Copyright
William Wilson Hunter.

The imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 8) online

. (page 32 of 64)
Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 8) → online text (page 32 of 64)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


8082) ; Rewadanda (6908) ; Mahad (6804) ; Alibagh (6371 ; I
(5355) I Roha-Ashtami (4894). Of the places of interest tlv
maybe mentioned — the Kuda and Pale caves, and Kaigarh and K
forts. Of the 975 towns and villages in the District in 1881, 354 con-
tained less than two hundred inhabitants ; 429 from two to five hum
140 from five hundred to one thousand ; 41 from one to two thousand ;
2 from two to three thousand j 4 from three to five thousand ; and 5
from five to ten thousand.

Among Hindus, the most important classes are the Brdhmans.
own large gardens and palm groves along the coast. In the south
they are the landlords or kJiots of many villages, holding the position of
middlemen between Government and the actual cultivators.

Of the hill tribes, there are the Thakurs and Kathkaris ; of uns'
tribes, the Vadars and the Banjaras. The Thakurs (3629) are
squat men, with hard irregular features, in some degree redeemed
honest, kindly expression. They speak Marathi; they are h
harmless, and hard-working, the women doing quite as much work as the
men. When not employed on land cultivation, they find str.r.
or gather firewood for sale. The Kathkaris (10,292) are cultivs
labourers, and firewood sellers. Their women, tall and slim, singularly
dirty and unkempt, are hard workers, and help the men by hawking b
loads of firewood. Kathkaris, as a rule, are much darker and slunim
than the other forest tribes; they rank among the lowest of the
their very touch being thought to defile. They eat ev< 1
except the cow and the brown-faced monkey. They are
much given to drinking. The Vadars (232) are rude, int
and unsettled in their habits, gathering wherever building
They are quarry-men, and make grindstones, hand-mil.
jnns. They dig wells and ponds, and trade in and carr.
They are poor, living from hand to mouth.

The Beni-Israel, or Indian Jews, are chiefly found m :
tracts. They are of two classes, the white and bUck ; A
tag to their own story, are descended from the original m
while the black are descendants of converts or
country. A considerable number of them enbst m the
and are esteemed as soldiers. They maintain the ,
and faithfully accept the Old Testament. Then ,



266 KOLABA.

discipline is administered by elders, the chief of whom are called Kad's.
Their home language is Marathi, but in the synagogues their scriptures
are read in Hebrew. The Jews monopolize the work of oil-pressing to
so great an extent, that they are generally known as oilmen or telis.
The late Dr. Wilson was of opinion that the Beni-Israel are descended
from the lost tribes, founding his belief upon the fact that they possessed
none of the Jewish names which date after the captivity, and none of
the Jewish scriptures or writings after that date.

Some of the Musalmans are the descendants of converted Hindus ;
others trace their origin to foreign invaders ; and a few are said to repre-
sent the early Arab traders and settlers. But of these last there is not,
so low down the western coast, any distinct community, and there are
few families that have not intermarried with Musalmans of the country.

Agriculture. — Agriculture is the most important industry of Kolaba
District; the total agricultural population in 1881 was returned at
147,525, giving an average of 3*4 cultivable and cultivated acres
per head. The total number, however, dependent on the soil
amounted to 258,641, or 6777 per cent, of the District population.
Of the total District area of 1496 square miles, 804 square miles
are assessed for revenue. Of these, 792 square miles are under
cultivation; 12 square miles are cultivable; and 692 non-revenue-
paying. Total amount of Government assessment, including local
rates and cesses on land, .£77,909, or an average of 3s. o|d. per
cultivated acre.

