Bhavnagar State Census, 1931: Introduction

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This article has been extracted from
Census of India, 1931
J. H. HUTTON, C.I.E., D.Sc., F.A.S.B.
Corresponding Member of the Anthropologische Gesellschaft of Vienna



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While introducing the first Census Report of the State, a reference may well be made to the previous attempts that ha:-re heen hlthertofore made ~t the enumeration of the people. The idea of countIng the people of the land IS not allen to India. Such attempts date as far back as the time of the Great Chanakya, the minister of the Maurya Emperor, Chandra Gupta. Referring to the exist~nce in India of some sort of Census over two thousand years ago, Mr. Narendra Nath Law wntes;-

The teslimony of MeRaslhenes is amply confi!med by the details of ~~sns and similar operations preserved in Ibe Arlhashastra. ~he necessl~y 10 Go~e~nment of an mtlm.ate kDowle~ge• of the place. Bnd people nnder it goes wltbont saYlOR, and It IS no wonder that ID the .effechve admini&trative organization cf Cbandra Gupta tber,e w~s found a pJace for ceD.SQ~ opemtlo~s, t~eIcope and aims of which were, however, necessarily different from those of Similar operations lD modern time •. "1

But the modem and more scientific method of taking a Census, involving the entering ?f. all th~ ~tricate details. regarding the in?ividual, viz.., his' a~e, se~ an? civil condItIOn, rehglon, caste and bIrthplace, education, occuI'atlO.n and Infirrr:l1ty, If . any which makes of it a decennial feature, was for the first time Introduced m the yea; 1872 when the first regular census was taken .in the State alon~ wi~h the first Imperial Census. The second Census was taken In 1881, after which It has. been taken every ten years all over the country. The present is, therefore, the seventh or the sixth decennial census of the State. "

Bhavnagar State carries out its Census operations in co-operation with the Provincial Superintendent of Census Operations, Bombay Presidency. Until 1921. no direct correspondence with the States concerned was entered into, and the Political Agent acted as an intermediary. As this introduced a delaying factor,. the then Provincial Superintendent, the late Mr. Sedgwick, was led to remark that" at all future Censuses it is desirable that the intermediation of the Political Agent should be everywhere cut off and the Superintendent be allowed to correspond direct with the State Census Officer in all matters of pure census organization. " This suggestion was on the present occasion translated into action by setting up direct correspondence between the State and Provincial Superintendents. so far as the Census arrangements were concerned. It need hardly be said that this departure from the old practice tended towards a quicker despatc.h of work and speedier solution of doubts and difficulties.

2. Some Palt Practices.-Until 1921, the activities of the Census Department extended merely to the making of certain arrangements preliminary to the taking of the first and the final counts, after which the schedules were transported to Songadh for abstraction. The State staff and the Assistant Superintendent who were sent there, carried out the work of copying the slips and sorting and compilation of the Tables under the supervision of the Agency Officer specially appointed in this behalf. This practice entailed great hardship and inconvenience t() a large clerical staff which had to be temporarily moved at a considerable distance from Bhavnagar. Living was necessarily costly, and lodging and boardina facilities to those outsiders who came to such a small place as Songadh from the different States in the Gohilwad Prant, were not easily available. But this year there .was no~ set up any Abstractio~ Office either at Songadh or at any other place ID Kathlav.:ar and all the States I~ the Western India States Agency were asked to send thel( Schedules to the GUJarat Central Abstraction Office opened at 1. Studi" i .. Ancien' Hind" Poli~. p. 106.

(iv) Enumeration Proper.-As it is not possible to make all the entries for the enumerated on the Final Night, the preliminary record was commenced a few weeks in advance, i.e., on the 20th January 1931 in rural areas, but in the urban areas where the fluctuations in population are great, it was commenced a week later. In both the places it was completed by the 10th February. On the ni~ht of 26th February between the hours of 7 p. m. and midnight, the final count ,zas carried out by,revising the entries, that is by adding the newly born and the newcomers and scoring out the absentees and those deceased during the interval. To facilitate checking and correction of errors which are the best way to secure the accuracy of a statistical record and details of entry, the 17th, 18th and 19th, as well as the 25th and 26th days of February were gazetted public holidays. After the provisional figures were received from all the charges by the 1st March, the ,consolidated totals were wired to the Census Commissioner for India, Delhi, and to the Provincial Superintendent, Poona.

