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copper. Running from the Nallamalais and Yerramalais are several hot
springs, of which the Mahanandi and the Kalwa Buggas are sufficiently


copious to irrigate a good deal of land. There were in 1882-83, IJ 6
mines and quarries in the District ; annual value of out-turn, about

Forests. — There are three recognised forest divisions in the District —
the Nallamalai, the Vellikonda, and the Yerramalai. The first two are
conserved by the Forest Department, and yield a revenue which in
1875-76 amounted to ^2700. The Nallamalais are said to contain
the finest forests on the eastern side of the Presidency, covering an
area of about 2000 square miles. The chief timber-trees found
here are teak (Tectona grandis), nallamada (Avicennia officinalis),
and yepi (Hardwickia binata). The jungles on the western slope
are tolerably thick, but those on the eastern flank are thin and
poor. In the northern parts, where the jungle is poor, there are
extensive grassy level lands, which afford pasture to numerous herds
of cattle from Nellore and Kistna Districts. The grazing lands
are annually let for about ^70 or ^80. The Yerramalai hills are
generally bare of trees on their flat tops, but their slopes and the
plains below are clothed with shrubs of all kinds and some stunted
trees, but no valuable timber. These jungles are in charge of the
Collector, and yielded a revenue in 1875-76 of ^518. This revenue
is constituted into a local fund, and spent on works of public utility,
such as planting groves, sinking wells, etc. The jungle products —
found chiefly in the Nallamalai forest — are gall-nuts, honey, wax,
tamarinds, stick-lac, and bamboo rice.

Wild Animals. — Tigers are not numerous in the Nallamalai hills,
but they are remarkably addicted to man-eating. Occasionally a tiger
is known to stray into the plains. In 1867, a man-eater infested the
Nandikanama Pass, and a reward of ^"ioo was offered for its death.
The animal was at last killed ; but it was soon found that it was not
the only one that did the mischief. The usual reward, ^3, 10s., for
killing tigers was raised to ^30= Since then their numbers have been
considerable lessened, and the reward has now been reduced to ^"io.
The other animals of the District include leopards, wolves, hyaenas,
foxes, jackals, etc. No bears or chitds (Felis jubata) are found. The
number of deaths caused by wild beasts between 1867 and 1875 was
163, of which 64 occurred in 1867. The average amount spent in
rewards for the destruction of wild beasts is .£250 a year. Spotted
deer, and several varieties of antelopes, are found on the mountains.
Bison have been seen in the northern Nallamalais. Porcupines and
hogs abound in the jungles, and commit depredations on the crops.
The Indian antelope abounds on the plains, and the gazelle (Gazella
bennettii) on the low rocky hills. Feathered game of many kinds is
abundant : pea-fowl, jungle-fowl, the spangled and red varieties of spur-
fowl, painted and grey partridges, tlorican, duck, snipe, plovers, curlew


of many varieties, and quail. In the Tungabhadra and the deeper
reaches of the Kistna, the mahdsir, sable, etc., attain considerable size.
A mahdsir brought before Dr. Day, when he visited Karniil, weighed
38 lbs., and another was stated to weigh 50 or 60 lbs. No revenue
is derived from fisheries. Snakes, chiefly cobras, abound. Formerly,
small rewards were given for the destruction of snakes, but this practice
has been discontinued. Tiger, leopard, and deer skins, and antelope
horns, are sold in small quantities.

Population. — The regular Census of 187 1 returned a total of 959,640
inhabitants; that of 1881 a total of 709,305, namely, 359,354 males
and 349,951 females. The decrease since 187 1 of 250,335, or 26*09
per cent., is attributable to the famine which devastated Southern
India in 1876-78. Karniil was in the heart of the famine zone.
Always a poor, thinly-populated District, remote from the great centres
of trade and from railway communication, it was the most difficult
tract to relieve with imported food. The decrease in population after
the famine, in the different taluks, varied from 9*30 per cent, in Marka-
pur to 39*21 per cent, in Pattikonda. The area of the District is
returned at 7788 square miles; density of population, 91 persons per
square mile. Number of towns, 3 ; villages, 833 ; occupied houses,
149,194; unoccupied houses, 26,805; villages per square mile, o*i ;
persons per occupied house, 4*8.

