Bengal, 1908

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This article has been extracted from



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



(more precisely designated. Lower Bengal). —

(1 The arlicle was written before the changes were carried out which constituted the new Province of EASTERN Bengaland Assam. These were determined upon to lighten the excessive burden imposed upon the Government of Bengal by the increase of population, the expansion of commercial and industrial enterprise, and the growing complexity of all branches of administration. The Province had hitherto comprised an area of nearly 190,000 square miles, with a population of over 78 millions, and a gross revenue amounting to more than 1100 lakhs. In these circum- stances, the relief of the Bengal Government had become an administrative necessity, and it was decided that it could be afforded only by actual trnnsference of territory and not by organic changes in the form of government. Accordingly, on October 16, 1905, the Divisions of Dacca, Chittagong, and Rajshahi (except Darjeeling), the District of Malda, and the State of Hill Tippera were transferred to the newly formed Province of Eastern Bengal and Assam, the area under tlie jurisdiction of the Bengal Government being thus reduced by 50,000 square miles and its population by 25,000,000. The five Hindi-spenking Native States of Jashpur, .Suiguja, Udaipur, Korea, and Chang Bhakar were at the same time transferred to the Central Provinces ; while the District of Sambalpur with the exception of two za/iiTiiJdris, and also the Oriya-speaking States of Patna, Kalahandi or KarQnd, Sonpur, Bamra, and Rairakhol in the Central Provinces, were attached to Bengal. The result of these transfers of territory is that the Province as now constituted comprises an area of 148,592 square miles, with a population of 54,662,529 persons. In order to show the effect of this change in the constitution of the Province, footnotes have been added, wherever possible, giving statistics for the new area ; and the States, Divisions, Districts, and towns transferred from Bengal have been indicated by asterisks. )

The largest and most populous Province in India. It lies between 19° 18' and 28° 15' N. and between 82° and 97° E., and contains four large sub- provinces, Bengal proper, Bihar, Chota Nagpur, and Orissa. The two former comprise the lower plains and deltas of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra. Chota Nagpur is a rugged tract and jungle, broken by deep ravines and river valleys. The greater part of Orissa belongs to the same formation as Chota Nagpur ; but along the coast there is a narrow belt of alluvium, formed from the silt deposited by the rivers, which drain the hills as they find their sluggish way to the sea.

The Province is bounded on the north by Nepal and Tibet, and by the mighty chain of the Himalayas ; on the east by Assam and the continuation of the range of hills which divides Assam from Burma ; on the south by the Bay of Bengal and Madras ; and on the west by the United and the Central Provinces.

The whole Province forms a Lieutenant-Governorship with an area ' of 196,408 square miles, of which 84,728 square miles are included in Bengal proper, 44,259 in Bihar, 24,306 in Orissa, and 43,115 in Chota Nagpur. These figures include an unsurveyed tract of swamp and jungle on the fringe of the delta, the extent of which is about 6,600 square miles. Of the total area, 157,796 square miles are British territory, while 38,612 square miles lie in the Native States attached to Bengal : namely, Cooch Behar, Sikkim, Hill Tippera*, and the Tributary States of Orissa and Chota Nagpur.

According to Hindu legend, king Bali of the Lunar race had five sons, begotten for him on his queen Sudeshna by the Rishi Dirghatamas : namely, Anga, Vanga, Kalinga, Pundra, and Suhma. Each of these sons founded a kingdom that was named after him. Vanga ^ or Banga is said to have occupied the deltaic tract south of the Padma, lying between the Bhagirathi and the old course of the

^ Of the total area of 148,592 square miles now included in Bengal, 35,576 square miles are in Bengal proper (including 5,700 square miles in the Sundarbans", 43 524 square miles are in Bihar, 41,789 in Orissa, and 27,703 in Chota Nagpur. Altogether, 115,819 square miles are British territory and 32,773 square miles are Native States.

The word Vanga first appears as the name of a country in the Aitareya Aranyaka (2-1-1), where its inhabitants are represented as eaters of indiscriminate food, and as progenitors of many children. Brahmaputra, and to have been conquered by the Pandava Bhim and also by Raghu. The inhabitants of this region are described in the Raghubansa as hving in boats, and as growing transplanted rice for their staple crop. In the time of Ballal Sen the tract immediately to the east of the Bhagirathi was called Bagri, and Banga occupied the eastern portion of the delta. The tract west of the Bhagirathi was known as Rarh, which in Prakrit was softened to Lala. Possibly Bengal or Bangala is a combination of Banga Lala, and, in any case, there can be no doubt that the word is connected with the ancient Vanga. During the period of Muhammadan rule the term was applied specifically to the whole delta, but later conquests to the east of the Brahmaputra and north of the Padma were eventually included in it.

Under the British the name has at different times borne very different significations. All the north-eastern factories of the East India Company, from Balasore on the Orissa coast to Patna in the heart of Bihar, belonged to the ' Bengal Establishment,' and as its conquests crept higher up the rivers, the term continued to be the designation of the whole of its possessions in Northern India. From the time of Warren Hastings to that of Lord William Bentinck, the official style of the Governor-General was ' Governor-General of Fort William in Bengal.' In 1836, when the Upper Provinces were formed into a separate administration, they were designated the North-Western Provinces, in contradistinction to the Lower Provinces ; and although they, as well as Oudh, the Punjab, the Central Provinces, and Burma, were sometimes loosely regarded as forming the Bengal Presidency, the word was ordinarily used in this sense only for military purposes, to denote the sphere of the old army of Bengal, as distinguished from those of Bombay and Madras. In its ordinary acceptation, the term now covers only the jurisdiction of the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal. The term ' Bengal proper ' has a still more restricted meaning, and indicates, roughly speaking, the country east of the Bhagirathi and Mahananda, where the prevalent language is Bengali.

Rents wages and prices

The conditions which determine the rent paid by the actual culti- vator to his immediate landlord vary widely in different parts of the Province, and even in different estates. In some large according to rates current throughout a village, while in others lump-rents prevail. In Orissa and the Santal Parganas the rents have been fixed by Settlement officers. In Bengal proper, lump-rents are generally paid, except for newly reclaimed lands, and inquiry often fails to detect the existence of any standard rates known to the people. In large estates in Bihar, on the other hand, it is usual to find the rent calculated according to rates applied to different classes of soil or to particular crops. Generally speaking, the principal factors which affect the incidence of rent are the fertility of the land, the density of population, the antiquity of the hold- ing, the social position of the tenant, and the position and character of the landlord. Where the population is dense, there is a keen demand for arable land and rents rule high. On the other hand, rents which were fixed some years ago are lower than those recently settled, because prices and rent rates have steadily increased for many years.

A Brahman, again, usually pays a lower rate than a man of low caste. The highest rents prevail where the landlord is a petty proprietor or a middleman resident in the village. Specially high rent rates are usually paid for land under special crops, such as sugar-cane, pan, mulberry, and poppy. The cultivators have been protected from arbitrary rent enhancement and eviction by the Bengal Tenancy Act of 1885, but, owing to the apathy and ignorance of the peasantry, the Act has remained a dead letter over a great part of the Province. In Bihar, especially, the tenant is still very much at the mercy of his landlord, who rarely gives him a written lease. In Eastern Bengal conditions are different. Documents are far more freely interchanged, the demand for cultivators to till the land is keen, and the tenant has the best of the bargain.

Little accurate information is available in Bengal regarding rates of rent, but the following are the average rates per acre ascertained by Settlement officers. In Eastern Bengal Rs. 4 is paid in Tippera*, and Rs. 5-12 in Chittagong*, where rents rule very high; the ordinary minimum and maximum rates probably range from Rs. 3 to Rs. 12. In Orissa rents vary from Rs. r-8 to Rs. 4, the average being Rs. 2-8. In Central Bengal they run from Rs. 3-4 to Rs. 8-1 1, the average being Rs. 5-8, and in North Bihar the limits are Rs. 1-14 and Rs. 4-5, the average being about Rs. 3-2 an acre. In Chota Nagpur the rents are much lower, varying from 8 annas to Rs. 2, with an average of Rs. 1-4, while in the Santal Parganas the average is Rs. 4-4, the limits being Rs. 3-12 and Rs. 6-12. The rates of rent for special crops occasionally rise much higher, the maximum rates recorded for tobacco being Rs. 37-8 ; for sugar-cane, Rs. 18 ; for potato and poppy, Rs. 20 ; and {ox pan, Rs. 75.

Rent is extensively paid in kind in Gaya, Shahabad, and Patna Districts, where the character of the country renders the maintenance of an elaborate system of irrigation necessary ; but to a less extent such rents are to be found throughout the Province. Different methods of payment prevail; sometimes the grain is divided on the threshing-floor, or the standing crop is appraised, while sometimes a fixed payment in grain is made irrespective of the yield. In Bengal newly reclaimed lands are often tilled by temporary settlers, who contract to raise a crop and give the landlord half of it ; they erect temporary shelters for the season, and throw up the land at the end of it.

Wages for all kinds of labour are lowest in Bihar and highest in Bengal, Orissa occupying an intermediate position. The actual daily rates for skilled and unskilled labour in the different sub-provinces and in the three chief cities are shown below : —


In Bihar there has been a nominal rise of 7 per cent, in the wages of unskilled labour during the last decade, and in Bengal of 14 per cent. ; in Orissa, on the other hand, wages are reported to have fallen 12 per cent, during the same period. In Patna city they have increased 9 per cent., while a decrease of 2 per cent, has taken place in Dacca*. The wages of skilled labour have increased by 11 per cent, in Bihar, 15 per cent, in Orissa, and 5 per cent, in Bengal ; they have increased in Calcutta by 20 per cent., while in Patna and Dacca* they are reported to have fallen by 5 and 13 per cent, respectively.

The remuneration of village servants is fixed by custom. In Bihar each artisan takes his recognized share of grain when the crop has been reaped and brought to the threshing-floor ; he often holds in addition a small plot of land rent-free, in_^ remuneration for services rendered to the zamtnddr. In Orissa the village employes serve a fixed circle of from 30 to 50 families and receive small monthly payments of grain and money, with other customary perquisites. This system is not found in Bengal proper, where the village organization, with its com- plete equipment of servants and artisans, never seems to have been developed.

The rise in wages has not kept pace with the increase in the price of food-grains, for, whereas during the last twenty years the price of rice has risen by 38-5 per cent., the wages of unskilled labour have risen by only 15 and of skilled labour by 25-4 per cent, during the same period. The fact is that wages are largely governed by custom, and it seems probable that the increased demand for labour due to the development of railways and to industrial expansion has had more to do with the rise in wages than the increase in the price of food-grains. The payment of day-labourers and village artisans and servants in kind also tends to keep down wages in spite of high prices.

The average prices of certain staples at important centres during the last three decades and for the year 1903-4 are shown in Table IV at the end of this article (p. 347). The increase during the years 1890-1900 was due to the famines of the decades, which caused a heavy drain of food-stuffs from this Province, The masses are much better off and enjoy a more generous diet in Lower Bengal and Orissa than in Bihar and Chota Nagpur. The annual cost of living per head of an average adult cultivator is estimated at Rs. 15 in Bihar, Rs. 20 in Chota Nagpur, and Rs. 35 to Rs. 45 in Lower Bengal and Orissa. An ordinary hut costs from Rs. 5 to Rs. 40, and a well-to-do family has three or four of them. The furniture consists of mats, one or two wooden boxes, bamboo baskets, earthen pots and pans, and brass utensils. To dress himself and his family costs a well-to-do cultivator from Rs. 10 to Rs. 15 per annum, while he may spend Rs. 5 or Rs. 10 in brass and silver ornaments. The landless day-labourer is generally attached to the household of his master, and lives in a wretched hut on his employer's land. He gets one full meal at midday and a scanty breakfast and supper.

The middle classes comprise those who live on land rents, members of the learned professions, merchants and shopkeepers, and persons in Government or private employment. The joint family system which furnishes a common fund for all the members is a relief to those earning small salaries. Their food consists of rice, pulses, vegetables, fish, gh'i, oil, milk, sugar, flour, and sweetmeats, and occasionally meat. The ornaments of a married woman of this class are usually not worth more than Rs. 50. One or two bedsteads, a few cane or wooden stools, a few cheap boxes, some coarse mats, together with a number of brass and bell-metal utensils, make up the furniture of an ordinary house, except in the towns, where it may include a table, a couple of chairs, and one or two benches. The cost of living in Calcutta is estimated at Rs. 50 to Rs. 70 a month for an ordinary family, and in the country at from Rs. 30 to Rs. 50.

There is no doubt that the standard of living has improved of late years in North and East Bengal, where better clothes are worn, earthen- ware is giving place to brass-ware, and vegetable oils to kerosene. In Bihar progress is slower, though the improvement in communications has facilitated migration to Bengal, where the remarkable industrial expansion of recent years has created a great demand for labour. The same causes have benefited Chota Nagpur, but here the people are primitive in their habits, and they have not yet taken to growing produce for export on a large scale ; the Bengal-Nagpur Railway has, however, done much to open up this part of the country. The middle classes suffer from high prices, unless they have an interest in land, as many of them have ; and this is probably the class which has made least progress.


The total length of the railways in the Province in 1904 was 4,578-4 miles, of which the state owned 3,894-8 miles, 971-3 being worked by the state and 2,923-5 by companies, while 616-7 miles belonged to assisted companies, 33-3 miles to an unassisted company, and 33-6 to Native States ; no lines are owned by guaranteed companies. Of the total length, 2,932-6 miles belonged to inter-Provincial railways ; these are the East Indian, Bengal- Nagpur, Assam-Bengal, and Bengal and North-Western Railways. The East Indian Railway, a broad-gauge line owned by the state, the length of which in Bengal is 1,211-6 miles, connects Bengal with the

'In the same year the railways in Bengal as now constituted had a length of 3,484-9 miles, of which 3,040-5 miles were owned by the state, 377-5 miles by assisted com- panies, 33-3 miles by an unassisted company, and 33-6 miles by Native States. Of the state-owned railways, 2,808-8 miles were worked by companies, and 231-7 by the state. Of the total length, 3,049.6 miles belonged to inter-Provincial railways : namely, the East Indian, Bengal-Nagpur, Bengal and North-Western, and Eastern Bengal State Railways.

As a result of the partition the following railways now lie entirely outside the Province : the Assam-Bengal (193-9 miles), Bengal-Duars (i52-3)> Mymensingh- Jamalpur-Jagannathganj (51-4), and Noakhali (34-9) Railways. The Eastern Bengal State Railway now lies partly outside Bengal, 231-6 miles being included in the Province and 739-6 miles in Eastern Bengal and Assam. The length of the Bengal-Nagpur Railway within Bengal has at the same lime been increased liy 79.2 miles.

United Provinces, and for many years was the only connexion between Calcutta and Bombay. It enters Bengal on crossing the Karamnasa river a little west of Buxar, and has its terminus on the west bank of the Hooghly at Howrah, which is connected with Calcutta by a pontoon bridge. There is also a short link-line which connects the East Indian Railway at Hooghly with the Eastern Bengal State Railway at Naihati, The earliest alignment of the East Indian Railway ran due north from Howrah to Sahibganj, where it struck the Ganges, and then swung westwards along the south bank of that river. This is now known as the loop-line, and has been replaced for through traffic by a chord-line from Luckeesarai to Khana junction. Another chord-line from Mughal Sarai via Gaya and Katrasgarh to Sitarampur was opened in 1907. The East Indian Railway is the main carrier between Bengal and the United Provinces, and it taps the coal-fields in the neigh- bourhood of Raniganj. This railway is worked by a company, which also works the South Bihar and Tarakeswar Railways, two small broad- gauge lines owned by assisted companies.

The Bengal-Nagpur Railway is owned by the state, but is worked by a company of that name. It is a broad-gauge line with a length of 855-4 miles within Bengal, and a terminus at Howrah ; it forms a con- necting link between Bengal and Madras, and provides an alternative and shorter route to Bombay. The bifurcation of the lines to Madras and Bombay takes place at Kharakpur, 70 miles west of Calcutta, whence the Madras line runs south through Orissa, while the Bombay line passes west through Chota Nagpur to the Central Provinces. This line taps the Jherria coal-field, and competes with the East Indian Railway as a coal-carrier to Calcutta.

The Assam-Bengal Railway is also a state line worked by a company. It is a metre-gauge line with a length of 193*9 miles within Bengal. The terminus is at Chittagong* and the main line runs north-east to Assam. From Laksham* a branch runs west to Chandpur* on the Meghna, whence communication with Calcutta is established by steamer to Goalundo* ; and another branch from Laksham* to Noakhali* has also been opened by the company, to whom land was given free of charge. This line competes with the river steamers in carrying tea from Assam, and it also brings Narayanganj* jute from Chandpur* to Chittagong* for shipment.

The Bengal and North-Western Railway, a metre-gauge line, con- necting North Bengal and Bihar with the United Provinces, belongs to an assisted company, which also works the Tirhut State Railway, and has a length in this Province of 671-7 miles, including 535 miles of the Tirhut State Railway. The metre-gauge line from Sagauli to Raxaul, 18 miles in length, was purchased from a company and incorporated with the Tirhut State Railway. It is linked with the

Eastern Bengal State Railway at Katihar, and with the East Indian Railway by ferries across the Ganges. The railways lying wholly within Bengal are the Eastern Bengal State (including the former Bengal Central), the Noakhali ^ (Bengal), the Mymensingh-Jamalpur-Jagannathganj \ the South Bihar, the Bengal- Duars, the Calcutta Port Commissioners', the Darjeeling-Himalayan, the Deogarh, the Tarakeswar and the Cooch Behar Railways, and the Howrah-Amta, Howrah-Sheakhala, Tarakeswar-Magra, Bakhtiyarpur- Bihar, Barasat-Baslrhat, and Baripada light railways.

The Eastern Bengal State Railway is of different gauges : 278-7 miles on the 5 feet 6 inch gauge and 20-3 miles on the 2 feet 6 inch gauge are on the south of the Padma, and north of that river 63 7 -6 miles are on the metre-gauge and 34-8 miles on the 2 feet 6 inch gauge. The Cooch Behar State Railway, on the 2 feet 6 inch gauge, which is also on the north of the same river, forms part of the Eastern Bengal State Railway system. The terminus is at Sealdah in Calcutta. The main line runs north to the foot of the Himalayas at Siliguri, crossing the Padma by a ferry at Sara*. From Poradaha a branch line runs east to the steamer terminus at Goalundo* ; and from Parvatlpur*, north of the Ganges, branches run east to Dhubri in Assam and west to Katihar, where a junction is effected with the Bengal and North-Western Rail- way. Branch lines run south from Calcutta to Diamond Harbour, Budge-Budge, and Port Canning ; and an isolated branch from Narayanganj* runs north to Dacca* and Mymensingh*, and thence to Jagannathganj* via Singhani. This railway brings to Calcutta large quantities of jute and tea from North Bengal and of jute from East

The Bengal Central Railway, on the 5 feet 6 inch gauge, is a state line formerly worked by a company, which has been worked by the Eastern Bengal State Railway since July i, 1905, the date of the termination of the contract between the Secretary of State for India and the company. It runs north-east from its terminus at Sealdah to Khulna, with a branch from Bangaon to Ranaghat, and carries a large jute traffic. The Bengal-Duars Railway on the metre-gauge traverses Jalpaiguri District*, and is connected with the Eastern Bengal State Railway system at Jalpaiguri* and Lalmanir Hat*. It serves the sub- Himalayan tea district known as the Duars. The Calcutta Port Com- missioners' Railway on the 5 feet 6 inch gauge connects the Eastern Bengal State Railway north of Calcutta with the docks ; a short branch runs on the Howrah bank from Telkal Ghat to Shalimar. The Deogarh Railway is a metre-gauge line of short length running from Baidyanath, a station on the East Indian Railway, to Deogarh, a popular place of Hindu pilgrimage. The Darjeeling-Himalayan Railway, which is Transfered entirely from Bengal. assisted by Government, runs from SilTgurl, the northern terminus of the Eastern Bengal State Raihvay, to Darjeeh'ng. The ruHng gradient is I in 28, and curves with radii varying from 60 feet (the sharpest) to 1,000 feet are ahiiost continuous on the hill portion of the line.

