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Census Reports 1911

Census Reports 1911


                                                                                                                    CHAPTER I

Distribution of the Population

Introductory Remarks

1. The remark that India must be regarded as a continent rather than a great diversity of physical features, country may be trite , but it is essential to bear the fact in mind when dealing with the statistics of the census. Though geographically a part of Asia, its connection with that continent is recent as geology reckons time. Prior to the tertiary period, when the Himalayas were thrown up, the present peninsula of India was bounded on the north by the great central sea known to geologist as Tethys, while on the south it was joined to the ancient land area which stretched from Madagascar to the Malay Archipelago. And even now it is largely isolated from the rest of Asia. The Himalayas form a mighty barrier, which cuts off all access by man except for a narrow strip at the two extremities, and impedes the air movements to such an extent as to give to India a practically independent meteorology. But it is chiefly in respect of its size, equal to that of all Europe excluding Russia, its teeming population - a fifth of that of the whole world races that it claims recognition as a continent , or collection of different countries .No one who travels through India can fail to be struck with the extraordinary variety of its physical aspects. In the north rise the highest mountains in the world. Their summits are clothed in perennial snow and their lower slopes buried in dense forest. At their foot is an extensive plain, arid and sandy in the west and overlaid with luxuriant verdure in the east. Further south is a great central plateau, boarded on the west by the rugged out line of the Nilgiris. Between the plateau and the sea narrow low-lying plains covered with tropical vegetation. Included within the Indian Empire as the term is now understood are, on the west, Baluchistan, a country of bare hills and rocky deserts interspersed by a few scattered oases, and the mountainous region bordering on Afghanistan; and on the east Assam and Burma, with their mighty rivers flowing rapidly through fertile valleys, their impenetrable jungles, and their well-wooded hill ranges.            

2. From the point of view of geology India has been described as the land of paradoxes. The peninsula is one of the oldest formations in the world and the Himalayas one of the most recent. Every geologic epoch is represented in one part of the Empire. As regards soils, those of alluvial origin are the most extensive; their consistence ranges from loose drift sands to very stiff clays. In the Deccan trap formation they are thin and poor on higher levels, while in the low lands the well known black cotton soil predominates. In the rest of the peninsula area the soils are derived in the main from crystalline rocks, but they vary greatly in appearance, depth and fertility.   

   The flora of India is more varied than that of any other area of the same extent in the Eastern Hemisphere, if not in the world; and the species of animals far surpass in those found in Europe. The climate is equally diversified. In northern India there are great extremes of temperature. In the cold season the minimum falls to, or below, freezing point, while in the hot weather there are many places where the maximum has excided 120 degree: there is also a very great diurnal range. Further east, the variations, though still well marked, are slighter. In the south the diurnal changes of temperature are comparatively small; there is no cold season, and the coolest time is during the rains. There are remarkable contrasts in the rainfall, which in some localities exceeds 300 inches, and in others is less than 5; and while most parts depend mainly on the moisture brought by the south-west monsoon, some receive more rain from the north-east monsoon, and others from cyclonic disturbances; others again get little except from land-formed storms.            

3. Nowhere is the complex character of Indian conditions more clearly exemplified than in the physical type of its inhabitants. To the foreigner all Chinamen appear very much alike, but the most inexperienced eye cannot fail to note the remarkable contrasts presented by the natives of India. No one could confuse the main types, such as Gurkhas, Pathans, Sikhs, Rajputs, Burmans, Nagas Tamils etc.: nor does it take long to carry the differentiation much further. As noted by the Abbe Dubois more than a century ago- "A good observer will remark, under all general points of resemblance, as much difference between a Tamul and a Telinga; between a Canara and a Maratha, as one would perceive in Europe between an Englishman and a Frenchman, an Italian and a German." The typical inhabitants of India - the Dravidians - differ altogether from those of Northern Asia, and more nearly resemble the tribes of Malaya, Sumatra and Madagascar. Whatever may be their origin, it is certain that they have been settled in this country for countless ages , and that their present physical characteristics have been evolved locally. They have been displaced in the north-west by successive hordes of invaders, including Aryans, Scythians, Pathans and Moghals, and in the north-east by Mongoloid tribes allied to those of Burma, which is India only in a modern political sense. Between these foreign elements and the pure Dravidians is a border land where the contiguous races have intermingled. The Hindus of Bengal have been classed by the late Sir Herbert Risley as Mongolo- Dravidian, those of the United Provinces and Bihar as Aryo-Dravidian, and those of Bombay as Scytho-Dravidian.* [l1]Owing to their religion there has been less fusion between the Pathans and Moghals and the earlier inhabitants than  there was in the case of previous invaders. There are numerous local converts to Muhammadanism, some of whom have intermarried with those of foreign extraction. But the better classes amongst the latter have, to a great extent, kept themselves aloof and have thus preserved their original physical type.

   To these differences of race are superadded others due to environment. The brave and sturdy peasant of the Punjab, Who is so marked a contrast to the cultivator of the steamy delta of the Ganges, owes his physical superiority, not only to his ancestry, but also to the arid climate and comparatively hard life which have hitherto characterized the land of the five rivers, and to the constant operation there of the law of the survival of the fittest. What changes will be wrought in his character and physique by modern conditions of assured peace and an artificial water-supply the figures alone can show.           