In 1881, the Hindus numbered 615,992, or 86*84 per cent, of
the total population; Muhammadans, 81,827, or 11*54 per cent;
Christians, 11,464, or 1*62 per cent.; Jains, 6 ; and 'others,' 16.
Among high-caste Hindus, Brahmans numbered 18,843; Kshattriyas,
2898; and Chettis (merchants and traders), 31,564. The intermediate
class include — Vallalas or Kipus (agriculturists), 192,086 ; Idaiyars
(shepherds), 71,911; Vannans (washermen), 19.629; Ambattans
(barbers), 10,859; Kushavans (potters), 9958; Kammalars (artisans),
9895. The most numerous of the lower castes are the Shembadavans,
who number 66,705, and are fishermen, hunters, and palanquin-bearers;
their women sell jungle fruits. Kaikalars (weavers) numbered 15,122 ;
and Shanans (toddy-drawers), 10,593. Pariahs or outcastes numbered
95,969. Of the Muhammadans, 74,395 were Sunnis, 1005 Shias, 4
Wahabis, and 6423 unspecified.

The Christian population in 1881 was 11,464, or almost exactly three
times the number returned in 187 1. Protestants, undistinguished by
sect, numbered 7256. Adherents of the Church of England were
returned at 727; Baptists, 736; Roman Catholics, 1015; Congre-
gationalists, 21 ; Independents, 2 ; and unspecified, 1698.

The Catholics, whose principal station is at Polur, originally belonged
to the Kapu or cultivating caste, and their conversion to Christianity
has not made any material change in their manners and customs. They



eat and drink with Hindus, and in several cases intermarry with them.
They have founded a village named Kothala, and are generally well off.
The Protestant stations are Nandial, Muthialpad, and Karnul. The
former two were founded in 1855, and the last (Baptist Mission) in
1876. The Protestant converts are almost entirely low-caste natives in
rural tracts.

Classified according to occupation, the Census of 1881 distributes
the adult male population into six main groups: — (1) Professional
class, including State officials of every description and the learned
professions, 10,036; (2) domestic servants, inn and lodging-house
keepers, 2346; (3) commercial class, including merchants, bankers,
carriers, etc., 11,339; (4) agricultural and pastoral class, including
gardeners, 153,318; (5) industrial class, including all manufacturers
and artisans, 52,184; (6) indefinite and non-productive class, comprising
general labourers, male children, and persons of unspecified occupation,
130,131. About 54 per cent, of the total population are returned as
1 workers,' on whom the remaining 46 per cent, depend. Of the males
68*43 per cent., and of the females 39*46 per cent., are 'workers.' The
language of the District is Telugu. In Pattikonda taluk, a large
number speak Kanarese.

The wild tribes or Chenchus live on the Nallamalai hills, in small com-
munities called gudems. Each gudem includes several tribes, and has a
portion of the hills allotted to it by common consent. The Chenchus
do not transfer their rights to the hill produce to each other, but
occasionally give a portion as dowry to their daughters. They are
unwilling to cultivate, but are sometimes employed by the villagers in
the plains to watch their fields during the harvest. In former times
they were allowed a kind of black-mail ; but since the introduction
of the police force, this has been discontinued, and some of them
are employed as ghat taliaris or road watchmen. During the hill
festival they collect fees from pilgrims. Some of them also enjoy indms
(free lands) for guarding the jungles. Their language is chiefly a patois
of Telugu.

