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^ i s t r tci 

H W R A H 

Scale 1 inch~4 Miles 



U.» OIV 







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H W R A H. 


[Priee—In India, Bs. 3 ; in England, 4s. 6d.2 












Chapter pages 

I. Physical Aspects ... ... ... 1 — 16 

II. History ... .. ... ... 17 27 

III. The People ... ... ... 28—51 

IV. Public Health ... ... ... 52 64 

V. Agriculture ... ... ... 66 75 

VI. Canals, Drainage and Embankments ... 76—82 

VII. Natural Calamities ... ... ... S3— 88 

Rents, Wages and Prices ... ... 89 95 

Occupations, Manufactures and Trade ... 96 103 

X. Factory Industries ... ... ... 104 117 

XI. Means of Communication .., ... us 127 

General Administration ... ... 128 132 

Local Self-Q-overnment ... ... 133 ^37 

XIV. Education ... ... ... ... 138—146 

XV. Gazetteer ... ... ... ... i47_iso 

Index ... ... ... 181—189 






General descbiptxon— Boundaries — Configuration — Rivkb 3T3TE1I 

Hooghly- The reaches — Navigation —Tides — The bore — .SaraswatI 

Damodsir — KTina Damodar— Hupnarayan — Giiighata Bakshi Khal — 

Changes iv tbe river couesbs — DAmodar — Rfipnarayan — Saraswati 

Qbiloot— Botany— Fauna— Climate — Rainfall ... ... 1— IG 



Early history — Muhammadan hulk— European trade— Eaely strfg. 
gles of the Hritis-? — Last days of Mughal rule — Early British 
Eni.E— Mutiny of 1857— Formation of district— Arch^eology ... 17 27 



Growth of population — Density of population — Migration— Towns — 

Villages — Social conditions — Dress— Houses — Pood— Drinking 

Marriage customs — Village life — Language — Religion .s — Christians- 
Christian missions — Miihanimadans— Animists — Hindus — Brahmans — 
Kayastlis — .^adgops — Goalas— Kaibarttas— Bagdis — Tiyars — Pods — Kaoras 
— Some fopulab beliefs — Dharmaraj — Bankura Rai— Manasa — Panch- 
Snan — Sastlii — Sitala — Ola-Bibi — Ghantiikarna — Jwariisur — Satya- 
Narayau — Snbachani — Mang.1l Chandl — Hu — Ramkrisiina Mission ... 28—51 



Itrneral conditions— \itai statistics — Births— Deaths— Infantlio mor- 
tality— Diseases— Fever — Burdwan fever — Small-pox—Cholfiva— Dysen- 
tery and diarrhoea — Plague — Vaccination— Sanitation— Village sani- 
tation- Urban sanitation — Water-supply - DraiuMge — Ba.ttis — Conser- 
vancy — frivate sanitary works — Medical INSTITUTIONS ,,, ... 52— G4 



Qhnbbal 0ONDITI0K8— Rainfall— Ibbigation— Water-lifts— Soils— PaiM- 
CIPAL 0B0P8— Rice— Joro and 5«#— Winter rice— PuUee—Oil-seeds— Jute 
— Sugarcane— Tobacco and betel-leaf— FBriTS— Vkobtablbs— Miscblla- 


pbactiob—Cattlb— Pasturage— AoaicpiTUBAL olassbb ... 



Canals— Dbainaqb ohannbls— Howrah drainage scheme— Hajapur drainage 

•ch«nie— EstBANKMHNTS .,. .,. ... _^ ^ 7g 82 



Eabthqcakes—Ctolonss— Famines— Famine of 1866— Floods— Floods of 

1886— Floods of 1900— Floods of I904r— Floods of 1905 ... ... 88—88 



Rents- Produce rents — Cash rents— Wagbb-Pbioes — Mathbial condition 
OF THE PBOPiE— Professional classes -Trading classes— Cultivators- 
Artisans— Labourers — Beggars ... ... ... _ 89—95 



Occupations- M ANUPACT0BB8— Hand industries— Weaving— Chikan work 
—Silk spiuninjf—Pottory— Minor industries— Fisheries— FishiuK appara- 
tus -Ji^#3 and mango fish— Carp— TBADB—J5'3«r ... ... 96—108 



Development of laroe inuustbies—Dockyabds— Ropbbies — Ibon and 
engineering works —railway workshops— cotion mills — jcte 


Sugar factobies and distilleries— Hioe teaoe— Bbick mancfac- 
TUKB— Suppir OF labour — Conditions of factoey life 



1U4— 117 



vjncial roads — District roads — Municipal load*— Staging buiiguJows — 
Bridges — Howrah Bridge — W ateewats— Rivers— Creeks — Canals — 

Pbreies— Steambb sebvioes— Boats — Railways — East Indian Rail- 
way — Bengal-Nagpur Railway— Light Railways — Electric tramway — 




ExciBe— Income-tax — Registration — Administration of ju stick— Crime 
— PoiiiOB— Jails 



Dibtbiot BoiBD— Local Boards — Union Committebs— MtrKioiPALiTiHs— 

B»lly— Howwh .. ... ... ... .. 188—187 



Indigbnous SYSTEMS— Pd^^-jAaZa* and maitahs- Toh-' Maclra4a»—TemB]e 
education — Pboghess of modebn education — English schools — Verna- 
cular schools — Special schools for Europeans — Colleges — Girls' English 
•chools — Peesent STATE of education — Collegiate education—Secondary 
•chools — Primary schools— Girls' schools— Special gchools— European 
•doeation- MisOBlLANBOUB 





Anita — Andnl — Bai,'u5n — Bally — Bator — Bauria^Bhot-bagan — Botanic 
Garden, Sibpur — Duuijor — Fort Morniugtou Point — Ghusuri — Howrah — 
Howrab Subdivision —Jagatbalhiblipur — Janes and Mary stands — Liluah 
— Mahiafi — -Mahishrekba — Mandalgbat Panchla — Sfilkhia — Sankrail — 
Santragachhi — Shalimai — Sibpur - Singti — Syauipur — Tauna or Thana 
Muckwa — Uluberia — Uluberia Subdivieion ,,, ... ... 147 — 180 

Index ... ... ... ... ... 181—189 





The district of Howrah is situated in the soutli-east of the Genera t 


Burdwan Division between 22° 13' and 22° 47' north latitude and 

between 87° 51' and 88° 22' east longitude. With an area of 
510 square miles and a population of 850,514 persons, it is the 
smallest district in Bengal and has a less numerous population 
than any district in the Province except Angul, Palamau, Singh- 
bhum and Darjeeling. Its area is less than that of an average 
Bengal subdivision, but the district is slightly bigger than Bed- 
fordshire and contains 58,000 more inhabitants than the county 
of Middlesex. 

The district is bounded on the north by the Arambagh and Bonnda- 
Serampore subdivisions of the Hooghly district ; on the east by *'^^' 
the Barrackpore, Alipore and Diamond Harbour subdivisions of 
the 24-Parganas ; on the south by the Tamluk subdivision of 
Midnapore ; and on the west partly by the Tamluk and Gh&tal 
subdivisions of the latter district and partly by the Arambagh 
subdivision of the Hooghly district. The boundaries are partly 
natural and partly artificial. On the west and south-west the 
river Rupnaraygm, and on the east and southeast the river 
Hooghly constitute natural boundaries, while on the north the 
boundary is formed by the Bally (Bali) Elidl and an artificial 
line marking the southern limit of the Hooghly district. 

In general shape, the district of Howrah is an irregular Coiifigum- 
triangle bounded on two sides by great rivers, the apex of *^^'""' 
which lies at their confluence near Fort Mornington. Its extreme 
length from east to west is about 28 miles, and its extreme 


length from north to south is nearly 40 miles. Hemmed in be- 
tween the Hooghly on the east and the Rfipnarayan on the west, 
and intersected by the Damodar, the lIoAvrah district consists of a 
flat alluvial plain, with a gradual, almost imperceptible, rise 
towards the nortli and north-west, the general flow of drainage 
being coaisequently to the south and south-east. The product of 
these rivers and their branches, it comprises two main divisions, 
viz., the raised river banks and the large marshes or lowlands 
that separate them. In this way three distinct tracts are formed, 
each with a depression in the centre bounded by the high banks of 
the rivers, viz., an eastern tract streti^hing away from the Hooghly 
and its branch the SaraswatT, a central tract traversed by the 
Damodar and its branch the Kana Damodar or Kausiki, and a 
western tract consisting of the country between the Damodar and 
the Rfipnarayan. The upper courses of the Damodar and the 
Eupnarayan are somewhat higher than the Hooghly ; and in the 
intervening country are numerous watercourses or creeks, called 
khdls, which run dry or are very shallow in the hot weather. 

In the interior the country is broken up into extensive 
swamps ijhih), or depressions, wliich form a vast sheet of water 
in the rains. There is little high land except on the banks 
of the rivers, whose windings the villages follow. These 
villages have a quiet beauty of their own, being surrounded by a 
dark belt of mangoes, feathery palms and clustering bamboos, while 
rich rice fields stretch to the verge of the reed-bordered marshes. 
Between Maknrdah and Bargachhia (Bargechhe), however, the 
country is so low that for miles not a single house or tree is visible, 
the monotonous sameness of this flat fen being broken only by 
the banks of the Rajapur channel. South of the Bengal-Nagpur 
line, from Kolaghat to Uluberia, tlie scenery changes. The 
rivers become broader, the currents stronger, and the land more 
fluvial in nature. The villages are situated at greater dis- 
tances, while the country has to be protected from inundation 
by long embankments. Roads are few in number, and boats, 
or tlio paths along iha embankments, are the chief means of 
communication. In the rains the floods often burst through the 
embankments or pour in through the creeks, spreading far and 
wide over the country. This tract then resembles an inland 
sea, from which the scattered villages stand out like islands ; 
while tlie rivers sweep on with increasing velocity, cutting away 
their banks and carrying an enormous volume of nilt to the sea. 
HivRB The chief rivers are (1) the Hooghly and its branch the 

8T8TEM. Saraswati ; (2) the Damodar witli two branches, the Kana Damo- 
dar, or Kausiki, and the Old Damodar ; and (3) the Rupnarayan. 


The district is also intersected by numerous tributaries or 
effluents of the main rivers, which are generally called khdh or 
creeks. In the case of the Hooghly, tliese are the Bally (Bali), 
I^ajganj, Sankrail, Sijberia and Champa Khdh, which are mostly 
tidal offshoots navigable by boats of 4 to 5 tons burden for 
short distances inland. The Scinkrail and Sijberia Khdh are the 
lower reaches of the SaraswatT and Kana Damodar respectively. 
Into the Damodar fall a dozen channels, and into the Riipna- 
rayan about half that number, the more important being the 
Madaria, Banspati and Gaighata (or Giaghata) Khdh among the 
former, and tlie Bakshi Khdl among the latter. The Bakshi and 
Gaighata Khdh join one another forming a tortuous passage 
between the two rivers, wliieh is much used by country boats. 
The following is an account of the principal rivers of the district. 

The Hooghly is the main westerly channel by which the Hooghly. 
waters of the Ganges enter the Bay of Bengal, its easterly chan- 
nel being the Padma. It is formed by the confluence of the 
Bhagirathl, Jalangi and Matabhanga ; but among Hindus the 
name Bhagirathl is commonly given to the whole branch from 
Murshidabad southwards. It is so-called after king Bhagirath, 
who, according to Hindu mythology, induced Ganga to come 
down from heaven. The legend runs that king Sagar being 
childless went to the Himalayas and underwent severe penances 
in order to obtain a son. The gods granted him 60,000 sons, 
and he commenced to perform the traditional horse sacrifice 
called Amimedha jajna. A horse was turned loose to roam at 
will, and the whole Indian world was challenged to arrest its 
progress. If at the end of a year the horse returned safely 
and its retinue unconquered, the supremacy of the challenger 
would be patent, and as acknowledged suzerain over the whole 
country, he would solemnly sacrifice the horse to the gods. This 
crowning sacrifice could not be performed by king Sagar, for the 
god Indra in jealousy stole away the horse and hid it in the 
Pdtdla, i.e., the Indian hell, where the holy sage Kapila, an incar- 
nation of Vishnu, was absorbed in meditation. The army of 
60,000 princes, which escorted the horse, traced it up hill and down 
dale, till at last they found it grazing near Kapila. Suspecting 
him to be the thief, they rushed upon him, but fire darted 
from the angry eyes of the outraged sage, and they were burnt 
to ashes. After many long years, a descendant of Sagar 
named Bhagirath, by his austere penances, induced Siva to 
permit the holy goddess Ganga {i.e., the Ganges) to come down 
from the heavenly heights and bring: salvation to his ancestors. 
Bhagirath led the way till near the sea and then declared that he 



knew not the rest of the rond. Thereupon Ganga, in order to 
make sure of reacliing the ashes of the dead, divided herself into a 
hundred streams, one of which, by washing the ashes, completed 
their atonement for sin and redeemed their souls. Thus was the 
delta of the Ganges formed. 

The name Bhagirathi, which commemorates this legend, 
literally means the Ganges, but in Bengal the name and sanctity of 
the river attach only to the westerly and most southerly branch now- 
known as the Hooglily, for the worship of which the Dasahara 
day is specially set apidc. The portion below JSankrail is not 
considered sacred, however, perhaps because it was little used by 
boats in early times. Boatmen avoided this part of the main 
channel because of the difficulties of navigation and the danger 
of piratical raids, and went south-east by the branch flowing 
opposite Bator, which still survives as a small creek near Kalighat. 
It is called the Adi Ganga or the original Ganges, and has all 
the sanctity of that river. The river is also held sacred among 
Buddhists, and we find that Warren Hastings gave the Tashi 
Lama of Tibet some land at Ghusuri in answer to his request 
that he might have " some land on the banks of the Ganges 
to which he might send his people to pray."* The monastery 
erected on this land may still be seen at Bhot-bagan. 

The river first touches the district at Bally, and, after flowing 
past Ghusuri and between the cities of Calcutta and Howrah, 
turns due west at Shalimar Point for a short distance along 
Garden Reach as far ns Hangman Point. It then pursues a 
south-easterly course as far as Uluberia, after which it describes 
another w'ide arc and then flows almost due south, receiving tlie 
Damodar opposite Falta Point and the Riipnar&yan opposite 
Hooghly Point. These great tributaries deflect the stream to th 
east for no less than 8 miles and have set up in it, just above 
the mouth of the Efipnarayan, the dreaded moving shoals known 
as the James and Mary Sands. 
The The deep channel alternates from left to right and vice 

roadies, fcna according to tlie windings of the river, except where 
deflected by the large tributaries which debouch into it at the 
Eouthern limit of this district. Proceeding from Howrah Bridge, 
the deep channel runs on the Calcutta side in the Calcutta Reach 
past the Fort and Kiddeqiore to Garden Reach. At Rajganj, 
opposite Hangman Point, it crosses over to the Howrah side, and 
follows the Sankrail Reach as far as Melancholy (Manikhali) 
Point. It then zigzags from left to right at each bend, 

• ProceetlingB.jAsiatic Society of Bengal, 1890, pages 140-143, 

Physical aspects. 5 

viz., to Jarmaker's Eeach (left) to Coffrey Reach (right) and to 
Budge-Budge Reach (left). Thence a long bend brings the 
channel to the right through the Uluberia and Mayapur Reaches, 
the latter of which has a dangerous bar. The subsequent changes 
are to Rayapur Reach (left), to Hog River Reach (right), and 
thence to the Fisherman's Anchorage or Reach (left). The influx 
of the Damodar now causes it to shoal up on the right bank, 
forming the Falta Sands in the centre, so that there is only a 
narrow channel, the Falta Reach, on the left bank. The next 
reaches are Nainan and Nurpur, both on the left, and after them 
come the notorious James and Mary Sands, with a narrow 
channel on each side called the Eastern Gut and the Western Gut. 
An account of these sands will be found in Chapter XV. The dis- 
tances from Fort William are : — to Rajganj G^ miles, to Uluberia 
19^ miles, to Falta Point 3 5i miles, and to Hooghly Point opposite 
the mouth of the Rupnarayan 42|^ miles.* 

The chief perils to navigation are the James and Mary Sands v^ . 
and the Mayapur Bar. Direct efforts to manipulate the channels tion. 
across these shoals have not yielded favourable results. In 18G8 
experiments were conducted on the Mayapur Bar, and spurs 
were run some distance below high water line from both banks 
of the river ; but they were found inadequate to guide the flood 
and ebb tide into one channel, and no improvement resulted. 
In 1896 an engineering expert was brought out to consider the 
feasibility of improving the river, and he suggested that training 
walls should be built to regulate the channels across the James and 
Mary Sands and the Mayapur Bar ; but his recommendations were 
not considered practicable. A great deal has, however, been done 
of late years by the Port Commissioners to reduce the dangers of 

All the available evidence tends to show that the Hooghly 
is not deteriorating as a waterway, but rather that it is improving. 
The rules for the Pilot establishment laid down in 1826 show 
that the draft of water at which pilots were authorized to take 
charge of ships in the river was from March to September 16^ feet 
fi'om Calcutta to Diamond Harbour and 18 feet from Diamond 
Harbour to Saugor ; while from October to February the depths 
were 17 feet and 18^ feet respectively. Four years later a revised 
rule was issued, by which vessels drawing 20 feet were allowed to 
navigate the river " with the aid of competent steamers at all times 
of the year up and down." Pilots were " strictly forlidden on 
pain of dismissal from the service from moving a vessel in the river 

S. R. Elson, The River Hooghly, Calcutta to Saugor Island, 1884. 


on any account at a greater draft -^ and vessels of greater draft 
•were to be moored at Saugor or Diamond Harbour, as the ease 
might be, until Hghtened to the proper draft. Since that time the 
draft of vessels moving up and down the Hooghly has greatly 
increased. The di-aft of the ten most deeply* laden vessels up to 
March l!)U(i was 27 feet 6 inches, but vessels of over 28 feet draft 
have navigated the river; and in June 1909 alone three steamers 
drawing 27 feet to 27 feet 11 inches left the Port of Calcutta. 

Tidpg^ The Hooghly is regularly aifected by the tides, which rise 

at Kidderpore 15^ feet above the lowest tide-level in spring 
and lU^ feet in neap tides, During floods the mean springs rise 
as high as 19^ feet and the mean neaps 14-|^ feet. The tide 
travels to Calcutta from the Sagar Roads in 4 hours and 9 
minutes, and from Diamond Harbour in a little more than two 
hours, running at the rate of 17 miles an hour at Diamond 
Harbour, 22 miles at Mayapur and 18 miles an hour at Fort 
\Villiam. in addition to tides, the Hooghly waters are affected 
by several other factors, such as the seasonable low readings of 
the barometer between March and September, the forcing of 
water into the river by strong southerly winds from March 
to August and out of it by northerly winds from November 
to February, and, lastly, by the floods which bring down a 
large body of fresh water from July to October. The difference 
due to these causes is about four feet, the highest level being in 
August and September, and the lowest in February and March. 

The bore. Bores of moio or less violence occur at perigee springs, 

especially in February, March and April. The bore is not felt 
much until it enters the more tortuous and contracted reaches 
above Hooghly Point, where it not only capsizes and swamps 
boats that have not been hauled off into deep water in time, but 
also affects vessels at anclior, forcing them to run upstream of 
their anchors with straightened cables, more especially if there is a 
strong southerly breeze. The following graphic description of the 
bore is given by a writer m the Calcutta Review of 1859 :— "Upon 
the approach of this wave a dibtant murmur is heard, which turns 
into the cry bun ! bdn ! ban ! from the mouths of thousands of 
people, boatmen, sailors and others, who are always on the look 
out for this much dreaded wave. This cry is the signal for all 
sorts of craft to push out into the centre of the river, the only 
ppot where the wave does not curl over and break. Should any 
boat or larger cralt be caught in that portion of wave that breaks, 
instant destruction is inevitable. Numerous boats from the 
upcountry provinces are lost every year from the crews being 
ignorant either of the existence of the bore, or from not knowing 


the correct position to take up so as to meet it. Ships at anchor 
in Calcutta, though not exposed to the breaking portion of the 
wave, frequently part their cables when struck with the wave. 
Standing on the shore during the rapid rushing passage of the 
bore, it is a curious sight to see the lower portion of the river, or 
that nearest to the sea, six or eight feet higher than the upper 
portion of the river, the tide rising that number of feet in an 
instant. The height of the bore iu the Hooghly varies from five 
to twelve feet ; it is exceedingly dangerous in some parts of the 
river, but more moderate in others ; it never breaks on both sides of 
the river at the same time. Deep water destroys its force, but 
shallow water, or a sand bank, brings out all its power and fury." 

Accretions {chars) have been formed at various places on the 
Howrah side of the river, r.r/., at Grhusuri, Eamkristapur, Sibpur 
(near the Engineering College), Sarenga and Uluberia. These 
chars are very valuable, especially those at liamkristapur, which 
have been the source of a considerable income to the Port 
Commissioners. Elsewhere the bank is sloping and is largely 
utilized, outside municipal limits, for brick-making. A retired 
line of embankments runs along it up to the mouth of the 
Damodar, but, being under the charge of a number of co-sharing 
zammdars, is more or less in decay with many unrepaired breaches 
caused by floods. In 19U6-U7 a part of the line near Uluberia 
had to be repaired by Government, at the cost of the landlords, 
to prevent floods causing serious damage to crops in the interior. 
The embankment between the mouths of the Damodar and 
the Bupnarayan is kept up by the Public Works Department. 

The Saraswati, known locally as the Sarsati or Sarsuti, branches Saraswati. 
out from the Hooghly at Tribeni a few miles above Hooghly 
town, and enters the Howrah district near Baluhati (Baluti) 
as a small shallow stream. It then meanders on to the south in 
a tortuous course, and, keeping the Eajapury/wV on the west, flows 
past Dumjor and Andul, falling into the Hooghly just abovo 
Sankrail. It is navigable up to Andul, but only by boats of 
5 tons burden. Its high banks, and the remains of large boats 
occasionally dug out from its bed, show that once it must 
have been a broader and deeper stream. This inference is 
confirmed by the numerous large pools, called dahas, found in its 
bed, from which many river-side villages take their name, e.g.y 
Makardah, Jhapardah, Bhandardah, etc. The silting up of the 
river began some centuries ago, and its causes will be dealt with 
later in the section on changes in river courses. 

The Damodar is the only large river passing through the Damodar. 
district. After forming the north-western boundary for seven 


miles, it enters the district near the village of Akna and then 
flows south to Anita, below which it receives the Gaighata creek 
on its right bank. Leaving Amta, it follows a winding 
southerly course to Bagnau, and then flows to the south-east 
falling into the Hooghly opposite Falta Point. Its total length 
within or touching the district is 45 miles. The Damodar is 
influenced by the tide as far as Raspur two miles north of Amta. 
At Amta the epring tide rises 2 to 2^ feet in summer ; ten miles 
lower down at Mahishrekha the rise is 5 feet at neap and 8 feet 
at spring tides. During the summer, i.e., from March to May, 
bores are felt as far up as Amta, especially when strong southerly 
breezes are blowing. The height of the bore-wave varies aocord- 
iuo- to weather and tides, but does not usually exceed 4 feet. 
The river has in summer G to 8 feet of water at Mahishrekha and 
is not usually fordable below the junction of the Gaighata Khdl. 
Above this point the river narrows rapidly, and at Amta shrinks 
in the hot weather to a width of only 10 to 12 feet and a depth 
of a foot or so. Cargo boats do not ply as far up as Amta after 
October, except during spring tides. 

No important change in the course of the Damodar has taken 
place for many years past, but, on account of a large breach at 
Begua in the Burdwan district, the volume of water passing down 
it has been much diminished, a large quantity being diverted 
from its present channel. No islands have been formed in the 
channel, except near Bansberia, but several large chars have 
sprung up along the banks, all more or less covered with grass, 
while a few are under cultivation. The banks are well-defined 
and vary from 6 to 15 feet in height. The river has been 
embanked on both sides, but the embankments on the upper part 
of the western side have not been maintained. It has been found 
that inundations on that side cause less damage, while the 
existence of embankments on both sides, by walling in the river 
and raising its bed, tends to cause heavy losS when breaches 
occur. The eastern cmbankineut is now kept up by Government 
throughout, and also that portion of the western embankment 
which extends from the junction of the Gaighata Khdl up to the 
iiooghly river. The flooded tracts produce excellent cold weather 
crops, e>pecialiy pulses and tobacco. The Damodar is crossed at 
Mahishrekha by the Orissa Trunk Hoad, a little lower down near 
Bagnau by the Bengal-Nagpur liailway, and about half a mile 
f mther dowu-stream by the Kigh Level Canal. 

Of the several branches of the Damodar, two only call for 

PRmodur. special mention, viz., the ICana Damodar or Kauaiki and a branch 

ou tue west albo called the Damodar. The Kaua Damodar 



enters this district on the east of Ichhanagar village, and flows 
south, winding its way to the west of the Eajapurj/riV. Finally, 
turning south-east, it falls into the Hooghly a mile north of 
Uluheria town, after a course of nearly 20 miles in the district. 
A small stream now, it must have been more important in old 
days, as several large villages inhabited by the bhudralok, or 
respectable Hindu castes, lie along its course. 

The western branch issues from the main channel of the 
Damodar in the extreme north of the district, and after a winding 
course of some 14 miles rejoins the Damodar 3 miles north-west 
of Amta. 

The Eupnarayan first touches this district on the south-west Rup- 
near Bhatora village. It then flows south-east, receiving an "^rayan. 
accession of water from the Bakshi Khdl, and follows a generally 
south-easterly course to Tamluk. Here it bends to the east and 
finally falls into the Hooghly opposite Hooghly Point. The 
river nowhere intersects the district, but has a tortuous course 
along the boundary for some 35 miles. The stream widens 
considerably towards the mouth, and has at places a breadth of 
nearly 3 miles. The Bupnarayan is influenced by the tide through- 
out this portion of its course, and a heavy bore ascends it in the 
hot weather as far as the mouth of the Bakshi Khal. It is nowhere 
fordable and is navigable by boats and small steamers all through 
the year. Several islands are found in the river channel, while 
accretions in the shape of grass-covered chars are not infrequent, 
especially on the right side. From the confluence of the Bakshi 
Ehdl down to its mouth, the river is embanked along the left 
bank. The embankment, however, is what is known as a retired 
line ; and in April and May the lands between it and the bed 
are inundated by spring tides and rendered unfit for cultivation 
by saline impregnations, except where minor embankments have 
been thrown up roimd the fields to keep out the brackish water. 
The river is crossed by the Bengal-Nagpur Eailway line at 
Kolaghat (in the Midnapore district), and within a short distance 
of that place by the Orissa Trunk Road and the High Level 

TheGaighata (or Giaghata) Bakshi Klidl i^&n improved natural Gaighsta 
waterway, 7\ miles in length, forming a connecting link between BaJ^h* 
the D&modar and Eupnarayan rivers. The channel was taken ^^'^^' 
over by the Public Works Department from the District Board 
of Howrah in 1894, and tolls are levied on it. 

Within historic times great changes have taken place in the Changes 
courses of the principal rivers. The changes have been greatest ^^' ."""^ 
in the case of the Damodar. Formerly it discharged its waters coubses. 



into the Hooghly near Nayasarai, 3 miles above Tribem and 
about 39 miles north of Howrah. This channel appears gradually 
to have silted up, and in Reunell's map (1779-81) it is shown as 
the " Old Dummodah," from which it may be inferred that the 
volume of the main stream had been diverted from it. This 
diversion appeai-s to have been the chief cause of the silting up of 
the Saraswati at its head and of the decay of the port of Satgaon. 
The channel must, therefore, have deteriorated by the middle of the 
16th century, for in the Ain i-Ahbarl Hooghly is mentioned as a 
port superior to Satgaon, though it does not appear in early maps, 
such as those of Grastaldi (1561; and De Barros (1553-1613), 
which show only Satgaon. 

The main volume of the Damodar water appears next to have 
flowed south along the channel now called the Kana Damodar, 
De BaiTOS, followed by Blaev (1650), shows the Damodar as 
debouching by two mouths above Pisolta, which has been identified 
with the modern village of Pichhaldaha close to Fort Mornington 
Point.* One of these mouths is the present mouth of the 
Damodar opposite Falta Point, and the other is the Sijberia Khdl 
above Uluberia, by which the Kana Damodai falls into the 
Hooghly. In. the maps and accounts of the 17th century and 
the beginning of the 18th century the latter river was called the 
Jan Perdo, " a river for great ships " according to the chart of 
1701. In Bowrey's map of the river Hooghly (1687) it is shown 
with small islands at its mouth, and these are also mentioned in 
1676 by Streynsham Master. In llennell's map, however, it is 
shown as a small stream without connection with the Damodar 
and without islands at its mouth ; and at present it is a shallow 
silted-up stream, serving only to carry off local drainage. But it 
seems clear that it formed the main southerly channel of the 
Damodar up to the beginning of the 18th century, and its size and 
importance are still attested by the long marshes on either side, as 
well as by the populous villages crowded along its banks. 

The present channel of the Damodar can be traced to the 
second half of the Kith century in Do Barros' map, while in 
Bowrey's chart it appears as the Raspas, and in the pilot chart of 
1703 astheMondfclghat, after the Mandalghat />«r^rt(<a through 
which it flows. Gradually, as the eastern branches t-ilted up at 
their mouths, it became the main channel. The Madaria Khal 
between the present channel and the Kana Damodar is another 
old branch of the Damodar. Tliis channel is shown in Rennell's 
Atlas of 1779 as branching off above Rajbalhat and rejoining the 

« C. K. Wilson, J. A. S. B., 1892. p. 112. 


Damodar near Bagnan, whereas it now falls into the parent 
stream above Amta. Traces of the old course still survive in 
the Banspati Khdl and a number of pools {dahas), each about 
half a mile long and a quarter of a mile broad, at Dudkhali, Chota 
Maira, Bara Maira, Jagannathpur, Mansmari, Dhapa and Milki. 
It is said to have been navigable by ships, and it is reported that 
on its bank, at the village of (iobardhanpur 1^ miles from 
Bagnan, there was formerly a place called Jahajghata, i.e., the 
anchorage for ships. There v/as formerly also a branch to the 
west from Rajbalhat to Amta, but this also has silted up. 

The changes in the lower portion of the Rupnarayan are also Rupnara- 
considerable. This river was known to Europeans up to the ^^^' 
18th century by a number of different names. It was called Ganga 
in the maps of Gastaldi and De Barros, Guenga in Blaev's map, 
Tamalee in Bowrey's chart, Tomberlie in the pilot chart of 
1703, Patraghatta by Valentijn (1670), and finally the Rup- 
narayan by Rennell, who referred to it as "falsely called the 
Old Ganges." Similarly, in the older accounts, such as the 
Da Asia of De Barros, it went under the name Ganga, and in 
the later accounts of the 17th century it waa designated Tumbolee 
(Hedges), Tumberleen (Master), and Tombolee (Bowrey). From 
Valentijn's map it appears that a large branch of the Damodar fell 
south into the Rupnarayan above Mandalghat and Tamluk, while 
another branch running east fell into the Hooghly near Kalna, 
The main channel of the Damodar is still connected with the 
Rupnarayan by the Kana Dwarakeswar, and it is not unlikely 
that a large stream joined the Rupnarayan somewhere near 
Ghatal. By these two branches boats could have come from the 
Bhagirathi to the Rupnarayan without difficulty, and this 
probably led to the idea of its being a branch of the Ganges. The 
next prominent fact is that the Rupnarayan is shown in older 
maps (Gastaldi, De Barros and Blaev) as discharging itself by two 
channels enclosing a large island at its mouth. The westerly 
channel disappears in Yalentijn's map, Bowrey's chart and the 
pilot map of 1703 A.D.; and it appears, therefore, that it must 
have silted up and that the island became more or less joined to 
the mainland in Midnapore. The combined result of its dis- 
charging all its silt- laden water through the eastern channel 
alone and the close proximity of the main stream of the Damodar 
was the formation of the James and Mary Sands in the Hooghly. 

It remains to note the deterioration of the Saraswati, which Saraswati. 
seems to have been due to the diversion of the Damodar 
water from the upper reaches of the Hooghly. By ReuneU's 
time (1779-81) it had so far silted up, that it was quite a small 


stream ; and now it is merely a shallow nan-ow creek, except 
for a few miles above its outfall. It is shown as a large river 
in old maps as late as Valentijn's (based on information gathered 
in 166(1-70) and was formerly used by country boats and small 
sloops for inland traffic, but there appear to be no good grounds 
for the common belief that it was onco the main channel of 
the Ilooghly or Ganges. 
Geology. The district is composed of alluvium and presents no 
featui-es of special geological interest. Judging from the 
results of the boring made in Calcutta in 1835-40, the depth of 
the deposit is very great. The boring reached a depth of 
481 feet without signs of either a rocky bottom or marine beds. 
At a depth of 30 feet below the surface, i.e., about 10 feet below 
sea-level, beds of peat witli wood were found, which indicate 
the existence of ancient land surfaces. The wood in the upper 
peat beds was examine 1 and found to be of two kinds, one 
of which was recognized as belonging to the sundrl tree 
{Htritiera litf oralis), which grows in abundance on the muddy 
flats of the Ganges delta, while tlie other was probably the 
root of a climbling plant resembling Briedelia. At considerable 
depths, bones of teri'estrial mammals and fluviatile reptiles were 
found, but the only fi-agraents of shells noticed, at 380 feet, are 
said to have been of fresh- water species. At a depth of 175 to 
185 feet, and of 300 to 325 feet, and again throughout the lower 
85 feet of the bore-hole, pebbles were found in considerable 
quantities. The inference drawn is that the present site of 
Calcutta was near the margin of the alluvial plain, and that the 
land has undergone depression and has subsequently been covered 
by an accumulation of alluvial material. The geological formation 
of Howrah may be presumed to be the same. 

The present conformation of the district is due to the action 
of its silt-laden rivers. " When the whole country is covered 
with water, moving rapidly towards the sea in the river 
channels, and stationary throughout the intervening marshes, 
the dead water of the luarshes prevents the floods of the rivers 
from breaking out of the channels, and, by stopping the course 
of the silt-charged water along the edges of the creeks and 
streams, forces it to dcposil the sediment it has in suspension. 
Hence gradually arises a system of river channels, traversing 
the country in many directions, between banks which are higher 
than the intervening ilats, and these flats form persistent 
marshes, known in the Ganges delta slsJ/iHh or bi/s."* 

• K. D. Oldhauj, Manual of the Geology of India (Calcutta, 1893), 
payes 4b:i.a4, 440-11. 


Outside the Royal Botanic Garden at Sibpur, of which a Botany. 
description will be found in Chapter XV, there is little of 
especial interest to a botanist. The vegetation is composed 
almost exclusively of the aquatic and marsh plants to be met 
with in the alluvial rice fields of Bengal, such as Hydrilla,, 
Utrkuliiria, Caesn/ia, or of those semi* spontaneous plants that 
form the village shrubberies of Central Bengal, such as 0/i/cosmis, 
Trema, Urena, Solrouini, Datura, Leo7ioiis and the like. Waste 
places are generally covered by a weedy vegetation, and one of 
the striking features of the district is the extent to which the 
weeds which occur in these places are exotic so far as Bengal is 
concerned. Many of them, indeed, such as 8coparia, Arjeraium, 
Evolvulus nummularim and Peperomla peUucida, though now 
remarkably abundant, were originally natives of America. 

The district being fringed with factories and under cultivation FArNA. 
elsewhere, wild animals are scarce. The larger species are practi- 
cally unrepresented, for there is no jimgle which could furnish cover 
for big game. One or two leopards have, however, been reported 
in the district within recent years. One was killed by a local shikari 
at Baltikri 3 or 4 years ago, and another was reported to have 
been seen on some Iwyld jungle in the grounds of the Civil 
Engineering College at Sibpur 2 years ago ; but they were pro- 
bably only stray visitors from the adjoining districts. Wild pig 
abound in parts of the Uluberia subdivision, and a few are said 
to be found in the Jagatballabhpur thana. Crocodiles are some- 
times to be seen on the banks of the Hooghly and Damodar 
rivers during the winter months; and during the rains they 
frequently find their way into tanks and flooded lowlands near the 
river. In the cold weather snipe of two or three varieties are 
fairly numerous in the paddy fields within the Dumjor, Sankrail 
and Jagatballabhpur thanas in the headquarters subdivision, and 
also in the Uluberia subdivision. The common, whistling and 
cotton teal are found in fair numbers in the flooded area between 
Maju and Arata, and sometimes two or three of the commoner 
varieties of duck. 

The principal varieties of river fish netted in the Hooghly 
river are hihd, bhetki, t'iujrd, and, during the season, fapsi or 
mango-fish [Polynemus immdiseus). The Hooghly from Uluberia 
to Diamond Harbour is, in fact, noted for the delicious fish last 
named, which is described by Walter Hamilton (1820), "as the 
best and highest flavoured fish not only in Bengal, but in the 
whole world." It is caught with or without roe in large numbers 
from April to June ; and Uluberia is a centre for its export. 
Members of the carp family are found in almost every tank, and 


t'ui, mirgef and Jcnf/d spawn are reared extensivly. The impreg- 
nated eggs float in smnll lumps near the shallow edges of rivers 
and are collected in pieces of cloth by certain low caste people and 
also by fishermen. They are bought by the rearers at the rate of 
lis. 5 to Ks. 8 for a handful, and put in shallow ponds, where 
they hatch in a few days. In about a month's time, it becomes 
possible to distinguish the various kinds. The fry are then caught 
with fine nets, sorted and put in different tanks ; some also are 
disposed of to hawkers, who carry them about for sale to stockers 
of tanks. Amta is a centre of this business. 
Climate. The climate of Howrah is very similar to that of Calcutta 
For practical purjDOses the year may be regarded as consisting of 
two seasons, the dry season from November to May and the wet 
season from June to October ; but the dry season may be further 
subdivided into the cold weather and the hot weather, and the 
■ wet season into the advancing south-west monsoon (June to 
September) and the retreating monsoon (September-October). 

In the cold weather there is but little cloud or rain, the 
fall varying from 0*13 inches in December to 0-99 inches in 
February. Humidity gradually diminishes from 70 per cent, of 
saturation in November to 60 per cent, in February. Heavy 
dews fall in November and the first half of December ; but 
gradually they too become less frequent and less heavy, the 
pressure of aqueous vapour diminishing from 0*600 in November 
to 0*400 in February. At this season cold winds blow from the 
land side, veering from noi*th-north-east to north-west, while the 
mean barometric pressure rises to 30*05 in December and January. 
The temperature falls very perceptibly, the coldest month being 
January, when the range of the thermometer is from 85° to 50° 
in the shade, the mean diurnal variation being considerable, viz., 
20° to 25°. The beginning of November is affected by the re- 
treating monsoon, and is often stormy, while a few cold- weather 
land-storms occur later ; but Howrah does not lie in the usual 
track of storms and cyclones. 

The hot weather begins in March and continues till the first 
week of Jime. Clouds now begin to appear more frequently, and 
the rainfall increases to about 5 inches in May. Humidity does 
not rise much, being only 70 to 80 per cent, in May ; but the 
aqueous vapour pressure rises to about 0*850 in that month. The 
temperature rises steadily, until in May it goes up to 105", with a 
mean diurnal variation of 15'-' to 20*^. The heat in the evening is 
fortunately lowered by a steady sea-breeze from the south and 
occasionally the south-west, and also by " nor'westers " with 
sudden showers. Hail-storms in March and Ai^ril sometimes 


occur ; buf other storms are ooraparatlvely few, breaking mostly 
in May. Just before the monsoon bursts, the winds frequently 
fail altogether and the weather becomes humid and sultry. 

The south-west monsoon usually bursts in the second week 
of June, witli heavy rain. The wind blows steadily from the 
south and occasionally from the south-south-east, while the 
barometric pressure falls from 29-60 to 20-45, but rises slightly 
to 29-75 in September. The temperature slowly falls having a 
maximum of 105° in early June and of 95° in September, the 
minimum in the latter month being 70°. Humidity and the 
aqueous vapour pressure are now at their highest, rising to 90 per 
cent, and 0-950 respectively. The heaviest rainfall occurs in July 
and August, when it is over 1 1 inches, with 15 to 20 rainy days 
in each month. Storms, chiefly' originating in the north-west 
corner of the Bay of Bengal are frequent in these months ; while 
a few land storms come up in July and August, but cyclones are 
comparatively rare. Owing to heavy rafeifall and high humidity, 
the weather becomes oppressive in September, which is undoubt- 
edly the most trying and unhealthy month in the year. 