There are four descriptions of soil : — (1) Alluvial, composed of
various disintegrated rocks of the overlying trap formation, with a larger
or smaller proportion of calcareous substance. This is by far the richest
variety, and occupies the greater portion of the District. (2) Soil
formed by the disintegration of laterite and trap, covering the slopes
of the hills and plateaux. Though fitted for the cultivation of some
crops, such as ndgliwari and hemp, this soil, owing to its shallowness,
soon becomes exhausted, and has to be left fallow for a few years.
(3) Clayey mould, resting upon trap, called khdrdpdt or salt land. (4)
Soil containing marine deposits, a large portion of sand, and other
matter in concretion. This last lies immediately upon the sea-coast,
and is favourable for garden crops.

A peculiarity of Kolaba District is the khoti tenure, which exists in 485
villages. The khot was originally a mere farmer of the revenue from
year to year, but this right to act as middleman became hereditary,
although he had no proprietary right. Under the Survey, the khot, as
peasant proprietor, pays the survey rates ; while the actual cultivators
pay rent to the khot, not exceeding an excess of 50 per cent, above the
Government demand, and this constitutes the profit of the khot.

The agricultural stock in the District amounted in 1881-82 to 29,902



K0LA11A.

ploughs, 2938 carts, 50,305 bullocks, 40,31c

447 horses, 15,307 sheep and goats, 41 asses. ( »; .

total area of Government cultivable land, 476,643 acn

cent., were taken up for cultivation in 1881-82. I

acres were under grass or occupied by salt-]

307,912 acres were under actual tillage, 5259 of which «

cropped. Food-grains covered 287,267 acres, or 93-23 j 1 1

the cultivated area; pulses, 16,572, or 5-38 per cent ; 1

or 1*59 per cent. ; fibres, 1587, or 0*51 per cent. ; and mi*

crops, 2843 acres, or 0-92 per cent. Rice of many variel

141,835 acres, or 46*06 per cent, of the area actually under cult:-.

in 1881-82, is the staple produce of the District, and : :..

article of export. The finest varieties are called kolamba and

after them patni, nirpunj, and bodak, otherwise called kothim

Rice is grown on saline as well as on sweet land. Beti
and May, the plot of ground chosen for a nursery is coi
cow-dung and brushwood; this is overlaid with thii
earth is spread over the surface; the whole is then set fire to <>n the
leeward side, generally towards morning, after the heavj 1
collected. In June, after the land has been sprinkled by
showers, the nursery is sown and then ploughed. The plants
shoot up after a few heavy falls of rain. In the beginnin
the seedlings are planted out at a distance of from 8 to 10 ii
apart in fields previously ploughed and cleared. The land i
from time to time. Between October and XovemU-r, the n
commences. The cut crop is left on the field, where it is
to dry more perfectly ; it is afterwards tied up in sheave
a stack. Alter a month or so, the threshing comma
piece of hard ground (sometimes a rock) is selected, ai
are then beaten against the ground, the straw being ke|
thatch. The winnowing follows, which is effected
shovel-shaped basket with grain, and slowly emptyii
a height as the upraised arms can reach. In saline Ii
is used, neither is the soil manured. In the
when the ground has become thoroughly saturated, th<
sown in the mud, or wherever the land is low and -
flow of rain-water. No transplanting takes place, but thinning
when necessary. Should a field by any accident be
for three years in succession, the crops would 1

Especially in the northern Sub-divisions, Alii
interesting feature in the tillage of Kolaba 1 >istri< I
salt marsh and mangrove swamps that has been 1
of rice. These tracts, situated along the bank.
locally known as ***** or saline land. Most of the embank*



26$ KOLABA.

shilotris, which save the land from tidal flooding, are said to have been
built between 1755 and 1780 under the Angrias by men of position and
capital, who, with the title of shilotriddrs or dam-keepers, undertook,
on the grant of special terms, to make the embankments and to keep
them in repair. For many years these reclamations were divided into
rice-fields and salt-pans. The salt-pans were gradually closed between
1858 and 1872 ; and about two-thirds of the area formerly devoted to
salt- making has now been brought under tillage. Each reclamation
has two banks, an outer and an inner. In the outer bank are sluice-
gates which are kept closed from October to June ; and, as soon as the
rains set in, are opened to allow the rain w^ater to escape. Two years
after the embankment is completed, rice is sown in the reclaimed land,
in order that the decayed straw may offer a resting-place, and supply
nourishment to grass seeds. Five years generally elapse before any
crop is raised. More than 9000 acres have been reclaimed in this
way. The reclamation of saline land is encouraged by no revenue being
levied for the first ten years, and full revenue only after thirty years.

