Akalkot State

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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.

Akalkot State

State in the Sholapur Agency, Bombay, lying between 17 degree 18' and 17 degree 44' N. and 75 degree 56' and 76 degree 28' E., with an area of 498 square miles. It is bounded on the north by Hyderabad ; on the east by a portion of the Kurandvad (junior) State and Hyderabad ; on the south by Bijapur District and Hyderabad ; and on the west by the District of Sholapur. Akalkot forms part of the table-land of the Deccan.

The country is open, undulating, and remarkably free from tracts of waste or forest land. A few streams cross the State, but they are all small ; the Bori, the largest, is perennial, as also are the Bhima and Sina, forming the south-west boundary. The State lies entirely within the limits of the Deccan trap, and is occupied by the basaltic rocks of that formation.

They are largely covered with black soil. The climate is comparatively cool and agreeable, with an average rain- Fall of 32 inches. The temperature rises to 108 degree in May and falls to 62 in January, the average being 85 degree.

In the beginning of the eighteenth century the Akalkot territory, which had formerly been part of the Musalman kingdom of Ahmad- nagar, was granted by Sahu, Raja of Satara, to a Maratha Sardar, the ancestor of the present chief, subject to the supply of a contingent of horse. In 1849, after the annexation of Satara, the Akalkot chief became a feudatory of the British Government. In 1868 the con- tingent of horse was disbanded, and a yearly money payment of Rs. 14,592 was substituted.

The fandly follow the rule of primogeni- ture, and hold a sanad authorizing adoption. In 1866, on account of his misrule, the chief was deposed, and the State placed under the management of the British Government until his son attained his majority in 1891.

In 1896, on the death of the latter, a minor was adopted, and the State is now again administered by Government. The chief ranks as a first-class Sardar of the Deccan.

The population was 82,047 in1901 compared with 75,774 in 1891. The State contains one town, Akalkot, and 102 villages. Hindus number 70,000 and Musalmans 11,000. The principal castes are Lingayats (10,000), Vanis (9,000), Mahars (9,000), Marathas (8,000), and Dhangars (6,000). The Musalmans are chiefly Shaikhs (8,500). Half the population is supported by agriculture and 20,000 by in- dustries, mainly weaving.

The soil is mostly black and mixed, and is watered chiefly from wells and budkis or lifts near the river banks. Of the total area, 13 square miles are forest land, and 39 are uncultivable. In 1903-4 the area under cultivation was 436 square miles, of which 16 square miles were irrigated.

The chief crops are bajra, jowar, rice, tier, linseed, gram, wheat, cotton, and sugar-cane. The chief's garden at Akalkot has large groves of coco-nut and areca palms. From 1882 about 50 square miles were set apart as forest Reserves, but recently this area was reduced to 13 square miles. In 1903-4 experiments wen carried out in Mozambique ground-nuts, American sweet-potatoes, and Egyptian cotton, of which only the first met with success. In thesame year the State purchased and exhibeted improved implements of husbandry Since 1902-3 the State has maintained a land bank, which advances money for the improvement and purchase of land-,.

The only industry of any importance is the weaving of coarse cotton cloth, turbans, and saris. The chief exports are jowar, wheat, and linseed. Copper and brass utensils, salt, groceries, &c, are imported from Sholapur and Bombay. The Great Indian Peninsula Railway runs north west and south-east for 18 miles through the State, with two stations, one at Boroti and the other at Karabgaon, about 7 miles from Akalkot town.

The Southern Mahratta Railway also crosses the south west corner of the State, with a station at Tadval. Since the scarcity of 1871 and the famine of 1876 the State has suffered twice from famine, in 1896-7 and again in 1899-1902. Relief measures were necessary on each occasion.

The Collector of Sholapur is Political Agent for the State, and British laws have been adopted. The Political Agent has the powers of a Civil and Sessions Judge in deciding appeals. The revenue in 1903-4 was 9/2 lakhs, chiefly derived from land (Rs. 3,16,000). The British Government pays Rs. 9,606 to the State annually in lieu of customs. No salt is allowed to be produced. Opium is supplied by the British Government, with whom the control of the excise system rests. The State was surveyed in 1866-71. A revised settlement was completed and new rates were introduced in 1894, guaranteed for thirty years.

The revised assessment, excluding water assessment on newly irrigated land, showed an average increase of 28 percent. Over the previous settlement. The average assessment per acre on cultiv- able land is about R. 1. The army consists of 50 men : the police number 67. In 1903-4 there were 35 schools in the State, attended by 1,531 pupils.

The dispensary at Akalkot treated 11,000 patients, and a travelling dispensary treated nearly 2,000. In the same year 2,362 persons were vaccinated.

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