The second period of the wet season marks the retreat and final 
disappearance of the monsoon. The wind now changes gradually 
to north and the barometric pressure becomes variable, but rises to 
29*90. The mean temperature slowly falls to 70° early in 
November and the nights become cooler, the mean diurnal varia- 
tion being 15"^. Rainfall diminishes to i inches in October, and 
there are only 5 to 10 rainy days in the month ; humidity falls to 
80 per cent, and the aqueous vapour pressure is from 0*800 to 
0-850, Rain gives place to dews at night ; but the chief pecu- 
liarity of this period is that in the wake of the retreating monsoon 
follow numerous storms. 

Generally speaking, the healthiest season is from the middle 
of January to the middle of March, when it is mildly cold and 
fairly bracing. In the hot weather from the middle of March to 
the middle of May, the heat, though great in the day-time, is 
alleviated in the afternoon by a southerly sea-breeze. This season 
is consequently not unpleasant, and is fairly healthy. The most 
unhealthy season is from September to the middle of January, 
when dews fall and the air and earth are charged with moisture 
malarial fevers and bowel complaints being common. 

'I'he district receives an abundant rainfall, but the quantity Kainfall. 
often varies greatly, rising, for instance, to 78 6 inches in 1900-01 
and falling to 35-7 inches in 1895-J)6. The bulk falls in the 
season of the south-west monsoon, i.e , from June to September ; 
and the smallest fall is in the cold weather, i.e., from November 



to February. The folloTsing table gives the average rainfall 
at the tliree recording stations for the cold, hot and rainy 





March to 

June to 



MahiRhrekha ... 








63 24 




The history of Howrah, prior to the advent of European Eablt 
merchant adventurers, is praotically unknown, and any attempt 
to trace it must necessarily lead along a wide and somewhat 
insecure track of conjecture. It may, however, be assumed that 
it was inhabited long before the Christian era, for adjoining it 
to the south lay Tamralipti (Tamluk), a famous sea-port of 
Eastern India, often mentioned in the Mahabhdrata, in the 
old scriptures of the Jainas and Buddhists, and in Ptolemy's , 

Geography. It may also be inferred from the nature of the 
country, a low-lying fen land bounded by great waterways, 
that its earliest inhabitants belonged for the most part to 
fishing and boating tribes. Even now Kaibarttas, the great 
Bengali caste of fishermen and boatmen, form nearly a 
third of the total population of the district. At the dawn of 
history, it probably formed part of the territory of either the 
Suhmas or Tamraliptas, and eventually became attached to 
Tamralipti, which is mentioned as a separate kingdom up to the 
time of Yuan Chwang (Hiuen Tsiang), «>., until the close of 
the first half of the seventh century A.D. On the decline of 
Tamluk it probably passed under the rule of the more powerful 
Sahraas, or, as they were called later, the Radhas. 

In the beginning of the 12th century A.D. the area now 
included in the district may have acknowledged the suzerainty of 
Chodaganga, the first Ganga king of Orissa, who is credited in 
inscriptions with having conquered Mandar and pursued its king 
to the bank of the Ganges.* Mandar is evidently the earlier form 
of Mandaran, which is called distinctly in a late Sanskrit work 
ManddrdmiUof Presumably, therefore, the Gangas conquerei and 
annexed Mandaran, and with it at least a part of this district. 
Moreover, in the palm-leaf chronicles of the Jagannath temple, 
King Anangabhimadeva {circa 1300 A.D.) is quoted as boasting 
that he extended the northern frontier of his kingdom from the 

* AF. M. Chakvavarti, J.A.S.H., 1903, p. 110. 
t Bhavishyat Turana, Ind, Ant., XX, 420. 


river Kansb&ns (near Bliadrakh in the Bnlasore district) to the 
river Danei-budiift. The latter is apparently the old Damodar, 
which as late as the 17th century was ctilled Jan Perdo, d and 7' 
being interchangeable in the Oriya language. If credence may be 
given to these records, the Ganga kingdom estea:Jed up to the 
old Damodar and included the Ulubetia subdivision, leaving the 
ITowrah subdivi-ion ptill in Radha. 
McHAu- Towards the end of the 13th century the Muhammadans took" 

bui'f^ possession of 8atgaon, and in all probability extended their 
conquest southwards as far :is the mouth of the Dauiodar. But 
no early Muhammadan remains have been 3'efc found in the 
district, and the distance from their capital, Lakhnauti or 
Pandua, must have precluded their exercising any effective 
rule over this outlying part of their dominions. The real rule 
of the Muha.nmadans probably began in the time of Husain 
Shah {circa 14!^4-152U), who consolidated his power over Bengal 
and Bihar, and whose generals invaded A<sam, Orissa and 
Chittagong. A generation later the district appears to have 
been overrun by the Oriyas, for their last Hindu king, 
Makundadev.i Hari Chandau, was apparently in possession of the 
country as far north as Tribeai, where abroad flight of steps lead- 
ing down to the Ganges is said to have been constructed under his 
orders. His hold over the country was soon lost, for in 1068 the 
army of the Bengal Sultan, Sulahnan Kararaui, drove him out, 
and finally conquered the whole country as far as the Ohilka lake. 
During the reign of ihis latter king a part of Howrah district, 
with the adjoining mo/id's, was grouped into a new sarhdr called 
after him Sulaimanabad. 

On the defeat and death of his son Daud Kararani in 
1576 A.D., Bengal formally became a part of Akbar's empire. 
In 1582 Todar Mai drew up his famous rent-roll, which so far 
as the subah of Bengal was concerned merely accepted the 
state of things as it existed during Afghan rule from the reign 
of 8her Shah to that of SuLiiman Kararani, From this rent- 
roll the district appears to have been distributed between three 
sarkdrs, Satgaon, Sulaimanabad and Mandaran, and the 
following mahdh can still be traced :— in Satgaon \l) Purah 
(the modern Boro, in which lies Howrah town), (2) Balia, (3) 
Muzaffarpur, (4) Kharar i^the modern Khalor) ; in Sulaimanabad, 
(5) Basandhari, (6) Bhosat (the modern Bhursut^ (7) Dharsa ; 
and in Mandaran, (8) the great mahal of Mandalghat.* Judging 
from the location of those ninhdls, the original sarkdrs were 

• Ain-i-Akhari, Jarrott, II, 140-1. 


Satg-aon and Mand&rau, which were separated by the old 
Dfimodar ; and sarkdr Sulaimanabad was made up of portions 
of them, e.g., in this district Balia, Basandhari and Dharsa 
were detached from Satgaon, and Bhosat on the west of the 
Damodar from Mandaran. SarJidr Satgaon had a large general 
revenue from duos on ports and hats, and a small one from 
vegetable markets and timber yards, of which a portion would 
have been realized from the area now comprised in the district 
of Howrah. 

A few local details of the district at this early period of its 
history may be gathered from an old Bengali poem and from 
the old maps of Q-astaldi and De Barros. The Bengali poem 
of Bipradasa, dated 1495 A.D,, describes the voyage of a 
merchant called Ohand SaudSgar from BurdwSn to the sea.* 
Chand went by Ariadaha on the east and Ghiisuri on the west, 
and then rowing along the eastern bank passed by Calcutta, 
and at Bator worshipped its presiding goddess Betai Chandi. 
Ghusuri, a place not mentioned in any other old work, is now 
the northernmost portion of Howrah city, and Bator is a part 
of the city south of Sibpur. In the old maps we find two more 
places called Fisacoly (De Barros) and Picalda (Gastaldi)^ or Pisol- 
ta (De Barros), Pisacoly (Bengali Pichhakuli ?), which is shown 
as a place between the mouths of the Damodar and Rilpnarayan, 
has not yet been identified, and does not appear in maps 
published in the second half of the 17th century. Pisolta has 
been identified with the modern village of Pichhaldaha,t 
2 miles north-north-west of Fort Mornington Point in the 
extreme south of the Uluberia subdivision. Here boats used to 
cross the Rupnarayan,+ and it must formerly have been a trade 
centre of some importance ; now a /idt (market) is held there. 

The first mention of any place in the district by a European Eueo.' 
writer occurs in the journal of the Venetian Oesare Federici. ■^^^^ 

1 1 Ci • • /-I T-1 ' TRADE. 

who left an interestmg account of Bator. Gesare Federici 
visited the place about 1578 and described it as follows: — 
" A good tide's rowing before you come to Satagan you shall 
have a place which is called Buttor, and from thence upwards 
the river is very shallow, and little water. Every year at Buttor 
they make and unmake a village with houses and shops made of 
straw, and with all things necessary to their uses, and this village 
stand eth as long as the ships ride there, and till they depart for 
the Indies ; and when they are departed, every man goeth to 

* H. P. Sastri, Proc. A.S.R., 1892, p. 123. 

t C. R. Wilson, J.A.S.13., 1892, p. 112. 

t It|is mentioned in the I7th century-biographies of Chaitanya. 



liis plot of houses and then Betteth fire on them, which made me 
to marvel. For, as I passed up to Satagan, I saw this village 
standing with a great number of people, with the infinite number 
of ships and bazars, and at my return comic g down with my 
captain of the last ship, for whom I tarried, I was amazed to see 
puch a place so soon razel and burnt, and nothing left but the 
sign of the burnt houses."* 

From this account it is clear that Bator was a rendez- 
vous for trading ships unable to proceed higher up the shallow 
reaches of the river, and that what is now called a liat or 
periodical market was held there. The centre of this trade was 
Satgaon, from which were exported in the IGth century " rice, 
cloth of Bombast of diverse sorts, Lacca, great abundance of 
sugar, mirabolans, dried and preserved, long pepper, oyle of 
zerzeline, and many other sorts of merchandise." The same 
impression of Satgaon as a thriving port fed by numerous 
subsidiary marts is gathered from the account of Ralph Fitch 
(1586). " Satagam is a fair city for a city of the Moors, and 
very plentiful of all things. Here in Bengala they have every 
day in one place or other a great market, and they have many 
great boats, wherewithal they go from place to place and buy 
rioe and many other things." 

This trade, originally monopolized by the Portuguese, was 
gradually shared in by the Dutch, the tnglish and the French. 
As European trade in Bengal expanded, it led to an extension 
of cultivation and to the settlement of weavers and other arti- 
sans along the river bank, so much so that, after the capture of 
Hooghly from the Portuguese, a Faujddr had to be specially 
posted to Hooghly to control the growing trade along the river. 
The large increase in the river and sea-going traflfic also attracted 
pirates, particularly Arakanese and Portuguese half-castes. 
These pirates infested the estuary of the Hooghly, but gradually 
became more daring, and sailed higher up. To check their raids, 
the Musalman Government built, apparently about 1666, a iort 
on the west bank known as Tanna Fort. It is shown in Valen- 
tijn's and subsequent maps, and is thus described in the diary of the 
Agent, Streynsham Master, under the date 30th November 1676: — 
" Tannay is distant from Hooghly about forty miles by water 
and twenty miles by land. There stands an old fort of mud 
walls, which was built to prevent the incursions of the Arracanese, 

• Original cdiiion of 1.587, traiislate<I in llichard Hakluyt's Prmcipil Navi- 
gations, Voyages, etc., Glaagow Keprint, Vol. V., |)p. 410-411. The English has 
bj«a slighlly uioJeriiized, as tli-re appears to be no particular object in reproducing 
the archaic forms of an old truoslation. 

lilSTORY. 21 

for it seems about ten or twelve years since they were so bold 
that none duist inhabit lower down the river than this place, 
Arracanese usually taking the people of the shore to sell them at 
Pipley."* This fort was frequently mentioned in the European 
accounts of the 17th and 18th centuries, and played an import- 
ant part in the early struggles of the English. 

In December 1686 the rupture with the Viceroy Shaista Khan Eaklt 
led to the retreat of the British from Hooghly under Job ^'^^^'^- 


Charnock. The refugees found temporary shelter at Sutanuti, the 
the present site of Calcutta, but the country was up in arms and ^^itish. 
a large army was advancing against them. It was accordingly 
decided to fall back on Hijili further down the river. On the 
way they stormed and took the fort of Tanna, an exploit laconi- 
cally described by Ghamoek as follows : — "On tho 11th February 
1687 assaulted aud took his fort at Tanna with the los3 only of 
a manne's legg and some wounded. "t Not satisfied with this, 
they plunderei and destroyed everything between Tanna and 
Hijili including several granaries and salt depots belonging to 
the Nawab They also seized and carried off a number of 
Mughal vessels, which they met in the river, and, sending 
several of their own ships to Balasore, burned and destroyed 
about forty more native merchant vessels. The war was concluded 
in August 1687 by a treaty under which the British were allowed 
to move up from Hijili and settle on a tract of land near 
Uluberia, to erect magazines and construct a dock for ship- 
ping ; but they were forbidden to go beyond the Tanna forts 
and had to restore all the ships they had seized. This treaty was 
received coldly by the Court of Directors, which reminded (Char- 
nock that " it is of vanity to fancy that your prudence or subtlety 
procured those good terms ... It was not your wit or contri- 
vance, but God Almighty's good providence, which hath always 
graciously superintended the affairs of this Company." 

Charnock and his little band now moved on to Uluberia (on 
the 17th June), but after a short time went to Little Tanna, from 
which, with the permission of the Mughal authorities, they 
returned to Sutanuti.+ At first Charnock had recommended that 
the British should make their headquarters at Uluberia, but 
afterwards the Bengal Council changed their minds and reported 

* Diary of William Hedges, Yule II, 237. 

t Chariiock's letter to Court, dated 10th September, 1687, Yule, II, 65 ; Patna 
Factory Letter, dated 25th June, 1687, id. II, 62. 

X According to Broome, Charnock commenced making docks at Uluberia for 
careening the ships, which by this time were greatly in need of repair, aud stayed 
there three or four months. It is doubtful, however, whether the stay at Uluberia 
was so long. 


in favour of Sutanuti, as we learn from a subsequent letter referring 
to: — "Our Generall Letter by the Beanjort, and Our Diaries of 
that Yeare wherein we have layd downe Our reasons for the altering 
oiu' opinion about Ulubarreah and pitching on Chuttanuttee as 
the best and fittest up the River on the Maine, as we have since 
experienced, and likewise been sattisfyed that Ulubarreah was 
misrepresented to us by those sent to survey it."* This letter 
was written from Madras where the Bengal Council had been 
forced to retire. The subsequent adventures of Chamock and 
his followers took place outside this district, and it will be 
sufiacient to say that at length on 24th August 1690 Chamock 
arrived for the third time at Sutanuti and founded the present 
city of Calcutta. To those curious about such things it is a 
quaint reflection that Uluberia, now a quiet provincial town, 
might have been the capital of India. 

Six years later the existence of the infant settlement was 
threatened by the rebellion of Subha Singh. One party of the 
insurgents laid siege to Fort Tanna, but the British, at the 
request of the Fnu/ddr of Hooghly, sent a vessel with some guns 
to assist the garrison, and the insurgents were compelled to retreat. t 
For some years after this the district had peace, and the founda- 
tion of Calcutta assisted its development. Bator indeed declined, 
most of its trade being transferred to the other side of the 
river; but new villages sprung up, docks were opened for repair- 
ing ships, while gardens and villas were built in Howrah city as 
suburban retreats. Captain Alexander Hamilton, who visited 
Calcutta about 1706, thus described Howrah: — "On the other 
side of the River are Docks made for repairing and fitting their 
ships' Bottoms, and a pretty good Oardeu belonging to the 
Armenians, that had been a better place to have built their Fort 
and Town for many Reasons. One is, that where it now stands, 
the Afternoon's Sun is full in Front of the Houses, and shines hot 
on the Streets, that are both above and below the Fort. The Sun 
would have sent its hot Rays on the I'ack of the Houses, and the 
Front had been a good shade for the Street."? 
Li!:r On the accession of the Emperor Farrukhsiyar, the Bengal 

DATS OF Council decided to send a deputation to Delhi with a petition for 
BCLB. the renewal of their /anrMua. In this petition they applied for 
a lease of additional villages, five on the west side and thirty-three 

• General Letter from the Council of Bengal to the Court, dated 80th 
September 1689, I.e., Yule, II. 86. 

t liroome, Eistori/ of the Bengal Army p. 28; Stewart, History of Bengal 
(i847), p. 210; C. K. Wilsou, Early Annals of the English in Bengal, I. 147-150. 

I A Nsw Account of the East Indies, Vol. II., p. W. 



on the east side of the Hooghly. The list of villages is 
given in the Consultation Book of the Council under the date 
May 4th, 1714, and mentions "Salica" (Salkhia), "Harirah" 
(Howrah), Cassundtah (KSsundi), "Earakrissnapur " and 
"Batter" (Bator), all in paryanas "Borrow" and "Paican " 
with an annual rent of Es. 1,450.* The deputation under John 
Surman and Khoja Sarhad Armenian did not start till after 
March 1715, and after a delay of 2^ years, Mr, Surman came 
back with 33 farmdns and hasbul-hu/iums. The deputation was 
successful in getting orders about the tdlul<ddri of all the villages 
applied for, but could not secure a lease of the five Howrah 
villages, because the landlords were prevented by the Nawab from 
parting with their lands on any terms.t 

During the next 12 years the rent-roll was twice revised, first 
in 1722 by Jafar Khan alias Murshid Kuli Khan and again in 
1728 by his son-ia-law Shuja-ud-din. During these revisions 
the ssamlndari of Burdwan received large additions, the 
whole of Uluberia and a large part of the Howrah subdivision 
being included in it. Fui-thermore a strip of laud on the west 
bank of the river from Hooghly down to Howrah was separated 
and raised into a distinct zamindari called Muhammad Aminpur.* 
In this way the lands of Howrah district, excepting certain 
kharija nia/idls, came to be under two Hindu zamindaris, Burdwan 
and Muhammad Aminpur, as is shown in Renneirs Atlas (Plates 
YII and IX). 

In 1741-42 A.D, the Maratha cavalry under Bhaskar Pandit 
swept over "Western Bengal, aad forced Ali Vardi Khan to retire 
precipitately from Burdwan to Katwa. The whole tract from 
Akbarnagar (Rajmahal) to Midnapore and Jaleswar came, we are 
told, into the possession of the Marathas.§ Mir Habib made 
himself master of Hooghly, and the Marathas led by him overran 
the lands on the western side of the river and are said to have 
seized the Tanna Fort. The war continued till 1751, and the 
land suffered frequently from the incursions of the Mar&tha 
cavalry, and also from the bands of daooits that sprung up amid the 
disorganization of administration. Fort Tanna again came into 

* C. R. Wilson, Early Annals of the English in Bengal, II. p. 173. 

t id. Vol. II, 287-288, Noe. 28 and 29; J. Grant's View of the Revenues of 
Bengal, Appendix to Fifth Report (Madras Reprint, 1884), I. 486 ; C. W. B. 
Rouse, Landed Froperty of Bengal (1791), p. 10-4. 

X Fifth Report (Madras Reprint, 1884), Grant's Analysis of the Finances of 
Bengal, 1.267,322; Grant's View of the Kevenuea of Bengal, I, 457. 

§ Riyazu-s-Salatin, Bib. Ind., pp. 343-4. 

24 HO^VRAH. 

prominence in 1756, when Siraj-ud-daula advanced upon Calcutta. 
The British commenced hostilities by an attack on the fort, 
delivered by two vessels of about 800 tons and two small 
brigantines. As soon as they opened fire, the garrison, 
consisting of about fifty of the Nawab's troops, evacuated the 
place, A small detachment of Europeans and lascars then 
landed and took possession, spiking some of the guns and 
throwing the remainder into the river. Next day 2,000 men 
arrived from Hooghly, drove the detachment to their boats and 
opened a heavy fire on the vessels from their matchlocks and two 
field-pieces which they mounted oq the walls. The ships 
attempted to return the tire, but their light guDS made no 
impression on the walls of the fort, and though a reinforcement 
of 30 men was sent from Calcutta, they were obliged to return, 
having failed in their attempt. The failure of this attempt 
subsequently cost the British dear. After the capture of Calcutta 
and the massacre of the Black Hole, the survivors in attempting 
to escape down the river were driven back by the guns mounted 
on the fort, and a sloop and a snow were forced ashore. Four 
days later they were joiued by three vessels from Bombay and 
managed to pass the fort safely with the loss of only two 

The capture of the fort was one of the first successes of the 
avenging force under Clive and Admiral Watson. As soon as he 
heard of their approach, the Nawab had the fort put in order, 
commenced building another called Aligarh on the opposite bank, 
and had two ships loaded with bricks ready to be sunk in the 
channel between them. A sloop coming up in advance of the 
fleet prevented the sinking of these two ships, and on the let 
January the forts were evacuated without a shot being fired. f A 
contemporaneous account briefly describes the action as follows : — 
"On the first of Januiiry, the Kent and the Tijyer anchored 
between Fort Tanna and a Battery opposite to it, both which the 
enemy abandoned as the ships approached. About forty guns, 
some fourteeu pounders and all mounted on good carriages, with 
some Powder and Ball were found in this Fort and Battery ; and 
the Admiral left the iSalisbiirij as a Guardship to prevent the 
enemy from regaining them." A letter from an officer of the 
Kent, dated Calcutta, February lat, 1757 confirms the above 

• Broome, Hiitory of the Bengal Army, pp. 55, 69, 70; C. R. Hill, Bengal in 
1756-7, Vol. 1. p. cxxxi. 

t broome, Rislory of the Bengal Army, pp. 80, 8G. 


account: — " "We sailed for Tan e a Fcrts, about two miles below 
Calcutta the first of January ; but thoy abandoned them on our 
approach. The Salisburi/ was left a Guardship there."* 

The victory of Plassey made the English the vii-tual masters fj^J'^j^jj 
of Bengal. Mir Jafar, who had been raised to the throne, was eule. 
within three years deposed by them, and Mir Kasim Ali Khan 
placed on the masnad. By a treaty, confirmed by an Imperial 
sanad dated Uth October 1760, t Mir Kasim assigned to the East 
India Company for military charges the districts of Burdwan, 
Midnapore and Chittagong. Howrah was included in Burdwan 
and thus became British territory. The only other notable 
event in the history of the district during the 18th century was 
the action with the Dutch fought in the Hooghly in 1759. At 
the time there were only three Indiamen in the river, which were 
ordered up to protect Calcutta, while the garrisons at Tanna Fort 
and Charnock's Battery were strengthened by the best of the 
British troops under Captain Knox. The Dutch fleet came up 
cautiously as they had no pilots. On the 2l8t November they 
anchored off Sankrail Reach, just out of cannon shot from the 
English batteries ; on the 23rd, their troops landed on the 
western bank, and marched by land along the Saraswati river 
towards Chinsura, while the vessels dropped down to Melancholy 
Point, below which the three English ships were at anchor. On 
the 24th, after some infructuous negotiations, the three English 
ships weighed anchor, and notwithstanding the enemy's superi- 
ority — they had seven ships and four were large vessels, each 
with 36 guns — boldly came alongside and attacked them. A 
desperate action ensued, which lasted for two hours. A.t length, 
the Dutch Commodore struck his colours, and all his captains 
followed his example, with the exception of the second in 
command, who fought his way gallantly and got clear off 
to Kalpi, the English ships being too much crippled to follow. 
There, however, he was captured by two English ships hurrying 
up to join in the defence. The action had been short, but fierce. 
One ship, the Duke of Dorset, was riddled through and through, 
90 shot were in her hull, and her rigging was cut to pieces, but 
not one man was killed, though several were wounded. The 
English had adopted the expedient of lining their quarters with 
bags of saltpetre, to screen the men from the enemy's fire, an 

* A yew History of the East Indies (1758), by Captain Cope. Appendix VI, 
pp. 418, 420; Bengal in 1756-7, IL pp. 197, 198, III, pp. 2, 4, 7, 11, 34, 156. 
t Grante' Analysis, Fifth Report, I. 329. 


expedient which appears to have answerecl, though it was a 
dangerous one, considering the risk of fire.* 
Mutiny During the Mutiny there was only one episode in Howrah, 

°^ '^ ' which is perhaps worthy of commemoration. This was the 
characteristic action taken by Colonel Neill, who was proceeding 
up country with his regiment, the Madras (1st Royal Dublin) 
Fusiliers. To quote from Holmes' Ilisforf/ of the Indian Muti- 
ny: — " It was arranged that a detachment of the Fusiliers should 
proceed up the Ganges by steamer, while Neill himself should 
follow with the rest by train. Arriving at the station with a few 
of his men some minutes before the main body, which had been 
unavoidably detained, he was told by the station-master that the 
train was already lato, and would be started at once without 
waiting for the absentees ; and, when he remonstrated, a crowd 
of other officials came up, and did their best to silence him. But 
he soon showed them what manner of man they had to deal with. 
Putting the station-master, the engineer, and the stoker under 
arrest, he waited till all the Fusiliers had arrived, and did not 
release his prisoners until he had seen every man safe in his 
place. This single incident satisfied the Christians whom Neill 
was hastening to succour. They knew that the right man had 
come at last." 
FoKMA. It remains to note the administrative changes which have 

TioN OF taken place since the district passed under British rule. In 1787, 
the Government, -fishing to reduce the charges of district 
administration, amalgamated part of Hooghly with Jessore 
and part with Nadia ; and apparently the ^trip of land known as 
ATuhammad Aminpur was transferred to Nadia. t After the 
decennial settlement, in 1795, Hooghly, with the greater part of 
Howrah, was detached from Burdwan and created a separate 
magisterial charge ; but no change was made in the CoUectorate. 
At that time th&nas Bagnan and Amta were placed in the 
Hooghly jurisdiction, but Howrah city formed a part of Calcutta, 
its criminal cases being tried by the Magistrate and Judge of 
the 24-Pargana8, who used to come over once a week. In 1814 
thana R&japur (now Dumjor), and in 1819 thanas Kotra (now 
Syampur) and Uluberia were transferred from the 2-l-Pargana8 
to Hooghly. On 1st May 1822 the Hooghly and Howrah 
CoUectorate was entirely separated from Burdwan. In the 

• Broome, History of the Bengal Arm;), pp. 262-268; Grose, A i^oyage to 
the East Indies, 1772. Vol. JI. 

t Notification in the Calcutta Gazette. 29tli March 1787, I.e. Selections, 
Vol. I, p. 185. 



meantime, the city of Howrah had been growing steadily, and its 
increasing importance led to another change, the magisterial 
jurisdiction of Howrah being separated from that of Hooghly in 
1843, when Mr. William Tayler was appointed Magistrate of 
Howrah with jurisdiction over Howrah, Salkh'a, Amta, Rajapur, 
Uluberia, Kotra and Bagnan*. For 20 years the Magistrate 
remained subordinate to the Judge of the 24-Parganas, but in 
1864 the district was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Judge 
of Hooghly. Since then there have been minor changes in the 
boundaries of the district, but for the administration of revenue 
and civil justice it is still included in the jurisdiction of Hooghly. 

No old remains have yet been found in this district, probably abchjjo- 
because the rivers have changed their courses so much that ^o^^- 
ancient sites, if any, have been washed away. The oldest temple 
appears to be that of Melai Chandi at Amta with a Bengali 
inscription said to be dated 1056 Bengali Saua, i.e., 1649 A.D. 
In Howrah city and in some places in the interior, e.g., Narna, 
Dumjor, &c., there are a few temples in the ordinary Bengali 
style of architecture and more or less modern. The Bhot-bagan 
temple at Howrah, dating back to the end of 18th century, is 
somewhat peculiar, being roofed like a Bengali temple with a 
portico and having Tibetan figures carved on the outside. A few 
mosques and churches are found in the town, but none are old. 
The cemetery to the north of the Town Hall contains tombstones 
dating from 1791. 

* G. Toynbee, Administration of the Hooghly District (1888), pp. 30-33. 

28 howbAh. 


Gbowth Jj^. 1372, when the first census was taken, Howrah, which then 
lATioN. had two subdivisions, Howrah and Mahishrekha, with a total area 
of o39 square miles, was treated as part of the Hooghly district. 
The Khanakul thana was transferred from Mahishrekha to 
the Jahanabad (now Arambagh) subdivision of Hooghly after the 
census of 1<^81 ; and Singti outpost with a number of villages 
extending over 34 square miles was added to thana Amta after 
the census of 1891. At the time of the census of 1901, the 
district had an area of olO square miles ; it was and is not only 
the smallest of all the districts in Bengal, but is smaller than 
many a subdivision. Allowing for these changes, the population 
of the district, as now constituted, was 635,878 in 1872 and rose 
to 675,394 or by 621 per cent, in 1881, to 763,625 or by 13*06 
per cent, in 1891, and to 850,514 or by 11-27 per cent, in 1901. 
The growth of population throughout these 30 years has therefore 
averaged more than one per cent, annually. Part of the increase 
in 1881 and 1891 may be due to more accurate enumeration, but, 
apart from that, there has been a remarkable growth in spite 
of adverse influences. Between 1872 and 1891 the district 
suffered much from epidemics of fever, the mortality due to 
the virulent fever known as Burdwan fever being estimated in 
1881 as 50,00t>. In later years the death-rate was inflated by 
cholera and bowel complaints in the riparian tracts until 1896, 
when the construction of waterworks gave the Howrah Munici- 
pality a supply of filtered water. 

The increase is chiefly duo to the great industrial activity in 
the metropolis of Calcutta, in Howrah city, and along the river 
bank as far south as Uluberia. The numerous mills and 
other industrial concerns have attracted a large number of 
labourers from other parts of India, and the local 
inhabitants have been enriched by the trade they bring. 
The improvement of sanitation has helped to reduce the death- 
rate in the Howrah Municipality. The drainage schemes of 



Howrah, Barajol and Eajapur have made thanas Dumjor and 
Jagatballabhpur less unhealthy. The embankments in the 
"Uluberia subdivision have prevented disastrous floods, have 
facilitated the extension of cultivation, and incidentally have 
increased the habitable area. The result is a marked 
increase of population in all but one of the thanas, and 
especially in Howrah city and thanas Dumjor, Uluberia and 
Syampur, The one exception is thana Amta, where the increase 
in 1901 was ouly 2"4 per cent. A part of this thana has suffered 
severely from malarial fever, so much so that in 1905 a special 
enquiry was made into its origin and prevalence. The part 
west of the Damodar is liable to suffer from periodical floods 
on account of the abandonment of the embankments on the 
right bank. The old trade from the north, which passed 
largely through this thana, has now been diverted eastwards 
by roads and railways ; and as it is farthest away from Howrah 
and Calcutta, without any good means of communication beyond 
a small light railway, no compensating trade has sprung up. 
The salient statistics of the census of 1901 are given below. 




Number of — 

Popula- ■ 




1891 and 




*'°" houses. 













+ 5-52 






For the last thirty years the density of population has been Dknsitt 
greater than in any other district in Bengal, rising from 1,246 ^^.j.jQ^Jf'^' 
per square mile in 1872 to 1,668 in 1901. Even excluding the 
urban areas of Howrah and Bally, the density (1,351 per square 
mile) is still greater than in any district in the Province. The 
villages tend to be semi-urban in character, every thana support- 
ing more than 1,200 persons to the square mile. The population 
is most dense in thana Dumjor, which adjoins Howrah city on the 
west and has a density of 1 ,82-3 per square mile, the highest in any 
rural area in Bengal. This figure is all the more remarkable 
because part of this thana lies waste and is uninhabited, 
being covered with marshes and intersected by creeks. The popu- 
lation ia Howrah city itself has nearly doubled in the last thirty 


years, and in 1901 tliere were no leBS than 17,510 persons per 
square mile, or nearly lialf as many as ixi London. The number 
of persons per acre in this great city varies from 8 to S3, and four 
of its ten wards have 5S or more persons per acre. Many of 
the ward?, moreover, contain la'ge areas of uninhabited land, so 
that the figures afford no index to the density of the population 
in the neighbourhood of the mills, where overcrowding mostly 
occurs. A large proportion of the population consists of opera- 
tives in the mills, who look forward to returning to their homes 
as soon as they have accumulated sufficient funds. In the 
meantime, they live huddled together in crowded lodging-houses 
as close as f-ossible to the mills and factories where they 

" This over-crowding is not a necessary condition in Howrah, as 
there is ample room for building at no great distance from the 
centres of industry. It proceeds partly from the desire of the 
operatives to live as near as possible to their work, partly from 
their poverty, which leaves them little to spare for rent, «ind partly 
from the pressui'e of municipal taxation, which falls heaviest on 
huts and discourages the construction of new ones, unless there is 
a certainty of their being kept full of lodgers. The bagii clauses 
of the Mimicipal Act enable roads to be opened out and drainage 
effected ; but there is at present do law under which it is possible 
to prevent over -crowding, which sometimes attains truly astonish- 
ing proportions. Fortunately the lodging-houses are of very 
flimsy materials, and there is much natural ventilation, so that 
the effects are probably less harmful than they would be in the 
case of masonry buHdings.'"* In spite of such over-crowding in 
Howrah city, it is noticeable that in the district as a whole the 
average number of persons to each house fell from 5'9 in 1881 to 
4-!> in 1901. No district in Bengal has such a low proportion 
except Darjeeling, where conditions are exceptional. 
MioRA- The statistics showing the volume of immigration are no 

T'o^'- less remarkable, the number of \ ersons resident in the district 
in 1901 who were bom elsewhere being no less than 144,620. 
In other words, the proportion of immigrants to the total popu- 
lation is 17 per cent. Among these immigrants natives of Bihar 
and the United Provinces bulk largely accounting for a little 
over 70,000 or nearly half the total number, while Oriyas 
number over 8,000 and natives of the adjoining districts 
49,0 00. The foreign element is most pronounced in Howrah 
city, where about two-thirds of the inhabitants are immigrants, 

• Bengal Censua Report of 1901. 


chiefly from up-country, with a marked excess of males, of whom 
there are two to every female. This influx of immigrants is duo 
to the growing demand for lahour in the industrial concerns, 
which are mainly worked by up-country coolies, while the 
shopkeepers, who are enriched by the trade they bring, are also 
for the most part foreigners. The Marwaris form a small but not 
unimportant section of the mercantile community. Some of them 
have made their homes in the district, and have offices and resi- 
dences in Salkhia and the northern portion of Howrah. 

The district contains two towns, Howrah and Bally, which Towns, 
extend along the river Hooghly for about 10 miles and contain 
more than one-fifth of the total district population. For practical 
purposes, these two to^vna are as much a part of Calcutta as 
Lambeth and Southwark are of London. Since the construction 
of the Hooghly bridge and the extension of tram Knes there 
has been a growing tendency for workmen, who spend their 
days and earn their livelihood in the metropolis, to have 
their homes in Howrah; while several European and Indian 
gentlemen of Calcutta have houses or gardens in the town or its 
suburbs. The railways, mills, factories, docks, iron-works, etc., 
afford employment to a large number of labourers, artisans and 
clerks, while many boatmen and khaldsis are employed in the 
ships and boats that ply to and from Calcutta. The population 
of Howrah city has therefore been rapidly growing, rising from 
84,069 in 1872 to 157,594 in 1901. At the same time there has 
been a proportionate decrease in females, the males increasing 
from 47,213 in 1872 to 99,904 in 1901 or by more than 100 per 
cent., while the females increased from 36,856 to 57,690 or by 60 
per cent. only. This is apparently due to the fact that the 
immigrant labourers do not, as a rule, bring their wives and 
families with them. Bally town has also been progressing, but 
not at the same rate as Howrah, the number of its inhabitants 
rising from 13,715 in 1872 to 18,662 in 1901. Here, as 
in Howrah, there has been a marked disproportion in the 
increase of the male and female population, the number of males 
rising from 6,885 to 11,383 and of females from 6,830 to 7,279 
during the same period. This town formed part of Howrah 
city till 1882-83, when it was constituted a separate muni- 

The rural population forms 80 per cent, of the total district vii-iages. 
population and resides in i, 451 villages. None of the villages 
have 5,000 or more inhabitants, but 15 per cent, have 2,000 or 
more, and 51 per cent, contain 500 to 2,000 persons. The average 
population of a village is 465, which, though exceeded in several 



districts of Bihar, is the highest figure in the Burdw&n Division. 
Semi-urban conditions prevail in some strips of land along the 
rivers Saraswati, Kana and Damodar, for they are densely 
populated and have a large leavening of respectable castes. 
In thana Dumjor the average village population rises to 
816, a very high figure considering that much of the lamd 
lies waste owing to the number of swamps and k/idk. The 
density of population is, however, accounted for largely by the 
fact that this thana has direct communication with Howrah town, 
and consequently witli Calcutta, by means of a liglit railway. 
It ab-o shares in the industrial activity of Howrah, and it has 
benefited from the draining of its marshes by the Howrah and 
Eajapur schemes. 

Social The material condition of the people has been, on the whole, 

improving during the last half century. The opening of railways, 
the erection of new mills and factories, and the establishment of 
numerous industrial works in Calcutta, Howrah and their suburbs 
have caused a great demand for skilled and unskilled labour, and 
have led to a steady rise in wages as well as in the prices obtained 
for agricultural produce. In former years a labourer or petty 
agriculturist could scarcely manage to supply himself with 
the necessaries of life, while in bad seasons, or on other occa- 
sions of distress, his destitution was extreme. Now, however, 
after defraying all his expenses, he manages to save something 
out of his earnings or from the produce of his fields. This he 
carefully hoards up against sickness, seasons of scarcity, and other 
visitations of Providence ; or, as is often the case, he saves for 
years only to squander the more freely on wedding ceremonies 
and festive occasions. It is reported, however, that the middle 
classes, especially those who reside in the towns and have small 
fixed incomes, do not share in the general prosperity owing to a 
comparative increase in their expenditure and other causes. This 
is particularly the case with the middle classes of higher caste. 
^ They have appearances to keep up and traditions to maintain, and 

do not reduce their expenditure on social ceremonies or alter their 
mode of living. Disdaining manual labour, having little enterprise 
and less capital, they find it difficult to make ends meet, owing to 
the increased cost of livhig, which has been such a marked feature 
in the economic history of the Province of late years. The subject 
will be dealt with more fully in Chapter VIII. 

Drcis. The ordinal}' dress of a well-to-do shopkeeper generally con- 

sists of a cotton d/iutif or waistband, wrapped round the loins 
and falling over the legs as far as the knee ; a chddar, or cotton 
sheet or shawl, which serves as a covering for the upper part of 


his body ; and a pair of country-made shoes. To this he some- 
times adds a jyirdn, or short coat. An average husbandman 
wears a dhuti of smaller dimensions and coarser material, and a 
small gamchha^ convertible into a head-dress and worn as a turban 
when he is at work in the fields. Only the well-to-do culti- 
vators wear shoes. The dress worn when attending office has 
changed during the last half century. The townsman, in his 
office and outdoor visiting dress, now wears trousers, a coat or 
chdpkdn with a shirt inside, a pair of shoes, a shawl in the winter 
and a muslin sheet in other months, with a cap or pagrl for his 
head-dress. Clerks coming from the mofussil prefer a dhuti to 
trousers, and do not wear a cap with it. The women wear a sdri 
of coarse cloth for ordinary use, and of fine cloth for festivities. 
Among the lower classes silver ornaments are largely worn ; while 
svith those who are better off, gold has replaced silver. 

The materials used for the dwelling of a well-to-do shopkeeper Houses. 
consist simply of mud walls and wooden posts supporting a thatched 
roof. His house usually comprises three to five one-storied rooms, 
with a shed or large verandah outside for the reception of visi- 
tors. The homestead is surrounded by an enclosure, and the cost 
of the whole building is about Es. 500 to Es. 1,000. The 
furniture met with in such a house consists of several kinds 
of brass or pewter utensils for cooking, eating and drinking ; 
some earthen pots for cooking ; one or two earthen-ware water 
jars ; a few wooden stools, a few mats, and a fakhtposh 
or two, i.e., plank bedsteads of coarse construction. The dwel- 
ling of an ordinary husbandman is much smaller and less sub- 
stantial, being composed simply of mud, straw, and bamboos* 
It usually consists of two or three rooms, and the furniture, if so 
it may be called, consists of a few brass and earthenware vessels, 
a stool or two, and a few mats for sleeping on. Some of the 
richer husbandmen also possess a large strong-box, in which 
they keep their clothes and whatever valuables they possess, 
such as their wives' ornaments, rent receipts, etc. In the towns 
brick-built houses or tiled huts are now general. An ordinary pakka 
house, if single-storied, costs Es. 2,000 to Es. 3,000, and if 
double-storied, Es. 3,000 to Es. 6,000 in the towns and two-thirds 
of this amount in the mofussil. The number of pakkd houses has 
considerably increased of late years in the villages of thanas 
Dumjor and Jagatballabhpur. 