The inferior kinds of grain called nachni (Eleusine corocana),
wart (Panicum miliaceum), harik (Paspalum scrobiculatum), which
form the chief food-supply of the people, are also grown in consider-
able quantities, especially on the flat tops and terraced sides of the
hills. Cotton, now rarely grown, was cultivated with considerable
success during the great development of the production of Indian
cotton at the close of last century.

A skilled labourer earns from is. to 2s. a day; unskilled, from 3jd.
to 6d. ; cart hire per day, from is. 6d. to 2s. ; boat (machwds) hire per
day, from 10s. to 16s. The current prices of the chief articles of food
during 1881 were, for a rupee — rice, 24 lbs. ; wheat, 21 lbs. ; ddl (split
peas), 19 lbs. ; bdjra, 28 lbs. ; and gram, 25 lbs.

Natural Calamities. — The oldest scarcity of which local memory
remains was the famine of 1803. The distress caused by want of rain
and failure of crops was increased by the influx of starving people from
the Deccan. Many children are said to have been sold for food. The
price of rice rose to about two pounds the rupee. To relieve distress,
entire remissions of revenue, during periods varying from eight months
to two years, were granted. In 181 7-18, there was a great scarcity of
food, approaching to a famine. In 1848, in the old Sankshi division,
part of the rice crop on saline land was damaged by unusually high
spring-tides. Remissions were granted to the amount of ^3775. In
1852, heavy rain damaged grain and other produce stacked in the fields.
In 1854, an exceedingly good harvest was the outcome of a most favour-
able rainfall. But, on 1st of November, a terrible hurricane completely
destroyed every sort of field produce, whether standing or stacked,
felling also cocoa-nut and areca-nut plantations. Remissions to the



K0LA11A.

amount of more than ^1200 were -ranted. In 1-,
serious drought, particularly in the southern halt 1
1875-76, and in 1876-77, floods did much damage to I
In 1878-79, the cold-weather crops were damaged by la

Trade, etc.— The principal trade centres of the District are
Nagothna, Rewadanda, Roha, Ghodegaon, and V
articles of export are rice, salt, firewood, timber, w
and dried fish. The imports consist of Malabar teak, bras
Poona and Nasik, dates, grain, piece-goods, oil, butter, garb
turmeric, sugar, and molasses. The local manufactures barely
local wants. Salt is extensively made by evaporation, and its : 1
furnishes profitable employment in the fair season, when the culth
are not engaged in agriculture. The weaving of silk — a reli
Portuguese times — is practised at Chaul; but the manufa
declined since 1668, about which time a migration of weavers took
place, and the first street was built in Bombay to receive them. The
extraction of oil from /// (Sesamum), the cocoa-nut, and the ground-nut,
and the preparation of cocoa-nut fibre, also support main
The District appears on the whole to be well supplied with means
of transporting and exporting produce, a great portion being within
easy reach of water-carriage. There are 13 seaports in the District:
during the eight years ending 1881-82, the total valu
trade averaged ^285,916, being — imports ^100,218, and ex]
,£185,698. In 1881-82, the imports were valued at ,£93,61 7
^174,459 ; total value, ,£268,076. Minor markets and fairs are held
periodically at twenty-three places in the District. The yearly r
interest varies from 6 to 24 per cent. Pianiyas from Marwar and ( \\
are the chief shopkeepers and money-lenders.

