William Wilson Hunter.

The imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 8) online

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acres, assessed at ^3816. There are two irrigation projects, l
Barur and Pennagondapuram. The tdluk contains 1 civil and 1
criminal courts; police circles {thdnds), 9; regular police, 8a men.
Total land revenue, ,£15,381.

Krishnagiri (Kistnagiri).— Town in Krishnagiri tdluk, Salem
trict, Madras Presidency. Lat. 12° 32' n., long. 78 15' 4
ing, with Daulatabad, 1665 houses and 8856 inhabitants, namely,
males and 4673 females, of whom 22 percent., or 19S0, arc M u
chiefly Sepoys. Hindus number 6755; Christians, H4;and'oth<
Situated on the Madras-Bangalore road, the head-quart<
and formerly the military key to the Baramahal. It 1
portions, Old and New Krishnagiri, the latter also known as 1 >autat*l
Both portions are clean, and well laid out in broad stred
north towers the durgam or fortified hill, rising almost perpendicular
800 feet over the town. The fortifications are said to have
by Jagadeva Rao, but most probably are due to Haidai All and


Sultan. Dilapidated ramparts, reservoirs, and ruined barracks now alone
mark the former purpose of the site. Such were its capabilities for
defence, that it was never carried by assault. In 1767, and again in
1 79 1, British troops attempted it unsuccessfully, and on several occasions
during our operations against Mysore it was found necessary to blockade
or mask it. In 1768 it surrendered to a blockading force, and was
held by a British garrison for some years, until restored by treaty. In
1803, a powder explosion caused great loss of life, the magazine having
been struck by lightning.

Krishnai. — River of Assam, which rises in the Garo Hills to the
north of the Arbela range, near the village of Mandalang-giri, and, flow-
ing north into Goalpara District, falls into the Brahmaputra a few miles
above Goalpara town. Its tributaries in the hills are the Banji and
Rangri. The principal place on the banks of the Krishnai is the
market village of Jira, where the river debouches upon the plains.
In the hills the stream is only used for floating down timber and
dug-out canoes, but in the plains it becomes navigable for boats of 2
tons burthen for a distance of 22 miles.

Krishtna. — District and river, Madras Presidency. — See Kistna.

Kuba. — Petty State in the Sorath division of Kathiawar, Bombay
Presidency. It consists of 1 village, with 2 separate shareholders.
Area, 1 square mile; population (1881) 375. The revenue is estimated

Kubattlir. — Village in Shimoga district, Mysore State; anciently
called Kuntala-nagara. Associated by tradition with King Chandrahasa
of the Mahdbhdrata, whose romantic story is told at greater length in
the Kanarese Jdimini Bhdrata. Ruins of temples in the Chalukyan
style of architecture still exist.

Kuch Behar.— Native State in political relation with the Govern-
ment of Bengal. It is situated between 25 57' 40" and 26 32' 20" N.
lat, and between 88° 47' 40" and 89 54' 35" e. long., entirely sur-
rounded by British territory, being bordered by the Western Dwars
of Jalpaiguri on the north and by Rangpur District on the south.
The area, including certain outlying and detached tracts in Rangpur
and Jalpaiguri Districts, is 1307 square miles; and the population,
according to the Census of 1881, numbers 602,624 persons. The
administrative head-quarters and the principal residence of the Maharaja
are at Kuch Behar town.

Physical Aspects— The State forms a level plain of triangular shape,
intersected by numerous rivers. The greater portion is fertile and well
cultivated, but tracts of jungle are to be seen in the north-east corner,
which abuts upon the Province of Assam. The general green of the
arable fields is only broken by bamboo clumps and orchards, which
surround the homestead of each jotddr or substantial farmer. The


soil is uniform in character throughout, consisting of a light, fri
loam, varying in depth from 6 inches to 3 feet, superimposed

a deep bed of sand. The whole is detritus, washed down !
from the neighbouring Himalayas.

The rivers all pass through the State from north to south, with a
slight inclination towards the east, on their way from the mountains to
join the main stream of the Brahmaputra. The following six are
navigable for small trading boats throughout the year, and, with the
exception of the Tista and the Raidhak, are fordable at places during
the dry season : — The Tista, Singiman, Torsha or Dharia, Kaljani,
Raidhak, and Gadadhar. There are, besides, some twenty minor
streams which become navigable only during the rainy season. The
river beds are nowhere strongly defined. The streams have a tendency
to cut new channels for themselves after every annual flood, and they
communicate with one another by cross-country watercourses. These
fluvial changes have scattered over the country many pools and mai
of stagnant water. There are no embankments or artificial canals, nor
are any mineral products known to exist.