In the mofussil the shopkeeper lives on rice, pulses {ddl)^ Food. 
clarified butter {(jhi), curries made of fish or vegetables, sweet- 
meats, milk, etc. The food of an ordinary peasant consists simply 
of rice and a curry made of vegetables, with occasionally a little 



fish. The living expenses of a well-to-do shopkeeper or clerk 
in tlie interior are from Us. 20 to Us. 50, and of a fairly well- 
to-do oidtivator from Rs. 10 to Es. 20 per month. Most of the 
former can get a supply of vegetables and pulses from their 
gardens, wliile fish are plentiful in the neighbouring khdls or 
tanks. The cultivators also produce their own food largely, their 
stock lasting for several months in the year. In the towns 
artizans and mechanics draw better wages, spend more, and in 
spite of higher prices, live somewhat better than their fellows in 
the mofussil. The cost of maintaining a family of five persons 
among this class may be taken at Rs. 15 to Rs. 35 per month. 
In the towns the ordinary monthly expenses of the more well-to- 
do classes vary from Es. 25 to Rs, 100, if they have got no land 
in the interior. 
Drinking. The upper and middle classes are, as a rule, sober and abste- 
mious. In the urban tracts tea-drinking is gradually spreading 
among them, but coffee is almost unknown. Opium is used 
chiefly by old people, while gdnja is not much used. Intoxicating 
liquors are also more or less tabooed by the higher classes. About 
20 years ago, when the outstill system was introduced in the 
mofussil, there was some apprehension that liquor-drinking was 
spreading among all sections of the community, and Mr. 
Westmacott, the then District Magistrate, made a special enquiry 
in 1887. He found that the apprehension was, on the whole, not 
well founded, and that a distinction should be drawn between 
landholding ryots and landless labourers, even when the caste was 
the same. " The improvidence which permits a man to spend a 
large part of his income on liquor disappears with the possession 
of land, and my knowledge of the district of Howrah enables 
me to corroborate Mr. Toynbee's testimony that landholding 
ryots are by no means addicted to intemperance, or to the use of 
intoxicating liquors to an}^ extent. The agricultural classes, 
however, include the landless labourers, to whom we must give 
a very different character." 

After mentioning the Bagdis, Bauris, Chamars, Chan- 
dais, Doms, Dosadhs, Haris, Jaliyas and Kahars, and the 
lower classes of Kaibarttas and Mubammadans, as people 
addicted to the use of intoxicating liquor, either tdri or distilled 
spirit, he remarked: — "I have met with no evidence whatever 
of any loss of sobriety among the landholding ryots, or any indi- 
cation that the cheapness of liquor has induced them to become 
consumers of it. The landless labourers, especially among the 
castes which I liave enumerated, have, for generations, been 
drinkers of spirituous liquor, according to their means. The 


establishment of jute mills and other industries, affording increased 
employment to labour at high wages, has within comparatively 
recent years enormously improved their position, and enabled 
them to increase their expenditure on liquor as well as on other 
objects, and the growth of intemperance among them has been 
the subject of remark long before the establishment of outstills." 

There is nothing peculiar about the marriage customs of the Marriage 
people. Child-marriage is the rule, but among the better classes ^"^^°'"'^* 
the difficulty of finding a suitable husband is gradually raising the 
age of marriage. Marriages of girls between 10 and 12 years of 
age are becoming not uncommon, but the strong dislike among 
Hindus to the marriage of girls who have attained puberty 
prevents the age of marriage being higher. Polygamy used to 
be common among Karhi Kulin Brahmans,* but has now disap- 
peared, partly from economic causes, but chiefly from the pres- 
sure of public opinion. One effect of this change has been 
to increase the demands of the bridegroom's guardians, as a ' 
larger number of husbands are now required, where previously 
one would have sufficed. Widow-marriage is not allowed by 
the higher castes, and is only tolerated among the other castes, 
except the lowest. Even among them a widow who remarries 
is looked upon more as a household drudge, and the marriage 
ceremony is reduced to a mere formality. 

The old communal life of the village has almost disappeared, village 
The villagers used to gather under some old banyan or pipal tree, ^^^^' 
of which magnificent specimens still survive ; while the ehandu 
mandapa and, in important villages, the zamindari kachhan were 
also favourite resorts. Here they would discuss village politics, 
such as the exactions of the gumdshfa, the visits of the police and 
other public officers, thefts or burglaries in the neighbourhood, 
etc. Local scandals added spice to the more serious talk ; while 
business topics, such as the price of food, of grain, and of cattle, 
gave it a personal interest. Larger gatherings were attracted by 
weekly hats, at which men from different villages exchanged their 
ideas on every subject ranging from the vagaries of the weather 
and the state of the crops to the latest visits of the ddroyd or the 
zamindar. Now many of the adult members of the respectable 
classes have migrated to Calcutta or Howrah and their suburbs, 
leaving only the females, the children and old men at home, but 
usually visiting them on Saturdays and Sundays or on holidays. 
Hats have been mostly replaced by daily bazars in the important 
villages, and the cultivators sell direct to pharids, i.e., the agents of 

* A Kulin Brahman who died at Bally in 1839 is said to have had 100 wives, 










town traders from whom in many cases they have taken advances. 
Newspapers are now found in the houses of the wealthier villagers, 
and on Sundays and holidays a few of the better educated meet 
in private houses to discuss not village affairs, but politics and 
the news of India or the outside world. 

The prevailing language is Bengali, the character of which 
differs little from that spoken in the contiguous districts of 
Hooghly or the 24-Parganas, Local Muhammadans also speak 
this dialect in a somewhat altered form. The up-country immi- 
grants use Hindi or Bihari, if Hindus, and Urdu, if Musalmans, 
while the Oriyas speak Oriya. In 1901, languages of the 
Aryan family were spoken by 9,947 persons out of every 10,000, 
viz., Bengali 8,838, Hindi 1,005, Oriya 98, and others 59. No 
prominent Bengali writer has been born in this district except 
the poet Bharat Chandra Eai {alias Mukhopadhyaya), whose 
home was at Penro-Bas<antapur, pargana Bhursut, thana Amta. 

The bulk of the people are Hindus, who according to the 
census of 1901 accounted for 7,908 of every 10,000. Of the 
remainder 2,059 were Muhammadans, one professed Animism, 
and 32 followed other religions. As in 1881 Hindus numbered 
8,009 and Muhammadans 1,956 in every 10,000, it would appear 
that the former have declined and the latter increased in the 
same proportion. 

In 1901 the Christians numbered 2,588 (1,568 males and 
1,020 females). The majority were Europeans and Eurasians, 
579 being Indian Christians. None were reported from thanas 
Amta, Bagnan and S}ampur, and only a few from Jagatballabh' 
pur, Uluberia and Bally ; while nine-tenths were found in Howrah 

The earliest missionary work was begun by the Baptist Mis- 
sionary Society in 1703 under the Serampore missionaries, and a 
school started by them in 1830 appears to be still in existence. 
The Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge had schools 
at Howrah in 1824, of which Mr. Tweddle was Superintendent, 
and also in the neighbourhood of Howrah at Sibpur, Salkhia, 
Ghusuri and Bally. In 1820, Mr. De Mello took charge of the 
schools, and in 1827 another school, having an attendance of 
120 boys, was opened at Bator. In the same year we find that the 
Professors of Bishop's College (opened in 1824) undertook services 
in the Howrah church, Avhich owed its erection chiefly to the 
exertions of Professor Holmes of that college. A Sunday-school 
was also opened by Mr. De Mello at the college, and one of those 
who attended it was baptized in 1830. Another school was opened 
by Mr. Bowyer in 1837 at Baiakati, 12 miles north-west of 



HoWrah, a building being erected to serve both as a school and 
chapel. The same missionary had established an English school 
in 1830, at the suggestion of Bishop Turner, which was *' intended 
to serve as an ultimatum to all the diocesan schools in this district ; 
it is proposed to select from each those scholars who are the most 
thoroughly instructed in Bengali, and at the same time farthest 
advanced in English, and remove them to this institution, where 
the teaching will be wholly confined to the latter language." 
A Christian boarding school was also started about 1837.* 
The Iloman Catholic church at Cullen Place was built in 1832, 
and a school for Christian girls was opened in 1857 under the 
supervision of the nuns of the Loreto House. The Loreto nuns 
were replaced in 1880 by the Daughters of the Cross, who have 
since then carried on their work among the native Christians of 

At present, the Church Missionary Society maintains a 
resident missionary, first deputed in 1904 for evangelistic work 
among the Bindi-speaking people, of whom there are 85,000 in 
the mills and factories along the riverside. The Baptist Mission 
also works in Howrah, and the Baptist Zanana Mission has 4 
girls' schools there. A small American Mission calling itself 
" The Church of God " has lately been established in Uluberia. 
The Presbyterian Church also works in Howrah among Europeans, 
but it does not maintain schools or missions. The Presbyterians 
first began to work in Howrah in 1897, but the work simply 
meant a service in the Town Hall on Sunday evenings. In 1901 
the present church was built, and in 1904 the hall adjoining the 
church was erected. The church belongs to both sections of 
Presbyterianism at present working in Calcutta. It is managed 
by a board consisting of a minister, session clerk and one 
member from the Deacon's Court of Wellesley Square United 
Free Church ; the minister, session clerk and one member from 
the St. Andrew's Church Session; and four members of the 
Howrah church with the minister-in -charge. The latter came 
out in connection with the Bengal Mills and Steamers Pres- 
byterian Association, and the church in Howrah not being able to 
support a minister of ita own, his services as minister-in-charge 
were given to it. The minister-in-charge also ministers to the 
mills on both sides of the river from Kamarhati to the Lawrence 
Jute Mills a little below Bauria. 

The Muhammadans, who formed in 190]. more than one- Mubam- 
fifth of the population, are found in greatest strength in Howrah '"a^«'°*' 

* J, Long, Handbook of Bengal Missions, 1837. 


city, where they number 39,239, congregatiug chiefly in dirty 
over-crowded bast is like Tindalbagau, Tikapara and Priya Manna's 
basti. A large proportion of them, probabl}' the majority, are 
immigrants ; and hence the males are in considerable excess. 
Outside Howrah, Muhammadans are found in fair numbers in 
thanas Dumjor (32,459) and Uluberia ( 29,543), and also in 
Jagatballabhpur. A few in thana Dumjor are immigrants 
attracted to the mills on the river bank ; but the bulk are resi- 
dents, and not a few are old settlers. The latter date back to the 
days of Muhammadan rule, when their forefathers settled along 
the river Saraswati and round thana Muckwa, the old Tanna 
fort. In thana Uluberia, a few are immigrants, employed 
in the mills at Fort Grloster and Bauria, but most are local 
people, who live scattered throughout the villages. In Jagat- 
ballabhpur again most of the Muhammadans are indigenous and 
have been settled for many generations along the banks of the 
Kana Nadi, which was a large navigable river in the Muhammadan 
period. They predominate in three groups of villages, viz., 
(1) about Kamalpur and Sekrahati, (2) Dhasa, Narendrapur and 
Bakul, and (3) Gustia and Panehla. 

In this district the Muhammadans are almost exclusively 
Sunnis, neither the Wahabi nor the Farazi doctrines having spread 
among them. Malliks, Pathans or Saiyads are few in number and 
are found chiefly among the immij^rants. It is curious, therefore, 
to find that in the census of 1901 the largest number of Pathans 
were reporied from such an out-of-the-way thana as Syampur. 
Jolahas, the weaving class, are found chiefly in Howi'ah city, 
where they are probably immigrants, but older colonies are found 
iu thana Amta and at Pancbla in thana Jagatballabhpur. The 
great majority in 1901 returned themselves as Sheikhs, a generic 
name which in this district includes all that do not claim to be 
Saiyads, Pathans, Mughals or to belong to some special caste, such 
as Jolahas, Most of the Sheikhs in rural tracts appear to be 
descendants of low class Hindu converts, who are too poor to be 
admitted among the Ashraf or respectable classes, and whose 
origin is indicated by their features and by their acceptance of 
Hindu superstitions. Many of them, however, are improving 
their position by means of shop-keeping and their skill as artizans ; 
and a considerable percentage of the Muhammadan shopkeepers 
in Chandni and in the municipal market of Calcutta hail from 
thanas Jagatballabhpur, Dumjor and Uluberia. 
Auimistn. ' Animii?t.s are few in number and are confined to Oraons and 
Sant&ls, wliu come to Howrah in search of employment. In 1901 
the Oraons were returned at 3,328, mostly in thana Dumjor, 


where they were working as coolies in Shalimar station and on its 
numerous sidings. 

Hindus form the large majority of the people and are Hindus. 

divided into numerous castes or 
Higher cautes... I jj'jj**y^^j^^" • jg'gig semi-Hinduized tribes. Forty- 
pastorai castes ) sa'dgop '.'.'. i'iMsii nine castcs Were reported in 1901 

fKaibartla ... 230,508 i • ii t r,r\f\ 

Pi.i,in^ »ni I «sgdi ... 72,603 as numbermg more than 1,000, 

boating castes. ]p/^ •;; ly'gjg ^vhile the castes noted m the 

LKaors ... 17,5, o j^^rgiu numbered more than 

15,000 and therefore deserve separate notice. 

The Brahmans, as a literate caste, naturally congregate in Brahwans. 
the towns, forming one-sixth of the population of Bally and 
one-eleventh in Howrah, where Sibpur is their main centre. 
Outside the municipal area, they are found mostly in old villages 
along the banks of the Saras wati , the Kana, and the Damodar, 
but their number decreases largely, their propoi-tion to the popula- 
tion varying from one-sixteenth in thana Amta to one-fortieth in 
thana Syampur. All classes of Brahmans are to be found, but the 
bulk are Rarhls, as might be anticipated in a district adjoining 
the Ei§rh country. 

Like the Brahmaos, the Kayasths or writer caste congregate Kayastbs. 
largely in Howrah city. In the rural thanas they are found 
chiefly in the older villages along the three rivers named above. 
The bulk belong to the Dakshinrarhi section. 

The Sadgops, a caste found almost exclusively in Western Sadgopa. 
Bengal, are mostly inhabitants of thana Dumjor, but there are a 
few in Howrah city and thana Amta. They occupy the western 
border of the Division from Birbhum to north-west Midnapore, 
and would appear to have migrated south through thanas Groghat 
and Chanditala of the Hooghly district. Their prevalence in the 
uplands is due to pastoral habits, and lends support to the current 
tradition connecting them with the caste of Gops or Goalas. 
They have now mostly taken to agriculture, and have thereby 
raised themselves to a higher caste, just as the Chasi or cultivating 
Kaibarttas are now trying to do. 

The Go&las or herdsman caste form a not inconsiderable part Goalas. 
of the population. The up-country Ahirs, who are included in 
the number, are mostly found in Howrah city, and the local 
Goalas in thanas Dumjor, Jagatballabhpur and Amta. They live 
along the three older streams, evidently attracted by the pasture 
lands on their high banks. A considerable number of the Go^Us 
have now taken to agriculture, and have grown prosperous. 

In a lowland district, such as Howrah, liable to be flooded, Kaibart- 
and out up by rivers and creeks, the chief autochthonous ^^^' 


tribes or castes would naturally consist of fishermen and boatmen, 
and this accounts for the fact that the predominating castes are 
' Kaibarttas, Bagdis, Tiyars and Pods 

The Kaibarttas are by far the largest caste, accounting in 
the Uluberia subdivision for about half the total number of 
Hindus. Originally a non- Aryan tribe, they have been traced 
to a very early period, being mentioned as Kevarttas in the 
Vajasaneyi-Samhi'd, Kaivarttas in the Epics and the Manu- 
SamhUd, and as Kevatas in a pillar-edict of Asoka. Not im- 
probably they held the old kingdom of Tamralipti, and they 
still continue to be the great caste of eastern Midnapore. They 
seem to have consisted originally of a congenerics of tribes, 
which coalesced omng to similarity of functions, but were 
still kept separate by the prohibition of intermarriage. As land 
was gradually reclaimed from the waste and came under settled 
cultivation, they took more and more to agriculture. The 
cultivating portion gradually drew away from the rest and set 
up as a higher caste with degraded Brahmans for priests. Their 
power, wealth and number eventually secured for them, in the 
districts where they predominated, a higher social status and 
an acknowledgement that water might be taken from their hands 
{jaldcliaraniya) by Brahmans and other higher castes. At the 
last census seven-eighths returned themselves as cultivating 
Kaibarttas or Mahishyas. The fishing (Jaliya) Kaibarttas occupy 
a very low position ; and in Eastern and Northern Bengal, 
Bihar and Orissa, all Kaibarttas and Kowats still rank very low 
in the social scale. 
Bagdis. Bagdis are found in large numbers in thanas Amta, Jagat- 

ballabhpur and Dumjor. Originally fishermen, they have now 
mostly become agricultural labourers or j9a//i«-bearers. They 
seem to have consisted originally of several tribes, as the period 
of mourning varies among them, in some cases lasting 31 days 
as among other Sudras, in others 13 days and even 11 days, as 
among Brahmans. They are found chiefly in "Western Bengal, 
from which apparently they migrated into the districts of 
Nadia and 24-Parganas. In Howi-ah district their distribution 
seems to show that they came from the north-west or north. The 
name is connected with the tract called Bagri in the north-west 
• of the Midnapore district ; but it is uncertain whether this name 

was given to that part of the country in consequence of its having 
teen inhabited by Bagdis, or whether the latter took their name 
from the country. They are held to be impure, the Tentulia 
section alone being held to be a Uttle higher and thus able to 
give Gauges water. 



- The Tiyars are found chiofly in thanas Dumjor, Jagatballabh- Tiyurs. 
pur and Anita. Fishermen and boatmen, they hold a very low 
rank, their touch defiling. The name Tivara is found in the 
Brcihmaiamirfa-purdna, but means there a hunter. In the 
mediaeval Sanskrit dictionaries, however, it meant fisherman. 

The Pods are found chiefly in thana Dumjor and a few in Pods, 
thanas Uluberia and Syampur. They form the great race-caste 
of the 24-Pargauas and would appear to have spread across the 
river Hooghly into Howrah. Originally a fishing caste, a 
large number have become agriculturists or petty shopkeepers. 
The latter now claim to be a higher caste under the name of 
Padma Kaj, but the claim is not usually allowed. Their touch 
defiles, and they rank very low. Some of them, like the 
Doms, worship Dharmaraj, a village deity with a Buddhistic 

All the fishing castes mentioned above, the Jaliya Kaibarttas, 
the Bagdis, the Tiyars and the Pods, are regarded as impure. 
Their touch defiles, and they may be served by washermen, but, 
as a rule, not by barbers or degraded Brahmans. They generally 
abstain from beef, pork and fowls. 

The Kaoras are found in fair numbers in all the mofussil KaorSs. 
thanas except Syampur. They rank among the lowest castes, 
having nearly the same status as l*oms or Chamars but being 
slightly higher than Haris. They take prohibited food and are 
not served by washermen, barbers or degraded Brahmans. They 
seem to have overflowed into Howrah from the 24-Pargana8, 
and as a rule rear pigs or work as labourers, but a number of 
them are village chaukiddrs. 

From the preceding account it will be seen that in this ^^''^^ 
district the percentage of higher castes, such as Brahmans, beliefs. 
Baidyas and Kayasths, is much smaller than in most regulation 
districts of the Province. The bulk of the Hindu population 
consists of low castes, whose Hinduization is not yet complete. 
Among these low castes traces of old Animistic beliefs can still 
be observed, especially in the Uluberia subdivision, where the 
villages are farthest from industrial centres, contain a smaller 
number of Brahmans and other high castes, and have been 
colonized in comparatively recent times. 

Animism can be traced not only in customs and folklore, 
but also, and far more clearly, in the worship of godlings or 
village deities {gram demta). This worship plays an important 
part in the domestic life of the people, and in the religious 
beliefs of the females. Such religious beliefs die hard, and in 
spite of centuries of Brahmanioal teaching, still survive, though 


in very much modified forms. There are seyeral distinct in- 
dications of the Animistic basis of this worship. Firstly, the 
godlings are spirits invoked in water pots or materialized into 
a rudely carved bit of stone. Secondly, the persons who officiate 
at their worship are not Brahmans but members of the lower 
castes. Thirdly, they are propitiated by sacrifices of animals, 
even of such forbidden animals as fowls or hogs. Fourthly, 
they are worshipped not for the sake of any spiritual or 
intellectual benefit in this or a future life, but solely in order to 
obtain immediate material benefit, such as protection against 
illness and calamities, success in any undertaking, etc. In the 
process of Hinduization these features have become obscured, and 
have more or less disappeared in advanced villages ; but in the 
remoter villages, and among the lowest castes, they can still be 
found. In some instances, such as in the worship of Dharmaraj 
and Satyapir, Buddhistic and Musalman influences are traceable ; 
but they too have been largely modified by the surrounding 
Hinduism. A brief account of the principal godlings in this 
district is given below. 
Dharma- One of the most interesting is Dharmaraj, who is usually 

'■"J- represented by a stone under a tree, daubed with vermilion, and 

is worshipped by a priest of the lowest castes, Dom, Pod, or 
occasionally Bagdi. He is credited with powers of healing, and 
his priests supply medicines, while women worship him in the 
hope of having children. The offerings are pigs, fowls and 
2jachicai beer, also rice and milk. No special day is fixed for the 
worship, but the favourite days are the summer full-moon days 
in the months of Baisakh and Jyaistha. This worship is known 
to be centuries old, being mentioned in early Bengali literature. 
The mantras are contained in the Hdkanda-2Mrdna, while special 
poems named Dluirma-manyala were composed in his honour by 
Mayurabhatta, Kuparam and Ghanaram. These poems connect 
the god with Mayana fort in east Midnapore and Dhekur fort 
on the bank of the Ajai river in BirbhDm. As the worshippere 
become more and more Hinduized, the sacrifice of animals is 
gradually giving way to offerings of rice and milk, while the 
image is enshrined in a temple instead of under a tree. 

Dharmaraj is represented either as Yama (god of deathj or 
as a son of Brahma, the latter representation being explained by 
a (quaint tradition. It is said that when Brahma wished to 
create the world, he could not imagine how he would be able to 
protect it, and thereupon Dharma sprang into being from his 
right breast. Another legend relates that Dharma had a quarrel 
with Nftrayau and cursed him, saying that he would be worshipped 



with, tuki leaves on which dogs make water. Narajan retort- 
ed with another curse, telling Dharma that he would receive 
worship at the hands of low caste men. It has been suggested that 
Dharma worship is a survival of Buddhism. In support of this 
theory it is pointed out that Dharma is meditated upon as shunija 
murti or void, that the ceremonies and fasts in his honour all take 
place on the full-moon day of Baisakh, the birthday of Buddha, 
and that in many places Dharma is represented by a tortoise, a 
miniature representation of a stupa.* Possibly Dharma worship 
received a veneer of Buddhism when Buddhism flourished ; but the 
arguments are hardly sufficient to estabKsh the proposition 
that it is a reHc of Buddhism itself. On the contrary, animal 
sacrifices and the use of liquor would have been abhorrent to 
Buddhism proper, even in its latest Tantrie variety. There 
appears little doubt that the worship is substantially Animistic, 
though it has been in modem times largely modified by 

Some of the godlings are invoked to protect their votaries Baukura 
against wild animals, tigers and snakes. The gods of tigers ^'^'• 
are Dakshin Rai, Kalu Rai and Bankura Rai. They are 
worshipped as spirits in water-pots or as stone images, rudely 
carved into the form of an armed male seated on a tiger, which 
are placed under trees or housed in huts or temples. No special 
time is fixed for their worship. Groats are sacrificed, with offer- 
ings of rice and sweets. Occasionally a low caste priest, but 
usually a Brahman, officiates. These godlings are recognized 
as sons of Siva, and are mentioned, especially Bankura Rai, in 
old Bengali poems. 

Manasa is the godling of snakes, whose worship is widespread Manasa. 
in this district on account of the number of snakes it contains and 
the dread of their bite. She is represented either by the manasa 
plant {Enphorhia NerifoUa or Ligularia) or by a bit of stone, which 
is rudely carved into the form of a female seated on a snake, or it 
may be, by a shapeless block smeared with vermilion. The plant 
or stone is generally found under a tree, preferably an cmvaiiha 
tree, or is housed in a hut, a room, or occasionally a small brick 
temple. The officiating priest is sometimes a man of low caste, 
e.g., a Kaibartta at Srikrishnapur, ' and a Bagdi or Hari at 
Jaypur in the Uluberia subdivision, but more frequently he is a 
Brahman. The offerings consist of rice and other articles, but 
on important occasions goats are sacrificed. The goddess is said 
to be particularly fond of two plants, the raktajavd {Rosa 

* Bengal Censua Report of 1901, page 204, paragraphs 383-84. 

44 nOWRAH. 

Cliuiensis) and the durhd grass. She is especially worshipped on 
the last days of the months of Sraban and Bhadra (August and 
September), a season when snakes are forced out of their holes 
by rain and are a very real danger to the bare-footed wayfarer. 
The Go&las, who graze cattle in the open country and are there- 
fore particularly liable to snake-bite, besides losing many cattle, 
worship the goddess under the name of Eakhal manasa. A mandsa 
plant is set up under a tree, and a special festival takes place on 
the last day of Pans, i.e., in the middle of January. The cowherd 
boys go round begging and collect money for the offerings, the 
ceremony itself being conducted by a Brahman. 

Accordingly to tradition, Manasa was the sister of the snake 
Vasuki, wife of the sage Jaratkaru and mother of the sage 
Astik, of whom a long story is told in the Adiparva of the 
Mahabharata. She is repeatedly mentioned in old Bengali 
poems, while special poems were composed describing her efforts 
to extend her worship, and the punishment awarded to the 
unbelievers. The story of Chand Saudagar and his daughter- 
in-law Behula has been versified by Bipradasa (1495 A.D.), 
Kshamanand and others. 
Paiicbri- For the prevention or cure of illness worship is offered to 

°*"' several godhngs, e.g., for children's illness Panchanan and SasthT, 

and for other ailments, Sitala, Ola-BiLi, and Ghautakarna. Pan- 
chanan (Panchananda or Panchu Thakur) is worshipped either as a 
spirit in a water-pot, or is represented by a clay or stone image 
riding a goblin, which is placed under trees or in a petty temple. 
He has sometimes a priest of the lower castes, e.g., a Kaibartta at 
Dankha and a Bagdi at Jaypur in Uluberia subdivision, but more 
often a Brahman. Pice, sweets and flowers are offered to him with 
clay horses ; and when the villagers think he is much displeased 
with them, a goat is sacrified. If several children die, he is propi- 
tiated in order that he may spare the lives of the children bom after 
them, and the latter are called Panchu or Panchi. The number 
five is sacred to him ; and the children are believed to be free 
from illness for five years after birth, if his worship is observed. 
He is also propitiated for the cure of certain special ailments of 
children, e.g., when they get a crick in the neck. The tradition 
runs that he was the son of Siva by a Koch woman, and that, on 
account of his low birth, none paid him reverence until he was 
made master of eight diseases. 
Sasihi. Sasthi is a benignant goddess who presides over the health 

and well-being of children. She is worshipped at home in a 
water-jar with a branch of the banyan tree, and with offerings of 
BUJi-dried rice, sweets, ourds, fruit and flowers, 6 days, 21 days and 


31 days after the birth of a child; a Brahman oflBciates. She is 
worshipped by Brahmans on the 2 let day in the case of a male 
and on the 31st day in the case of a female child ; but Kayasths 
worship her on the 31st day whether the child is male or 
female. The ceremony on the 2l8t day is often performed out- 
side the house imder a banyan tree, under which is a representa- 
tion of the goddess, "viz., a stone daubed with vermilion or a 
clay image seated on a cat surrounded by little images. Her 
blessings can be invoked on any sixth day in the light half of a 
month, when mothers fast and offer her rice and other articles 
through a Brahman. Her chief festival is on the bana-s/ist/tl 
day of the month of Jyaistha (May- June) . Fans in hand, the 
village women go to the banyan tree, taking bamboo-leaves 
tied with saffron-coloured threads. A Brahman officiates as priest 
and gets the rice, fruit, etc., offered. The women take back the 
threads and tie them round their children's wrists to ensure their 
health. S.asthi is probably a relic of the old Vedic Animism. 
According to tradition, she is a daughter of Brahma and wife of 
Skanda, the general of the gods. She brought to life the dead 
son of king Priyabasta, who in gratitude promised to extend her 
worship on earth. 

The goddess Sitala is believed to have power to produce and sitaia. 
disperse infectious diseases, such as measles, chicken-pox, and 
above all small-pox ; hence she is also called Basanta-ehandi. 
Among the higher castes a Brahman officiates as priest ; but 
Kaibarttas and members of other low castes officiate for the castes 
to which they belong. She is represented as a spirit in a water-jar, 
as a simple block of stone or an image under a banyan or 
baknl tree, or is housed in a small temple. The image is one of 
a naked female riding an ass, with an winno wing-fan on her 
head, with spots on her cheeks like pox pustules, and holding in 
her hands a vessel and a broom ; the latter is symbolical of her 
power to sweep away diseases. Rice, fruit and sweets are offered 
to her with goats or sheep in special cases. Batdsd is said to be 
her favourite sweetmeat. 

When an epidemic of small-pox or even cholera breaks out, 
the women resort to her shrine, pour water on the roots of the 
tree or on the temple verandah, and burn lights before her in the 
evening, accompanied by blowing of conch-shells. A party of 
men, usually of the low castes, are hired to sing her praises for 
three days. At the end of this time there is a piijd, and sweets, 
etc., are distributed among the villagers, generally by the 
woman that cleans the place. Low caste men, such as Bagdis, 
Doms and Chaudals, sing from door to door, and beg for alms, 



carrying a little clay 





figure of Sitala in a basket. According to 
tradition, she is the daughter of Savitri by Brahma, and is the 
chief of seven sisters, mistresses of contagious diseases. Her 
worship is an old one, being referred to in early Bengali litera- 

Ola-Ribi, or as Hindus prefer to call her Olai-Chandi, is 
propitiated in epidemics of cholera (Bengali old-uthd), chiefly by 
low caste Hindus or Muhammadans, from whom the priests are 
recniited. A number of these men beg from door to door, gather 
rice and pice, and then go to her shrine. She is usually repre- 
sented by a water-jar under a nini {Melia Azhlarachtn) tree. 
Kiee, sweets and fruit are offered, and goats are sacrificed. After 
the puja is concluded, the people return home, playing on the dhol 
and singing songs. The employment of a Muhammadan as priest 
is peculiar, and the present form of worship must be post- 

Ghantakama (i.e., the bell-eared) is the godling of skin 
diseases. He is worshipped on the last day of Phalgun for the 
prevention of itch, eczema, etc., which are common in the 
beginning of the spring. The ceremony takes plaCS before the 
front door of the house and is finished before sunrise. Ghanta- 
kama is represented by a lump of cow-dung placed on 
a blackened old earthen pot, into which are put a few 
cowries dyed with vermilion. An old woman recites mantras, 
which are repeated by other women, and offers rice, ddl and 
fruit with (jhentu flowers {Clerodendron Infovtunatum) and diirhd 
grass. When the offerings have been made, the children break 
the pot to pieces with sticks. According to tradition, Ghanta- 
kama was a devoted servant of Siva and was rewarded with the 
power to cure or prevent skin diseases. 

Jwarasnr {I.e., the fever-demon) is invoked in individual cases 
to grant recovery from fever and by the villagers generally 
during epidemics of malarial fever. He is worshipped by the 
lower castes with the aid of a Brahman. Besides the usual 
offerings of rice, sweets and fruit, goats are sacrificed in special 

Satya-Narayan is a godling whom all classes of Hindus 
worship in order that they and their families may prosper. He 
is worsliipped on the evening of the full-moon and by many 
every monlh, a Brahman acting as priest. The thdhur, as he 
is called, is represented by a drawing on a wooden seat with a 
few loops, called mokdfm, and a post at each comer, called tlr. 
The offerings consist of flour, molasses or sugar, and milk (each 
weigliing ^\q pawds), betel-leaves and nuts (25 each) with 32 


plantains. This is known as kachcha sirnl. Five pawdii each of 
pakkd sinii sweets, sandcsh and batdsd are added. The priest 
worships Narayan and then repeats the story of the god. The 
articles offered are mixed and made into a jelly, part of which 
is distributed among the worshippers present, and the rest is sent 
to neighbours. 

The worship smacks strongly of Muharamadanism, The 
absence of any image, the use of words like sirnij mokdm and th\ 
the five loops in the drawing, and the recurrence of five as 
a number in the offerings, all indicate Musalman influence. 
Legend, moreover, relates that Narayan appeared in the guise 
of a faldr or Musalman ascetic, and that objection was at first 
raised to his worship because he was a Yavana. Satya-Narayan 
would thus appear to be a variant of Satyapir, a deity wor- 
shipped by the lower class of Muhammadans and evolved after 
the establishment of Islamic rule in Bengal. 

Another godling of disease is SubachanI, who if duly propi- Siii)achani. 
tiated will restore health to the sick. She is worshipped in a 
water-pitcher by a Brahman priest, with the usual offerings of 
rice, milk, sweets and fruit. But the chief peeuUarity of the 
worship is that the priest draws 21 ducks, one of which is one- 
legged. The story is that a man ate up as many ducks and was 
imprisoned for this grave offence, but was released on worship- 
ping SubachanI. In some places, a pai-t of the offerings is given 
to a Musalman. 

Mangal Chandi is another deity represented by no image, Mangai 
but worshipped as a spirit in a water-pot. The worship takes ^''"'"'''• 
place on Tuesdays in the month of Jyaistha. Tradition runs 
that the childless king Anga obtained issue by worshipping 
this deity. 

Hu is worshipped on the last day of the month of Kartik Hn. 
and on the following Sunday in the month of Agrahayan. Tradi- 
tion relates that a poor Brahman obtained wealth in consequence 
of his two ^ughters worshipping this deity. According to 
some the sun god, and according to others Durga, is worshipped 
in the form of Hu ; but the name appears to point to a non-Aryan 

It is somewhat refreshing to turn from these survivals of Ram- 
primitive Animistic beliefs to one of the latest developments of ^J^^^"^^ 
Hinduism —the Ramkrishna Mission, which has its headquarters at 
Belur in this district, and was founded in 1897 by the disciples of 
Ramkrishna Paramhansa with Swami Vivekananda as their head.* 

* This liislory of tae Mission h is bjea compile^ with the help of a note kindly 
sent, on behalf of its Secretary, by Swfimi Sivananda of Belur. 


Eamkrishna Paramliansa was the son of Khiidlram Chatto- 
padhyaya (Cliatterji), a member of a respectable Brahman family, 
and was born at Kamarpiikur in the Hooghly district in 183-i. 
At an early age he is said to have displayed deep religious 
fervour and to have had fits of religious ecstasy. On being 
invested with the sacred thread, he studied for some time in a 
tol or Sanskrit school kept by his eldest brother, Eamkumar, at 
Thanthania in Calcutta. In 1853 the late Rani Rashmani of 
Jaun Bazar, Calcutta, built the well-known temple of Kali at 
Dakshineswar, 6 miles north of that city, and Ramkumar was 
appointed its priest. Ramkrishna went with him to Dakshineswar, 
and there for 12 years practised i/oija (meditation on and rapt 
communion with God) under a big banyan tree, which is still 
pointed out to the visitor. His asceticism and religious fervour, 
his poetical and mystical view of life, combined, however, with 
homely common sense, began to attract attention; Keshab Chandra 
Sen of the Brahmo Samaj being the first to bring liim to the 
notice of the educated classes of society in Calcutta. He found 
many admirers, and died of cancer in the throat in ISSti. Further 
details will be found in Ramahrhhna : Hk Life and Sai/ings, by 
Professor Max MuUer, published in 1898, and in The Life of 
Eamkrishna by Dr. Ram Chandra Dutt. 

Ramkrishna left a small body of disciples, who practised 
asceticism in a monastery at Baranagar in the 24-Parganas, 
in the Himalayas and at different places of pilgrimage in 
India. The greatest of these disciples was Swami Vivekananda, 
originally known as Narendra Nath Dutt, the son of an attorney 
of the High Court. Born in Calcutta in 1863, he was educated at 
the General Assembly's Institution and graduated at the Calcutta 
University in 1884. He became a disciple of Ixamkiishna and 
adopted the life of a devotee in 188d. In 189u he visited Madras, 
and in 1893 he was sent by the Raja of Ramnad as a represent- 
ative of Hinduism to the Parliament of Religions held at Chicago, 
where his exposition of Vedanta doctrines made a great impres- 
sion. For three years after this he travelled in America, ex- 
pounding the doctrines of ijoga and Vedantism, and in 1896 he 
visited and lectured in England. On his return to India in 
1897, Vivekananda foimded a )nath or monastery at Belur, and 
died, a comparatively young man, in 1002. The last five 
years of his life were years of great activity, for he made a tour 
through Almora, Kashmir, Lahore and Madras, preaching and 
lecturing ; he again visited England and the United States, 
founding a Vedanta Society in San Francisco ; and he orga« 
nized the work of the Ramkrishna Mission in India. 


The Mission work is now carried on by a band of advanced 
Indus, with whom are associated some Americans of the 
United States, such as Sister NIvedlta. The nature of the 
work which Is being done In India may be gathered from the 
following brief resume. At Belur, the headquarters of the 
Mission, Brahmacharlns (or disciples) are trained. In Calcutta a 
Bengali magazine, the Udbodhan, and theological books are 
published. At Bhabda in Murshidabad there are an orphanage 
and school, at which pupils are given a general and technical 
education. At Benares there Is a school for training Brahma- 
charlns, and a home of relief or hospital At M&yavat! (Almora) 
an English magazine, the Ptahuddha Bhdmf, and theological 
books are published. At Kankhal (Hardwar) there Is a home of 
service {serdsroma), i.e., a hospital for the poor. At Madras there 
are free schools for poor boys and girls, lectures are given, theo- 
logical classes are held, and a magazine, the Bmhuiamdln, and 
theological works are published. At Bangalore theological 
classes are held, and the doctrines of the sect are preached. The 
Mission also gives relief to the distressed in time of plague and 
famine. In 1908, for Instaace, members of the Mission, at the 
request of the Collector of Puri, started relief operations on their 
own account in the famine -stricken area in and round the Chllka 
Lake, rendering Grovernment relief measures unnecessary In the 
26 villages with which they dealt. 

The doctrines of the Mission are dealt with in the Rdmkrklma- 
kathdmrita («.'?., the nectar of the story of Ramkrlshna), Parts 
I — ^III by M. ; while their Yedantic aspect is expounded in the 
works of Swami Yivekananda. A collection of Ramkrishna's 
sayings has also been published by Max Miiller and by the late 
Pratap Chandra Mazumdar of the Brahmo Samaj. Ramkrishna 
himself appears to have been a mystic and devotee, described as 
gentle In thought and deed, who favoured exposition by means of 
parables and allegories. As regards his doctrines, Max Miiller 
writes: — " Ramakrishna himself never claimed to be the founder of 
a new religion. He simply preached the old religion of India, 
which was founded on the Veda, more particularly on the Upa- 
nishads, and was systematlsed later on in the Sutras of Badarayana, 
and finally developed in the commentaries of Samkara and others. 
Ramkrishna was in no sense of the word an original thinker, the 
discoverer of a new idea or the propounder of any new view of 
the world. But he saw many things which others had not seen, 
he recognized the Divine Presence where It was least suspected 
he was a poet, an enthusiast, or. If you like, a dreamer of dreams. 
But such dreams also have a right to exist, and have a claim on 


our attention and sympathy. Eamatrishna never composed a 
philosophical treatise ; he simply poured out short sayings, and 
the people came to listen to tliem, whether the speaker was at the 
time in full possession of his faculties, or in a dream, or in a 
trance." As regards tliese sayings, Max Miiller writes : — *' To 
my mind these sayings, the good, the bad, and the indifferent, 
are interesting because they represent an important phase of 
tliought, an attempt to give prominence to the devotional and 
practical side of tlie Vedanta with other religions." Elsewhere 
he says that Ptamakrislina was deeply imbued with the spirit of 
the Vedanta philosophy and that that philosophy was "the very 
marrow and bones of Bamakrishna's doctrine."* According to 
Swami Sivananda, Ramakrishna "realized that all existing 
religions are different paths leading to one God. All the paths are 
equally right, and every sincere seeker is sure to attain God, what- 
ever may be the path he chooses for himself." 