The Howrah-Amta Light Raihvay, like most of the other light lines, receives a 4 per cent, guarantee from the District board, and any profits above that figure are divided equally between the board and the company. Several similar lines huve been constructed of late years, the most recent being the Barasat-Basirhat Railway opened in 1905. The Tarakeswar-Magra Iight Railway is also on the 2 feet 6 inch gauge. The Baripada Light Railway, a feeder-line with a 2 feet 6 inch gauge, opened in 1905, connects the Mayurbhanj State with the Bengal-Nagpur Raihvay system.

The rapid extension of railways has revolutionized agricultural and trade conditions. They have rendered the greater portion of the Province immune from famine, and have greatly reduced the difliculty of battling with it in the few Districts still liable to its attacks. The railways have also done much to level prices and to moderate their fluctuations ; and by putting food-grains in circulation, they have led to a vast increase in the cultivation of fibres, oilseeds, and other non- food crops of commercial value.

The principal statistics in connexion with the Provincial railways are given in Table VIII at the end of this article (pp. 351-2). Roads are classed as Provincial or District roads, the former being maintained from Provincial and the latter from District funds. Pro- vincial aid is occasionally given to the District boards for the construc- tion of new roads, especially for those intended to serve as feeders to railways. Minor roads are classed as municipal. Local fund, military or cantonment, and village roads.

The total length^ of Provincial roads, which was 1,663 miles in 1890-1 and 1,659 in 1900-1, increased to 2,406 in 1903-4. During the same periods the length of District roads increased from 32,110 to 37,728 and to 50,631 miles respectively; the last figure includes a great many village roads already in existence but not previously taken into account. The maintenance of Provincial roads cost 6-27 lakhs in 1890-1, 12-29 lakhs in 1900-1, and 9-99 lakhs in 1903-4. The corresponding figures for District roads were 22-09, 22-81, and 21-16 lakhs. The increase in the cost of maintenance of Provincial roads in igoo-r was due to the expenditure of 7-34 lakhs on the Darjeeling roads after the cyclone. The grand trunk road traverses the Burdwan, Chota Nagpur, and Patna Divisions, from Calcutta to the western frontier, with a total

' The total length of Provincial roads in 1904-5 in the Province as now constituted was 2,362 miles, and of District roads 36,367 miles. The cost of maintenance of Provincial roads was 8-21 lakhs, and of District roads 14-45 lakhs. length in the Province of 390 miles. The Orissa trunk road runs from Calcutta via Cuttack to the Madras border, the length being 320 miles. The Ranlganj-Midnapore road has a length of loi miles, and the Barakar-KanchI road of 120 miles. The Ganges-Darjeeling road runs from near Katihar to Siligurl for 124 miles. These roads are metalled. An important unmetalled road runs from Chittagong* to Daudkandi*, a distance of 124 miles.

In the alluvial soil of Bengal proper it is very dit^cult to make good roads. The roads are raised by embankments above the level of the swamps with earth dug from the roadsides, but, stone not being avail- able locally, very few of them can be metalled. Those which are metalled are soled with brick and dressed with broken brick. Stone is employed only in Calcutta and Chittagong*, to which ports ships bring stone in ballast. Elsewhere in the Province laterite and ka?ikar make excellent road material, and stone also is sometimes available. The construction of railways has diminished the importance of the trunk roads, some of which have consequently been made over to District boards for maintenance. On the other hand, the increased facilities afforded by the railways for the export and import of goods have created a demand for numerous feeder-roads.

The ordinary country cart of Bengal consists of a framework of bamboo, supported on two wooden wheels and a wooden axle. The body is in the shape of a triangle tapering down towards the front, and it is drawn by a pair of bullocks which are yoked to a cross-bar about 4 feet long. The felloes of the wheels are made of six segments of sissu wood, and there are six spokes arranged in parallel pairs. The ekka is a light two-wheeled trap, drawn by a single pony. The body consists of a framework covered with coarse cloth with netvar tape woven across. It can be used over the most uneven ground. The Jiianjholi and the chaiiipani are both drawn by a pair of bullocks. The former is similar to an ekkd^ but the yoke consists of a beam of wood at right angles to another long beam projecting from the body of the cart. The champani is a two-wheeled, and sometimes a four-wheeled, light carriage similar in construction to an omnibus. It has, however, no benches within to sit on, and the travellers squat or lie down as they please. It has a pole with a cross-bar, which rests on the necks of the bullocks which drag it.

On the hill roads of Darjeeling a very heavy strongly made cart is used. In Bihar a distinction is made between the large heavy country cart or chakrd and the sd^^ar, which is rougher, lighter, and cheaper, but otherwise very similar. In Chota Nagpur and the Orissa Tributary States, where the sagar is also in use among the villagers, the wheels do not exceed 2| feet in diameter, and are made by joining three pieces of solid wood hewn out of a mango or viahud tree ; being low and narrow, it is well suited for rough work and bad roads. The Oriya cart is peculiar. It consists of two poles of ^(7/ wood or bamboo tied together at one end and about 3 feet apart at the other, and joined by cross-bars at intervals. The framework rests on a pair of wheels about 4 feet high and about 4 feet apart, and there is as much behind as in front of the axle-bar. The bullocks are yoked one on each side of the narrow end, and will drag half a ton 15 or 20 miles a day on a metalled road. For carrying grain a long coffin-shaped basket of split bamboo holding some 10 maunds is fitted on to the body of the cart, while in towns the body itself is often made in the shape of a box for transporting road materials. In Cuttack town, with the advent of the railway, the light little Madras hackeries drawn by a single bullock have become common.

Several steam tramways have been opened in rural areas ; but these would be more properly described as light railways, and as such have been mentioned in the section dealing with railways. The only tramway in urban areas is that serving the city of Calcutta, which is owned by a private company. This tramway was formerly dependent on horse traction ; but the unsatisfactory condition of the tramway lines and of the traction employed led in 1900 to the framing of a new agreement between the Corporation and the company, the main features of which were the introduction of electric traction by means of overhead wires, the postponement of the Corporation's right to purchase the tramways to 1 93 1, and the restriction of the fixed track rents payable by the company for the existing tramways to Rs. 35,000 a year. An arrange- ment has recently been made with the Calcutta Tramways Company for the introduction of a similar electric tramway service in Howrah.

The Calcutta and Eastern Canals are a system of improved natural channels connected by artificial canals, which carry the produce of East Bengal and of the Brahmaputra Valley to Calcutta. The total length is 1,127 niiles, and the capital outlay amounts to 77-1 lakhs. The net revenue in 1903-4 was 1-3 lakhs, and in the same year the value of the goods carried was estimated at 512 lakhs.

The HijiLi Tidal and Orissa Coast Canals run from the mouth of the Rupnarayan river to Chandbali in Balasore District, with a total length of 159 miles. The capital cost of the two canals has been 26-15 and 44-79 lakhs respectively. Their gross revenue in 1903-4 amounted to Rs. 42,000 and Rs. 34,000 respectively ; the former showed a small profit and the latter a loss on the year's working. The Bengal-Nagpur Railway has diverted much of the traffic from these canals, as it has also from the Midnapore and Orissa Canals, which, like the Son Canals, were constructed primarily for irrigation. The Midnapore Canal is navigable for 72 miles, and the tolls collected in 1903-4 amounted to Rs. 47,153. The Orissa Canals are navigable for 205 miles, and carried in 1903-4 cargo valued at 74 lakhs, the tolls aggregating Rs. 70,336. The Son Canals are navigable for 218 miles. The East Indian Rail- way has killed the traffic on them, and in 1903-4 they carried cargo valued at only 16 lakhs, the tolls amounting to Rs. 22,708.

Finally, the Nadia Rivers are a group of spill channels of the Ganges, which are kept open by artificial means in the dry season, and are navigable for 472 miles. In 1903-4 the cargo carried by them was valued at 205 lakhs ; the gross revenue amounted to Rs. 88,402, but there was a loss of Rs. 15,986 on the year's working.

In the east of the Province the rivers and estuaries carry the bulk of the country trade, and the roads are little used, especially in the rainy season. The chief waterways are the Ganges and Brahmaputra, and their joint estuary the Meghna, which are navigable throughout their course in Bengal by river steamers and large country boats. Both rivers throw off in their lower reaches innumerable distributaries, which inter- sect the country in every direction and enable boats to find their way to every village and almost to the door of every cottage. The eastern deltaic offshoots of the Ganges feed the Calcutta and Eastern Canals. The Gandak in North Bihar still carries a heavy traffic, and the MahanadI and Brahman! tap the hinterland of Orissa.

Weekly steamers ply to Chittagong* and to Chandbali on the Orissa coast ; small steamers also run from Chittagong* to Cox's Bazar*. Goalundo*, at the confluence of the Padma and Brahmaputra rivers, is the terminus of a great steamer traffic up the Ganges to Ghazlpur, and up the Brahmaputra to Dibrugarh. A daily service to Narayanganj* connects Dacca* with Calcutta, while mail steamers to Chandpur* link up the Assam-Bengal with the Eastern Bengal State Railway. Steamers ply daily from Calcutta through the Sundarbans to Assam, via Barisal*, Chandpur*, and Narayanganj*. On the Hooghly river steamers run daily up to Kalna, and down to Budge-Budge, Ulubaria, and Ghatal. On the Padma steamers ply between Damukdia Ghat and Rampur Boalia* and Godagari*, with a continuation to English Bazar (Malda)*, and between English Bazar* and Sultanganj. From Khulna steamers run to Barisal*, Noakhali*, Narayanganj*, Madaripur* and other places, and there is a daily service on the Brahmaputra from Goal undo* to Phulcharl*. Backergunge District* is also well served by steamers.

Several lines of steamers connect Calcutta with London, the principal being those of the Peninsular and Oriental and the British India Steam Navigation Companies, and the City, Clan, Harrison, and Anchor Lines. The Hansa Line has a steamer service to Hamburg and Bremen, the Austrian-Lloyd Steam Navigation Company to Trieste, and the Brockle- bank Line to Antwerp. The South African mails are carried by the Natal Line, while the steamers of the Indian and African Line also ply between Calcutta and Durban. The chief steamers running to Australia are those of the British India Steam Navigation Company and the Currie and Commonwealth Lines. A steamer of the Messageries

Maritimes Company plies regularly between Calcutta, Pondicherry, and Colombo, where it connects with the main line between Marseilles and the Far East. Vessels belonging to the fleet of the British India Steam Navigation Company carry passengers and cargo to Penang and Singa- pore, and also to Chittagong*, Akyab, Rangoon, Moulmein, and various coast ports on both sides of the peninsula. The Calcutta-Hongkong Line of Messrs. Apcar & Co. maintains a regular service to Penang, Singapore, and Hongkong; while the Asiatic Steam Navigation Company carries the mails to Port Blair, and has a line of steamers running weekly to Burma and fortnightly to the coast ports and Bombay.

Country boats are of all shapes and sizes, and the largest carry some 150 tons. They are generally very broad in the beam and of light draught. All carry a great square sail, the larger boats adding a topsail. Against wind they are rowed, or poled if the water be shallow, and against tide or current they are towed from the bank. The cargo boats are always decked over. Passengers use the budgerow, a broad-beamed craft with ample cabin space and room for a galley in the stern. The bhaulid is a smaller and more lightly built passenger boat. On the smaller streams and across the swamps light dug-outs carry all the traffic. They are poled in shallow water and paddled on the deeper channels.

The larger rivers are rarely bridged, and passengers, carts, and cattle cross in ferry-boats. These ferries are leased annually at auction for a considerable sum. Some are Provincial, but most have been made over to District boards and municipalities. The total receipts from ferries in 1903-4 were 6-5 lakhs, of which 5 lakhs was credited to District boards and 1-5 lakhs to municipalities. Steam ferries ply across the Ganges, connecting railway systems ; the most important are at Sara, Mokanieh, and Paleza Ghat. A steam ferry crosses the Hooghly from Diamond Harbour to Geonkhali.

The Province is divided for postal purposes into three circles \ of which the Bengal circle (which includes Katmandu in Nepal) is under a Postmaster-General, and the East Bengal and Bihar circles under Deputy-Postmasters-General. Each circle is subdivided into divisions managed by Superintendents. The table on the next page shows the remarkable advance which has taken place in postal business, for the three Bengal circles taken together.

The business is, however, still very small in comparison with the population, and the number of postal articles of all kinds delivered in 1903-4 works out to only two per head of the population. The figures relate to both the Imperial and District post. The latter system was a substitute for the official posts which under ancient custom

'In 1905 the Province, as reconstituted, became a single circle, the Jiihar circle being abolished.Bengal landowners had to maintain. A tax, known as the Dak cess, was levied, and expended in maintaining postal communications required for administrative purposes, the up-keep of which was not warranted on commercial principles. The District Magistrate decided what communi- cations were to be opened and maintained, but their management was in the hands of the Postal department. The expenditure from this cess, which was fixed for each District according to its requirements, averaged 3-58 lakhs annually for the five years ending in 1903-4. In 1903-4 the offices numbered 292, the length worked was 11,832 miles, and the expenditure amounted to Rs. 3,53,384. In 1906 the tax was abolished, and the District post was amalgamated with the Imperial system.



As already stated, the immediate control of the Province of Bengal 1 This subject is fully discussed in the Bengal Census Report for 1901, par.agraphs iSi, 184, 1S6, 199, 202, and 397. was vested in the Governor-General of India till 1854, when a Lieuten- ant-Governor was appointed. He has a staff of five secretaries — three for the ordinary civil administration and two for Public Works. The former are the Chief Secretary, who is in charge of the Revenue, Political, and Appointment departments, the General Secretary in the Judicial and General departments, and the Secretary in the Financial and Municipal departments. One of the Public Works Secretaries is concerned with irrigation, marine, and railways, and the other with roads and buildings. The Judicial de- partment was formerly under the Chief Secretary, and revenue matters were dealt with by the General Secretary ; but recently (1905) a redis- tribution of work has been introduced by which the Revenue depart- ment has been transferred to the Chief Secretary, and the Judicial department to the General Secretary. The branches of work now under the Chief Secretary include land revenue, surveys and settle- ments, agriculture, forests, mines, police, registration, and political matters ; those under the Judicial and General Secretary include prisons, education, and emigration ; and those under the Financial and Municipal Secretary include separate revenue, opium, local self- government, medical, and sanitation.

The control of all matters connected with the collection of the revenue and the administration of the land is vested in the Board of Revenue, which was constituted by Regulation III of 1822. There are two members, one of whom deals with land revenue, surveys and settlements, land registration, the management of wards' estates, the collection of cesses, &c., and the other with miscellaneous revenue, including excise, opium, income-tax, salt, customs, and the like. Each member is vested with the full powers of the Board in respect of his own department, and can act for his colleague if the latter is absent.

For administrative purposes Bengal is divided into nine Divisions, each of which is superintended by a Commissioner. Of these, five — the Burdwan, Presidency, Rajshahi*, Dacca*, and Chittagong* Di- visions — lie within the limits of Bengal proper ; two — Patna and Bha- galpur — make up the sub-province of Bihar, while Orissa and Chota Nagpur each forms a separate Commissionership. The average area ^ of a Commissioner's Division is rather more than 17,000 square miles, and the average population is a little more than 8 millions. The Chota Nagpur Division with 27,000 square miles is the largest, while the most populous is the Patna Division with 15^ millions, or about the population of the Bombay Presidency, excluding Sind. The Com- missioner exercises a general control over the conduct of affairs within his Division. He is responsible for seeing that the local officers duly

' Bengal now consists of six Divisions, the .iverage area being a little over 19,000 square miles. perform the duties required of them, and that the orders issued by Government are carried into effect. He is addressed by the local officers when they are in need of instructions, and he refers to Govern- ment or to the Board of Revenue all questions which he is not competent to dispose of himself. He also assists Government and the Board with his advice when called upon to do so.

These Divisions are again subdivided into Districts, each under a District officer, known as the Magistrate and Collector in regulation, and the Deputy-Commissioner in non-regulation^ tracts. Including Angul and the Chittagong Hill Tracts*, but excluding Calcutta, there are in all forty-seven Districts. The two largest are Hazaribagh and RanchI, each extending over more than 7,000 square miles, or about half as large again as Wales, while the smallest is Howrah with only 510 square miles. The greatest number of inhabitants is found in Mymensingh*, whose population of 4,000,000 does not fall far short of that of the whole of Upper Burma. The average area^ of a District exceeds 3,300 square miles, and the average population is more than 1^ millions.

These Districts again are usually partitioned into two or more sub- divisions, the head-quarters subdivision being usually administered by the District Magistrate and each of the others by a Joint, Assistant, or Deputy-Magistrate subordinate to him. The total number of these subdivisions is 134. Their area is on the average" 1,177 square miles, and their population more than 559,000. The last and smallest unit of administration is the police circle or thana. This is primarily the unit of police administration, and is usually in charge of a sub-inspector ; but it has also come to be the acknowledged unit of territorial partition and is used in all administrative matters. The number of thdnas in Bengal is 569, or about 12 per District; their average area is 277 square miles, and their population about 130,000 persons. The fiscal divisions of the Muhammadans, called parganas, formed the basis of the British revenue system ; but they are wanting in compactness and, except for the purpose of land revenue payments, they are no longer of any prac- tical importance.

The mainstay of the British administration is the District officer. He is the executive chief and administrator of the tract of country com- mitted to him, and all other magisterial, police, and revenue officers therein employed are subordinate to him. As District Magistrate he is

' The non-regulation Districts are those in which some at least of the general laws and regulations are not in force. They form the ' Scheduled Districts ' referred to in Act XIV of 1874 (see Vol. IV, p. 130. There are now thirty-three Districts, the average area being 3,500 square miles.

There are now 100 subdivisions, the average area being 1,170 square miles and the average population 504,000. the head of the department of criminal justice, which is charged with the trial of all but the more important charges; the latter are committed to the Court of Sessions, if inquiry goes to show that a prima facie case has been established. He is assisted in police matters by the District Superintendent of police, who is allowed a free hand in all purely administrative details. He is ex-officio chairman of the District board, and, as such, is in charge of all local public works, village sanitation, and education ; he is assisted in these matters by the District Engineer and the Deputy-Inspector of schools. The municipalities of the Dis- trict are sometimes presided over by official, and sometimes by non- official, chairmen, but in either case the District officer is expected to exercise a general supervision and control. He is also ex-officio Regis- trar of assurances. As Collector he is responsible for the realization of all kinds of revenue and taxes, for the management of Government estates, the assessment of the income-tax, the settlement of, and super- vision over, excise and opium shops, &c., &c. The officers in charge of subdivisions exercise in their own jurisdictions, in subordination to the District officer, the powers of chief local magistrate ; certain other powers are also delegated to them, but they do not usually collect land revenue, and in police matters they have only judicial and not executive control.

The Magistrate-Collector is assisted in the criminal and revenue administration of the District by a subordinate staff — a Joint-Magis- trate, Deputy-Magistrate-Collectors, Assistant Magistrate-Collectors, and Sub-Deputy Magistrate-Collectors. Joint-Magistrates and Assistant Ma- gistrates are junior officers of the Indian Civil Service ; the other officials are recruited in India, and are members of the Provincial or the Subor- dinate civil service. All these officials are stationed either at District or at subdivisional head-quarters.

The village watch are paid from taxation assessed and collected in the villages by ihe. panchayats, who represent all that remains in Bengal of village autonomy. These panchayats assist in the registration of vital statistics ; and recently, in order to develop the system of village govern- ment, it has been decided that the presidents of the panchayats are to be ex-officio visitors of primary schools aided from public funds or under public management, and also of pounds, public ferries, and public sarais in their Unions. In some Districts the presidents have also been granted certain magisterial powers. In Chota Nagpur village communities are still to be found, and some account of the system is given in the article on the Munda tribe.