4. Co-operation of the Public.-The secret of a successful Census lies in the co-operation of all concerned. The Census army of enumerators is usually ,manned by the State servants, pensioners and licensees. But as the force thus supplied did not prove sufficient, the deficiency was made good by enlisting the support of the public ~hich volunteered their services in good numbers. The assistance rendered by the latter especially in the rural areas was appreciable, and minimized the expenditure on paid enumerators engaged on the final night. In the matter of volunteering information also, the attitude of the public was all throughout the Census operations, one of willing and hearty co-operation. It is as much reflective of the sense of civic duty of the people as it is expressive of the fact that no repurcussions of the political upheaval were felt in this State.

5. Abstraction Operations.-After the counting of numbers was over, the enumeration books were called for from the charge offices which were received in the Abstraction Office by the 21st March. The crude materi'll that had been collected in the general schedules had to be refined and manufactured into finished products in the shape of Imperial and State Tables in the laboratory of the Abstraction Office. The process was carried out in three stages, viz., (i) Slipcopying, (it) Sorting, and (iiI) Compilation and Tabulation. The information recorded in the enumeration books was copied for each individual on the slips of different colours indicating the main religions. Civil condition and sex \vere to be shown on the slips by symbols made on them.

But special slips were prepared for the infirm by a band bf selected copyists. After the slips for an enumeration book were checked, they were sorted by the supervisor by sex and religion, the number of each kind being inserted into Register A from which the Village Tables were finally prepared. The final totals supplied by the former differed from the provisional by 382. The margin of error is thus noticed to be•007percent. But if the figure of198 derived from the schedules for the train and port enumeration received after the provisional figures were wired to the Provincial Superintendent be deducted, the difference is reduced to 184 or only '003 per cent.

The next stage in the Abstrac_ tion Office was reached with the sorting of slips. It was the process of arran<>in" slips under the heads required for such of the final tables as could not be co~p~ led from Register A, counting the slips thus arrayed and entering the number on printed forms called Sorters' Tickets. Sorting operations commenced on the 25th May, the first few days being devoted to the sorting of religious sects.

Regular sorting for the Imperial Tables commenced on June 6th, and was completed on the 29th September. Sorting of all the castes and sub•castes existing in the State took some considerable amount of time, though the final table included only the important castes, and the sub•castes of Brahmans, Vanias, Kanbis and Kolis. 'Compilation was proceeding pari passu with sorting and lasted.up to the 24th October 1931. Twenty Imperial and two State Tables that have been compiled have been printed and separately published as Part II of the Census series.

6. Special Features of the Current Census.-The present Census has kept before it rather a very ambitious programme of work. It will be described .here in brief leaving it to the reader to appreciate the degree of success achieved

after a perusal of the. follo~ing pa~~ of the ReP?rt- Side ~ si?e w~th the. population Census certam special enqumes of econoIll1c and soclOlogtcal Importance were undp.~ken by the Census Depart~ent. Special fert!lity sched~es recording the sex of the first born,. number of chil~ren born to and SIze of a f~ily. fertility of the various strata of the State popul~tion, etc. were got fi11~d In f~r the first time. Despite the novelty and dehcate nature of the enqutry a faunumber of 6137 schedules was received. The Sex Tables compiled therefrom and the resuits of their examination are submitted in Part II of Chapter V-Sex.

The enquiry aiming at coll~ting the figures. of those. unemployed literate in English was not successful as In the. rest of .India. Special <;ensus .Commlttees were appointed to gather first h~n~ regardmg the mstttut:ton of c~ste, its coru;titution authonty and JUrisdiction, caste customs such as child-marnage, widow re-marri~ge sale of bride, etc., religious sects and other topics, information which was to be' subsequently utilised in the writing of the Report. The' statistics relating to the cottage and rural industries have been also compiled and given in the Chapter on Occupation.

So much for the special inquiries. But the variations in details of compilation and tabulation were numerous. Until the last Census, a small booklet containing some Imperial Tables showing only the State totals was published, but the details either for the individual Mahals or the City were not separately abstracted. On the present occasion, the Tables Volume, as will be considered below, has largely added not only to the quantity but also has made considerable progress in classification of material by showing the details both for the Mahals and the City of Dhavnagar in all the important Imperial Tables. Two important State Tables have been also compiled for the first time and Table I supplies the figures by Tappas. Imperial Table XVI-Part B giving the figures for the main religious sects returned in the State is a new feature of the Tables Volume.

The castes chosen for the purpose of the main Table have been considerably increased. Tables designed to show the Civil Condition, Age Constitution, Literacy and Infirmity of Selected Castes and Occupational distnbntion of traditional castcs were not sorted uptil now. But the present Census which had set before it the task of undertaking the work of report-writing for the first time could not miss the opportunity of tabulating these very valuable statistics. The increase in the number of u'nits and details to be sorted referred to above greatly multiplied the work of the Census Office. A reference to the marginally noted publications cannot but give ~n idea of t~e work that the Census Department has turned out as a result of Its labours during the last two years.