4. The linguistic survey has distinguished in India about a hundred and thirty indigenous dialects belonging to six distinct families of speech. In the domain of religion, though the bulk of the people call themselves Hindus, there are millions of Muhammadans, Animists, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhas and Christians. Hindusim itself includes" a complex congeries of creeds and doctorines. "It shelters within its portals monotheists, polytheists and pantheists; worshippers of the great gods Siva and Vishnu or of their female counterparts, as well as worshippers of the divine mothers, of the spirits of trees, rocks and streams and of the tutelary village deities; persons who propitiate their deity by all manner of bloody sacrifices, and persons who will not only kill no living creature but who must not even use the word "cut"; those whose ritual consists mainly of prayers and hymns, and those who indulge in unspeakable orgies in the name of religion; and a host of more or less unorthodox sectaries many of whom deny the supremacy of the Brahmans, or at least have non-Brahmanical religious leaders. So also in respect of social customs. In the north near relatives are forbidden to marry; but in the south cousin marriage is prescribed, and even closer alliances are sometimes permitted. As a rule female chastity is highly valued, but some communities set little store by it, at any rate prior to marriage, and others make it a rule to dedicate one daughter to a life of religious prostitution. In some parts of the women move about freely; in others they are kept secluded. In some parts they wear skirts; in others trousers. In some parts again wheat is the staple food; in others millets of various kinds. All stages of civilization are found in India. At one extreme are the land-holding and professional classes, many of whom are highly educated and refined; and at the other various primisive aboriginal tribes, such as the head-hunting Nagas of Assam and the leaf-clad savages of the southern hills who subsist on vermin and jungle products.            

5. The heterogeneity of political conditions is equally great. When the Aryans first came to India they found the country in possession of scattered Dravidian tribes. Their own early traditions show that they themselves were divided into a number of independent communities; and we know that this was still the case at the time of Alexander's invasion. After his departure Chandra Gupta established his rule throughout northern India. His grandson Asoka extended his sway over a considerable part of the peninsula, but when he died, his Empire fell to pieces. The kingdoms carved out by Samudra Gupta and Siladitya were less extensive and equally ephemeral. After the death of the latter, the whole country remained spilt up into petty States until the Muhammadans restored some degree of political cohesion. The ruleof Delhi Emperors was mainly confined to the open plains northern India. Aurangzeb added to the Imperial dominions the Muhammadan kingdoms of Golconda and Bijapur, but he was successfully defined by the Marathas; nor did he succeed in conquering Assam in the east or the Hindu kingdoms in the extreme south. It may thus be said that a united India in the national sense is the creation of the British. And even now there are marked local differences. The greater part of India is under direct British administration, but more than a third is ruled by mediatized Native Chiefs. The area under British rule rule is divided into seven provinces, each under a Governor or Lieutenant- Governor, and seven under chief Commissioners. The provinces are all under the superintendence and control of the Governor-General in Council, but there are important differences in their status, local laws and land revenue systems. Four of the major provinces have an area exceeding that of the United Kingdoms, and two of them a greater population. The Native States vary enormously in size, status and development. The 342 minor States of the Bombay Presidency have an average area of 85 square miles and a population of less than 10,000, while Hyderabad is nearly as large as Great Britain and has more than thirteen million inhabitants. Several of the larger States are in direct political relation with the Government of India; others are grouped together under an Agent to the Governor -General, and other again are in political relation with local Governments. Some Chiefs enjoy almost complete freedom in administering their internal affairs, but some are little more than zamindars with limited magisterial powers. Some have almost a constitutional form of government while others are still in the tribal or feudal stage.            

6. It will readily be understood that in a Report dealing with the whole of India it is necessary to confine the discussion to the more prominent aspects of the census statistics. The area and population are too vast, and the local conditions too varied, for it to be possible to deal exhaustively with local peculiarities or with individual provinces and peoples. All that can be attempted is a presentation of the main facts and an examination of the conclusion to be drawn from them. For details the Provincials Volumes written by the local Census Superintendents should be referred to. So also with the statistical data. In the tables forming Part II of this Report, the Province, State or Agency has been taken as the unit. The main figures for individual districts are given in a summary from in Table XIX; but for details reference must be made to the corresponding Provincial Volumes, which also contain the more important statistics for the minor administrative units-tehsils, thanas or townships. In addition to the statistics which have been prescribed by the Government of India, certain other tables have been prepared in each province for local use, including one showing the population by sex and religion of every village in the province. Such statistics, however, are of little general interest, and they are not included in the general series of Census Reports.            

7. In a country like India where the vast majority of the people are dependent on agriculture, the meteorology is a matter of primary importance. Its main features is the alteration of seasons known as the north -east and south-west monsoons. During the winter months the prevailing wind is from the north-east. Coming overland, it is usually dry, but above it is a return upper current of moist air. This is precipitated on the occurrence of storms, which usually originate in Persia. The result is heavy snowfall in the middle and higher Himalayas and rainfall in the adjacent plains. These storms are almost the only source of rain in Baluchistan. The winds of the north-east monsoon also give fairly heavy rain in the south of India where they precipitate the moisture gained in their passage over the Bay of Bengal. As the temperature of the land area rises, at the end of the cold weather, the north-easterly breezes are gradually replaced by winds from the south-west. While the change is taking place, the convective air movements give rise to thunder-storms or "nonwestern," chiefly in Bengal and Assam. The rain from these storms is of considerable value for the tea and early rice in the Provinces.   