Coimnimications.—lw 1881 there were 12 roads in the Distri :. with
a total length of 187 miles; 139 miles of this number are unbri
fair-weather roads. The Amba is crossed at Kolad by a ferry.
number of toll-bars is eight, iive of them placed on the Mahal
Trunk Road. The largest bridge in the District is one
Mangaon, across the Nizampur-Kal. At Nagothna tha
bridge, built in 1580 at a cost of three lakhs of ni]
march of the Ahmadnagar kings' troops into Chaul. A
plies daily between Bombay harbour, Revas, and Dhai
chief passes across the Sahyadris are— the Par, the I
Varandha, the Umbarda, and Kavalya. The only lighl
District stands on the highest point of the island ol Khand
a small island near the entrance of the Bombay harb
of Bombay. Tat. 18 42' 8" N., long. 72° **' ' 7 "* ] '
octagonal tower 75 feet high from base to vane, built
house, with a single fixed white dioptric light of t:



27 o KOLABA.

in clear weather is visible for 20 miles from the deck of a ship. The
height of the lantern above high water is 161 feet, and its area of
illumination is 225 of the horizon.

Administration. — Kolaba was first attached to Ratndgiri and then
to Thana District. In 1853 it was made a Sub-collectorate, and in
1 S69 an independent District. For administrative purposes Kolaba is
divided into 5 Sub-divisions. The gross revenue in 1882-83 amounted
to .£107,611, showing, on a population of 381,649, an incidence per
head of 5s. 7J& The land-tax forms the principal source of income,
yielding £79,896. Other important items are stamps, forest, and
local dues. The latter, created since 1863 for works of public utility
and rural education, yielded (1881) a total sum of £797 6 - There are
4 municipalities — Alibagh, Pen, Roha-Ashtami, Mahad — containing an
aggregate population of 26,156 persons, and having (1882) an income
of £2415. The incidence of municipal taxation varies from is. o|d.
to is. gd. per head. The administration of the District is entrusted to
a Collector and two Assistants, of whom one is a covenanted civilian.

Kolaba is included in the local jurisdiction of the Judge of Thana.
For the settlement of civil disputes there are 5 civil judges, and the
number of suits decided in 1881-82 was 3242. Fourteen officers
share the administration of criminal justice. The total strength of
the regular police in 1881 consisted of 346 officers and men, giving
1 man to every 4*32 square miles, or to every 11 03 persons. Total
cost, £5418, equal to £3, 12s. 5d. per square mile of area, and 4d.
per head of the population. The number of persons convicted of any
offence, great or small, was 923, being 1 person to every 413 of the
population. There are 14 post-offices in the District. In 1855-56
there was only 1 school, attended by 108 pupils; in 1881-82 there
were 79 schools, attended by 4990 pupils, or an average of 1 school for
every 1 2 inhabited villages.

Medical Aspects. — There are four distinct climatic periods — the rains
from June to October; the damp hot weather in October and
November on the cessation of the rains ; the cold weather from
December to March ; and the dry hot weather from March to June.
In the region about Alibagh there is said to be always a sea-breeze.
The time of the rains is considered the healthy period of the year.
Baga/yds, or devils, is the local name given to the sudden, short, and
violent hot dust storms that occur. The number of deaths registered
in 1 88 1 was 7723, at the rate of 20*23 P er thousand of the population.
Average rainfall during five years ending 1881, 8^ inches. The
minimum temperature during the period 1 875-1 879 was 72*6° F., and
the maximum 91-3°. In 1881, 3 dispensaries afforded medical relief
to 207 in-door and 24,428 out-door patients. [For further information
regarding Kolaba District, see the Bombay Gazetteer, compiled under



KOLA B A— KOLA CL1EL. 2 7 1

the orders of the Government of Bombay, by Mr. J. M. Campbell, C.S.,

voL vi., Kolaba and Janjira (Government Central Press, Bombay, 1883).
Also the Settlement Report of Kolaba District, by Major J. T. Francis
(1863); the Bombay Census Report for 1881 ; and the several Annual
Administration and Departmental Reports of the Presidency from 1880
to 1883.]