Of the 836 towns and villages in the District, 84 contained in 188 1
a population less than two hundred; 207 contained between two and
five hundred; 314 between five hundred and one thousand; 189
between one and two thousand; 28 between two and three thousand ;
10 between three and five thousand ; 3 between five and ten thousand ;
and 1 between twenty and fifty thousand.

The principal towns are— Karnul (population 20,329), Nandial
(8907), Cumbum (7170), Gudur (3547), Maddikera (6iSi), Kodumur
(3736), and Pepali (3535)- ... ,

Agriculture.— The chief crops grown in Karnul are— millets, pulse,
cotton, oil-producing plants, and indigo. Crops artificially irrigated


occupy comparatively but a small area ; they consist mainly of rice and
sugar-cane. Wheat and flax are grown on an insignificant scale.
Tobacco, chillies, plantains, areca-nut palms, etc., are raised in the
immediate neighbourhood of villages. The staple of the District is
cJiolam (Sorghum vulgare), of which the principal varieties are the yellow
and white jonna. The yellow jonna is the early crop, and is sown early
in June, on red as well as on black soil. The white jonna, the later crop,
is sown in September or October, and reaped in February and March.
No improvement has taken place in the mode of cultivation or in the
quality of produce, but within the last twenty years there has been a
very great extension of the area under the principal crops. Cotton is
largely cultivated, but there has been no consequent decrease in the
cultivation of food-grains ; other fibres are cultivated only to a small
extent for home consumption.

The total area of the District is 4,497,01 1 acres. Of these, 1,635,566
acres were under cultivation in 1882-83 ; 5106 acres bearing two crops.
Of the area under cultivation, 43,452 acres were artificially irrigated,
and 1,592,114 acres unirrigated. Area cultivable but waste, 973>5°6
acres; pasture and forest land, 322,526 acres; barren land, 1,570,519
acres. Indm or rent-free grants covered an area of 991,472 acres.
Cholam occupied 626,699 acres, or 38 per cent, of the total cultivated
area; khoda (Panicum miliaceum), 131,838 acres; samai (Panicum
miliare), 17,640 acres; rdgi (Eleusine corocana), 13,668 acres ; other
millets, 307,099 acres; rice, 51,281 acres; wheat, 5753 acres; and
maize, 190 acres; pulses, 84,221; garden produce, 2915; drugs and
narcotics, 5509; chillies, 8509; onions and spices, 481; sugar-cane,
641; gingelly, 3252 ; castor-oil, 55,799; linseed, 3019; indigo, 103,377;
cotton, 212,585 ; and jute, 382 acres.

A second crop is obtained only from certain lands and in exceptional
cases. It may be taken as three-fourths of the first crop in quantity,
and considerably less than three-fourths in value. The rdyats, as a
rule, cultivate their own lands. Owners of very large holdings sublet
some of their fields and employ labourers on others. The average
annual assessment, including local rates and cesses levied on land,
is is. io^d. per acre. The wages of agricultural day-labourers and
artisans are usually paid in kind. When paid in cash, coolies or
unskilled labourers receive from 5fd. to 7jd. a day; blacksmiths,
bricklayers, and carpenters, is. to is. 4d.

The prices of produce in 1882-83 were as follows: — Per maund of
80 lbs.— rice, 6s. 2d. ; rdgi, 2s. 2^d. ; millets, 2s. 4d. ; wheat, 5s. 4^d. ;
salt, 6s. ijd. ; sugar, £\, 4s. 4d. ; linseed oil, 6s. iojd.; cotton,
£i, 8s. 4-id. ; indigo, £i$, 8s. A sheep costs 4s. 2d.; a plough
bullock, about £4, 13s. Camels can be hired at 2s. a day; draught
bullocks, is. 5d. ; horses, is. iod. ; ponies, is. id.; and carts, 5^d.