As aG'ainst only 13 Imperial Tables compiled in 1921, the present b Census has compiled 20 Imperial Tables, 17 part Tables, 2 State Tables, land 242 Subsidiary and mar!;inai tables. The Village Tables separately published in vernacnlar have been greatly improved upon by increasing the data and details hitherto incorporated therein. Alphabetical index of villages, density map by Tappas, and addition of some new tables, figures of area and the nature of land tenure N arne of Publication Census Report ... Imperial and Sta.te Tables. Administr-atj\'C Report VdlageTables (tU Gujarati) I Part I II III . are some of its new features. . The compilation of the statistics of birth and death•rates necessitated a reference to the old records of the Medical Department of the past tell years and took considerable time and entailed much trouble to prepare them. The various Appendices that have been inserted in the Report

(a) examine the results of the Census of livestock which was taken in February. 19.30,.

( b ) explain the past d~velopmellt and present tendencies at work 10 t~e institution of caste,

(c) gtve account of the wanderinG' tribe of Adodias!

(d) desc:ribe the orga~ization and principles of the Swa~inaray:m sect WhlC~ made Its appear:mce It;! the State .during the last century as also that well known edu.catlonal inStitution, the Da:ana Murti Bhuwan and

(e) refer to the anthropometnc survey. But the last though not the least important feature of the current Census is the Report.

7. The Report.-It. may be pointed out at the ontset that until the last Census, the activities of the Census Department consisted of sorting and compiling some of the Imperial Tables giving the statistics for the State as a. whole. At the Censuses of 1921 and 1911, though the idea of report.writing was mooted, for one reason or another it did not materialize. This is, therefore, a maiden attempt at the writing of the State Census Report which may be deemed to supply a long.felt want. The desire to have a separate report of the State Census which had been cherished since 1911 is at last realised in 1931. In the absence of any previous attempt to serve as a guide in this arduous work, the path was beset with many difficulties. Where consideration of large numbers is involved, a comparative idea of intercensal variations can be had only by comparing the proportions per cent. or per mille of the figures examined for the different units.

For,. in a statistical study, facts are better compared on the basis of their ratios, select. ing the one or the other quantity as a base. Variations in numbers, age constitution and distribution by civil condition, etc. of the population are compared for the last fifty years and for the main religions. And a very lari;e number of proportions, which would be available to the future Census Superinten. dents in a cut-and•dried form for all the past Censuses upto 1931, had all to be worked out for the first time on this occasion. It involved elaborate working out of the different ratios and other proportional figures for the numerous Subsidiary and marginal tables inserted in the Report. The task was made much more difficult by the incompleteness and defective nature of some of the past statistics which came in the way of useful comparisons. Some of the Subsidiary and marginal statements which had been got ready after devoting much precious time, had to be dispensed with, when some data that had not been compiled at the past Censuses were lacking or were incomplete. The compilation of the birth and death•rates and the statement showing the various causes of death for the last ten years referred to above had to be first compiled for each individual Mahal and then totalled up for the State as a whole.

On the compilation of the Imperial and State Tables, the tabulation of the necessary Subsidiary and marginal tables was undertaken. Chapter I which involves a discussion of the general, physical and economic condition of the decade called for a preparation of some of the tables from the statistics obtained. from the various State Departments. After these were received and the neces• sary statements prepared therefrom, the work of writing the Report could be taken in hand. It lasted from the commencement of December 1931 to the end of . July 1932. It must be observed that though the discussion in the Report has been strictly confined to Census subjects, some of the questions as early marriage, caste,.

etc., which the other reports will refer to in brief owing to their having considered them before, have been more fully examined in the pages that follow owing to the fact that ours is a first attempt in this direction, and that their full exposition is, therefore, legitimately due to the reader. Graphical presentation of statistics by means of diagrams is, as Whipple says, a distinct aid to the mind in grasping their meaning and fixing them in memory, especially when the figures become unwieldy or attain magnitudes beyond the ordinary range of familiarity. Curves, maps and diagrams have been, therefore, prepared to illustrate the decennial• variations, and changes in distribution and the same inserted in the Report along with some interesting photographs.

Finally, we may be permitted to say that no pains have been spared to make• the current census and the Report as .comprehensive as possible. Nascent as such an effort is, none realises more than myself the manifold obstacles and various limitations that confront the production of such a document. However,. in all humility, it may be said that an honest attempt has been made to meet them, and make of this Report a useful book of reference. At the same time, I am to ask for the kind indulgence of the reader for the many shortcomings of which I am only too conscious.

