving the waters of the Kelo, again
joins the Binipa. The river afterwards joins the Brahman i, and its
waters ultimately find their way into the Bay of Bengal by the Dhamra

Binir. — Town and mart in Kadur District, Mysore, on the Banga-
lore-Shimoga road. Lat. if 36' 10" N., long. 76 o' 40" e. ; population


(1872) 3617, namely, 3254 Hindus, 361 Muhammadans, and 2 Jains;
number of houses, 629. Large traffic in cocoa-nuts, areca-nuts,
grain, and other produce; annual value of transactions, nearly 50 lakhs
of rupees (£500,000).

Bisali. — Pass in South Kanara District, Madras Presidency.
Lat. 12 44' n., long. 75 41' e. Formerly of some importance as
connecting Mangalore with Seringapatam, but now fallen into disrepair,
and practicable for pack-bullocks only. As being the shortest route to
Subramani, where a great annual fair is held, the cattle-breeders on the
other side use this route. A village of the same name stands at one
end of the pass, on the road from Bangalore to Mangalore; lat. 12°
45' n., long. 75 45' e.

Bisalnagar (Visnagar or Visalnagar). — Sub-division of the Kadi
District of Baroda, in the Gaekwar's territories ; area, 227 square miles ;
number of towns and villages, 58. Population (t88i) 81,842,
namely, Hindus, 74,777; Muhammadans, 4203; Jains, 2858; 'others,' 4.
In the north and east, the country is bare and treeless, but towards
the west and south trees are numerous, and the aspect of the country is
more cheerful. The surface soil is light and sandy, and the Sub-division
is watered by the Rupen river. At the village of Gothiva is a well
which has attained a wide celebrity for the medicinal properties of its
water, considered excellent for fever patients*

Bisalnagar. — Town in the Kadi District of the Gaekwar's territories
of Baroda, Bombay Presidency, and head-quarters of Bisalnagar Sub-
division; on the route from Mhau (Mhow) to Disa, 220 miles north-
west of former, 50 miles south-west of latter, also 14 miles north-east
of Unja, and ir miles east of Mesina. Lat. 23 2' 20" n., long. 72
42' 50" e. ; population (i88t) 19,602, namely, 9615 males and 9987
females. Bisalnagar is the original seat of one of the six classes of
Nagar Brahmans, many of whom are now followers of Swami Narayan,
the religious reformer, whom Bishop Heber met in Gujarat in 1825.
There is a considerable transit trade in iron and other heavy goods for
Marwar. Manufacture of cotton cloth and copper vessels. Contains
the public offices of the District and assistant judges, several dharm-
sdlds, police station, jail y a public garden with a bungalow in it, and two

Bisalpur. — Tahsil of Pilibhit District, North- Western Provinces.
Area, 370 square miles, of which 228 are cultivated; population (1881)
179,350; land revenue, £30,544; total revenue, ,£32,391 ; rental paid
by cultivators, £57,074. The tahsil contains 1 civil and 1 criminal
court, with police stations (thdnds) at Bisalpur, Balsanda, and Barkhera.
Strength of regular police, 37 men; municipal police, 70; village watch-
men (chaukiddi's), 457.

Bisalpur. — Town in Pilibhit District, North-Western Provinces, and


head-quarters of Bisalpur tahsil ; distant 24 miles east from Bareli, and
2 miles east of the river Deoha. Lat. 28 17' 35" n., long. 79'
50' 33" e. ; population (1881) 8903, namely, 6159 Hindus and 2744
Muhammadans; area, 142 acres. Municipal income in 1880-81,
£>Zo2> \ expenditure, ,£298 ; average incidence of taxation, 8jjd. per
head of municipal population. The town is skirted with shady groves
on all sides except the south. It has the general appearance of an
overgrown agricultural village of mud huts, with a few scattered brick
buildings. But of late years its centre has been adorned with a neat
market-place, in which 4 well-kept metalled roads meet. The official
quarter is to the south, where are situated the sub-divisional courts
and buildings, police station, school, branch dispensary, and post-
office. North of the town is a fine square masonry tank surrounded
by dharmsdlds, temples, and other Hindu buildings. An annual fair
for cattle and country produce is held in the village. A weekly
market is also held, grain and coarse sugar being the principal staples
of trade.

Bisambha (Bahsuma). — Town in Mawana tahsil, Meerut District,
North-Western Provinces, situated on the Bijnaur road, 23 miles from
Meerut town. The population consists for the most part of Jdts, Giijars,
and Baniyas. Manufacture of saddlery and leather ware of excellent
quality. Police station, post-office, and weekly market. Good encamp-
ing ground for troops.

Bisauli. — Tahsil of Budaun District, North-Western Provinces ;
traversed by Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway, and comprising the
pargands of Satasi, Bisauli, and Islamnagar. Area, 343 square miles,
of which 289 are cultivated; population (1881) 187,658; land
revenue, ^2 1,478; total revenue, ^24,060; rental paid by cultivators,
£55i737- The tahsil contained 1 civil and 1 criminal court ; strength
of regular police, 39 men; village watchmea (chaukiddrs), 437.

