Ajmer-Merwara

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This article has been extracted from

THE IMPERIAL GAZETTEER OF INDIA , 1908.

OXFORD, AT THE CLARENDON PRESS.

Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts.Many units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.


Ajmer-Merwara

An isolated British Province in Rajputana, lying between 25 degree 24' and 26 degree 42' N. and 73 degree 45' and 75 degree 24' K. The Agent to the Governor-General in Rajputana administers it as Chief Commissioner. The Province consists of two small separate Districts, Ajmer and Merwara.

Ajmer is bounded on the north by Jodhpur (Marwar) ; on the south by Udaipur (Mewar) and Merwara ; on the east by Jaipur and Kishan- garh ; and on the west by Jodhpur. Merwara is bounded on the north by Jodhpur and Ajmer ; on the south by Udaipur ; on the east by Ajmer and Udaipur; on the west by Jodhpur. The total area of the Province is 2,711 square miles; the total population (1901), 476,912.

The Sanskrit word meru 'a hill,' is a component part of the names of both Districts. Ajmer took its name from the founder (Raja Aja) of its principal town, and Merwara from its physical features.

Ajmer District is a large open plain, very sandy in parts, especially to the west in the neighbourhood of Pushkar and Gobindgarh, and studded at intervals with hills that rise boldly from the plain. Merwara, on the other hand, is a network of hills.

The Aravalli range, which commences at the Ridge at Delhi, and runs in a broken chain south-westward across Rajputana, comes into prominence in the northern corner of Ajmer District, where it assumes the form of several parallel hill ranges. The highest point, on which is perched the fort of Taragarh, immediately above the city of Ajmer, rises to a height of 2,855 feet above sea-level, and between 1,300 and 1,400 feet above the valley at its base. The Nagpahar, or 'serpent hill,' which is situated between 3 and 4 miles west of Ajmer, attains a scarcely inferior elevation.

The plateau on whose centre stands the city of Ajmer marks the highest point in the plains of Hindustan, the country sloping away on every side from the circle of hills which hem it in. The range of hills running between Ajmer and Nasirabad forms a dividing watershed for India. The rain which falls on the southern or Nasirabad face finds its way into the Chambal, and so into the Bay of Bengal ; that which falls on the opposite side drains into the Luni, and so into the Rann of Cutch. The range of hills on which Taragarh stands bends westwards from the city of Ajmer, and the country for several miles in the direction of Beawar is open. The hills enter Merwara as a compact double ridge, enclosing the valley of the pargana from which Beawar takes its name.

The two ranges approach each other at Jawaja, 14 miles south of Beawar, and finally meet at Kukra, in the north of the Todgarh tahsil, whence a succession of hills and valleys extends to the farthest extremities of the District, the chain finally merging into the Vindhyan system near the isolated hillof Abu. On the Marwar, or western side, of Merwara, the hills become very bold and precipitous, and Goramji, which lies about 7 miles to the south-west of Todgarh, has an elevation of 3,075 feet. The average level of the valleys is about 1,800 feet.

Owing to its elevated position at the centre of the watershed, the Province does not possess any rivers of importance. The Banas is the principal stream. It rises in the Aravalli Hills, 40 miles north-west of Udaipur, and enters Ajmer District at the extreme south-east corner. During the rains this river comes down in high flood, and travellers to and from Deoli are ferried across at the village of Negria, in Jaipur territory. The Khari Nadi rises in the hills near the village ofBerjal, in Merwara District, and after forming the boundary between Mewar and Ajmer for a short distance, falls into the Banas about a mile above Negria. The Dai Nadi flows across Ajmer District from west to east ; it is arrested in its course by embankments at Nearan and at Sarwar, which is in Kishangarh territory. It leaves the District close to Baghera, and eventually empties itself into the Banas. The Sagar Mati rises on the southern slope of the hills surrounding the Anasagar tank in Ajmer. It flows through and fertilizes the Ajmer valley, and takes a sweep northwards by Bhaonta and Pisangan to Gobindgarh. Here it meets the Saraswati, which carries the drainage of the Pushkar valley ; and from this point till it falls into the Rann of Cutch the stream is called the Luni or ' salty ' river.

These streams, which are dry during the hot season, become torrents in the rains. With the exception of Pushkar, which lies in a valley, there are no noteworthy natural lakes in the Province. The tanks, on which the cultivators depend for their supply of water for irrigation, have been built at different times, some being very old and others ol quite recent con- struction.

Ajmer District is deficient in striking scenery, although Ajmer city is an exception. There, after the first burst of the monsoon, the hills assume a very pleasing aspect, as, green with verdure, they stand out in bold relief against a clear blue sky. The sunset effects are at times

very striking, and the most beautiful scene ofall is the Anasagar embankment and lake on a night when the moon is at full. Merwara in the hot season, is more bleak and barren to the eye than Ajmer; but during the rains, and while the autumn and spring crops are standing, some parts are remarkably pretty. The view from the top of the Dewair pass, looking down, is singularly beautiful, as is that from the top of the pass which separates Barakhan from Todgarh.

Ajmer-Merwara consists of Archaean rocks, which may be separated into two subdivisions: first, gneissose and schistose rocks, arranged in successive bands, some of which have the composition of igneous rocks while others may be highiy metamorphosed sediments ; second, another group of rocks known as the Aravalli series, often highiy metamorphosed and schistose, but whose original sedimentary character is still clearly recognizable, the principal rocks being quartzites and quartz schists, slates and mica schists, and metamorphic limestones. It is difficult to decide which of these subdivisions is the older, on account of the great degree of metamorphism of both series, and their mutual relations are still further confused by a profusion of igneous intrusions cutting through both formations, and of later date than either. The handed gneiss and schists crop out round Nasirabad, and throughout the flat country forming the eastern part of the Province, wherever the rocks are not concealed by recent alluvial accumulations.

The hilly western part of Ajmer-Merwara falls mainly under the Aravalli series. The loftiest ridges consist principally of quartzites or quartz schists, while slates, mica schists, and limestones occur in the intervening valleys. The crystalline limestones include white, grey, pink, and green varieties, constituting beautiful ornamental stones, which have been quarried to a great extent. Valuable mica is found in the intrusive pegmatites. Metalliferous veins, chiefly copper and lead, occur at several places 1

The flora of Ajmer-Merwara is similar to that ofRajputana, east of the Aravalli Hills. Shrubs of various kinds prevail, being more prominent than the trees, of which the more common are the pipal (Ficus religiosa), banyan (F indica), nim (Melia Azadirachta), and semal (Bombax malabaricum). Among fruit trees, the pomegranate and the guava are the most numerous. The herbaceous vegetation is con- fined to a few species, while in the rains grasses and sedges abound.

An occasional tiger is to be met with in Merwara, while leopards are found in the hills from Nagpahar to Dewair, as also are hyenas. Wolves are rare ; wild hog are found in most of the old feudal (istimrari) estates, and hog-shooting is a favourite amusement of the Rajputs. ' Black buck ' (Antelope cervicapra), 'ravine deer' (Gazella bennetti), and nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus) are met with in Ajmer. A few sambar (Cervus unicolor) are to be found in the hills in both

[1 Contributed by Mr. E. Vredenburg;, of the Geological Survey of India.]

Districts. As regards small game, the great Indian bustard is to be seen in Ajmer ; the florican is a visitor during the rains ; geese, duck, snipe, and quail are found in the cold season ; and hares, sand-grouse, and grey partridges at all times.

The climate is healthy. In the summer it is dry and hot ; in the winter cold and bracing, especially in December, January, and February, when hoar-frost not infrequently covers the ground. During the twenty- five years ending 1901 the maximum temperature recorded in the shade was 116 in June, 1897, and the minimum 35 degree in December, 1892. The following figures show the average mean temperatures of four representative months at Ajmer for the twenty -five years ending 1901 : January, 59.4°; May, 91.5°; July, 84.9°; November, 67.9°.

Ajmer-Merwara lies on the border of the arid zone of Rajputana, outside the full influence of the monsoons, and the rainfall is, therefore, very partial and precarious. The annual fall during the twenty-five years ending 1901 averaged 21.2 inches, of which about two-thirds falls in July and August and the greater part of the rest in June and Septem- ber. The maximum rainfall during this period was 37 inches in each District in 1892-3, and the minimum 8 inches in Ajmer and 5 inches in Merwara in 1899- 1900, a year of severe famine.

The early history of Ajmer is legendary in character. According to tradition, a certain Raja Aja, a Chauhan Rajput, founded the city and fort of Ajmer about A.D. 145. At first he attempted to build his stronghold on the Nagpahar hill ; but each night his evil genius destroyed the walls which had been built during the day, and this induced Aja to transfer his fortress to the neighbouring hill of Taragarh. Here he built a fort which was called Garh Bitli ; and in the valley at the foot of the hill, known as Indrakot, he founded a city which he called after his own name, Ajmer. Towards the end of his life he retired to some hills about 10 miles to the west of Ajmer, and died there as a hermit. The temple of Ajaipal commemorates his deathplace. It has been shown, however, by Dr. Buhler and others, that Aja and Ajaya flourished about A.D. 1100, and it is to this period that the foundation of Ajmer must be ascribed 1 .