The following are the Native States under the control of, or in political relations with, the Government of Bengal' : —

' la 1906 Sikkim and Bhutan were i)lacecl in direct relations with the Government of India. Sikkini lies to the east of Nepal and is bounded on the north and north-east by Tibet, on the east by Bhutan, and on the south by Dar- jeeling District. Early in the nineteenth century Silckim was menaced by the Gurkhas, but its independence was secured by the treaty made with Nepal in 18 16, at which time it included the greater part of the present District of Darjeeling. In 1835 part of the hilly tract west of the Tista was ceded to the British Government, for the purpose of a sanitarium ; and in 1850 the rest of it and the tarai^ i.e. the Sillguri thana, were annexed on account of the Raja's misbehaviour. For many years the State was left to manage its own affairs, but for some time prior to 1888 the Tibetans were found to be intriguing with the Maharaja, who became more and more unfriendly.

Affairs reached a climax in 1888, when an expedition was sent against the Tibetans, who had advanced into Sikkim and built a fort at Lingtu. The Sikkim State was occupied by British troops, and the Tibetans were driven off with ease. Since 1889 a Political officer has been stationed at Gangtok, to advise and assist the Maharaja and his council. No precise rules have ever been laid down for the civil and criminal administration. All except very trivial cases are tried at Gangtok, either by the Maharaja himself or by the Political officer, or by one or other of them in associa- tion with some member of the council. Appeals are heard by the Maharaja, sitting with one or more members of the council, or by a committee of the council. Capital sentences passed by other autho- rities require the confirmation of the Maharaja. The annual budget estimates of income and expenditure are, in the first instance, approved by the Maharaja and the council, and are then submitted for the sanction of the Government by the Political officer.

Bhutan lies east of Sikkim and Darjeeling and north of Jalpaiguri* and of the Goalpara, Kamrup, and Darrang Districts of Assam. It is internally independent, and there is no British Resident. Repeated outrages on British subjects by the hillmen, and the brutal treatment of a British envoy, led in 1864 to the hostilities already described, which resulted in the confiscation of the Duars*, or submontane tracts, with the passes leading into the hills, in return for which an annual subsidy of Rs. 50,000 is paid at Buxa*. Since then relations with Bhutan have, on the whole, been of a friendly character ; and under the ascendancy of the Tongsa Penlop, who, in the name of the Deb Raja, controls all public affairs, the country enjoys the advantage of a settled government. The Political officer in Sikkim now conducts relations with Bhutan also.

The Feudatory State of Cooch Behar lies in the plains at the foot of the Bhutan hills, between the District of Rangpur* and the Jalpaiguri Duars*. It is the only remnant of the great Koch kingdom founded by Biswa Singh in the early part of the sixteenth century,

VOL. VII. u which, under his son Nar Narayan, extended from the Mahananda as far east as Central Assam. On Nar Narayan's death the kingdom was divided into two parts, and only the western portion remained in the possession of the ancestors of the present Maharaja, who accepted the Muhammadans as their overlords. Their power gradually declined, and from time to time they were shorn of outlying parts of their dominions. Early in the eighteenth century the Bhotias began to interfere, and by 1772 they had taken possession of the Raja and of his capital. British aid was then sought, and, in consideration of the cession in perpetuity of half the revenues as then ascertained, the Bhotias were driven out. The Maharaja administers the State with the assistance of a council, of which he is the president, and which includes the Superintendent of the State, a British ofificer, who is vice-president, and two State officials — the Diwan, who is revenue member, and the Civil and Sessions Judge, who is the judicial member. The executive control is vested in the Faujdari Ahlkar, who corresponds to the Magistrate of a British District, and is subordinate to the Superintendent of the State. The Civil and Sessions Judge occupies much the same- position as the corresponding officer in Bengal regulation Districts. Sentences of death require the confirmation of the Maharaja. The budget is passed by the Maharaja, and does not need the sanction of any other authority ; but a general control over the affairs of the State is exercised by the Government of Bengal in the Political department.

Hill Tippera* lies to the south of Tippera District* and, like Cooch Behar, represents the last fragment of a once powerful kingdom, which formerly extended far into the plains of East Bengal and South Assam, and which long bade defiance to the Muhammadan Nawabs^ The Tippera kings were gradually deprived of their rule in the plains, and at the time of the acquisition of Bengal by the East India Company they exercised sovereign powers only in the hill tract now ruled by them. The Raja, however, derives the greater part of his income from certain large estates in British territory which he holds as zaminddr. No formal treaty regulates the relations between the British Government and the Raja of Hill Tippera*, but the succession of a new Raja has always been subject to recognition and investiture by the British authorities. No control was exercised in respect of the internal administration until the year 187 1, when an English officer was appointed to reside in the State as Political Agent, to protect British interests and advise the Raja. This officer was subsequently withdrawn, and his duties now devolve on the Magistrate and Collector of Tippera District*, who is ex-officio Political Agent for Hill Tippera . He is

' The Kajmdla, or Chronicle of the Kings of Tippera, has been analyzed by the Rev. J. Long, in a paper in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of /'Ciigal, vol. xix, P hoi-required to maintain a close watch over the affairs of the State, and it is to him that Government looks for information regarding all important occurrences there. All correspondence passes through him, and an annual report on the administration of the State is submitted to him for transmission to Government, through the Commissioner of the Chittagong Division*. The chief is himself the highest court of appeal in all civil and criminal matters, and sentences of death passed or confirmed by him are final.

The Orissa Tributary States^ are 17 in number: namely, Athgarh, Talcher, Mayurbhanj, Nllgiri, Keonjhar, Pal Lahara, Dhenkanal, Athmallik, Hindol, Narsinghpur, Baramba, Tigiria, Khandpara, Naya- garh, Ranpur, Daspalla, and Baud. These were acquired at the conquest of Orissa from the Marathas in 1803 ; but as they had never been brought under complete control by the native governments, they were exempted from the operation of the general Regulations. Treaties were made with the several States on various dates between 1803 and 1829. It has been held that these States do not form part of British India, and the status, position, and power of the chiefs are defined in their sanads. The chiefs administer civil and criminal justice under the supervision of the Commissioner of the Orissa Division, who is ex-officio Superintendent of the Tributary States.

All capital cases, and, except in special cases when a chief's powers have been increased, all heinous offences which require more than two years' imprisonment, are committed by the Assistants to the Superintendent of Tributary Mahals for trial. One of these is a special native Assistant, who tries sessions cases from certain States and such other cases as the Superintendent may make over to him ; the others are the Magistrates of Cuttack, Purl, and Balasore, and the Deputy-Commissioner of Angul, who are ex-officio Assistant Superintendents, but, with the exception of the two last mentioned, they do not often deal with criminal cases. The Assistant Superintendents have the power of District Magistrates and Sessions Judges, while the Superintendent has the powers of a Sessions Judge, and also, in respect of the proceedings of his subordinates, those of a High Court.

In Chota Nagpur there are seven Tributary and two Political States '^ The former, including Chang Bhakar*, Korea*, Jashpur*, Surguja*, Udaipur ', Gangpur, and Bonai, were tributaries of the Bhonsla dynasty Owing to the territorial change effected in October, 1905, the number of these States has been increased from 17 to 24, as two States, Gangpur and Bonai, have been transferred from the Chota Nagpur States, and five more, namely, Bamra, Rairakhol Sonpur, Patna, and Kalahandi, have been, transferred from ihe Central Provinces.

The Chota Nagpur States now include only tiie two Political Slates of Kharsawan and Saraikela. Of the other States, Gangpur and Bonai have been transferred to the Orissa Tributary Slates, and the rest, namely, Chang Bhakar, Korea, Jashpur, Surguja, and Udaipur, have been transferred to the Central Provinces. of Nagpur, and were ceded under the provisional agreement concluded with Madhuji Bhonsla in 1818. The tribute was then fixed at a lower rate than that levied under the Maratha government, and the settle- ments with the chiefs were made for a limited period. Fresh settlements for a nominal term of five years were made in 1827, but were not renewed until 1875, when they were made for a period of twenty years.

The latter were renewed in 1889, when the tribute was fixed for a further period of twenty years, and the States having in the mean- time been declared by the Secretary of State to be outside British India, the relations between them and the British Government were defined in their new sanads. The chiefs of these States are under the control of the Commissioner of Chota Nagpur. They are permitted to levy rents and certain other customary dues from their subjects. They are empowered to pass sentences of imprisonment up to five years and of fine to the extent of Rs. 200 ; but sentences of imprisonment for more than two years, or of fine exceeding Rs. 50, require the confirmation of the Commissioner. Heinous offences calling for heavier punish- ment are dealt with by the Deputy-Commissioners of Ranchi, Palamau, and Singhbhum, who exercise the powers of District Magistrates and Assistant Sessions Judges ; the Commissioner and Judicial Com- missioner in respect of such cases occupy the position of a Sessions Court, while the functions of a High Court are performed by the Government of Bengal.

The two Political States of Saraikela and Kharsawan lie in Singh- bhum, and control over them is exercised by the Commissioner through the Deputy-Commissioner of that District. They were claimed as feudatories by the Raja of Porahat, whose territory was confiscated in 1857 for rebellion, but was in 1895 restored as a revenue-free zanwidari to his son. It is believed that engagements were taken from the chiefs of these States, but they are not now forthcoming. They have now, however, received sanads similar to those described above, and their general position is much the same as that of the Rajas of the Tributary States, except that they do not pay tribute.

Legislation and justice

The laws in force in Bengal consist of (i) Acts of Parliament relating to India ; (2) certain still unrepealed Regulations of what was known as the Bengal Code, framed by the Executive Govern- iifstice nient before the creation of the legislative bodies j (3) Acts of the Governor-General's Legislative Council, now constituted under the Indian Councils Acts, 1861 and 1892; (4) Regulations for certain backward tracts issued by the Government of India under the Statute 33 Vict., c. 3 ; and lastly, (5) Acts of the Bengal Legislative Council. Ihe Bengal Council came into existence on January 18, 1862, under a proclamation by the Governor-General-in- Council which extended the provisions of the Indian Councils Act,

186 1, to the Bengal Division of the Presidency of Fort William '. The Council at first consisted of twelve members and a president, the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal; but this number has been raised to twenty under the Indian Councils Act, 1892. By regulations made under this Act, it has been provided that of the twenty members not more than ten shall be otificials ; of the non-official members seven are nominated by the Lieutenant-Governor on the recommendation of certain local bodies and associations, and three at his own discretion. The financial position of the Government of Bengal is explained in Council every year, and is there open to criticism, so far as it concerns the branches of revenue and expenditure that are under the control of the Government of Bengal. There is also a right of interpellation, which is limited to matters under the control of the Lieutenant- Governor, who may disallow questions which appear to him to be inconsistent with the public interest. No resolution can be proposed or division taken in connexion with the financial statement. Among the legislative measures enacted since 1880, which specially affect this Province, the following deserve mention :— Act of the Indian Council The Bengal Tenancy Act (VIII of 1S85). Acts of the Bengal Council The Bengal Drainage Act (VI of 188o\ The Cess Act (IX of 188o). The Bengal Municipal Act (III of 1884V The Bengal Local Self-Government Act (III of 1885). The Calcutta Port Act (III of 1890). The Public Demands Recovery Act (I of 1895). The Calcutta Municipal Act (III of 1899"). In respect of civil justice the High Court at Calcutta (more properly designated the High Court of Judicature at Fort William in Bengal) is a court of record and equity, and is constituted under the Indian High Courts Act, 1861, as the supreme court in Bengal, exercising both original (including ecclesiastical, admiralty, and bankruptcy) and appellate jurisdiction. Below the High Court are the District and Additional Judges, the Small Cause Courts, the Subordinate Judges, who are sometimes also appointed to be Assistant Judges, and the Munsifs. Of these, the District, Additional, and Assistant Judges also exercise the powers of a criminal court ; the others are purely civil judges, with the exception of a few Munsifs who are vested with magis- terial powers. The ordinary jurisdiction of a Munsif extends to all original suits cognizable by the civil courts in which the value of the subject-matter ' As regard:; legislation and ihe functions of the Provincial Legislative Councils, see Vol. IV, chap. v.

in dispute does not exceed Rs. i,ooo, or, if specially extended, Rs. 2,000. The jurisdiction of a Subordinate Judge or District Judge extends to all original suits cognizable by the civil courts. It does not, however, include the powers of a Small Cause Court unless these have been specially conferred. Appeals from Munsifs lie to the District Judge, or to the Subordinate Judge, if the High Court, with the sanction of the Local Government, so direct. Appeals from Subordinate Judges lie to the District Judge, except when the value of the subject-matter exceeds Rs. 5,000, in which case the appeal lies to the High Court. Appeals from the decrees and orders of District and Additional Judges lie to the High Court. An appeal may, subject to certain restrictions, be preferred from the High Court to the Privy Council in England, if the amount in dispute exceeds Rs. 10,000. The powers of Courts of Small Causes are regulated by Act IX of 1887. Subject to certain exceptions, their jurisdiction extends to all suits of a civil nature of which the value does not exceed Rs. 500, a limit which may be increased to Rs. r,ooo by a special order of the Local Government. The Local Government is empowered, under Act XII of 1887, to invest Subordinate Judges and Munsifs with Small Cause Court jurisdiction for the trial of cases not exceeding Rs. 500 in value in the case of Subordinate Judges, and Rs. 100 in the case of Munsifs. In civil suits above a certain limit Calcutta is under the original jurisdiction of the High Court. The Small Cause Court of Calcutta has a purely local jurisdiction and is regulated by a special Act. The principal statistics^ relating to civil justice are embodied in the statement below : —


Criminal justice is administered by magistrates (of whom there are three classes), the Courts of Sessions, and the High Court. Subject to the maximum punishment prescribed by law for each offence, a magis- trate of the first class has power to sentence offenders to imprisonment,

'The corresponding number of suits instituted in 190.^ in Bengal as now con- stituted was : — Suits for money and movable property, 161,173 ; title and other suits, 46,914; rent suits, 21 1,783; total, 419,870. either rigorous or simple, up to two years, including solitary confine- ment, or to fine to the extent of Rs. 1,000, or to imprisonment and fine combined, or to whipping as a separate or an additional punishment. A magistrate of the second class can award imprisonment up to six months, fine up to Rs. 200, or both, and also whipping, if specially empowered in this behalf. A magistrate of the third class may im- prison up to one month or fine up to Rs. 50, or he may combine these punishments. Benches consisting of two or more honorary magis- trates, sitting together, have been appointed at almost all the District head-quarters, and at most of the subdivisional stations in Bengal. An honorary magistrate, if specially empowered, can also sit singly for the trial of cases. Honorary magistrates are ordinarily appointed for a term of three years, which is renewable. I'heir powers vary according to circumstances ; but, generally speaking, benches of honorary magis trates are invested with second or third-class powers, and the majority of honorary magistrates sitting singly with the powers of a magistrate of the second class. The Magistrate of the District exercises first-class powers, and hears appeals against convictions by magistrates of the second and third classes. Such appeals may also be heard by any magistrate of the first class duly empowered by the Local Government. Magistrates of the first class and benches of magistrates of the second and third classes may try certain offences summarily when specially empowered to do so, but in such cases the sentence may not exceed three months' imprisonment.

In Calcutta criminal justice is administered by three stipendiary Presidency Magistrates a municipal magistrate appointed to try offences under the Municipal Act, and several benches of honorary magistrates.

The Courts of Sessions are presided over by a single Judge, who tries, with the aid of a jury or assessors, all cases committed to him by the magistracy, and decides, sitting alone, all appeals from convictions by magistrates of the first class, other than those in cases tried summarily, when the magistrate passes a sentence of imprisonment not exceeding three months, or fine not exceeding Rs. 200, or of whipping only, or in petty cases, when the sentence does not exceed one month's imprisonment or Rs. 50 fine. The Sessions Judge is also empowered to call for and examine the record of any proceeding before a sub- ordinate court, for the purpose of satisfying himself as to the correct- ness and legality of any order passed. The powers of a Sessions Judge are limited only by the maximum punishment fixed for each offence in the Penal Code, but sentences of death are subject to confirmation by the High Court.

The High Court, on its original side, tries, by a single Judge with a jury, all cases committed to it by the Presidency Magistrates, and also certain cases in which the accused are European British subjects, which may be committed for trial by magistrates in the interior. On its appellate side the High Court, by a bench of two or more Judges disposes of appeals in respect of convictions on trials before a Court of Sessions. It revises, upon reference from Sessions Judges or magis- trates, the decisions of inferior courts, when in error upon points of law, deals with appeals which the Local Government may prefer against acquittals, and confirms, modifies, or annuls all sentences of death passed by Sessions Courts.

The table ^ below contains some of the more important statistics relating to criminal justice. During the last few years there has been a considerable increase in the number of offences against property, which is said to be due to the high price of food-grains.


The registration of assurances is effected under the same law (Act III of 1877) as in other parts of British India. The cost is met by fees levied from persons presenting documents for registration or desiring copies of registered documents, according to a scale prescribed by Government. The Registration department is presided over by an Inspector-General. The District Magistrates, who are ex-officio Regis- trars, have full powers of inspection and control over all registration ofifices in their Districts, and are responsible for the proper conduct of the work. At the head-quarters of each District there is a salaried officer, known as the special sub-registrar, who deals with the documents

' The following table gives the corresponding figures for 1903 for Btngal as now constituted : —


presented for registration there, and assists the Registrar in the super- vision of the proceedings of all other registration officers in the District. The number of the latter, who are called rural sub-registrars, varies according to local requirements. Formerly the special sub-registrars used to receive, in addition to their salaries, a commission on the documents registered by them, while the rural sub-registrars were remunerated only by fees on a sliding scale and were entitled to no pension or gratuity on retirement. A new scheme for the reorganization of the department has, however, recently been introduced. The system of payment of commission has been abolished, and both the special and rural sub-registrars have been graded on fixed salaries, the services of the latter, like the former, being made pensionable. In Calcutta the Registrar is a separate officer on a fixed salary. The chief statistics connected with registration operations are exhibited below. The number of documents registered in 1901 was more than double the average of the decade 1881-90, and the receipts exceeded those of the same decade by more than 50 per cent.



The present Provincial system of finance dates from 187 1, when the financial management of the great spending departments of registra- tion, jails, police, education, medical (except medical establishments), printing, and certain branches of public works expenditure was entrusted to the Government of Bengal, a fixed assignment of 1 1 7 lakhs being made to meet the charges. In 1877 the process of decentralization was continued by the transfer to the Local Government of other items oi expenditure, together with the assignment, on progressive terms, of certain heads of revenue which it was thought would benefit by careful local management, including salt, stamps, excise. Provincial rates, and assessed taxes; an equilibrium being established between the income from these sources and the expenditure, as estimated for the first year of the contract, by means of a fixed money contribution. The receipts and expenditure on state railways and canals were also made over to the Local Govern- ment. It was anticipated that the interest charges on account of their cost of construction would exceed the net earnings, and the Local Government was empowered to meet the deficiency by taxation to be raised by a special public works cess imposed under Act II (B.C.) of 1877. This settlement was made for a period of five years.

On its expiry, a new settlement was arranged, on very similar terms, but a proportion of the land revenue was given instead of the fixed money contribution required to produce an equilibrium between revenue and expenditure, and the public works cess, being no longer regarded as hypothecated for the payment of interest on the capital cost of Pro- vincial public works, became merged in the general revenues of the Province. In the three quinquennial settlements which followed, no material advance in the system of decentralization was made ; but the shares of the Provincial and Supreme Governments in the three principal heads of land revenue, stamps, and excise were redistributed^ the Local Government obtaining in 1887 and 1892 one-quarter of the receipts from land revenue and excise, and three-quarters of the stamp revenue. Meanwhile, the management of all but a few minor lines of railway was gradually resumed by the Government of India, the last railway to be transferred from local control being the Eastern Bengal State Railway. This was in 1897 ; and in order to compensate for the loss of this progressive source of revenue, the Provincial share of the receipts from excise was raised from one-quarter to one-half. At the same time, the receipts and expenditure of the Salt department were reserved as wholly Imperial. The settlement of 1897 was, as usual, fixed originally for five years, but was extended by two years and did not expire until March 31, 1904.