    But it is from the moisture-laden winds of the south -west monsoons that India derives nine - tenth of her rainfall. From June to September they extend over practically the whole of India, and the crops of at least five - sixths of the Empire depend on the amount and distribution of the precipitation during this period. The south - west monsoon reaches India in two currents, one from the Arabian Sea and the other from the Bay of Bengal. Part of the latter current is directed towards Burma, but the major portion advances up the Bay and gives rain to Assam, Orissa, and most of the Gangetic Plain. Though its volume much smaller than that if the Arabian Sea current, it is more effective as a rain distributing medium. The greater part of the latter current, on reaching India, meets with an almost continuous hill range rising abruptly from the coast and, cooling rapidly as it ascends, deposits most of its aqueous vapour. The rest of the current takes a more northerly direction, across the sandy plains of Western Rajputana, but gives little rain, except in the coast districts, until it reaches the Aravalli Hills. Deflected from Sind by the action of the earth's rotation, it passes on to the Eastern Punjab, where it Intermingles with the current from the Bay, and combines with it to give rain in the east of the Punjab and Rajputana and in the Western Himalayas. Between the two currents, from Agra to Puri, is a through of low pressure along which cyclonic storms forming in the north of the Bay tend to advance, giving heavy rain in the rice growing districts of the Central Provinces.   

   During the latter half of September and the first half of October the south - west monsoon withdraws fro Upper India, and in the following month from the Peninsula area, giving during the process moderate to heavy rain in the Deccan and South Madras coast districts. At this time cyclonic storms form in the Bay of Bengal and often advance across Upper India, bringing heavy rain in their wake.  

   Although the greater part of India depends mainly on the rainfall of the south - west monsoon. There are great local variations in the amount of precipitation and in the regularity of the supply. Where the early total exceeds 70 inches, deviations from the normal seldom do much harm to the crops, and excessive rain is often quite as injurious as a deficiency. Where the precipitation is more scanty, any irregularity becomes serious, whether it takes the form of a delayed start, a prolonged break, or an unduly early cessation; but on the whole it may be said that the rainfall of the second half of the monsoon period is of major importance. A cessation of the rains in August may destroy the whole of the autumn crops and prevent the winter ones from being sown.

8. As already stated, India is divided into fourteen British Provinces and a great number of Native States. In the British provinces and some of the larger Native States the principal administrative unit is the district, in charge of a Collector or Deputy Commissioner. The total number of the districts in British provinces is 275.  The area of a district is about 4,000 square miles, and the average population very little short of a million. As a rule each district is further sub - divided for revenue purpose into a varying number (usually from five to fifteen) of tahsils, taluks or townships. In Bengal and Bihar and Orissa, where, owing to the Permanent Settlement, these revenue Sub Division s do not exit, the thana, or police circle, takes the place of the tehsil for statistical and general administrative purposes. Except in Madras, the districts are grouped to form divisions. Each division contains from three to seven ( in one case eight)districts, and is in charge of a Commissioner, who holds an intermediate position between the District Officer and the Government. 

9. The partition of India into provinces, states and districts has been determined by political considerations, and does not always correspond to variations in the climate and soil, or the ethnic distribution of the people. The statistics of density and movement of population should therefore be discussed with reference both to the actual administrative units, which obviously cannot be ignored, and also to the," natural divisions." The latter must necessarily vary according to to the criterion adopted. A distribution made on a purely ethnic basis will differ from one grounded on geological or geographical peculiarities, on the nature of the soil, or on meteorological conditions. Though there are many exceptions and limitations, in an agricultural country like India it is the rainfall, more than any thing else, which determines the population that a given tract will support. There are places where no crops will grow owing to the poverty of the soil, the configuration of the surface, or the presence of the saline efflorescence known as reh ; and there are others where the climate is so unhealthy as to be unfit for human habitation. But except where there is irrigation, the rainfall is ordinarily the most important factor. It was therefore decided at the census of 1901 to adopt a scheme of natural divisions (twenty in number), based chiefly on meteorological characters, drawn up by the late Sir John Eliot for use in the reports and maps showing rainfall and temperature, which are published daily for the information of the public. Experience has since shown that these divisions are not sufficiently well understood for practical use; and the scheme has been abandoned by the Meteorological department in favor of one based primarily on political divisions, which are sub divided in cases where the climatic features require it.

The new" Rainfall Divisions" are as follows:-

           Andamans and Nicobars .          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..    1. Bay Islands.

            Burma ..           ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          2. Lower Burma.

            '' .                     ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          3. Upper Burma.          

            Assam .             ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..         4. Assam.

            Bengal .             ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..         5.Eastern Bengal.

            Bengal .             ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          6. Bengal.

            Bihar and Orissa ..         ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..        7. Orissa.

            Bihar and Orissa ..         ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          8. Chota Nagpur.

            Bihar and Orissa ..         ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          9. Bihar.

            United Provinces of Agra and Oudh..     ..          ..          ..          ..          ..   10. United Provinces East

            United Provinces of Agra and Oudh       ..          ..          ..          ..          ..    11. United Provinces West.

            Punjab..            ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..             12. Punjab, East and North.

            Punjab..            ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..             13. Punjab, South and West.

         Kashmir ..         ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..        14. Kashmir.

         N. - W. Frontier Province..       ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..    15. N. - W. Frontier Province

         Baluchistan ..    ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..      16. Baluchistan

            Bombay ..         ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..            17. Sind.

            Bombay..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..            20. Gujarat.

            Bombay .          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..           26. Konkan.

            Bombay ..         ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..           27. Bombay Deccan.

            Rajputana ..      ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..           18. Rajputana West  

            Rajputana ..      ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..           19. Rajputana  East.

            Central India ..  ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          21. Central India West.

            Central India ..  ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          22. Central India East.

            Central Provinces and Berar      ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..       23. Berar.

            Central Provinces and Berar      ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..       24. Central Provinces West.

            Central Provinces and Berar      ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..      25. Central Provinces East.

            Hyderabad..      ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          28. Hyderabad North.