Bisauli.— Town in Budaun District, North-Western Provinces, and
head-quarters of Bisauli tahsil, situated 24 miles north-west of Budaun
town, on the high road between Budaun and Chandausf, in lat. 2S D
18' N., long. 78 59' e. Population (1881) 4482, namely, 2691
Hindus, 1785 Muhammadans, and 6 Christians. A small municipal
revenue, in the shape of a house-tax, is levied for police and conser-
vancy purposes, under the provisions of Act xx. of 1S56, amounting to
^105 in 1881-82. The town is situated on a commanding spot, over-
looking the valley of the Sot, and contains a fine fort built in 1750 by
Dundi Khan, lieutenant of the famous Rohilla chief Hafiz Rahmat
Khan. A rest-house, mosque, and ruined palace built at the same
time still survive. The town contains the ordinary Government build-
ings, tahsili, mimsifi, police station, post-office, dispensary, etc. Bisauli
declined in importance after the fall of the Rohilla power, but since the


opening of the Oudh and Rohilkhand Railway, trade has begun to
revive. Weekly market.

Bisauli. — District and town in Kashmir State, Punjab. — See

Bisawar. — Town in Muttra (Mathura) District, North-Western Pro-
vinces, lying on the road from Kandauli to Muttra, 6 miles north of the
Jumna. Lat. 27 23' 30" n., long. 77 56' 30" e. ; area, 57 acres;
population (1881) 4774. Originally surrounded by dense jungle, of
which scarcely a vestige now remains ; partly cleared about 1100 a.d.
by Ram Jadun Thakur, whose descendants still hold two-thirds of the
village lands. Agricultural centre of little commercial importance.

Bishailgarh. — Town in Chhibramau tahsil, Farukhabad District,
North-Western Provinces, situated at the intersection of two roads, 6
miles south-west of Chhibramau town. The town contains a District
post-office, village school, and a castle or fort, the residence of the
richest landholder of the District. Station of the Great Trigonometrical
Survey, 518 feet above sea-level. Market twice a week.

Bishanpur Narhan Khas. — Village in Darbhangah District,
Bengal; situated near the west bank of the Little Gandak. Lat. 25
42' n., long. 86° 3' E. Population (1881) 5963, namely, 5794
Hindus and 169 Muhammadans. Contains a stone temple and five
brick temples dedicated to Siva, built by the Narhan Babus, relatives of
the Maharaja of Benares, who have their residence here, and help to
support an aided school in the village. Road to Dalsinh-sarai and
Rusera. Two fairs are held during the year.

Bishenpur. — Town in Bankura District, Bengal. — See Bishnupur.

Bishkhali. — A river of the Bakarganj Sundarbans, Bengal. Flows
from north-east to south-west, from Nayamati Hat to the sea, a distance
of 45 miles; average width in dry season, 1000 yards. Lat. 21 59'
45"-22° 34' 15" n., long. 90 2' 45"-9o° 24' e. Navigable by native
boats throughout the year.

Bishnupur. — Sub-division of Bankura District, Bengal ; formed in
1879, and consisting of the police circles (thdnds) of Bishnupur,
Kotalpur, Indas, and Sonamukhi. Area, 700 square miles; towns
and villages, 1504; number of houses, 84,703, of which 75,579 are
occupied and 9124 unoccupied. Population (1881) 394,667, namely,
Hindus, 356,581 ; Muhammadans, 33,906 ; Christians, 9 ; Sonthals,
4154; and 'others,' 17; average density of population, 563*81 per
square mile; number of villages per square mile, 2*15; number of
persons per village, 564; houses per square mile, no; persons per
occupied' house, 5-22. The Sub-division contained in 1883, 1 criminal
and 2 civil courts ; strength of regular police. 164 men ; village watch-
men and road police {chaukiddrs and ghdtwdls), 13 15.

Bishnupur {Bishenpur). — The ancient capital of Bankura District,


Bengal, under its native Rajas; now a municipality, and the most
populous town in the District; situated a few miles south of the
Dhalkisor river. Lat. 23° 4 40" n., long. 87 22' 45" e. Population
(1S81) 18,863, namely, 18,138 Hindus, 639 Muhammadans, and
86 'others.' Municipal income in 1881-82, ^416; incidence of
municipal taxation, 4^. per head of population within municipal limits.
Bishnupur is one of the principal seats of commerce in Bankura
District. Chief exports— rice, oil-seeds, lac, cotton and silk cloth, silk
cocoons, etc.; imports — English piece-goods, salt, tobacco, spices,
cocoa-nuts, pulses, etc. There are several market-places in the town.
It contains a large weaving population, and is noted for the manufacture
of cotton and silk cloth of fine quality. Besides the usual public
offices, there are several schools, a number of Hindu temples, and some
Muhammadan mosques. The old military high road from Calcutta to the
North- Western Provinces passed through the town. Ancient Bishnupur,
if we may put any trust in the native chroniclers, was a magnificent city,
' more beautiful than the beautiful house of Indra in heaven.' It was
fortified by a connected line of curtains and bastions, 7 miles in length,
with small circular ravelins covering many of the curtains. The citadel lies
within the fortifications, and here was situated the palace of the Rajas.
The ruins are very curious and interesting. Near the south gateway
are the remains of an extensive series of granaries ; and inside the fort,
which is overgrown with jungle, lies an immense iron gun, 10 J feet long,
the gift, according to tradition, of a deity to one of the Rajas. In the
last century, the Raja of Bishnupur figures in the Company's records

Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 3) → online text (page 2 of 56)