The Chauhans came to Rajputana from Ahichhatrapur in Rohilkhand about A.D. 750, and their first capital was Sambhar. Their possessions included the tract now known as Ajmer, but there was at that time no known city there. Ajaya's son, Ana (or Arno), constructed the fine Anasagar embankment, on which the emperor Shah Jahan subsequently erected a magnificent range of marble pavilions. An inscription discovered at Chitor by Pandit Gauri Shankar of Udaipur shows that Ana was alive in 1150. Vigraharaja III, otherwise known as Visaldev, a son of Ana, was the most famous of the Chauhan dynasty of Ajmer. He conquered Delhi 1 See article by Dr. G. Beihler in the Indian Antiquary for June, 1897. from the Tomars, and constructed the Bisal Sagar tank in his ancestral territory. The latest inscription under his reign isdated 1163. Prithwi Raj, grandson of Visaldev, was king of Delhi and Ajmer at the time of the invasion of Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Ghori.

In 1192 hedefeated the latter in a great battle and forced him to fly. But in 1193 Muham mad Ghori returned with a fresh army, recruited in Afghanistan and Central Asia. The Rajput chiefs were weakened by feuds, and Prithwi Raj was defeated, taken prisoner, and murdered in cold blood.

Muhammad Ghori then proceeded to Ajmer, where a terrible massacre of the inhabitants occurred. A son of Prithwi Raj was establishedas a subordinate ruler, but was soon after dispossessed by his uncle Hari Raj. The latter was, however, reduced to such straits by a Muhammadan army under the Ghori viceroy Kutb-ud-din (afterwards the first ofthe- Slave kings of Delhi), that he committed suicide. Ajmer was now- annexed to the Delhi kingdom. In 1210, after Kutb-ud-din's death, the Mers and the Solankis of Gujarat made a night attack on Taragarh, the fort commanding Ajmer town, and massacred the Muhammadan garrison to a man. The shrine of Saiyid Husain, the governor, who perished in this attack, is still the most noteworthy feature of Taragarh. His tomb, those of his comrades, and that of his horse, stand in an enclosure known as Ganj Shahidan, or 'treasury of martyrs.' Shams- ud-din Altamsh, who succeeded Kutb-ud-din, restored the authority of the kings of Delhi, which was not disturbed again till the invasion of Timur. Then Rana Kumbha of Mewar seized advantage of the pre- vailing anarchy to take possession of Ajmer.

He was assassinated very soon afterwards; and Ajmer fell into the hands of the Muhammadan rulers of Malwa, who held it from 1470 to 1531, when the kingdom of Malwa was annexed to Gujarat. Maldeo Rathor, who had recently succeeded to the throne of Marwar, then took possession of Ajmer, which was reannexed to Delhi in the early years of Akbar. Akbar in- cluded Ajmer in a Subah or province, which gave its name to the whole of Rajputana. The great importance of the fort and district of Ajmer as a point d'appui in the midst ofthe Rajputana States was early recog- nized by the Muhammadan rulers. It commanded the main routes from Northern India to Gujarat on one side and to Malwa on the other. Ajmer itself was a centre of trade, with a wellnigh impregnable fort to protect it, and water was plentiful as compared with the tracts around. Accordingly, under the Mughals, Ajmer was one of the royal residences. Akbar had made a vow that, if a son were born to him and lived, he would go on pilgrimage from Agra to Ajmer and offer thanks at the tomb of the saint Muin-ud-dln Chishti, a Holy man who came from Ghor to India in the twelfth century, and whose tomb. known as the Dargah Khwaja Sahib, had been a place of Muhammadan pilgrimage for several cenuries. Salim, afterwards the emperor Jahangir, was born to Akbar in 1570, and ten years later the emperor fulfilled his vow. Akbar appears to have made other pilgrimages to this shrine, and the pillars he caused to be erected to mark the route from Agra to Ajmer are still in a good state of preservation. Jahangir and Shah Jahan spent a considerable portion of their time at Ajmer ; and it was here that Jahangir received Sir Thomas Roe, the ambassador from King James I, who had his first audience in January, 1616, and was received by the Mughal emperor with ' courtly condescension.' Near Chitor, on his way up to Ajmer from Surat, Sir Thomas Roe met Thomas Coryat, an eccentric Englishman who had a mania for tra- velling, and who had walked from Jerusalem to Ajmer, having spent £210s. on the way. Roe remained at Ajmer till November, 1616, and then accompanied Jahangir on his march to Ujjain, which place was reached in February, 1617.

The life at Ajmer and in camp is vividly described by Sir Thomas Roe in his Journal. It was near Ajmer that Aurangzeb defeated his brother Dara. The battle was fought about 6 miles to the south of the city in March, 1659. Dara's subsequent privations are graphically narrated by Bernier, who was an eyewitness of the miserable retreat. From the defeat of Dara down to the death of the Saiyid ministers of Farrukh Siyar in 1720, the annals of Ajmer do not contain anything noteworthy. In 1 721 Ajit Singh, son of Raja Jaswant Singh of Marwar, took advantage of the declineol the Mughal empire, kilied the imperial governor, and seized Ajmer. Muhammad Shah temporarily recovered the city ; but ten years later he appointed Abhai Singh, son of A jit Singh, to be viceroy of Ajmer and Ahmadabad, and from 1731 to 1750 the Rathor princes of Marwar ruled over Ajmer. A struggle for the succession led to the calling in of the Marathas, to whom Bejai Singh, the successful competitor, made over the fort and District of Ajmer as mund kati or ' blood-money ' for the murder of Jai Appa Sindhia, their general. In 1787 Mahadji Sindhia invaded Jaipur, and the Rathor princes were called in to aid their brethren. The Marathas were defeated and the Rathors regained Ajmer for a brief period. In 1790 the forces ol Sindhia, led by De Boigne, defeated the Rajputs at Merta, retook Ajmer, and held it till its cession to the British Government. At the close of the Pindari War, Daulat Rao Sindhia, by treaty dated June 25,1818, ceded the District to the British.

The long tale of battles and sieges is now closed ; the history of Ajmer becomes One of its administration. From 1818 to 1832 the officers in charge of Ajmer, who were called ' Superintendents,' corre- sponded, first with the Resident at Delhi, subsequently with the Resident in Malwa and Rajputana. In 1832 Ajmer came under the administra- tion of the North-Western Provinces, under which it remained till 1871, when Ajmer and Merwara were formed into a Chief Commissionership under the Foreign Department ol the Government of India, the Agent to the Governor-General for Rajputana becoming Chief Commissioner. In July, 1818, Mr. Wilder, the first Superintendent of Ajmer, received charge from the last of the Maratha subahdars. He and his successors laboured hard for the good of the people ; and the long incumbency of Colonel Dixon, who took charge of Ajmer in 1842, in addition to Merwara, which has since been administratively attached to it, was productive of much good. Irrigation works were vigorously pushed forward ; agriculture and commerce were encouraged in every way • and in 1851 the District came under a regular settlement.

The measures taken from time to time to win the confidence of the people were successful, and during the Mutiny civil government was not interrupted and the agricultural population held aloof from the rising. On May 28, 1857, two regiments of Bengal Infantry and a battery of Bengal Artillery mutinied at Nasirabad, and marched straight to Delhi. The European residents were protected by a regiment of Bombay Cavalry, and eventually made their way in safety to Beawar, the head-quarters of Merwara. A detachment of the Merwara Batta- lion made a forced march into Ajmer and guarded the treasury and magazine. Since then famines alone have troubled the Province. The opening of the Rajputana-Malwa Railway in 1879 ushered in a period of material prosperity. The population of Ajmer city has very nearly doubled since the railway was opened. The Province has been severely afflicted by recent famines, and in 1905-6 scarcity was again experienced.

Outside Ajmer City and Pushkar there are few obyects of archaeo- logical interest. In the south-east of Ajmer District are remains of Hindu temples, the age of which is not known. It is possible that they date from the time of the Hindu kings of Toda Raisen, the ruins of which lie some 30 miles across the border in Jaipur territory. Baghera and Sakrani contain the better known of these remains. The fort at Bhinai is a good specimen of the fortresses built by the smaller Rajput chiefs.

The Census of 1901, the sixth of a series which commenced in 1865, returned a population of 476,912 (Ajmer 367,453, Merwara 109,459), compared with 460,722 in 1881, and 542,358 in 1891. Population The decrease since 1891, which .amounts to as much as 12 per cent., is the result ol the natural calamities of the decade, which included two severe famines and one period of scarcity. It has taken place entirely in rural areas, and has been heavier in Ajmer than in Merwara, where the people are hardier. The density for the Province, including urban areas, is 176 persons per square mile, against 200 in 1891 . The population is distributed over four towns— Ajmer (population, 73,839), Nasirabad (22,494), Beawar (21,928), and Kekri (7,053) — and 740 villages. The number of occupied houses is 107,401, and the number of persons per house 4.4. The villages in Ajmer are much more compact and larger than in Merwara, where 52 per cent, of the population live in villages having less than 500 inhabetants. The difference in the physical features of the two Districts accounts for this. The agricultural classes in Merwara take up their abode in valleys and open spaces where they can cultivate the land.