            Hyderabad..                              ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          29. Hyderabad South.

            Mysore and Coorg.                    ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..        30. Mysore with Coorg.

            Madras .                                   ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..           31. Malabar.

            Madras .                                   ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..           32. Madras South East.

            Madras .                                   ..          ..          ..          ..          ..          ..           33. Madras Deccan.

            Madras                                                 ..          ..          ..          ..          ..           34. Madras Coast North.

10. The above rainfall divisions are too numerous to be dealt with individually in a comprehensive review of the statistics for the whole of India. I purpose, therefore, to group them excluding the Bay Islands, the population of which is negligible, under the sixteen heads given below which Dr. Walker has kindly suggested to me :-

Natural Division

Rainfall Division included.

Administrative Divisions or Districts included.

I Lower Burma

2. Lower Burma

  • Arakan, Pegu, Irrawaddy and Tenasserim     Divisons

II Upper Burma

3. Upper Burmas

  • Magwe, Mandalay, Saging and Meiktila Divisions; the Northern and Southern Shan States; Pakokku Hill Tracts and Chin Hills.

II Assam

4. Assam

  • The Province of Assam.

IV Bengal

5. Eastern Bengal

6. Bengal

  • The Presidency of Bengal (except Darjeeling) and Sikkim

V Orissa and Madras Coast    


7. Orissa

34. Madras Coast      North

  • Orissa Division with Orissa Tributary States; Districts of ganjam, Vizagapatam, Godavari, Kistna, Guntur and Nellore.

VI Bihar and United Provinces


9. Bihar

10. United Provinces East

  • Patna, Tirhut and Bhagalpur Divisions, and the district of Darjeeling; Lucknow, Benares, Gorakhpur, Allahabad (except Jalaun and Jhansi Districts) and Fyzabad Divisions, and the districts of Pilibhit, Shahjahanpur and Farrukhabad.

VII  United Provinces West and

       Punjab East and North.

11. United Provinces West

12. Punjab East and North.

  • Meerut, Kumaun, Rohilkhand (except Shahjahanpur and Pilibhit Districts)and Agra (excluding Farrukhabad districts of Jalaun and Jhansi, and the States of Rampur and Tehri Garhwal; Delhi,Jullundhar, Lahore and Rawalpindi (except Shahpur and Mianwali) Divisions, and all Native States in the Punjab, Except Bahawalpur.

VIII Kashmir

14. Kashmir

  • Kashmir

IX  The North - West Dry Area.

13. Punjab South - West

15. North-West Frontire Province

17. Sind

18. Rajputana West

  • Multan Division (including the Biloch Transfrontire), the districts of Shahpur and Mianwali, and the Bhawalpur State; N. - W.F.Province; Sind with Khairpur State; Bikaner, Jaisalmir and marwar.

X  Baluchistan

16. Baluchistan


  • Baluchistan

XI Rajputana East and Central India West

19. Rajputana East

20. Central India West

  • Ajmer - Merwara; all States in the Rajputana Agency, Except Bikaner, Jaisalmir and Marwar; Indore and gwalior Residencies, and the Agencies of Vapawar, Malwa and Bhopal.

XII Gujarat

20. Gujarat

  • Bombay Northern Division (except Thana); Cambay, Cutch, Khatiawar, and the Agencies of Palanpur, Mahikantha, Rewakantha and Surat; Baroda.

XIII Central India East, Central

      Provinces and Berar and

     Chota Nagpur

22.Central India East

24. Central Provinces West

25. Central Provinces East

23. Berar

8.  Chota Nagpur

  • Bundelkhand and Baghelkhand Agencies ; Central Provinces and Berar, and Chota Nagpur Division of Bihar and Orissa with Chota Nagpur States.

XIV The Deccan

27.Bombay Deccan

28.Hyderabad North

29. Hyderabad South

30.Mysore with Coorg

33. Madras Decan


  • Bombay Central Division; the districts of Belgaum, Bijapur, and Dharwar, the States of Akalkot, Bhor, Surgana, Kolhapur, S.M. Jaghirs and Savanur, and Bijapur; Hyderabad; Mysore and Coorg; the Madras Districts of Bellary, Kurnool, Anantapur and Cuddapah and the States of Sandur and Banganapalle.

XV Malabar and Konkan

31. Malabar

26. Konkan

  • The madras districts of South Canara, Anjengo and Malabar (Excluding Laccadives) and the States of Cochin and Travancore; Bombay City; the districts of Thana, Kolaba, Ratnagiri and Kanara, and the States of Janjira, Jawahar and Savantwadi.

XVI Madras South East.

32. Madras South East.

  • Districts of Madras, Chingleput, Chitoor, North Arcot, Salem, Coimbatore,South Aroot, Tanjore, Trichinopoly, Madura, Ramand, Tiunevally, Nilgiries and the State of Pudukkottai.

11.The following brief description of the above natural divisions is based on notes which I have received from Mr. Hayden, Director of the Geological Survey, and Dr. Field, Officiating Director General of Observatories.

            Lower Burma comprises the coast and deltaic districts of Burma from Arakan in the North To Mergui in the south. This tract falls geologically into three divisions, (a) the costal strip of the Arakan Yoma, Composed chiefly of Mesozic and older Tertiary rocks, (b) the lower valleys and deltas of the Irrawaddy and Salween rivers covered by alluvium and soft beds of Upper Tertiary age, and (c) the high parallel ranges, composed of slates, schists and granite, of Tenasserim. The mean annual rainfall is a little below 150"; and of this over 95 percent occurs in the period from May to October. Humidity is high at almost all times of the year, while during the rains the atmosphere is very nearly saturated with moisture, even in the interior. The rainfall is very regular, the mean variability *[l1] being only 64 percent. During the dry season the range of temperature is almost as great as in the Punjab, and the well known unhealthiness of the climate may, in part at least, be due to this feature.

