William Wilson Hunter.

The imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 8) online

. (page 46 of 64)
Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 8) → online text (page 46 of 64)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

gardens. About 59 square miles of the total area are said to be suitable
for tea plantation.

The produce per acre in 1S82-83 was — rice , 9° 2 1DS - J sugar, 1312
lbs.; tobacco, 820 lbs.; indigo, 246 lbs.; and fibres, 325 lbs. The
price of the most important products (per maund of 80 lbs.) was in
the same year — rice, 6s.; sugar, 12s.; indigo, ns. Whilst the
area under cultivation is extending and prices generally rising slowly,
the rates of wages are rising somewhat more rapidly — skilled
labourers now receive 3s. to 4s. ; unskilled labourers, od. to 2s. per
diem. The agricultural stock in 1882-83 comprised 24,635 buffaloes,
58,084 cows, bulls, and bullocks, 3987 pigs, 635 carts, 17,843 ploughs,
and 4431 boats. The land is held chiefly by small proprietors,
who work their holdings (which seldom exceed 5 acres) themselves.
When land is let, the rent, as a rule, is paid in kind ; and this in the
case of rice land is very low, being about 10 bushels a season. The
size of the holdings shows no tendency to increase, and it is exceedingly
rare to find a landowner settled in a town and living on his rents.

Manufactures, etc. — The principal articles manufactured in the
District, besides the silk and cotton cloths woven in almost every
house, are salt, indigo, pottery, coarse sugar, and sesamum oil. The


District is one of the three chief salt manufacturing Districts of Burma,
the other two being Amherst and Bassein. In the dry season, salt is made
by boiling down sea-water on the banks of the numerous tidal creeks.
The produce varies with the local demand for fishcuring, and with the
quantity imported from foreign countries into Akyab and Bassein. In
1871-72, 11,681 cwt. of salt were manufactured; in 1872-73, 8057;
and in 1873-74, 13,911 cwt. Earthen pots are made principally in
the Ramri, Myoma, Kaing-chaung, and Than-taung circles, and are
sold on the spot to the salt-boilers. Both men and women are
employed in this industry ; and it has been calculated that it takes a
man and a woman one month to make and burn from 800 to 1000 pots.
Salt pots are sold at about 12s. the hundred, and others at half that
rate. Sesamum oil is made during the hot season, and is expressed by
a simple process, in which a large pestle is turned round and round in
a mortar by a bullock. In some cases the oil runs off by a hole in
the side of the mortar ; but more often it is collected by the primitive
method of dipping cloths into the mass, and wringing them out when
saturated. One mill will turn out about no lbs. of oil a day. The
oil not required for home consumption is exported principally to Akyab.
Sugar-cane is grown extensively on Ramri Island, and a coarse kind
of sugar is made by crushing the cane in a press worked by a bullock
or buffalo, and by boiling the juice down. Indigo is also manu-
factured in Ramri.

The total length of water communications in Kyauk-pyii District
is 894 miles; of third-class made roads, 152 miles. The steamers
of the British India Steam Navigation Company call once a month
on their way from Calcutta to Rangoon {via Akyab) and the Straits
Settlements, and vice versa ; and, from November to May, once a
month on their way from Calcutta to Sandoway and back. During
the rainy season, the mails are sent to and from Akyab in boats, which
run through the creeks, thus avoiding the open sea.

Administration. — The imperial and provincial revenue (derived
chiefly from land and capitation taxes) amounted in 1856-57 to
^21,062, in 1866-67 to ^28,640, in 1876-77 to ^4.3,454, and in
1882-83 to ^32,278. In 1881-82, a local revenue of ^7190 was
derived from port and municipal funds, a ten per cent, cess on the
land and fishery dues, and other sources. In 1882-83 the land revenue
was ^14,894.

In Burmese times, the mainland portion of this District formed part
of Arakan Proper, whilst Ramri and Cheduba were separate and
independent Governorships. After the country was ceded to the
British, the two last were formed into Ramri District, and placed
under an officer styled Principal Assistant Commissioner ; while the
greater portion of the mainland constituted another District, similarly


ruled, called An. After this arrangement had lasted nearly thirty years,
An was joined to Ramri, and placed under a Deputy Commissioner,
with his head-quarters at Kyauk-pyii ; and in 1871-72 the area was
increased by the addition in the north of four circles from Akyab.
During the first few years of British occupation, the main body of the
garrison was stationed at Sandoway, but subsequently it was removed
to Kyauk-pyii, and finally withdrawn in 1855.