The latest settlement marks a great advance in decentralization. The previous five-year settlements began with undue economy and ended with extravagance. The difficulty has been to devise a scheme which should be permanent, but which should not involve unfairness, or risk of unfairness after a lapse of years, to the Supreme Government or to the Local Government. For this problem a simple solution has been found. The present settlement is neither for five years nor is it permanent, but it will last for an indefinite period, and it is subject to revision if over a long period of years it is found to be unfair to one side or the other. Another principle laid down was that when heads of revenue or expenditure were divided, the Local Government should have the same share both of the revenue and of the expenditure under the same head. This has, however, been departed from in the case of land revenue, the expenditure on which has been made wholly Provin- cial, although the Local Government gets only one-quarter of the receipts. The Local Government gets the whole of the receipts under registration, one-half of those under stamps, seven-sixteenths of those under excise, and one-quarter of those under assessed taxes and forests, and bears the same proportion of expenditure in each case.

The result of tliis arrangement has been to reduce the annual net addition to the Provincial revenue by about one-fourth. Previous settlements involved a revision at the end of five years, which meant that the Local Government gave up part of its income to the Supreme (lovernment. As such revisions are no longer to be made, it is obvious that the rate of expenditure must be fixed on a somewhat lower level. On the other hand, the Local Government will not benefit from the absence of revision until the expiry of five years, when the first revision would otherwise take place ; and to make up for this, the Supreme (Government made a grant to the Local Government of a lump sum of 50 lakhs, on the understanding that its expenditure was to be spread over several years. The net result of the changes under the present settlement is that the charges made over to Provincial management exceed the Provincialized receipts by 49 lakhs, and this deficit is made good annually by a fixed assignment under the Land Revenue head.

The general financial results, so far as the Province of Bengal is con- cerned, will be seen from Tables IX and X at the end of this article (pp. 353-4). The most noteworthy features are the expansion of the revenue under the headings excise, Provincial rates, registration, stamps and forests, and of the expenditure under superannuation, law and justice, police, contributions to Local funds, medical, and general administration.

The growth of the excise revenue has been due to various causes, of which the more important are enhancement of the rates of duty levied, increase of population, greater prosperity of the people, which has enabled them to spend more on luxuries, improvement in the efficiency with which the department is administered, and not least the general rise of prices, which has affected excisable equally with other articles, and has swelled the receipts of the venders and the public revenue. The avowed policy of the Government has been to restrict the con- sumption of drugs and spirits by raising the duty charged on them. The steady expansion under Provincial rates, which are assessed on the annual value of land, is due mainly to periodic revaluations, and not to any change in the rate at which the cess is levied, which has for many years stood at the maximum allowed by law. The registration receipts, though they still show an upward tendency, increased most rapidly during the early years of the system of Provincial contracts, when registration offices were freely opened wherever there appeared to be a reasonable demand for them, with the result that many more documents were brought under registration than had been the custom in previous years. In 1887 it was decided that process-serving fees in revenue courts and copying fees should in future be levied in court-fee stamps and not in cash, and this led to a marked improvement in the stamp revenue. Apart from this, the development of this source of revenue is the outcome of growing prosperity and industrial and com- mercial development, and that under forests is due to more efficient management coupled with an increasing demand for forest produce.

There has been a rise on account of salaries in various departments. Exchange compensation allowance has been granted to European officials, and in several departments there has been a reorganization of establishments and a general increase of pay. During the currency of the settlement of 1884-5, ^" additional yearly expenditure of 4| lakhs was incurred under 'judicial courts,' the result of an increase in the number of Subordinate Judges and Munsifs and of judicial establishments generally. About the same time the reorganization of the police department, in accordance with the recommendations of the Police Commission of 1891, led to an additional yearly expenditure of about 6 lakhs. In recent years the expenditure under medical has been swollen by charges incurred in connexion with the suppression of plague ; but large sums have also been spent on works of general utility, such as the building of the BhawanTpur Hospital, the remodelling of the General Hospital, and the extension of the Medical College in Calcutta. The increased contributions to Local funds were made partly to aid them in the arrangements they had to carry out for the prevention of plague or in the repairs of damages caused by the disastrous earthquake of 1897, and partly to assist them to provide feeder-roads for railways and improve communications generally. The ordinary income of the District boards is not capable of much expansion, and those bodies have to rely on subventions from Government to meet their growing needs, while the amount of aid which the latter is able to render varies with its own financial position \

The transfer of a number of Districts to Eastern Bengal and Assam has reduced the Provincial revenues to about 463 lakhs (estimate for 1906-7), to which is added a fixed contribution of 11 lakhs from Imperial funds.

Land revenue

The current land revenue demand^ for the year 1903-4 was more than 4 crores, or one-fifth of the principal heads of receipts in the Province. Four-fifths of the land revenue was per- manently settled at the end 01 the eighteenth century ; and since that date the zam'indars and their tenants have shared between them the entire benefit of the enormous increase in the value of the produce of land which has taken place, including that of waste land since brought under cultivation. The result is that Bengal pays a lower The Provincial finances were seriously crippled in 1897 by an expenditure of 27^ lakhs on famine relief, besides nearly 5 lakhs granted as compensation for the dearness of food to the lower-paid servants of Government, and a heavy expenditure on account of plague ; it was thus necessary to withhold the much-needed aid to local bodies until equilibrium was restored by a special contribution of 17 lakhs from the Government of India.

- The demand in Bengal as now constituted was 284 lakhs, or nearly 3 crores. revenue tlian any other Province, with the single exce[)tion of the Central I'rovinces, and the incidence of the land revenue per acre is only R. 0-13-2 as compared with Rs. 1-7-8 for India as a whole.

According to valuation returns furnished by zamlndars and tenure- holders under the Cess Act, the total rental of the Province amounted in 1903-4 to 17-84 crores. Of this sum, the land revenue absorbs less than one quarter, and the remainder is shared by the zamlndars, tenure- holders, revenue-free proprietors, and rent-free holders. These figures illustrate the huge financial sacrifice involved in the permanent settle- ment, for, after deducting the gross rental of revenue-free estates, rent- free holdings, and temporarily settled estates, the ' assets ' of the permanently settled revenue-paying estates may be estimated at 1472 lakhs ; and if the revenue had been periodically resettled, their assess- ment would probably now be not less than half the gross rental, i. e. 736 lakhs, or considerably more than double the actual figures of 323 lakhs.

The earliest assessment known to have been made in the Province was Todar Mai's great settlement of 1582, according to which the revenue of Bengal, Bihar, and Orissa amounted to 185 lakhs of rupees. The principle of Todar Mai's settlement was to ascertain the produce of each field, and to take as the revenue a share of it, estimated by different authorities at one-third or one-fourth. Bengal, however, being an outlying Province of the empire, was not measured, and Bihar was only partially surveyed ; the assessment was therefore made on the basis of the reports of village accountants, and cannot be said to have borne any ascertained relation to the produce of the soil. Such as it was, however, it remained the basis of all subsequent Mughal settlements, and practically of the Decennial Settlement also.

Todar Mai's revenue was enhanced by the successive Mughal governors of Bengal, the increases being due partly to territorial acquisitions, partly to abwdbs or proportionate additions to the original assessment of Todar Mai, and partly to the taxation of newly cul- tivated or improved lands. By 1765, when the British acquired the Dlwani or financial administration of the Province, the nominal revenue had risen to 312 lakhs, though it is doubtful whether so large a sum was ever realized.

In 1 790-1 the Decennial Settlement, which in 1793 was declared permanent, was carried out by British officers, and the total assessment, including that of two Districts in Assam, amounted to 268 lakhs oi sicca rupees, or 286 lakhs of Company's rupees. It was made on the basis of preceding temporary settlements ; and detailed inquiries regarding out-turn and rates of rent were expressly forbidden, as the Directors were anxious to avoid any investigations of an inquisitorial character. It is impossible, therefore, to determine the proportion which the assessment bore either to the produce of the land, or to the rental received by the zamiudars. It was believed at the time, however, that it amounted to 90 per cent, of the gross rental; and Sir John Shore estimated that, of the gross produce of the soil, the British Gov- ernment received 45 per cent., the zamiudars and their under-renters 15 per cent., and the cultivators 40 per cent.

The increase in the revenue of the permanently settled estates, from 286 lakhs in 1 790-1 to 323 lakhs in 1903-4, was due to the resumption and assessment, during the first half of the nineteenth century, of a large number of estates which had been claimed as free of revenue. During the same period, however, the gross rental of these estates has risen from 318 to 1472 lakhs (assuming that the assessment of 1790 was equivalent to 90 per cent, of the gross rental) ; in other words, the Government share of the rental has fallen during this period from 90 to 24 per cent.

The operations of the Permanent Settlement did not include the unsettled part of Chittagong*, the Kolhan estate in Singhbhum and other tracts in Chota Nagpur, the Daman-i-koh in the Santal Parganas, or the Sundarbans. These tracts are temporarily settled, as are also many alluvial islands and estates which have escheated, or been pur- chased from time to time by the Government at revenue sales. Tracts acquired since 1793 are also temporarily settled : namely, the sub- province of Orissa, acquired from the Marathas in 1803 ; the Khurda estate in Purl, confiscated in 1804 ; the District of Darjeeling, acquired partly from Sikkim in 1835 ^"^ ^^850, and partly from Bhutan in 1864; the estates of Banki and Angul, confiscated in 1839 and 1847 '> ^^^ the Western Duars*, taken from Bhutan in 1864. Cachar and the Assam Valley proper were acquired on various dates between 1826 and 1842 ; but in 1874 they and the permanently settled Districts of Sylhet and Goalpara were separated from Bengal and formed into a separate administration. A brief review of the revenue history of the separate tracts is given below.

Orissa was settled in 1845 at a revenue of 13-84 lakhs for a period of thirty years, which, however, was extended in consequence of the famine of 1866. In 1897 it was resettled for 21-05 lakhs, or 54 per cent, of the ' assets,' which amounted to 38-68 lakhs. The incidence of the new revenue is Rs. i-i-io per acre, and the period of settlement thirty years. The Khurda estate was settled ryohvdri in 1875 for 2-68 lakhs. In 1897 the estate was resettled for fifteen years at a revenue of 3-46 lakhs, the increase being effected by an enhancement of 3 annas in the rupee. The incidence of rent per acre is Rs. 1-10-6.

The resettlement of the Palamau estate in 1896 for a term of fifteen years resulted in the increase of the rental from Rs. 58,000 to Rs. 74,000, mainly on the ground of extension of cultivation ; the average rate of rent paid by settled ryots is Rs. 1-2-3 P^^ ^c^Q. By the settlement the Darjeeling farai m 1898 the revenue was raised from Rs. 93,000 to Rs. 1,12,000, the assessment being made at rates varying from 4 annas to Rs. 2 per acre, and the term being fixed for twenty years. The Banki estate in Cuttack District was resettled in 1891, the revenue being increased from Rs. 21,000 to Rs. 29,000, mainly on account of extensions of cultivation. The revenue of Angul, resettled in 1892, was increased from Rs. 46,000 to one lakh for the same reason, but the enhancement was introduced on the progressive system. The Western Duars* were resettled in 1895, when the revenue was increased from 2-34 to 3-75 lakhs.

The temporarily settled estates in Chittagong* were settled in 1848 and in 1881, the aggregate revenue amounting to 3-85 lakhs. This was raised by the settlement of 1897 to 6 lakhs, the enhancement being due chiefly to extension of cultivation. The settlement was made partly with middlemen, who were allowed to retain, on the average, 41 per cent, of the 'assets,' and partly with the ryots direct. The average rate of rent paid by settled ryots is Rs. 5 per acre. The term of this settlement is thirty years.

The settlement of the Jaypur Government estate in Bogra District"^ in 1898 increased the revenue from Rs. 39,000 to Rs. 51,000, while the resettlement of a number of petty Government estates in the Sundar- bans'and elsewhere raised the demand from 4-20 to 541 lakhs.

It has already been stated that the revenue^ of the permanently settled estates has risen from 286 to 323 lakhs. The revenue of the temporarily settled estates, which was nil in 1790, was in 1903-4 36 lakhs, and that of estates held direct by Government 46 lakhs, the total revenue of the three classes of estates taken together being 405 lakhs, compared with 347 lakhs in 1850, 379 lakhs in 1882, and 383 lakhs in 1892. The formation of the Province of Assam in 1874 deprived Bengal of a total land revenue of 30 lakhs, of which 4^ lakhs was due from the permanently settled estates of Sylhet and Goalpara and the remainder from other areas.

The number of permanently settled estates is increasing very rapidly owing to partitions ; this is especially the case in the Patna Division, where the number has almost trebled in thirty-eight years. Revenue- paying estates^ in 1903-4 numbered 190,000, of which 176,000 are per- manently and 10,500 temporarily settled, and the remainder are held

» In the present area of Bengal I he current demand from permanently settled estates in the same year was 2 28 J lakhs, from t< mporarily settled estates 29^ lakhs, and from estates held direct by Government 25I lakhs.

In the same year the nimibcr of revenue-paying estates in the present area of Bengal was 122,000, of which 110,000 were permanently and 10,000 temporarily settled, the remainder being held direct by Government. direct by Government. Only 474 estates are large properties of over 20,000 acres, while 90 per cent, of the total number comprise less than 500 acres apiece.

In addition, 56,000 revenue-free estates and 119,000 rent-free hold- ings are assessed to road and public works cesses, hx the time of the Permanent Settlement large areas were claimed revenue-free, and the authority to scrutinize such revenue-free grants, and, if invalid, to resume them, was specially reserved. They were divided into two classes, according as they had been granted by the Mughal emperor direct, or by the officials of the empire. The former were recognized as valid if the holder could prove that his grant was hereditary and that he was in possession. The latter were accepted as valid if dated prior to 1765 ; all grants of a subsequent date were resumed, but those given between 1765 and 1790 were assessed at privileged rates. All rent-free grants made by zaitilndars after 1790 were invalidated, and zamlnddrs were authorized to nullify their own grants. Resumption proceedings were systematically undertaken by special Commissioners between the years 1830 and 1850, when some thousands of estates were added to the revenue-roll. The revenue-free estates are those which escaped re- sumption during these proceedings, and their number has been swelled by redemption of the land revenue, which is permitted in the case of very petty estates. The rent-free holdings are small areas which were assigned in former times by zafn'uiddrs for religious or charitable purposes.

The land revenue is realized with remarkable punctuality. In 1903-4 no less than 97-8 per cent, of the current demand was realized within the year, the percentages in the three classes of permanently settled, temporarily settled, and directly managed estates being 98-9, 96-7, and 89-3 respectively. The revenue of estates belonging to the first two classes is realized under the Sale Law, which renders an estate liable to summary auction sale if the revenue is not paid in full by a fixed date. The revenue is payable by instalments which have been fixed for each District with reference to the date of the harvests, so that the instal- ments may be paid from the sale proceeds of the surplus produce. Arrears of rent in estates under direct management are recovered under the ' certificate procedure ' : in case of default the Collector cer- tifies the amount due, and his certificate has the force and effect of a decree of court, and is executed accordingly.

In early Mughal times the only zamlnddrs recognized were the terri- torial chiefs, who were left in possession on grounds of policy, on condition that they agreed to pay into the imperial treasury a certain proportion of the revenue collected from their villages ; with this ex- ception, the ordinary revenue system was to collect a share of the pro- duce direct from the cultivators through their headmen. With the decay of the Mughal power, however, the practice of farming the revenues grew up, and the officials, court favourites, and men of local influence who undertook to farm the revenues gradually acquired the name and position of zam'indars.

Originally the zaminddrs paid into the treasury the whole amount collected by them from the cultivators, less a definite allowance for maintenance, for collection charges and the up-keep of accounts, and for expenditure on charity. Gradually, however, the contributions to the treasury tended to become fixed, though always liable to enhance- ment, and meanwhile the zaminddrs exploited new sources of income over and above the rental upon which their revenue was calculated. They acquired private lands, realized rent from the cultivators of waste lands, imposed cesses or additions to the rent rates, and levied dues on fisheries and tolls on markets. By degrees also the zufninddr's office became hereditary, and the practice of obtaining a fresh grant or authority to succeed from the ruling power dropped into desuetude.

During the two centuries which followed Todar Mai's settlement, the farmer class of zaminddrs had acquired a position similar to that of the original landholders of the Province, and they were recognized as proprietors of the soil by Lord Cornwallis, who was ' persuaded that nothing could be so ruinous to the public interest as that the land should be retained as the property of Government.' This bias was shared by the Directors in 1792, and they were 'for establishing real, permanent, valuable rights in our Provinces, and for conferring such rights upon the zaminddrs.^ The proprietary title of the zaminddrs was therefore not questioned at the time of the Permanent Settlement ; and the Regulation which gave it the force of law prescribed that the zaminddrs, with whom the Decennial Settlement had been made, and their heirs and lawful successors, should be allowed to hold their estates at the same assessment for ever. The right of transfer of their estates was also conferred upon them. The present right of the zaminddrs, therefore, is freely heritable and alienable. It is, however, limited by the rights of their tenure-holders and ryots, and also by the Government prerogative to sell the estate in default of full payment of revenue on the due date.

There are two main classes of tenants — tenure-holders and ryots. It is often difficult to distinguish between the two classes in individual cases, but broadly a tenure is an intermediate interest between the zamlnddr and the cultivating ryot. For practical purposes the essential difference between a tenure-holder and a ryot is that the former can sublet to an under-tenure-holder or to a ryot, while the sub-tenant of a ryot must necessarily hold the inferior status of an under-ryot. The distinction is of importance, because a sub-lease to an under- tenure-holder or ryot commands a bonus, which is not ordinarily the

VOL. VII. X case with a sub-lease to an under-ryot ; but, on the other hand, the position of a settled ryot, who holds an occupancy right in all lands held or acquired by him in a village, is much coveted by the tenure- holder, whose rights are more restricted.

Tenures are distinguishable into four classes according to their origin. Many ancient tenures existed before the creation of the zatnindaris to which they are now subordinate. At the time of the Permanent Settle- ment, many of these tenures, known as taluks, were separated from the za/mtidilris, and formed into distinct estates, paying revenue direct to Government. A large number of the smaller tenures, however, remained subordinate to the zannnddrs. A second class of tenures was created by the zammddrs, with a view to protect their property from the ruin which involved so many estates immediately after the Permanent Settle- ment. The paint taluk, which originated in Burdwan and has since spread over other parts of Bengal, is an estate within an estate, the rent being fixed in perpetuity and the tenure being saleable by the Collector at the zamlnddr's instance for arrears, precisely in the same way as the parent estate. In some parts the process of sub-infeudation has proceeded much farther ; the patniddr has given his lands in per- manent lease to dar-patnlddrs, and the dar-patnidars have done the same to s'l-patnlddrs.

The reclaiming tenure is a bait which tempts the petty capitalist to spend his resources on the land. It is found all along the coast, where the low mud flats are being gradually raised by deposits of silt. The great rivers discharge into the Bay of Bengal an immense mass of sand, clay, and vegetable debris, which is again carried inland by the action of the tide. The coast-line is ever encroaching on the Bay, and as the deposits rise above water-level they become clothed with mangrove jungle, and if left to themselves would in time rise to high spring-tide level. But the impatience of the reclaimer forestalls this natural process, and soon after the surface emerges, an earthen embankment is thrown round it to exclude the salt tidal water, and the newly-formed islet is cultivated. The natural growth of the surface is thus arrested, and the deposit of silt is confined to the beds of the tidal channels, which gradually rise until they threaten to overwhelm the new reclamation. Perpetual leases at low rents are needed to persuade the capitalist to undertake the heavy initial and recurring expenditure required for the protection of such reclamations, and similar leases are often granted in the case of waste land when heavy expenditure has to be incurred in feUing dense forests and undergrowth.