            Upper Burma, or the rest of the province, falls readily into two parts, one on the west of the Irrawaddy, covered chiefly by the sandstones and shales of the Pegu and Irrawaddy series of the Tertiary system, and one on the east, including the Northern and Southern Shan States, and consisting of a great variety of sedimentary rocks, both Palaeoziic and a Mesozoic, and a metamorphic series of gneisses and schists. The climate differs considerably from that of Lower Burma. The monsoon blows as a comparatively dry wind, with the result that the total rainfall received is not only much lighter than that in the region to the south but is also more irregular in its occurrence. The mean annual rainfall is 48", and but little falls from December to March. Thunder storms occur at intervals in April and frequently in May. The variability ranges from 53 per cent. At Lashio to 102 per Thayetmyo; and there is sometimes a partial failure of the crops.

   Assam. - The central part of Assam is formed of a crystalline mass (gneiss and schist) forming the Garo, Khasi, Jayantia and Mikir Hills. Between this and the Tertiary fringe of the Himalayan foot - hills, the Brahmaputra valley is filled with a broad belt of alluvium. On the east and south, Tertiary (and possibly Cretaceous) shales and sandstones form the long parallel ranges of the Naga, Manipur and Lushai Hills. The most characteristic feature of the climate is the great dampness of the atmosphere at all seasons, combined with a moderately high temperature. In the cold weather months thick fogs prevail along the course of the larger rivers, and rainfall occurs from time to time during the passage of cold weathers storms across north - east India. In the spring season thunder-showers are frequent, and in the first half of June merge imperceptibly into the monsoon rainfall which lasts until October. December is the driest month of the year. Excluding the hills above 3,500 feet, where there is in some parts extraordinarily heavy precipitation, that at Cherapunji being the highest registered anywhere in the world, the average rainfall is 92", the highest being 125" at Silchar and the lowest 63" at Gauhati. The variability ranges between 55 per cent .at Dibrugarh and 99 per cent at Silchar.

   Bengal. - Almost the whole of this division lies on the deltaic alluvium of the Ganges and Brahmaputra. On the west, Bengal embraces the granites and other crystalline rocks and laterite of Bankura and Burduwan, as well as a portion of the Raniganj coal-field. On the east, the hills of Chitagong and Hill Tippera are composed of soft Tertiary sandstone and shale, and on the north sedimentary rocks of the outer slopes of the Darjeeling Himalaya rapidly give place to the gneisses, schist and granties, schists and granities, of which the whole of Sikkim and the greater part of the Darjeeling district are composed. The climate of this tract, like that of Assam, is very dump during the major part of the year, and the dry hot westerly winds which sweep down the Gangetic Plain in the spring months are either not felt at all or only occasionally. The cold season extends from December to February, sea winds beginning thereafter to blow from the head of the Bay, and resulting during April and May in frequent thunder-storms and "norwesters." The monsoon rains proper begin in the second week of June and end with the last week of October. Mean annual rain increases from 55" at Berhampore to 122" at Jalpaiguri near the foot of the hills, the average for the division being 76". The variability ranges from 81 per Calcutta to 116 at Saugor Island, averages 94 percent. for the whole division.

   Orissa and Madras Coast, North. - This division which includes the Tributary States, as well as the British districts, of Orissa and the cost of districts of Madras from Nellore northwards, consists of Achaeans schist's and gneisses with a fringe of literate and alluvium along the sea cost. Small patches of sandstone and shale (Gondwanas) occur at Cuttack and in the small coal-field of Thatcher. But little rain falls from December to February. Thunder-storms begin in March and give light to moderate rain in Orissa during the next two months, and in the southern half of the division in May. The south-west monsoon affects Orissa to a much greater extent than it does the north coast of Madras, so that while in the former locality rainfall diminishes considerably after September, on the Madras coast it is at its maximum in October. As most of the rainfall in this division occurs in connection with cyclonic storms, it is very irregular in its incidence, and severe droughts are of not infrequent occurrence, particularly in Ganjam. The annual rainfall of the whole division is nearly 50", but it varies from 35" at Nell ore to 66"at Sambalpur. Variability increases from north to south, and is highest at Walt air , where it amounts to 167 per cent.

   Bihar and United Provinces, East - Is bounded on the north by the Tertiary foot- hills of Nepal, and on the south and south-east by the Vindhyan sandstones of the Kaimur range in Mirzapur, the gneisses and granites of Gaya and Bhagalpur and the traps of the Gangetic alluvium. This tract lies within the influence of the winter storms, and receives occasional showers during the first two months of the year. Dry winds set in during March and continue until about the middle of May. The current is, however, some what unsteady; damp easterly winds from the Bay penetrate at intervals wet into the United Provinces and give rise to thounder-storms, particularly along the hills. The monsoon rains appear about the middle of June, and last till the end of September or the first part of October. The total rainfall recived during the year over the division as a whole amounts to 47", and of this nearly happened during July and August. It is very uncertain in the northern parts of Bihar; and in Purnea the variability is as high as 168 per cent.