Kolaba. — Point or spur of land protecting the entrance to Bombay
harbour on the north, and comprised within the limits of the city of
Bombay. It was originally a chain of small islands, now connected
with each other and with the island of Bombay by causeways and
reclaimed tracts. The northern portion of Kolaba contains docks,
factories, and other important commercial and industrial buildings
of Bombay city ; it is also the terminus of the Bombay, Baroda,
and Central India Railway. In the centre are the quarters of the
European garrison of Bombay city ; and at the southern point, about
2 \ miles south-west by south from Bombay Castle, are the lunatic asylum,
the observatory, and the old lighthouse, for which was substituted in
1874 a lighthouse with first-class flashing dioptric light, about a mile
seaward of the old lighthouse, on the ' Prongs,' a dangerous reef
running south from Kolaba Point.

Kolabira. — Zaminddri estate in Sambalpur District, Central Pro-
vinces ; situated in the north-east corner of the District, bordering
on Bamra and Gangpur States. Population (1881) 31,246, namely,
males 15,877, and females 15,369, chiefly agriculturists, residing in 242
villages and 7194 houses, on an area of 231 square miles, of which
two-thirds are cultivated. Products — rice, pulses, oil-seeds, sugar-cane,
and cotton. Principal villages — Kolabira (lat. 21 48' n., long. 84°
12' 30" e. ; population in 1881, 790), which contains a good school;
and Raghunathpalli, with a population of about n 00. The estate was
created in the time of Jeth Singh, Raja of Sambalpur, about 1760.
During the Mutiny of 1857 the chief was hanged, and his son died an
outlaw ; but the estate was restored to the family after the amnesty.
Estimated income of the zaminddr, £309 ; tribute payable to Govern-
ment, ^"109. The old road from Sambalpur town to Chutia Nagpur
traverses the estate.

Kolachel {Colachy-Coleci — Bartolomeo ; possibly the Kolias of
Strabo). — Town in Travancore State, Madras Presidency. Lat. 8° 10' n.,
and long. 77 19' e., in the southernmost corner of India; containing
1038 houses and (1875) 4768 inhabitants. Not returned in the Census
Report of 1 88 1. A place of yearly increasing importance. South
Travancore coffee is here prepared and exported. Kolachel is now a
regular port for coasting steamers. Since 1870, the annual tonnage of
ships calling has increased from 4000 to 37,000. The imports are
valued at ,£13,500, the exports at ^"68,000 \ of the latter, 85 per cent.



2 7 2 KOLAD ] ^NE— KOLAR.

represent the trade in coffee. The port was of value some centuries
ago, and was occupied by the Danes ; it is referred to by Bartolomeo
as a safe harbour well known to the ancients.

Koladyne. — River in Akyab District, British Burmah. — See Kuladan.

Kolair. — Lake in Kistna and Godavari Districts, Madras Presidency.
— See Kolar.

Kolak. — Port in the Pardi Sub-division of Surat District, Bombay
Presidency. Lat. 20 27' 30" n., long. 72 57' e. Situated at the
mouth of the Kolak river, where the channel is 498 feet broad, and can
only be crossed by boats. Vessels of 60 tons can enter and find a
good landing. Beyond the bar are the beds of oysters for which the
Kolak is famous. About eight miles up the river the Bombay, Baroda,
and Central India Railway has a bridge 438 feet long and 33 feet high.
Value of trade for the year 1874 — imports ,£1255, and exports ^3232 ;
no later statistics are available.

Kolakambai. — River, coffee-growing tract, hill peak (5600 feet above
sea-level), with a waterfall north-east of the peak, having an unbroken
fall of 400 feet, in the District of the Nflgiri Hills, Madras Presidency.