There is a fourth class of tenures, which is probably the most numerous of all, and which may be described as the land-jobbing tenure. This class is to be distinguished from the reclamation leases described above, though the nomcn<lature is generally the same. It is found in enormous numbers in Ixxckergunge* DIstrict, where, probably owing to the depredations of Arakanese raiders in the seventeenth and eigh- teenth centuries, reclamation in the coast tract was arrested until the surface had risen above fiood-level, and where comparatively small ex- penditure on embankments is required. The profits of agriculture are very great in this District, as plentiful crops are reaped which find a good market in Calcutta, and the rich soil, which is periodically fertilized by silt deposits from the overflow of the great rivers, requires no manure. The price of rice is also steadily rising, owing to the ra{)id growth of population, the extension of non-food-crops, such as jute, and the infla- tion of the currency caused by the export of jute from East Bengal. The profits of agriculture are therefore steadily increasing, while at the same time the practice of granting perpetual leases has stereotyped rent rates. The cultivator is not, however, allowed to absorb the whole of the increase in agricultural profits, but is compelled to disgorge a portion of it in the shape of abtvdbs, or cesses proportionate to his rental, and each new cess affords subsistence to a land-jobbing tenure-holder. The ryot, moreover, ekes out his income by subletting at rack-rates to under- ryots, and the rents paid by the latter are perpetually rising.

The system may best be illustrated by taking the simplest case of a zam'indar who has given a perpetual lease to a ryot. The ryot grows rich, and the zaminddr is in need of money ; he offers the lease of a tenure of his holding to the ryot at a reduced rent, upon payment of a bonus equivalent to twenty years' purchase of the difference between the two rents. If the ryot refuses, a third person is offered the tenure, and he probably squeezes a cess out of the ryot. The same process is repeated shortly afterwards, either by the zaminddr, who may create a tenure between himself and the new tenure-holder, or by the latter, who creates an under-tenure between himself and the ryot. The creation of each new tenure is the occasion for the payment of a substantial bonus, for which the lessee recoups himself by extracting a cess from the man below him, which is ultimately passed on to the ryot.

Tenures of the classes described above are usually hereditary and held at fixed rates of rent. Temporary farming leases are common in Bihar and on Government estates ; they are granted for a short term, either at a fixed rent or a percentage of the rental of the farm.

The status and privileges of all classes of tenants have been secured by the Bengal Tenancy Act of 1885. When Lord Cornwallis settled the revenue of the za/n'inddrs in perpetuity in 1793, he apparently intended to confer upon the ryots a similar immunity against enhance- ment of their rents, and power was reserved to legislate in future, if necessary, for the protection and welfare of the tenantry. The matter was, however, lost sight of for half a century. The terms at which the Decennial Settlement had been concluded were severe at the time, while the proprietors were unaccustomed to the punctual payments necessary to protect their estates from sale. The consequence was that many proprietors defaulted and their estates were sold, and the attention of (Government was for twenty years concentrated on efforts to realize the revenue with punctuality. The zaymnddrs complained of the difficulty they experienced in collecting rents punctually from their tenants, and in 1799 special powers were given them to seize the person of a default- ing ryot and to distrain on his crops summarily. These powers were grossly abused and led to much oppression, but it was not until 1859 that a remedy was found. Act X of that year conferred on the ryots a right of occupancy in lands cultivated by them for twelve years, and protected occupancy ryots from enhancement of rent except on certain specified grounds ; the landlord's power of distraint was also restricted. This Act failed, however, to give the needed protection to the tenantry ; and after prolonged discussion a new Tenancy Act was passed in 1885, which provided that every ryot who has held any land in a village for twelve years acquires thereby a right of occupancy in all the land he may hold in the village. The result is that a proportion of all the ryots in the Province, varying from four-fifths to nine-tenths, have occupancy rights in their lands. In the case of such ryots, enhancement by contract is limited to an addition once in fifteen years of one-eighth to the previous rent, and a civil court can enhance the rent only on certain specified grounds, and even then only once in fifteen years. Whether such holdings are transferable or not depends on local custom. A small number of ryots hold at fixed rates of rent, and the remainder are with- out a right of occupancy. Even the latter, however, cannot be ejected except in execution of the decree of a competent court, nor can their rents be enhanced at shorter intervals than five years.

Produce rents are to be found all over the Province, and are especially common in South Bihar, where landlords maintain irrigation works or embankments. Sometimes the value of the standing crop is estimated, and the share to be paid as rent is fixed accordingly ; sometimes the grain is divided on the threshing-floor. The landlord generally takes about half the crop, exclusive of the straw.

No attempt has yet been made to check the transfer of land by ryots, except in Chota Nagpur, the Santal Parganas, Angul, and the Kalim- pong Government estate, where transfers to non-agriculturists, or, in some cases, to any outsider, are forbidden, and where the prohibition is strictly enforced at the time of setdement of the rents.

In the Bengal Tenancy Act of 1885 power was taken by Government to order a survey and record-of-rights in any local area ; such operations have since been completed in the four North Bihar Districts of Saran, Champaran, Muzaffarpur, and Darbhanga, and are in progress in portions of Monghyr, Bhagalpur, and Purnea Districts, and in Ranchi and Backergunge*. The object of these operations is to frame an authoritative record of the status and rents of the tenantry, with a view either to protect them against arbitrary eviction and illegal enhance- ment, or to compose or avert agrarian disputes. Similar operations have been conducted on a large scale in estates under the administra- tion of the Court of ^^'ards, with a view to preparing correct rent-rolls, and also in a number of estates upon the application of the proprietors.

The land revenue in Bengal is so small a fraction of the produce that it can have no bearing on the ability of the people to withstand famine. The produce may be valued at not less than Rs. 20 per acre, or 9796 lakhs for the Province as a whole, of which the total cropped area was estimated at 76,454 square miles in 1903-4. The rental of 1670 lakhs, therefore, represents 17 per cent., and the revenue of 400 lakhs only about 4 per cent, of the value of the produce. Remissions and suspensions of the revenue are very rarely granted in permanently settled estates, as the incidence of the revenue is so light that they are unnecessary. In temporarily settled and Government estates, however, remissions are allowed for special reasons, among which are deteriora- tion of land, drought, and damage caused by floods and cyclones.

Miscellaneous revenue

The production of opium in Bengal and the United Provinces is a Government monopoly, and the administration of the operations is in the hands of the Board of Revenue, Bengal, under whom are two Agents, stationed at Patna and GhazI- revenue pur respectively, and a subordinate staff of sub-deputy and assistant opium agents. The poppy is grown in ten Districts in Bengal and in thirty-six Districts of the United Provinces. The total area under cultivation (deducting failures) averaged 823 square miles during the ten years ending 1890, and 820 square miles in the subsequent decade. In 1 900-1 it was 948 square miles, of which 345 square miles were in Bengal and 603 square miles in the United Provinces; and in 1903-4 it was 1,004 square miles, of which 324 square miles were in Bengal and 680 in the United Provinces. The process of manufacture is carried on in factories at the head-quarters of each Agency. The legal position is governed by the provisions of Acts XIII of 1857 and I of 1878.

The cultivation of the poppy is permitted only under annual licences granted for the purpose ; sowing is restricted to the area applied for, and the whole of the produce must be sold to Government at a fixed rate, which for some years has been Rs. 6 per seer (2 lb.) of 70° consistency. Advances free of interest are given to the cultivators, whose accounts are adjusted after the opium has been taken over. Application for a licence is entirely optional.

The opium is manufactured in two forms : ' provision opiiun ' for export principally to China and the Straits Settlements, and 'excise opium' for consumption in India. The difference lies in the consis- tency and size of the cakes and the method of packing. ' Provision opium ' is dispatched to the warehouses of the Board of Revenue in Calcutta, where it is sold at public auction, the number of chests to be offered for sale during the year being fixed by the Government of India, with reference to the quantity manufactured and the stock held in reserve. During the period 1881-90, a yearly average of 54,664 chests (each containing 40 cakes weighing about 140 lb.) was exported from Calcutta, and 43,164 chests during the succeeding decade. In 1900-1 47,950 chests, and in 1903-4 48,218 chests, were shipped, and the normal sale standard is now 48,000 chests per annum. The gross value of the chests sold averaged about 6^ crores between the years 1 88 1 and 1890, and a little over 5 crores between 1891 and 1900. In 1 900-1 it amounted to about 6^ crores, and in 1903-4 to just over 7 crores. ' Excise opium ' is supplied to all Government treasuries for sale to licensed vendors. The price, which is fixed by Government, varies in different parts of the Province. At the present time it ranges from Rs. 28 to Rs. 31 per seer in Bengal proper ; in Orissa it is Rs. 33 ; and in the Patna Division, where the danger of smuggling is greatest, it is only Rs. 1 7 per seer. With the retail sale of the drug to the actual consumers the Opium department has no concern ; this is under the control of the Commissioner of Excise, as described farther on.

The net yearly revenue of the Opium department averaged \\ crores from 1 88 1 to 1890; from 1891 to 1900 it was a little over 3 crores; in 1 90 1 it amounted to about 4 crores, and in 1903 to 3-98 crores. The revenue varies from year to year according to the quantity of opium available for sale and the price realized for it. A standard quantity to be produced yearly is periodically fixed by Government, and the maximum area to be cultivated is calculated accordingly ; but the area actually under poppy depends also on the willingness of the culti- vator to grow it. The crop, though on the average a remunerative one, is very sensitive to climatic conditions, and a series of unfavourable years may create a prejudice against it. The amount realized by the sale of ' provision opium ' depends partly on the quantity offered for sale, and partly on the nature of the season in China and the area under cultivation there. Differences in the rate of exchange between the two countries may have a disturbing influence upon the market, and the interest charged by the Calcutta banks also affects it.

The administration of excise, including the retail sale of opium, is vested in the Excise Commissioner, subject to the general control of the Board of Revenue. In the Districts the Collector is in charge, assisted by a Deputy-Collector (who is, in the more important Districts, a special officer) with a clerical, ])reventive, and, where Government distilleries have been established, a distillery staff. The revenue is derived from imported liquors ; country spirits, including country rum ; fermented liquors made in India, including beer, tari (fermented date juice), ?a\d. padnvai (rice beer) ; hemp drugs, including ganja, siddhi ox bhang, charas, and indjum ; opium ; and cocaine. The revenue is derived from {a) the duty levied on excisable articles passing into consumption, other than imported liquors the duty on which is credited to the Customs revenue, {b) the fees paid for a licence to manufacture and sell excisable articles, and {c) the fees paid on spirits manufactured in distilleries.

The following figures show the excise revenue ' for the decades i88i-go and 1891-1900 (averages), and for the years 1900-1 and 1903-4, in thousands of rupees : —


The causes leading to this rapid expansion have been indicated in the section on Finance. The incidence of excise revenue per head of the population was 2^ annas in 1881-2, 2\ annas in 1891-2, 3^ annas in 190 1-2, and 3^ annas in 1903-4.

Country spirits and tdri are preferred in the dry Districts, such as those of Bihar and Chota Nagpur, with [jronounced hot and cold seasons, and containing a large non-Muhanunadan population. The aboriginal tribes brew paclnvai at home, but consume the stronger spirit when it is within their means. The consumption of gdnja is very general ; it is greatest in wet and malarious Districts, such as those of Bengal proper and part of the Bhagalpur Division. Opium is also in general use, but chiefly in the Districts lying on the seaboard and where the Muhammadan population is large.

The consumption of excisable articles is closely watched, and The excise revenue in Bengal as now constituted was Rs. 1,4.', 13,000 in 1904-5. facilities for obtaining them are allowed only in order to meet an ascertained demand, or for the prevention of illicit practices. The number of licences issued is carefully considered, and the sites for licensed shops are selected with due regard to local feeling. The fees for a licence are ordinarily settled by auction, subject to a minimum which is fixed with reference to the estimated sales at each shop and the average fees previously paid for the licence. Educated opinion is opposed to the use of stimulants, and the general feeling of the people condemns over-indulgence. The consumption has, however, increased rapidly among the educated classes, who, next to Europeans, are the chief purchasers of imported liquors, and especially of the cheap brands manufactured from German spirit and sold, under English names, in bottles with attractive labels. These brands compete with the country- made spirit in cheapness, and are believed to be stronger.

The revenue on salt is levied mainly in the shape of an import duty — formerly Rs. 2^, reduced in 1903 to Rs. 2, in 1905 to Rs. 1-8, and in 1907 to R. I per maund of 82 lb. — which is realized by the Customs authorities. There are also certain miscellaneous receipts, of which the most important are the rents paid for the storage of salt in Government warehouses and the fees realized upon the passes granted for its removal. The Bengal coast is unsuitable for the local manufacture of salt, by reason of the dampness of the climate and the large amount of fresh water discharged into the Bay of Bengal by the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, and the manufacture of salt in the Province has been discontinued since 1898 and is now forbidden. The quantity annually manufactured by Government and private individuals during the ten years 1881-90 averaged about 280,000 maunds, and during the succeeding seven years about 120,000 maunds. The quantity imported yearly from within India and from other countries during the periods 1881-90 and i89i-r9roOk^veraged 9^ and 10 million maunds respec- tively. In 1 900-1 it was about 9 million maunds, and in 1901-2 about \2i\ million maunds. The average consumption of salt per head of the population during each of the four years 1 880-1, 1 890-1, 1 900-1, and 1903-4 was 5j;%, 5^, 5I, and 5^ seers respectively. The gross revenue from this source, exclusive of miscellaneous receipts, averaged 2-18 crores between the years 1881 and 1890, and 2-59 crores between 1 89 1 and 1900, while in 1 900-1 it amounted to 2-66 crores, and in T 903-4 to 2-27 crores.

The course of the salt trade has been greatly influenced by the substitution of steamships for sailing vessels and by the improvement in the means of communication in India. The former circumstance has given a great impetus to the practice of bonding salt, as steamers are unable to waste time in port. The opening of the East Coast ^ Railway encouraged the importation of Madras salt into Orissa, and it is now acquiring a firm hold of the markets there. At the present time the United Kingdom suppHes about half the salt imported by sea, Aden and the Red Sea ports about 31 per cent., Germany approximately 10 per cent., while the remainder comes from the Persian Gulf, Port Said, and Madagascar. The quantity supplied from the United Kingdom is declining, owing to competition from other sources, and especially from the Red Sea ports. Preventive establishments are employed to cope with the illicit manufacture of salt along the coast and in other saliferous areas, and the possession and transport of salt are regulated by a system of passes.

The stamp revenue is collected under the Indian Stamp Act (II of 1899) and the Court Fees Act (VII of 1870). Stamps are broadly divided into ' non-judicial,' or revenue stamps, and ' court-fee,' or judicial stamps. Of non-judicial stamps there are two main classes, adhesive and impressed. Adhesive stamps include share transfer stamps, foreign bill stamps, and stamps for use by notaries, advocates, vakils, and attorneys. Impressed stamps comprise impressed stamp paper and impressed labels, and forms of different descriptions, such as skeleton cheques, &c. For the distribution of stamps a central depot is main- tained at Calcutta, while every treasury is a local, and every sub-treasury a branch depot. There are, in addition, numerous licensed vendors, who are allowed a discount on the stamps purchased by them. The net revenue derived from the sale of judicial stamps ^ during the decades 1881-90 and 1891-1900 averaged 93 and 117 lakhs respectively; in 1900-1 it was 131 lakhs, and in 1903-4 it was 143 lakhs. The revenue from non-judicial stamps^ during the same four periods amounted to 34, 44, 49, and 50 lakhs respectively.

The growth of litigation mainly accounts for the progressive increase in the sale of judicial stamps, but probate duty also shows a tendency to yield larger receipts. The revenue derived from non-judicial stamps develops along with the normal progress of the country, but in ])articular years the state of the harvests causes fluctuations.

Income-tax is levied on non-agricultural incomes under the provisions of Act II of 1886 as recently amended (see Vol. IV, chap. viii). The minimum income assessable under the original Act was Rs. 500, but this has now been raised to Rs. 1,000 per annum, upon which, and up to Rs. 2,000 a year, the tax is levied at the rate of 4 pies in the rupee. On larger incomes the rate is 5 pies in the rupee.

The assessment and collection of the tax outside Calcutta are subject to the control of the Collector, under the supervision of the Commissioner and the Board of Revenue ; but the actual adminis- tration of the Act is in the hands of a Deputy-Collector, who is usually

' In 1904-5 the net receipts from the sale of judicial stamps in Bengal as now constituted was 94'38 lakhs, and from the sale of non-judicial stamps 34-49 lakhs. in charge of excise duties also. For Calcutta, which, with the town of Howrah, constitutes a separate District for income-tax purposes, there is a special Collector of Income-tax. Since the enhancement of the minimum taxable income, assessors are appointed to Divisions, and the work of assessment in the different Districts in each Division is dis- tributed among them by the Commissioner in consultation with the District officers. The rates of pay of the assessors are Rs. loo, Rs. 90, and Rs. 80 a month. In Calcutta seven assessors are employed, who belong to two grades with pay of Rs. 250 and Rs. 200 respectively.

The net revenue derived from the tax on incomes during the five years 1886-90 averaged 37-5 lakhs. During the next ten years it averaged 45-7 lakhs, and in 1901 it amounted to 54-4 lakhs ; in 1902-3 it was 56-5 lakhs, but in 1903-4 (after the increase of the minimum assessable income) it fell to 47-7 lakhs'. The incidence of the tax per head of the population during the same five periods averaged o-o6, o-o6, 0-07, o-o8, and o-o6 of a rupee, while the average number of assessees was 109,000, 119,000, 134,000, 135,000, and 56,000, or i-6, 1-7, i-8, 1-8, and o-8 per 1,000 of the population respectively.

The work of the Calcutta Custom House is directed by a Collector of Customs, who is subject to the control of the Board of Revenue as the chief Customs authority, and is assisted by five Assistant Collectors. The examination of goods and their valuation for customs purposes are entrusted to a staff of eighteen appraisers, while the guarding of vessels and patrolling of the port in order to prevent smuggling, the control over the discharge of cargo, and the loading or unloading of salt at the golds (warehouses) rest with a special establishment of about 205 officers under the orders of the Superintendent of the Preventive Service and Salt department.

Information as to the tariff is given in Vol. IV, chap, viii, and it will suffice to state here that the ordinary import duty is 5 per cent., either ad valorem or on a tariff valuation. The most important exceptions are cotton piece-goods, assessed at 3^ per cent. ; iron and steel, at i per cent. ; petroleum below a certain flashing point, at i anna per imperial gallon ; and machinery, railway material, and raw cotton, which are free. The duty on salt has varied ; it was reduced from Rs. 2-14 to Rs. 2 per maund in 1882, but was again raised to Rs. 2-8 per maund in 1888, at which figure it continued till March, 1903, when it was again reduced to Rs. 2 per maund. It has recently (1907) been still further reduced to R. I per maund. A duty was first imposed on kerosene oil in 1888; and in 1899 countervailing duties were placed upon bounty-fed sugar.

The total customs revenue in Bengal averaged 247 lakhs during the period 1881-90, and 352 lakhs during the following decade. In The revenue from the income-tax in Bengal as now constituted was 41 -"^^ lakhs in iyo4-5. 1900-1 it amounted to 427 lakhs \ and in 1903-4 to 384 lakhs. Excluding the receipts from salt and rice, the import duties in 1903-4 yielded 150 lakhs, to which cotton-goods contributed 51 lakhs, mineral oils 18 lakhs, metals 16 lakhs, and sugar (inclusive of countervailing duties) 9 lakhs. The only export duty is that on rice, which realized 18 lakhs in 1880-1, nearly 22 lakhs in 1900-1, and 19 lakhs in 1903-4.