   United Provinces West, and Punjab east and North . - The south - western half consists of plains of Indo - Gangetic alluvium, whilst the north eastern embraces the parallel ranges of the Himalaya consisting of (a) the Tertiary outer ranges including the Siwalik Hills and extending from Kangra at the one end to Nepal at the other, next, (b) the metamorphic and unfossiliferous sedimentary belt of the Lesser Himalaya; behind this (c) the great Himalayan range on which lie the high peaks and which consists chiefly of granite and metamorphic rocks, and behind this again (d) the eastern part of the Zanskar range of highly fossiliferous sediments, interrupted here and there by masses of intrusive granite. From about the middle of December to the end of March this region is influenced by winter storms which give light to moderate precipitation, especially along the hills. Hot weather conditions appear in April and continue until the third or fourth week of June when the rainy season sets in. during the hot season thunder- storms and dust- storms occur at short intervals, and in the hill districts are sometimes accompanied by heavy rain. The rains are on the whole heavier, steadier and longer duration in the eastern half of the division than in the western. Very heavy downpours are occasionally experienced in connection with cyclonic storms. In October and November dry weather ordinarily prevails. The annual rainfall varies between 14" and 85", and is subject to large fluctuations from year to year, particularly in the region around Sirsa, where the percentage of variability is 174. 

    Kashmir. - The Kashmir area embraces the western extension of the Himalayan system, the Zanskar and Ladakh ranges, the Hindu Kush and the Karakoram ranges. They consist of granite and metamorphic rocks, chiefly developed in the Hindu Kush and Karakoram, with a great fossiliferous sedimentary series in the Ladakh range, whilst the wide intervening plains of the Tibetan uplands (Ladakh and Changchenmo) are covered with sands and gravels. The south-eastern border of the area includes the sedimentary rocks and granitesof the Pir Panjal, and is fringed by the Tertiary belt of the outer ranges of Jammu, Mirpur and Punch. As might be supposed from its topographical characteristics, the climate of Kashmir is by no means uniform; and while snow begins to fall on the higher ranges in October or November, it is only by the end of December that the snowline has descended to the level of the Srinagar valley. In some localities the snowfall is very heavy and almost continuous; in others spasmodic and light. Kashmir is not quite beyond the influence of the south-west monsoon; in some years moderately heavy rain occurs in summer months, and, coupled with the consequent melting of snow accumulations, gives rise to disastrous floods. The total annual precipitation varies between 3" at Leh and 78" at Sonamarg. Its variability is least at Skardu (66 per cent) and greatest at Leh (266 per cent). 

  The North-West Dry Area includes the south-west of the Punjab, the North-West Frontier Provinces, Sind and the west of Rajputana. The greater part of this area consists of alluvial plains. In the extreme north, however, it embraces the Tertiary beds of the North - West Frontier Provinces and the older sedimentary, metamorphic and granitic rocks of the Hindu Kush. In Western Rajputana desert conditions prevail, the surface being covered with sand through which crop out small exposures of rocks of a great variety of ages. This is on the whole the driest and hottest of all the divisions of India proper. The average rainfall for the year is about ten inches,and of this nearly two inches are contributed by winter storms. Owing to the peculiarities in the distribution of pressure, even the summer monsoon rainfall in this region is intermittent and comparatively light; and as it occurs chiefly in connection with cyclonic storms, or with the changes in the position of the semi-permanent barometric depression over Sind. The avalability ranges between 156 percent .at Khushab and 354 per cent. at which is the highest in India.  

   Baluchistan extends from the Suleiman range on the east to the Persian frontier on the west and from the southern limits of Afghanistan to the Arabian Sea. The hills are composed mainly of younger Mesozoie and Tertiary more - the lower levels being covered by wind-blown deposits. Unlike Kashmir, Baluchistan is nearly beyond the influence of the monsoon, and depends for its rainfalls chiefly upon the depressions of the winter season. The average yearly rainfall is less than 9", and even this small amount is very uncertain. The variability, as determined from the data of the few stations available, is very high, and averages 160 per cent.

   Rajputana East and Central India West.- This division lies between the Aravalli and Vindhya Hills and the Gangetic Plain. It is about 2,000 feet in elevation near the Vindhyas and Aravallis, but slopes north-eastwards and eastwards to the Gangetic Plain. The north-west section consists of gneisses and granites with old schists and slates of the Aravalli range. The south-west portion is covered by basaltic lava-flows. Here, as in the Punjab, the year may be divided into three well defined seasons. During the cold season, which lasts from December to March, light rain associated with disturbances of the cold weather type is liable to occur. Marked temperature changes usually precede and follow these cold weather storms; and occasionally very low temperatures are recorded. The hot season is characterized by the prevalence of very hot dry winds and severe dust storms, particularly in the western parts of the division. The rains commence in the second or third week of June and last until the middle of September. October and November are as a rule dry months. The average rainfall is 25", the highest being 33", and the lowest 20". With a mean variability of 149 percent . the rainfall of this region is quite as fitful as in the Deccan or the eastern parts of the Punjab, while even during the monsoon it is of an intermittent character; and in a bad season such as that of 1899 is liable to fail altogether. 

   Gujarat. - This tract includes Gujarat, Kathiawar and Cutch. Geologically it consists of flows of basaltic rock surrounded by a fringe of alluvium. This is one of the driest parts of India and is liable to severe droughts. Scarcely any rain falls from November to May. The summer rains begins in June and last up to about the middle of September. Cyclonic storms from the occasionally pass through Gujarat, and give deluges of rain, resulting in destructive floods. The mean annual rainfall varies between 14" and 41". Its average variability is 188 per cent., being greast in cutch; at bhuj the measure of variability is 245. 