The District is divided into the 5 townships of Cheduba or Man-
aung, Ramri, Kyauk-pvu, An, and Mye-bon. The police force, under
a superintendent, consisted in 1882-83 of 359 officers and men, of
whom 25 are river police. These figures give a proportion of 1 police-
man to every 12 square miles, and to every 416 persons. Total cost
in 1882-83, ^7561. The majority are located in the An township,
which is traversed by the main road across the Yoma mountains into
Upper Burma ; in the north, Khyins are enlisted to keep the hillmen in
order. In 1882, the average daily number of prisoners confined in the
jail at Kyauk-pyii was 87 ; average annual cost per prisoner, ^9, 8s.
The hospital and charitable dispensary are also at Kyauk-pyii ; the
number of patients treated at the former, in 1882-83, was — indoor,
240 ; out-door, 1799. Most of the patients suffered from malaria, ague,
and intermittent fevers. During the same year 4948 persons were
vaccinated. As early as 1837, the State established a school, now-
classed as ' middle,' in the head-quarters town. In 1881-82 this school
had 67 pupils on the rolls, and a daily average attendance of 61 pupils,
all taught the English language. In 1881 there were 43 indigenous
schools in the District. The Census Report of 1881 returned 11,308
boys and 2961 girls as under instruction; besides 23,607 males and
513 females able to read and write but not under instruction. [For
further particulars regarding Kyauk-pyii District, see the British Burma
Gazetteer, compiled by authority (Government Press, Rangoon, 1879),
vol. ii. pp. 298-314. Also the British Burma Census Report for 1881,
and the several Provincial Administration and Departmental Reports
from 1880 to 1884.]

Kyauk-pyii. — -Township in Kyauk-pyii District, Arakan Division,
British Burma. Area, 383 square miles; occupying the north end
of Ramri Island, and a group of islands to the north-east formed by the
numerous tidal creeks intersecting the coast. Head-quarters at Kyauk-
pyu Town. The township comprises 22 revenue circles. Population
(1881) 38,667, mainly Arakanese. Gross revenue, ,£10,075. Chief
products — rice, indigo, salt, and sugar. For the manufacture of the last-
named article, 681 mills were at work in 1881-82.

Kyauk-pyii. — Town, port, and head-quarters of Kyauk-pyii District,
Arakan Division, British Burma ; situated in the north of Ramri Island,
in lat. 19 22' n., and long. 93 30' e. Its name, 'White Stone,' is said


to be derived either from the white pebbly beach, or from a rock with a
white pagoda at the entrance of the harbour. The former derivation is
supported by the best authorities. When Arakan was ceded to the
British in 1825, after the first Burmese war, a small fishing village
occupied the site of the modern town of Kyauk-pyu, and Ramri was
then the chief civil station. Captain Pemberton, in his report on the
Eastern Frontier of India (1835), states that the cantonments were
built close to the sea-shore upon a sandy plain, bounded on the south-
west by a low range of sandstone hills, 500 to 2000 feet in height, which
breaks the severity of the monsoon. The whole tract behind the can-
tonments, as far as the mouth of the Oung-chaung creek on the east,
was lined with mangrove jungles. Along the shores of this tidal inlet
the salt of the Province was chiefly made ; but the manufacture has
never been extensively encouraged, as it is carried on far more cheaply
on the western side of the Bay of Bengal. This description of Kyauk-
pyu is still fairly accurate, but the barracks no longer exist, the troops
having been finally withdrawn in 1855. The town contains court and
circuit houses, jail, hospital, charitable dispensary, school, and market.
The harbour extends for many miles along the east shore of Ramri Island,
but numerous sunken rocks render the approach dangerous. The
channel, however, is well buoyed. The population in 1867 numbered
3689 persons ; in 1881, 3747. The local revenue amounted in 1881-82
to ^1045. In 1882-83 the imports were valued at ^150, and the
exports at ^4962.