Local and municipal

In discussing the rise and present position of local institutions it is necessary to distinguish between town and country. In towns the need for proper roads, water-supply, and sanitary arrange- ments is far greater than in rural tracts, while, as municioal their area is limited, it is comparatively easy for the representatives of the people to deal with these matters. The inhabi- tants of towns are also more advanced and better able to express their requirements than those of the scattered villages in the interior. It follows that the first steps in the direction of delegating to the natives of the country a share in the administration of public affairs were taken in towns, and in this, as in other matters, Calcutta naturally led the way.

Outside towns the rise of local self-government in Bengal dates from 1870, when District committees were created for the administration of the funds set apart for the construction, repair, and maintenance of roads, bridges, &c., which were derived mainly from the road cess. They consisted of the District Magistrate and other officers of the District staff, and of a certain number of payers of road cess appointed on the nomination of the local authorities. District school committees, consisting partly of officials and partly of private persons nominated as above, were at the same time formed for the control of education, and were made responsible for the supervision of all Government schools and the allotment of the sums set aside for grants-in-aid of private schools. Owing partly to the constitution of the committees, and partly to the fact that the powers delegated to them were very circumscribed, these measures were not attended with much success, and local self- government in the Districts was for some years little more than a name. At the instance of Lord Mayo, a fresh scheme was drawn up by Sir Ashley Eden, the Lieutenant-Governor, with the threefold object of relieving the Provincial authorities of some portion of the ever- growing details of the work of administration, of reconciling the public to the burden of local taxation, and of conferring on the people or their representatives greater powers of control over expenditure on objects of local importance. This scheme was the foundation of the Local Self- Government Act, III (B.C.) of 1885, which is still in force.

' These figures exclude collections in inland treasuries on bonded salt. The receipts on their account averaged 8 lakhs a year between 1S95 and 1900, and in 1900-1 and in i90,:;-4 amounted to 26 lakhs.

This Act provides for the constitution of three classes of local authorities — the District board with jurisdiction over the whole District, a local board for each subdivision, and Union committees for smaller areas where circumstances may indicate the desirability of appointing them. The District board is the principal local authority, and the local boards and Union committees work in subordination to it, exercising such powers and administering such funds as the District board may direct. District boards have been constituted throughout Bengal, save only in Darjeeling and a few remote tracts ; local boards have also been formed in most Districts. On March 31, 1904, there were 42 District boards and 104 local boards in Bengali The system of village Unions has not yet been fully developed, and only 58 have been created, chiefly in the Burdwan and Presidency Divisions. Half the members of Dis- trict boards are appointed by Government and half are elected by local boards ) where there are no local boards, the District board consists entirely of members appointed by Government. On March 31, 1904, the 42 District boards contained in all 846 members'^. Of these 221 were members ex officio^ 292 were appointed by Government, and 333 were elected by the local boards. The Collector of the District has in all cases been appointed chairman. The area dealt with by each board is so large, and the interests of different parts of it are so divergent, that no non-official member would be able to perform effectively the executive duties of the post or to weigh impartially the conflicting claims of different localities. The members of local boards are appointed partly by nomination and partly by election, one or more members being elected for each thdtia. All residents who possess a small property qualification are entitled to vote, but the number who actually do vote is usually very small. Similar rules have been framed for the constitution of Union committees.

The District boards have full control over all roads and bridges, save on a few main lines of communication of more than local importance. They arc also entrusted wiTh the maintenance and supervision of all primary and middle schools, the management of pounds and most of the public ferries, the control over and upkeep of dispensaries, the provision of a proper water-supply, village sanitation, l^c. When scarcity occurs, it becomes their duty to subordinate all other objects to the special consideration of saving life, and they are expected to devote their whole available resources to affording relief. If the scarcity is not serious or widespread, the District board is left to cope with it, with

1 The number of District boards in I'.cngal after the recent territorial changes was 29 and of local boards 76.

The number of members of District boards in Bengal as now constituted was 5S0 in 1904, of whom 148 were members ex officio, 188 were appointed by Government, and 244 were elected. such financial assistance as may .seem to be needed ; but when famine supervenes, the management of reHef operations is taken over by Government. The immediate administration of the roads and build- ings under the control of the District board is vested in the District Engineer, who is apjjointed and paid by the board, while that of the schools subordinate to it lies with the Deputy-Inspector of schools, an officer of the Educational department, who, in respect of these schools, works in subordination to the board.

The chief functions hitherto delegated to local boards are the care and maintenance of village roads, the management of pounds, and the charge of ferries. In a large number of cases they have also been entrusted with powers of varying extent with regard to primary educa- tion, and in a few cases with the control of dispensaries and the main- tenance of District roads. As at present constituted, local boards have not been a very great success, and several of those at the head-quarters of Districts have recently been abolished.

The Union committees exercise control over pounds, village roads, sanitation, and water-supply. In regard to primary schools, their au- thority is restricted to inspection. Their income consists of the receipts from pounds situated within the Union, a lump sum granted by the District board for village roads, sanitation, and water-supply, and funds raised under section 118 of the Act. In some Districts these com- mittees are reported to have done useful work within the narrow limits of their powers and resources.

Nearly 53 per cent, of the income of District boards is derived from the road cess levied on land, under the provisions of Act IX (B.C.) of 1880. A considerable sum is also derived from pounds and ferries and special grants made by Government. The main heads of expenditure are public works (59 per cent, of the total), education (22 per cent.), medical (5 per cent.), and general administration (4 per cent.). Sta- tistics of income and expenditure are given in Table XI at the end of this article (p. 355). The duties of the boards tend to outgrow their in- come, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to spare money for the construction of feeder-roads to railways and other new works. Government has therefore recently helped to restore the equilibrium by assigning to the Commissioner of each Division a considerable sum to be allotted by him to the boards which stand most in need of assistance. The total of the special grants thus made amounted to 15 lakhs on April I, 1904 ; and in 1905 a further grant of 12^ lakhs was made from Imperial funds to the District boards.

The history of municipal government in Calcutta is dealt with in the article on that city. The first enactment having for its object the creation of local bodies elsewhere was Act XXVI of 1850, which autho- rized the Lieutenant-Governor, on the application of the inhal^tants of any place of public resort or residence, to extend the Act to it and to appoint commissioners who, by the levy of a rate on houses or of town duties or otherwise, were to make better provision for purposes of public health or convenience. The Darjeeling municipality was constituted in 1850 under the provisions of this Act; but otherwise very little ad- vantage was taken of it or of a subsequent Act (XX of 1856), the main object of which was to make better provision for the appointment of police chaukidars in towns, but which also provided that any surplus funds raised in a town, primarily for the above purpose, might be ap- plied to cleansing or lighting or otherwise improving it. These two Acts were superseded in the larger towns by Act VI of 1868, which repeated their provisions in a modified form. The first real attempt at inaugu- rating municipal government was made in 1864, when the District Municipal Improvement Act was passed. This Act authorized the Lieutenant-Governor to appoint municipal commissioners for any town to which it was extended, with power to levy certain rates and taxes to meet the cost of conservancy, general improvement, and police.

The enactments were consolidated and amended by Act V (B.C.) of 1876, in which year there were in existence 24 municipalities under Act III of 1864 and 2 under Act XXVI of 1850, 70 'unions' under Act XX of 1856, and 95 ' towns ' under Act VI of 1868. The new Act recognized four classes of municipal institutions : namely, first and second-class municipalities, ' unions,' and stations. The elective prin- ciple was allowed in the case of municipalities, provided that one-third of the ratepayers desired it ; but this condition was fulfilled in respect of only three municipalities. The Magistrate of the District or of the subdivision, as the case might be, was as a rule ex-officio chairman of all municipalities situated within his jurisdiction ; power was given to the Lieutenant-Governor to appoint other persons, but it was exercised only in a single case.

This Act was, in its turn, superseded by Act III (B.C.) of 1884, which is still in operation, and which provides for the election of a majority of the commissioners and gives to them a far greater degree of independence. By this Act the distinction between first and second- class municipalities was abolished, and the other corporate bodies known as ' unions ' and ' stations ' were extinguished. Under its provisions the ratepayers of 125 municipalities, out of a total of 161, have obtained the privilege of electing two-thirds of their commissioners, and in 109 cases the latter have been empowered to choose their own chairman. In the remaining towns, which are either very backward or are divided by con- tending interests or strong party feeling, Government has reserved to itself the power of appointing the commissioners or the chairman, but in only twenty-seven municipalities does it appoint both. Except in Howrah, the municipalities have been relieved of the charges on account of the local police, over which they exercised practically no control, on the understanding that the funds thus set free must be spent on works of general utility and may on no account be devoted to the reduction of taxation. The charges previously borne by Govern- ment on account of dispensaries and hospitals within municipal limits have at the same time been transferred to these bodies. The muni- cipal law has now been extended to all places of an urban character, where alone it can be satisfactorily worked.

Act III of 1884 has been amended by Acts IV (B.C.) of 1894 and II (B.C.) of 1896. By these enactments the elective principle has been further developed, and the powers and responsibilities of the municipal commissioners have been enhanced. The scope of municipal expendi- ture has been extended, and now includes the establishment and maintenance of veterinary institutions and the training of the requisite statT, the improvement of breeds of cattle, the training and employment of female medical practitioners, the promotion of physical culture, and the establishment and maintenance of free libraries. The commissioners may order a survey and organize a fire brigade ; they may control the water-supply when its purity is suspected, even to the extent of inter- ference with private rights ; larger powers of precaution are conferred in the case of ruined and dangerous houses and other erections, as well as increased powers for the general regulation of new buildings.

Out of the total number of municipalities* in existence on March 31, 1904 (excluding Calcutta), only two, Howrah and Patna, contained over 100,000 inhabitants; 98 contained from 10,000 to 100,000, and in 61 there were less than 10,000 inhabitants. The total population within municipal limits was 2,871,249, and the incidence of taxation per head of the population was Rs. 1-3-11. The total number of municipal commissioners was 2,236, of whom 1,160 were elected and 1,076 appointed; 336 were official members, and 1,900 non-official; 261 were Europeans and 1,975 natives. The land holding classes and members of the legal profession provide about 50 per cent, of the com- missioners, and of the remainder the majority are Government servants or traders. Statistics of municipal finance are given in Table XII at the end of this article (p. 356).

Public works

There are two branches of the Public Works department, one of which is in charge of roads and buildings and mis- ^ ,,. cellaneous public nnprovements, and the other controls irrigation, marine matters, and railways. Each branch is under In the present area of Bengal, there were 127 municipalities in 1904, of which 75 contained from 10,000 to 100,000 inhabitants, while 50 had less than 10,000 inhabi- tants. The total population within municipal limits was 2,354,180, and the incidence of taxation was Rs. 1-4 per head. The total number of municipal commissioners was 1,753, of whom 913 were elected and 745 were nominated; 249 were official and 1,504 non-official members; 231 were Europeans and 1,522 were natives. a Chief Engineer, who is also secretary to Government. The Roads and Buildings branch administers five circles \ three of which are controlled by Superintending Engineers and two by Executive En- gineers, who are designated Inspectors of Works, and whose duties are to inspect the work done under the Engineers employed by the District boards and to exercise professional control over their proceed- ings. The Imperial and Provincial buildings and roads in these circles are in charge of the District Engineers, where the District boards con- cerned have accepted the responsibility for their up-keep, and of the Inspectors of \Vorks in certain Districts in which those bodies have not accepted such a responsibility. The Superintending Engineers have control of Public Works divisions held by Executive Engineers, and they also act as Inspectors of Works in their circles. The Roads and Buildings branch also includes a temporary charge, comprising the buildings connected with the Imperial Agricultural Institute at Pusa, which is under the control of a superintendent of works.

The Irrigation branch comprises four circles, each of which is under a Superintending Engineer. In Irrigation circles the Executive Engineers also carry out the works of the Roads and Buildings branch within the limits of their divisions, and the Superintending Engineers act as Inspectors of Works. Three revenue divisions formed for the assessment and collection of canal water rates are held by Deputy- Collectors under the control of the Superintending Engineer of this branch. The main lines of railway and their branches are administered directly by the Government of India, the Government of Bengal con- trolling only a few minor railways undertaken by private enterprise.

Rapid progress has been made in all departments since the intro- duction of Provincial finance in 187 1. The Northern section of the Eastern Bengal State Railway was opened in 1878. The Orissa, Midnapore, and HijilT Canals were completed in 1873, and, with the exception of the Calcutta and Eastern Canals, the entire Provincial canal system has been constructed since that date. The canalization of the Bhangar channel in 1 899 and the opening of the Madhumati Bll route in 1902 have greatly facilitated navigation by the Calcutta and Eastern Canals. As regards roads, the operations of the department are limited to the maintenance of a few trunk lines, and the initiative in the construction of new roads has been transferred to the District boards. Special efforts have, however, been directed to the improve- ment of communications in the Western Duars*, and to the construction of feeder-roads to the railways.

Great improvements have been effected in the public buildings both

' The number of circles in Bengal, as at present constituted, is four, of which three are controlled by Superintending Engineers and one by an Executive Engineer, who is designated Inspector of works.

in Calcutta and in the Districts. The antiquated structures in which the courts and pubHc offices were formerly accommodated have been replaced by more spacious edifices built with some pretensions to architectural effect. Munsifs' courts, in particular, are being gradually transformed from primitive mat-and-thatch structures into permanent buildings of brick and mortar, and educational institutions are being provided with more suitable accommodation than was formerly thought sufficient for them, while the jails are being altered to meet modern sanitary requirements and to prevent overcrowding.

Among more or less recent buildings in Calcutta may be mentioned the Imperial Secretariat, Writers' Buildings, the General Post Office, the Telegraph Office, the Surveyor-General's Offices, the Government of India Central Press, the High Court, the Office of the Geological Survey department, and the Economic and Art Museum. Of educational buildings, the most important are the Senate House, Presidency College, Hare School, School of Art, and the additions to the Medical College. The Eden, Ezra, Sambhu Nath Pandit, and Victoria Zanana Hospitals and the Leper Asylum are new, and the Presidency General Hospital has been reconstructed.

Much attention has been devoted to the preservation of antiquities at Pandua* and Gaur* ; and the Konarak temple and the Bhu- BANESWAR temples in Purl have been protected from decay.

Drainage schemes have been undertaken in Hooghly District at a cost of 26 lakhs, whereby an area of 370 square miles has been drained and cultivation rendered possible.

Extensive waterworks have been constructed at Dacca*, Bhagalpur, IMymensingh*, Howrah, Burdwan, Arrah, Mljrshidabad, and Darjeeling ; a complete drainage scheme has been carried out at Patna, and electric lighting has been introduced at Dacca* and Darjeeling.


The strength of the army stationed within the Province in June, 1903, was 7,866, British troops numbering 3,221 and Native troops 4,645. Bengal is garrisoned by the Lucknow division of the Eastern Command. The troops are distributed at eleven military stations. At Fort William in Calcutta there are British and Native infantry, British artillery, and a submarine mining company ; and there are Native infantry and cavalry at Alipore. British and Native infantry and British artillery are cantoned at Barrackpore, and British and Native infantry and British artillery at Dinapore. Darjeeling with Lebong has British infantry and artillery, and a British regiment is stationed at Dum-Dum. The remaining cantonments of Ranchi, Buxa, Cuttack, and Gangtok are manned by Native infantry. No recruitment takes place among Bengalis. There is an arsenal at Fort William, a foundry and shell factory at

VOL. VII. Y Cossipore, an ammunition factory at Dum-Dum, and a rifle factory at Ichapur.

Volunteer corps have their head-quarters at Calcutta, Muzaffarpur, Darjeeling, RanchI, Jamalpur, Bankipore, Dacca*, and Chittagong* ; and the head-quarters of the Bengal-Nagpur Railway Volunteer Rifles are at Kharakpur. The following table gives the total strength of all the corps in 1881, 1891, 1901, and 1903: —


Police and jails

The Calcutta police force, of which an account will be found in the article on Calcutta, has a history of its own, and has always been independent of the police system in other parts of the Police and Province. In the early days of British rule the Bengal zamlnddrs were required to keep up establishments of police for the maintenance of peace, but by Regulation XXII of 1793 this system was abolished ; the police were placed under the exclusive control of Government officers, and the zamlnddrs were forbidden to maintain any such force ^ Every District was divided into police circles, with an area of about 400 square miles, and a ddroga, with a staff of subordinate officers, was appointed to each. To meet the cost of these measures, a police tax was imposed on traders and others who were specially interested in the maintenance of the force and who made no other direct contribution to the State ; but this tax was abolished in 1797, when court-fees and stamp duties were introduced. The functions of the new force were at first confined to the arresting of accused persons ; but in 1797 the police darogas were directed to inquire regarding unnatural deaths, and in 1807 the Magistrate was authorized to order a police inquiry when he saw reason to distrust the truth of a complaint. From this small beginning was soon evolved the regular system of police inquiries now in vogue, which was placed on a legal footing by Regulation XX of 181 7.

In 1808 Superintendents of police were appointed to certain In 1807 the experiment was tried of associating landholders and others with the police, and of authorizing them in certain cases to receive charges and arrest accused j)ersons and send them to the darogas ; but it proved a failure and was abandoned in iSio. divisions, where they exercised concurrent jurisdiction with the Magis- trates of Districts and cities. These posts were aboHshed in 1829, but they were again revived in 1837. The civil poHce force in that year consisted of 444 ddrogas, 1,353 subordinate officers, called miiharrirs a.n6. Jetnaddrs, and 6,699 barkanddz or constables.

The whole force was reorganized and placed on its present footing by Act V of 1 86 1. An Inspector-General of police was appointed, with complete powers of control in all departmental matters, and under him were 6 Deputy-Inspectors-General, 52 District Superintendents, III Assistant Superintendents, 570 inspectors, 936 sub-inspectors, 2,234 head constables, and 25,000 constables : these figures include the police in Assam, who were not separated from the Bengal police till 187 1. The annual cost of the police force in Bengal rose from 36-6 lakhs in 1881 1040-8 lakhs in 1891, to 51-7 lakhs in 1901, and to 54-9 lakhs in 1903. The composition of the force in those years is shown below : —


The Deputy-Inspectors-General are, in the main, inspecting officers, but they also arrange the posting of officers below the rank of Assistant Superintendent. The District Superintendents are in charge of the police of their Districts, but in all save purely departmental matters they are subordinate to the District Magistrates. Inspectors are employed chiefly on inspection, and the greater part of the investigations is conducted by sub-inspectors ; much of this work was formerly done by head constables, but of late years it has, as far as possible, been taken out of their hands.

The higher grades of the police are filled on the results of a com- petitive examination in England and a competitive examination in India, restricted to nominated candidates, a certain number of appoint- ments being also given by nomination to natives of the country. The competitive examination held in India is now, however, to be abolished. Inspectors are almost invariably promoted sub-inspectors, but in future a certain number are to be appointed direct. Sub-inspectors are appointed either by open competition or by nomination. As a result of the Police Commission of 1903, it has been decided that there is to be no competitive examination for the recruitment of sub-inspectors, but that they shall be, as far as possible, recruited direct, and that a maximum proportion of appointments shall be fixed for promotion from the rank of head constable. In every case they have to go through a year's training in the Bhagalpur Training School, where they are taught law, the Police Manual so far as it concerns them, the reading and recording of finger-impressions, riding, and drill. Head constables are, as a rule, promoted constables. Constables are recruited at the head-quarters of each District. The percentage of foreigners (i. e. men of another District) which it is permissible to enlist varies in different Districts from 30 to 80. Constables receive some training at the head-quarters before being sent out to investigating centres, and when stationed at head-quarters they also get some instruction in drill. In future they will be trained at central schools which are now being established for the purpose.

Service in the police has, till very lately, been unpopular with educated natives. The appointment of the Police Commission and the hopes of an improved service have, however, of late led many well-connected natives to apply for direct appointment to sub-in- spectorships.