The same doctrine was expounded by Swfimi Vivekananda 
at the Parliament of Religions, where he said "that it was a 
Hindu principle to recognize all faiths as expressions of truth, 
and that from his earliest boyhood he had repeated a sacred 
text, used daily by millions in India, which says that as the 
different streams having their sources in different places, all 
mingle their water in the sea, so the different paths which men 
take through different tendencies, various though they appear, 
and crooked or straight, all lead to the one Lord."t Probably, 
however, it was not Vivekananda's advocacy of an universal 
religion that appealed to Indians, so much as his forceful 
character and the impression he made on the patriotic spirit 
of young H i ndus. To quote from an article in a recent 
number of The International Revieic : — " He returned to India 
in triumph to be hailed as the prophet of new India, as one who 
had dared to assert the spiritual wealth of ancient India in face 
of the western world. He at once became the hero of the young 
generation — not unnaturally so. His character and his career 
embodied many of the qualities which were felt to be lacking 
amongst his countrymen. A manliness, a self-reliance, even an 
aggressiveness were felt to be his, which were very different from 
tlie proverbial weakness and subservience of the " mild Hindu. " 
The spirit of Vivekananda may stand for the spirit of the new 
era in India. We find liis name repeatedly quoted to-day as the 
representative of Indian national aspirations. His is the reli- 
gion of the nationalists -the cult of India— the bold assertion 

• RUmakri.sJma : His Life and Sayings, pp. 11, 12, 70, 94, 97. 
t The World's ParJiamenl of Religions, Vol. I, pngcs 242, 243. 


of India's right to stand among the nations as the mother of 
ilhimination and light. At the same time he is broadly tolerant, 
nay, universal in his acceptance of the other world-religions. All, 
he claims, are contained in Yedanta " 

Speaking generally, the tenets of the sect are Hinduistic, 
and on the philosophical side have a Vedantic basis. Socially, 
the Mission represents advanced Hinduism, having no objection to 
the use of meat, to travel in foreign lands, or to the admission 
of non-Hindus into its ranks. Swami Siv§,nanda describes the 
general object of the Mission as being to " propagate the 
principles propounded by Sri Ramkrishna Deva, and illustrated 
by his own life, for the benefit of humanity, and to help mankind 
in the practical application of those principles in their spiritual, 
moral, intellectual and physical needs " 

At the census of 1901 Ramkrishna's followers returned them- 
selves as Hindus, and no statistics are available to show their 
number. The professed disciples are either laymen or celibate 
ascetics, who prefer to dress in orange-coloured robes. The 
latter conduct most of the practical work of the Mission, such as 
the hospital, the school, the orphanage, the training of the 
Brahmacharins, and the delivery of theological lectures. On 
them, too, falls the brunt of the work in times of famine, in 
epidemics, and in crowded pilgrimages. On the birth ttthi of the 
founder in February a fair is held at Belur, and in August 
another fair is held at Kankurgachhi in the 24-Parganas, where 
his ashes were buried. Both these fairs are largely attended. 







Oenehai The climate of the district leaves much to be desired irom an 
hygienic point of view. The land is low-lying, intersected by 
rivers and creeks, and studded with marshes, stagnant pools and 
silted-up river channt-ls. Humidity is high, the rainfall is heavy, 
and the heat, though tempered to some extent by sea-breezes, 
is enervating. The result is that by August and September the 
weather is relaxing, water is muddy, and vegetation is rank. 
From September onwards, with tlie gradual cessation of the 
rains, fever and bowel complaints become common, the mortality 
being highest in December. It decreases from January till 
March, after which cholera, aggravated by bad drinking water 
in the hot weather, frequently breaks out. On the whole, 
however, the health of the people of Howrah is much better 
than in the adjoining district of Hooghly, the Ghatal subdivision 
of Midnapore, and the districts on the other side of the river 
H<ioghly, such as Nadia, Jessore and the 24-Parganas. 

Generally speaking, the climate is better in the south than in 
the more water-logged tracts to the north. Of the rural thanas 
Syampur is the healthiest, in spite of periodical epidemics of 
cholera, while Amta is the most unhealthy, suffering in the north 
and north-west from a virulent form of malarial fever. The 
Dumjor thana, once a fever-stricken area, has been much improved 
by the draining of its marshes. Now the feverish tracts lie 
chiefly along the thickly populated banks of the old, silted-up 
Saraswati in thana Dumjor, the Kana Damodar in thana 
Jagatballabhpur, and the Damodar, now much reduced in 
volume, with its old bed on the west in thana Amta. The death- 
rate in the municipalities of 
1902-00. 1907. Howrah and Bally is higher than 
Hcwruh ... 41-91 .37-74 in tlie interior, as will be apparent 

Sar.. ;:: toi ^^ from the marginal table giving 

the death-rate per mille for 1907 
and the previous quinquenniuii. Tlie difference may be partly 


due to better reporting in the municipaliiies ; biit'the excess is so 
marked that it may fairly be ascribed mainly to the insanitary 
conditions of an overcrowded town life. Bally suffers especially 
from fever and bowel complaints, Howrah from cholera, dysen- 
tery and diarrhoea. Since tlie introduction of water-works in 
1896, the mortality from cholera has considerably decreased in 
the latter town ; and it is pxpecte 1 that the death-rate will 
decrease still further on the completion of the new drainage 
scheme, which is now being carried out. 

Tne present system of reporting and compiling vital statistics Vital 
was introduced in 1892, and it would be of little use to compare statis- 


the results with the unreliable figures reported for previous years,^ the number of deaths reported in 1871 and 1872 represented 
a mortality of only 4"6 and 4'5 per mille respectively — obviously 
impossible figures. Under the present system, compulsory regis- 
tration is in force in the towns, i.e , parents, guardians or the 
persons directly concerned are required to report births and 
deaths to the town police. In rural circles each village watch- 
man is provided with a pocket book, in which he is required to 
have all births and deaths that may occur within his jurisdiction 
recorded by the village pnnchdyat ; these are reported on parade 
days at the police stations and outposts, which are the registering 
centres. The statistics thus obtained are compiled and classified 
by the police, and submitted monthly to the Civil Surgeon, who 
prepares the figures for the whole district for inclusion in the 
annual report of the Sanitary Commissioner. The statistics are 
checked from time to time by superior police officers and by 
Inspectors and Sub-Inspectors of Vaccination. 

In the towns, the higher level of intelligence and the fear of 
legal penalties tend to make registration and the classification of 
diseases more accurate than in the rural tracts. In the latter the 
reporting chauklddr is generally illiterate, and vital registration 
is less correct, the chief defects being that still-births are very 
often omitted, while births of females and births in outlying 
parts, and among the lowest castes, are overlooked. Deaths are 
more carefully recorded, but the causes of death, except cholera 
and small-pox, are hopelessly confused, the bulk being classified 
under the general head of fever. Still the figures can be accepted 
so far as concerns the relative healthiness or unhealthiness of 
different years and the approximate growth of the population. 

The returns from 1893 to 1907 show that the birth-rate is Births, 
generally above 30 per mille, falling below it only in 1892, 
when registration was imperfect, and rising to above 36 per mille 
in four years, viz., 1897, 1899, 1900 and 1904. The birth-rate 


for the district would be still higher but for the two towns. In 
Howrah the birth-rate was lower than 25 per mille in eight 
years, falling below 20 per niille in three years, and rose 
above 30 per mille only in 1897, when it was 31'17 per mille. 
In Bally registration is not so good as in Howrah, and the 
variation in the reported birth-rate is extraordinary, being 19*82 
in 1892, 13-17 in 1894, 3954 in 1903 and 5974 in 1904; but 
in nine years it was lower than 22 per mille. The low birth-rate 
in the towns is apparently due to the preponderance of males 
over females among the large immigrant population and partly 
also to the habit of sending away females before confinement to 
their homes in the country. 

Deaths. The death-rate for the district during the same period was 

never below 25 per mille, and it was above 30 per mille in 
eleven years, rising to 37*71 per mille in 1900. Since 1899 
the mortality has continued to be heavy, never falling below 30 
per mille, a result due largely to the high death-rate in the towns. 
The highest mortality was recorded in 1900, when a death-rate of 
60*50 was returned for Howrah and of 43"53 per mille for Bally, 
but these figures were probably misleading, being calculated on 
the census figures of 1891. Still, in the year after the census 
(1902), when the new figures were available, there was a death- 
rate of 35*26 per mille in the district as a whole, Howrah returning 
47*43 and Bally 37*40 per mille, both calculated on the new 
figures. Fever, as usual, is the commonest cause of death, though 
the mortality due to it appears to have decreased slightly during 
the last six years. No perceptible change is observable in the 
proportion of deaths from cholera or bowel complaints. The 
unhealthiest months are November, December and January, the 
worst being December, 

Infantile Infantile mortality is high, though not as high as in other 

mortality, districts. No Icss than 20 per cent, of the children born in the 
district die within twelve months of their birth, and according to 
the statistics for 1901 — 06, 11 per cent, more die within the next 
four years. More male infants die than females, and the feverish 
mouths of September to December are especially fatal. The 
Indian mother is usually a good nurse ; but poverty and early 
marriage produce a weak mother and sickly child, while the 
child's cliances are minimized by want of sufficient nourishing 
food and clothing, and by the mother's ignorance of infantile 

DI8EA8E8. Tlio mortality attributed to fever is inflated by the fact that 
the ignorant cnhulriddrs often report deaths under this head that 
are really duo to respiratory diseases, dysentery and diarrhoea, 


etc. But there cau be little doubt that fever is responsible for a Fevers, 
large proportion of the deaths, the experience of IG years (1891 — 
1906) showing that out of an average death-rate of 31*03 per niille, 
fever accounted for no less than 14:' 4 5 per mille or nearly half. 
The mortality is far less, however, than in the remainder of the 
Burdwan Division or in the Province as a whole, the average for 
Ilowrah during 1902 — 06 being only 13-91 per mille, as compared 
with 21'79 and 21-86 per mille respectively. Fever prevails 
after the rains from September to January, and is chiefly 
prevalent in those parts of Ilowrah and Bally where shallow pools 
abound, and elsewhere in the tracts which are water-logged and 
covered with effete water-courses and stagnant ponds. The 
highest death-rates were reported in 1899 and 1900, after 
which there was a slight but steady fall to 12' 09 per mille in 
1906, this being the minimum. 

As regards the types of fever prevalent, Lieutenant-Colonel 
F. J. Drury, i.m.s., Civil Surgeon of Ilowrah, wrote as follows 
in 1906 : — "In my opinion the fevers of the Ilowrah district aie 
mainly malarial. In 1861 a Board appointed to inquire into an 
epidemic of fever in the districts of Burdwan and Hooghly 
(which then included Ilowrah) expressed the opinion that the 
prevailing fever was immediately caused by malaria. The 
Sanitary Commissioner of Bengal in 1870 expressed a similar 
opinion, and after examining the many supposed causes of the 
prevalence of malaria, attributed it mainly to insufficient drain- 
age, the partial or complete obliteration of rivers, and the per- 
nicious state of soil, air and water, which is thereby produced. 
On consulting a number of annual sanitary reports, I find that 
during the past 14 years all the Civil Surgeons are of opinion 
that the fevers of the district are malarial, while not one of them 
suggests any other cause. This prevalence of malaria is generally 
said to be caused by the defective drainage and water-logged 
condition of the district ; and it is almost invariably noted that the 
fever mortality is highest in the three or four months succeeding 
the cessation of the rains. I have only one record of an investiga- 
tion into the prevalence of malaria in a part of the district, viz., a 
report on its prevalence in the village of Uaspur near Amta by 
Captain Ross, i.m.s., Deputy Sanitary Commissioner. In the 
autumn of 1905 there was a heavy mortality from fever along the 
banks of the Damodar in the neighbourhood of Amta. This 
outbreak was attributed by the villagers to flooding of the ad- 
jacent lands. Captain Eoss visited Raspur and considered the 
question in the light of modern views as to the causation of 
malaria. He rejected the opinion that inundation of the land 


was ihe cause of the malarial fever, and attributed it to the 
presence in tlie village of a great number of small (klda surround- 
ed by bamboo clumps and dense undergrowth. These dolds form 
an ideal breeding ground for the anopheles mosquito, which 
carries the germs of malaria from the sick to the healthy. The 
same kind of conditions are found in many of the villages of the 
district, and on the introduction of a case of malarial fever into a 
village the disease is likely to spread." 

Biirdwau Formerly the severe tjpe of fever known as Burdwan fever 

*^*'^' prevailed in the northern parts of three thanas, viz., Amta, Jagat- 
ballabhpur and Dumjor. From the special reports submitted to 
Government in 1874 it appears that in this district the epidemic 
broke out first in 18Gi in the tract round IJ owrah and then 
advanced north-westwards, attacking certain villages but leaving 
others untouched. In 1866 the epidemic had reached Amta, and 
in 1868 spread along the right bank of the Damodar, attacking, 
though with less violence, the villages that had till then been 
miaffected. By 1874 its violence had more or less been spent in 
the district. The mortality appears to have been heaviest in the 
tract on the left or east bank of the silted-up river Kana. 

Small-pox. Small-pox appears every year, but is rarely epidemic or wide- 
spread. It was only in 1906 that the death-rate rose over one 
per mille, the incidence being highest in March and April. The 
town of Ho%vrah suffered rather severely, having a death-rate 
of '3"43 per mille ; but the villages in the interior were compara- 
tively immune. 

Cholera. Cholera is endemic in this district, the average death-rate 

during the 15 years 1892— 1906 being 3-73 per mille, while in 1907 
the death-rate rose to 7-38 per mille, the maximum recorded. 
There are two seasons in which cholera breaks out, the first in 
December and January, and the second in April and May, both in 
consequence of bad drinking water. Of the rural areas, Syampur 
thana suffers most, apparently on account of the difficulty of 
getting good drinking water after the rains. Howrah city returns 
the largest mortality, the reported death-rates in 1895 and 1896 
being as high a& ll'iO and 9"58 per mille respectively. In 1896 
the new water-works were opened ; and a supply of filtered water 
being available, the mortality dropped to 3-38 in 1897, and to 0-96 ' 
and i'63 in the next two years. In 19U0 there was a rise to 4'53 
per mille ; and the rise was more or less kept up during the next 
seven years. The rise is probably connected with the large 
influx of coolies from Bihar and other places up-country. These 
coolies live huddled together in insanitary b((siis, often do not 
diink pipe water, and cat the coarsest kinds of grain. 


Far more deaths are caused by dysentery aud diarrhoea, the Dysentery 


average mortality in 1892 — 1906 being over 4*46 per mille. The *"^ 

death-rate is fairly persistent, varying only from 3'81 to 5-69 
per mille, and the highest incidence of mortality is in December 
and January. Both the towns show the largest mortality in the 
district. In 1900 and 1901 Howrah had a death-rate of lO'5'j 
and 7*11 per mille respectively; and in 1903 and 1904 the morta- 
lity in Bally was 10-60 and 10-82 per mille. The district has long 
been one of the four areas in Bengal conspicuous for the high 
death-rate under this head, the others being Orissa, Hooghly, 
and parts of Patna and Saran ; and a special inquiry was therefore 
made in 1905-06 by Captain W. 0. Ross, i.m.s., Deputy Sanitary 

Briefly the results of this inquiry, so far as Howrah is con- 
cerned, are as follows : — ( I) Dysentery is prevalent, but it is not of 
a severe type, and does not constitute an important cause of death. 
(2) Diarrhoea is the heading under which most of the dysentery 
and diarrhoea deaths are returned. (3} A large number of the 
deaths from diarrhoea are due to terminal diarrhoea in cases of 
fever {FrypanosGrniasis ?) ; this is the principal factor of errorjand 
greatly magnifies the dysentery and diarrhoea death-rate. (4) A 
number of the deaths returned under dysentery and diarrhoea 
are really due to cholera (atypical and lingering cases), {o} 
Infantile diarrhoea and acute infective diarrhoea are remarkable 
for their rarity, but simple diarrhoea in old age causes a consi- 
derable number of deaths. (6) Of bowel complaints, cholera is 
the only disease which causes a large number of deaths, cholera 
being endemic in the district. 

Regarding the nature and causation of dysentery and diarrhoea 
in Howrah, Captain Ross remarked : ~" Most of the deaths under 
diarrhoea and dysentery were those of old people, and on going 
into a number of individual cases I found that there was a 
remarkable resemblance in the clinical history of each case. A 
man or woman, generally over 50 years of age, has fever of a 
quotidian, or sometimes double quotidian, type for two or three 
months. The spleen is invariably enlarged, and later the liver 
generally becomes enlarged ; emaciation and anaemia are always 
present and progressive ; often there is oedema of the feet and 
ankles, etc., jaundice frequently supervenes, and the case ends in 
death with a terminal diarrhoea of two or three weeks' duration. 
This disease appears to be exceedingly common in Howrah 
district, and in my opinion the clear clinical picture it pretents 
compels me to diagnose it as Trypcuionomia^^is. Further, in this 
connection, I was informed by the medical men at Amta that 


this disease, with exactly the same clinical history, is very comrcon 
there and affects young children especially, and also the very 
old, though no age is exempt. In young children jaundice is 
always a prominent symptom, and diarrhoea, though often 
present near the end, is not usually severe ; death is generally 
due to progressive weakness caused by fever and wasting. In 
adults, and especially in the very old, life lingers longer, and 
generally death ensues from the additional weakness caused by 
diarrhoea. No cases amongst children recover, and very few 
cases amongst adults. The condition is most fatal, and causes 
a very large number of deaths. 

" Although dysentery is not a large prominent factor in the 
death returns, yet it is more prevalent as a disease than in other 
districts which are less low lying and better supplied with good 
water. Both the prevalence of dysentery and the large mortality 
from cholera are directly due to the exceeding badness of the 
water-supply. I saw no wells anywhere during my tour. The 
tidal rivers are filthy and polluted to a degree, and yet 
they are largely used for drinking and all other purposes. 
Otherwise, the water used can only be obtained from ilnbds. 
Tanks are few and far between, but dohdsi are at every 
door. The water in these is used for all purposes, 
and must frequently bo directly contaminated from cases of 
cholera and dysentery. It is muddy and dirty, and smells very 
badly owing to the number and nature of the uses to which it 
is put. In fact, a dold is little more than a cess-pool diluted. 
The first sanitary necessity of the district is the construction 
of a pakka well in each village to be reserved for drinking and 
cooking purposes. Until this is done, the death-rate from cholera 
must continue. The people are neither so stupid nor so bigoted 
as the Oriyas, and will use wells gladly if tbey are made. 
So at least I was assured both by the people and by the local 
officers. "Where there is a clean tank, as at the Amta court, 
people come from long distances to get good wator for drinking, 
and nearly all the people in the town take water from it. The 
result is that cholera has no hold in Amta, and only a few cases 
have occurred recently owing to importation from neighbouiing 
villages where it is epidemic." 
PiH-iie. Plague was detected first in 1900, and has not yet been 

virulent, the number of deaths being generally below 200 
per annum. The only exception was in 1005, when 1,277 
persons died, the vast majority (l,!-"}!) being in Howrah city. 
'J~he disease, as a rule, makes its appearance in November, and 
cases continue to occur untQ the hot days of April. The 


people seem to appreciate the benefit of cleanliness and dis- 
infection, and readily disinfect their houses or ask the municipality 
to do so. They have also learnt the value of evacuating infected 
houses, but segregation and inoculation are not looked upon with 
favour and are seldom practised. 

Though small-pox occasionally breaks out in an epidemic Vaccina- 
form, the district is, as a rule, comparatively free from its ravages. 
Vaccination is compulsory in the two towns of Howrah and 
Bally, the Act having been extended to the former in 1882 and 
to the latter in 1884. Here the prejudice against vaccination has 
died out, but in the rural tracts it still lingers, though the general 
attitude is one of mild indifference. The chief objectors are 
Musalmans and the lower castes of Hindus, but, in spite of 
this, vaccination is making good progress. In 1907-08, 20,589 
primary vaccinations were performed, of which 20,506 were 
successful, while the average annual number of persons successfully 
vaccinated during the previous five years was 22,432 or 33 per 
mille. Anti-septic vaccination has been introduced, and in most 
instances prepared lymph has been substituted for arm-to-arm 
vaccination as being more efiicacious. 

In the last quinquennial report for the Burdwau Division 
(1900-01 to 1904-05) the Commissioner remarked : — " In Howrah 
a large number of factory operatives are vaccinated every year. 
A large number of infants are also vaccinated annually, but 
the proportion is still below 500 per mille. The general condition 
of health, opposition from parents, and the inabiUty of the 
vaccinators to finish the entire area of the district account for 
the low rate of infant vaccination. The Civil Surgeon reports 
that the people object to the vaccination of infants under six 
months, but most of the Hindus are willing to have children 
above six months vaccinated, while Muhammadans generally 
object to vaccination at any age. The repugnance to vaccination 
is gradually dying out, though opposition in some form or 
other is still experienced and is shown more by Muhammadans ; 
but generally the attitude of the people is more tolerant than 

As regards the progress of sanitation, the following remarks Sanita- 
of the Commissioner may be quoted : - " The great sanitary ^^°^* 
need of the district of Howrah is the improvement of drainage, 
filling up the numerous unhealthy tanks, and the removal of 
excessive vegetation from the vicinity of dwelling-houses. In 
the town of Howrah drainage works are in progress, though it 
will take some years to bring the work to a completion. The 
water -works have removed all difficulties about good drinking- 


water. Very little has been done to fill up the large number 
of unhealthy tants : the work is progressing slowly for want of 
funds. The town of Bally has its natural di'ainage towards the 
paddy-fields in the west. The people obtain their supply of 
drinking-water from the river Hooghly. As in Howrah, there 
are numerous unwholesome tanks, which the municipality with its 
limited resources can hardly be expected to fill up. A large 
tract of the country in the TJluberia subdivision is liable to 
submersion almost every other year o'oing to the zamindari 
embankments not being kept in proper repairs. This has 
two divergent effects. At first the flood- water cleanses the 
country, and cholera disappears. But after the floods are over, 
large collections of stagnant water remain and fever becomes 
Village Village sanitation is in its infancy, and the general sanitary 

sanita- principles which should govern a communal life under modem 
conditions are but little known or understood. Domestic cleanli- 
ness is fairly well attended to, but drinking water is taken from 
polluted tanks and ponds, or, less often, from wells, which are not 
cleansed ; from tidal rivers or creeks, which are often conta- 
minated by dead bodies and other organic matter ; and in the 
south from the canal. The people defcecate in the fields and 
gardens, while the paths and drains are often in a filthy condition. 
There are, moreover, no conservancy aiTangements for removing 
dirt and excreta. Tanks are still dug or old tanks re-excavated 
by private charity, but their number is becoming fewer. The 
District Board, however, has sunk a few tube or double ring wells, 
and to a certain extent has tried to cleanse jungles and drains. 
Lately, a burning ghat has been built at Dumjor, and some of 
the tanks are being set apart for drinking purposes. The large 
drainage schemes of Bajapur and Howrah have helped to drain 
many of the big marshes of thana Dumjor, and have thus 
materially improved its sanitation. A smaller scheme for drain- 
ing the feverish tract comprised in Amta thana was proposed 
thirty years ago, but is still under consideration. 
Urban The insanitary conditions prevaiUng in the villages were until 

comparatively recent years intensified in the towns, especially in 
Howrah with its large immigrant population. In 1889 the Sani- 
tary Commissioner inspected the municipality and remarked: — 
"Of all the large municipalities in Bengal which I have 
inspected — and I have inspected nearly all of them — Howrah 
is without exception the dirtiest, most backward, and badly 
managed municipality I have seen." In 1893 the Sanitary 
Commissioner, alter inspecting the municipality, expressed his 



agreement with the above remarks of his predecessor and added — 
"Generally speaking, the sanitary condition of the town of 
Howrah is most deplorable. On every side one is met by 
violent breaches of ordinary hygienic laws. I have never, in 
fact, seen a town in such a dangerously insanitary condition, 
and I should be very sorry to live in it myself." Since then 
there has been a remarkable improvement, though the sanitation 
of this great city is a very difficult matter on account of its low- 
lying situation, its very rapid growth, and past neglect in laying 
out and properly supervising its building sites. The general 
level of the town is very little above ground water level even in 
the hot weather, and during the rainy season the ground is water- 
logged. Ponds and tanks abound even in the most crowded parts, 
are nearly all filthy, and on account of their number, size and 
depth, will take years to reclaim, though the work is being gradu- 
ally undertaken. A very large proportion of the holdings are 
tiled huts, many of which are built on the insanitary, ill-ventilated 
plan commonly found in Bihar; and even the narrow gullies 
which exist between the huts are closed up so as to secure 
greater privacy, thus still further hindering ventilation and 
serving as receptacles for 61th. 

It remains to note the improvements effected in meeting the 
most pressing sanitary wants of the town, viz., (1) a filtered 
water-supply ; (2) a good drainage system ; (3) an improvement 
of the hadk ; and (4) better conservancy arrangements for the 
disposal of filth and night-soil. 

A filtered water-supply has been provided by means of system Water- 
of water-works. The head-works are at Serampore, 12 miles ^"Ppiy- 
higher up the river, where water is pumped from the Hooghly 
into four settling tanks, being then passed into four filter beds, 
and thence through a filtered well into a large water reservoir. 
From this reservoir the water is conveyed by pipes to Howrah 
and pumped up to three wrought-iron zeservoirs, which hold 
448,000 gallons. From the latter water is distributed through 
461 miles of iron pipes to the different roads and lanes. In 
1907-08 the monthly average of river water pumped into the 
settling tanks was over 70,753,000 gallons, and of filtered water 
pumped into the elevated reservoirs 61,658,000 gallons. The 
daily average of filtered water sent into Howrah was 2,021,000 
gallons, and there were 4,221 house-connections. Outside the 
town, water is supplied to the East Indian Railway works at 
Bamangachi and Liluah. Most of the mills also get their supply 
of drinking water from the water-works, and a few from Calcutta. 
Some use jewel filters, three obtain water from tanks, and others 


from wells reserved for the purpose lu the Delta Jute 
Mills the river water is pumped into a settling tank and thence 
into an iron tank, from which it is distributed to the lines in 

The water-works were opened in 1896, the original cost 
being Ks. 13,94,500, which has been increased to nearly 17 lakhs 
(Es. 10,70,310) by subsequent additions and alterations The 
maintenance charges averaged in the next nine years Us. 54,821, 
and in 19()G-07 amounted to Us. 50,728. The cost of mainten- 
ance works out to a little over one anna per 1,000 gallons 
supplied; but the actual cost, including capital outlay, is about 
3| annas per 1,000 gallons. Analysis shows that the water has 
a high standard of purity. 
Drainage. Howrah is situated on comparatively high land on the west 
bank of the Hooghly, the general slope of the land and the con- 
sequent flow of drainage being away from the river with a 
natural outfall in the south-west comer of the towoi. The actual 
watershed of the toA^Ti extends from north to south along a line 
about 400 feet to the west of the Grand Trunk Eoad. Drainage 
on the east side of this line falls into the Hooghly and on the 
west into jhih and Ljw-lying land, eventually overflowing into 
drainage channels, which empty themselves into the river on 
the south-east. 

There was till recently no regular system of drainage. 
Most of the drains were hachchd drains without any proper align- 
ment, in which the sewage collected and stagnated, and the few 
pakha drains were wrongly constructed. A regular scheme has 
now been prepared for the effective drainage of the whole town 
at a cost of about 10 lakhs. For this purpose the town has been 
divided into several sections, viz., the northern foreshore, the 
southern foreshore, the central section and the Sibpur section. In 
two of these (Sibpur and the southern foreshore) the new 
system has been introduced, and the rest of the work is expected 
to be finished in six more years, the cost being met by loans 
from Government. When first the work was undertaken, the 
opposition was so great, that work done during the day was some- 
times torn up at night ; but the results achieved have not only 
shown the people how much more sanitary their abodes have 
become, but also have considerably enhanced the value of the 
land as building sites Any one, it is said, who was previously 
acquainted with tlie localities which liave been drained, and will 
compare them now with other localities which have not been drained, 
cannot but be greatly struck with the vast improvement effected. 
The former liave clear running stream?, and a total absence of 


insanitary cesspits. The latter have their kachchu drains filled 
to overflowing with a black sweltering sewage-laden liquid, 
beneath which, in many cases, are deposits of most offensive 
sludge ; while the neighbourhood is full of filthy cesspits, the 
contents of which overflow and soak into the ground or find their 
way into neighbouring tanks. 

The filthy overcrowded hadis^ which were once the reproach Ba*^i.». 
of Howrah, are being gradually opened up by new roads and. 
connected with the new drains, where possible. A set of bye- 
lawi has also been framed for the construction of new huts, 
and more attention is being paid to their lighting and ventilation. 
Sitaated in the midst of nearly every group of huts are shallow 
ponds formed by the promiscuous excavation of earth for house- 
building. In the dry months they become breeding grounds for 
mosquitoes and are frequently used for the purposes of nature. 
In the rain^ refuse and debris are washed into them and make 
them obnoxious. A considerable number of them have now 
been filled up, but there are so many that the work will take 
many years to complete. Still the municipality has been and is 
making steady progress in improving the sanitary condition of 
the b(istis> 

Night-soil and suUage water are removed in covered carts Conser- 
and buckets to depots, and thence taken to three trenching vancy, 
grounds. The main portion is conveyed in wagons by a sewage 
steam tramway to the Belgachia trenching ground ; and 
about 25,000 gallons of liquid matter are disposed of daily in 
biological filters, the deodorized effluent being used to irrigate 
land with crops of duh grass. Sewage is also disposed of in 
septic tank installations in the Howrah Iron Works, Bally 
New Mills, and Fort Gloster Jute Mills, the installation 
in the mills last named being the first set up by any factory in 
Bengal. Three burial grounds have been provided for 
Musalmans and three burniog ghats for Hindus, A fine burning 
ghat (Jagat Banerji's Ghat) was built at Sibpur in 1903 at a 
cost of Rs. 13,000 raised entirely by subscriptions. 

In 1893, an iron bathing gUat was erected in Howrah by Private 
Babu Khirod Prasad Pal at a cost of about Rs. 15,000; and in «^oi<^''»'.v 
1894, a large public bathing ghat was constructed in the Bally 
municipality through the liberality of Babu Chuni Lai Khetri of 
Calcutta at a cost of Rs. 7,000. 

At the beginning of the present century there were seven Medical 
dispensaries in the district, but one of them, the Singti Duke tion"^" 
Charitable Dispensary, has since been closed. The following is a 
brief account of the public medical institutions of the district. 


The premier inedioal institution is the Howrah General 
Hospital, which was opened in 1861. At present it consists of 
a large block of wards for European cases, a block for Indian 
male cases, a dispensary and a small block for Indian females. 
It is undergoing a large scheme of reconstruction, which will 
greatly increase its accommodation and usefulness ; and it will 
soon consist of an European general block, European infectious 
block, Indian male surgical block, Indian male medical block, 
a large block for Indian female oases, and nurses' quarters. 
There are now 95 beds for male and 24 beds for female patients, 
and in 1907 altogether 2,116 indoor patients and 1 3,979 outdoor 
patients were treated, representing a daily average of 65 and 
105 respectively. In that year a bequest of Us. 25,000 made 
by the late Babu Devi Prasad was utilized for the improveniput 
of the Indian ward. 

The Beames Charitable Dispensary at Bally is almost entirely 
maintained by the municipality. In the rural tracts there are four 
public dispensaries, viz., (1) at Amragori, the Amragori Hazra 
Dispensary maintained partly by the District Board and partly 
from the interest on a fund of Rs. 19,000 raised by subscriptions ; 
it is so called after Babu Iswar Chandra Hazra ; (2) at Syampur, 
maintained partly from private subscriptions, but chiefly by the 
District Board; (3) at Uluberia, maintained by Government, 
the Local Fund and private subscriptions ; and (4) at Arata, 
maintained by the District Board and private subscriptions. The 
dispensaries at Uluberia and Amragori alone have accommodation 
for indoor patients, the former having six beds for males, and the 
latter four beds for male and two beds for female patients. All 
the others treat only outdoor patients. In 1907 the largest 
number of patients was treated at the Amragori dispensary, viz., 
6 540, the daily average being 42*40. 

The Kavirdji or native Hindu system is still much in vogue . 
and the patent medicines advertised in papers are fairly popular. 
The homoeopathic system has also many advocates and is largely 
resorted to for children's ailments or chronic illness. The 
allopathic system is, however, most favoured by the well-to-do 
classes, especially for surgical operations. The efficacy of 
fljiinine for the treatment of malarial fever is now pretty 
well understood. Among the lowest classes, however, the worship 
of Sitala during epidemics of small-pox, of Ola-Bibi in cases 
of f'holera, and of Sasthi and Banchu Thakur for children's 
illnesses is still common ; while simple compounds of vegetable 
drugs, administered by elderly females or old men, are generally 
resorted to for a number of diseases. 




Of all the districts in Bengal, Howrah is the least dependent ^'"^eeal 
on agriculiure for the support of its population. It is practically t ions. 
a metropolitan district, a large proportion of its inhabitants 
obtaining employment in the adjoining city of Calcutta and in the 
numerous industrial concerns along the Hooghly. These concerns 
are situated in the long riparian strip of high land which stretches 
from the Bally Kltdl on the north to the mouth of the Damodar 
on the south. It contains the populous city of Howrah and the 
town of Bally, and below them are numerous mills, brick-fields 
and scattered homesteads. Even in the interior the villages are 
tending to be semi-urban in character, and the villagers contribute 
largely to the artisan class. 

Conditions are, on the whole, favourable to cultivation, as there 
is a rich alluvial soil which receives periodical deposits of ferti- 
lizing i>ilt from the overflow of the Damodar and Rupnarayan. 
In the ^outh, the land between those rivers lies very low and has 
to be protected from floods by embankments. In the north the 
country is cut up by numerous kh&k or creeks, and there are many 
jh'Us or swamps, so that a large area lies waste and unculti- 
vable. Elsewhere there are wide stretches of low rice lands with 
diis rice or jute, sugarcane or orchards on lands of a slightly 
higher level. On a part of the latter pulses are grown after 
the reaping of dm or jute, and along the jhits spring rice 
crops are raised. In the south the land is almost exclusively 
sown with winter rice, which is followed by k/iesdn pulse on some 
of the higher lands. On the alluvial accretions called c//ars, 
which form in the rivers, vegetables, oil-seeds, and, occasionally, 
tobacco are grown after the rains are over. 

The annual rainfall averages 56-95 inches, though there are ^ain- 
extraordinary variations, the fall, for instance, being 35-7 inches ^*^^* 
in 1895-96 and 78*6 inches in 1900-01. As a rule, it is over 50 
inches, and this is amply suflScient for the crops : indeed, the land 
being low and intersected by watereouraes, 40 inches will suffice, 


if only the distribution is seasonable. An ideal rainfall from the 
cultivator's point of view would be as follows. 

A few sbowers in February and April are hailed with delight 
because they soften the ground for ploughing. Then should come 
sunny weather in May, followed by heavy rains in June and July, 
with lighter showers in Augiisto The period from the middle of 
August to the middle of October is the most critical for the rice 
crop. Heavy rains in the latter part of August cause high floods, 
which submerge the uuembanked lowlands, and if prolonged 
destroy their crops ; while heavy rain in the first half of September 
scddens the ears of rice and prevents their development. The most 
anxious period, however, is when the plant is ripening, i.e., from 
the middle of September to October. Fair showers are then abso- 
lutely necessar}', otherwise the crop withers away. In flooded 
areas, the loss of the rice can be compensated for by a good 
rail harvest or in very low lands by the spring rice ; but if the 
crops fail in October, the loss can hardly be made good, because 
the ground is too hard for spring rice and it is too late for rabi 
sowing. Rain in the early winter (November- December) is un- 
welcome, because it hampers the cutting of the crops and is apt 
to mate them rot on the ground. 

The effect of rainfall on the crops at different parts of the year 
is popularly expressed by a number of pithy sayings known as 
Khandr bachan, i.f., the words of Khana. For example, Yadi barse 
A(jhane, Raja Jan md(jane. Yadi barsc Mdijher shen/ia, dhanya 
raja, dhanya des/ia, Yadi haya Chaitramd^e bris/iti, tube haya dhaner 
fifirisfdi. Jyeshf/ie shttkho Aahdre dhard, ^lianhyer bhdr nd sake 
d/iard. Chaitre kui/d Bliddre ban, narer inunda gardgari Jan. "If 
it rains u\ Aghan (November-December) the king goes out to beg. 
If it rains in the end of Magh (February), blessed is the king, 
blessed is tlie land. If it rains in Ohaitra (March -April), 
paddy is grown. Dry weather in Jyaistha (May- June) and heavy 
rain in A sarh (June- July) make the earth groan with the weight 
of the crops. Mist in Chaitra and floods in Bhiidra (August- 
September) make (dead) men's heads roll on the ground." These 
sayings seem to date back to a time wlien floods were much 
dreaded, as adding great personal distress to tlie loss of the crops. 
iKnioA. Irrigation is practised, but not on an extensive scale, for the 

'*'""'• rainfall is abundant, and the lands lie low, with a very gentle, 
almost imporceptibb drainage slope. Winter rice, the staple crop, 
being ordinarily raised on lands below or at flood-level requires 
no irrigation except in exceptional years of drought ; while jute, 
the second crop of economic importance, grows and is cut in 
the raius, when there ig ample moisture. In fact, artificial 


irrigatiou is required only for certain special crops, such as 
sugarcane, potatoes, brinjals, be( el-leaf and spring rice, the culti- 
vation of which either takes \Aace after the rains or is spread 
over several feasons. 

The sources of irrigation are partlj' natural, such as rivers, 
creeks and swamps, partly artificial, such as canals, drainage 
channels, tanks and wells. The important winter rice crop 
usually receives a sufficient supply of water from the overflow of 
the rivers, hut water from the canal and from the drainage 
channels is also used for its irrigation. It is taken in from the 
Hooghly at spring tides, and is held up by means of lock- 
gates in the canal, as well as in the drainage channels, being 
supplied to the cultivators, on application, by the Public ^Vorks 
Department. Otherwise, irrigation direct from the rivers and 
creeks is rare, unless the fields to be watered are nearly on the 
same level. Occasionally, however, some of the smaller creeks 
are dammed up, thus raising the water-level and impounding 
a supply for the dry months. The spring rice is also often 
irrigated from swamps, on the banks of which it is grown. 
Sugarcane and betel- leaf are generally irrigated from adjoining 
creeks or tanks, as they require a large supply of water. Well 
irrigation is not much practised, though the water-level is only 
1 few feet below the surface. Well water is used chiefly for 
orchards and homestead lands, and is supplemented by the 
supply drawn from pools, tanks and ditches, most orchards having 
i pool or a tank attached to them, which furnishes the water 
svanted after the rains. 

There is comparatively little canal irrigation. Ordinarily 
m ample supply of water can be had from other sources, and 
in the summer, when the latter sources dry up, the canal also 
3ontain8 very little water. There is, however, a considerable 
iemand for canal water just after the rains, if the monsoon 
las been deficient in strength. The drainage channels, which 
;raverse lands on a very low level, are probably of more 
ise, because in years of scanty rainfall water can be brought 
ilong them from the Hooghly river in the critical months of 
September and October. 

Water is raised from wells by means of buckets or earthen Water- 
Dots with a rope, which occasionally is put round a pulley on a ^'^*''* 
A^ooden bar fixed on supports. In the fields the usual mode of 
•aising water is by a doi/gd or canoe-shaped piece of wood scooped 
)ut inside. At each end a man holds a rope ; and having dipped 
;he donga in the water, they swing it up into a channel leading 
;o the fields. Water can be raised in this way two or three feet 




only. If the water has to be raised higher, the men stand on a 
fixed frame raised above the water and have longer ropes tied 
to the doiKjci, or draw up water in pots. The up-country Idthd 
is also occasionally seen in gardens near the towns. 
Soils. The soil throughout the district is alluvial and varies from 

sand in the river beds to sticky clay in the interior along 
the silted-up streams and muJ iu the swamps. Clayey and deep 
loamy soils prevail iu the north, and lighter loams in the south, 
where the deposits are more recent. The cultivators have a long 
list of names for different classes of land, judged from various 
points of view, for they classify the soil according to its level, 
composition or yield. As regards level, it is called ja/d when below 
water-level {I.e., usually salt or paddy land), suiid when above 
water-level, and ddngd at a higher level. On the highest levels 
there are bdsfu, or homestead land, and u.lbdsta, or land imme- 
diately round the homestead. According to composition, the soil 
may be bele or sandy, entel or clayey, penko or muddy, dhand or 
marshy, and so forth. According to yield, the ndH and 'iund lands 
are divided into dtv-il or first class, doyani or second class, fie yam or 
third class, ckahdiam or fourth class, and so on, the terms being 
relics of the old Musalman classification. 
Pkincipal The following is a statement prepared by the Agricultural 
cBops. Department showing the normal areas under the principal crops 
and the percentage of those areas to the normal net cropped 
area : — 

Name of crop. 

acreage. I 


Percentage on 
normal net 
iTopped atea. 