Kyaung-sun (or Chaung-sun). — Village in Bflii-gywon island,
Amherst District, Tenasserim Division, British Burma ; situated on the
edge of the low hills forming the backbone of the island. The western
portion is called Win-tsin, and the eastern Ka-raik-thit. In the former
portion, an artificial reservoir^vith a water area varying from half to one
square mile, has been made by throwing an embankment across a valley.
The Government has made a bridged opening at the western end
as an escape, to prevent the water overflowing the road crossing the
embankment. Population (1881) 2021. Court-house and police

Kyelang (Kailang).— Village in the Lahul Sub-division of Kangra
District, Punjab ; situated on the right bank of the river Bhaga, about
four miles above its junction with the Chandra, and on the main trade
route between the Rohtang and Bara Lacha passes. A post-office is
maintained here during the summer months, and the village has been
a station of the Moravian Mission for many years. The mission-house
is a substantial residence, the lower part of which is used as a chapel.
A school supported by a Government grant was formerly managed
by the missionaries, who, although they have not met with much
success in the matter of conversions to Christianity, are looked up


to as friends and protectors by every inhabitant of the valley. The
school is now under Government management.

Kylasa (Kailasa). — Hill in Vizagapatam District, Madras Presi-
dency. Lat. 1 7 47' N., long. 83 22' e. ; highest point, 1758 feet above
sea-level. This hill was suggested at one time as a sanitarium for
Bengal : and with that view a kind of hotel and one or two houses
were built, the Raja of Vizianagaram assisting the project with much
liberality. There is an average difference of about 1 2 degrees between
the temperature of Kylasa and that of Vizagapatam, 8 miles distant ; and
owing to its proximity to the sea (within 3 miles), and the absence of
forest growth, the site is singularly free from fever. It is easy of access,
and the climate is said to be bracing and invigorating. But whether
from the difficulty of a water-supply, or want of capital, the project of
converting Kylasa into a sanitarium has been abandoned.

Kynchiong. — River in the Khasi Hills, Assam. — See Kanchiaxg.

Kyouk-hpyu. — District and town, Arakan Division, British Burma.
See Kyauk-pyu. A large number of towns and other places in British
Burma, commencing with the syllable Kyouk in the first edition of The
Imperial Gazetteer, appear in this edition under Kyank, according to
a revised system of transliteration prescribed for British Burma.

Kyun-pyaw. — Head-quarters of the Kyiin-pyaw township in Bassein
District, Irawadi Division, British Burma. Lat. 17° 17' n., long. 95
15' e. Large export of rice to Bassein. Contains a court-house, police
station, and market. Population (1881) 2835.

Kyiin-ton. — One of the main branches of the Irawadi (Irrawaddy)
river in British Burma, from which it bifurcates at a place about 10
miles below Gnyaung-don, following a south-westerly course to the
sea. During the rains a rapid current sets downwards ; but at other
times this channel is tidal throughout its whole length, the rise and fall
at its mouth being, at springs, about 7 feet. The Kyiin-ton is navig-
able by river steamers from its northern entrance for about 60 miles.
The islands in this river are numerous, the two principal ones being
Meim-ma-hla (16 miles long by 3 broad) and Kywiin-gnyo-gyf. In its
upper reaches the Kyiin-ton is known as the In-te, and lower down as
the Maran or Kyaik-pf ; by Europeans generally it is called the
Dala. River traffic in rice, sugar, areca-nut, nga-pi, dani-lesLves, and
poles, etc

Labdarya. — Tdluk in Larkana Sub-division, Shikarpur District,
Sind, Bombay Presidency. Situated between 27 15' and 27 31' N. lat.,
and between 68° 2 and 68° 23' e. long. Area, 207 square miles.


Population (18S1) 33,088, namely, 17,726 males and 15,362 females,
dwelling in 4495 houses. Hindus numbered (1881) 1472 ; Muham-
madans, 28,593; and Sikhs, 3023. Number of tapds, 4; number
of villages, 43. Revenue in 1881-82, ,£13,992, of which £"13,219
was derived from imperial sources, and ^£773 from local funds. In
1873-74 the revenue was £9214, of which £"8450 was derived from
imperial sources, and ^764 from local funds. The taluk contained
in 1884, 2 criminal courts and 4 police stations or thdnds ; regular
police, 27 men. The area assessed to land revenue in 1882-83 was
40,656 acres; area under actual cultivation, 39,371 acres.

La-bwut-ku-la. — Village in Bassein District, Irawadi Division,
British Burma. Population (188 1) 1004 ; number of houses, 233. In
1877 the population was 1800.