This tends to give the village a very scattered character, which is not necessary in Ajmer with its open plains. About 80 per cent, of the population in 1901 had been born in the Province, and 27,931 persons — 12,177 males and 15,754 females — born in the Province were enumerated in other parts of India. Migration is principally to and from the surrounding Native States, immigration being much larger than emigration, owing to the facilities for obtaining employment in the city and towns.

In the city of Ajmer, and in the towns, the municipal or cantonment authorities arrange for the collectionol vital statistics. In rural areas the police are the reporting agency. Village watchmen make reports of births and deaths at police stations, while revenue officials (patwaris) and managers (kamdars) of istimrari estates also submit weekly returns to the police stations, as a check on the reports of village watchmen. The local authority who deals with the figures is the Civil Surgeon.

The following statement shows the results of birth and death registra- tion for 1881, 1891, 1901, and 1903, the increase of the birth-rate in the last year furnishing evidence of recovery from the effects of famine : — The fever that supervened on the famine of 1899-1900 was wide- spread and of a very fatal character. Epidemics of small-pox and cholera are not infrequent, while dysentery and diarrhoea occur during the rains, and pleurisy and pneumonia carry off many people in the cold season. Guinea-worm is frequent. Up to May, 1904, the Province was free from plague in an epidemic form ; imported cases had occurred, but prompt segregation prevented the spread of the disease. In May, 1904, however, plague appeared in a village in the Kekri circle, and, despite all efforts to prevent its spreading, has since broken out in a number of villages in Ajmer. A steady decrease in blindness since 1881 may be noted as satisfactory. During the famineol 1899-1900 the infant mortallty was very great In 1891 the population under one year of age was 19,976; in 1901 it was only 6,117, while the population between one and two years fell from 9,555 to 3,116. Taking the age period 0-5, the 1901 figures show 32 ,375 against 76,924 in 1891. Children between the ages of five and ten years numbered 76,192 in 1891 ; in 1901 their number had fallen to 52,549. About 45 per cent, of the total population in 1901 were between ten and thirty years of age, 35 per cent, between thirty and sixty, and 3.7 per cent, over sixty. The mean age was 25.5 for males and 26.3 for females.

In 1901 there were 44,161 boys and 40,763 girls under ten years of age, while the adult population was made up of 206,865 males and 185,123 females. The proportion of males to the total population was 52.6 per cent., being highest in the castes of good social status. The statistics of civil condition for 1891 and 1901 Infant marriage is very restricted, polygamy is not common, and polyandry is unknown. Divorce is allowed only among Muhammadans, as laid down in their laws. Widow remarriage is permitted among the Gujars and Jats, and in the lower castes generally.

Among the Merwara clans inheritance through the mother prevails. In the event of there being sons by two or more wives, the property is divided between each such fandly. In Ajmer primogeniture is recog- nized among the Rajputs. Infanticide does not exist.

Local dialects of Rajasthani and Hindi are spoken by the people in the following numbers, according to the census returns of 1901 : Ajmeri, 148,644; Hindi, 89,951; Marwari, 94,178; Merwari, 82,480; Mewari, 8,099 5 other vernaculars of the Province, 6,349 ; other languages, 47,211. The local dialects are very rough and difficult to understand.

The mercantile castes or Mahajans — the most prominent of whom are the Oswals, Agarwals, Maheshwaris, and Saraogis — number 37,027. The majority are to be found in Ajmer. The Gujars come next (36,278). They are careless cultivators, and their principal occupation is cattle- grazing. The Rawats number 32,362, of whom no less than 30,88s live in Merwara. ' Mer ' is used as a generic term for the people of Merwara. including Rawats, Hindu Merats (Gorats), and Muhammadan Merits (Katats). Among Muhammadans, Shaikhs are the most numerous (31,972): the majority live in Ajmer, and follow various occupations. Jats, who are first-rate cultivators, and own many of the best villages in Ajmer, are returned at 27,952. Brahmans number 25,896 : Pushkar is their principal stronghold. The Rajputs number 15,430. The Rathors are the most numerous (4,609); then the Chauhans (1,651). The istimrardars, who are the native aristocracy of Ajmer, are all Rajputs. The labouring and menial classes — Balais, Regars, and Kumhars (potters) — form a considerable portion of the population.

The people are generally industrious and well-behaved, but in years Of famine the Mers in Merwara, and the Mums in Ajmer, occasionally return to their former predatory habets. The rural labouring population is very poor, and was somewhat demorallzed after the natural calamities that occurred between 1891 and 1900. The inhabetants generally are of fine physical characteristics, and possess good powers of endurance.

It will be seen that in 1901, 80 per cent, of the people were Hindus, 15 per cent. Muhammadans, and 4 per cent. Jains. While the general population decreased by 12 per cent, as compared with 1891, the rate of decrease was 13 per cent, in the case of Hindus and 26 per cent, among Jains, but only 3 per cent, among Muhammadans, a fact which testifies to the superior vitality of the latter. Emigration in famine years and heavy mortality in the fever epidemics which followed, coupled with the fact that in Merwara a large proportion of the Jains belong to the priestly class, who subsist on the hospitallty of others and are not welcomed in bad years, are the principal causes of the large decrease among Jains, who Nevertheless include the most prosperous inhabitants of the Province. The principal Hindu sects are Vaishnavas, Saivas, and Saktas, the last being worshippers of the Saktis or female associates of the Hindu triad. The majority of the population of Merwara have returned themselves as Hindus, but their rellrgion is of a very vague and undefined character. Among Muhammadans Shaikhs predominate, and Pathans number 11,048. The Merat Katats and the Chitas profess Islam. They used to intermarry with their Hindu brethren, but this has now been dis- continued.

The Christian population has increased by 1,029 since 1891. The increase is attributed to conversions, and to natural growth among native Christians, who now number 2,362, compared with 1,209 in 189I and 799 in 1881. The Church of England, the- Roman Catholics, the Scottish United Free Church, and the American Methodists havemis- sion establishments, the principal and oldest being the Rajputana branch of the United Free Church Mission, which began work at Beawar in i860.

Fifty-five percent, of the population are supported by agriculture. The industrial population—18 percent.—is composed principally of persons employed in the cotton and leather industries, and in the pro vision of food and drink. General labour other than agriculture supports 11 per cent, of the population. Personal services, commerce, professions, government and independent occupations provide for numbers varying from 6 to 18 per cent. The great famine of 1899-1900 had a marked effect on several occupations, as herdsmen, tenants, cotfort-weavers and dyers, cart-owners and drivers, and mendicants were compelled to take to other means of livelihood.

The higher classes, with the exception of Rajputs and certain Brahmans and Kayasths, are vegetarians. The number of meals varies from two a day for the people of all classes in towns to four among the agricultural classes. Their food consists chiefly of cakes (ckapatis), made of wheat or coarse grains according to the social standing of the people, vegetables, pickles, and whey.

The ordinary dress of a male Hindu of the higher classes consists of a turban, which is generally a piece of silk or cotton cloth 30 to 40 feet long and 6 inches broad, having at each end gold-thread work and coloured to suit the wearer, a shirt (kurta), a long coat (angarkha) reaching nearly to the ankles, a loin-cloth (dhoti) worn round the waist, and a scarf (dupatta).

The kurta and angarkha are usually made of a fine-textured material, generally white, resembling fine muslim. Occa- sionally silk is used. The loin-cloth is a long sheet of a coarser material. The Rajput istimrardars are fond of wearing embroidered garments and multicoloured turbans, tied in narrow and picturesque folds. The dress of a Hindu woman of the upper classes consists of a bodice (kanchli), a sheet (orhni) as an upper garment, and a petticoat of chintz or coloured cloth. The clothes of the male agricultural and labouring classes comprise a turban (pagri), a coat (bakhtari) extending to the waist, a loin-cloth (dhoti), and a sheet (pacheora) made of coarse materials.

Females wear a petticoat (ghagra), a garment resembling a rough bodice, and a sheet (orhni), all of coarse materials. The principal point of difference in dress between Hindus and Muham madans in rural areas is that Muhammadans, other than Merat Katats and Chitas, wear trousers (paijamas) and not dhotis. Hindus wear their coats (bakhtaris) with the opening on the right side of the breast, while the Muhammadans have the opening on the left. In the towns a tendency to dress in European fashion, retaining the turban or a small round cap as a head-dress, is apparent. In the towns the houses of the native bankers and traders, and in rural areas the residences of the leading istimrardars of Ajmer District, are substantial stone buildings with roofs of the same material, two or more storeys high, with one or more open courts and a balcony. The houses are built with little attention to sanitary rules. The village dwellings are small mud huts with tiled rools.

The entrance leads into a courtyard, around which are ranged the quarters of the fandly, accord- ing to its size and prosperity. Signs, with the name of a deity, are usually painted at the entrance for good luck.

Gymnastic exercises and athletics, wrestling, sword and lance exercises, and kite-flying are the principal games in towns, apart from cricket, football, and hockey, which are confined to the students in educational establishments. Chess, cards, and a kind of draughts known as chopar are the indoor games. Singing, playing the fiddle (sitar) and lute (bin), and drum-beating are the chief amusements, while what might be termed an opera, called the Rai-ka-tamasha, performed in the streets, is much appreciated by the people generally. In rural areas the grown- up people have no games or amusements. The games of village children are similar to those played in towns.