History. — As is the case with many of the Native States throughout
India, the ruling family of Kuch Behar lays claim to a divine origin.
There can be no doubt that this region contained the capital of the ancient
Hindu kingdom of Kamrup, which was overthrown by the Afghan kings
of Gaur towards the close of the 15th century. Local traditions of the
national dynasty still live in the memories of the people, and the ruins
of more than one of their capitals are pointed out at the present day.
On their downfall, according to all accounts, succeeded a peri
anarchy, during which the land was overrun by wild tribes from the
north-east. Among these the Kochs came to the front, and ultim
founded the kingdom of Kuch Behar. Tne first rulers were evidently
powerful princes, for their influence extended over the greater ;
Assam and Bhutan, and they were able to maintain a show of inde-
pendence against the Mughal Nawabs of Bengal. But when the British
entered into relations with the State its power was at a very low ebb.

The generally received tradition makes one Hajo, of the K
the earliest known founder of the dynasty; but accordin
legend, more popular at Court, the family trace back to a M
Hariya. Both stories agree in introducing two women, Hira and
who are variously described as sisters or as wives of a commi l
The part assigned to Jira is unimportant ; but the
attracted the love of the great god Siva, by whom si
mother of a son, Visu or Biswa Singh, the fust king 1
All the members of the ruling family bear the name
Lord. The common people, at least those who have l
Islam, call themselves by the high-sounding title o! Rij


born ' ; and the official appellation of the State is Nij Behar, Nij =
1 own ' or ' peculiar,' being used to distinguish the country from Behar

The greatest monarch of the dynasty was Nar Narayan, the son of
Visu Singh, who began to reign about 1550 a.d. He conquered the
whole of Kamnip, and built temples in Assam, of which ruins still exist
bearing inscriptions with his name. He compelled the Deb Raja of
Bhutan to pay tribute, and extended his power southwards over what is
now part of the British Districts of Rangpur and Purniah. To this
reign also is attributed the introduction of the well-known Narayani
currency, the privilege of coining which has not yet been entirely
abolished, although the custom has fallen into disuse. Old Narayani
coins are not in general circulation, but are accepted at the treasury at
a fixed rate. A few coins have been struck to celebrate the accession
of recent Rajas, but not for circulation. The privilege, when enjoyed,
was much abused, and the existing Narayani rupees are very bad

The Koch kingdom did not long retain its independence. Nar
Narayan divided his Assam possessions among his brothers, where
their descendants are to be found at the present day as wealthy zamin-
ddrs. His son, Lakshmi Narayan, who succeeded him in Kuch Behar,
came into collision with the Mughal Empire, and was carried away
prisoner to Delhi, whence he returned shorn of the attributes of sove-
reignty. The history of the State now loses all general interest. The
Mughals closed round it from the south, though they never actually
annexed it, as a revenue-paying unit, to the Province of Bengal. On the
north, the Bhutias commenced a regular system of depredations, and
went so far as to assert the right of interfering in the succession to the
throne. The internal affairs of the State also fell into deplorable
confusion. In accordance with the curse of the Hindu political system,
three families, all scions of the royal stock, — the Raikat of Bdikanthpur,
the Nazir Deo, and the Diwan Deo, — each claimed a hereditary
position which was inconsistent with unity of administration, and did
not hesitate to call in the foreign foe to support their pretensions.

It was under these circumstances that the East India Company
gained their first knowledge of Kuch Behar. In 1772, the Nazir Deo,
having been driven out of the country by his rivals, who were aided by
the Bhutias, applied for assistance to Warren Hastings, then Governor-
General of Bengal. A detachment of Sepoys was accordingly marched
into Kuch Behar ; the Bhutias were expelled, after a sharp resistance,
and forced to sue for peace through the intervention of the Lama of
Tibet. The treaty made upon this occasion, bearing date April 1773,
is the only authoritative document to determine the relations now exist-
ing between the two parties. By the third clause, the Raja acknow-