Tenures.— The land tenures of the District are :— (i) Rdyatwdri, i.e.
land held direct from Government. (2) Jdgir and Shrotriam, or
villages granted to individuals by former governments. (3) Minor
indm — lands held rent-free or at favourable rates for personal benefit.
If the indm is unenfranchised, it is liable to revert to Government on
failure of lineal heirs. (4) Service indm, granted for the support of
temples and mosques, or for the benefit of the village community,
either rent-free or subject to the payment of a small quit-rent. (5)
Joint tenure. S/irotriam villages are generally held in coparcenary.
In such cases the rdyats have rights of occupancy, and cannot be
ejected unless they fail to pay the rent, which may be either a share of
the produce, a fixed quantity of grain, or a money payment. (6) Dasa-
&and/iam—\and held on condition of repairing irrigation works, for
which the owner is allowed a specified quantity of land or a reduction
averaging one-fourth of his assessment.

There is not much waste land in the plains, but there is a good deal
in the Nallamalai range, which was cultivated in ancient times, but is
now overgrown with jungle. In 1854, Captain Nelson of the Madras
Invalid Corps settled here to restore a large ruined tank and reclaim
the jungle ; but after several years' residence, he gave up the attempt.
Manure is chiefly used for garden and ' wet ' crops ; but to the west of
the Nallamalais, ' dry' lands" are also largely manured. Lands on which
rice, sugar-cane, areca-nut, saffron, rdgi, tobacco, and chillies are grown,
are irrigated from tanks and wells. Poorer lands are left fallow for
purposes of pasture, and are charged the usual assessment, except in
villages where they have been abandoned by common consent.
Rotation of crops is well known in the District.

The main canal of the Madras Irrigation Company, intended for
the double purpose of irrigation and navigation, runs from Sunkesala
to Cuddapah, total length 189 miles ; length within the limits of Karnul
District, 140 miles. The nominal width of the canal is 60 yards, and
the depth of water 8 feet. The water-rate charged for rice is about
12s. per acre, and less for other crops according to the length of time
for which water is taken. The area accessible to the waters of this
canal in Karnul District is estimated at 284,206 acres. The canal was
transferred to Government on the 6th July 1882. The total area
irrigated in 1883-84 was 19,674 acres, against 17,834 acres m 1882-83,
and the revenue derived from irrigation amounted to ^,6795, against
^5926 in the previous year. The navigation receipts in 1882-83
amounted to ^1068; in 1883-84, owing to a breach, traffic was partially
suspended, and remission of rent to the leaseholders of boats was
granted. Arrangements were being made in 18S3-84 for providing
distributaries required for the extension of irrigation.

Natural Calamities. -The villages on the banks of the rivers Tunga-


bhadra and Kistna are occasionally flooded, the most disastrous recent
instance being in 185 1, when the crops of some villages and the build-
ings in the lower part of Karnul town were injured. This inundation
was due to a heavy rainfall at the head- waters and within the District.
Both Karnul and the neighbouring District of Bellary suffer from
droughts at periodic intervals ; and the mass of the population being
small landowners, with no reserve capital, the failure of a single
monsoon involves general distress. There is no record of the earlier
famines; but 1804, 1810, 1824, 1833, 1S54, 1866, 1876, and 1877
were all years of drought and consequent scarcity. In 1854, the price
of cholam rose to ^19 per 3200 Madras measures, against £g, 10s. in
the previous year. In Karnul, the season of 1866 was not so bad as
in Bellary; but owing to exportation, prices rose very high, cholam
selling at 8 \ measures (about 24 lbs.) per rupee, or three times the
normal rate.