The principal festivals are the Holi, Dewali, Dasahra, Gangor, and Tejaji-ka-Mela (the fair of Tejaji) among Hindus, and the Muharram and Urs Khwaja Sahib among Muhammadans. The Holi and the Dewali are the two great festivals, which are held all over the country, when the spring and autumn harvests are ripe. The Holi festival is attended with some local peculiarities of an interesting nature, an account of which will be found in the revised edition of the District Gazetteer.

The Gangor festival, which is celebrated by Mahajans, begins a week after the Holi and lasts for twenty days. The festival is held in honour of the return of Parvati, the wife of Siva, to her parents' home, where she was entertained and worshipped by her female friends. The Tejaji festival is confined to the Jats. Teja was a renowned J at hero, and in July or August a fair is held in his honour. The Jats, both men and women, keep awake the whole of the previous night and worship the deified hero, singing songs and bringing olferings of cooked rice, barley, and fruits. The sword-dance of the Indrakotis, in which 100 to 150 men armed with sharp swords take part, dancing and throw- ing their weapons about wildly, is an exciting spectacle at the Muharram. The Urs Khwaja Sahib is a fair held at the tomb of Muln-ud-din Chishti, at Ajmer, in the Muhammadan month of Rajab, and lasts six days.

Personal nomenclature is very simple. Generally speaking the Hindu names are either borrowed from their gods or are given out of affection or fancy, e.g. Gulzari Lal ('flower like ruby'). The usual practice is to use only the individual appellation of the person referred to, without the father's or family name. Among the agricultural classes the males usually possess one name only, which is an abbreviation of the name of a higher class ; for instance, a Brahman would call himself Berdhi Chand, a cultivator Berdha. Except in rare instances the lower classes Never use the suffixes Ram, Lal, ("hand, and the like; while among them the name of the wife often corresponds with that of the husband, as Uda (husband), Udi (wife).

Occasionally Muhammadan names are used by Hindus and Jains, apparently out of reverence for the Muhammadan saint whose tomb is at Ajmer. Some sections of Muhammadans who were originally Hindus still retain their Hindu family names.

Owing to its configuration, and its position on the watershed of India, agricultural conditions in Ajmer-Merwara are precarious. The soil is generally shallow, and the rocky strata are near the . surface. The soil is composed of a natural mixture of one-third stiff yellow loam, and two-thirds sand consisting of dis integrated mica schist and felspar.

Alluvial soil is found only in the beds of tanks, and clay is rare. Carbonate of lime is common in certain areas. The Pushkar valley contains deposits of rich soil.

Ajmer is flat and Merwara hilly. The rainfall in both is uncertain, and its frequent failure makes the Province peculiarly liable to scarcity and famine. The ' dry-crop ' area, though extensive, is uncertain in out-turn and little considered. The success of the harvest depends in large measure upon artificial irrigation from the tanks and wells, with which the country is covered wherever the local conditions have made it possible. The chief cultivating castes are Gujars, Jats, Merats, Rajputs, and Rawats. Of these, the Jats are by far the best agri- culturists.

The principal crops, in order of extent of area cultivated, are maize, jowar (great Indian miliet), barley, cotton, oilseeds, bajra (bulrush miliet), and wheat. These occupied respectively 20, 18, 16, 10, 7, 6, and 3.5 per cent, of the average cultivated area during the ten years ending 1900. Cultivation of fibres, spices, and other subsidiary crops is very restricted.

The poppy is grown in the Todgarh tahsil, and sugar-cane in the Pushkar valley. Fruit and vegetable production is confined to the neighbourhood of the principal towns. The average yield varies from 9 cwt. per acre in the case of sugar-cane, and 7 cwt in the case of maize and barley, on irrigated land, to somewhat less than 1 cwt. in the case of til (oilseed) on ' dry-crop ' land.

The autumn crops are generally sown in July and reaped in October and November. The spring crops are sown in October and are reaped in March and April. Owing to the poverty of the soil and the exhaustion of irrigated lands, which are frequently cropped tun e within the year, heavy manuring is essential, and many cattle are kept for this purpose. Ashes, house-sweepings, and vegetable manures are also used. Night-soil is in considerable demand in villages near towns. Crops are varied on a system based on the results of local experience. For example, a cotton-field is left fallow in the ensuing harvest, when it is sown with maize in the autumn, barley in the following spring, maize again in the next autumn, after which it is left fallow during the spring before cotton is again sown in the autumn.

Increase and decrease of cultivation during recent years have, for the most part, been synchronous with good and bad seasons. The intro- duction of more stringent excise rules in 1901 has, however, restricted the area under poppy in the Todgarh tahsil. The cultivators endeavour to retain the best grain of the previous year for seed. Agricultural implements are of the usual primitive description. The Land Improve- ment Loans Act of 1883 and the Agriculturists' Loans Act of 1884 have, by making money available at a reasonable rate of interest, done much to mollify the effects of famine.

They have relieved the strain resulting from the contraction of private credit ; and the cultivator has been enabled to dig new wells, repair old ones, and purchase seed and cattle for the resumption of agricultural operations. The amount of private debt is large, and has been roughly estimated at over 20 lakhs, almost entirely owing to the professional money-lending classes. Rates of interest vary from 1/2 to 2 per cent, per month.

There is no indigenous breed of cattle deserving special mention. Those in use belong to four stocks, the Rindi Khan, Dhaora, Marwari, and Kewari, of which the first gives the best milch cows, while the others are popular for field work. The average price of a bullock is Rs. 30, of a cow Rs. 25, of a buffalo Rs. 40, and of a cow or buffalo calf Rs. 15.

It is proposed to station Government bulls in central villages to improve the breeds. Horse-breeding is very restricted ; the animals in general use are of the baggage-pony class, with an average price of Rs. 50. Sheep and goats are numerous everywhere, at an average price of Rs. 3. Grazing lands are fairly extensive, but a pre- carious rainfall spoils the Province as a pastoral area. An important horse and cattle fair is held annually at Pushkar : thousands of animals are brought from surrounding States, and prizes are given by the Go- vernment.

The Superintendent, Civil Veterinary department, Sind, Baluchistan, and Rajputana, controls the operations of the department in the Province.

The prevalent cattle diseases are cow-pox, foot-and-mouth disease, black-quarter, and tympanitis.

Irrigation is extensive, entirely from artificial tanks and wells. The principal crops thus raised are maize, cotton, chillries, wheat, poppy, barley, and tobacco. The frequency of irrigation depends upon the crop, varying from fifteen to twenty waterings in the case of chillies to two or three for maize. The majority of the tanks are formed by wide embankments of earth and masonry, closing gorges in the hills. In the open parts of the Province the embankments run a considerable distance from one rising ground to another. Many important tanks were already in existence before British rule.

Among them may be mentioned the Anasagar and Besala tanks in Ajmer, and those at Balad, Dilwara, Jawaja, and Kalinjar in Merwara. In the khalsa areas (the lands directly under Government) the tank embankments at present number 531, of which 377 are managed by the Public Works department, the remainder being in charge of the village communities or municipallties. There are 1,802 tanks in istimrari and jagir lands, which are managed as part of the estates.

The irrigation revenue is levied under three systems : namely, according to the crop and area irrigated, by fixed acreage assessment, or by an intermediate method depending on standard rates and areas.

The average annual receipts from water revenue during the ten years ending 1890 amounted to Rs. 58,000. In the next decade the average had, owing to bad seasons, fallen to Rs. 57,000. In 1900-1, Rs. 38,497 was coliected, while Rs. 49,511 was outstanding. In 1902-3 the collec- tions were Rs. 35,626, and the arrears Rs. 38,900.

Between 1880 and 1890, 2.2 lakhs was spent on tanks under capital outlay. During the next decade the expenditure, owing to a large construction of works during famine, rose to11.8 lakhs. In 1900-1 the expenditure was Rs. 1,23,863, and in 1902-3 Rs. 89,439.

The price of a masonry well ranges from Rs. 200 to Rs. 700, according to its depth, diameter, and the nature of the soil. A well without masonry averages about Rs. 50. In 1901, so far as can be ascertained, the total number of wells in use in the Province (khalsa) was 13,655. From these, 28,033 acres were irrigated, paying an assessment to Govern- ment of Rs. 43,193. The average irrigated area per well was therefore 2 acres, with an average water rate of Rs. 1-8-7 Per acre -

The table on the next page gives general agricultural statistics for the decades ending 1890 and 1900, and for the two years 1900-1 and 1902-3.

Rents are usually paid in kind, the landlord's share varying from one- quarter to one-half of the produce, according to the quallty and capacity of the holding and the terms of the tenancy. On certain crops rents are paid in cash, varying from Rs. 2-8-0 to Rs. 8 per acre. In the case of poppy the rents are paid partly in cash and partly in kind, the former varying from Rs. 10 to Rs. 20 per acre.

A former owner remaining on the land is allowed to pay one-third less than the usual rates. There is no tendency to replace produce rents by cash rents.