ledged subjection to the Company, and consented to his countn
annexed to the Province of Bengal. In subsequent i
mised to make over to the Company one-half of his a:
according to an assessment to be settled by the Company. The :
amount of this moiety was not determined until i 780, when it wa
by the Collector of Rangpur at Sikka Rs. 62,722, equivalent to <
pany's Rs. 67,700 (say ^6770), which sum has continued t
into the treasury of Goalpara up to the present day. A •
important question of the amount of interference which t ; i
might exercise in the internal administration, the treaty i
silent. No doubt it was hoped that things would now go on qui
and even in subject zaminddris at this time, the British wen
inquisitive about misgovernment, provided that there were no <>ut :
of violence, and the revenue was punctually paid. But though the
Bhutias had been driven out, the rivalry of domestic faction «
unabated. Anarchy was rendered yet more intense by a long minority,
and the worse evil of the regency of a Rani. Conspiracies and mi:
repeatedly demanded the armed interference of the Collector of 1:
pur. A commission of two civil servants was nominated in 17-
inquire into the state of the country. In their report they are 1
to point out that the Raja ' had made only a partial and voluntary
surrender of his rights, and maintained his independence unimpaired in
his domestic administration.' They concluded by recommending the
appointment of a Resident or Commissioner at the town of K
Behar. This office subsequently became merged in that of (
General's Agent for the North-east Frontier; and its occupant
usually too much engaged with the troublous affairs of Assam I
any attention to Kuch Behar. The little State went on after its
fashion for many years, presenting a unique picture of the merits and
demerits of native Bengali administration.

In 1863, the death of the Raja, leaving a son and heir only ten
months old, attracted the attention of the Government. It \\v.
that a British Commissioner should undertake the direct man
of affairs during the minority of the prince. No organic
effected beyond what was absolutely necessary; but an attempt
been made to give tone and vigour to the adrainistratioi
example of administrative energy and judicial upright!
the many reforms introduced, the following are the m<
A complete survey of the State, accompanied by a settle!.).
land revenue and a record of all rights in the soil ; tin
of the police, and the establishment of an education departmen
carriage roads have been constructed, to connect t:
adjacent commercial centres; rivers have been brid|
of valuable trees laid out, and an efficient system ol po



graphic communication established. The young Raja received his
early training under an able European officer at Patna, and subse-
quently attended law lectures for three years at the Presidency College,
Calcutta. In 1878 he married a daughter of the late Babu Keshab
Chandra Sen, and in the same year he paid a visit to England. He
attained his majority in October 1883, when he assumed the admini-
stration of the State. He has been appointed an honorary Major in
the British Army, and is attached to the 6th Bengal Cavalry. The
higher title of Maharaja has also been conferred upon him.

People. — The Census of 1872 returned a total population of 532,565
persons, residing in 1199 mauzds or villages and in 81,820 houses.
In 1 881 the population was returned at 602,624, showing an increase
of 70,059, or 13*1 per cent, in the nine years. Area of State
(1881), 1307 square miles, with 12 14 villages, and 115,720 houses.
Persons per square mile, 461; villages per square mile, 0-93; houses
per square mile, 91. The average number of persons per village is
496; of persons per house, 5-21. Classified according to sex, there
are 311,678 males and 290,946 females; proportion of males, 51-4
per cent. Classified according to age, there are, under 15 years —
123,073 boys and 114,592 girls; total children, 237,665, or 39-4 per
cent, of the total population; above 15 years — males 188,605, and
females 176,354; total adults, 364,959, or 6o*6 per cent, of the popu-
lation. The occupation returns are not trustworthy ; but it may be
mentioned that the total number of male adults connected with agri-
culture is returned at 125,559. Classified according to religion, Hindus
number 427,478 ; Muhammadans, 174,539; Jains, 144; Christians, 48;
and ' others,' 415.

The great bulk of the population is undoubtedly of mixed origin, in
which the aboriginal element strongly predominates. The aborigines
proper are poorly represented, and consist mainly of Morangs, Garos,
and Mechs. But the semi-Hinduized aborigines, with the addition of
the Muhammadans, who are not ethnologically to be distinguished from
them, form together upwards of 90 per cent, of the total population.
The Rajbansis alone, the name by which the Koch tribe is known
at the present day in its original head - quarters, number 299,458
souls, or 49*7 per cent, of the whole. The Koch or Rajbansi is a
widely spread tribe, evidently of aboriginal descent, which is found
throughout all northern Bengal, from Purniah District to the Assam
valley. In ethnical affinities, they are apparently connected with the
Indo-Chinese races of the north-east frontier; but they have now
become largely Hinduized, especially in their own home, where the
appellation ' Koch ' has come to be used as a term of reproach. They
have adopted exclusive caste habits, and pride themselves upon their
purity in eating and drinking. But it is charged against them that their