Laccadive Islands (Laksha Dwipa — 'The Hundred Thousand
Islands'; also called the Divi or Amindivi Islands). — A group of 14
islands off the west or Malabar coast of the Madras Presidency, lying
between io° and 14 x. lat, and between 71 40' and 74 e. long.
Average distance from the mainland, 200 miles. There are 9 inhabited
islands, 2 uninhabited, and 3 open reefs. Total population in 187 1,
J 3>495 J number of houses, 2442 ; total population in 1881, 14,473 J
number of houses, 2470. The northern portion of the group is
attached to the Collectorate of South Kanara, the remainder belong to
All Raja of Cannanore, and form part of the administrative District of

The following are the names of the islands : —

South Kanara or Amindivi

Islands —

Population (1881).


Amini or Amindivi,












I 9 S

Bitra — uninhabited.

Cannanore Islands —










Kalpeni {Kaluftee of Ibn Batuta),



Minikoi (Minkat),

3 r 9i


Suheli — uninhabited.

Total, . 14,473 2470

The island of Minikoi more properly belongs to the Maldive group,
and its inhabitants speak a different language from that (Malayalam) in
use on the Laccadives proper.

Physical Aspects. — Each of the islands is situated on an extensive


coral shoal, with an area of from 2 to 3 square miles. Their surface is
flat, and no part of any of these formations rises more than 10 or 15
feet above the level of the sea. Around each island a more or less
extensive fringe of coral reef extends, broader and more shelving on the
west, where thd island naturally most requires protection, and narrow
and abrupt on the east. The outer edges are higher than the body of
these shoals; and extending, as they do, in a semicircle at a distance
of 500 yards to f of a mile round the west, generally enclose a
regularly formed lagoon, in which the water is so still that in the worst
weather coir, or cocoa-nut fibre, may be soaked without danger of being
washed away. The body of the island is the more perfect develop-
ment of the eastern and protected side of the coral formation. The
same feature characterizes all these shoals, and leads to the theory
that they rose to the surface in the form of circular or oval shallow
basins, and that under the protection of the shoal the east rim gradually
developed itself towards the centre and formed an island. This theory
is strengthened by the fact, that on some of the islands this gradual
increase towards the lagoon is still going on. The receding tide leaves
the outer edge of the reef nearly dry, and the tide water passes out of
the lagoon by two or three breaches in the outer rim, which are suffi-
ciently large to admit the light native craft into the natural harbour,
several feet deep even at low tide, formed by the lagoon.

Under the surface of all these islands lies a stratum of coral or
limestone which, varying from 1 foot to i\ foot in thickness, is seem-
ingly above the highest level of the water. This coral stratum
stretches throughout the shoal. Beneath it is loose wet sand ;
and by breaking the crust and removing a few spadesful of sand, to
allow the water to accumulate, a pool of fresh water may be obtained
in most parts. All wells, tanks, and pits for soaking cocoa-nut fibre or
coir (where soaked in fresh water) are thus made. The sand gradually
presses towards this excavation, and from its constant removal some of
the wells and tanks extend under the vault of coral for some distance
all round. The water in these wells is quite fresh, and always abun-
dant ; but it is affected by the tide, rises and falls several inches, and
is said to be not very wholesome.

Above the limestone or coral crust the soil lies to a depth varying
from 2 to 6 feet, generally composed of light coral sand, which is
finer than common sea sand, but quite as dry. In some parts the
soil is entirely made up of small loose pieces of coral without any
other soil, a condition which is said to be particularly well adapted to
the cocoa-nut. The surface soil, except in two of the islands (Androth
and Kalpeni), is naturally so barren that there is little or no spontaneous
vegetation in most of the islands ; and although during the monsoon
some small crops of coarse dry grains are produced, their scantiness


shows that the prosperity of the islands must ever depend upon the
cocoa-nut. 'Being so low,' writes Commander Taylor in his Sailing
Directions, ' with cocoa-nut trees only 50 or 60 feet above the sea, these
islands are not discernible at any distance, and therefore are commonly
and prudently avoided by navigators ; but amongst them there are safe
and wide channels through which a ship may extricate herself if, by any
error in reckoning or otherwise, she gets among them.'

There are but few animals of any kind. Rats are unfortunately
numerous, and prove very destructive to the cocoa-nut plantations.
Tortoises are common, and fish is abundant.