Name of crop. 


° a u 
a> sa 







Winter rice 

Total aghani crops 

Autumn rice 

Other Ih&doi tere- 
uIh unil puluus ... 
OtbiT hhadoi food- 


Til (hhadoi) ... 

1 ■55,200 


Summer rice 
' Other rahi cereals 
1 and pulses 
Other rahi food- 
crops ... 
inseed ... 
Rape and mustard 
Til {rahi) 
\ Other oil-seeds... 
Other rahi non- 
food crops 
! Total rahi crops 

Orchards and gar- 
den produce .. 

Twice • cropped 





















Total hhadoi crops 




According to the statistics for 1907-08, out of a total area 
of 326,400 acres, the area not available for cultivation is 52,400 
acres, culturable waste other than fallow accounts for 16,000 
acres, and current fallows for 15,600 acres ; while the net cropped 
area is 242,400 acres. 

Eice forms the staple crop of the district, being grown Kico. 
on a normal area of 150,000 acres or 63 per cent, of the total 
area. It is a food-grain especially suited to low moist lands 
receiving an abundant rainfall, such as those which make up the 
greater portion of Howrah. An immense variety of different kinds 
of rice are grown, but the crops may be grouped under three main 
heads according to the harvest seasons, viz., horo or spring, 
dm (literally asw) or autumn, and dman [ox haimanlik) or winter 

Boro rice is transplanted along the banks of marshes, or in Boro imd 
very low lands which remain wet till summer. Ploughing is ""*• 
not required. It is sown in January and reaped in April and 
May. This class of rice includes only coarse varieties, and only 
a small quantity of land can be found fit for its cultivation. 
Am rice is sown, chiefly broadcast, on sund lands and preferably 
loamy soils. It is sown in May and reaped in August and 
September, being often followed by a second crop of pulses. 
This crop also yields coarse varieties of rice. Formerly <7?/s 
was a fairly large crop, but it has been replaced by jute, 
which pays the cultivator better. In the sayings of Khana we 
find several references to the autumn rice crop: — Anser bind bele, 
pdfer bhui dtdle. Vaishdkher pratham jale, atiS'dlidii dwir/un 
ohale. Aus-'.ihdner chdsh, Idge tin mash. "The soil of dus is 
sandy, that of jute clayey. In the first rains of Baisakh (April- 
May), diis paddy yields double. The cultivation of diis paddy 
:ake8 three months." 

A wan rice is the great crop of the year. It is grown on lands Winter 
ying below flood-level, except where water lies so deep as to "'^*'' 
preclude cultivation. The land which gets the right quantity of 
vater and most of the detritus washed off the upper lands is 
laturally the richest, and is therefore called dtval or first class 
.and. It forms the deepest or nearly the deepest part of the fields, 
fvhile above and below it is doyani or second class land. In a 
j^ear of excessive rain the upper doyam, and in a year of drought 
:he lower doyam^ will be as good as dical ; but in a year of average 
rainfall the dwal will be better than either. Above and below the 
ioyam are the zones of miQjioj: seyam and thdhdram soils. 

In the north the ground is frequently manured with cow-dung 
(50 baskets to a biylid) except in the lower lands, where manure 


would be dissipated iu the water. After manuring, ploughing 
begins, as soon as the ground has been sufficiently softened by 
rain, towards the end of winter or in the beginning of spring. 
There are generally four ploughings before sowing or planting. 
The clods are then pulverized by drawing a mai or harrow over 
theia. Aman rice may be sown broadcast, but is more usually 
sown in a nursery and transplanted into the fields. It is sown in 
May and June, and is transplanted in the rains, chiefly in 
July and August. It cannot be sown broadcast if the ground 
dries up early, or does not dry up at all, or has been newly 
broken up. The usual quantity of seed used is 16 seers to a 
6igltd. The labour required for transplanting varies according to 
the distance of the fields from the village, the depth of water 
and other circumstances, but on the average it takes a man 
five days per oighd. Harvesting begins on high lands in Nov- 
ember or December, and is mostly finished by the end of 
January On the lower grounds it continues till the end of 
February and sometimes till the middle of March. 

The reaping is easy enough till the low lands are reached 
after the dtval. The doyaiu may be got iu dry, but nvyam and 
chd/idram have generally to be reaped in water. In dry reaping 
the straw with the paddy is laid iu bundles on the fields in order 
to dry it, and after two or three days is carried home for thresh- 
ing. In wet reaping the heads of the stalks above water are 
generally cut and then carried to a dry spot for drying. Paddy 
reaped dry is usually threshed by beatiug the bundle against 
boards till all the grain is separated. The bundles of straw 
{k/iar) are then stored for sale or use. Paddy reaped wet is 
trampled out by oxen. The straw {pdl) is sour and useless, 
except for feeding cattle. After thi'eshing the paddy is win- 
nowed and stored in thatched granaries with split bamboo walls 

The outturn naturally varies according to the nature of land, 
timely or untimely weather, and the care given to cultivation. 
On an average the oatturu of sdii dwal rice per iiglid is estimated 
at 7 to 10 maunds of paddy and one lidhdii of straw; and of sdli 
doyam at 5 to 8 maunds of paddy and the same quantity of straw. 
Some of the best lands, if manured, have been known to yield 12 
maunds per biyhd^ but such a heavy yield is very rare. Generally 
speaking, the outturn, taken at the rate of eight maunds of paddy 
and one knhdn of straw, would be worth in the selling season not 
more than Rs. 20 (24 + 2). 
i'ulfati. After rice, pulses are the most important of the food-grains. 

Gram is not grown, but other pulses, like kfiemn) mung, peas and 


masurl, are favourite second crops. Khemri or teord is sown on 
low rice lands when the dinan is damaged by floods or has a poor 
outturn. It is sown broadcast in October, grows slowly until the 
winter rice is harvested, then shoots up rapidly, and is gathered 
in February and March. It costs little to cultivate, but the yield 
is not large if the rice crop is good. It is a grain which the well- 
to-do eschew, but owing to its cheapness, is much used in the 
form of ddl by the poorer classes. The other pulses form the 
main cold- weather crops on snnd lands. They are sown in 
October and November after ploughing and are reaped in Feb- 
ruary and March. The ploughing is more carefully done, the 
seeds cost more, and the outturn is more valuable. They furnish 
the ddl eaten by the higher classes. 

Oil-seeds, such as linseed, til, rape and mustard, are cold- Oil-seeds, 
weather crops grown only in small plots on high lauds round the 
village sites and on the river chars, which are periodically fertilized 
by new silt. 

Next to rice, jute is the chief crop, especially in the north, jute. 
It has largely replaced du8 rice, and in 1907-08 it was grown on 
65,000 acres, or one-fourth of the net cropped area. In most 
villages in the Sadar subdivision it is raised on mud lauds that are 
not occupied by sugarcane, vegetables or orchards. The ground 
is usually manured with cow-dung or rich muddy earth dug up 
from tanks or ditches. After the first showers in May, the ground 
is ploughed up, and the seed (about two seers per highd) is sown. 
The fields are then weeded twice or thrice before the heavy rains 
begin. In August and September the jute is cut, stripped of its 
leaves, carried to water in bundles, and there steeped. The 
steeping process is called retting. After a time the stalks are taken 
out and beaten, and the fibre is extracted. The fibre is cleaned, 
dried by hanging, and then put into drums ready for the market. 
The stalks are used for fuel, for thatching, or for fencing betel-leaf 
plantations. The outturn varies according to circumstances, e.g., 
the condition of the fields, the quantity of manure used and the 
care given to cultivation ; but for first class lands the average out- 
turn may be taken roughly as 4 to 6 maunds of fibre and 8 to 10 
bundles of stalks (pdnkdti), and for second class lands 3 to 5 maunds 
and the same quantity of stalks. The Dumjor and Bargachhia 
stations on the Howrah-Amta line are centres of the jute trade, 
being visited by European and Armenian traders in the season. 

Sugarcane is grown on sitnd lands, preferably heavy clay soils Sugarcane. 
retaining moisture. The ground is prepared by ploughing and 
harrowing, and also receives irrigation, if the soil is light and 
porous. It is next manured with oil-refusej ^-ow-dung and 



tank-mud. In January cuttings half a foot long are placed, with 
oil-refuse, in holes arranged in rows a yard apart. In the four 
months, precediug the rains > February to June) the surface is 
irrigated several times, and after each watering it is hoed. Just 
before the rains the ground round the roots is cleared, old leaves, 
etc., being removed, and manure laid at the roots, after which 
they are carefully earthed over. During the next five months 
(middle of June to middle of November) the leaves are usually 
twisted round the stems to prevent insects or jackals from damaging 
the plants. As soon as the plants are large enough, they are 
tied together with leaves at the top to prevent the flexible stems 
falling down. Cutting begins in January, and may continue 
till April. The chief varieties are Bombay, Hkamsdrd and deihl. 
The cultivation is exhausting to the soil and expensive to the 
ryots. The crop is therefore alternated with paddy or jute in the 
following rains and with potatoes or pulses in the f ollo^dng winter, 
so that the soil has rest for at least a year and a half. The old 
wooden mill has disappeared and has been replaced by a more 
effective machine with an iron crusher and pan. A few of the 
canes are sold in the towns and rural hala ; but most are crushed 
in the iron mill, the juice being converted into gur or molasses. 
Tobacco Tobacco is a minor product, being chiefly found along river 

ami betel, banks and on chars. Betel-le.if is more largely grown, especially 
by the Barui caste, in bamboo enclosures with fenced made of 
jute-stalks. The cuttings are planted in rows in February and 
watered daily for the first three months. The leaves begin to 
shoot out in June and July, and continue to do so for a year. 
Old stems are cut down in April, when the roots send up fresli 
stems, which begin giving new leaves in June and July. In 
this way fresh leaves may be got for several years, otherwise the 
stems die in a year. The trailing plants have to be tied to 
supports of dhoincha or split bamboo, and the soil manured from 
time to time with oil-refuse. The betel leaf of Nunti and Bantul 
near Uluberia is famous for its fhivour, being exported as far 
north as Delhi. 

FBC1I8. The principal fruits of the district are mango, plantam, coco- 

nut, jack, papaya, piue-applo and custard-apple {ald\ Groves 
of mango and jack abound, especially in the Jiowrah subdivision. 
There are numerous varieties of indigenous mangoes, which 
though stringy are generally sweet. In orchards owned by the 
well-to-do classes grafts of Bombay, /adi and lengrd mangoes are 
common and yield fine fruit, though it is rather smaller in size than 
thai raised np-couutry. The jack-fruit usually has a stringy pulp, 
but the best varieties are sweet and luscious. Pine-apples aw 


regularly cultivated in homestead plots, especially near the 
liluah and Dumjor stations. They are usually large and 
palatable, while the sub-variety called rnsi, though smaller, is 
particularly sweet. Papaya grows almost wild in every home- 
stead, and is a welcome addition to the daily fare, being eaten 
when unripe as a vegetable, and when ripe as a fruit. Plantains 
are cultivated on an extensive scale, both unripe and ripe varieties, 
the chief sub- varieties of the latter being the religiously pure 
kdt/iali, the small but delicious cf/du.pd, and the large inartamdn 
(literally Martaban). Coconut and date palms thrive, yielding 
fruit, coconut oil and date sugar. Limes, tamarind, leechees 
{Ne2)heliaiii htc/d), the Indian blackberry [jam), the rose apple 
{gold}) jam), the jdmriU {Eugenia juranica) and guava are found 
in gardens on the outskirts of the towns. 

Vegetables are grown extensively round the villagers' home- ^'egk- 
steads, in private gardens, and along the fertile banks of the 
numerous khdls and streams. Excellent ^jr/Zfl/.s (Tncosanihes 
dioica) come via Amta from the Daraodar chars, and arums {ol) 
from Santragachhi and Jagatballabhpur. Amta also supplies 
large soft brinjals, fairly big water-melons and good radishes. 
Several kinds of pot herbs, gourds, beans, yams, cucumbers, 
potatoes {deshl or Naini Tal\ sweet potatoes and onions are 
raised for sale ; while near the towns cauliflowers, cabbages, 
peas, beet, and other European vegetables are grown. 

Among miscellaneous products may be mentioned mulberries IMiscf.l- 
grown in thana Jagatballabhpur and Panchla outpost on about pjjo. 
500 acres; bamboos grown in the compounds of most house- otcxs. 
holds ; and the hog I a reed, which is plentiful on the banks of the 
marshes and swamps. 

Figures showing changes in the cultivated area for any Exte^- 
lengthy period cannot be given, as the agricultural statistics of ^\°^ °^ 
Howrah were incorporated with those of Hooghly until 1905-06. vation. 
It appears, however, to be a well-established fact that practically 
all the land at present cultivable has been brought under the 
plough and that very little land is left fallow. It would seem, 
moreover, that the area under rice and jute is steadily increasing. 
The lands reclaimed by the three drainage schemes (Howrah, 
Barajol and Eajapur) have been almost exclusively devoted to 
winter paddy, while the sund lands that grew autumn rice have 
been devoted almost entirely to jute. The area under jute varies, 
however, with the prices obtained for the fibre and with the stock 
of rice kept in hand, e.g., the scarcity of rice and the high prices 
of food-grains in 1908 are reported to have caused a reduction 
in the area under jute and a corresponding increase in the 



cultivation of rice. Sugarcane cultivation, which increased a little 
after the introduction of iron roller mills, is declining owing to 
the competition of imported sugar aud molasses, while the cultiva- 
tion of vegetables and fruits is, on the whole, increasing. At 
present a large quantity of food-grains has to be im])orted from 
other districts ; and the cultivated area can only increase materially 
by reclaiming some of the existing swamps or by protecting 
part of the country liable to inundation. 
Improve- The substitution of jute for autumn rice as a more paying 
crop commanding a ready sale is becoming general. In the 
flooded tracts, the losses due to floods are counteracted by 
sowing pulses along with Avinler rice, for if the latter is damaged 
or destroyed, a good crop of the former can be got from the 
deposit of silt left by the receding water. The value of manure 
as a fertilizer is understood. It is generally applied in the 
case of special crops, and is also coming into use for rice on 
higher lands. The usual manures are dcomposed cow-deimg and 
the refuse of oil-seeds ; but the scarcity of firewood leads to an 
increased use of dried cow-dung for fuel among the poorer classes. 
A certain amount of rotation is practised, e.g., jute or autumn 
rice is rotated with pulses, sugarcane with jute and pulses, etc. 

Several new kinds of ploughs have been tried, but have not yet 
passed the experimental stage. The improved Sibpur plough is 
somewhat in favour, as it has the advantage of better work 
combined with cheapness and simplicity. The use of iron roller 
mills and pans for converting sugarcane into (jur has already 
been alluded to. 

The cultivators keep seed for sowing from their old stock, 
and there is no conscious selection of the best kinds ; but there 
is a general tendency to select the better varieties for planting, 
e.g., Bombay and shdnisdrd in the place of deshi sugarcane, 
while Santragachhi arums (ol) are substituted for the ordinary 
kind, muktakeshi brinjals for the common varieties, up-country 
mangoes for the indigenous kinds, etc. In urban gardens 
imported European seeds are largely used. 
CATir.E. I^li® breeds of cattle are of the usual kinds found in Lower 

Bengal. Cows are kept by house-holders and Goalas, who 
also keep buffaloes; bullocks by Goalas and cultivators of all 
classes ; sheep and goats by Musalmans and low caste Hindus ; 
pigs by the lowest castes, such as Kaoras and Haris ; ponies 
by the more wealthy Muhammadans and Hindus. The cows 
and plough-bullocks are weak and stunted in growth, no 
sustained efforts liaving yet been made to improve the breed. 
Epidemics often break out, and from ignorance and want of 



prompt treatment many die. The Saturday hat at Uluberia is the 
largest cattle market in the district. 

Cattle suffer much from want of pasturage. Once every rustuia-c 
village had its grazing grounds, but now there are practically 
none, nearly every acre having been appropriated and rented 
out to cultivators. The ryot consequently has to feed his 
bullocks with straw, etc., for the greater part of the year ; for 
though the cattle get some grazing in the fields after harvesting, 
they are kept out of them as soon the crops are sown, and have 
to be tethered on some more or less barren patches, off which 
the grass is quickly browsed. 

Among the castes engaged in agriculture the Kaibarttas Ageicul- 
predominate, a thrifty industrious class, who have migrated largely classes. 
into the southern thanas, probably from the east of Midnapore. 
The other principal agricultural castes are Pods, originally a 
fishing caste, who came to the Uluberia subdivision, probably 
from the other side of the river liooghly ; Sadgops, a charac- 
teristic caste of West Bengal ; Chandals, probably emigrants 
from Eastern Bengal ; Baruis or hereditary betel-leaf growers ; 
and among the Musalmans that heterogeneous class, the Sheikhs. 
From various causes, chiefly economic, recruits have been received 
from other important classes, such as the weaving classes (Tantis, 
Suklis and Jolahas), the fishing castes (Tiyars and Bagdis), and 
other castes, such as Telis, Chhutars and others. At present, 
owing to the high price of food-grains, there is a tendency for 
many persons in the rural tracts, who previously had no connec- 
tion with cultivation, to take up land in order that they may 
have a stock of rice to fall back upon. Consequently, there is 
no important class or caste of which a certain proportion does 
not hold some land. 




Canals, Thf, only locked canal in this district forms part of the Midna- 
pore Canal and comprises two tidal reaches extending from 
Uluberia to Bansberia, where it crosses the Damodar river, and 
from Kultapara to Kantapukur, where it joins the Eupnarayan. 
On the opposite site of the Rfipuarayan the canal is continued 
from Dainan to Midnapore, crossing the Kasai river at Panskura 
and at Mohanpur close by Midnapore. The total length of the 
canal, including 10| miles of canalized distributaries, is 69'i miles. 
The tidal reaches were constructed chiefly for the purpose of 
navigation and were opened for traffic in 1873. Each range has 
two parallel distributaries, and their water, when available, is 
used for irrigation, but the supply is variable and cannot be 
depended on. Before the opening of the Bengal-Nagpur Kailway 
the canal formed part of the main route from Calcutta to 
Midna[)ore, but the traffic, once considerable, has fallen off owing 
to railway competition. 

'I'here is also an improved natural channel, called the 
Gaighata and Bakshi K/idis, 7-^ miles long, which forms a connect- 
ing link between the Damodar and Rupnarayan rivers. It 
was taken up aud improved by Grovernment in 1856-57, and 
was in charge of the Public Works Department until 1872-73, 
when it was transferred to the District Board. In 1894 the 
maiute Lance and management of the channel were resumed by 
Government, which makes an annual grant of Us. 2,500 to 
the District Board in order to recoup the loss occasioned to that 
body by the re-transfer. The right of collecting tolls lias been 
leased out for tv/o years (PJ08-00 and PJUy-iO) at Us. 4,500 
per annum. 
Dn.uNAc.R The drainage of the large swamps in the district is a far 
CHAN- niore important question than that of canal irrigation or naviga- 
tion. 8uch swamps are found in the depressions between the 
rivers anfl their principal branches, one set (the Howrali swamps) 
lying between the raised banks of the Hooghly and the 
Saruswali, another (,the Ilajapur swamps) between the Saraswati 


and the Kana Dilmodar, and a third (the Amta swamps'^ between 
the Kana Damodar and the Damodar. The first schemes for 
the drainage of these swamps appear to have been put forward 
as a result of the epidemic of a virulent type of fever called 
Burdwan fever, which raged in Hooghly and part of Ilowrah. 
The heavy mortality it caused formed the subject of repeated 
enquiries by civil, medical and engineering officers. One of the 
latter, Mr. Adley, c.k., who had been appointed by Government 
to determine whether want of drainage had caused or intensified 
the prevailing fever, reported in 1869 that defective drainage 
caused by the silting up of rivers and klidk was a main cause 
of the fever and recommended the reclamation of the Dankuni, 
Katlia and Rajapur swamps. Government approved a portion 
of his scheme, viz., that for draining the Dankuni marsh, which 
lies just outside the district with its outfall in the Bally Khal, 
and the work was taken in hand. 

Subsequently, in 1873, Colonel Haig, Chief Engineer of 
Bengal, who had been deputed to make an engineering survey of 
the locality, recommended that the Dankuni scheme should be 
extended to the tidal tracts in this district. He suggested three 
schemes for the reclamation of the three sets of swamps mentioned 
above, viz., (1) the Amta scheme for the drainage of 84 square 
miles lying in the western drainage basin ; (2) the Rajapur 
scheme for the drainage of the tidal portion of the central basin 
comprising the Rajapur, Panchla and Barajol (apparently a 
corruption of larajhil) swamps ; and (3) the Howrah scheme for 
the drainage of the tract lying between the Bally Khdl on the 
north, the river Hooghly on the east and south, and the Saraswati 
on the west. The Howrah scheme was taken up first, being 
begun in November 1884 and completed in October 1885 at a 
cost of 5^ lakhs. The larger Rajapur scheme was next begun 
and completed in 1894-95 at a cost of 14| lakhs. The Amta 
scheme is still under consideration, the zamindars concerned 
having been averse to it hitherto, but Drainage Commissioners 
have recently been appointed. The cost of upkeep in 1907-08 
was Rs. 2,672 in the case of the Howrah works, as against 
Rs. 862 in 1906 07 and Rs. 5,303 in 1905-06, and Rs. 8,635 
in the case of the Rajapur and Barajol works, as against 
Rs. 9,604 in 1906-07. 

The Howrah and Rajapur (including Barajol) drainage 
works, which are in charge of the Executive Engineer, Northern 
Drainage and Embankment Division, were undertaken under 
the provisions of the Bengal Drainage Act, VI (B.C.) of 1880. 
That Act repealed Bengal Act V of 1871, which laid down, 

78 HO-WRAH. 

in regard to the Dankuni scheme, that a moiety of the pro- 
prietors of the lands concerned miglit assent to the drainage 
works, whereon the whole proprietary body would be obliged 
to combine to cause execution of the works, to obtain the 
necessary advance of money from Government, and to appor- 
tion among themselves tlie liability for the recovery of 
the advance. The Drainage Act of 1880 empowered the 
Lieutenant-Grovernor to carry out similar works for the drainage 
and reclamation of land throughout Bengal. It provided that 
each scheme under the Act should be prepared with plans and 
estimates by the Q-overnment engineers and published for 
general infonnation. The cost of the works was to be assessed, 
on the lands reclaimed and improved, in proportion to the 
benefit derived, by Commissioners appointed by the Lieutenant- 
Governor, of whom the majority were to be proprietors. The 
recovery of the sums apportioned on the several proprietors was 
left in the hands of the Collector. The works, when completed, 
were to be kept up in the same manner as public embankments 
at the expense of those whose lands were benefited, and in their 
maintenance the Collector was to be assisted by a committee of 
proprietors appointed for that purpose. A material alteration 
from the procedure under Act V of 1871 consisted in allowing 
the Commissioners an opportunity of watching results for three 
years after the works were completed before they proceeded to 
apportion the costs. Thus the liability to repay any portion of 
the capital was deferred for three years. 

The Act was amended in 1902 by the Bengal Drainage 
Amendment Act, II (B.C.) of 1902, which provides further 
facilities for the recovery by landholders from their tenants of a 
proportionate share of the expenses connected with the carrying 
out of drainage schemes. It also authorizes the recovery of contri- 
butions when one co-sharer pays the whole of the expenses for 
carrying drainage works ; and it provides a procedure for amend- 
ing the list of persons wh-o have been formally declared to be liable 
to pay the expenses of drainage schemes. The most noticeable 
* results of this last Act are that it has empowered the zamindars 
to file certificates against their tenants and has reduced the rate of 
interest from per cent, to 4 per cent. The landlords realize 
the drainage demands from the tenants of the benefited lands 
eithui.' directly as additions to rents and cesses or indirectly 
by enhancing their rents in view of the estimated benefits to 
their lands. 
Ur.wrah The tract of country drained by the Howrah drainage scheme 

.iiainage - jj^mnjed by the river iiooghly on the south, by the to^^Tis of 


Bally and Howrah on the east, by the river Saraswati on the 
west, and by the Bally Kltal and the road from Bally to Chandi- 
tala on the north. Its area is about 49^- square miles, of which 
nearly 18 square miles consist of pure swamp. The lowest, 
part is 1\ feet above mean sea-level, and even when tidal 
water is excluded, the rainfall is enough to fill it to a 
depth of 4 J feet. The most prominent el laract eristic of these 
swamps is that instead of forming a single large basin, like the 
Dankuni swamp to the north, they are divided into four catch- 
ment basins, each separated from the other by a low ridge. 

'J'he works consist of ( I ) a main channel 8^ miles long, the 
width of the base varying from 10 feet at the end to 80 feet 
near the sluice on the river ; (2) branch and subsidiary channels 
with a total length of 10 miles ; (3) an outfall sluice near the 
Botanical Grarden, having seven vents of 5 feet each, with self- 
acting^shutters on the river side and drop-gates worked by screws 
on the land side ; (4) another outlet sluice, having one vent 
(5 feet by feet) with a drop-gate worked by screws, near the 
Banderbil sluice on the Bally Khdl ; and (5) an embankment 
extending for about 2| miles along the river Hooghly from the 
Botanical Garden to the mouth of the Mahisdhara K/ial, the 
object of which is to exclude tidal water from the swamps. 

The Rajapur scheme drains an area of 269*85 square miles Rajipur 
and is divided into two sections, viz., Barajol and Rajapur. The drainage 
Barajol section drains an area of 30*5 square miles, of which 
more than half is swamp. The works consist of (1) a main 
channel 1 9,600 feet long) ; (2) two branch channels, with a 
combined length of about 9 miles, which run from the villages 
of Jangalpur and Satgharia to the river Hooghly ; and (3) 
an outfall sluice, with four vents, 8 feet by 5 feet each. 

The Rajapur section is a large engineering work, affecting 
the drainage of 239-35 square miles comprised in five basins, viz., 
the upland basin (140 square miles), Janai basin (32*70 square 
miles), Panohla Jol basin (22"50 square miles), Rajapur Jol basin 
(31*90 square miles), and an area of 12"25 square miles draining 
directly into the Hooghly. The works consist of (1) a main 
channel, 10 miles long, extending from half a mile north of 
Rajapur to Sijberia a mile above Uluberla ; (2) three branch 
channels, with a combined length of about 7 miles, three khdh 
with a combined length of 9| miles serving as branch channels, 
and four detached channels with a total length of about one 
mile; (3) a big outfall sluice on the Hooghly river at Sijberia, 
having 20 vents, each 8 feet by 5 feet ; (4) a protective embank- 
ment, about 1| miles long, from Sijberia to Chakkasi Khdl^ 


with three irrigation sluices. There are also two bungalows, one 
at Sijberia and the other at Rajapur, three road-bridges and four 

The main channel, starting from the outfall sluice at 
Sijberia, follows the course of the KalsapS Ehdl or Kana 
Damodar (which has been remodelled) for 3^ miles as far as 
Basdeopur. From that place it passes through the low lands 
of Danchla and Dhauki to Siddheswar, and thence through 
the Rajapur Jol, finally ending about half a mile beyond 
the lIo\\Tah-Arata road. The first branch channel leaves the 
main channel in the 12th mile, and going north-west passes 
under the Howrah-Amta road, about one mile from Bargachhia, 
connecting with the low lands of Santoshpur. The second branch 
leaves the main channel in the i4th mile, and going north- 
east passes under the Howrah-Amta road, and connects at 
Jhapardah with the Matia Klidt, of which a length of o miles 
has been improved to serve as a branch channel. The cost of 
maintenance is small, averaging Rs. H,370 only in the five 
years ending in 1907-08. 

It has been estimated that the Rajapur scheme has reclaimed 
from its three principal swamps, Rajapur, Panchla and Barajol, 
4,122 acres of waste land and has improved no less than 37,972 
acres of low land. The western portion of Rajapur is, however, 
being affected by floods pouring in from the Amta, Madaria and 
upland basins, largely through breaches in the Kana Damodar and 
Madaria Khal left embankments. Crops were damaged by such 
floods in 1893-94, 1899-19U0, 190400 and 1905-00. The left 
embankment of the Madaria Klidl from Amta to Harishpur is 
consequently to be raised, and the portion from Penro to 
Dilakhas is being remodelled. 

These schemes are interesting examples of large reclamation 
works, beyond the means of the cultivators or of individual 
landlords, which are practicable only for a combination of 
landed proprietors or capitalists working under the protection 
of the Drainage Act. Both have amply fulfilled expectations. 
The Magistrate of Howrah in the Annual Administration Report 
of 1897-98 remarked: —" All the drainage schemes have proved 
to be of immense benefit in reclaiming the waste swamps and 
improving the other lauds. They were originally intended for 
the drainage of the swamps, but they are now advantageously 
utilized in irrigating the lands, in years of drought and scanty 
rainfall, with fresh water from the Ilooghly river." More 
recently, in 190."), the Commissioner remarked : — " These schemes 
have proved very successful in reclaiming the extensive waste 


swampy lands west of Howrah and improving other lands. 
The surplus water is drained out by the channels and sluices in 
years of heavy rainfall ; while in years of drought water from 
the river is let in for cultivation and drinking purposes. The 
schemes have been of great benefit to the people of the neighbour- 
ing tracts, who can reap a good harvest in years of drought 
as well as in years of heavy rainfall." 

The completion of the entire project for the drainage of the 
district by carrying out the Amta scheme proposed over 30 years 
ago appears desirable on many grounds. It would not only add 
hundreds of acres to the cultivated area and improve thousands 
of acres of low lands— an important consideration in a district 
which does not raise enough food for its consumption. It 
would also drain a water-logged locality in which malarial fever 
threatens to be endemic, owing to the stagnant water being 
the breeding ground of the malaria-bearing anopheles mosquito. 
In its present state, moreover, the waters flooding the Amta 
basin not only damage the Amta crops three or four years out of 
every five, but also threaten to swamp the western part of the 
Eajapur basin. 

A. large part of the district being very little above mean embank- 
sea-level is liable to be flooded every year by the principal ments. 
rivers and their branches Protective embankments have, there- 
fore, long been held to be necessary and during the early 
years of British administration the main channels of the 
three chief rivers were embanked, viz., the right bank of 
the Hooghly, the left and right banks of the Damodar, 
and the left bank of the Riipnarayan. The effect of these 
embankments was that the rivers, depositing silt in their 
beds, gradually raised them above the level of the adjoining 
country. Hence, when a river burst through its bank, it 
flooded a considerable area causing serious damage. This was 
more especially the case with the Damodar, a large river liable to 
flood with a rapid stream and narrow bed. The embankments 
along its banks were originally maintained by the Burdwan 
Raj, but the damage caused from time to time by the floods 
pouring through imperfectly repaired breaches forced Govern- 
ment to take them over. In course of time the Government 
was obliged to abandon the embankment on the right side of t e 
Damodar in order to protect the more valuable lands on the left 
side. This at first caused much hardship to villages on the right 
side, but gradually the silt -deposit not ouly raised the land, 
but enabled splendid crops of raU to be grown, thus compensating 
for the loss of paddy crops. During the last 20 years, on account 


of a large breach at Begua in the Burdwan district, a reduced 
volume of water has been passing along the present channel 
of the Damodar, and the effect of the floods is consequently not 
felt on the right side. It is now proposed to close the Begua 
breach up to ordinary flood height so as to minimize damage 
to crops in the Burdwan district and the Arambagh subdivision 
of the Hooghly district. The result of this change remains to 
be seen. 

Along the right bank of the Hooghly there are zamindari 
embankments from Sanbrail to Alipore on the mouth of the 
Damodar, except a portion measuring about 1^ miles in length 
from Chakkasi Khdl to fSijberia, which is being maintained by 
Government as a portion of the Rajapur drainage works. 
They were badly breached by high floods in 1904-05, causing 
serious loss of crops in the interior. The zamindars concerned 
having failed to repair them properly, the Q-ovemment has 
taken charge of two sections (one at Chakkasi, 3 miles above 
Uluberia, and the other from Uluberia to Champa Khdl on the 
south) and has put them in proper order, the cost being realized 
from the zamindars under the Embankment Act. 

Government now maintains the folio-wing embankments : — 
(1) the Hooghly right embankment from the Botanical Garden 
to MahisdharS Khdl and the Chakkasi embankment from Chakkasi 
Khdl to Sijberia; (2) the Damodar left embankment through 
the whole length of the district and the right embankment 
from the Begua breach to the Maja Damodar and from the 
mouth of the Gaighata Khril to the outfall into the Huoghly ; 
(3) the Rupnarayan left embankment from the mouth of the 
Bakshi Khdl to the outfall in the Hooghly ; (4) the embankment 
on the south of the Bakshi and Gaighata Khdls, joining the 
ROpnarayan left with the Damodar right embankment ; (5) a 
takdvi embankment along the left bank of the Madaria Khdl 
from Dilakhas to Amta, about half of which has been raised, 
while the other half is being remodelled in order to protect 
the R&japur basin. 




Earthquake shocks are felt occasionally, but as a rule do Earth. 
little damage. The severest shock in the memory of the present *^^*^^3' 
generation occurred on the 12th June 1897. It damaged many 
of the masonry buildings in Howrah town and brought down a 
number of tlie weakest. There are also records of earthquakes 
damaging houses in Howrah town in 1737, 1812 and 1857. 

Howrah does not lie on the usual track of cyclones coming CrctoNEs, 
up from the Bay of Bengal, but occasionally it is visited by them. 
The earliest of which there appears to be any record occurred in 
1737 at the same time as the earthquake mentioned above. An 
account published in The (7entlem<in''s Magazine of 1738 runs as 
follows: — '"On the • 0th (September last happened a furious 
hurricane in the Bay of Bengal, attended with a very heavy 
rain, which raised 15 inches of water in five hoars, and a violent 
earthquake which threw down abundance of houses, and, as the 
storm reached 60 leagues up the river, it is computed that 
20,000 ships, barks, sloops, boats, canoes, etc., have been cast 
away. A prodigious quantity of cattle of all sorts, a great many 
tigers and several rhinoceroses were drowned: even a great 
many caymans were stifled by the furious agitation of the waters, 
and an innumerable quantity of birds were beat down into the river 
by the storm. Two English ships of 500 tons were thrown into 
a village about 200 fathoms from the bed of the river Ganges, 
broke to pieces, and all the people drowned pell-mell amongst the 
inhabitants and cattle. Barks of 60 tons were blown two leagues 
up the land over the tops of high trees. The water rose, in all, 
40 feet higher than usual. The English ships which drove ashore 
and broke to pieces were the Decker, Devonshire and Neiocastle, and 
the Pelham is missing. A French ship was drove on shore and 
bulged ; after the wind and water abated they opened the hatches 
and took out several bales of merchandize, etc., but the man who 
was in the hold to sling the bales suddenly ceased working, nor by 
calling him could they get any reply, on which they sent down 
another but heard nothing of him, which very much added to 
their fear, so that for some time no one would venture down. At 



length, one more hardy than the rest went down and became silent 
and inactive as the two former to the astonishment of all. They 
then agreed by lights to look down into the hold, which had a 
great quantity of water in it, and to their great surprise they saw 
a huge alligator staring as expecting more prey. It had come in 
through a hole in tho ship's side and it was with difficulty they 
killed it, when they found the three men in the creature's belly."* 
Coming to more recent times there were severe cyclones in 
October 1832, May 1833, June 1842, October 1864 and November 
1869, of which the worst was that of 1864. This cyclone burst on 
the 5th October and was of unprecedented violence. While the 
fury of the wind caused widespread destruction to houses and trees, 
the storm- wave brought up by the gale carried havoc for 8 miles 
inland. Only after its force was expended by being spread 
over a wide extent of country, and after it had reached as high up 
as Achipur within 20 miles of Calcutta, was the wave so far dimi- 
nished as to be confined mainly within the river banks. In this 
district nearly 2,000 persons and 20,000 cattle were returned as 
killed or dro^\Tied ; the Bishop's College presented, it is said, " a 
picture of desolation"; and the Botanic Garden was devastated. 
But by far the greatest harm done by the cyclone was the 
damage caused to the shipping in the river. On the 5th October 
there were 195 vessels within the limits of the Calcutta port. 
They withstood the force of the wind with success, but when to 
this, at about 1 p.m., was added the storm-wave, the force of which 
was still not entirely spent, one vessel after another broke from her 
moorings. As each ship was swept on, she fouled others in 
her course, and they, carrying others with them, and getting 
massed in hopeless confusion, were driven on the Sumatra 
Sand and along the Ho-^Tuh shore from Sibpur to Ghusuri. 
There was no bridge, it must be remembered, between Calcutta 
and Howrah in 1864. Ten vessels were sunk in the river and 145 
driven on shore. The P. & 0. vessel Jicnyal and the P. & 0. 
mail steamer Nemesis were landed liigh and dry on the bank 
at Bishop's College, and the Oreat Tnymania, which, with over 
2,000 tons register, was the largest sailing ship in the port, went 
aground on Ghusuri Sands.f 
.senimaF The district is largely dependent for its food-supply on 
imports, especially imports of rice, so that it is closely affected 

• See alio A Short Sistory of Old Fort William in Bengal, by C. II. Wilson, 
Bengal, Past and Present, Vol. I, pp. 44, 45. 

t C. K. Biitklandj Bengal under the Lieutenant-Governors, Vol. I, pp. 
2983-02. A full and interesting' account is also given in Bengal, Past ancf 
rnsent, October 1907, pp, 112-122. 


by famine or scarcity in tlio great rice-growing and exporting 
tracts of India. Tiie people are consequently liable to feel the 
pinch caused by high prices in famine years, but local famine is 
unknown. The supply of water from different sources is so 
ample, that the crops are immune from failure due to drought, 
and though they often suffer from floods, the people are compara- 
tively so well-off that beyond making small takdvi loans no 
special measures of relief are found necessary. In fact, since 
the great Bengal famine of 1770, no famine, except possibly a 
famine in 1788, has visited this district, a fact which is eloquent 
testimony to its wealth and the facility with which it obtains its 

Relief measures were, it is true, taken in 1866, though there Famine o£ 
was no famine in the district, because a considerable number of 1866. 
paupers flocked into it from other districts. Assistance was given 
from local sources till August, when, in consequence of its 
becoming necessary to stop the influx of paupers into Calcutta 
from Howrah, public relief had to be given at Uluberia. That 
place is situated on the high road from Orissa and Midnapore, 
where the famine raged and large numbers of poor starving 
creatures flocked to it trymg to reach Calcutta. Many could 
go no farther, and the scenes of misery were very painful. 
In July a private gentleman, Mr. Sykes, organized a special 
fund for Uluberia, and established a feeding depot there, of 
which Grovemment subsequently took charge. A pauper camp 
was established at Howrah, and a relief centre was formed 
at Narit in the Uluberia subdivision. Pauper hospitals were 
also established at each of the three relief centres. As 
regards the mortality, the Famine Commissioners reported :— 
"Many must have died on the part of the Midnapore and 
Uluberia road which lies in the district, but of these no record 
was kept. Among the paupers, however, who reached the 
kitchens first established and the relief centres which replaced 
them, including the whole period from June to the end of 
December 1866, the number of deaths reported was about 1,235. 
At the^ Howrah relief centre, the majority were weavers from 
Jahanabad and its neighbourhood. At Uluberia the persons 
relieved came chiefly from the districts of Cuttack, Balasore and 
Midnapore. At the Narit centre, the applicants for relief consisted, 
for the most part, of persons of the poorest classes in Howrah 

Though immune from famine, the district is peculiarly subject Floods. 
to floods. Floods occur every year in the three great rivers, and 
most of the adjoining country has to be protected by embankments- 


The most destructive inundations occur when the rivers rise very 
high owing to excessive rainfall, and being met b)^ high tides 
are unable to discharge their water quickly. Such floods have 
occurred in 1787, 1823, 1833, 1844, 1845, 1864, 1885, 1900 and 
1905. In October 1823 the banks of the Damodar gave way, 
and the following description has been left; — " Howrah and 
Sulkeah and all the adjacent country is completely under water. 
On the main road at Howrah there stand two and three feet of 
water, and all the space between that and the other side of the 
Benares road is one expanse of water."* 'Ihe tide also rose very 
high, for it was stated —" The tide of Wednesday, the 2nd instant, 
noticed in our last as having overflowed the platform of the 
Custom House Jetty, was the highest that has taken place."! 
Further inland the thana buildings at Uluberia and Bagnan 
were either completely swept away or destroyed ; and it was 
reported— "The extent of injury that has been sustained is 
beyond human belief." 