The average daily wage of an unskilled labourer is 2 annas in rural, and between 2 and 4 annas in urban areas. Masons, blacksmiths, and carpenters get an average wage of 4 to 8 annas a day. The railway locomotive and carriage and wagon shops at Ajmer employ a large number of hands on wages rising to as high as Rs. 7-8-0 a day.

In rural areas potters, blacksmiths, leather-workers, barbers, village menials who do watch and ward (chaukidars), priests, drummers, and carpenters get grain allowances every half-year, according to a fixed scale. Wages in the rural areas have not been much affected by the price of food-grains, as they are to a large extent paid in kind. There has been no extension of the railway system since 1881, nor have factory and mining industries developed so as to affect wages. The wages of domestic servants in the towns have risen considerably of late years.

The table on the next page shows the average price of the staple food-grains and of salt during the decades 1871-80, 1881-90, 1891- 1900 (excluding the period of acute famine 1 899-1 900), and for the two years 1901 and 1903.

From 1871 to 1890 there was a series of prosperous years in which prices were easy. Since then the average price of the principal food- grains has risen. There was famine in 1891-2, while in 1896-7 prices were raised by the famine in the United Provinces and the Punjab, whence large imports of corn are received. A deficient rainfall in 1901 produced famine conditions in Merwara, and prices were consequently higher on the whole in that year than in the decade 1891-1900. In the- famine of 1899-1900, grain was always procurable in the most distant parts of the Province at a price that nowhere exceeded 7 seers per rupee.

The material condition of the urban population is satisfactory. A middle-class clerk has a sufficient income to enable him to live with comfort in a town. If he is in the service of Government he has a pension to look forward to, and if in that of the Railway, his Provident Fund savings. He can afford to dress well, to diet himself liberally, and can generally give his sons an English education. The condition of the cultivators and landless labourers is less satisfactory. The former are generally in debt, and the latter live from hand to mouth. But even these have access to conveniences and luxuries that were unknown to their grandparents.

In towns, matches and kerosene oil are in common use among all classes, while cheap cloth from the Lancashire or Bombay mills is purchasable in every substantial villrage. The cultivate , as a class, are still suffering from the effects of the recent famines.

The forests in Ajmer-Merwara are of three classes: state forests which are taken up under the Forest Regulation (VII ol 1874), covering an area of 142 square miles ; protected forests ; and village estate commons. The last two are insig- nificant, and are voluntarily placed under local conservancy by their proprietors. About 947 acres are appropriated for nurseries and plan tation operations. Generally speaking, the hills in Ajmer are denuded of trees, the denudation having been effected before British occupation The general supervision of the forests is in the hands of an officer of the Provincial Forest service, who is under the control of the Commissioner of Ajmer-Merwara and of the Assistant Commissioners.

The forest produce consists of grass and fuel. The villagers from whom the land was acquired are allowed to take as much grass as they require and fuel in certain quantities free of charge. They are also entitled to free grazing to a limited extent. The supply of fuel and fodder is sufficient for local needs. In times of famine the forests are thrown open for grazing and for the removal of dry wood for fuel at nominal rates. Forest fires occur occasionally in the hot season. The forest receipts in 1902-3 amounted to about Rs. 11,000, and the expenditure to Rs. 15,500. If the fodder, fuel, and timber which were given free had been sold, there would have been a surplus.

The hills in Ajmer-Merwara are highiy minerallzed. Prior to and in the early days of British occupation, lead-mines were worked in the Taragarh hill, and copper and iron mines in a range a Little to the north of ajmer The copper an iron mines did not pay the expenses of working ; and the lead-mines, which were of importance in the troublous times preceding annexation, were closed in 1846 as they could not compete with imported pig-lead.

Since 1899 some progress has been made in developing mining industries. Asbestos and mica have been found both in Ajmer and in Merwara, and garnets in Ajmer. Stone products abound, and stone is largely used for purposes for which wood is employed elsewhere in India. The roofs of houses, for instance, are commonly made of slabs of stone. Marbles of various colours are quarried in the vicinity of Ajmer.

Ajmer is not remarkable for arts and manufactures, while Merwara is altogether devoid of them. The principal hand industry is the weaving of cloth, and there is some cotton printing and dyeing, Bracelets of ivory and lac, of a style similar to those of Delhi but of inferior workmanship, are manu- factured. The turners of Ajmer make combs and rosaries of sandal- wood, which are purchased in large numbers by pilgrims to the Dargah of Muin-ud-din Chishti. There is nothing noteworthy about the jewellery. Carpets and rugs of handsome design are manufactured in the Ajmer jail. Iron, brass, and copper work, and pottery are produced only to a small extent.

The Krishna cotton Mill at Beawar, the only factory in the Province, was started in 1891. It is worked by a joint stock company, and has made fair progress. In 1903 the number of spindles was 12,312, and of looms 369, while the number of hands employed was 708. The out- turn was 827,000 lb. of cloth and 1,400,000 lb. of yarn, valued at Rs. 8,12,000. The produce is mostly exported to Agra and Cawnpore. There are hydraulic cotton-presses at Beawar, Kekri, and Nasirabad, and a ginning factory at Kekri, which are all paying concerns. The Census of 1901 shows that 13,908 persons were supported by the cotton industry.

As early as 1614 an agency was established at Ajmer, on behalf of the East India Company, by Mr. Edwards of the Surat Factory. For many years Ajmer formed the natural mart for the interchange of Rajputana produce with European goods or wares from Northern India on the one side and Surat on the other; but the dimensions of the trade are not known. In modern times the trade of Ajmer, which had declined, has revived with the opening of the railway, and the major portion of the trade is now rail-borne.

There is, however, a certain amount of transport by camels and bullocks into Marwar on the north, and south to Deoli and to the States beyond, while Merwara District is supplied with grain by cart traffic from Beawar. Ajmer, Beawar, and Nasirabad are the chief trade centres.

The trade of Ajmer-Merwara is mainly under imports, the principal of these being grain and pulses. Next come sugar and jaggery, and then salt, metals, seeds, and piece-goods. The grain is brought chiefly from the United Provinces and the Punjab, and the former supplies most of the sugar and jaggery also. The salt comes from Pachbhadra in Marwar, and from Sambhar ; metals, seeds, and piece-goods from the surrounding States, and from Calcutta and Bombay. The principal export is cotton for which Beawar is the great local mart, and which goes principally to Bombay.

There is some export of grain and pulses to surrounding States, and a little wool is sent to Karachi.

The Rajputana-Malwa main line (Ahmadabad-Delhi) passes through Ajmer and the north of Merwara from west to east for a length of 59 miles, and the Ajmer-Khandwa branch runs through Ajmer District due south of Ajmer city for 41 miles. The main line was opened in 1879, the Khandwa branch in 1881 ; and since 1885 both lines have been worked by the Bombay, Baroda, and Central India Railway Company. Ajmer city is 275 miles from Delhi, which is the terminus of the main line on the north, and 305 miles from Ahmadabad, the southern terminus. The opening of the railway has greatly benefited the Province, and the population of the towns of Ajmer, Beawar, and Nasirabad has increased steadily since 1881. Large locomotive and carriage and wagon shops have been established at Ajmer. A projected line from Baran to Marwar Junction will pass through Merwara District at Pipli.

The earthwork of this section was constructed in 1900. In the same year the earth- work of a projected line from Nasirabad to Deoli was undertaken, as far as a point 55 miles south of Ajmer city.

The total length of metalled roads in 1903 was 250 miles, and of unmetalled roads 274 miles. The principal metalled roads are the Ajmer- Deoli (71 miles), the Ajmer- Agra-Ahmadabad (74 miles), and the Nasirabad-Nimach (28 miles). Before 1868 the only metalled roads were from Nasirabad to Ajmer (14 miles), and a small stretch (7 miles) of the road from Ajmer to Agra.

The famine of 1868-9 gave a great impetus to road-making, and all the principal roads in Ajmer were made between that date and 1875. In Merwara, which had no adequate means of communication before 1869, a tolerable road was made during that year from Beawar to Todgarh, and others were constructed over the Sheopura and Pakheriawas passes into Mewar.

All these are now metalled and in good order. Many roads were made during the famines of 1890-2 and 1898-1900, especially in Merwara. Owing, however, to want of funds to maintain them, some have already fallen into disrepair.

The country carts are similar to those in other parts of Rajputana, and somewhat smaller than those usually used in the United Provinces. Springed and tired conveyances are little used outside the towns.

Ajmer-Merwara lies in the Rajputana Postal circle, which is con- trolled by a Deputy-Postmaster-General, whose head-quarters are at Ajmer city. In 1904 the Province contained 39 Imperial and 11 District post offices.

The Province is peculiarly exposed to drought and famine. It lies in the 'arid zone,' and, when the rains fail, is exposed to a treble famine, called trikal—of grass, grain, and water. The monsoon frequently commences late, but it is not a delayed advent but a premature withdrawal which is to be dreaded. The majority of the population depend on the autumn harvest for their food-supply.

The first recorded famine was that of the year 1661, and others occurred in 1746 and 1789, the last being of dire intensity. In 1812 there was another terrible famine which is said to have lasted five years. Ajmer bore traces of this visitation at the beginning of British rule. There was severe scarcity in 1819, 1824, 1832-3, and 1848.