numbers are largely recruited by the offspring of mixed marriages and
illicit connections. Of the Hindus proper, the BnUunans number
3530; the Kshattnyas or Rajputs, 3197; the Kavasths, 252a
most numerous caste is that of the Tiors, a low semi-aboriginal
of fishermen, menials, and swineherds, numbering 54,152. \
these in numerical order are the Bagdis, 14,196; Chandals,
Jugis, 4431; Kurmis, 3586; Napits, 3052; Kaibarttas, 2678;' I
2640; and Mali's, 2156. There are a few members of the Brahma
Samaj, who have a regular place of meeting in Kuch Behar town.
The Vaishnavs are returned at 1210. The Christian population
comprises 32 Europeans, 3 Eurasians, 9 Native Christians, and 4

Kuch Behar town, which contains the palace of the Raja, and has
9535 inhabitants, is the only place worthy the name of a town in the
State. Even villages, in the ordinary sense of the word, are unknown.
Out of a total of 12 14 mauzds returned in the Census Report, as many
as 827 have a population of less than 500 persons each. The people
do not gather into hamlets of any sort, but each well-to-do family lives
apart in its own homestead. Within the State are situated the
extensive ruins of two ancient walled cities, known as Dharma Pal's
city and Kamatapur, capitals of the Kamrup monarchy before the rise
of Kuch Behar.

Agriculture. — Rice constitutes the staple crop throughout the State.
being grown on about three-fourths of the total cultivated area. The
dman or haima?itik harvest, reaped in December and January, furnishes
about 55 per cent, of the food-supply; the dus or bitari, about a 1
cent., the remainder being made up by millets, wheat, and various sorts
of pulses. Jute and tobacco are largely grown for exportation, 01
area that is increasing year by year. Manure, in the form of cow-dun-,
is used by the cultivators for special crops, the quantity being
mined by the number of cattle they keep. Irrigation is rareh
tised. Lands are occasionally allowed to lie fallow, but the prin
of the rotation of crops is unknown. The average out-turn of an
acre of rice land varies from 11 to 20 cut., valued at from /. I, tl
to £2, 13s. The value of a second crop, if obtained from the
field, would be about £\ additional. The rates paid by all
cultivators are practically fixed by the Government Settlement, w!.
to last for twelve years.

The Raja is the actual owner of the soil; and he deals direct!
ionly with the jotddrs and chukdniddrs, substantial farmers,
frequently cultivate the land themselves, but also let it
; under-tenants. These again sub-let, and about half the
by the jotddrs and chukdniddrs is cultivated by ddA
no interest in the soil, but receive a certain share vi the .


According to the Settlement now current, the jotddr pays a rent of 3s.
an acre, and is expressly prohibited from exacting an increase of more
than 25 per cent, from his under-tenant, who in his turn is laid under
similar restrictions with regard to the ddhidr. At the same time, an
effort has been made to improve the position of the ddhidrs, by giving
them some degree of fixity of tenure. It is reported that the cultivators
of Kuch Behar are generally in a better position than men of the same
class in the neighbouring Districts of Bengal.

The ordinary rates of wages appear to have trebled within the past
thirty years. Both common labourers and skilled artisans require to be
imported from the south. In 1850, a coolie received only 3s. a month
he now receives about 14s. In the same period, the wages of ar
agricultural labourer have risen from 4s. to 10s. a month; and those 0:
a local artisan from 5s. to 16s. On the other hand, the price of food-
grains would seem to have remained almost stationary. Commor
rice, which fetched 4s. 9d. per cwt. in 1861, is reported to have
sold at 4s. id. per cwt. in 1870, the average price in 1883 being 5s. 6d.
per cwt. The maximum price reached in 1866, the year of the Orissc
famine, was 10s. nd. per cwt.

Kuch Behar is not specially exposed to the calamities of either flood
or drought. Heavy rain in the Bhutan Hills sometimes causes inunda-
tion. On two occasions in recent years, in 1854 and in 1873, the
failure of the crops, due to insufficient local rainfall, has been sc
extensive as to require relief operations on the part of the authorities.
In the latter year ,£20,000 was expended on this account. These
occurrences, however, are so rare that no system of irrigation works or
embankments has ever been thought desirable; and the means of
communication are now sufficiently ample to prevent local scarcity
from intensifying into famine. If the price of rice were to rise in
January to 8s. 2d. per cwt., that should be regarded as a sign of
approaching distress.