In May 1833, a cyclone, accompanied by a storm-wave and 
followed by floods, devastated Mandalghat and the southern 
jx/rr/ams. The Rupnarayau and Damodar rose eight feet above 
the ordinary level of the spring tides ; almost every embank- 
ment was swept away, and the greater part of the country was 
covered with salt water. In August 1834 the Mandalghat 
pargana between the rivers Rfipnarayan and Damodar was again 
under water, and the flood was followed by a somewhat severe 
drought. The next serious flood was in August 1844, when the 
Damodar burst its banks and bdiidlis in 170 places, and submerged 
the whole country between Bally and Dhaniakhali. Next year, 
in September 1845, there was a similar state of affairs in Mandal- 
ghat and the south of the district, where not a stalk of paddy 
was to be seen after the floods for many square miles. This flood 
was also followed by drought, and not a drop of raiu fell 
between the end of August and the second week in Octobor.+ 
Floods of Coming to more recent times, one of the most disastrous 

1885. floods on record occurred iu August 1885. The rainfall iu that 
month was exceptionally heavy, no less thaa 27'67 inches being 
registered at Uluberia. The rivers were everywhere iu high 
flood, and unfortunately liigh tides also came up from the 
Bay of Bengal. The embankments were breached at Meluk 

* Selections from the Calcutta Gazette, Vol. V, pp, 558-9. 

t Ditto, p. 560. This great flood is the subject of severnl Hengali doggerel 

X O. Toynbee, Sketch of the Administration of the Eooghly District (1888), 
pp. 141-48. 


on the left bank of the Eupnarayan, and at Tholya on the 
right bank of the Damodar, nhere the flood rushed through 
in a stream lUO yards wide and 11 feet deep, inundating the 
country to a depth of 10 feet. The whole of the tract between 
the Damodar and Riipnarayan from the Uluboria Canal north- 
wards and eastwards as far as the Saraswati river was inundated : 
in fact, the only portions that escaped were that south of 
the canal and the north-east corner round Howrah town. 
Roughly speaking, the inundation extended over 35<J square 
miles. No lives were lost, as the villages are generally above 
flood-level and the people are well provided with light boats. 
The destruction of houses was, however, very great, over 10,000 
falling or being rendered uninhabitable. The damage done to 
the standing crops was still more disastrous, the rice on 294,000 
bighds being destroyed, besides sugarcane (5,900), jute (8,900), 
vegetables (7,450) and betel or pan (1,224 biyhds.) Young 
fruit trees were also much injured, and another important item 
of damage was the loss of fish, which escaped from the tanks. 
The betel growers suffered especially, as the grass sheds, in 
which this plant is cultivated, involve a considerable outlay of 
capital, all of which was sacrificed. Near Tholya, the place 
where the Damodar embankment was breached, much land was 
rendered sterile by a deposit of sand. The total damage, so 
far as it could be estimated in money, was returned by the 
District Ofiicer at 30 lakhs of rupees. It was not found necessary, 
however, to establish relief works or to make remissions of 
revenue. It is noteworthy that the district was able to tide over 
such a calamity without any assistance from G-overnment and 
little from private charity. 

The most serious floods during the present century have been Floods of 
those of 1900, 1904, and 1905. In 1900 there was heavy and in- ^^oo. 
cessant rain from the 19th to the 24th September, there being an 
abnormal fall of 24*18 inches at Howrah in 48 hours v20th and2l8t 
September). All the low-lying tracts were submerged ; a large 
number of cattle were drowned and hundreds of houses des- 
troyed ; while the crop on an area of 150 square miles, 
containing all the best rice lands, was totally destroyed. No dis- 
tress requiring Government relief came to notice, such temporary 
assistance as was required being rendered by local funds and 
private subscriptions. These floods caused much inconvenience 
and discomfort in Howrah city. On the 2Utb September the 
water stood 3 feet above the Grand Trunk Road and the neigh- 
bouring streets in the city, the gasworks were badly flooded, and 
no gas could be supplied for upwards of three weeks. 



Floods of 

Floods of 

There were again floods in August 1904 owing to the rise 
of the Hooghly, which breached the embankment on the right 
bank of the river south of Uluberia. The area affected included 
41 villages in thana Uluberia with 8,000 acres under rice, which 
was practically all destroyed. The damage to house property, 
however, was insignificant ; no lives were lost, nor were any 
cattle drowned. Seven villages north of the canal in the Bauria 
outpost also suffered, but the damage was less than in the south 
of the thana and the crops were only partially destroyed. These 
floods were attributed to the breaches in the embankment along 
the Hooghly, which had been neglected for some jears by the 
zamindars responsible for its maintenance and repair. 

In 1905 a considerable area was submerged owing to 
heavy rainfall at the end of July. The fall on the 27th and 
28th in the Kajapur basin, which has a catchment area of 227 
square miles, was 17"47 inches, and water also poured in from 
the Amta basin on the west with an area of 1 12 square miles, as 
well as from the Madaria and upland basins on the north with an 
area of 76 square miles. The basin was consequently under 
water, and the crops on the lower lands were lost, as the channel 
could not drain off the accumulated mass of water in less than 
26 days. The Hooghly river also rose high, and, breaching the 
zamindari embankment on the right Bide, seriously damaged the 
crops beyond Uluberia. 




The cultivators of Howrah nearly all pay cash rents, and Rents. 
very rarely pay rents in kind, i.e., make over to the landlord a Produce 
certain proportion of the produce of their fields as rental. Such 
rents are confined almost exclusively to the nij-Jot lands of the 
landlords and to lands recently brought under cultivation by 
reclamation from swamp. Occasionally also they are paid for 
land sublet by a ryot to another cultivator. Under this system, 
the cultivator tills the land at his own cost, reaps the crop in the 
presence of the landlord's agent and carries it to the threshing 
floor, where the paddy and straw are divided in equal shares. 
The system of produce rents met with elsewhere, under which a 
fixed quantity of paddy is made over to the landlord, whatever 
may be the actual outturn, is almost unknown in this district. 
When orchards and fishing rights are leased out, the rent is 
frequently paid partly in cash and partly in kind, t,e., the lessee 
pays his rental by making over to the lessor a certain quantity 
of fruit or fish. 

Reliable statistics showing the rates of rent prevalent are not Cash 
available, as settlement operations have not yet been extended to '"''"**• 
the district. It is known that the rates are high and that they 
are gradually becoming higher owing to the increase in the 
agricultural population and the growing competition for land. 
The following table shows the difference in the average annual 
rents paid per bighd for various classes of lands in the Howrah 
subdivision between 1873 and 1903 : — 

1873. 1903. 
Rs. A. Rs. 

1. High land bearing autumn rice with a second 12 16 


2. Low laud bearing winter rico (1st quality) ... 9 ) 

Do. (2nd quality) ... 7 sj ^^ 

3. Jute land ... ... ... 7 8 22 

The increase in the rent of lands growing special crops is 
remarkable, especially in the case of jute land, where it amounts 
to 300 per cent. Sugarcane lands are assessed to a rent of about 


Rs. 26 a Ugha ; and for low lands reclaimed by meaixH of drainage 
channels, and producing a crop of coarse winter paddy, the rate of 
rent is Rs. 3 to Rs. 5 per higha^ a rate higher than that for 
ordinary lands in many other districts. Rents in the Uluberia 
subdivision range somewhat lower than in the Howrah sub- 
Wages. "Wages both for skilled and unskilled labour are fairly high. 

The wages in mills and other factories are higher than those paid 
outside, and the ever-increasing demand for skilled labour causes 
a steady rise. In 1908, the lowest wages per mensem paid in 
factories were as follows, the variations depending on the class of 
labour required, e.ry,, whether for dockyards, iron works or 
engineering workshops :— blacksmiths, Rs. 12 to Rs. 20 ; fitters, 
Rs. 10 to Rs. 27 ; carpenters, Rs. 12 to Rs. 17; engine drivers, 
Rs. 14-8 to Rs. 20; boilermen, Rs. 14 to Rs. 16; masons 
and bricklayers, Rs. 12 to Rs. 15. In jute and cotton mills, the 
lowest wages were : — weavers, Rs. 12 to Rs. 14 ; spinners, 
Rs. 10-8 to Rs. 13 ; dyers, Rs. 9 to Rs. U. For unskilled labour, 
the lowest rate was : — coolies and porters, Rs. 7 to Rs. 9 for a 
man and Rs. 6 for a woman ; dancdns and messengers, Rs. 8 to 
Rs. 10 ; jamaddr dartodiis, Rs. 13 to Rs. 18. 

During the 15 years 1893 to 1908, daily wages have risen in 
the to^vn very considerably, viz., for a common mason from 4 annas 
to 8 annas ; for a common carpenter from 8 annas to 10 annas ; for 
a common blacksmith from 6 annas to 10 annas; and for a 
common cooly from 4 annas to 5 and 5i annas. The excep- 
tional rise in the wages of masons is due to the large increase 
in the number of buildings creating a special demand for these 
artisans. It is not easy to get local servants, and consequently 
domestic work is usually done by immigrants from Bankur4 and 
Midnapore or from Orissa and up-country districts. Servants are 
generally paid in the towns at the rate of Rs. 4 per mensem for a 
male, and Rs. 3 for a female, besides food and clothing ; if paid in 
cash only {(old), the monthly wages are Rs. 8 for a male and 
Rb. 5 to Rs. 6 for a maid servant. The salary of a cook is higher, 
viz., Rs. 7 to Rs. 8 besides food and clothing. In the rural 
tracts menial servants are paid either in cash, at a somewhat lower 
rate than in the towns, or hold service lands, in which case their 
masters only give them their food. The village artisans used to 
be paid in kind at harvest time, but this custom is dying out. 
Watchmen are paid by ryots in kind, after harvesting, for assisting 
in watching the crops, and usually hold some land from the 
landlord in return for their services in respect of tdtjddd, t.e., 
calling on ryots to pay their rents. 


It is a general practice for landlords and well-to-do husband- 
men, i.e., ryots holding five acres or more, to engage farm servants 
to assist in the various agricultural operations. These farm-hands, 
if employed permanently, are called krishdas {i.e., cultivators from 
krislia, to cultivate) and are paid monthly. If employed tem- 
porarily, they are known as niajurs {i.e., labourers, from majuri, 
daily wage) and are paid daily. They generally hold no 
land or only a small quantity, and belong to the lowest classes, 
such as Kaibarttas, Bagdis, Bauris, Pods and low class Musalmans. 
Able-bodied hrishdns get a monthly wage of Rs. 10 to Rs. 12, 
or Rs. 3 to Rs. 5 with food and clothing. The mqjiirs are 
paid daily at the rate of 4 to 5 annas, besides a light midday 
meal of parched rice and tobacco, or one pice extra in lieu 
thereof. So many of these adult labourers now find employ- 
ment in factories and other industrial works in the towns, that 
during harvest time complaints are frequently made of shortage of 

A marked feature in the recent economic history of the Prices. 
district is the steady rise in the price of food-grains. Com- 
mon rice, the staple crop of the district, was sold at Howrah 
in March 1893 at 11 seers per rupee, and in March 1908 at 7\ 
seers, a rise of over 50 per cent, in 15 years. In 1860 and 1870 
the rates were reported at 36 and 31 seers respectively per rupee. 
Similarly the price of gram, the cheapest of the pulses, rose from 
16 seers in March 1893 to 9 seers in the corresponding month of 
1908, or by nearly 100 per cent.; and that of another pulse, 
arhar, from llf seers in 1903 to 8 seers in 1908, or by nearly 50 
per cent, within five years. The price of other articles of food 
has also been steadily rising. Milk, for instance, now sells at 5 
seers per rupee as compared with 7 seers 20 years ago, and in the 
same period, the price of common fish has risen from 4 to 6 annas, 
and of carp from 5 to 7 or 8 annas per seer. Ghi (clarified 
butter), mustard oil and potatoes, which are used by all but 

1803. 1906 (January). *^® V^^^^^^ claSSes, 

Its. A. P. ^^^ ^^^^ ^®^T iiiuch 
35 dearer, as may be 
3 4 3 gathered from the 

marginal statement . 
showing the wholesale prices per maund in the adjoining 
market of Calcutta. Nor is the rise confined to articles of 
food. It is also noticeable in the case of coal, kerosene oil, 
tobacco, one of the few luxuries of the ryot, and grey shirtings or 
cloths. In the case of bricks and bamboos, again the wholesale 
prices in Calcutta rose from Rs. 9 (per thousand; and Rs. 12 (per 

Rs. A. 



... 30 

Mustiud oil 

13 14 


2 8 

9!^ HOWRAH. 

hundred) in 1893 to Es. 12-9 and Ks. 20 to Rs. 25 respectively 
in January 1906. 

Salt, sugar and tea are notable exceptions. Salt was sold at 
Howrah in 1893 at 10| seers per rupee, and in March 1908 at 20 
seers per rupee. This large decrease is due partly to the fall in 
the price of imported salt, but chiefly to the reduction of duty 
from Es. 2-8 to Ee. 1 per maund. The price of tea has fallen a 
little, and that of sugar and molasses considerably, omng to large 
imports from Java and Mauritius. 
MATEBiAt In the rural tracts the zamindars are mostly absentees Kving 
CONDI- ^^ Calcutta or other towns. Their estates are usually let out in 
TBE patiii (dliiks, i.e., the lessees are permitted, on payment of a large 

PEOPLE, sum as a premium (salami) , to hold the tenure at an annual rent 
fixed in perpetuity, the rental often largely exceeding the Gov- 
ernment revenue. These potniddn in their turn have in many 
instances sublet on nearly similar conditions. The result is a 
system of subinfeudation, which has many disadvantages. The 
landlords are converted into mere rent-receivers and with a few 
honorable exceptions take little or no personal interest in the 
land and its cultivators. Agricultural improvements are rarely 
executed ; and existing works, like embankments, are more or 
less in bad repair. There are also a number of petty revenue- 
free 'holders scattered throughout the district, who have mostly 
leased out all their lands, except the homestead, to ryots with 
or without saldini, and are in much the same position as the 
proprietors of larger estates. Both classes are practically annui- 
tants living on small fixed incomes, often harassed by family 
disputes and involved in debt. 
Profes- Those engaged in professional pursuits, such as teachers, 

eional members of the legal profession, doctors, compounders, and engi- 
neers, are comparatively few in number in spite of the proximity 
of Calcutta. The dearth of qualified medical men is particularly 
felt in rural areas. Members of the priestly class have usually a 
few acres of h-nhmottar land, i.e., revenue-free lauds granted to 
Brahmans ; and they eke out their income from it by the gifts 
aud offerings with which Hindus remunerate the services they 
render at times of festivals, either in the temples or in' private 
households, and at domestic ceremonies, such as marriages in 
families of the higher castes. The value aud number of such gifts 
and offerings are decreasing, and the poorest of the priests are 
now obliged to serve as cooks, peons and collecting sarkdrs. 
TrHcliiig The trading (lasses as a body are thriving owing to the larger 

cbssea. doniand for necessaries of life and luxuries among the general 
population, and also to the development of communications, which 


has made it easier and cheaper to bring goods from Calcutta and 
Howrah. Grocers and petty shopkeepers are numerous in the 
mofussil, and add to their profits by judicious usury, advancing 
paddy or money to the ryots in the slack season and being repaid 
after harvest with 25 per cent, interest. They also make a profit 
of 2 to 4 annas in the rupee from paddy-husking. They advance 
paddy to the ryots, whose women-folk husk it, and then the 
husked rice is sold in the market by the ryot, who repays the 
mahdjnn. To this practice is due the large number of paddy- 
huskers, almost exclusively women, shown in the census returns. 
The Marwaris have cloth shops in some of the important villages ; 
Kabulis hawk about cloths and other miscellaneous goods ; and 
near the towns up-country men have set up grocers' shops. 
The number of the latter is relatively small in the mofussil, 
where the bulk of the trade is in the hands of local men. 

Of late years the condition of the cultivators has improved Cuiti- 
owing both to the rise in the price of rice and jute, the staple ^"^'^''^ 
crops of the district, and of such subsidiary crops as pulses, 
sugarcane and vegetables, and also to the increase in the cultivated 
area caused by the drainage schemes. On the other hand, the 
cost of production has also increased because of the higher price 
they have to pay for bullocks, straw and grass, the highei- wages 
obtained by labourers, and in many instances the enhanced rents 
imposed by landlords ; while the new lands brought under culti- 
vation, being mostly less fertile, give a smaller yield. Never- 
theless, their profits have so largely increased, that the cultivators 
are much better off than they were 30 years ago or tlian the ryots 
of many other districts in the Province, such as those of Bihar and 

The bulk of the tenants are Kaibarttas, "who are," as 
Mr. Ritchie remarked 20 years ago, "beyond comparison, the 
best cultivators and the most industrious and thrifty class in this 
district." The>' usually keep a fair quantity of their produce 
at home, and the women help by paddy husking. They catch 
fish almost for nothing in the pools, khaln and rice-fields; and 
they supplement their daily food, or add to their savings, by 
getting vegetables and pot herbs from the fields or homestead 
nurseries, and by growing fruit like plantains, mangoes and 
pine-apples in their orchards. They can afford a number of silver 
ornaments and brass utensils, their houses are substantially built, 
and two meals a day are general. As a class, they are but little 
indebted to the mahdjans, while their poorer brethren can get loans 
from, the more well-to-do at a lower rate of interest than the 
mahajan will allow. In slack seasons they can earn good wages by 

94 HO"WKAH. 

working in the towns and factories. No relief operations have 
been necessary since 1866, when most of the persons reHeved were 
paupers from other districts ; and emigration to other districts is 
uncommon. These facts go to prove that the cultivators have 
generally something to fall back upon in times of distress and 
find Bufficif-nt employment in their own district or in Calcutta. 
On the other hand, there is a reverse to this somewhat bright 
picture in the sickness which prevails in certain th&nas during 
the greater part of the year and the loss it necessarily entails. 

Artisani, Among artisans, those whose handicrafts have had to face 

foreign competition, such as cotton- weavers, are going down in 
the world. A few of them have had recourse to cotton or jute 
mills, but the majority have taken to cultivation ; and as new- 
comers they have had to be content with the poorer lands of 
the village. The Sicade»,hi movement, started in 1905, has 
however, led to an increased demand for cloths made locally in 
hand-looms, and the prospects of the cotton-weavers have conse- 
quently improved. They are now selling cloths as fast as they 
can make them ; and with the introduction in several villages of 
improved Serampore looms, which ensure a better outturn, the 
weavers are generally able to earn enough to maintain their 

VUlage potters, carpenters and blacksmiths are said to be 
little or no better oS than they were half a century ago. Money 
wages have replaced the old system of payment m kind, and have 
risen in amount, but it is open to question whether they have 
increased proportionately to the rise in prices. On the other 
hand, with an increased population and a larger area under 
cultivation, more orders are received, and the services of the 
blacksmith or carpenter are more frequently required for work 
other than agricultural work. In slack seasons, moreover, they 
can migrate to the towns and s^x-ure good wages. 

Labooreri. The same changes have affected the ordinary agricultural 
labourer. Payments in kind have practically ceased, and he 
now receives his wages in cash. The field of labour has widened, 
and he has not only the chance of working in the cultivation 
of rice, the area of which has extended, of jute and sugarcane, 
but also in building and thatching houses, in fishing and boating. 
There are no signs that this class is increasing unduly, for though 
a number of weavers joined their ranks on the decUne of weav- 
ing, this movement is dying out ; while a large number are now 
employed in the numerous factories and other urban industries 
and thus prevent the supply exceeding the demand for field 


In the mill8 and factoriefl most of the employes earn much 
higher wages than they coiild get at home. Many of them spend 
money freely on drink and women ; but most live frugally, and 
send their savings home through their friends or by money 
orders. The number of the latter is very noticeable, no less 
than M}, lakhs being sent out of the district in 1907-08. Some 
deposit money in the Savings Banks, but many more give out 
petty loans or set up betel-shops or groceries. 

Less than one per cent, of the population are beggars or J^eggara. 
their dependents. This class includes roHgious mendicant, falcirH, 
Vaishnavas and annydni^i, but consists more largely of old women, 
cripples, blind-persons and lepers. They suffer from the high 
price of food and the consequent gradual shrinking of tlie flow 
of private charity. 





OccupA- Thk statistics showing the occupations of the people obtained 
at the census of 1901 furnish ample proof of the industrial acti- 
vity of the district. No less than 26 per cent, of the population 
are supported by various industries, this being the highest pro- 
portion in the Province. On the other hand, the percentage 
dependent on agriculture is the lowest in Bengal, viz., 42*3 per 
cent., the adjoining Hooghly district following longo intervaUo 
with 02'8 per cent. Those supported by trade and professional 
pursuits represent 2'3 and 3"7 per cent, respectively of the popula- 
tion — proportions exceeded only in Hooghly, where conditions are 
similar, and, as regards the professional classes, in Purl, where 
there is an unusually large number of temple servants and 

Those classed as actual workers in agriculture numbered 
98,012, including 2,362 rent-receivers, 82,556 rent-payers, 3,262 
betel-leaf growers and 8,213 farm labourers. Among the 
commercial classes the actual workers numbered only 7,157, 
including 2,551 petty shopkeepers and their servants. The actual 
workers in the learned and artistic professions numbered 10,505, 
including 3,697 priests, 989 teachers, 1,657 -writers, and 1,617 
medical practitioners and midwives. In the numerous industries 
which flourish in the district the actual workers aggregated 101,535, 
including 17,215 rice-pounders, of whom no less than 16,956 
were females, 3,011 operatives in cotton mills, 1,694 cotton 
weavers using hand-looms, and 17,733 operatives in jute mills. 
Among actual workers in other occupations may be mentioned 
railway employes (6,011), herdsmen. (1,904), washermen (2,710), 
boatmen (4,612), general labourers (43,000), prostitutes (2,172) 
and beggars (3,797). The proportion of dependents varied con- 
siderably, being 27 per cent, among the agricultural population, 
46 per cent, among the industrial, 37 per cent, among the com- 
mercial, and 33 per cent, among the professional classes. The 
difierence is mainly due to the fact that a large number of those 
engaged in commerce and manufacture are immigrants who leave 
their families at home. 


The industries of Howrah may be broadly divided into two Manu- 
classes, viz., (1) large industries in which machinery or steam power ^**^^^^^^* 
is used, and (2) hand industries or village handicrafts. The latter 
are of little economic importance, merely supplying local wants. 
The case is far otherwise witli the large industries, for the llowrah 
side of the Hooghly is lined with factories employing over 70,000 
hands. These include cotton mills, jute mills, jute presses, flour 
mills, engineering works and foundries, railway workshops, rope 
works, dockyards, etc., of which an account is giver, in the next 

In the rural tracts hand industries or village handicrafts are Hand 
nearly all directly associated with the simple requirements of ""^"^*'''^** 
an agricultural life. The potter makes %ie villagers' earthenware 
utensils and the brazier their brass vessels ; the carpenter fashions 
wooden or bamboo posts and rafters for their houses and makes 
their simple furniture ; the weavers turn out coarse cotton cloths 
and the silversmiths crude silver ornaments; while the smith 
makes or repairs ploughshares, rfao.s, sickles and other iron utensils 
required for domestic or agricultural use. These artisans have 
little capital and few instruments, and generally work single- 
handed or with the help of their families. Little is made for 
export, but fishing is a fairly important industry. 

Weaving was once an important industry in this district. Weaving. 
As early as 1580, Bator was a local trade centre subsidiary to the 
great market of Satgaon, which, according to Cesare Federici, who 
visited it in that year, was a place where merchants sold " cloth of 
Bombast of diverse sortes."* In 1758 the East India Company 
is said to have issued orders that weavers were to be encouraged 
to form settlements on this side of the Hooghly, so as to meet 
the demand for cloth for its trade. t The trade in hand-made 
cotton fabrics flourished in the 18th century, large exports being 
sent to England, but from 1800 onwards the heavy duties levied 
on Indian cotton cloths in England and subsequently the large 
imports of Lancashire machine-made piece-goods dealt a fatal 
blow to the industry. The latter were far cheaper, the lowest 
price of an ordinary hand-made dliuti or sdt^i being not less than 
Ee. 1-8 to Es. 2-8, and of a chddar from Ee. 1 to Ee. 1-8, whereas 
the imported machine-made dJmti or sari cost 10 annas to Ee. 1 
and a chddar 8 annas to 12 annas. The cheaper cloths were 
naturally preferred, and with the decline in the demand for the 
produce of their looms, the weavers gradually took to other 

• Kicliard Hakluyt, The Principal Navigations, etc., reprint, Vol, V, p. 41 1. 
f Howrah, Past and Present, p. 10. 


occupations in the villages, chiefly to cultivation, while in the 
towns a number found employment in the cotton mills started in 
Ghusuri and elsewhere. 

The decline of the industry may be gathered from the statis- 
tics compiled during the census. Weaving is the hereditary occu- 
pation of two Hindu castes, Tantis and Jugis, and of the Musal- 
man Jolahas, though formerly it also gave employment to a few 
members of other castes, Kaibarttas, Pods, and a small number 
of other Musalmans, especially in carding. The census of 1901 
showed the number of males among the weaving classes as 
Jugis 2,065, Tantis 7,71J0 and Jolahas 4,570, in all 14,4vJ5 ; but 
the number of actual cotton weavers, both male and female, was 
only 1,694, as compared with 2,261 in 1891. The chief centres of 
cotton weaving were in thana Dumjor, in thana Jagatballabhpur, 
west of Kana Nadi, and in thanas Amta and Bagnan. The 
village Nabosan in thana Jagatballabhpur was particularly well- 
known for the fine cloth it produced. Since 1906 the Siiadesl 
movement has helped to resuscitate hand-loom weaving. The 
weavers are now using the Serampore looms, with which a man 
can finish 2^ to 3 yards per day as against 1 ^ yard with the 
ordinary loom. The increased outturn obtained thereby is enabl- 
ing the weavers to meet the growing demand for country-made 
cloths more fully, and to make larger profits. 

The chief articles made for export are dhulis and chadars^ 
plain or with coloured borders, sdrls for females, and (jamclihm or 
napkins, all of somewhat coarse yam. Finer cloths are woven in 
thana Dumjor, but in very small quantities. The chief centre of 
export is the liat at Eamkristapur in Howrah town, but cloths 
are also taken direct to Calcutta. No statistics are available as 
to the quantity exported. The general impression is that the 
number and value of exported cloths have increased considerably 
in the last two years. 
Chiian A few Muhammadan ladies in thanas Dumjor and Jagat- 

work. ballabhpur employ tlieir spare time in chikan work (derived from 
the Persian c/iikin, moaning art embroidery), i.e., embroidering 
handkerchiefs and fine muslin cloths, which are bought up by 
Calcutta dealers for export. 
Silk Silk rearing is a local industry which can be traced to the 

spininni. j^j(ne of the I8th century, when the cultivation of domes- 
ticated silkworms for the silk trade of the East India Company 
was carried on in parts of the di.strict.* This cultivation was kept 
up in the palmy days of the Company's silk trade (1790 to 1835), 

• Some Account of Silk in India, Qeoghegan, I. page 2. 


and, even after the withdrawal of the Company from the trade, 
until 187''). Since then it has been rapidly dying out and only a 
vestige of it now remains, most of those who engaged in it having 
taken to agriculture. According to Mr. N. (j. Mukherji's Mono- 
graph on the Silk Fabrics of ticiujal (1903) it is carried on by about 
600 persons, who also follow other agricultural pursuits. The 
cocoons reared are mulberry silk cocoons, the mulberry tree being 
grown chiefly along the Damodar and Kana Nadl. The rearers 
and spinners are scattered through thana Jagatballabhpur and the 
Sankrail outpost in the Sadar subdivision and through all the thanas 
of Uluberia ; but it is only in the Jagatballabhpur thana that 
cocoon- rearing and silk spinning are carried on to any considerable 
extent.* The work is earned on mostly by Kaibarttas, Bagdis 
and low class Musaliuans, The Kaibaittas are known as Tutia 
Kaibarttas (from tut, a mulberry), and a group of them is found 
at Jugeswar in thaua Jagatballabhpur (outpost Panchla). Silk 
is sold to the dealers, from whom the mulberry cultivators receive 
small advances. The silk produced in Jagatballabhpur thana 
is largely exported to Phurphura in thana Krishnanagar in the 
Serampore subdivision, and that produced in other thanas to 
the silk filatures in Ghatal subdivision of Midnapore and to 
Calcutta. It is estimated that about 500 bighds grow mulberry, 
and the value of the annual produce is roughly estimated at about 
Rs. 12,500. 

Pottery making is a more important industry, the census of Pottery. 
1901 returning 1,650 persons as actual workers. During the 
dry months of the year, Kumhars or village potters make 
earthenware vessels in the primitive manner handed down to them 
by past generations, and sell them in the local hdts. The earth 
in parts of the Sadar subdivision is believed to provide the best 
material, and the vessels made there are preferred, as likely to 
stand the fire better and to last longer, and are exported to 
Calcutta, Howrah and other towns. Among such vessels the 
cooking-vessels of Patih&l in Jagatballabhpur thana and the large 
jars of Sankrail have a local repute, and among painted earthen 
articles, the toys of Chandipur, the masks, brackets, imitations of 
Iruit, and pots made at Dumjor and Uluberia are noticeable, 
yellow being the favourite colour used. 

Formerly a number of Musalmans in thanas Amta and Minor 
Bagnan found employment in the manufacture of brown country •'"^"'^'^'e^' 
paper, but this trade is now dying owing to tlie competition of 
European and Indian machine-made products. This class of 

* N. G. Mukhevji, Silk Fabrics of bengal (1903), pp. 4, 5. 


100 HOWRAH. 

Muliammatlftns (cnlled Kaghazi) is still found at Mainan, Other 
minor industries are the manufacture of hookahs and cane work. 
The liookalis are made from the shells of local cocoimts, which 
are carved and exported to Calcutta. Larger shells are imported 
from Ceylon and Singapore, and carved in thana Dumjor, where 
they are sold for export at Begri Hat. In Howrah town and its 
suburbs a number of Dom families turn out excellent cane-work, 
e.g., baskets, chairs, cradles and fancy articles, which are said to 
be in no way inferior to the Chinese work of Bentinck Street, 
Calcutta. They find a ready sale in Calcutta, Howrah and 
Fisheries. j^ a riparian district like Howrah fishing is naturally an 
important industry. Fish is eaten by almost all classes except 
the rigid Vaishnavas and widows belonging to the higher castes ; 
and it is the main luxury the poor allow themselves in addition 
to rice. The industry gives employment to some 10,000 actual 
workers, the chief castes engaged being Jalija Kaibarttas, Tiyars, 
Bagdis and Pods. Fishing takes place in the three rivers, their 
network of branches and A/^a/.s, in the numerous swamps, tanks 
and ponds, and towards the end of rains in the flooded rice-fields. 

The fish commonly brought to market are (1 ) estuarine fish, 

such as hihd (Clupea ilisha), hhetJn (Lates calcarifer), tapsi or 

mango-fish (Polynemus paradiseus), hele (Eliotris and Gobiodes), 

jjdnlal (Mastacembelus unicolor), bliangan (Mugiltade), hharanti 

(Pagrus spinifer) ; (2) fresh-water fish found in running water 

or tanks, including representatives of the carp family, e.g.., rui 

(Labeo rohita), katld (Catla Buchanani), mirgel (Cirrhina mrigal), 

lata (Labeo bata), chital (Notopterus chitala), sarnl punti (Barbus 

Barana), vdchd (Eutropiichthys vacha), 2)dhdd (Callichrous pabda), 

ten g Id (Macrones tengara), and dr (M. aor) ; (3) fresh- water 

fish found in stagnant muddy water, such as koi (Anabas scandens) 

yndgur (Clarius magur), ningi (Saccobranchus fossilis), sol (Ophio- 

cephalus striatus), letd (O. gachua) ; and (4) small fish found 

in jhih and rice fields, such as nunirald (Aspidoparea morar), 

////;i^ J (Barbus punti), khahc (Trichogaster chuna), chela (Chela 

phulo). Besides these several species of estuarine Crustacea are 

caught, viz., shrimps, prawns and crabs. '*^ 

Fishiiif? In the rivers, especially the Hooghly, fish are caught with 

a].iJiiiBtus. jjg^g worked from boats. In the upper reaches the boats used are 

generally duigis, managed by two to five men and 2-'') feet by 4 

feet in size, with a capacity of 10 to 15 maunds. Lower down, 

• Most of tlie information here givpn is derived frnni Mr. K. G. Gupta's 
Seport on Fisheries in Bengal, 1908. 


near Uliiberia, bigger boats are used of 100 to 500 maunds 
burthen. The largest of these visit Saugor regularly and are 
indeed the only fishing boats that venture out to sea. The nets 
commonly used are drag nets {ber or barajdl), running to 150 feet 
or more in length. They are provided with floats and weights, 
and are dragged close to the bank. During the rains the fishermen 
substitute a labyrinth net (called kond Jdl), i.e., a drift net 
with a capacious purse and two net side walls, to one of which is 
attached a guiding net. The purse and side walls are kept in 
position by bamboo poles. Gill nets are used for catching 
hi/sd, and purse nets {suti jdl) where the current is strong. 
The latter are shaped like a long funnel, the narrow end of which 
is secured by a string. The net is kept stretched by the current, 
and from time to time the fisherman comes round in his boat and 
clears out, through the narrow end, all the fish imprisoned in it. 

In the shallower water of creeks and branch channels cast 
nets {khepld Jdl) are commonly used from dug-outs. The latter, 
which are merely the trunks of mango, palmyra or sdl trees 
scooped out, have a capacity of 3 to 10 maunds and are usually 
managed by one or two men. The cast net is either of cotton or 
hemp with small meshes, and has iron weights at the 
end. It is whirled over the head and then cast, when it falls to 
the bottom in a circle. In the rice fields and in sluggish 
channels dammed up with weirs, fixed engines are preferred. 
The apparatus commonly used is ghiini, a split bamboo trap with 
a double screen. In flowing streams dammed from bank to bank, 
a tatur jdl, i.e., an enclosure of net or split bamboos, is placed in 
a passage left open in midstream. A screen or guide from this 
enclosure floats downstream and is kept in position by the 
current and by floats and weights. Fish in their upward journey 
creep along the screen to the enclosure, and then try to junae 
over it, and thus are caught in the nets hanging over its top. In 
muddy sloughs the koi fish is caught in the meshes of gill nets or 
by baited hooks. In tanks and ponds larger fish are usually 
caught by cast nets, and smaller fish by bamboo ghunu set up 
near the bank in shallow waters. 

Fish is generally brought dead to the market, except kol, 
iitdyur, etc., which are brought alive, as they can live for a long 
time on a little water. ►Small fish and shrimps are dried in the 
sun for 3 or 4 days and then go by the name of snnfki. Fish 
are not salted or smoked in this district, and ice is not used for 

The fish most in request are hilm and mango- fish among the HilsU and 
estuarine fish, and carp among fresh- water fish. Hihd or Indian g u"=°* 

102 HOWRAH. 

shad comes up the Hooghly from the sea in enormous shoals. 
It begins its upward journey with the freshets and moves up 
the river till about the close of the rains, depositing spawn. 
During the spawning season, when the fish is rich and of good 
flavour, the river is crowded mth fishing boats, and big hauls 
are made. Rajganj and Uluberia are the chief centres of the 
trade, the fish being conveyed thence by boats to Calcutta and 
Howrah, and also partly by steamer from Eajganj and partly by 
the Bcngal-Nagpur Railway from Uluberia. Uluberia is also a 
centre of the trade in mango-fish, the river from that place to 
Diamond Harbour being its favoimte haunt. It is caught with 
or without roe in great numbers from April to June and is 
exported to Calcutta in boats and partly by rail. 
Caip. Hilsa and mango-fish are especially popular among Europeans ; 

but among Indians carps take the first place, the rui (Sanskrit 
rohita) being oo'nsidered the king of fresh-water fish. They 
abound in the rivers and bigger channels, and on account of the 
good prices they command, are eagerly sought after by the fisher- 
men. They are also reared in private tanks and ponds. There 
is a general belief that they do jiot spawn in confined waters, 
and the eggs and spawn are therefore collected in the Hooghly 
from above Ho%vrah and in the Damodar near Amta, and 
hatched in shallow ponds. The fry thus reared, as well as fry 
taken direct from the rivers, are sold alive to tank-owners 
at Rs. 5 to B.S. 10 per 1,000. This business is most active 
towards the end of the rains, i.e., from September to November. 
The small fry stocking the tanks are allowed to grow, usually 
for a year, after which they are taken out for private consump- 
tion or for sale. The hat I a is said to grow most rapidly, going 
up in weight to 2 or 3 seers in the second season, when they are 
worth about a rupee each in the Howrah markets. 
Trade. The great centre of trade is Howrah town, which for 

commercial purposes practically forms part of Calcutta. Bally, 
Dumjor, Mahiari with Andul, Uluberia and Amta are important 
subsidiary markets. The trade of Howrah town is increasing 
yearly, but that of Bally, Uluberia and Amta has declined con- 
siderably. The opening of the Bengal-Nagpur Railway has 
increased exports from Uluberia, but has affected local daily sales. 
Similarly, Amta, a place once noted for its trade in salt and coal, 
which were brought by the Damodar, has practically lost it now. 
It has still an export trade, however in rice and straw, and an 
import trade in kerosene oil and piece-goods. In the jute season, 
Dumjor and Bargachhia have a considerable trade in raw jute, 
but the sales in Andul are declining. 


Besides the daily markets, the various hats or periodical Eats. 
markets have a brisk trade. Of these the Tuesday hat at Eam- 
kristapur in iJowrah town is the most important, being indeed 
the largest mart for hand- woven cloths in Western and Central 
Bengal. Numerous varieties and large quantities of these cloths 
are brought here from Howrah, Ilooghly, Nadia, Jessore, Midna- 
pore and the 24-Parganas, and find a ready sale, chiefly among 
Calcutta dealers. In the Uluberia hat^ too, a large number of 
cows and plough cattle are sold. In Dumjor thana, Mahiari is 
a centre of the rioe trade, while in Begri Hat coconuts and 
hookahs form a speciality. Traders and hucksters also do a brisk 
business during the various religious festivals, when fairs are 
held at Nama, Makardah, Amta and elsewhere. 

104 TiOWRAH. 


DBVELor- " There is," wrote Mr. J. C. Marshman, c. s.i., in 1845, "little 
LA^BGE**^ to notice in the villages of Seebi^ore, Howrali and Sulkea, the 
INDUS- Southwark of Calcutta. The establishment of the Docks and a 
TEiEo. £^^ manufactures, and of the Company's Salt Ware-houses, gives 
an air of life and activity to the place, but the number of 
European residents, though not inconsiderable, is by no means 
proportioned to the vast population and wealth of Calcutta, of 
which it constitutes a suburb. South wark enjoyed greater distinc- 
tion, as compared with the magnitude of London three or four 
centuries ago, than Howrah does in this age of expansion and 
improvement, when viewed in connection with the commercial 
importance of Calcutta. But London had a bridge, and Calcutta 
has none . . . Above Howrah is the village of Ghoosory, 
without anything to attract attention, but two or three manufac- 
tories and a little Hindu shrine on the banks of the river. The 
reach of the river from the point of Ghoosory to the village of 
Bali is singularly uninteresting, and offers no ancient associations 
or modem improvements to attract attention. While the opposite 
bank of the river, comprising Cossipore and Baranagore, presents 
a lively scene of manufacturing and engineering industry, and is 
gradually becoming studded with elegant villas, the right bank 
does not contain a single European or civilized residence. It has 
a wild and almost jungly appearance, which is diversified only 
by stacks of timber and brick or tile kilns quite unworthy of the 
approach to a great metropolis."* 

During the time which has since elapsed, Howrah has become 
a busy centre of industrial life. The riparian strip along the 
Hooghly is now studded with tall chimneys, and even a casual 
observer cannot mistake the bigns of manufacturing activity 
afforded by the mills and factories which line its bank from Bally 
to Uhibcria. In fad, besides a number of minor concerns, such as 
pug mills, oil and Hour millb, soda-water manufactories, etc., 
worked by hand or by small ouguies, there are, according to 
the returns for l'J08, no less than 5(j factories in the district 

* Notes on ike Right Bank of the Hooghly, Calcutta Review, Vol. IV, 1845. 


registered under the Indian Factories Act (XV of 1^81 amended 
by Act XI of 1891) ; and in 1908 these factories employed 
69,790 operatives, or 8 per cent, of the total population. The 
bulk of the factories are situated in Howrah town, only twelve 
being outside it, viz., one at Liluah and the rest to the south 
between Manikpur and Uluberia. All are worked by steam, 
except the paint works at G-oabandi (Sankrail), which are worked 
by an oil engine. Electricity is being slowly introduced. It 
forms a part of the motive power in the Howrah Iron Works of 
Messrs. Burn and Co., and is being used to drive fans, etc., in 
several other factories. 