The rural police force of chaiikiddrs or village watchmen is a very ancient institution, and, except in East and North Bengal, it is for the most part descended from the old Hindu village system, under which they were remunerated by small assignments of land. The village watchmen were placed under the ddrogas by the Regulation of 1793 already referred to. Between 181 3 and 181 6 provision was made for the maintenance of chaiikiddrs at all Magistrates' head-quarters, who were paid monthly stipends by the residents of the towns in question ; and a somewhat similar arrangement was soon afterwards introduced generally in all Districts where the indigenous system mentioned above did not exist. The powers and duties of the chaiikiddrs were laid down in detail in Regulation XX of 181 7. In 1838 their number was estimated to be 190,000. In 1870 a new law was enacted (VI (B.C.) of 1870) detailing their duties and providing for the levy of their pay through the agency of local committees, called panchdya/s, who were empowered not only to fix their pay at any rate between Rs. 3 and Rs. 6 a month, but also to appoint and, if necessary, dismiss them. The latter powers are now exercised by the District Magistrate ; the necessary funds are still usually collected by the panchayat, but the Magistrate may, in certain cases, appoint a tahsilddr for the purpose. The chaukidars are required to attend the police station at regular intervals, usually once a week, in order to report the births and deaths occurring in their beats, and to give information regarding the movements of bad characters and other matters. They are also required to give immediate notice of the occurrence of all heinous offences, and are empowered to arrest and take to the police station persons caught red-handed. In order to provide a link between the regular police and the village chaukidars, daffadars have been appointed over groups of from ten to isveniy chaukidars. The rural police are not legally subordinate to the regular police, to whom they merely report. They are under the control of the District Magistrate, who can, however, delegate his powers to the District Superintendent of police. In some Districts he delegates all his powers, keeping in his own hands only the general power of control ; in some Districts he delegates his powers in the head-quarters subdivision only ; in others, again, he delegates powers to punish and reward within fixed limits. There are now 153,000 chaukidars, and the value of their annual emoluments is estimated at about 79 lakhs ^ Most of them are now under Act VI (B.C.) of 1870, but about 5,000 still hold service-lands in lieu of salary ; about 4,500 are under Regulation XX of 1817, and upwards of 9,000, in Chota Nagpur, are under a special Act (V (B.C.) of 1887) passed for that part of the Province.

The only criminal tribe having its head-quarters in Bengal that need be noticed is the Magahiya Doms. These are most numerous in Saran and Champaran Districts, where an attempt has been made to reclaim them by inducing them to settle down as agriculturists. Settle- ments have been formed on land given for the purpose by zajnviddrs, and allowances for the purchase of seeds, &c., have been made to them by Government. Enough has been done to make it possible for them to live honestly if they choose to do so, but there has so far been no very marked improvement in their habits ; their location in settlements, however, gives the local authorities some hold over them.

Reformatory schools are maintained at Alipore and Hazaribagh ; these contained 383 boys at the end of March, 1904, the total cost to Government during the year being Rs. 58,000. Boys of the agricultural classes are sent to the Hazaribagh school, where cultivation and gardening are specially taught, while boys belonging to the industrial castes are sent to the Alipore school, where they are instructed in various industries. The kindergarten system of teaching has been

' The number of chatikldars in Bengal as now constituted is 106,500, and the value of their annual emoluments is estimated at nearly 49 lakhs. introduced at Alipore ; drill and gymnastics are included in the training at both schools, and games are played. A number of boys are provided with work outside the schools under a system of licences, and the Educational department endeavours to follow up the history of each boy for three years after his release.

On an average, 134,000 cases were reported yearly by the police between 1896 and 1901, of which 67,000 were dealt with by the criminal courts, 56,700 or 84-6 per cent, ending in conviction and the remainder in discharge or acquittal. During the same period 32,000 cases were on the average dealt with yearly by the Calcutta police, the nature of whose work is very different; of these, 29,800 were referred to the courts, and all but 950 ended in conviction.

The plan of identifying criminals by means of head measurements was introduced by Sir Edward Henry, when Inspector-General of Police ; but he subsequently replaced it by the system of finger-prints, which is now in vogue everywhere. The record of finger-impressions, which in 1897 consisted of only 8,000 slips, had risen to nearly 56,000 in 1 90 1, and to nearly 80,000 in 1903, when 1,555 ^"^^"^ were thus identified, compared with 345 in 1898, the first complete year of working.

A special reserve of from twenty to fifty constables, armed with converted Sniders (now being replaced by converted Martini-Henry carbines) under a sub-inspector, is maintained at the head-quarters of each District, and four military police companies of 100 each, armed with Martini-Henry rifles, are stationed at Dacca*, Bhagalpur, Dumka, and Hooghly. In accordance with the recommendation of the Police Commission, these reserves are to be strengthened and placed in charge of European inspectors, and all members of the force are to pass periodically through them for courses of training. A separate railway police was formed in 1867, and now comprises 2 Assistant Inspectors- General, 17 inspectors, 44 sub-inspectors, 154 head constables, and 731 native and 14 European constables.

The jails of Bengal are divided into three classes — Central, District, and subsidiary. The Central jails, which are in charge of whole-time officers, are intended for the confinement of persons sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. Including the Presidency Jail in Cal- cutta, where European convicts are incarcerated, there are now eight ^ Central jails; in 1881 there were nine, and in 1891 seven. At the head-quarters of Districts where there is no Central jail, there is a District jail, which, except at Darjeeling, is supervised by the Civil Surgeon. Prisoners sentenced to imprisonment for more than two years are transferred to a Central jail. There are subsidiary jails at all subdivisional head-quarters for the detention of under-trial prisoners, ' There are six Central jails in Bengal as now constituted. and of those sentenced to imprisonment for not more than fourteen days. It is proposed to detain only under-trial prisoners in these small jails as far as is practicable. Detailed statistics are given in Table XIII at the end of this article (p. 357).

The modern administration of the Jail department, which is controlled by an Inspector-General, dates from the period between 1877 and i88r, when many improvements were effected — the superintending staff was strengthened, and the pay and prospects of the subordinates were improved ; new jails were built, discipline was made more strict, and greater care began to be taken to see that the prisoners were properly housed, clothed, and fed, and that medical aid was promptly rendered to those in need of it. The result of these measures has been most satisfactory. In 1881 and for twenty years previously, the mortality amongst prisoners had exceeded 61 per 1,000 ; in the next decade it fell to 45; between 1892 and 1901 it was only 32, and in 1903 only 23-7 per 1,000. The chief jail diseases are dysentery, pneumonia, malarial fevers, and cholera. Dysentery is becoming less common ; in 1903, in spite of a greatly increased jail population, the deaths from this cause numbered only 91, compared with 475 twenty years earlier. Cholera has almost ceased to be a jail disease; in 1903 there were only 24 cases and 15 deaths. Fewer deaths than formerly are now ascribed to 'fever,' but this is due in part to better diagnosis; and the same cause may also perhaps account for the reported increase in tuberculosis, which, like pneumonia, often results from overcrowding.

In the District jails the prisoners are employed on simple forms of labour, such as brick-pounding, flour-grinding, and oil-pressing ; but in the Central jails special industries are carried on to meet the require- ments of various Government departments. In the Presidency Jail much of the Government printing is done ; at Buxar tents and cotton cloth are made ; at Midnapore the prisoners work in cane, coir, and aloe fibre, and so on. The earnings aggregated nearly 6 lakhs in 1903, compared with 5^ lakhs in 1881, but the provision of hard labour for the prisoners is considered of more importance than the amount earned. The expenditure is steadily rising, but this is due largely to the increased cost of food-stuffs.


Bengal has always contained a large number of ordinary village schools or pdthsdlas. These were used mainly by the higher Hindu castes and gave instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic, but the education they afforded was very elementary ; it consisted largely in learning by rote, and especially in committing elaborate arithmetical tables to memory. Brahman pandits taught Sanskrit to their disciples, who were mostly Brahmans and Baidyas, and there were also some indigenous medical schools. Muham- madan children attended viaktahs, or elementary schools where boys learnt to recite the Koran, and madrasas, or more advanced schools teaching Persian and Arabic. Under the Company's Charter Act of 1 8 13 a lakh of rupees a year was allotted for expenditure on education, and in 1823 a Committee of Public Instruction was appointed. This Committee sought to encourage the learning and literature respected by the people and to foster high education as it was then understood, but no attempt was made to arrange for any general system of education.

Under Lord William Bentinck the cause of English education, which had hitherto been fostered mainly by the independent efforts of mission- aries, rapidly gained ground ; and in 1835 it was decided, through the influence of Macaulay, to impart instruction in the higher schools through the medium of English. The abolition in 1837 of Persian as the court language gave a great stimulus to the study of English, and about the same time the education grant was raised to 4^ lakhs ; a system of scholarships was created for English schools, and Bengal was divided into nine educational circles, in most of which there was a central college, while every District was provided with a school to teach both English and the vernacular.

The Committee of Public Instruction was replaced in 1842 by a Council of Education. A system of examinations and scholarships was devised, and steps were taken to obtain employment in the public service for the most successful students. Model vernacular schools were established, and arrangements were made for the periodical examination of indigenous schools. Books were lent to these schools, and money rewards, amounting to about Rs. 5,000 a year, were given to deserving teachers and pupils.

The celebrated educational Dispatch, issued by the Court of Directors in 1854, gave a great impulse to education in India, and led in Bengal to the appointment in 1855 of a Director of Public Instruction and of a certain number of inspectors and sub-inspectors of schools, and also, shortly afterwards, to the constitution of a University Committee. This was followed by the establishment of a regular department of Public Instruction. From that date the progress of education in Bengal has been rapid and sustained. Systematic inspection was introduced, the scholarship system was developed, and grants-in-aid were given to private schools and colleges. All grades of education were fostered, and a complete system of examinations was organized. Encouragement was afforded to elementary education by means of small scholarships offered to the best pupils of vernacular schools. The most advanced boys from the District schools competed every year for higher scholar- ships tenable in colleges. Grants-in-aid were given to 79 English and 140 vernacular schools, and the School Book and Vernacular Literature Societies were established, both of which published useful works.

In Bengal proper the colleges established prior to 1857 were fourteen in number, the earliest and most important being the Calcutta Madrasa, which was founded by Warren Hastings in rySr. In 181 7 the Hindu College, which was subsequently merged in the Presidency College, was founded for the teaching of the English language and European science. A college was established by the Baptist missionaries at Serampore in 1818. The Sanskrit College dates from 1824, and in 1830 Dr. Duff founded the General Assembly's Institution. The schism in the Scottish Church in 1843 led to the establishment of the Free Church Institution. The Hooghly College was opened in 1836, and the Patna College in 1855-6. Besides these, there were Government colleges at Dacca*, Berhampore, Midnapore, and Krishnagar. The Doveton, La Martiniere, and St. Paul's Colleges in Calcutta were private founda- tions, and the Bhawanlpur College was maintained by the London Missionary Society.

The Educational department is divided into four sections : namely, the Imperial service, the Provincial service, the Subordinate service, and the Lower Subordinate service. The Imperial service ^ consists of 31 ofificers appointed in England, comprising the Director of Public Instruction, Assam, the Assistant Director of Public Instruction, Bengal, 6 principals of colleges, 15 professors and 5 inspectors of schools, and 3 to fill vacancies. The post of Director of Public Instruction is not included within the Indian Educational service. The Provincial service, which is filled mainly by recruitment in India, consists of 109 officers: namely, 6 divisional inspectors of schools, 7 assistant inspectors, 7 principals of colleges, 56 professors of colleges, 23 head masters of collegiate and training schools, and 10 other officers. The Subordinate service, which includes all deputy-inspectors of schools, head masters of District schools, some assistant masters in District schools, foremen at technical institutions, &c., comprises 464 appoint- ments. The minimum pay is Rs. 50 a month. The Lower Subordinate service consists of 1,112 persons.

The Director is the chief controlling officer of the department. Below him the chief executive officers are the divisional inspectors of schools, one for each Commissioner's Division, who, with the help of

' Owing to the recent transfer of officers to the new Province of Eastern Bengal and Assam, the strength of the Indian Educational service in Bengal has been reduced to 27 officers. It includes 2 divisional inspectors of schools, the inspector of European schools, the inspectress of schools, the Assistant Director of Public Instruction, 5 principals and 14 professors of colleges, and 3 officers to fill vacancies. After the transfer of 27 officers to the new Province, there remain 81 officers in the Bengal Provincial service: namely, 4 divisional inspectors and 5 assistant inspectors of schools, 5 principals and 42 professors of colleges, 16 head masters of collegiate and training schools, and 9 other officers. Altogether 101 officers have been transferred to the new Province from the Subordinate Educational service, which now comprises 346 officers exclusive of the sub-inspectors of schools.

assistant inspectors, supervise all schools in their Divisions. Usually each District is in charge of a deputy-inspector, who is assisted by a sub-inspector in each subdivision and guru instructors in each thdna. The District boards have control over education more or less elemen- tary in rural tracts, but in some cases they have delegated their duties in regard to primary education to local boards. In the few Districts where these boards do not exist, the local control is vested in special committees.

The department ^ maintains 1 1 Arts colleges, including one for girls ; 9 professional colleges, of which 7 are law colleges attached to and forming part of the same number of Arts colleges ; 77 secondary schools, including 2 high and one middle English school for girls; 123 primary schools, including one for girls; and also 145 schools for special in- struction, including a Government college and 4 Government vernacular schools for medicine.

The teaching institutions fall into three main groups : namely, Uni- versity education, or the advanced instruction given to candidates for degrees ; and secondary education, or the instruction given to boys and girls who have passed beyond the third or elementary stage, known as primary education.

The rise of the Calcutta University dates from 1856, when rules were formulated for conducting examinations and granting degrees in Arts, Law, Medicine, and Engineering, and the Presidency College was placed upon an improved footing. The Act of Incorporation of the Calcutta University was passed in January, 1857. In 1859 the inter- mediate examination in Arts was established, the degree of ' Licentiate ' was created in the Faculties of Law and Engineering, and that of Doctor in the Faculty of Law. The degree of M.A. was conferred for the first time in 1862, and that of Bachelor of Science in 1901-2.

In 1904 the Indian Universities Act was passed, which gives greater control in academical matters to the teachers who are connected with colleges affiliated to the University ; it also aims at improving the standard of education in colleges, imposes more stringent conditions on affiliation, and provides for periodical inspection by experts.

The Viceroy is Chancellor of the University. The Fellows are appointed by him, but some of them are selected on the suggestion of graduates and of the Faculties of the Senate. The Vice-Chancellor is appointed by the Governor-General-in-Council from the Fellows. The University is not a teaching University in the ordinary sense of the

  • In the new Provincial area the department maintains 8 Arts colleges, one of

which is for girls ; 6 professional colleges ; 59 secondary schools, including one high and 2 middle English schools for girls; 86 primary schools, one of which is for girls; and 103 special schools, including one Government college and 3 Government vernacular schools for medicine.

term ; its principal functions are to affiliate colleges, to recognize high schools, to prescribe courses of study for colleges and the upper classes of high schools, to hold examinations, and to grant certificates and diplomas to the successful candidates. The Chancellor, Vice-Chan- cellor, and Fellows constitute the Senate, which meets once a year, and also when convened by the Vice-Chancellor on the requisition of any six members. It is divided into the Faculties of Arts, Law, Medi- cine, and Engineering, to which a Faculty of Science has now been added. These Faculties arc appointed by the Senate at its annual meeting, and each elects its own president ; every member of the Senate is a member of at least one Faculty. The executive government of the University is vested in a Syndicate, consisting of the Vice-Chan- cellor and ten of the Fellows, who are elected for one year by the several Faculties, Boards of Studies consisting of from six to sixteen members are appointed for the principal departments of studies ; their duties are to recommend textbooks and the courses of study in their respective departments, and to advise the Syndicate regarding the appointment of examiners and upon any other matter that may be referred to them. The expenditure of the University in 1903-4 was 2-29 lakhs, which was entirely met from the fees paid by candidates at the examinations.

In 1857, 10 Arts colleges were affiliated to the Calcutta University. The number had risen to 34 in 1891, to 44 in 1901, and to 46 in 1903-4. These are divided into two grades: the first-grade teach up to the B.A. standard of the University, while in the second-grade colleges the course prescribed for the intermediate examination in Arts, or a course of a similar standard, is taught. An undergraduate of the University may appear for the B.A. or B.Sc. examination, pro- vided he has prosecuted a regular course of study in any affiliated institution for not less than four academical years, and if he passes, he may appear at the M.A. examination whenever he pleases. Of the 46 affiliated colleges, 1 1 are maintained by Government and one from municipal funds ; 6 are aided and 28 unaided. The Presidency, Patna, and St. Xavier's Colleges were affiliated to the B.Sc. standard of the Calcutta University in 1901. The Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science has also been affiliated to this standard. In addition to those just mentioned, the Dacca* College, the General Assembly's Institution, the Duff College, the Metropolitan Institution, the Ripon and the Bangabasi Colleges are the most important Arts colleges. The total expenditure incurred on Arts and Professional colleges in 1903-4 was 12-73 l^khs, of which 5-87 lakhs was derived from Provincial revenues and 4-92 lakhs from fees.

A Law department was attached to the Presidency College and affiliated to the University in 1857. This example was soon followed, and the number of colleges teaching law had grown to 12 in 1 890-1, and to 17 in 1 900-1, the number falling to 16 in 1903-4. The open- ing of law classes in other Calcutta institutions greatly reduced the attendance and income of those at the Presidency College, which were therefore abolished. The Calcutta Medical College was founded in 1835 by Lord William Bentinck, and affiliated to the Calcutta Univer- sity in 1857. For the students of this college University standards of various descriptions have been prescribed. Institutions for medical education are now controlled by the Inspector-General of Civil Hos- pitals. The Civil Engineering College was opened in November, 1856, as a department of the Presidency College, but in 1880 it was replaced by the Government Engineering College at Sibpur [see Howr.^h), which was affiliated to the University ; the instruction was made more practical, and classes were opened for civil engineers, mechanical engineers, overseers, and mechanical apprentices. A few appointments under Government are guaranteed to the students of this college.

Students not living with their parents or guardians are now required to reside at duly authorized hostels. The number of such hostels in 1903-4 was 411, with 14,045 inmates; and they were maintained at a cost of 10-95 'akhs, of which Rs. 51,000 was paid from pubHc sources.

The results of the most important examinations in each of the years 1880-T, 1890-1, 1900-1, and 1903-4 are shown below : —


Schools which have where students are prepared for the University Matriculation examination are classed as ' high schools,' and all other secondary schools are ' middle schools.' The latter, again, are divided into two classes, according as English is or is not included in the curriculum. This language is the medium of instruction in the first four classes of high schools, and it is taught as a second language in all but the lowest classes of both high and middle English schools. There is a tendency to convert middle vernacular into middle English schools, and to raise the latter to the rank of high schools : the middle English now outnumber the middle vernacular schools, and also contain con- siderably more pupils. The attendance at schools of this class is improving, and is now about the same as in high schools. The total number of secondary schools for boys in 1903-4 was 2,465, of which 74, or 3 per cent, welre directly managed by Government, and 186, or 7'5 per cent., by District or municipal boards ; 1,584, or 64-3 per cent., were aided from public funds, including Native State revenues, while the rest were unaided. The number attending these schools was 252,000, or 4-4 per cent, of the boys of school-going age.