   Central India East, Central Provinces and Berar and Chota Nagpur. - This division consists largely of gneiss, schist and granite, covered on the west by basaltic lava-flows (Deccan trap), on the old sedimentary rocks of the Vindhyan system, and in the center and south-west of the division by sandstone and shales of the Gondwana system. Between Jubbulpore and Hoshangabad the valley of the Nerbudda is filled with alluvium of Pleistocene age. The dry season commences about the middle of October and lasts until about the second week in June. During January and February occasional light rain is received from winter storms, and the succeeding three months contribute light showers. Central India, like the United Provinces, is swept during the spring months by dry westerly winds, which extend as far as Ranchi. The rains set in during the first fortnight of June and last to the end of September or the earlier part of October. During this period cyclonic storms from the Bay frequently advance through the northern half of the division, some times producing very heavy downpours of rain. The annual rainfall average 47". It varies considerably in amount, being heaviest  at Ranchi in the east of the division, and lightest at Khandwa in the west. The variability is on the whole inversely proportional to the whole inversely proportional to the actual amount: it is least at Chaibasa (63 percent.) and greatest at Akola (170 percent). The division is occasionally liable to a partial failure of the rains, due either to a weakness of the monsoon current or to its early withdrawal. 

   The Deccan. - This division comprises the Bombay Deccan, the Madras and the  Mysore. The rocks consist of Deccan trap in the northern and western half, with gneisses and schists on the east. In southern part, the gneisses are associated with the schist of the Dhal system whilst an old series of pre-Cambrian sedimentary rocks is extensively developed in cuddapah on the south east. The winter rains in northern India do not, as a rule, extend southwards beyond the Satpura and the period from December to February is according dry. In the Bombay Deccan the dry season is prolonged into May, but elsewhere spring showers occur, sometimes in March and April, and more frequently in May. The Bombay monsoon sweeps across this region from June to September, but having deposited much of its moisture on the western face of the Ghats it gives comparatively light rain. In october and november easterly winds from the Bay prevail and, in conjunction with cyclonic storms, occasionally lead to heavy though local precipitation. The west monsoon thus lasts longer than in Northern India. The average rainfall for the year over the divisions amounts to 30" but in the central parts, i.e., round about Bellary, it is only 20"; in this area of scanty rainfall famine conditions are of frequent occurrence. The average variability of rainfall famine conditions are of frequent occurrence. The average variability of rainfall is 136%, ranging from 90% at Belgaum to 195% at Sholapur.

   Malabar and Konkan.-  This divisions comprises the coast districts of Bombay from Thana southwards to the south Canara and Malabar districts of Madras and the cochin and Travancore states. It is covered in the northern part by Deccan trap and laterite. To the south it consists of gneiss Travancore. in malabar there is but little rain from December to March. Sea breezes set in Malabar and give rise to frequent and heavy thunder showers which last till each June, when the true monsoon rains begin. The rainfall in the monsoon, last until the end of October or the middle of November is heavy all along the coast. The annual aggregate is greatest Manglore , where it averages 127" and deceases rapidly southern to 63" at Trivandram. The variability or rainfall is greatest at Trivandram (92%) and least at cochi 72%. In the Konkan owing to the absence of spring shwers, thedry season is much more protracted than in Malabar, lasting practically from the latter part of octobe to the end of may. The summer monsoon rains appear in the first week of June and continue until the middle of October. The rainfall decreases northwards from 122" at Karwar to 72" at Bombay this districts especially in its northern parts is largely influenced by rainfall average 106 % for the whole division.

          Madras south East includes the Madras districts lying south and east of Mysore. It is composed of crystalline rocks and Archaean schists belonging to the Dharwar system. Some shales and sadstones of upper Gondawana age areite and sandstone of comparatively recent age along the coast. The climate of this division differs in some important respects from that of other parts of Peninsula. The dry season lasts from about the middle of December  to the end of June, with occasionally thunder  showers in April and May. Showers became more frequent and heavier during succeeding four months  but the total quantity of rain received is by no means large. Heavier rain commences about the middle of October and lasts till the middle December, when the wet monsoon withdraws  finally from the Indian seas.  it is in this period that severe cyclonic disturbances appear over the Bay and occasionally cross into Madras to give down pours of rain. The mean rainfall of the year  is about 39" and is subject to large vicisitudes, the measures of its variability being 135 Percent .



12. With the exception of a few sparsely inhabited and unadministered tracts on the confines of Burma and Assam, the statics in these volumes cover the whole Empire of India, that is to say, the territories administered by the Government of India and mediatized Native state. They do not include the frontire states of Afganistan, Nepal and Bhutan; nor  of course do they include the French and Portuguese Settlements. The area and population of these tracts are noted in the margin. The statistics  for the French and Portuguese Settlements  are based on a regular census, taken in the former case concurrently with that of British India, and in the latter, on the 31 December 1910. Those for Afghanistan and Bhutan are merely a very rough estimate on which no reliance can be placed.