The first large industries worked by European capital and 
with European methods appear to have been started, towards 
the close of the 18th century, to meet the requirements of the 
ships visiting Calcutta, and consisted chiefly of dockyards and 
roperies. The deep stream then flowed along the northern part 
of the town, crossing to the Calcutta side below the present 
Armenian Ghat, and on the right bank of the Hooghly from 
Ghusuri to Howrah extended a series of docks and rope works. 
These continued to be the principal industries during the first half 
of the 19th century, and in 1823 we find Bishop Heber 
remarking: — " Westward flows the Hooghly, covered with large 
ships and craft of all kinds, and offering on its farther bank the 
prospect of another considerable suburb, that of Howrah chiefly 
inhabited by shipbuilders, but with some pretty villas inter- 
spersed "* In 1845 the prosperity of the town of Howrah still 
depended chiefly on its dockyards and shipbuilding establish- 
ments ; but extensive sugar factories had been erected on the 
south bank of the Bally Khal, which, according to the contempor- 
ary writer above quoted, " give it a pleasing air of manufacturing 
activity. Indeed, no place for twenty miles above Calcutta 
exhibits so much bustle and animation." Soon after this the 
selection of Howrah for the terminus of the East Indian Railway, 
and the construction of the bridge over the Hooghly, gave an 
impetus to the industrial development of the riparian tract. Iron 
foundries and engineering works were erected, and they were 
followed by cotton mills, jute mills, and jute presses. More 
recently brick manufacture by means of pug mills has been 
spreading fast along the river bank. 

The following sketch of the history of the dockyards in Dock- 
Howrah is condensed from Howrah, Past ami- Present (published ^^^i'^* 
m 1872) by the late Mr. Chandra Nath Banarji, Deputy Magis- 
trate, Howrah. Docks are known to have been established at 

* Bishop Heber's Joui-nal (1828) Vol. I. p. 26. 

106 HOWRAH . 

IIoT\Tah as early as 1796,when a Mr. Bacon opened a dockyard 
in Salkhia, a frigate named the Orpheus being the first vessel 
hauled in for repairs. In 1800 James Mackenzie constructed 
another dock at Grolabari and next year opened a branch dock 
close by. These docks were formerly known as Mackenzie's Old 
Dock and New Dock. The " Patent Slip " was founded at Grola- 
bari about 1810 by Mr. Beauchamp, and after working for 39 
years, was sold to Tarak Nath Paramanik, who converted it into 
a dock in 1850, and called it the Caledonia Dock, under which 
name it still exists. George Walker also set up a dock in 1815 
at Golabari, which subsequently received the name of the Com- 
mercial Dock ; while James Mackenzie established another ship- 
building yard in Salkhia in 1824. " In 1823 the opening out of 
the Strand Hoad in Calcutta, by the exertions of the Lottery 
Committee, caused the breaking up of the docks, which had been 
established in Clive Street. Consequently the ship-builders came 
over to Howrah, and by degrees set up docks there." The first 
of those so set up were known as the Lower, Upper and Middle 
Docks. The Lower Dock was first established by Blackmore, and 
the Upper and Middle Docks were opened two years later by 
Matthew Smith. They eventually became the property of a 
Joint Stock Company under the name of the Calcutta Docking 
Company. In 1826 there were eight shipwrights in Howrah 
with yards along the river-side between Sibpur and Ghusuri. 

The building of docks appears to have received a fresh 
impetus about the year 1840. Ambrose and Co. set up a yard 
for building ships in 1840 in Salkhia, and at the same place 
Thomas Reeves built a dock, which went by his name. He 
retired in 1858, selling his property to the Peninsular and 
Oriental Steam Navigation Company. Hardly had the sale been 
efiected, when MacNicol and Browu took a contract for working 
the dock, which was then named the Union Dock. The contract 
expired in 1869, when the Calcutta Docking Company stepped 
in. A man named Roid, in conjunction with Jay Gopal Mallik, 
built the llooghly dockyard in Salkhia in 1842, and carried on 
business under the name of Reid and Co. ; while Bremner 
set up a dock in 1844 immediately above the Howrah Ghat, 
but had to close it in a few years owing to the formation of 
a char in front of it. The Albion Dock in 1847 was established 
by Cochar, Roberts, Pitambar Mukharji and Gladstone in 
partnership ; and the Ganges Steam Navigation Company built 
a mud dock in 1848 in Salkhia. The East India Dock was built 
at Salkhia m 1849 by Ramkinu Sarkar, Jay Narayan Sattra 
and Kali Kumar Kundu, but owing to disputes among the 


partners had to be closed in 1865. " The plot of land on which 
the dock was situated was originally (in 1790) occupied by 
Gilmore & Co., for building ships. In 1836 Gilmore & Co., 
however, gave up ship-building, and from that date, till Kundu 
& Co. took up the land; it was a mere waste." 

The above account may be supplemented from other sources. 
In the Cakutfii GuzviU, under date 25th April 179D, the news is 
given that a large vessel "drifted up the river opposite to 
Mr. White's shipwright at Sulkeah."* In the same year, under 
date 25th July, a notice appeared to the effect that " Greorge 
Foreman & Co,, have the pleasure of informing their employers 
and the public that their new dock at Sulkea will be ready to 
receive ships by the end of August. The dock is large enough to 
take in any ship of less than 42^ feet beam, and the sill and the 
blocks are so low, that there will be more than \-^\ feet over them 
in tho lowest springs in the year, and 20 or 21 feet in the 
highest."t Between 1811 and 1828, 27 vessels, with an aggre- 
gate tonnage of 9,322 tons, are said to have been built at Fort 
Gloster. A Government steamer, the Burhampooter^ was launched 
from Howrah in 1827, and the Forbes, the first Calcutta steam 
tug, in 1828.+ The Falcon was launched from the New Howrah 
Dock in 1829. This was a private steamer intended to serve 
as a tug for the port shipping, and as a practical test was sent 
next year to China towing an opium trader.§ Mr. Marshman in 
his NotcH Oil the Rhjlit Bank of the Hooghly (1845) also refers, in 
mentioning the dockyards, to "the establishment created by 
Mr. Reeves, the ship-builder, a man of great enterprise, who has 
recently enlarged it so as to accommodate our magnificent 
steamers, the largest vessels which have ever come up to Calcutta." 

In 1872 there were eight large docks along the river between 
Howrah and Ghusuri, besides small mud docks, but the number 
has since fallen off, the returns for 1908 shewing ouly four 
dockyards at work. Details of these docks are given in the 
following table : — 



No. of 

Port Commissioners' Dock ... ... 

British India Dock 
Hooghly Docking Works 
Caledonia Docks 






• Selections, Vol. Ill, pp. 226, 535. 

t Calcutta in the Olden Time, Calcutta Review, Vol. XVIll, 1852, p. 282. 
X Calcutta Review, Vol. XXV, p. 232, 

§ W. H. Carey, The Good Old Days of Sonar able John Company, Vol. II 
pp. 21, 22, 116. 


A large amount of dock work is also done in the foundries 
of Bum& Co., Ld., of John King & Co., Ld. at Telkalghat, 
of Jessop & Co., Ld., at Howrah Bridge Road, and of Turner 
Morrison & Co. at the Shaliraar works. 
Hoi'EBiEs. The roperies of Howrah are probably even older than the 
dockyards. The map of Calcutta and its environs prepared from 
a survey made in 1792 and 1793 by A. Upjohn shows on the 
north and south of " Salkia" Point " two lanes named "Rope 
Walk" evidently because there were roperies on them. 
Mr. Banarji also states that the earliest industrial concern at 
Ghusuri was "the rope walk and screw house supposed to have 
been established about a century ago by the Stalkarts."* Again, 
in the Calcutta Gazette, it is announced, under date loth August 
- 1801, that the Dart " had only a coir cable of 14 inch on the 
ground, manufactured at the Rope Walk of Messrs. Clarke and 
Co. at Gusseree, and rode two days with a nine incli stream 
cable, made at the same Rope AValk, of Ceylon coir."t The 
present Ghusuri Rope "Works (if the same as those mentioned 
above) must be the oldest of the Howrah factories ; while the 
yhalimar Rope Works, at Sibpur, are probably the same as those 
referred to as follows by Mr. C. N. Banarji. " Ahmuty & Co. 
rented this place (Shalimar) from the Ranee (Surnomayi of 
Murshidabad) and founded a ropery which is carried on still." J 
These two rope works employed 434 and 174 hands respectively 
in 1908, while the Ganges Rope Works at Ramkristapur 
employed 205 hands. 
Ieos axd Iron works, which now form one of the most important 
ENGi- industries of Howrah, can be traced to the beginning of the 19th 
woBKs. century. The Albion Mills were erected before 1811 by William 
Jones, also known as Guru Jones, who came to India in 1800 as 
a mechanic but by 1810 had become a manufacturer for the East 
India Company. A portion of the land he acquired was 
bought by Matilal Sil, and leased to Apcar & Co., who set up 
engineering works there, when their original yard in 
Telkalghat was destroyed by fire in 1849. These works are now 
known as the Albion Foundry. Babu Kishorllal Mukharji also 
started iron works in Sibpur, which were removed a few years 
ago to Salkhia, where they are still working under the name of 
the Sibpur Iron Works. A number of other foundries were 
started about the middle of the 19th century in Howrah city, 

• Rovorah, Past and Present, p. 84. 

t Helections, HI, p- 283. 

J Howrah, p. 80. It is advertised iu Thacktr'a Directory as " establislied 1815. 



and more especially in Telkalghat. Mr. C. N. Banarji has 
given the following account of a curious relic of those early days. 
" The visitor to Howrah, if he goes towards our Strand Eoad, will 
observe a building in the shape of a tower, and, if he enquires, 
he ^nll learn that it belongs to Burn & Co. of Calcutta, a 6rm 
of long standing. The tower was constructed in imitation of the 
tower of Babel of old by Mr. Gray, who opened a branch of 
Burn & Co., at Telkalghat in 1846. If our enquirer steps inside 
the premises, he will see a number of different faces on the first 
building to the left. This, he will learn, was also built by 
Mr, Gray as the nucleus of the large engineering yard now in 
existence. Mr. Gray called this establishment the " Babel 
Foundry," from the fact of his employes speaking so many 
different languages." The following table shows the different 
iron-works, foundries and engineering works, with the average 
daily number of operatives employed in 1908 : — 



No. of 

1. Howrab Iron Works 

2. Victoria Engine Works 

3. Howrab Foundry 

4. Britisb India Engineering Department ... 

5. Sibpur Iron Works 

6. Albion Foundry ... 

7. Sbalimar Worksbop 

8. Civil Engineering College ... 

9. Ganges Engineering Works 


>> ... 


)> ••• 

)i ... 



Of these works the Howrah Iron Works of .Messrs. Burn & 
Co., Ld., call for special mention. They have the advantage of a 
considerable length of river front for shipbuilding and for 
taking in and despatching goods, and are also well connected 
with the railway. The works may for convenience be divided 
into four sections, viz., (a) the foundry, turning, fitting and 
engine-shops; (b) the bridge and girder-shop; (c) the wagon- 
building yards; (d) the shipbuilding department. Besides 
these, there are also large store godowns for the storage not only 
of materials for construction, but also of goods which are sold by 
the Company as dealers. The shipbuilding department is neces- 
sarily on the river-front ; the bridge-shop runs at right angles to 








the river-front right away back from the river to the public road 
on the Howrah side. It is a very large shop, 1,200 feet in 
length, and is fitted up in the most modem fashion for systemati- 
cally turning out large quantities of work. It has overhead 
electric cranes, nniltiple electrically-driven drills and hydraulic 
and pneumatic rivet ters. The wagon yards run parallel to the 
bridge-shop on the one side, and on the other side are the turning 
shops, fitting shops, foundry, etc. The wliole works are con- 
veniently fed by a system of rails running from the river- front. 

Messrs. Jessop & Co. 's works are essentially bridge and roof 
works. There is one long bridge-shop which comes up to the 
river-front at one end and is supplied with electric overhead 
cranes, multiple drills, hydraulic rivetters, etc. There is also a 
foundry which used to belong to Ahmuty & Co., this section of the 
Company's work having been lately transferred from Calcutta.* 

Both tlie East Indian and Bengal-Nagpur Railways have their 
own engineering workshops, the former at Howrah and the 
latter at Shalimar, and also separate worksliops for the repair 
and construction of rolling stock. The table below shows the 
different railway workshops and the average daily number of 
operatives employed in 1908 : — 

Name. Locality. 

No. of 

E. I. R. Can-iageaud Wagon Department ... 
E. I. R. Engineering Works 
Slialir.iar Loco. Engiuinring Workshop 
Loco, and Carriage Workshop ... 




Cotton-spinning and the weaving of cloth in Howrah date 
back to the early days of British administration. As early as 
179G a Mr. Samuel Clark wrote from Ghusuri that he had been 
employed by the East India Company " for the past two years in 
receiving, packing and screwing j)(^^^ ^^^ *"" for England." 
Again, in July 1797 Mr. James Frieshard wrote to the Judge 
and Magistrate to ask him to excuse tlie attendance of " Cali 
Persad Lahory, who has charge of our cotton fcrews at Sulkeali, 
where we have just re'^eivcd 4,000 maunds from the Board of 
Trade with order.-^ to begin upon it on Tuesday. "t In 1817 
Mr, Brightman and Mr. Ilogue had cotton screws on the 
Hoogldy, and about tlio same time, in 1817 or in 1822, the 
Bauria Cotton iMills started work, these being, it is said, 

• E. R. WntsoD, Monograph on Iron and Steel Work in Bengal, 1907. 

t O. Toynbw, Sketch of the Administration oj the Hooghli/ District (1888) 

p. 92. 



the oldest cotton mills in India, After Howrah web made 
the terminus of the railway, several other mills were erected, 
chiefly at Ghusuri and Salkhia, and we find mention made of 
cotton screws belonging to Mr. Eobinson and a Parsi in Ghusuri, 
to Colvin Cowie & Co. and liushton Brothers in Eamkrista- 
pur, to Collin FielmaD & Co. in Sibpur and at Santragachhi. 
The following table shov\s the cotton mills at work in 1908 and 
the average daily number of employes ; the Bharat Abhyaday 
Cottou Mills were till recently known as the Eamdayal Cotton 
Mills :— 



No. of 

Bauria Cotton Mills (Old) 

Bauria Cotton Mills (New) 

Ghusuri Cotton Mills 

Victoria Cotton Mills 

Bharat Ahliyaday Cotton Mills .., 

New King Mills 

Salkhiti Cotton Ginning Factory 




The export of jute to Europe, in loose fibres or in pressed jute 
bales, and its manufacture into yarns, bags and cloths have mills 
given rise to an industry of immense economic importance pbesses. 
in this district. In fact, the jute mills are predominant among 
the industrial concerns conducted on European lines. The 
industry may be said to have been in its infancy 50 years ago, 
when a few jute presses were started to supply the export 
trade. Among these we find a jute press at Cullen Place, while 
Mr. Robinson, already referred to as the proprietor of a cotton 
mill, also owned jute and gunny screws. Later, other jute 
screws were set up by Mr. Hyde, and after him by Anstruther 
& Co. at the junction of Dobson's Lane with Rosemary Lane, by 
Collin Fielman & Co. in Sibpur and by Cowie & Co. near the 
old salt golds at Sibpur. 

In the seventies a number of jute mills, organized on a large 
scale, were started, viz., the Fort Gloster Mills at Uluberia 
being opened in 1873, the Howrah and Sibpur Mills in 1879 and 
the Ganges Mills at Sibpur in 1875. Still more mills began work 
in the nineties, the Central Mills at Ghusuri being started in 
1890, the National Mills at Rajganj in 1896, and the adjoining 
Delta Mills at Manikpur m 1899 In 1907 the Lawrence Mills 
were opened at Chakkasi near Uluberia, and a branch of the 
Baranagar Jute Mill at Bally on the site of the old Bally Paper 
Mills. A considerable number of jute presses have also sprung 
up, of which seven are large enough to be worked by Btearn, 



The following table gives the salient statistics for the jute mills 
and presses now at work, from which it will be seen that they 
employ a labour force of over 46,C00 men * 




Jute Mills, 

1. Fort Gloster 


2. Ditto (Old). 

3. Gangee 

4. Sibpur (Old) 

5. Do. (New) 
C. Central 

7. Howrah 

8. National 

9. Delta 

10. Belvedere 

11. New Bally ... 

12. Lawrence 

Jute Presses, 

1. Imperial 

2. Ghusuri 

3. Nasmyth 

4. Salkbia 

5. Empress of 

India. i 

6. West Patent ... 

7. flowrah Hy- 



: Ditto 


i "" 

' Do. ... 

RSmkristapur ... 
SankrSil {RSjgani) 

Ditto (MSnikpnr) 

Bally ... 

i I 








o 2 

,2fi0 . 


























C ^ 





2 c 


1873 8,47,842 

11,946 1875 £119,780 






1890 7,22,840 

1874 22,50,000 

1896 10,21,063 1 46,61,713 

1899 6,83,843 42,65,438 



£ 395,618 

(Not avail- 
able) . 



8,400 1907 

(Not available). 

Flour mills appear to have been started in Howrah more 
than half a century ago. A part of William Jones' landi a 
Sibpur was taken up by Ahmuty & Co., who erected on it a 
rum factory, biscuit bakery and flour mill. Aerated bread was 
made for a short time, but had to be given up on account of the 
heavy expenses incurred. This flour mill has survived to the 
present day. About the same time Jessop & Co. started the 
Phceiiix Steam Flour Mills near the liachhari at Howrah, but 

* The details given in tlie last, five cohiuins liuve been fcupplied by the courteay 
o( the Indian Julu Mills Association. 


when the land was acquired for the East Indian "Railway in 1849, 
the mills were removed to Sibpur. In 1859 Mr. W. L. Atkinson 
started another mill with a batery at Sibpur, which was also sold 
to Ahmuty & Co. in 1866, At present there are four flour mills, 
viz., the Bengal Mill at Sibpur and the Howrah, Monarch and 
Fort William Mills at l^amkristapur. These mills employed 571 
persons daily on the average in 1908. 

Oil mills were also started in the first half of the 19th Oiz 
century. In 1830 Jessop & Co. opened a mustard oil mill by '^^^^ ' 
the river-side to the south of the Icachhari, and from this mill 
the river-side got the name Telkalghat, i.e., the oil mill flhd(. 
Oil mills were also started in Santragachhi, but were not suc- 
cessful. At present there is one large oil mill, the Howrah Oil 
Mill at E amkristapur, which is worked by steam and employed 
59 hands daily in 1908, besides three smaller mills at Salkhia. 

Among other factories the following may be mentioned : Otheb 
(I) the Salt Crushing Mills of Messrs. Balmer Lawrie & Co. at tqeies. 
Salkhia ; (2) the Sylhet Lime Works of Messrs, Kilbum & Co. 
on the river bank at Manikpur ; (3) the Bally Khal Bone Mills 
at Bally ; (4) the Paint Works at Ooabandi (Groberia PanchpSra), 
Sankrail ; (5) the Caledonian Steam Printing Works at Salkhia 
employing 415 hands daily in 1908. There are also large timber 
yards with saw mills in Sibpur and Salkhia ; Messrs. Turner 
Morrison & Co. have established paint works at Shalimar ; and 
siirki mills are found in various parts of the town. 

Sugar factories and distilleries were set up in Howrah before Scgab 
the close of the 18th century. The original kachhari buildings FACTOEiBg 
at Howrah are said to have been built in 1767 for a rum distillery, dibtii,. 
but after a few years passed into the hands of Mr. Levett, after i-ehies- 
whom the premises were called " Levett's house and garden." In 
1785 they were sold to the Military Orphan Society and converted 
into an orphanage and school.* An advertisement in the Calcutta 
Gazette, under date 10th June 1784, offered for sale "all the 
stock-in-trade and effects belonging to the estate of the late Tom 
Fatt Chinese at his distillery at Sulky " as well as the distillery 
itself .t In the forties of the 19th century we find mention of a 
large sugar-house and rum distillery on the site of the cotton mills 
in Ghusuri, south of which were another small rum distillery, 
owned by a German firm, Putz & Co., and another sugar mill 
and rum factory belonging to Mr. Robertson, besides the sugar 
factory built on William Jones' land by Scott & Co., which was 

* Soivrdhy Fast and Present. 

t Selections from Calcutta Qazette, Vol. I, p, 45. 









Bubsequently converted into a rum factory by Ahmuty & Co. 
The Albion Factory of Ahiniity & Co. has continued to the 
present day. For some years past the industry has not been 
flourishing, owing to foreign competition. 

The rice trade has long been of importance in Howrah. 
Indeed, it was carried on to such an extent by one Sambhu 
Chandra Pal, that the (/hat leading to his godowns was called 
Chelapati Ghat, i.e.^ the rice-quarter ghat. The trade has now 
shifted to the Eamkristapur chor, lately reclaimed by the Port 
Commissioners. Rows of godowns lie along the river bank, 
stored with the rice of Western Bengal ; while a number of 
rice-cleaning machines are at work in the season, producing clean 
white rice for export or for consumption in Calcutta. These 
machines are worked partly by steam, partly by hand, and are 
all managed by Indians. In this way, an industry has been 
developed during the twentieth century giving employment, in 
boating, cleaning, storing, carting, etc., to about two thousand 

The enormous demand for bricks in the metropolis and 
neighbouring towns has led to a large manufacture of bricks along 
the Bally Khdl and the river bank from Bally to Bauria. The 
apparatus used consists chiefly of Bull's patent pugmills and 
moulding machines worked partly by steam and partly by bullocks. 
In the working season, i.e.^ November to May, a large number of 
coolies are employed, estimated at from three to five thousand 
daily. Barrackpore in thana Bally is a centre of the tile making 

A special enquiry regarding the adequacy of the supply of 
labour for mills, factories, etc., was carried out by Mr. B. Foley, 
I.C.S., in 1905. The enquiry extended to other districts, but its 
results are specially applicable to Howrah. They are given at 
length in Mr. Foley's Report on Labour in Bdiujal (190G), but 
may be briefly summarized as follows. It was found that, in 
spite of the large increase in the number of looms and operatives, 
and in spite of the absence of any recruiting agency, the jute 
mills obtained sufficient labour except for three months during 
the hot weather. The shortage was mostly felt by those mills 
which are dependent on up-country labour only, men from Bihar 
and the United Provinces insisting on going away between 
March 15th and June 15th. In the jute presses, however, no 
deficiency of labour was experienced. There the season is gene- 
rally from July to Marcli, the busiest time being between August 
and December, and there is practically no work during April, May 
and June. This industry, therefore, exactly suits the up-country 


men, who form the bulk of the hands, since they come down and 
work for nine months of the year and go home in the hot weather. 
As regards the other classes of factories Mr. Foley wrote : — 
" Cotton mills are in much the same position with regard to labour 
as jute mills, except that the deficiency in the hot weather months 
is not so marked. In the paper mills, potteries and iron works no 
shortage of labour is experienced ; in small miscellaneous works 
there is either no shortage, or it is due to special causes ; in 
engineering works there is no lack of unskilled labour. Lastly, 
railways have abundance of labour for construction works, but 
require more skilled workmen in their workshops," 

As regards the perzonnel of the operatives, it is stated that 
twenty years ago all the hands in jute mills were Bengalis, but 
they have gradually been replaced by Hindustanis from the 
United Provinces and Bihar. In the jute presses most of the 
employes are also men from up-country, but the reverse is the 
case in the cotton mills. The work is cleaner, the machines run 
slower, and less physical exertion is called for than in jute mills. 
For these reasons, apparently, cotton would seem to be more 
popular with the Bengali and Oriya than with the up-country 
man. As regards engineering works, iron works and railway 
workshops, where skilled labour is required, complaints are general 
both of the insufficiency of the number and the inefficiency of 
the work of the local artizans. The enormous industrial expan- 
sion of Calcutta and its neighbourhood has created a demand 
for this kind of labour which the supply has failed to meet. 
This is especially the case with carpenters, and it is found 
necessary to employ a considerable number of Chinamen and 
Punjabi carpenters at high wages. 

The general conclusion is that the vast majority of the factory Condi- 
operatives are immigrants, the nature of whose work has been '^^°^^ ^^ 
well described in The Report of the Indian Factory Labour life. 
Commission, 2908 — a description which is particularly applicable 
to the Howrah factories. " The habits of the Indian factory 
operatives are determined by the fact that he is primarily an 
agriculturist, or a labourer on the land. In almost all cases his 
hereditary occupation is agriculture ; his home is in the village 
from which he comes, not in the city in which he labours ; his wife 
and family ordinarily continue to live in that village ; he regularly 
remits a portion of his wages tljere ; and he returns there periodi- 
cally to look after his affairs and to obtain rest after the strain of 
factory life. There is as yet practically no factory population, 
such as exists in European countries, consisting of a large number 
of operatives trained from their youth to one particular class of 


116 HOWRAH. 

work, and dependent upon employment at that work for their 
livelihood. It follows that the Indian operative is, in general, 
independent of factory work to the extent that he does not rely 
exclusively upon factory employment in order to obtain a liveli- 
hood ; at most seasons he can command a wage sufficient to keep 
him, probably on a somewhat lower scale of comfort, by accepting 
work on the land ; and there are also numerous other avenues of 
employment, more remunerative than agricultural labour, which 
are open to every worker in any large industrial centre. If the 
operative is not merely a landless labourer, he will iu general be 
bound by strong ties to the land and to the village from which he 
originally came; he can at any time abandon factory life in order 
to revert to agriculture ; and the claims of the village, where he has 
a definite and accepted position, are in practice, as experience has 
shewn, sufficiently powerful to recall him from city life for a 
period which extends, on the average, to at least a month in each 
year. The Bombay operative, resident in the Konkan, probably 
returns to his village for one month each year ; and the jute 
weaver of Bengal, working longer hours and earning higher 
wages, is not content with less than two or three months. 
"Whenever factory life becomes irksome, the operative can return 
to his village ; there is probably always work of some kind for bim 
there if he wishes it ; and in most cases he is secured against want 
by the joint-family system. 

" The position of the operative has been greatly strengthened 
by the fact that the supply of factory labour undoubtedly is, and 
has been, inadequate ; and there is, and has been, the keenest 
competition among employers to secure a full labour supply. 
These two main causes— the independence of the Indian labourer, 
owing to the fact that he possesses other and congenial means of 
earning a livelihood, and the deficient labour supply —govern the 
whole situation. . . . We have been impressed with the fact that 
employers are generally disposed to concede promptly all reason- 
able demands made by their workers ; and, even where the 
demands made are unreasonable, to trout them as proposals which 
it is desirable to accede to, if possible. Great nervousness is 
frequently displayed by employers of labour as to the effect even 
of trivial changes on the workers ; numerous expedients are 
adopted to conciKato them, and the attitude of the employers 
throughout appears to be based upon the knowledge that the 
operatives are in fact the masters of the situation. . . 

" While the operatives fully understand the machinery of local 
strikes, and have repeatedly forced employers to comply with 
their demands in isolated cases, they are as yet unable to 


combine over any large area with the object of securing a common 
end by concerted action. One of the main difficulties experienced 
at present, when unrest appears among the workers, is in ascertain- 
ing the causes of that unrest. Frequently no definite demands 
are formulated, no grievances are stated, no indication is given as 
to the cause of the discontent ; the operatives simply leave work 
in a body, or more commonly they drop off one by one without 
explanation, and accept employment under more congenial con- 
ditions in other factories." 

It should be added, however, that there is reason to believe that 
in the last few years, where strikes have assumed any proportions, 
they have mostly been engineered by outsiders. Also, in this 
district the mill authorities are already forming the nucleus of 
a permanent labour force by building commodious settlements 
near the mill premises, ten of the factories having provided 
quarters for their operatives. Most of the mill hands in the other 
factories in and round Howrah live in the basii's of that town. 

il8 HOWRAH. 



Eaelt During the period preceding British rule roads in the modem 
MEANS OF gpjjge of the word appear to have been unknown in the district. 

COMMTNI- _, ,.,.,. Ti 1 . -1 • -T-i 1 

CATION. The earnest existing iiiuropean map showing roads in Bengal, 
viz., that of Valentijn (published in 1726, but based on data 
gathered by Matheus Broucke, the Dutch Governor of Chinsura 
from 1658 to 1664) shows not a single road in this part of the 
delta. Nor is this to bo wondered at, for, the country being 
intersected by rivers, creeks, and channels, the waterways then as 
now furnished a natural and easy means of transit. The river 
Hooghly formed the great highway of commerce. It was used 
by boats and small ships, and had on its banks several important 
hats or markets, to which grain, cloth and other merchandise were 
brought by ccolies or pack-bullocks from the neighbouring 
villages and by small boats from the interior. Here there is a 
network of channels, among which the Saraswati, the Kana, the 
Damodar and the Rilpnarayan served as tributaries to the 
Hooghly, while the smaller creeks were their sub-tributaries. In 
the rains, moreover, when the low lands are turned into wide 
sheets of water, the villagers moved from place to place in tiny 
skiffs (sd/tia). On the cessation of the rains there was access from 
one village to another along the footpaths formed by the passage 
of men and cattle over the low ridges bounding the fields. Vehi- 
cular traffic was a luxury rather than a necessity. Horses were 
used chiefly by Muhammadans and up-country men. Ladies 
were borne in closed doolies, while men of position travelled in 
snkhasatis* i.e., long litters carried by Groalas, Bagdis or Bauris. 
The cultivators and others rarely left the neighbourhood of 
their villages, except to go to the nearest marts; and long 

* Ain-i-Akbar\,0&rrcit, 11, 122. "This is a crcscent-sbapcrt litter covered 
with cauilct or Bcarlet cloth and tlic like, the two sides of which have fastenings of 
various metals, and a pole supporting it is attached by means of iron hooks. It is 
conveniently adapted for sitting in, lying at full length, or sleeping during travel. 
As a protection against Bun and rain they provide a commodious covering, which is 
rfemovtiblc at pleasure." cf. Thevenot, III, page 54, and Thomas Bowrey, pp. 86-7, 
w here a rough ekttch is given. 


journeys were even rarer, being confined almost entirely to visits 
to the holy Granges on festival days. 

Several roads can be traced in the early days of British Eabl? 
administration. Eennell's Atlas, Plate VII (A.D. 1779) shows ^O'^"^. 
Salkhia as a centre from which four roads radiated. One road ran 
aloDg the river bank to Bally, Serampore and further north ; a 
second passed via Aubinagar, Ohanditala and Dhaniakhali to 
Burdwan ; a third wont due west to Makardah and Rajapur, and 
thence north-west to Rajbalhat and Bankura ; the fourth connected 
Salkhia with Tanna fort, and turned west to Sankrail and Amta, 
where it bifurcated, one branch going to Grhatal and Khirpai, 
and the other south-west to Midnapore. Besides these four, a 
road is shewn running from Uluberia via Bagnan and terminating 
at Mankur on the Amta-Midnapore road. A sixth road from the 
north joined Dhaniakhali with Amta and Bagnan, and crossing 
the river Rupnarayan ended at Tamluk. No roads are found 
south of the IJluberia-Bagnan road, and all those shewn in the 
Atlas were apparently unmetalled fair-weather roads. 

By the middle of the nineteenth century a great change had 
been effected. There were four roads known as Imperial roads, 
i.e., roads borne on the books of the Public Works Department 
and repaired by that Department, and a number of others, called 
local roads, under the control of the local officers. Of the 
Imperial roads the oldest was the Old Benares Road, called 
Ahalya Bai's Road, because it was constructed at her cost about 
1780 A.D., or the New Military Road, as it was the chief route 
for troops proceeding to Benares and other stations in the Upper 
Proviaces. Starting from Banda Ghat in Salkhia the Benares 
Road was a narrow cutcha-pucka road extendiug within the limits 
of this district as far as the Charial Khdl, which it crossed by a 
bridge of six arches. The road was flooded almost every year by 
the Damodar in Hooghly district, and by 1840 the troops had ceased 
to use it. The other two were the Grand Trunk Road, having a 
length of a little more than six miles in the Howrah district, and 
a branch from Salkhia to Bally K/idl, both metalled throughout. 
The Grand Trunk Road, which starting from Sibpur joined the 
main branch at Ghireti near Chandernagore, was begun in 1804, 
and completed during the administration of Lord William 
Beotinck. In addition to these roads, the Public Works Depart- 
ment maintained the wide but then unmetalled Orissa Trunk 
Road from Uluberia to the bank of the Rupnarayan; this section 
of the road was begun in 1825 and completed by 1829. 

Besides Imperial and Municipal roads there were six local 
roads, viz., (1) from Howrah to Jagatballabhpur (16 miles), 

120 howrAh. 

(2) from Jagatballabhpur to Amta (9 miles), (3) from Sibpur to 
Alahiari (8 miles), (4) from Mahiari to Dumjor (4 miles), (5) 
from Dumjor to Jagdispur (6 miles), aud (6) from Salkhia to 
Chanditala (10 miles). All these roads were unraetalled but 

MoDEBM ^^ present the district is well provided with means of commu- 

nication, being traversed by railways, roads, rivers and canals. 
The roads are maintained by three authorities, the Public Works 
Department, the District Board aud the Municipalities. 

Provincial Three important roads are kept up by the Public Works 
Department, (1) the Grand Trunk Road from Sibpur to Bally 
(6 miles), passing through the two Mimicipalities of Howrah 
and Bally ; (2) the Howrah Foreshore Road running parallel to 
the right bank of the Hooghly from Elliot Bridge to the Royal 
Botanic Garden (1 mile); (3) the Orissa Trunk Road from 
Uluberia to the left bank of the Rupnarayan river (20 miles). 
All these roads are metalled throughout. The Grand Trunk 
Road still continues to be the most thronged with traffic ; but 
the opening of the Bengal-Nagpur Railway has diverted it from 
the Orissa Trunk Road, whose former glor}'^ as a noble highway 
now survives only in a number of splendid banyan trees. 

District All other roads outside municipal areas are kept up by the 

roads. District Board. In 1907-08, this body had under its charge 
40'8 miles of metalled roads, 110*6 miles of unmetalled roads, 
and 400 miles of village tracks. The more important roads are 
metalled, at least in some portions, and the metalled surface, 
which is generally of stone, occupies 8 feet out of a width of 20 
feet, or 7^ feet where the width is less. The more important 
metalled roads are (1) the Old Beu&res Road, from Howrah to 
Jagdispur, 5 miles 3 furlongs; (2) Howrah to Jagatballubhpur, 15 
miles 6 furlongs, of which the first 8 miles are metalled ; (3) 
Dumjor to Bauria station, 13 miles 7 furlongs, of which the last 
mile only is metalled ; (4) Dumjor to Jagdispur, 4 miles 4 fur- 
longs ; (0) Dumjor to Mahiari, 3 miles, of which the first half is 
metalled ; (6) Mahiari to Makardah, 1 mile 7 furlongs ; (7) 
Mahiari to Santragachhi, 4 miles 4 furlongs, of which the last mile 
only is metalled ; (8) Mahiari to Kundu Road, 5 miles 4 fur- 
longs ; (9) Andul to Ekabbarpur, 8 miles, of which the first two 
miles are metalled ; (10) Andul to Rajgauj, 2 miles. 

There are also a few short lengths of metalled road, viz., (I) 
Thana Makwa to Goberia, 1 mile 2 furlongs ; (2) Makardah to 
Begri, 2 miles 4 furlongs ; (3) Uluberia town to the railway 
station, 1 furlong ; (4) Liluah station to the Old Benares Road, 
1 mile 1 furlong. Besides these roads twenty unmetalled second 


class roads are kept up by the District Board, all more or less 

South of the Orissa Trunk Road the land is too low to permit 
the maintenance of any roads. Here the embankments aloog 
the Damodar, Hooghly and Rupnarayan form raised thorough- 
fares during the rains. The western parts of thana Amta and 
the north-western part of thana Bagnan are also too much cut 
up by creeks and channels to allow any but fair-weather pathways 
to be made. Consequently, the roads are few in number, and 
none are metalled. 

The Howrah Municipality maintains an extensive network of Muuici- 
roads and lanes, all more or less macadamized. In 1907 it kept ^'" ™^ ^' 
up 59'5 miles of metalled and 4 miles of unmetalled roads, while 
in the Bally Municipality there were 18 miles of metalled and 10 
miles of unmetalled roads. 

The District Board maintains three inspection bungalows staging 
at Dumjor, Jagatballabhpur and Syampur. The Public Works ^""gal- 
Department keeps up one dak bungalow at Uluberia ; three 
embankment bungalows at Amta and Mahishrekha on the 
Damodar and at Sasati on the RupnarSyan; and two drainage 
bungalows at Rajapur and Sijberia. The staging bungalow 
at Mahisrekha, the old subdivisional headquarters, is a particu- 
larly good building for a staging bungalow, being built on a 
high plinth and having 4 rooms. 

On account of the large number of rivers and waterways, Brid^^'es. 
both Municipal and District Board roads have to be provided 
with many bridges, and in Howrah town several bridges have 
been built over the East Indian Railway and the Bengal-Nagpur 
Railway lines, the finest being the Buckland Bridge leading to 
Howrah station, which is more than a quarter mile long. 

By far the most important bridge, however, is the Howrah Howrah 
Bridge over the river Hooghly, which connects Howrah with bridge. 
Calcutta. This is a floating bridge, the middle section of 
which is movable so as to allow of the passage of vessels up and 
down the river. It is 1,528 feet between abutments and has a 
roadway for carriages, 48 feet in width, with footpaths, 7 feet 
wide, on either side. The construction of a bridge over the 
Hooghly at or near Calcutta was mooted over half a century ago, 
a committee being appointed to consider the project in 1855-56 ; 
but the idea was given up in 1859-60. The question was revived 
in 1868, and it was eventually decided that Government should 
construct the bridge and that its management should be handed 
over to a Trust. In 1871 an Act was passed empowering 
the Lieutenant-Governor to have the bridge constructed with 

122 HOWRAH. 

Government capital, to make and maintain ways and approaclies, 
to authorize the levy of tolls and to appoint Port Commissioners 
to carry out the pui-poses of the Act. A contract was entered into 
with Sir Bradford Leslie for its construction, and the work was 
forthwith commenced in England, the different portions of the 
bridge being sent out and put together in Calcutta. The work 
of construction was completed in 1874 ; and the bridge having 
been opened to traffic in October of that year, was made over 
to the Port Commissioners for management under Act IX of 
1871, the cost, 22 lakhs of rupees with interest at Rs. 4^r per 
cent., being made the first charge to be repaid in thirty instal- 

The total net revenue of the bridge since it was opened in 
1874 amounts to Rs. 34,11,410. The main item in the receipts 
consists of a small toll on railway traffic at the rate of Re. 1 
per 100 maimds of goods, which is paid by the East Indian 
Railway. The income from this toll has been growing steadily, 
rising from Rs. 1,46,695 in 1899-1900 to Rs. 2,16,360 in 1907-08. 
In that year the total receipts amounted to Rs. 2,40,593 and the 
expenditure to Rs. 2,21,111. Of the latter Rs. 62,603 were 
spent on establishment and Rs. 90,847 on repairsj while 
Rs. 13,000 wore paid as a contribution to the Calcutta Port 
Trust on account of management. 