Primary schools are intended chiefly for the masses. They are divided into two grades — upper and lower. In the latter the elements of reading, writing, simple arithmetic, and agriculture are taught. It is now proposed to establish in purely agricultural areas rural schools with shorter and simpler courses suited to the needs of the agricultural population. In the upper primary schools the curriculum is a little more advanced, though considerably below the final course prescribed for middle schools ; it includes the elements of history, geography, geometry, and science, in addition to the study of vernacular literature. A few primary schools are managed by the Educational department or by local bodies ; but the great majority are merely aided by the grant of monthly or quarterly stipends, supplemented by grants made on the result of local inspection and depending upon the number of pupils under instruction, the stage of instruction reached, the qualifications of the giirU^ the nature and condition of the school-house, and other factors which go to make up a successful school. This system of payment was until recently the usual one, except in backward localities, but it has been held not to work satisfactorily. It has now been decided to pay all the gurus by fixed stipends, and an additional grant of 5 lakhs has been set aside by the Local Government for this purpose. In 1903-4, 122 primary schools were wholly maintained by the department, 18 by District or municipal boards, and 304 by Native States ; nearly 82 per cent, of the total number were aided in the manner described above, and a few were aided by Native States ; the remainder were unaided. The average yearly pay of the teachers of upper primary schools was about Rs. 136 in 1900-1, and rose to Rs. 148 in 1903-4; that of the teachers of lower primary schools rose in the same period from Rs. 56 to Rs. 63. In recent years no systematic attempt has been made to train gurus, but training schools for them are now being started in each subdivision.

The promotion of female education in Bengal is beset with difficulties. There is no general demand for it as a means of livelihood ; the parda system and early marriage stand in the way, and, until recently, the curriculum was not suitable for girls. New standards, containing more congenial subjects such as literature, history, domestic economy, and needlework, have now been prescribed for schools in and about Calcutta, and are being gradually introduced in the Districts.

Girls' schools in advanced tracts are aided from Provincial revenues, and model primary schools for them have been started in every District. Training classes, aided from Provincial revenues, have been recently opened in connexion with mission and other schools, and orthodox Hindu and Muhammadan female teachers have been appointed to further the spread of zandna education. Zandna teaching is also carried on by Christian missionaries and by several Hindu and Brahmo associations, especially in Calcutta.

The number of Arts colleges and schools for girls rose from 831 in 1881 to 2,362 in 1891, to 2,973 in 1901, and to 5,005 in 1904. In the same years the numbers of girls in colleges were respectively 5, 40, 72, and 98 ; in secondary schools, 6,000, 5,500, 5,600, and 5,600 ; and in primary schools, 29,000, 75,000, 91,000, and 147,000. The percentage of girls under instruction to the number of school-going age was 0-87 in 1880-1, i-6i in 1890-1, i-8 in 1900-1, and 2-8 in 1903-4. The Bethune College, La Martiniere, and Loretto House are the principal centres of female education. In all twelve high schools for girls were aided by Government or by District or municipal boards in 1903-4.

District boards spent Rs. 25,000 on girls' schools in 1 890-1, Rs. 38,000 in 1 900-1, and Rs. 80,000 in 1903-4. The boards have also created special scholarships for female pupils in primary schools. To encourage their education up to higher standards at home, Government has recently ruled that girls may draw scholarship stipends without attending schools, if they can prove that they have attained a higher standard by home study. There are an inspectress and assistant inspec- tress of girls' schools, whose duty it is to look after female education.

The estabhshment of normal schools for training teachers other than gurus dates from 1S55, but it was not until 1874 that they became at all numerous. There were then 56 in all. There are 10 medical schools as compared with 5 in 1884; of these 4 are Government institutions, and the rest are unaided. Among other special schools may be mentioned 4 engineering and survey and 4 art schools. There were 27 industrial schools with 806 pupils in 1903-4, against 4 with 144 pupils twenty years previously. Aladrasas (for the teaching of Arabic and Persian) have increased during the same period from 7 to 83. Various other educational institutions, such as recognized tols (for the teaching of Sanskrit), reformatory schools, music schools, and schools for the deaf and dumb, number in all 590. An agricultural department . attached to the Sibpur Civil Engineering College was attended in 1903-4 by 25 students, 11 in the first year class and 14 in the second year ; it has not been very successful and will shortly be removed to Pusa.

Fixed grants were formerly given to certain European schools in Bengal, but since 1882 the annual grants have been based partly on the returns of attendance, and partly on the results of examinations. The primary and secondary schools, taken together, numbered 55 with 5,000 pupils in 1883, and 69 with 7,000 pupils in 1891 ; while 80 schools with 8,000 pupils were returned in 1903-4. The number of pupils who passed the various code examinations was 65 in 1883, 247 in 1891, and 543 in 1903-4 ; the numbers who passed the entrance examination of the Calcutta University in the same three years were 38, 95, and 16 respectively. A few boys of the better class are provided with appoint- ments in the Police, Opium, and Accounts departments. Some have obtained situations in railways, mercantile offices, tea-gardens, and jute factories, and some have continued their education in the Medical College or at the Sibpur Engineering College. The girls have become teachers, typewriters, or shop assistants, and a few of them have entered the medical profession.

Although some improvement is observable of late years, Muham- madans are still backward in respect of education. In proportion to the relative populations, Hindus gained twelve times as many University degrees in 1901 as Muhammadans, and they sent thrice the number of pupils to secondary schools. In the same year only 9 per cent, of Muhammadans of school-going age attended primary schools, as com- pared with 1 1 -9 per cent, among Hindus. The comparison, however, cannot fairly be made solely on a numerical basis ; the great majority of the Muhammadans of Bengal are converts from the lower strata of the population, and it is doubtful if they are worse educated than the Kochs and Chandals and cognate Hindu castes from whose ranks they have sprung. Moreover, their instruction in the ordinary schools is retarded by the long course of religious training which a devout Musalman must undergo before he may turn his thoughts to the acquisition of secular knowledge. In order to foster Muhammadan education, steps have been taken to improve the Maktabs and Koran schools by offering subsidies to teachers who adopt the departmental standards, by replacing teachers of the old type by better qualified men, and by increasing the number of Muhammadans on the inspecting staff. Muhammadan pupils in high schools are allowed additional free studentships and enjoy the benefits of the Mohsin fund, under which they obtain part remission of fees in schools and colleges. Several special scholarships have also been created, with a view to enable Muhammadans to receive collegiate education.

The great home of the aboriginal races is in the hills and uplands of the Chota Nagpur plateau and the adjacent country. Special attention has been given to the requirements of these rude tribes by Government and the District boards, and excellent service has been rendered by missionaries, who have established many schools in their midst. The Dublin University Mission has started a college at Hazaribagh for the promotion of their higher education, and a Govern- ment high school at Rangamati is also chiefly intended for aborigines. In the Santal Parganas a special inspector has been appointed to visit Santal schools. In all 8,000 Christian and 34,000 non-Christian aborigines attended school in 1903-4.

The expenditure on the various classes of educational institutions in 1900-1 and in 1903-4, with the sources from which the funds were derived, is shown in Table XIV at the end of this article (p. 358).

The number of children attending schools represented 10-2 per cent, of the total population of school-going age in 1881, 13-5 in 1891, 14-2 in 1901, and 16-5 per cent, in 1903-4. The number of persons returned as literate at the Census of 1901 was 4,259,000, or 5-5 per cent, of the total population ; for males the percentage was 10-5 and for females 0-5. During the last decade the number of literate males shows an increase of 15 per cent., while that of females has risen by 63 per cent. In every 10,000 persons of each sex, 89 males and 6 females can read and write English. The Burdwan, Presidency, and Orissa Divisions are the most advanced in the matter of education. Among religions, Christians take the lead, followed, in the order mentioned, by Buddhists, Hindus, Musalmans, and Animists. Of the Hindu indigenous castes, the Baidyas and Kayasths have the largest proportion of literate persons, and the depressed race-castes of Bihar have the smallest.

The fees in Government colleges vary from Rs. 12 a month in the Presidency College to Rs. 2 in the Calcutta Madrasa and the Sanskrit College ; those in aided colleges range from Rs. 5 to Rs. 3, and those in unaided colleges from Rs. 5 to Rs. 2-8 ^ In Government high schools fees range from R. i to Rs. 5 j in aided high schools from annas 8 to Rs. 2, and in unaided high schools from annas 4 to Rs. 2. In Government middle schools the fees vary from annas 2 to R. i, in aided middle schools from 2 to 8 annas, and in unaided middle schools from I to 8 annas. In primary schools the fees are from i to 4 annas.

The principal statistics of colleges, schools, and scholars for each of the years 1 890-1, 1 900-1, and 1903-4 are shown in Table XV at the end of this article (p. 359).

Leaving out of account the Samdchdr Darpan, which was started long ago at Serampore by Baptist missionaries, and the Samdchdr Chandrika, a Calcutta publication, it is doubtful whether even half a dozen vernacular newspapers were in existence in Bengal before i860. In 1863, when a weekly official report on native papers was instituted, the total number was 20, of which one was published in English and Urdu, 3 in Persian, one in Hindi, and 15 in Bengali. No

' The Raj College at Burdwan charges no fees.


less than 7 of these papers were entirely devoted to religious and social topics. The numbers of these newspapers stood at 40 in 1873, at 50 in 1881, at 71 in 1891, at 55 in 1901, and at 70 (4 only being Muhammadan) in 1903-4. In that year there were also 22 native- owned English newspapers and 4 Anglo-vernacular papers. Owing to the spread of vernacular education and the growth of a reading public, the native newspaper press has now, in its own way, become a power in the country. A great change has gradually taken place in its character, tone, and literary style. In 1863 and for some years afterwards the papers devoted small space to the discussion of political questions or large administrative measures, and items of news and speculations on religious and social subjects constituted the major portion of their contents. Politics received very meagre treatment ; the writers offered their opinions with diffidence, and their tone was always respectful ; their literary style was stiff and sanskritized. The principal characteristics of such papers at the present time are the increasing prominence given to political and administrative questions, a reckless, exaggerated, and occasionally disloyal tone, and a colloquial, ungrammatical, and anglicized style. With the spread of English education, the papers published in English by Bengalis are rapidly growing in importance.

The vernacular papers have, as a rule, a very limited circulation, and only about 15 are of much importance. The HUabadl and Basiimati occupy the first place in respect of circulation ; the latter paper has, however, less influence than the Bangabdst, the organ of the orthodox Hindus. The Sanjlbanl is the mouthpiece of the Brahmos, and the Habl-ul-mat'in and Mihir-o-Siidhdkar represent the Muhammadans.

The number of publications received in the Bengal Library during 1903-4 was 2,905, of which 2,089 were books and 816 were periodicals. These publications deal with literary, social, political, religious, and economic subjects ; but, with the exception of a few important scientific publications, they display little original research.


Most of the chief medical institutions of the Province are in Calcutta. Among the Mofussil institutions the largest and most important is the Mitford Hospital at Dacca*, which was built in 1858 ^ at a cost of over Rs. 76,000 ; it has accommodation for 170 patients. The Bankipore Hospital, for which a new building is being provided, has now 124 beds; the Cuttack General Hospital has 82 beds ; the Burdwan Hospital, 76 ; the Darbhanga Hospital, 65 ; the Midnapore Hospital, 7 7 ; and the Gaya Pilgrim Hospital, 84 beds. The Lady Dufferin Zanana Hospitals in Bettiah and Darbhanga, main- tained, respectively, by the Bettiah and the Darbhanga Rajs, and the Lady Elgin Zanana Hospital at Gaya are also doing excellent work.

VOL. VII. z There are dispensaries at all District and subdivisional head-quarters and wherever there are municipalities, and also at many places in the interior ; all the former and many of the latter of these have accommo- dation for in-patients. They are for the most part maintained by the municipality or District board concerned, with the aid of grants from Government and public subscriptions. The total number of these dispensaries in 1903 was 614, compared with only 237 twenty years earlier. For further details Table XVI at the end of this article may be referred to (p. 360).

There are 5 lunatic asylums in the Province, situated at Bhawampur in Calcutta, Dacca*, Patna, Cuttack, and Berhampore. Of these, the first is reserved for Europeans and Eurasians, and the others for natives ; the latter, with the exception of that at Dacca*, will soon be replaced by a single central asylum. The alleged causes of insanity among Europeans are chiefly the abuse of alcohol among males and heredity in the case of females ; ^a^//a-smoking and heredity are the chief causes assigned for lunacy among natives.

There are 8 asylums for lepers, at Gobra, Deogarh, Purulia, RanT- ganj, Asansol, Bankura, Bhagalpur, and Lohardaga. The six last mentioned have been established by the Society for Missions to Lepers in India and the East, and the Gobra asylum is a Government institution managed by a body appointed by Government. The total number of inmates in October, 1904, was 1,179, o^ whom 622 were in the Purulia asylum. The Lepers Act, III of 1898, which came into force in Bengal in 1901, provides for the segregation and medical treatment of pauper lepers and for the control of lepers following certain trades connected with the bodily requirements of human beings.

In former times the practice of inoculation was widespread. The operation was preceded by a ceremony performed in honour of Sitala, the goddess of small-pox : a twig of a mango-tree was dipped in a pitcher of water, some mantras or charms were recited by a Brahman, and offerings of milk and sweetmeats were made. The patient was then inoculated with the crust of small-pox on the right forearm, if a male, or on the left forearm, if a female. He was bathed on the second day, to bring on fever, and was then confined for twenty- one days, after which a mixture of turmeric, ?ilm leaves, and coco-nut oil was rubbed over the body. Inoculation is still practised clan- destinely in parts of Orissa and Bihar, but it is becoming more and more rare, and vaccination is rapidly taking its place. Vaccinators are licensed by District Magistrates, and their work is supervised by the Civil Surgeons and the Superintendents of Vaccination. Where the older method survives, the vaccinators are usually recruited from the ranks of the former inoculators, but in the Province as a whole barely a quarter of the staff belongs to this class.

The chief statistics of hospitals, lunatic asylums, and of vaccination are shown in Table XVI at the end of this article (p. 360).

In order to bring quinine within the reach of all, the system of selling it through the agency of the Postal department, in pice-packets, each containing 5 (now 7) grains, was inaugurated in 1892. The drug is manufactured at the Government factory in Darjeeling, and is made up into packets at the Alipore jail, whence it is supplied to all post ofifices in Bengal. The postmasters receive a small commission on the sales effected by them. The system has met with considerable success ; in 1903 nearly 3,000,000 packets of this valuable febrifuge were sold, compared with one-eighth of a million in 1893.

The difficulties in the way of promoting village sanitation in India are enormous, the chief being the ignorance and prejudices of the people and the absence of an educated and trustworthy local agency. Some- thing has been done to improve the water-supply by providing tanks and wells, and disinfecting them either periodically or when epidemic disease breaks out ; and grave sanitary evils, which affect the public health and so constitute a public nuisance, are dealt with under Chap- ter XIV of the Indian Penal Code. The Local Self-Government Act (III (B.C.) of 1885) contains provisions for enforcing sanitation, but they have not yet been applied. A Sanitary Board was constituted in 1889, but it is merely a consultative body, and at present attention is directed mainly to the education of public opinion in municipalities. It is hoped that in time, with the diffusion of education, a knowledge of sanitary requirements will gradually spread to rural areas ; but until it does so very few improvements are feasible.


The basis of all surveys in Bengal is the Grand Trigonometrical Survey which was carried out early in the nineteenth century. A general revenue survey commenced in 1835, and by 1872 the operations had been extended to the whole Province except Midnapore District (which was surveyed in 1872-8), the Sundar- bans. Hill Tippera*, the Chittagong Hill Tracts*, the Santal Parganas, Angul, and the Chota Nagpur Division. Most of these tracts were topographically surveyed during the same period on scales varying from i inch to I inch to the mile. The revenue survey was preceded by a demarcation of villages and estates, which was known as the thdk survey, and was generally made on the scale of 4 inches to the mile. The boundary of each village and estate was separately surveyed ; the maps showed also important topographical details, but were on too small a scale to indicate field boundaries. From these surveys District maps have been prepared on \ and i inch scales.

Between 1863 and 1869 a diara^ survey was made along the banks of the Ganges from the point where it enters Bengal down to its junction Diiira means an alluvial flat or island. with the Brahmaputra, and all changes due to alluvion and diluvion which had taken place since the revenue survey were mapped. In 1874-6 this survey was continued down to the sea. About the same time a number of surveys were made in different parts of the Province, either in order to resettle the revenue of Government estates, as in the case of Chittagong* and Khurda, or to assess ghdtwdli ^ lands in Chota Nagpur. These surveys were generally on a scale of 16 inches to the mile and showed field boundaries, but they were with some exceptions partial and unprofessional, and were lacking in accuracy and finish. In 1889 it became necessary to survey the sub-province of Orissa and the District of Chittagong*, in order to resettle the revenue of time- expired estates, and professional detachments of the Survey department of the Government of India were organized for this purpose. In 1890 it was decided to prepare a survey and record-of-rights in the North Bihar Districts, and similar methods were adopted. The total area dealt with by parties of the Survey of the Government of India between 1889 and the end of September, 1904, has been 32,915 square miles, as shown below : —


These surveys have been made on a scale of 16 inches to the mile (larger scales have sometimes been employed for crowded village sites), and the maps show the boundary of each field as well as all topographical features. In addition to the area shown above, similar operations have been carried out in the Santal Parganas, Singhbhum, Noakhali* and elsewhere, by parties working under the supervision of revenue officers, the field-to-field measurements in this case being some- times preceded by a professional traverse survey. A large number of petty estates have also been surveyed at the request of the proprietors. Taking all these surveys together, cadastral maps of about 36,405 square miles, or nearly a quarter of the area of British territory in the Province, have been prepared since 1889.

In 1892 an officer of the Survey of India was appointed, with the title of Director of Bengal Surveys, to administer the Bengal Survey directly

1 Lands held, in lieu of pay, for police services. Disputes had arisen as to what lands were so held, and as to the services to be rendered. under the Bengal Government. His post was abolished in 1895, and the appointment of Superintendent of Provincial Surveys created in its stead.


[Vincent A. Smith: The Early History of India (1904). — Charles Stewart: The History of Bengal (1813). — Fifth Report from the Select Committee on the Affairs of the East India Company (1812). — Montgomery Martin : The History, Antiquities, Topography, and Sta- tistics of Eastern India (1838). — Ofificial Mutiny Narratives. — W. W. Hunter: The Annals of Rural Bengal (1868); Orissa (1872); A Statistical Account of Bengal (1875-7). — C. E. Buckland : Bengal imder the Lieutenant-Governors (Calcutta, 1901). — Sair-ul-Mutdkharin, Raymond's translation (reprinted at Calcutta, 1903). — Report on the Administration of Bengal, 190 1-2 (Calcutta, 1903). — Riydzu-s-Saldtln, translated by Maulvi Abdus Salam (Calcutta, 1904). — The Diary of William Hedges, 3 vols., ed. H. Yule (Hakluyt Society, 1887-9). — ' Indian Records Series,' S. C. Hill : Bengal in 1756-7, 3 vols. (1905). — C. R. Wilson : Early Annals of the English in Bengal, 2 vols. (Calcutta, 1895 and 1900) ; List of Lnscriptions on Tombs or Monu- ments in Bengal {(Z2i\c\xitVi, 1896); Old Fort William in Bengal, 2 vols. (1906). — Census Reports, 1872, 1881, 1891, and 1901. — H. H. Risley : Tribes and Castes of Bengal (Calcutta, 1891). — A. P. MacDonnell : Food-grain Supply and Famine Relief in Bihar and Bengal (Calcutta, 1876). — E. W. Collin: Report on the Existing Arts and Industries in Bengal (Calcutta, 1890). — Provincial Monographs on Brass and Copper, Pottery and Glass, Dyes, Cotton, Woollen and Silk Fabrics, Ivory and Wood-carving, Gold and Silver Ware (Calcutta, 1894- 1905).]

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For a large number of articles about Bengal, extracted from the Gazetteer of 1908 (as well as other articles on Bengal) please either click the 'India' link (below, left) and go to Bengal (under B) or enter 'Bengal' in the 'Search' box (top, right). Bengal, 1908 Bengal: A history, by British Raj writers Bengal: Agriculture in A.D. 1900 Bengal: Arts and manufactures, 1908 Bengal: Commerce and trade, c. A.D. 1900 Bengal: Famines, 1769-1899 Bengal: Forests, c. A.D. 1900 Bengal: Mines and minerals, c. A.D. 1900 Bengal: Physical aspects, c. A.D. 1900 Bengal: Population, A.D. 1901

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