The next notable visitation was in 1868-9. For some years previous to 1868 the harvests had been irregular and poor. Jaipur and Jodhpur were also afflicted, while Gujarat and the Province of Agra suffered from scarcity.

Local supplies failed and transport was not to be had. Emigration commenced in August, 1868, and relief works were opened in November. The rains of 1869 were late in breaking and were deficient. Locusts appeared and destroyed what crop there was. The distress became terrible and the price of grain reached 7/2 seers per rupee.

As a result of this visitation, one-fourth of the population and one-third of the cattle were lost. The Government expended 15 lakhs on relief, of which Rs. 2,30,000 was distributed gratuitously. An invasion of immigrants from surrounding Native States was one of the features of this famine.

From 1869 to 1888 there was a series of prosperous years. In 1888 and 1889, however, the seasons were irregular, and in 1890 the rains ceased prematurely. Relief works were opened in Merwara in October, 1890, and in Ajmer in January, 1891. Up to July, 1891, the situation was not acute; but the rains failed that year also, and from September, when there were grain riots in parts of Ajmer District, thedistress deepened month by month until June, 1892, when the daily numberof persons in receipt of relief was 22,732, or 5 per cent, of the population. In Merwara the corresponding figure in July of the same year 14,406, or 12 per cent. 'The works were closed in October, when copious rains had fallen.

An epidemic outbreak of fever followed this famine and caused great mortality. The Government spent over 21 lakhs on relief.

In 1899, after four indifferent seasons, the rains again failedalmost completely. Ajmer received only 8 inches and Merwara 5. famine commenced in Merwara in November, 1898, and by September, 1899 it had become general.

Relief measures were commenced in Ajmer in September. Month by month the pressure increased; and in June, 1900, 68,728 persons, or 16 per cent, of the population, were receiving relief in Ajmer. In Merwara the pressure, which had commenced earlier, was yet more severe. At one time 72 per cent, of the entire population were in receipt of Government relief, and the percentage remained at over 70 for a considerable period. A large invasion of immigrants from the stricken States adjoining occurred, while emigra- tion from Ajmer-Merwara itself was very much restricted.

Public order was, however, well maintained. The mortality among the cattle was enormous, and, as in 1891, water had to be brought into Ajmer city from Buddha Pushkar, a lake 7 miles away. A terrible fever epidemic swept over the Province in the autumn of 1900, causing the death of 44,000 persons. In 1900 a death-rate of 150 per 1,000 was reached in Merwara, and of 112 in Ajmer. These figures include, however, the deaths of numerous foreign immigrants. Infant mortality, as has been noted above, was especially high.

The total outlay in this famine was 47.6 lakhs, of which 4.5 lakhs was given as advances under the Agriculturists' Loans Acts and 4.8 lakhs in the shape of remission and suspension of revenue.

In 1902 famine again appeared in Merwara and just touched Ajmer. The highest number on relief of all kinds in the former District was 30,400, or 35 per cent, of the total rural population, in August, 1902. In Ajmer the figures Never went above 860. A small poorhouse was opened for six weeks, principally for beggars from surrounding Native- States.

The visitation did not compare with the 1898-1900 famine in intensity, or as regards difficulties of administration and physical deterioration. The total amount of money spent in relief up to the end of September, 1902, was 2.3 lakhs, while advances and suspensions came to 2.7 lakhs.

The Province is administered by a Commissioner, whose head quarters are at Ajmer city. In addition to ordinary administrative and revenue functions, he has the powers of a Civil and Sessions Judge, and has the control of Police, Forests, Jails, and Education. Each of the two Districts is in charge of an Assistant Com- missioner and District Magistrate, whose head-quarters are at Ajmer and Beawar respectively.

The Agent to the Governor- General for Rajputana is ex-officio Chief Commissioner of the Province, and performs the functions of a chief revenue authority, being also the highest court of appeal, both civil and criminal. For purposes of administration the Province is subdivided into 3 tahsils —Ajmer, Beawar, and Todgarh, the two latter being in Merwara —and 18 police stations, 13 in Ajmer and 5 in Merwara. The Todgarh tahsil com- memorates the name of Tod, well-known as the historian of Rajputana, who was connected with the early administration of that portion of Merwara.

The Province is specially legislated for, when necessary, by Regulations passed by the Governor-General in Executive Council.

The tables below give criminal and civil statistics for the decades ending 1890 and 1900, and for the two years 1901 and 1903 : —

Criminal justice.png
Civil justice.png

The increase of offences against the Penal Code in 1903as compared with 1901 is due to agricultural distress, caused by an irregular rainfall, which in some parts of the Province prevented weeding and otherwise damaged the autumn harvest, and was followed by the depredations of swarms of locusts. The decrease of offences against Special and Local laws is due to a more lenient application of the sections in the Police Act directed against obstruction to traffic in towns. The figures under civil justice rise and fall with economic prosperity or distress.

During the decade ending 1890, 1,360 documents were registered. The figures rose to 1,681 in the next ten years, and to 2,511 in 1901, falling to 1,540 in 1903, owing to a decrease in transfers of immovable property by sale and mortgage.

The finances of this small Province are administered directly by the Government of India, and there are therefore only two classes of revenue, Imperial and Local. Under the former, the principal sources of income are land revenue, opium, stamps, and excise : the salt consumed in the Province comes, as already stated, from Sambhar and Pachbhadra, and pays revenue there.

The following statement shows the total Imperial receipts and the expenditure within the Province for the decades ending 1890 and 1900, and for the two years 1900-1 and 1902-3 : —

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The abnormal excess of charges over receipts in 1900-1 was due principally to expenditure and remissions in connexion with the great famine.

Local receipts in 1902-3 amounted to 4.1 lakhs, ofwhich 2.5 belonged to municipal funds.

The soil of Ajmer is held on tenures analogous to those which prevail in the adjacent Native States of Rajputana. These may be- broadly divided into two classes : khalsa or crown domain, and istimrari or land originally held by feudal chiefs under obligation of military service. Khalsa land might, however, be alienated by the crown to endow religious institutions, or in jagir as a reward of service to an individual and his heirs.

Through- out Rajputana, the State in its khalsa territory retains the actual pro- prietary rights, standing in the same relation to the cultivators as the feudal chiefs stand to the tenants on their estates. In jagir lands these rights are transferred to the jagirdar. But immemorial custom in the khalsa of Ajmer allowed a cultivator who effected permanent improve- ment, such as sinking wells or constructing embankments, to acquire certain privileges in the land so improved. Such a cultivator was protected from ejectment by prescriptive law so long as he paid the customary share of the produce. He might sell, mortgage, or give away the well or embankment, together with the hereditary privileges it conveyed, and thus practically enjoyed proprietary rights.

Unirrigated land being of little value in Ajmer, the State gradually became restricted in its proprietorship to the waste or grazing land; and since 1849 the British Government has abandoned its claim to the ownership, and transformed the khalsa villages into communities owning the surround- ing soil in common.

The istimrari estates were originally only jagirs, held under obligation Of military service. The Marathas, however, who found it impolitic to encourage the warlike tendencies of their Rajput vassals, commuted this obligation for a fixed tribute.

The istimrari chieftains, accordingly, acquired the habet of regarding themselves as holders at a fixed and permanent quit-rent ; and although during the earlier period of British rule extra cesses were levied from time to time, in 1841 the Government remitted all such collections for the future. In 1873 sanads were granted to the various istimrardars, declaring their existing assessments to be fixed in perpetuity.

There is, however, a special due (nazarana) on successions, its amount being stipulated separately in each sanad. There are altogether 66 istimrari estates in Ajmer District. The istimrardars are divided into tazimi and non-tazimi, the former being the native aristocracy of the Province and the latter persons of less consideration. The tazimi istimrardars number 15, in the following order of precedence: (1) Bhinai, (2) Sawar, (3) Masuda, (4) Pisangan, (5) Junia, (6) Deolia, (7) Kharwa, (8) Bandanwara, (9) Mehrun, (10) Para, (n) Deogaon-Baghera, (12) Gobindgarh, (13) Tantuti, (14) Barli, and (15) Bagsuri. A full account of their genealogies is given in La Touche's Settlement Report, 1875.

The tenure known as bhum next demands attention. It is peculiar to Rajputs. The word itself means ' land,' and bhumia signifies the allodial proprietor. The tenure consists essentially in a hereditary, non-resumable, and inalienable property in the soil. The title of bhumia is so cherished that the greatest chiefs are solicitous to obtain it, even in villages entirely dependent on their authority as well as in those outside their territorial jurisdiction.

The Maharaja of Kishan- garh, the Thakur of Fatehgarh in Kishangarh, the Thakur of Junia, the Thakur of Bamianwara, and the Thakur of Tantuti are among the bhumias of Ajmer. The duties of bhumias were originally threefold to protect the village in which the bhum is, and the village cattle, from robbers ; to protect the property of travellers within the village from theft and robbery; and to compensate sufferers from a crime which should have been prevented.

This rude device for the protection of property, handed down from an earlier and a weaker government is now, practically speaking, obsolete, and the bhumias have become an armed milltia liable to be called out for the suppression of riots or rebellion.