In 1876 both the monsoons failed. The floods of 1874 had seriously
injured the tanks and the crops, while the harvest in 1875 waa but
partial. Prices rose from 18 measures (about 50 lbs.) a rupee in
July, the sowing season, to 12 measures or 33 lbs. a rupee in September
or October, the period at which the principal crop is generally har-
vested; and to 6 measures (famine rates) in February and March (1877),
when the later crop is usually cut. In July the price was 3 measures, or
about 8 lbs., for the rupee (2s.). The roads were fortunately all in good
order ; much grain was imported both by the Government, as a reserve,
and by private merchants, from Gooty (Giiti) and Adoni, the nearest
railway stations. There was no difficulty in procuring carts sufficient to
carry into the interior all the grain that the railway could bring from the
coast ; but this quantity was not equal to the demand, even at famine

Karnul was beyond question the worst of the famine-stricken Districts
in the Madras Presidency. Relief works were set on foot in all parts
of the District. The number of persons gratuitously fed in April 1877
was 44,887. Up to the end of July, nearly ^600,000 was spent on
famine relief in this District alone. Notwithstanding these efforts, the
effects of the famine were appalling. The number of deaths recorded
from 1st October 1876 to 30th June 1877, was 48,000, as compared
with 19,974 in the corresponding period of the previous year; and it is
certain that with a system of collecting vital statistics, which even in
ordinary years is admittedly defective, these figures fail to represent
the excessive mortality of that direful period. All fodder and pasturage
having failed, large numbers of cattle were driven to the Nallamalai
hills for grazing, but the mountain grass was soon exhausted. The
poorer rdyats lost all their cattle, while the rich were scarcely able to
save one-quarter of their herds. When at last the south-west monsoon


of 1877 broke in November, the few cart-cattle that survived were sent
to field-work, and famine labourers drew the grain carts. This, how-
ever, did not last long. The rains ceased prematurely, prices rose
once more, and famine recurred with the same severity as before ; it
was not till the end of 1878 that cultivation was practicable. The
mortality caused by starvation, and the diseases incident thereto, will
never be known. But the Census Report shows a decrease of popu-
lation in Karnul District between 1871 and 1881 of 250,339 souls, or
26*9 per cent., a greatly higher proportionate loss than in any other of
the Madras famine-stricken Districts, Bellary coming next with a
decrease of 19*86 per cent.

Industries. — The chief manufacture in Karnul is weaving, which in
1 88 1 gave employment to ,15,122 persons, exclusive of women. The
weavers conduct the manufacture in their own houses, partly on their
own account, and partly for traders who advance money. Iron and steel
are worked at the foot of the Nallamalai hills. Of late years this industry
has greatly diminished, native iron being superseded for agricultural
implements by imported iron. Diamond mines have been worked from
early times in the quartzite beds of the Yerramalai hills, which are now
leased by Government for about ^20 a year. Quarrying stones is
an important industry. Indigo and jaggery or country sugar are also
manufactured. Weekly markets are held in most of the towns and
important villages. One of the market rules relating to cotton twist,
the chief article of sale in these fairs, is worth mention. When a twist
is found to contain a less number of threads than the prescribed
number, it is broken up by the people and thrown over trees. This
summary vindication of commercial morality is sanctioned by custom,
and is never appealed against.

Commerce. — There is little or no export of grain. Salt is imported
from the eastern coast, but earth salt is largely manufactured. Cotton,
indigo, tobacco, and hides, as well as cotton carpets and cotton cloth,
are the chief exports. European piece-goods, areca-nut, cocoa-nut,
and various dry condiments required for native households, are the

chief imports. ...

Roads.— In 1882, there were 603 miles of made roads in the District,

8 miles of railroad, and 140 miles of navigable canal.

History.— From local records, it appears that Karnul formed part
of the old Telingana kingdom of Warangul. On the downfall of that
dynasty, Karnul seems to have became an independent principality.
According to Wilson, a prince of Karnul (Narasinha Rao, son of
Iswara Rao) was adopted into the family of Vijayanagar, and after-
wards raised to the throne of that mighty kingdom. There can,
however, be no doubt that Karnul formed part of the kingdom of
Vijayanagar. In the reign of Achyuta Deva Raja, the fort of Kamiil


was built, and the country was conferred in jagir on a relative named
Ramraja. After the battle of Talikot in 1564, in which the Raja of
Vijayanagar was defeated by the allied Muhammadan kings of Bijapur,
Golconda, and Ahmadnagar, Karniil became a province of Bijapur.
The first Subahdar was an Abyssinian named Abdul Wahab, who con-
verted the Hindu temples into mosques, and built a fine dome-shaped
tomb in imitation of the one at Bijapur.