Kolang {Kolong). — Village in the Lahul tract of Kangra District,
Punjab ; situated on the right bank of the Bhaga river, about ten miles
above Kyelang. One of the principal places in Lahul, and the residence
of the Thdkur or head-man (negi) of the whole Lahul valley.

Kolar. — District in the Native State of Mysore, forming the eastern
portion of the Nandidrug (Nundydroog) Division. It is situated
between 12 46' and 13 36' n. lat, and between 7 8° 5' and 78
35' e. long.; bounded on the north and north-east by Bellary and
Cuddapah Districts, on the south-east and south by North Arcot and
Salem Districts, and on the west by Bangalore and Tiimkiir Districts of
Mysore. It contains an area of 1891 square miles, and a population,
according to the Census of 1881, of 461,129 persons. The adminis-
trative head-quarters are at Kolar town, 6 miles from the right bank
of the Palar river.

Physical Aspects. — Kolar District occupies that portion of the Mysore
table-land immediately bordering the Eastern Ghats. The principal
watershed lies in the north-west, around the hill of Nandidrug, rising to
4810 feet above the sea, from which rivers radiate in all directions; and
the whole country is broken by numerous hill ranges. The chief rivers
are the Palar, the South Pinakini or Pennar, the North Pinakini, and
the Papaghni, which are industriously utilized for irrigation by means
of anicuts and tanks. In no other part of Mysore has the tank
system been more fully developed. The entire water-supply of the
Palar is thus intercepted, while of the North Pinakini and its affluents
upwards of 85 per cent, of the drainage is utilized. The largest tank
is the Ramsagar, which is capable of irrigating 1500 acres.



KOLAR. 2 73

The rocks are mostly syenite or granite, with a small admixture of
mica and felspar. There is one range of a soft ferruginous clay-slate,
which yields gold in small quantities ; and of late years the subject of
gold-mining in the District has attracted considerable attention. The
total yield of the precious metal by washing from the alluvial soil
was estimated in 1876 at about 4 lbs. per annum. A licence was
granted to a European to 'prospect' the auriferous strata upon a
scientific plan ; a small European gold colony has established itself in
Kolar; and prospecting is being industriously carried on. Three
hundred and seventy-three iron mines and quarries were worked in
1880. The estimated produce of the iron mines was 28,160 lbs. The
soil in the valleys of Kolar consists of a fertile loam, formed from the
finer particles of the decomposed rocks washed down during the
rains. On the higher levels, sand and gravel are found, and the
cultivation is there confined to dry grains and pulses.

The hills are covered with scrub jungle and brushwood. The
only tract where the trees attain any size is in the neighbourhood of
Nandidrug, where an area of 7 square miles has been reserved by the
Forest Department. In recent years, avenues of large trees have been
planted along all the high roads, and the peasants are encouraged to
plant groves of their own. The wild animals met with include bears,
leopards, wild hog, and hyaenas.

History. — The early history of Kolar is involved in the usual
Hindu legends, chiefly localized at the village of Avani, which is
identified with Avdntika-kshetra, one of the ten sacred places of India,
still a popular place of pilgrimage, and said formerly to have con-
tained a iinga set up by Rama himself on his return to Ayodhya
from the conquest of Lanka or Ceylon. Here, too, Sita, the wife of
Rama, is supposed to have given birth to her twin sons Kusa and
Lava ; and here Valmiki is represented as instructing them.

The earliest authentic evidence derived from inscriptions shows that
this region in primitive times formed part of the kingdom of the Pallavas,
who had Vengi as their capital. The Pallava kings were overthrown
by Chola kings, to whom is attributed the foundation of Kolar town.
After the Cholas came the Ballala kings of the 12th century, who in
their turn gave way to the powerful monarch of Vijayanagar, in the
early part of the 14th century.

About this period arose the Gauda family, whose numerous branches,
springing from the ' seven farmers of Kanchi,' gradually established



Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 8) → online text (page 32 of 64)