Mamtfartures, etc. — The people make a great portion of their own
cloth, mats, baskets, etc. within their own families. The only special
industries are the weaving of a strong silk from worms fed on the
castor-oil plant, and of a coarse jute cloth, used for screens and
bedding. An artisans' school has recently been established at Kuch
Behar town, and several skilled workmen have been engaged by the
State to teach their trades.

The external trade of the State is annually on the increase. Its
conduct is chiefly in the hands of Marwari immigrants from the North-
west. The system of registration at Sirajganj unfortunately fails to
record the entire river traffic of Kuch Behar. The returns for the year
1876-77 (the latest year for which full details are available) show a
total export valued at ,£152,683, against imports valued at only


£55> 8 37- The cnief articles of export were jute (166,200 mam
obacco (I59J3 00 maunds), oils (,£8833), timber (^7281); the ira]
,vere almost entirely confined to salt (47,500 maunds), sugar (,£ IO >4oo),
)iece-goods (^4420). The explanation of the disproportionate:,
igures of importation is to be found in the circumstance, that the
supplies are mainly received from Sirajganj, whence they are re-
:onsigned after having once passed the registration station,
principal marts are — Chaora Hat, which exported 50,000 mam:..
ute and 22,400 of tobacco, and received 6800 of salt; Kuch Behai
own, which exported 15,400 maunds of jute and 34,200 of tob
md received 8500 of salt : Balrampur, which exported 47,300 m 1
Df jute and received 8100 of salt. The amount of jute exported
greatly increased of late, since the opening of the Northern B
.State Railway, the Haldibari station of which is situated within the
State, and is rapidly becoming an important centre of trade for jute and
J other country produce. The present (1883) export of jute probably
approaches 400,000 maunds.

A small but effective Public Works Department has been instituted
within the last few years. In 1874 there were about 115 mi.
junmetalled roads in the State, with numerous good wooden brid
and 'thousands of carts are now found where only tens and &
iused to be seen.' There are now (1883) 271 miles of road in the S
all of them bridged, excepting where they cross the larger rivers. The
roads in the town of Kuch Behar and its vicinity are many of
metalled. The system of roads is mainly designed to bring all p
the country into easy communication with the Tfsta and the Brahma-
putra, the two water highways of this region; the total cost of main
tenance is ^2000 to ^2500 per annum. A railway from Kuch !
to join the branch line of the Northern Bengal Railway at Kaunia
Rangpur District is projected, and the Haldibari station of the ma
line of that railway is just within the western limits of the State.

Administration.— In 1870-71, the net revenue of Kuch Behar St
1 amounted to ,£112,093, towards which the land-tax conti
,£40,896, and the zaminddri estates in British territory ,
net expenditure was returned at ;£ 1 20,279, including ;£i3,9°3
jhold expenses, ,£10,43° for public works, and an aggregate 0\
for 'land revenue' and zaminddri. In 1881-82, the total reve
!the State from all sources (exclusive of the zaminddHs within 1
territory) amounted to £132,040, of which the land t.
,£96,486. The net expenditure during 1881-81 was / 1
whicn ^30,944 was for the Maharaja's household, / 3 ' P"»

works, 7nd £1,557 for Government tribute and land revenue
the ten yeart from 1 864, when a British Comm-ss.oner I
I the administration on the death of the late Raja up I


surplus revenue amounted to ^£150,000. Most of it was invested in
public securities.

In 1S83 there were 8 criminal and 11 revenue and civil courts open.
For police purposes, the State is divided into 6 thdnds or police circles.
In 1881-82, the regular police force numbered 300 officers and men,
maintained at a total cost of ^4 2I 5- These figures show 1 policeman
to every 4-3 square miles of the area, or to every 2008 persons in the
population ; and an average cost of £3, 4s. 6d. per square mile, and
ifd. per head of population. The system of village watch has been
gradually introduced, and there are now 1701 chaukiddrs. The force
has been in all respects assimilated to that of the surrounding villages.
In 1874, 2674 criminal cases were instituted, in which 2614 persons
were brought to trial, of whom 174S, or 66 per cent., were convicted,
showing 1 person convicted of an offence to every 304 of the
population. Out of property to the value of £110 reported to be

Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 8) → online text (page 38 of 64)