In 165 1, after the conquest of Bijapur by Aurangzeb, Karniil was
conferred by him upon a Pathan named Kizir Khan in reward for
military services. Kizir Khan was assassinated by his son Daiid Khan ;
and on his death his two brothers, Ibrahim Khan and Alif Khan, ruled
the country jointly for six years, after which they were succeeded by
Ibrahim Khan, the son of Alif Khan, who built and strengthened the
fort. The country then peaceably descended to his son and grandson.
The grandson, Himmat Khan Bahadur, accompanied Nazir Jang, the
Nizam of Haidarabad (Hyderabad), in his expedition to the Karnatik
along with the Nawibs of Cuddapah and Savaniir. Nazir Jang was
there treacherously murdered by the Nawab of Cuddapah, and his nephew
was made Subahdar of the Deccan. But the new Subahdar failed to
satisfy the expectations of the Pathan Nawabs, who had hoped for an
extension of their territory. He was murdered at Rachoti in Cuddapah
by Himmat Khan Bahadur, who was himself cut to pieces by the
infuriated soldiers. Salabat Jang, a nephew of Nazir Jang, was then
made Subahdar; and on his way back to Haidarabad with Bussy,
assaulted Karniil, and took it in 1752. But he afterwards restored the
idgir for a sum of money to Munawar Khan, brother of Himmat Khan
Bahadur. A short time afterwards, Haidar All overran Karniil, and
exacted a contribution of 2 lakhs of Gadval rupees.

In 1800, this District, together with Cuddapah and Bellary,
was ceded to the British Government. From that time, the yearly
tribute, reduced to 1 lakh of Gadval rupees, was punctually paid by
Alif Khan to the British Government. In 181 5, Alif Khan died, and
his younger son, Muzaffar Jang, usurped the throne and seized the fort.
Munawar Khan, the eldest son, applied to the English for assistance ;
troops were sent from Bellary under Colonel Mariott, Muzaffar Jang
was expelled, and Munawar Khan placed on the masnad. On his death
without heirs in 1823, his brother Muzaffar should have succeeded;
but as he was on his way to Karniil, within the limits of Bellary
District, he murdered his wife, and was imprisoned in the Bellary
fort, where he died in 1879.

In 1838, information reached Government that the Nawab was
engaged in treasonable preparations on an extensive scale. An
inquiry showed that enormous quantities of arms and ammunition were
stored in the fort and palace, for which no satisfactory explanation


could be given. The town and fort were captured after a sharp fight,
and the Nawab escaped to Zorapur, a small village on the east bank of
the Hindri. His foreign soldiers would not allow him to depart until
their arrears of pay were satisfied. The Nawab then yielded himself
prisoner, and was sent to Trichinopoli, where he was basely murdered
by one of his own servants, whom he had charged with a petty theft.
His territories, as well as the minor jdgirs enjoyed by his relatives,
were confiscated, and all the members of the family pensioned. After
the resumption, the country was for a time administered by a Com-
missioner, and then by an Agent till 1858. In that year Karmil was
constituted a separate Collectorate, with the addition of certain tracts
from Cuddapah and Bellary.

Revenue History.— Under native government, the lands were rented
hy palegdrs, or hereditary barons, who paid a peshkash, and sometimes
rendered military service. On the transfer of Cuddapah and Bellary,
which then included the present Karmil District, to the Company in
1800, the palegdrs were summoned by Major (afterwards Sir) Thomas
Munro to make their settlements, but many of them refused to attend,

Online LibraryWilliam Wilson HunterThe imperial gazetteer of India (Volume 8) → online text (page 5 of 64)