8. Acknowledgments.-Census Reports in India are, so to say standar-• dized, in the sense that they follow the plan fixed in advance and laid down by the• Census Commissioner for India in his Notes on the Chapters of the Report. The,

latter ofTer, indeed, very helpful and vaIua~le su~estions for the treatment of the census topics. Reports that have been published m the past also render very useful guidance in the matter of report-writing. Those of them .that have proved esp~cially useful were the Baroda State and Bombay Presidency Reports for 1921 and the All•India Reports for 1911 and 1921. The Notes referred to above, and kindly supplied by Mr. Dracup! the Provi~cial Superintendent, Bombay Presidency assisted a great deal m the frammg of the present Report. Our heart.felt thanl<s are, therefore, due to the latter Officer not only for the copy of the Notes supplied by him, but ~or his p~ompt explanations of. some ;o~ the dou?t. ful points referred to. him from time ~o time. The general gwdanceglVe!1 by him during the enumeratIOn and abstractIOn stages of the Census Operations, also deserves to be gra tef ull y acknowledged.

. But any degree of success which this Census may h.ave 3:chieved is, it goes without saying mainly due to the generous support of HIS Highness the Maharaja Saheb in the matter of finance and to his. encouragement of ~very propC?sal designed to make this Census as comprehensive and all-embracmg as poSSible and we hereby tender to him our most respectful gratitude. ' Our cordial thanks are also due to the President, Sir Prabhashanker Pattani, 1<.C.I.E., and other members of the State Council for the support and assistance given by them from time to time in the course of the Census Operations. Col. Masse as the then Vice• President was in charge of the Census Port.folio, and he very kindly and promptly backed up every measure which has materially contributed to what success has attended the work of Census Department. To Dewan BahadurTribhuwandas 1<. Trivedi, Member of the State Council, we are indebted more than we can express.

His vast experience of long.standing of the administration dfTered immediate solution of many a knotty question referred to him now and anon. He has laid us under deep obligation by continually making very valuable suggestions as to what should be• embodied and what should be excluded from, what subjects should be treated in, and what extra tables should form part of the Report. But what was more important, were the suggestions made by him while reading the whole Report to him before it 'was finally sent to the press for publication. Opportunity is also taken to thankfully acknowledge the co-operation of the various State Departments in further furnishing the statistics and information asked for. Dr. B. S. Guha, A.M.,Ph. D., Anthropologist of the Zoological Survery of India, Calcutta, who visited the State for anthropometrical survey undertaken in connection with the current Census on behalf of the Census Commissioner for India, was kind enough to supply some typical photos and the statement showing the results of his measurements. We are highly obliged to him for this act of courtesy.

Coming to the staff of the Census Office, it must be said that the zeal and industry with which all of them have worked even during holidays and out-ofoffice hours to make the present Census a success, were really most commendable and are deserving of the highest praise.

Of cours~ the brunt of the whole work had to be borne by the Assistant Census Superintendent, Mr. Ramanlal K. Trivedi. Although he was entirely new ~o the Census wor~ ,:"hen he was first taken up, he has amply justified his selection by the characteristic manner in which he identified himself with his new ~uties from the beginning. As Revenue Commissioner I had enough pre-occupations of my own, which left me little leisure to attend to the Census work beyond a most general and superficial supervision. In fact Mr. Ramanlal K. Trivedi has s~oulde~d the whole burden single.handed and the result of his arduous and Single-minded labours is to be seen in the pages of the accompanying report. The offi~e had in Mr. B. ~. Patel, B.A., a very enthusiastic and hardworking ~ead CI~rk, In Mr. BalvantraJ. H. Shukla, a very speedy and energetic typist, and 10 Mr. V.ldyashanker I. pa~e, a very useful and able clerk, who was ready to do . any work entrusted to him In a way that gave entire satisfaction. Mr. Chhaganlal's . usefulness as a Shlrastedar has been already noticed in the Administrative Report.

For the graphical value of the Report, the work done by Mr. Abdul Gafur Nasir,. -Head Clerk of the Port Department, in preparing the diagrams, curves and maps to be inserted in the Report is really praiseworthy for accuracy and neatness• of design. The promptness with which he understood and executed the varied ~suggestions made to him for framing them is really commendable. For preparing the photo-zinco and half-tone blocks, that well-known artist, Mr. Ravishanker Raval of Kumar Karyalaya, and for the Litho blocks Shri Sidh Litho Works, Bombay, deserve special mention, for the excellence of their artistic execution. Lastly; the Karnatak Printing Press, Bombay, deserves great credit for the nice get-up and excellent printing of the Tables and Report Volumes which have made them more attractive and greatly added to their utility. BHAVNAGAR

Dated the 27th July 1932


General Superintendent

01 Cen&1ts OPerations:

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