There are in Ajmer 109 bhum holdings. Except in cases where a Raja or istimrardar is also a bhumia, the property passes to all the children equally.

In Merwara, where no settled government existed before the British occupation, and the people found plunder more congenial than agri- culture, no revenue was ordinarily paid, and accordingly no special tenures grew up.

At its first land settlement, therefore, the British Government acted as landlord, gave leases, built tanks, and collected one-third of the produce as revenue. At the settlement of 1851, however, all cultivators were recorded as proprietors.

There are no figures available to show what revenue Ajmer paid to the Mughal emperors. The Marathas Never collected more than about 15/4 lakhs, of which Rs. 31,000 represented customs. Their system was to exact all that they could under land revenue, which they called aen and under various cesses. The actual collections from the khalsa area in the year before Ajmer was ceded to the British amounted to Rs. 1,15,000.

When Mr. Wilder took over charge of Ajmer in 1818, he found 'the city almost deserted and the people, though peaceable and industrious, sadly thinned by oppression.' He proposed to take half the estimated value of the crops as revenue, and the collections from khalsa areas during the first year of his administration amounted to Rs. 1,60,000. Between 181 8 and 1841 there were successive readjustments of the revenue demand.

Mr. Wilder had made the mistake of over-estimating the resources of the District, and the baneful effects of this error extended over many years. This, added to several years of distress, particularly between 1837-41, reduced the District to a state of abject poverty.

The first regular settlement of Ajmer-Merwara was made by Colonel Dixon between 1849 and 1851, and the system of collection adopted made it practically ryotwari. The collections were based on two-fifths of the produce in Ajmer and one-third in Merwara. The settlement was sanctioned for twenty-one years. The people accepted it with reluctance, and the Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces, under whom the Province then was, also appeared to think that the revenue demand would press heavily on the people. Dixon had himself described the settlement in the following words : —

' If the season be moderately favourable and the talaos (tanks) be replenished, the rents will be paid with ease and cheerfulness by the people. If drought ensues, we have been prepared to make such a remission that distress in paying the revenue shall not reach the people.' For several years after the settlement seasons were favourable and remissions were small. With Colonel Dixon's death in 1857 the principle of his settlement was lost sight of, and remissions were granted only when coercive measures had shown that collection was impossible.

Between 1872 and 1874 a resettlement of the Province was carried out by Mr. (now Sir James) La Touche. Various improvements were introduced in the methods of conducting the work, and the principles for fixing the assessment were clearly indicated in the instructions from Government. The assessment at a uniform rate of villages whose characteristics were very different was to be avoided. Fair rates for different kinds of soil were worked out to form the basis of the assess- ment. Specially bad seasons were to be dealt with by the appllrcation of extraordinary remedies.

Water revenue was to be assessed separately. The land revenue demand under this settlement was Rs. 2,78,000. The assessment resulted in a reduction of 14 per cent, on Colonel Dixon's assessment of Ajmer, and ol 25 per cent, on that of Merwara, and was equal to about one-sixth of the gross produce.

The settlement was sanctioned for ten years, and under it the Province made substantial progress.

Between 1884 and 1887 the Province was again settled, for a period of twenty years, by Mr. Whiteway. His settlement was carried out on the same principles as the previous one, the chief innovation being the division of the Province into fluctuating and non-fluctuating areas, the assessment of the former being based on actual cultivation. The settle- ment resulted in a total demand of Rs. 2,99,000, the incidence being R. 0-10-4 per head of population.

The revenue is collected through selected headmen, who are allowed 5 per cent, on the collection, and is, practically, a modified form of the mauzawar system. During the famines of 1890-2 and 1899-1900 large amounts were suspended and remitted. In 1895 special rules were introduced for the regulation of suspensions and remissions, which enable these to be made promptly on the occurrence of famine or scarcity.

The opium revenue is obtained from the duty on opium exported to China, Ajmer city containing a Government depot for the receipt and weighment of opium from the adjoining Native States. During the ten years ending 1890 the average area under poppy in the khalsa area ol the Province was 2,683 acres. In the next decade the average fell to 1,351 acres, and in 1902-3 only 852 acres were so cultivated, the decrease being partly due to the more stringent measures for prevention of smuggling. During the same periods the average number of chests exported was 181, 463, and 466 respectively.

The Imperial opium receipts during the decade ending 1890 averaged 1.1 lakhs per annum. During the next ten years they averaged 1 lakh, and amounted to 1.31 lakhs in 1902-3. The arrangements for the control of the spirit traffic resemble the District monopoly system of Bombay. A lease is granted to a contrator who must use a central distillery near Ajmer city. A still head duty is levied upon the liquor when it is removed to the main depot, from which the various depots and District shops are supplied. The duty is Rs. 2-4, Rs. 2-0, Rs. 1-4 per gallon, according as the liquor is 15 degree , 25°, or 50 degree under proof.

The 15 tazimi istimrardars of Ajmer are allowed to maintain private stills solely for their own consumption. The receipt from liquors during the ten years ending 1890 averaged Rs. 93,000, and during the next decade Rs. 94,000. In 1900-1 and 1902-3 they were Rs. 75,000 and Rs. 77,000 respectively.

Receipts from the local consumption of opium, and from hemp drugs, amounted in 1902-3 to only Rs. 32,55 1. Opium is taxed by vend fees. A quantitative duty of Rs. 4 per seer (2 lb.) is also levied on opium imported from Malwa, and a similar duty has been imposed on locally produced opium, with effect from April, 1905. The cultivation of the hemp plant is absolutely prohibited in the Province, and only licensed vend contractors are allowed to import hemp drugs on payment of duty.

The principal source of hemp drug revenue is charas, the duty on which has recently been raised to Rs. 6 per seer (2 lb.). Taking all heads together, the incidence of Excise revenue per head of population in 1902-3 was 4 annas.

The material condition of the people is the chief factor in determining the consumption of excisable articles. English education and the general spread of modern ideas are leading, especially in the towns, to an increased demand for imported and European spirits. The duty paid on the latter rose from Rs. 2,168 in 1886-7 to Rs. 10,974 in 1895-7, but fell to Rs. 9,426 in 1902-3.

Between 1880 and 1890 the annual Stamp receipts averaged Rs. 1,14,000 from non-judicial, and Rs. 86,000 from judicial, stamps. During the next decade the former had fallen to Rs. 1,10,000, while the latter had risen to Rs. 90,000. In 1902-3 the figures were Rs. 86,000 and Rs. 45,000 respectively, the decrease being due to agricultural distress. The annual receipts under income tax from 1886 to 1902 averaged Rs. 78,000.

There is one District board for the Province, consisting of 9 nomi- nated and 16 elected members. The 15 tazimi istimrardars of Ajmer are also ex-officio members, and the Assistant Com- missioner ol Ajmer is the chairman. The board came municipal. into existence in December, 1888. Its principal functions are the maintenance of District roads, the management of schools, dispensaries, and similar establishments, roadside arboriculture, and the control of fairs. In times of scarcity the board has occasionally extended its ordinary works with a view to relieving local distress. The normal income of the board is about Rs. 36,000, of which 61 per cent, is derived from land cess and from education receipts.

The chief items of expenditure are public works, education, and medical relief.

There are three municipalities — Ajmer, Beawar, and Kekri. The first was established in 1869, the second in 1867, and the third in 1879. In all, the principal source of income is from octroi. The incidence of taxation is Rs. 1-0-9 per head of population in Ajmer, Rs. 1-3-0 in Beawar, and Rs. 1-6-4 m Kekri. The elective system came into force in 1884, and elections are held triennially. The Ajmer municipal com- mittee consists of 5 nominated and 17 elected members, the correspond- ing figures for Beawar being 5 and 15.

In Kekri there are 8 members, all nominated. Most of the members are non-official natives ; the Ajmer municipality alone has a certain number of European members. The following table shows the details of income and expenditure of the three municipalities for the decade ending 1900, and for the two years 1900-1 and 1902-3 : —

Ajmer-Merwara forms a single Public Works division in charge of an Executive Engineer, who is under the Superintending Engineer at Mount Abu and is assisted by three subdivisional officers.

All the roads and many of the irrigation tanks have been constructed by the Public Works department, which is in charge of the District board and municipal roads, as well as of the Imperial. The total strength of the British and Native army stationed within the Province on June 1, 1903, was as follows: British, 789; Native, 1,726; total, 2,515 officers and men.

Ajmer-Merwara lies within the Mhow division of the Western com- mand. The military stations in 1904 were Ajmer, Deoli, and Nasirabad Ajmer is also the head-quarters of the old Merwara Battalion, now the 44th Merwara Infantry. This corps was raised in June, 1822, by Captain Hall, for service in Merwara; and its duties were to maintain order, to keep open the passes leading through the hills, and to suppress dacoity and cattle-lifting. In 1839 the battallon was, for the first time, brigaded with regular troops and formed part of the Marwar Field Force, in which it acquitted itself well. In May, 1857, when most of the native troops at Nasirabadmutinied, the grenadier company of the Merwara Battalion made a forced march from Beawar to Ajmer, a distance of 37 miles, and took over charge of the treasury and arsenal from the 15th Bengal Infantry, then on the verge of joining the rebels.