History, Administration, etc. — For two and a half centuries, the
Laccadive Islands formed part of the small principality of Cannanore,
having been conferred as jdgir on that family by the Chirakkal or
Kolattiri Raja (about A.D. 1550). The island of Minikoi was a more
recent acquisition from the Sultan of the Maldives. In 1786 the
northern islanders revolted, and transferred their allegiance to Mysore.
In 1799, wnen Klnara fell to the East India Company, these islands
were not restored to the Bibi of Cannanore, but a remission of revenue
(^525) was conceded instead ; hence the different status of the two
portions of the group. From 1855 to i860, the southern islands were
sequestrated for arrears of revenue. This again happened in 1877, and
they are at present directly administered by the Collector of Malabar,
to the unqualified satisfaction of the inhabitants. Such revenue as is
derived from the Laccadive Islands has for more than a century been
obtained by a monopoly of the staple produce of the group — coir. The
entire out-turn of the fibre is claimed by the Government as respects the
northern portion of the group, and by Ah' Raja of Cannanore as respects
the islands which still remain under native management. The article is
paid for to the producers at fixed prices, and is sold on the coast at the
market rates ; the difference constitutes the revenue or profits of trade
of the Government and All Raja respectively. The latter pays a fixed
tribute or peshkash of Rs. 10,000 (^1000) to the Government on
account of the islands which he manages. No change has been made
for many years in the price which is given by Government for the coir
produced in the islands attached to Kanara. Payment is made partly
in rice and partly in money ; and as the price is fairly equitable as
compared with the average rates which could be obtained on the coast
by the producers, the arrangement is still popular with the northern

On the southern islands, on the contrary, the price has been con-
stantly changed by the native chief, and so reduced as to produce
discontent and evasion of the monopoly ; other monopolies (cocoa-nut,
cowries, tortoise-shell, and the like) and imposts have been exacted or
maintained, and entire alienation between Ah' Raja and the inhabitants


has existed for years. In Minikoi, which is geographically the most
isolated of the group, a more profitable arrangement for the inhabitants
exists, and few, if any, monopolies are enforced. Comparative content-
ment and loyalty consequently exist here. Numerous wrecks of large-
vessels have occurred on the reefs, and on more than one occasion
the inhabitants have been hard pressed for food owing to stress of

The Kanara Islands are managed by a Sub-Magistrate and munsij ;
and the Cannanore group by amins (revenue agents). The islands are
from time to time visited by a European officer. The people are of a
peaceable disposition, with no little aptitude for self-government, and
their disputes are generally settled by their own head-men according to
local custom.

Population. — The entire population numbers (1881) 14,473, of whom
about one -third are in the Government islands (Kanara group).
The people are all Musalmans, and, like the Mappillas of the
neighbouring coast, of Hindu descent. 'A tradition is preserved
among them, that their forefathers formed a part of an expedition from
Malay ala which set out for Mecca in search of their apostate king
Cheraman Perumal (see Malabar District), and was wrecked on these
islands. The inhabitants certainly remained Hindus long after their
first settlement, and were probably converted to Islam not more than
250 or 300 years ago. They retain some of the general distinctions of
caste, as well as the law of succession in the female line, with certain
local modifications. This law is still strictly adhered to on the island
of Amindivi, where distinctions of caste and a more numerous popula-
tion have been obstacles to the gradual change, by which the custom of
regular paternal descent is supplanting the local law of Malabar, on the
islands of Kadam, Kiltan, and Chetlat of the Kanara portion of the
group ; in the southern islands, still under native management, the old
custom is more rigidly observed.' — (Robinson.)

The proportion of females in the population is unusually large.
There are, for the whole group, 11179 females to every 100 males;
and in some islands this disproportion is still more marked ; thus in
Minikoi the excess rises as high as nearly 26 per cent. The boys of
Minikoi follow their fathers to sea at an early age, and when the ships are
absent the proportion of males left on the island is extremely small.
The general disparity is due partly to the emigration of the male popu-
lation to the mainland for employment, and partly to accidental causes.

Customs, Language, etc. — Monogamy is universal, and the women
appear in public freely, with their heads uncovered; in Minikoi, they
take the lead in almost every business except navigation. The language
of the Laccadive group is Malayalam, which is, however, written in the
Arabic character; that of Minikoi is Maldive, with a mixture of corrupt


Malayalam. The head-men and pilots of most of the islands know a
little Arabic ; and the male inhabitants can generally both read and
write. The number in 18S1 who could read and write was returned by
the Census at 2377, while the number under instruction was returned
at 246. The inhabitants are bold seamen and expert boat-builders.
They own 184 large and 719 small boats, navigating them by European
instruments, with the use of which they are familiar. The chief
cultivation is that of the cocoa - nut palm ; and the almost sole
industry is the preparation and exportation of cocoa-nut fibre (coir).

Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 8) → online text (page 46 of 64)