State or settlement Area in sq. Miles  Population
Afghanistan 250,000 4,600,000
Nepal 54,000 5,639,092
Bhutan 20,000 350,000
French Possessions 196 282,386
Portuguese 1,638 602,564

13.   According to the revised areas adopted in the census of 1911, the Indian Empire contains 1,802,657 square miles, or some 36,000 more than in 1901. About 23,000 square miles have been added owing to the enumeration for the first time of the Agency tracts attached to the North West Frontier Province. A further 6,500 represents the area of the Sunderbans, or swampy littoral of the Ganges delta, which was left put of account at presence enumerations. Finally the frontier state of Manipur has been found to contain about 5,000 sq. miles more than the estimate made in 1901. Various small changes are the result of new surveys and revised calculations. The provinces under British administrator comprise 1,093,074 sq. miles of the total. The remainder is included in the various Native states. The total population is 315,156,396 of which British territoy contains 244,267,542 or 77.5% and the native states 70,888,854 or 22.5 %. It may facilitate the comprehension of these stupendous figures if some comparison is made with the area and population of European countries. The Indian Empire  is equal to the of Europe  accept Russia. Burma is about the same size as Austria and  Hungary, Bombay is comparable in point  of area with spain, Madras, the Punjab Baluchistan, the central provincesand Berar and the Rajputana are all larger than the Britishs Islands the united provinces and Bihar and Orissa  than Italy, and Hyderabad and Kashmir than great Britaink excluning Yorkshire. The Population of India exceeds that of Europe without Russia, and is considerably more than three times that of the unitetd States of America. The  United Provinces and Begnal with the states attached to them both have as France, Bombay as Austria and The Punjab as Spain and Portugal combined. THe population of the central provinces and Berar approches that of Brazil, Hyderabad and Burma have as many inhabitants as Egypt, Central India and Rajputana as Scotland and Ireland combined, and Assam as Belgium. In the whole Empire there are on the average  175  Persons to the square mile, or much the same as in Europe outside Russia. In British territory the number to the sq. Mile is 223 and in the Native States 100; the former figure exceeds by 34  the density ratio in France and the latter is identical with that in Spain.

Map showing the area, density and population of the main political divisions.

There are great local variations in density. In nearly two thirds of districts and states the number of persons to the square mile is less than 200 about a quarter it ranges from 200 to 500. The units with less than 1,000 to the square mile cover two fifths of the total area but contain only one eleventh of the population, while those with more than 500, though their area is only one eleventh of the whole, contain one third of the population. The centre of the population, that is to say, the point of intersection of two lines  drawn, the one north and south and the other east and west, each dividing the population of India into two equal parts, is at the southern extremity of the Panna state in the central India Agency, in 230 49' N. and 800  E.

 14. We may now proceed to consider in more detail the statistics of the individual provinces and states and of the various natural divisions already described. It will be convenient to deal first with the former, But before doing so, it must be explained that the natural divisions which will be referred to in this part of the discussion are not those described in paragraph 11, which have been selected with the object of throwing light on the density of population in the whole of India as determined by its varying physical and meteorigical characteristics, but smaller ones selected by the Provincial Superintendents for the purpose of distinguishing between the different parts of their individual Provinces and states. It is obvious that when a single Province or state is being dealt with, more minute distinctions can be recognized than is possible for the purpose of broad generalizations regarding the population of the empire as a whole. 

15. Assam, which was originally administered as part of Bengal, was made into a separate province under a Chief Commissioner in 1874. Thirty-one years later the burden of administering the overgrown satrapy of Bengal with its population of eighty millions was again found too heavy. The three northern and eastern divisions were accordingly cut off, and Assam was amalgamated with them to form a new province under a Lieutenant Governor. These arrangements have recently been revised, and Assam is now once more a separate province under a Chief Commissioner.

            With an area, including Manipur, of 61,471 square miles, Assam has only 7,059,857 inhabitants, or 115 to the sq. mile. The provinces fall naturally into three parts. The first two consist of the valleys of the Brahmputra and surma rivers, and the third of the intervening hills together with Manipur and the Lushai country in the south. The rainfall is abundant everywhere, and the variations in density are determined by other factors. In the Brahmputra valley the rivers have a rapid flow, eroding their banks  and depositing sand in the tracts flooded by them. In the strath of these rivers permanent cultivation is out of the question. Along the foot of the hills the climate is malarious; and here also the population is sparse, except where tea grdens have been opened out. For  more than half a century before the annexation of the valley in 1824, extensive tracts had been depopulated in the course of the Moamaria insurrections and Burmesse invasions. In more recent times the population sustained a severe set back by the Kala Ajar epedemic that prevailed for nearly twenty years and has only lately subsided. These causes, partly physical and partly historical, account of the low density in the Brahmaputra valley, where there are only 126 Persons to the square mile. The surma valley, with 406, is far more densely populated. In this natural division the rivers have a less rapid flow, the climate is more healthy, the greater part of the area is a fertile rice plain, and the conditions are generally similar to those prevailing in the adjoining parts of Eastern Bengal. The hills division has only 34 inhabitants  to the sq. mile, the smallest number being found in North Cachar and the Lushai Hills, where there are only 16 and 13 respectively.  

16.<1b>  "Baluchistan"  Says Mr. Bray,  "is a land of contradictions and contracts. From a bird's eye view the general impression would probably be a chaotic jumble of mud colored mountains, for all the world line a bewildered herd of titanic camels. Yet it contains many a rich valley and upland plateau, and at least one broad plain as flat and low lying as any in India. For a brief and fitful season its rivers are rushing torrents; for the greater part of the year there is hardly a trickle in their giant beds. On the maps there are three large lakes of limpid blue very different from the gloomy swamps of reality.

 [l1]The term "variability"  is here used to signify the difference between the highest and lowest annual rainfall expressed as a percentage of the average at a given place be 60 inches, the maximum 85 and the minimum 40, the variability would be (85-40)X100 รท 60 or 75. As a rule, the variability has been calculated on the observations made during a period of forty to fifty years.  Except in Kashmir and Baluchistan, where all stations have been classed together, the figures for places more than 3,500 feet above sea-level have been left out of account.

[l1]The above classification, so far at least as Bombay is concerned, must still be regarded as 0.


Source: Office of the Registrar General, India
2A, Mansingh Road, New Delhi 110011