This prompt and loyal action undoubtedly saved Ajmer city. In 1858 a second battallon, called the Mhair Regiment, was raised. Both battallons saw service in Central India between 1857 and 1859, and in 1861 they were amalgamated into one corps entitled the Mhair Military Police Battalion.

The regiment continued as a militarypolice force until 1871, when it was again brought on the militaryestablishment. In 1870 its head-quarters, which had till then been at Beawar, were transferred to Ajmer.

The regiment, which saw service in the Afghan War of 1878-80, was in 1897 placed under the orders of the Com- mander-in-Chief and attached to the Bombay Command, having been prior to this under the orders of the Local Government.

The 42nd Deoli Regiment, formerly the Deoli Irregular Force, is stationed at Deoli. It comprises a battallon of native infantry and a squadron of native cavalry, and took the place of the old Kotah Contingent which mutinied in 1857. Ajmer city is likewise the head-quarters of the 2nd Bombay, Baroda, and Central India Railway Volunteers, whose strength on June 1, 1903, was 344 officers and men.

From the savings effected by the amalgamation of the two local battalions already described, a civil police force was organized which, from January 1, 1862, worked side by side with the mili- tary police battalion. On the former devolved the work of suppressing, preventing, detecting, and prosecuting crime, and on the latter the guarding of treasuries, tahsilis, and jails, and the furnishing of guards and escorts.

Treasury and tahsil guards, and escorts for treasure and prisoners proceeding to other Districts, arestill furnished by the 44th Merwara Infantry. In 1903 the strength of the regular police, which is under a District Superintendent, was 704 of all grades, giving one policeman to every 3-8 square miles and to every 677 of the population. The cost of maintenance was Rs. 1,15,820, or 3.9 annas per head of population. Of this the Government paid Rs. 88,662, while the balance was charged to the three municipalities and the Nasirabadcantonment, and to certain private individuals, such as the liquor contractor.

The table below shows the results of cogniz- able crime cases dealt with by the police for the five years ending 1902, and for the year 1903. The five-year period includes the famine of 1898-1900, when the crime incidence was very high.

Case report.png

Detection is fairly successful, notwithstanding the facilities criminals enjoy for hiding in the surrounding Native States. Finger impressions have resulted in the tracing of several previously convicted offenders. The organization of the rural police is backward. It consists of chaukidars paid by Government, those maintained by istimrardars and jagirdars, and of village menials and messengers, who, for an annual contribution of grain, perform in a perfunctory way duties of watch and ward in the village and report crime and vital statistics.

The Province possesses one Central jail, at Ajmer, with accommoda- tion for 432 prisoners ; and three lock-ups, at Ajmer, Nasirabad, and Beawar. The average daily population of the Central jail was 420 in 1903, compared with 407 in 1891 and 429 in 1881.

The jail mortality was 27 per 1,000 in 1891, 36 per 1,000 in 1901, and 7 per 1,000 in 1903. Fever and pneumonia helped to swell the mortality in the earlier years. Carpets and rugs of excellent quality and good cotton daris are manufactured in the Central jail.

The Commissioner is the local Director of Public Instruction, and he is assisted by the Principal of the Ajmer Government College, who is also Inspector of Schools, and by two Deputy- Inspectors. In the early days of British rule education was confined to the indigenous schools ; and beyond granting a monthly subsidy of Rs. 300 to a missionary, the Government apparently did nothing till, in 1836, a school was started in Ajmer, which was closed in 1843. In 1846-7 Mr. Thomason, the Lieutenant-Governor of the North-Western Provinces, visited Ajmer and gave the subject of elementary education his attention, and in 1851 Colonel Dixon estab- lished 75 schools in Ajmer-Merwara.

The people defrayed a large portion of the cost by means of a cess, which was very unpopular, and was withdrawn after Colonel Dixon's death. The Government school was reopened in 1851, and in 1868 it was raised to the status of a college. It is affiliated to the Allahabad University, has a boarding- house attached to it, and teaches up to the B A standard.

In 1902-3 the Province obtained 23 passes in Matriculation (10 in the First Arts or Science examinations), and 8 Bachelor’s degree at the Allahabad University. Mission schools at Ajmer, Nasirabad, and Beawar, and the Arya Samaj school and a Convent school at Ajmer, teach up to the matriculation standard.

The length of college attendance necessary for the attainment of a degree (B.A.) is four years after passing matriculation.

In 1881 Ajmer-Merwara possessed 9 public secondary schools with 398 pupils. By 1902-3 the number of schools had risen to 14 with 2,465 pupils, in addition to 19 advanced private schools with 450 pupils. The course of studies in public schools embraces instruction up to the matriculation standard in five schools, up to the vernacular final examination in five others, and up to the vernacular middle examination in the remaining four. English is taught in five schools, and is an alternative subject in the Kekri vernacular school. Government aid, which takes the form of a monthly grant, is given to four private- institutions.

The attendance at secondary schools in 1902-3 comprised 1'1 per cent, of the total male population of school-going age.

Between 1881 and 1891 primary education progressed satisfactorily, and in the latter year 5,296 boys were under instruction in 47 public and 83 private schools.

The famines of the next decade affected primary education, and in 1900-1 the attendance had fallen to 3,964 In 1902-3, 4,718 boys were being taught in 50 public and 71 private institutions. English is taught in two schools. The general rate of pay of primary school teachers is Rs. 9 a month.

No special arrangements have been made for the teaching of children of the agricultural classes In 1902-3 the proportion of boys at primary schools to the total number of school-going age was 12.5 per cent.

Female education has made marked progress since 1881. In that year 77 girls were taught in public schools, and figures were not separately given for private institutions.

The number of girls under instruction at public and private schools was 567 in 1891, and 1,840 in 1903. Between 1891 and 1903 the percentage of girls attending school to the total of school-going age had risen from 1.5 to 5.4. This progress, coming after a decade of severe famine, indicates that the prejudice against female education is gradually disappearing.

The United free Church of Scotland and the Women's Foreign Missionary Society have girls' schools and also undertake zanana teaching.

There are four special schools in the Province, besides the Mayo Chiefs' College, for which see Ajmer City: namely, a training school for male teachers in primary and secondary schools at Ajmer ; a similar institution for teachers in village schools, maintained by the United Free Church of Scotland Mission ; and two industrial schools, main- tained by the same body, at Ashapura and Beawar, the latter of which is for girls. In 1902-3 there was an average daily attendance of 481 at these special schools.

European and Eurasian education is confined to the Railway and Roman Catholic Convent schools, both of which are aided secondary institutions. In 1902-3, 57 pupils attended the Railway and 88 the Convent school.

In 1902-3 the percentage of Muhammadan males under instruction to the total of school-going age was 17.8, compared with 19 among Hindus.

They are not, therefore, unduly backward in educating their boys, though as regards girls they are a long way behind. Many Muhammadans serve in various public departments, where the benefits of education are brought prominently before them.

The general educational results show an improvement since 1881, Notwithstanding the baneful effects on primary education of the famine of 1898-1900. In 1901 the percentage of the total male population able to read and write was 12, as compared with 9.8 in 1881, the figures for females being o.8 and 0.4 respectively.

The following table shows the expenditure on educational institutions in 1902-3, and the sources from which it was derived : —

Imperial.png

Colonel Dixon, among other good works, had a dispensary constructed at Ajmer city in 1851, at a cost of Rs. 6,000, which was subscribed by the inhabitants. This building was used till 1895, when a larger General Hospital was built at a cost of Rs. 43,250, raised partly by subscriptions and partly by the sale of the old building. From subscriptions recently raised for a Queen Victoria Memorial, Rs. 40,000 has been set apart for improvements to this hospital.

The extension of medical and vaccination work since 1881 will be apparent from the table below. Vaccination is compulsory only in the municipal towns.

Medical.png

A trigonometrical survey of the Province was made in 1847-8, the District areas being given at 2,059 square miles for Ajmer and 902 for Merwara. Between 1868 and 1875 a topographical survey was made, which resulted in the areas being adjusted to 2,069 and 641 square miles respectively. There was a cadastral survey between 1883 and 1886, but this extended only to portions of the two Districts. The patwaris did a considerable amount of survey work in the last settlement (1884-7), and were pronounced to be very efficient by the Settlement officer.

[Rajputana Gazetteer, vol. ii (1879).— C. C. Watson : District Gazetteer of Ajmer-Menvara (Ajmer, 1904). — Sir James La Touche : Settlement Report (1875). — Lieut.-Col. J. Tod: Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan (1829-32) (frequently republished). — Lieut.-Col.C J Dixon: Sketch of Mairwara (1850).— Sir George King: 'Flora of Rajputana' in The Indian Forester.— Col. Hendley : 'The Arts and Manufactures of Ajmer,' in vol. iii ol the Journal of Indian Art. — Census Reports of Ajmer-Merwara (1881, 1891, and 1901).— The Embassy of Sir Thomas Roe to the Court of the Great Mogul: ed. W. Foster (Hakluyt Society, 1899).— Capt. T. D. Broughfort : letters from a Mahratta Camp (new edition, 1892).— Akbar's pilgrimages to Ajmer are described in the Ain-i-Akbari]

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