Before 1906, the bridge was opened for the passage of 
vessels only in the daytime, but since June of that year it has 
been opened at night for all vessels except ocean steamers, 
which have to pass through by day. The number of open- 
ings was thus raised to 24, while the average number of day 
openings was reduced from 13 to 4 in a month, with much less 
inconvenience to general traffic. In 1907-08, 130 sea-going 
vessels, 2,033 flats and inland steamers, 715 launches and steam- 
tugs, 133 Port Commissioners' vessels, and 9 Government 
steamers with flats passed through the bridge — in all 3,020. 

Watkk. The chief navigable waterways are the Hooghly, Damodar 

and Rfipnarayan. The Ilooglily and the Rilpuarayan are 
navigable at all seasons of the year throughout their course 
in and along the district. The Damodar ceases to be navi- 
gable after the rains, except in the lowest section from the 
mouth of the Gaighata K/idl to its own outfall in the 
Hooghly ; and during the winter it is navigable up to Amta 
during spring tides only. Small boats also ply in the rains and 
winter mouths along the numerous creeks intersecting the district. 

Crecke. Of thesG creoks the chief are: — (1) the Bally K/idl extending 
from the Dankuni marsh west of Serampore to the Hooghly. 




It is 10 miles long, 30 feet broad and 12 feet deep, and 
forms the main channel of the Dankiini drainage works. (2) The 
Sankrail Ehdl (the old SaraswatT) 8 miles long, 15 feet broad 
and 9 feet deep. (3) The Kalsapa Khdl (the old Kana Nadi) so 
called because it extends from the Hooghly near Kalsapa, which 
is 6 miles long, 30 feet broad and 8 feet deep. Its lowest 
section now forms a channel of the Rajapur drainage works. 
(4) The Mithakundii Khdl, which connects the Damodar with the 
Hooghly and falls into the latter at Mithakiindu below Uluberia. 
It is 6 miles long, 50 feet broad and 18 feet deep. (5) The 
Pukuria Khdl joining the Damodar with the Hooghly, 3 miles 
long, 60 feet broad and 18 feet deep. (6) The Banspati Khdl 
from Amta to Uluberia, about 15 miles long and 30 feet 
broad, (7) The Madaria Khdl, extending from beyond the 
district and falling into the Damodar above Amta. It is an 
old branch of the Damodar with a length of about 10 miles 
in the district and a breadth of 30 feet. (8) The Gaighata 
and Bakshi Khdl, a natural channel slightly improved, about 
12 miles long. It connects the Damodar with the Riipnarayan 
by a tortuous passage which is closed during part of the year. 
Tolls are levied on boats using this channel according to a scale 
fixed by Government. The right of levying tolls is now leased 
out annually. 

The only canal in the district is the Uluberia High Level Canals. 
Canal which has two sections. Its first reach starts from 
Uluberia and joins the Damodar below Persandpur, two miles 
below the Bengal-Nagpur Railway bridge over that river. li^ 
is 8 miles in length ; its width at top is 92 feet and at bottom 
36 feet ; and its depth is 9 feet. West of Uluberia the Orissa 
Trunk Road runs along its northern bank for 5 miles. The 
second reach extends from the other side of the Damodar to the 
left bank of the Rfipnarayan several miles below the railway 
bridge. This reach is 4 miles long ; its width at top is 120 feet 
and at the bottom 36 feet ; and its depth is 14 feet. The traffic 
on the canal has almost disappeared owing to the opening of the 
Bengal-Nagpur Railway. 

The District Board maintain eleven public ferries, all except fbrbies. 
one being in the Uluberia subdivision. They are : — {a) On the 
Damodar (1) Mahishrekha ferry, thana Bagnan, with two sub- 
sidiary ferries, Khadinan and Bansberia ; (2) Boali^ ferry, thSna 
Bagnan ; (3) Garchumuk ferry, thana Syampur ; (4) Syampur 
ferry, thana Syampur. (M On the river Rupnarayan (5) Bakshi 
ferry on the Bakshi Khdl outfall, thana Amta ; (6) Gopiganj 
ferry, thana Amta, with two subsidiary ferries at Pansuli 

124 HOWRAH. 

and Dudkiirma ; (7) Mankur, thana Bagnan ; (8) Sasati, thana 
Syampur ; (9) Jhumjhumi, thana Syampur, just opposite Tamluk. 
(c) Two ferries on creeks, viz., (10; Sijberia ferry on the old Kana 
Nadi (present Kalsapa KItdl), thana Uluberia; and (11) Sankrail 
ferry on the Old Saraswali (modern Sanknlil K/idl), Sankrail 

On the Hooghly river public ferries are maintained by the 
Port Commissioners within the limits of their jurisdiction and by 
the District Board of the 24-Parganas outside those limits. The 
Port Trust has its northern boundary pillar in Ghusuri a little 
above the Central Jute Mills ; while the southern boundary pillar 
was lately moved from Panchpara above Rajganj to Bauiia, just 
north of the Lawrence Jute Mills. When the Ilowrah bridge is 
open, railway passengers are ferried across from Armenian Ghat 
to the railway pontoon and back by two of the bridge steamers. 
The Port Commissioners have also started since 1907 two sets 
of steamer services, one above the bridge and the other below it. 
Below the bridge three steamers ply regularly between Chandpal 
Ghat and the Kidderpore Docks on the Calcutta side, and Telkal- 
ghat, Ramkristapur, Sibpur and Shalimar on the HowTah side. 
Above the bridge two steamers ply regularly between Barabazar 
Ghat and Ahiritola Ghat on the Calcutta side and Salkhia Banda 
Ghat on the Howrah side. The services, which run only in the 
daytime, are popular with the public, the fares being ex- 
tremely small, viz., an anna to a quarier anna. 
Stbameb Four other steamer services ply daily on week days bet-ween 

8EEVICES, Calcutta and places in this district, three below the bridge and 
one above it, viz., (1) Calcutta (Chandpal Ghat) to Ilajgauj, 
Sankrail outpost ; (2) Calcutta (Chandpal Ghat) to Uluberia ; (3) 
Calcutta (Armenian Ghat) to Ghatal in Midnapore, via Uluberia ; 
(4) Calcutta (Ahiritola Ghat) to Kalna via Bally. The first is 
under Indian management ; the others belong to Messrs. Hoare 
Miller & Co. 
Boats. A large amount of traffic is convoyed by small native boats, 

such as j'dnsis rowed by Hindu boatmen and dingis, rowed by 
Muhammadan boatmen, who hail mostly from Noakhali or 
Chittagong. They are registered and licensed, and usually ply 
from early morning to nine o'clock at night. The fare is small, 
one or two pice per head ; or if the whole boat is hired, two to 
three annas per trip. From Belur, Bally and other places office 
clerks and others come to Calcutta in slightly larger boats, called 
kul'iir-jjdnsi. From Bally to Barabazar Ghat the usual charge 
is one to ihree annas per head, or eight annas to one rupee for the 
entire boat. 


For conveying goods various other kinds of boats are used. 
Fishing boats in any number may be seen on the Hooghly 
throughout the year, and are especially numerous during the hilsd 
fishing season. Heavy boats, with high raised sides and long 
oars, are built at Salkhia and Sibpur fot carrying general goods, 
straw or salt. They also move up and down the Rupnarayan 
and the Damodar during the rains, bringing down rice and other 
agricultural produce and carrying up kerosene oil, etc. In the 
interior, during the rains and winter months, sdltis or small flat- 
bottomed canoes are very common as they can go over flooded 
paddy fields and along shallow creeks. They are usuilly rowed 
by one man and often carry goods to the nearest mart. 

The district is traversed by two broad (5 feet 6 inches) gauge Rail- 
railways, the East Indian Railway and the Bengal-Nagpur "'•*^^- 
I\ailway, and by two light railways (2 feet gauge), the 
Howrah-Amta and Ilowrah-Shiakhala Railways. 

The East Indian Railway has only a very short length in this East 
district, viz., 6 miles to Bally and 2 miles to Shalimar; but as |"^ij^" 
Howrah is its terminus, the growth and prosperity of the town, 
and indirectly of the whole district, is intimately connected with 
the line. Survey was begun in 1845, and construction in 1851; 
and the first section from Howrah to Hooghly was opened in 1854. 
In 1855 the line was opened as far as RanTganj and in 1862 up 
to Benares. It is unnecessary to refer to Ihe further development 
of the railway, such as its extension to Delhi and elsewhere, the 
shortening of the route by the Chord line and in 1907 by the 
Grand Chord line, the opening of branch luies, the acquisition of 
collieries, and the expansion of traffic. 

During recent years numerous improvements have been 
made on the line within this district. The Howrah station was 
remodelled and improved first after the opening of the Hooghly 
bridge, and later on the formation of a joint station with 
the Bengal-Nagpur Railway. The old station buildings have 
been made over to the latter ; and the East Indian Railway 
has now a large imposing building with sis long platforms 
for trains. Outside, a long row of godowns has been erected 
for the enormous goods traffic, especially in coal, wheat, rice, 
and oil-seeds, which comes to Howrah . Quarters have also been 
built at Howrah and its suburb Bamangachhi for the European 
staff. A small branch line has been run along the Hooghly to 
Shalimar so as to establish connection with the Kidderpore 
Docks. A large area has been acquired at Liluah, to which 
the carriage and wagon building shops have been removed, 
and a shunting yard for goods wagons has been laid out at the 

126 HOWRAH. 

same place. Lastly, for tlie convenience of suburban passengers 
there is a succession of trains running from Howrali to Uttar- 
para, in addition to ordinary mail and passenger trains. 
Bengal- The other great line, the Bengal-Nagpur Railway, was 

Hafh\"y. extended to Howrah in 1900, thus connecting the district with 
the Central ProNinces and Bombay on the west, and with Orissa 
and Madras on the south. It enters the district by a fine brido-e 
over the Eiipnarayan, goes east up to Uluberia, running for 
several miles parallel to the Grand Trunk lioad and the High 
Level Canal, and then north-east along the Hooghly river 
to Howrah. A short branch, 3 miles long, from Santragachhi 
to Shalimar station carries the heavy traffic intended for export 
overseas direct to the Kidderpore Docks, the train crossing the 
Hooghly in large feny steamers. As far as this district is con- 
cerned, the line has developed the goods trafiic from the Uluberia 
subdivision and has given increased facilities ~ for passenger 
traflBc from that part to Howrah and Calcutta. 
Light The light railways had their origin in an agreement, dated 

ai ways, j^g^j^ June 1889 between the District Board of Howrah and 
Messrs. Walsh, Lovett & Co., which was subsequently renewed 
with Messrs. Martin & Co., and sanctioned by Government noti- 
fication in the Calcutta Gazette of March 27th, 1895. The 
capital of the Howrah-Shiakhala line is six lakhs ; while the 
capital of the Howrah-Amta line wa^ raised from nine lakhs 
to sixteen lakhs by the issue of additional shares for four lakhs 
and of debentures for three lakhs. Under the contract all profits 
in excess of four per cent, on the capital are distributed in equal 
shares between the companies and the District Boards of Howi'ah 
and Hooghly — in the ease of the Howrah-Amta line with the 
Howrah Board and of the Howrah-fShiakhala line with the Hooo-hly 
Board. The Boards on their part have made over their roads 
for the use of the railways and guarantee an interest of 4 per cent. 
The Howrah-Amta line was opened up to Dumjor in 1897, and 
to Amta in 1898. An extension from Bargachhia (Bargechhe) 
junction to Antpur was opened in 1904, and a further extension 
to Champadanga in 1908. This extension, however, lies almost 
exclusively in the Serampore subdivision. Both the Howrah- 
Amta and tlowrah-Sliiakhala lines start from Telkalghat on 
the Hooghly river, and skirting the Court maidau pass through 
the crowded Panchauantala road to Kadamtala station. Here 
they separate, the Howrah-Sliiakhala line running north-west 
along the Benares load to the border of the district, and thence 
to Shiukhala in the Serampore subdivision. The Howrah-Amta 
line runs west, chiefly along the side of the Jagatballabhpur road, 


and tlien goes south-west to Amta, a length of nearly 29 miles. 
Both lines, and especially the Howrah-Amta line, have proved 
proBtahle concerns, and a remarkable expansion has taken place 
in goods and passenger traffic. The gross earnings of the 
Howrah-Amta line increased from Rs. 2,56,418 in 1900 to 
Rs. 3,28,722 in 1905 ; and in 1905-06 and the two succeeding 
years the Howrah Board received as its share Rs. 39,563, 
Rs. 38,680 and Rs. 39,696 respectively. 

The Calcutta Tramways Co. has now extended its operations Electric 
to Howrah. In pursuance of a license granted, under notifica- ^•■''^""'y- 
tion No. 9, dated 26th November 1907, the Company has estab- 
lished a central power station at the corner of the Dobson and 
Golabari Roads, and is laying down tram lines (4 feet 8^ inches 
gauge) along four routes. The southern section was opened for 
traflfic on 10th June 1908. Beginning from the Howi'ah bridge 
the ILue in this section runs over the railway overbridge and 
across the Court maiddn to Kaoraparaghat road, Sibpur, for a 
distance of nearly two miles. Both the northern routes start 
from the bridge and terminate at the southern end of Ghusuri 
road, one passing by Howrah road and Grolabari road, the other 
by the Grand Trunk Road and Haraganj road. The fourth 
route connects the Ghusuri road with Kaoraparaghat road, Sibpur, 
passing over the crowded Haraganj and Grand Trunk Roads. 

The main conditions of the license are (1) that the Company 
shall finish the work within two years from the date of the 
license, (2) that a continuous current at a pressure of 550 volts 
shall be transmitted from the central generating station by 
means of underground cables to over-head trolly-wires from 
which the cars will derive the necessary electric power and (3) 
that the Municipality or the Local Government shall have the 
option of purchasing the undertaking at 25 times the difference 
between the average gross annual receipts and the working ex- 
penses either on 1st January 1931 or at the end of every 
subsequent period of seven years thereafter. 

The returns for 1907-08 show that there are 70 post offices postal 
and 189 miles of postal communication. The number of postal statis- 
articles delivered in the same year, including letters, post cards, ^^^^' 
packets, newspapers and parcels, was 5,431,000. The value of 
money orders issued was Rs. 3,451,000 and of those paid 
Rs. 17,86,000 ; while the number of Savings Bank deposits was 
17,200, the amount deposited being Rs. 8,49,000. Postal 
telegraph offices have been opened at Howrah, Ross Road, 
Salkhia, Sankrail, Andul Mauri, Sibpur, Sibpur Botanic Garden, 
TJluberia and Liluah. 









The administration of the Ho^\Tah district is in some respects 
peculiar for the chief local executive officer, the Magistrate, is 
not a Collector, as in other districts, but a Deputy Collector. 
AVhen first appointed in 1843, the Magistrate was engaged only 
in criminal work; hut gradually he was nmde responsible, succes- 
sively, for salt, excise, stamps, land acquisition, income-tax, 
accounts and the treasury, and more recently, for certificates, 
collections from hhan maltdU, the work of the Drainage Depart- 
ment, touring and inspection. The Collector of Hooghly, how- 
ever, still controls the administration of land revenue, including 
the collection of the land revenue demand, and of road and 
public works cesses, for estates lying wholly or partly in this 
district. In other words, Ilowrah forms part of Hooghly for 
land revenue and cess purposes. 

There are two subdivisions, Ilowrah and Uluberia, each under 
a Subdivisional Officer. The sanctioned staff at Howrah consists 
of two Deputy Collectors exercising first class magisterial powers 
and of one Deputy Collector with second or third class powers ; 
two Sub-Deputy Collectors are also usually stationed there. 
At Uluberia the Subdivisional Officer is generally assisted by a 
Sub-Deputy Collector. The embankments and drainage works 
are in cliarge of the Executive Engineer, Northern Drainage 
and Embankment Division, under the Superintending Engineer, 
South- Western Circle, both of whom have their offices in Calcutta. 
Ilowrah is also the headquarters of the Superintendent, Govern- 
ment llailway Police. 

The land revenue and cess accounts are included in those of 
Ilooglily, and it ls only of recent years that tliose for revenue 
from other sources have been separated. Among the latter the 
main sources of income are excise and income-tax (outside the 
towns of Ilowrah and Bally), and stamps, which aggregated 
Rs. 4,00,000 in lOOO-Cl. In 1907-08 the collections amounted 
(in round figures) to Rs. 5,17,000, of which Rs. 2,68,000 were 
realized from stamps, Rs. 2,19,000 from excise, and IJs. 30,000 
from income-tax. 

The total number of estates borne on the revenue roll of 
Hooghly (including Howrah) in 1907-08 was 4,309 with a current 


demand of Rs. 13,70,923. Of the total number 871 estates with 
an annual demand of about 5^ lakhs lie wholly or for the greater 
part in this district. One of these, Mandalghat, the major portion 
of which is included in the llowrah and Uluberifi. subdivisions, 
has a demand of about 2j lakhs. The Government estates consist 
merely of a few derelict chauladari chdk>-dn lauds or Public Works 
Department surplus plots. 

The receipts from judicial and non- judicial stamps increased stamps 
from Rs. 1,38,000 in 1896-97 to Rs. 2,40,000 in 1901-02 and rose 
still further to Rs. 2,68,000 in 1907-08. '1 he gradual expansion 
of commercial business in the town of Howrah acd in the district 
generally, the growing familiarity of the people with the provi- 
sions of the law, their tendency to have recourse to courts of 
law, the enhanced duty on perpetual leases, and the growing 
demand for stamps in other miscellaneous transactions account 
for the increase in revenue. Nearly four-fifths (Rs. 2,14,000) of 
the receipts in 1907-08 were due to the sale of judicial stamps 
and in particular of court-fee stamps, while Rs. 54,000 were 
obtained from the sale of non-judicial stamps, nearly the whole 
of this sum being due to the demand for impressed stamps. 

The receipts from excise rose from Rs. 1,37,000 in 1896-97 Excise, 
to Rs. 1,46,000 in 1901-02, and further increased in 1907-08 to 
Rs. 2,19,000, a total lower than that for any other district in the 
Burdwan Division except Bankura. The net excise revenue was 
Rs. 3,165 per 10,000 of the population (or a little above 5 annas 
per head), as compared with the Provincial average of Rs. 3,206 
per 10,000. These figures exclude the towns of Howrah and 
Bally, which are grouped with Calcutta and its suburbs for the 
purposes of excise administration. 

The greater portion of the excise revenue is derived from 
the sale of country spirit, the receipts from which amounted in 
1907-08 to Rs. 82,000 or nearly two-fifths of the total excise 
revenue. The manufacture and sale of country spirit were 
carried on under both the outstill system and the central distillery 
system until 1907, when the contract supply system was intro- 
duced, i.e., the local manufacture of country spirit has been 
prohibited, and a contract for the wholesale supply of spirit has 
been given out to a firm of distillers. The contractors are forbid- 
den to hold any retail licenses for its sale, but are allowed the use 
of distillery and warehouse buildings for the storage of liquor. 
The right of retail vend is disposed of by separate shops, each of 
which is put up to auction ; and the retail vendors tire forbidden 
to sell liquor except at the prescribed strengths, for which 
maximum prices are fixed. According to the returns for 1907-08, 





there are 33 shops for the retail sale of country spirit, i.e., one 
retail shop for every 15^ square miles and for 20,432 persons ; 
and the average consumption of the liquor in that year is 14 
proof gallons per 1,000 of the population. The consumption of 
the fermented liquor known as tdri is not so great, its sale realiz- 
ing only Es. 42,000. The receipts from both tdri and country 
spirit represent an expenditure of Rs. 1,920 per 10,000 of the 
population, a figure higher than in any other district of the 
Burdwan Division except Burdwau and Hooghly. 

The receipts from opium and hemp drugs account for 
practically all the remainder of the excise revenue. The greater 
portion is derived from the duty and license fees on opium, 
which brought in Rs. 54,000 in 1907-08, representing an expen- 
diture of Rs. 798 for 10,000 of the population, a figure higher 
than in any other district of the Division except Hooghly. The 
use of (jdnja, i.e., the dried flowering tops of the cultivated 
female hemp plant ( Cannabis Indica) and the resinous exudation 
on it, appears to be greater than in any district in the Division 
except Hooghly, the duty and license fees realizing Rs. 32,000 in 
1907-08 or Rs. 530 per 10,000 of the population. 

In 1901-Oi the income-tax yielded Hs. 27,000 paid by 1,435 
assessees, of whom 1 ,047 paying Rs. 11,000 had incomes of Rs. 500 
to Rs. 1,000. At that time the minimum income assessable was 
Rs. 500, but this was raised in 1903 to Rs. 1,000, thereby giving 
relief to a number of petty traders, money lenders and clerks ; and 
the number of assessees consequently fell in 1903-04 to 546 
and the collections to Rs 24,000. In 1907-08 the tax yielded 
Rs. 30,000 paid by 639 assessees. These figures do not include 
the assessments of Howrah and Bally towns, which are amal- 
gamated witli Calcutta for income-tax purposes. 

There are six offices for the registration of assurances under 
Act III of 1877. The average number of documents registered 

annually during 
the quinquen- 
nium ending in 
1904 was 21,149, 
as compared with 
20,827 in the 
five years ending 
in 1899. The 
marginal state- 
ment shows the 
number of docu« 
ments registered 





Ditto joiut 





Total .. 

4,88 1 
















and the receipts and expenditure at each office in 1907. The 
number of registrations in that year was less than in any other 
district in the Division. 

The administration of criminal and civil instice is under the Adminis- 


District and Sessions Judge of Hooghly. There are seven subor- of jcs- 
dinate Civil Courts, four Munsifs being stationed at Howrah tick. 
and two more at Anita and Uiuberia, besides an additional 
Munsif for Uiuberia and Serampore, who holds his court at 
Uiuberia. The Small Cause Court Judge of Hooghly and Seram- 
pore also holds his coui"t at Howrah for about a week every month ; 
but suits above Rs. 1,000 in value are tried by the Sub- Judge 
at Hooghly. Criminal justice is administered by the District 
and Sessions Judge of Hooghly, the District Magistrate, and 
the Deputy and Sub-Deputy Magistrates stationed at Howrah 
and Uiuberia. Besides these stipendiary Magistrates, there are 
benches of Honorary Magistrates at Howrah, Uiuberia, Amta 
and Bally. Sessions cases are at present tried at HowTah, not 
by the Sessions Judge of Hooghly, but by an Additional Sessions 

Howrah, with its large labour force and fluctuating popula- Crime, 
tion, is a convenient centre for criminals, and is frequented 
by professional criminals from up-country. Of recent years steps 
have been taken to break up the gangs that make the town and 
its neighbourhood their headquarters. Among such gangs may 
be mentioned one consisting of Pasis from the United Provinces, 
who specialized in burglary and theft, and a band of Banpars 
from Patna and Monghyr, who settled dowa in Salkhia and worked 
as river pirates on the Hooghly, sinking boats and broaching 
cargoes. The latter were a dangerous set of criminals, who set out 
with arms {lathis and ddos) to attack and loot unprotected cargo 
boats and passengers, and did not hesitate to resort to violence. 
They displayed a considerable amount of ingenuity and adopted 
up-to-date devices, e.g., by disguising themselves as policemen and 
using boats like those of the Port Police. Similar ingenuity was 
displayed by a gang of carters, recently convicted, which used 
systematically to commit breach of trust in respect of goods 
entrusted to them to carry. Their modus operandi, though 
simple, was nevertheless effective and clever. Under the rules of 
the Licensing Department all carts plying for hire carry a num- 
ber, stamped on a block of wood and affixed to a part of the 
permanent woodwork of the cart ; and it is the practice of firms 
engaging these carts to register them in their books by these 
numbers for purposes of subsequent identification, if necessary. 
The practice of this gang w^as to steal the block belonging to 






another cart, fix it on one of their own, and then to obtain a load 
of goods which they would proceed to misappropriate, imme- 
diately disposing of the contents to receivers, who were also in the 
business. If, on receiving information of the non-amval of their 
goods, the firm engaging the cart laid a complaint at the police 
station, this would only lead to the arrest and harassment of the 
unfortunate carter whose block had been stolen and made use 
of. Sometimes, moreover, the latter, particularly if he had 
injudiciously omitted to report the loss of his licensing block, 
would find himself involved in criminal proceedings; and there 
were foimd to be cases on record in which innocent carters had 
thus been convicted and imprisoned. 

For police purposes the district is divided into 11 thanas 

with 7 outposts as shown in 
the margin. The Howrah, 
Golabari and Sibpur police 
stations are included in 
Howrah town. The 

regular police force consist- 
ed in 1907 of the District 
Superintendent, 7 Inspec- 
tors, 40 Sub-Inspectors, 
one Sergeant, 74 Head- 
Constables and 817 cons- 
tables, a total force of 941 
men, representing one 
policeman to every half 
square mile and to every 
904 of the population. The rural force for the watch and ward 
of villages in the interior is composed of 1,517 chauklddrs and 
128 dafadam^ of whom 1,506 are chauklddrs under Act VI of 
1879, while 11 are phdnrt'ddrs or phdmi-piddds, f.e., chauklddn 
holding service lands. 

There is a district jail at Howrah with accommodation for 88 
prisoners, viz , barracks without separate sleeping accommodation 
for 16 male convicts, 8 female convicts, and 44 under-trial 
prisoners ; cells for 4 European prisoners, 8 male and 2 female 
convicts ; and a hospital with 6 beds. This was formerly a sub- 
jail, but has recently (in 1906-07) been raised to the status of a 
third class jail. There is also a subsidiary jail at Uluberia, which 
has accommodation for 12 prisoners, 






Duujjor ... 



Howrah ...- 

Howrah ... 







Arnta . . < 


Uluberia ...•' 







Syiimpur ... 





In rural areas, the administration of public roads, ferries, Distbict 
pounds, dispensaries, primary education and sanitation is vested Board. 
in the District Board, which has delegated some of its powers to 
Local Boards and Union Committees. The Howrah District 
Board consists of 13 members, of whom six are elected by the 
Local Boards, three are nominated by Government, and four are 
ex-officio members. The returns for 1907-08 show that seven of 
the members are pleaders or muk/itdrs, five are Government 
servants, and one represents landed interests. The chief receipts 
are the local rate (road cess), which is collected by the Collector of 
Hooghly, receipts from pounds and ferries, profits from the Howrah- 
Amta Light Railway, and contributions made by the Local 
Government for roads and education. The receipts from the local 
rate increased from Rs. 41,485 in 1888-89 to Rs. 48,950 in 1907- 
08 ; those of pounds and ferries were practically stationary, 
amounting to Rs. 3,821 and Rs. 6,402, respectively, in the year 
last named ; while the share of profits in the Howrah-Amta line 
(opened in 1897-98) increased to Rs. 39,696. 

Exclusive of the opening balance, the total receipts in 1907-08 
amounted to Rs. 1,35,046 or more than double the total receipts 
in 1888-89 (Rs. 62,323), while the average incidence of taxation 
per head was 1 anna 2 pies. The total disbursements in the same 
year were Rs, 1,59,100, the chief items being Rs. 1,13,545 expen- 
ded on public works, Rs. 24,117 on education, and Rs. 6,537 on 
medical relief and sanitation. The District Board maintained in 
that year 40*8 miles of metalled roads and 110-6 miles of un- 
metalled roads, besides 400 miles of village tracks, the average cost 
of repairing which were Rs, 471, Rs. 110 and Rs. 22 per mile res- 
pectively. The pounds, which are usually leased out, numbered 
59, while several public ferries were kept up on the rivers Rup- 
narayan and Damodar. The income obtained from the ferries on 
the Hooghly is handed over to the District Board of the 24- 
Parganas. The District Board maintains the Zila school of 
Howrah jointly with the Howrah Municipality, and also maintains 








one Middle school and gives grants-in-aid to one High school, 21 
Middle schools, 63 Upper Primary and 516 Lower Primary 
schools. Two dispensaries are maintained and four others are 
aided, at a total cost in 1907-08 of Rs. 4,803 or 4*7 per cent, of 
the ordinary income of the Board. A contribution is also made to 
the HowTah Veterinary Dispensary. 

Two Local Boards have been established, one for each sub- 
division. The Sadar or Howrah Local Board has nine members, of 
whom five are nominated and four are elected; while the Uluberia 
Local Board has 10 members, of whom five are nominated and 
ten are elected. They do little work beyond managing pounds 
and ferries and looking after the village roads. 

In July 1893, Union Committees were formed in thanas 
Dumjor and Jagatballabhpur in the Howrah subdivision nnd in 
Anita and Bagnan in the Uluberia subdivision ; while Uluberia 
was constituted an Union Committee in September 1907. The 

marginal table shows 
the area and popula- 
tion of each Union as 
constituted in 1907-08; 
but in 1908 the area 
of the Dumjor Union 
was increased by the 
inclusion of the 
villages of ParbatTpur and Daffarpur. They are each managed 
by a committee of nine members, and the average income of each 
is a little over lis. 500 per annum, the contributions from the 
District Board varying in 1907-08 from Rs. 400 to Ks. 410; the 
remainder of the receipts consists almost entirely of the amounts 
raised by local taxation under Section 118 of the Act. 

As regards the latest Union, Uluberia, it may be explained 
that the town was constituted a municipality on Ist April 1903 
with nine members. A small municipality with a population of a 
little over 5,000, it had in 1906-07 a total income of Rs. 3,910, 
mainly derived from a tax on persons. It was abolished in April 
1907, and an Union Committee appointed in September of the 
same year. 

At present the only municipalities in the district are Bally 
and Howrah. The former was created in 18^3 by the separation 
of the northern portion of the Howrah Municipality. The area 
wdthin municipal limits is J '92 square miles with a population of 
18,602, of whom 3,197 or 17-1 per cent, are tax-payers. It is 
administered by 21 Commissioners, of whom 14 are elected and 
7 are nominated. The total receipts amounted in 1907-08 to 

Name of Union. 

Area in square 





Jagatballabhpur ... 






Rs. 33,770 (as against Bs. 16,207 in 1892-93), of which the major 
portion was obtained from a tax on holdings, assessed at the 
rate of 7| per cent, on their annual valuation, which yielded 
Rs. 20,090, and from latrine rates (Rs. 8,51(5). The incidence of 
taxation was Re. 1-11-2 per head of the population ; and the 
total expenditure in the same year was Rs, 29,803. The town 
is ill-drained and its supply of drinking water is bad. It is also 
studded with shallow tanks, of which no less than 885 have been 
counted ; and it consequently suffers from epidemics of fever. The 
railway settlement at Liluah forms part of the municipahty, and 
has been formed into a semi-independent Ward Committee. A 
scheme for constructing water- works for the supply of water to 
riparian municipalities on the west bank of the Hooghly from 
Bally to Baidyabati has been prepared. 

Howrah is, next to Calcutta, the largest municipality in the Howrah. 
Province, and its administration is of special importance because 
of its metropolitan character and its close association with 
Calcutta. The terminus of two of the largest railway systems 
of India, and the home of many important industries, the adminis- 
tration of Howrah is, on a smaller scale, almost as difficult and 
arduous a task as that of its larger neighbour, Calcutta. Its 
Municipal Commissioners are the trustees of a current income 
falling little short of eight lakhs of rupees, nearly four times 
greater than that of any other individual mof ussil municipality. 
The water- works are the largest in the Province outside Calcutta ; 
its drainage system is the most extensive ; it is the possessor of 
a conservancy tramway ; electric tram Hues have been introduced 
and are to be still further extended with the ultimate objective 
of linking the tramway system with that of Calcutta. Briefly, 
the scale of its administration differs widely from that of an 
ordinary mofussil municipality ; and the lines on which its muni- 
cipal problems have to be dealt with resemble closely those 
followed in the metropolis. 

The area included in municipal limits is 8| square miles with 
a population in 1901 of 157,594 ; and the difficulties of adminis- 
tration are increased by the fact that a large proportion of the 
inhabitants consists of up-country immigrants who come to work 
on the railways or in the numerous mills and factories. They 
live in overcrowded bmtk and impose a heavy burden on drainage 
and conservancy. A further difficulty is presented by the 
numerous shallow tanks and pools — some eighteen hundred have 
been counted — which are rarely cleansed and form breeding 
grounds for malaria-bearing mosquitoes. The steps taken ot 
improve this state of affairs, and the arrangements made for the 

136 HOWRAH. 

drainage, conservancy and water-supply of this great city, have 
already been mentioned in Chapter IV. 

For some years past it has been found most difficult 
to meet the rapidly increasing demand for improved roads, 
sanitation, lighting and water-supply in a growing city with 
a nearly stationary income ; and a revaluation, carried out in 
face of considerable opposition, has recently been effected. It 
was found that many rate-payers had either escaped taxation 
altogether or had been under-assessed ; and the result of the 
revision of assessment, which took effect from the 1st April 1907, 
WAS to give a net increase of Rs. 2,21,814 in the taxation, 
representing an increase of 58'4 per cent, in the case of railways, 
of 56'6 per cent, in the case of private houses, of 20 per cent, in 
the case of mills and factories, and of 21 "9 per cent, in the case of 
the Port Commissioners and public holdings. The growth in the 
resources at the disposal of the Municipal Commissioners pro- 
duced by this revision will, it is hoped, lead to a higher standard 
of road maintenance and conservancy, the extension of the 
lighting and water-supply, the creation of new markets and public 
conveniences, and the completion of the drainage of the town. 

The revaluation showed that a great extension of business 
premises had taken place, that the population had increased by 
16 per cent., and that there had been in the last few years a 
remarkable rise in the value of land, rents being in some parts 
double what they were ten years ago. There is little doubt that 
this expansion will continue. Communications in Ilowrah itself, 
between Calcutta and Howrah, and between Hovvrah and the 
surrounding country, are being rapidly improved. A service of 
ferry steamers has been starterl, tram cars have commenced to 
run (from June 1908) over a portion of the proposed routes, and 
the introduction of the system of opening the Hooghly Bridge 
chiefly at night has furnished further facilities for uninterrupted 
communication with Calcutta. These improvements are expected 
to make Howrah more accessible to workers in Calcutta, to 
stimulate the expansion of wholesale trading on the south fore- 
shore, and to throw open for residential purposes the rural area in 
the south and west of the municipality. Further, improved 
services of trains on the East Indian, Bengal-NSgpur and 
Howrah-Amta Railways have made Howrah more accessible and 
convenient as a business centre, Avhile the construction of an 
overbridge on Iho East Indian Railway on the noiihern boundary 
of the municipality will, when complete, facilitate traffic between 
Howrali and tlie market gardens to the north. Finally, the 
Bcheme for the improvement of Calcutta, recently sanctioned by 



the Secretary of State, is bound to affect Howrah ; and when it is 
brought into operation it may be expected that the town, and 
especially its southern and western portions, will expand 

As regards the details of administration, the municipal area is 
divided into 10 wards and there are 30 Commissioners, of whom 
20 are elected, and ten are nominated, including four ex-officio 
members. There are 19,611 rate-payers or only 12*44 per cent, 
of the population — a low percentage which shows that Howrah 
is a town of the poor, a " cooly town" as it has been called. 
About two-thirds of the rate-payers are registered, and the elec- 
tions excite a fair amount of interest. At the last elections 
(in 1906-07) four of the wards were uncontested, but in the other 
six the percentage of voters voting varied from 32'5 per cent, in 
Ward II to 74'6 per cent, in "Ward X. 

The chief sources of income are (1) a tax on holdings, 
assessed at the rate of 7^ per cent, on their annual valuation, 
(2) a water-rate levied at the rate of 5 and 6 per cent., (3) a 
lighting rate at the rate of 3 per cent., and (4) latrine rates. 
The incidence of taxation is high ; in fact, it is the highest in any 
mofussil municipality except Darjeeling, being Es. 4-9 9 per 
head of the population in 1907-08. In that year the total income 
amounted to Rs. 7,97,177 (or inclusive of loans and deposits, 
Rs. 11,02,494) as against Rs. 2,94,813 in 1892-93, showing that 
the net income has been more than doubled in the last 15 years. 
The chief receipts were Rs. 2,46,502 from the tax on holdings, 
Rs. 1,85,599 from the water-rate, Rs. 1,99,392 from latrine 
rates, Rs. 76,189 from the lighting rate, and Rs. 54,738 from 
municipal property. The total expenditure in the same yeai 
amounted to Rs, 8,68,888, (excluding Rs. 1,83,022 expended 
from loan funds), or inclusive of repayment of loans, deposits, 
etc., Rs. 10,51,910. Altogether Rs. 26,84,000 had been taken as 
loans from Government, and the outstanding loans at the end 
of the year amounted to more than 20 lakhs (Rs. 20,09,364). 

138 HOWRAH. 




iNDiGEN- Under native rule elementary instruction was given in pdth- 
nhalm and i)iak/nh--<, nearly every important village with a number 
of higher class Uiudu families having its pdthshdld, and where 

Pafhshdids Muhammadans congregated, its ninkfab. In the Hindu pdthshdld 

andmak- ^-^^ teacher {(inru nmhdsaij'i) was a poor Kayasth or less often a 
Brahman, who was usually paid in kind, or was given a contribu- 
tion in cowries by each boy's family, and also got a small share 
of grain at harvest time. The school was held in his hut, and 
often in fine weather under some tree in the village. Here the 
boys were taught reading, writing and mental arithmetic. They 
practised writing with ink on palm or plantain leaves, or with 
chalk on the floor, and after they had learnt the Bengali alphabet, 
some small collections of verses were committed to memory. 
Particular attention was paid to mental arithmetic and mensuration, 
the boys learning by heart the verses of one Bhriguram Das, 
better known as the Subhnnkari, which contain formulas for cal- 
culating arithmetical figures, interest, land measurements, etc. 
Boys were sent to the pd(hs/idli in their fifth year and stayed 
there tln:ee to six years. In maktabs, the teacher {dkhnngi) taught 
arithmetic and the rudiments of Persian or Urdu, the boys writ- 
ing not only on leaves but also on country paper. The bulk of 
the pupils finished their education in these elementary schools, 
and then followed their hereditary occupations. Many of the 
Kayasths went on to the landlords' kachhark and learnt zamindari 
accounts, thus qualifying for employment as writers or gumdiihtas 
(agents). A few read at homo the vernacular versions of the 
epics or Puranas, while Brahmans studied the rudiments of Sans- 
krit under some pandit in the neighbourhood, and thus qualified 
tliomselvcs for the priesthood. 

ToU. The more ambitious of the Brahmans, however, were not so 

easily satisfied and studied at one or other of the educational 
centres in Bengal containing ioh or Sanskrit colleges. The most 
famous of those were at Nadia and in its neighbourhood; but 
there were smaller circles at Bally in this district, Bansberia and 
Khanakul in the ilooghly district, Bhatpara in the 24-Pargauas, 


Bhangamoda in Burdwan, etc. The students resided in the house 
of some learned jxiiidiis and were treated as members of the 
family, doing domestic work, and if they had means, contributing 
to the cost of the household. Every pupil learnt grammar in the 
first instance for some years, and then read some easy literary 
works. After this he selected some special subject for study, 
usually higher literature, Nydiia or logic, and Sinriti or law. The 
whole period of learning lasted usually from eight to sixteen 
years. After finishing the course, many went on a tour to com- 
plete their studies, visiting Mithila (Darbhanga) to learn Darshana 
or philosophy aud law, and Benares for grammar, rhetoric and 
the Vedas. On returning home, many of them set up small tola 
in their own houses 

Well-to-do Musalmans sent promising boys to madratas, Madratas. 
which were established at nearly all the headquarters of the 
local Governors. These institutions date back to the beginning 
of Muhammadan rule in Bengal, for we find that Muhammad- 
i-Bakhtiyar Khilji and his Amirs set up madrasas at Lakhnauti, 
and in 1313 A. D. Zafar Khan built one at Tribeni. They were 
usually attached to some mosque and were often liberally endowed. 
The students had lodging and boarding free, though contributions 
were frequently made by those whose parents were better-off. 
The pupils were taught the Koran and Persian classics by Maul vis, 
while special instruction was also given in the Radls or Musalman 
law and in Arabic literature. 

No special arrangements appear to have been made for female Female 
education. Hindu girls of a tender age often attended pdthshdlds, education, 
but few were permitted to go there after seven or eight years of age. 
The Muhammadans were stricter and apparently did not permit 
them to go to any maktab, but many of the more affluent allowed 
their girls to be taught at home. Among the Kayasths and 
Brahmans, a few managed to learn Bengali or Sanskrit at home. 
The Vaishnavas were more liberal-minded, allowing girls and 
even elderly ladies to read and write ; indeed, there were several 
poetesses among them. 

In the early days of British rule, several schools for Indian Pbogress 
boys were started by missionaries. First we find that in 1786 °ojjj,gjj 
the Revd. David Brown, the then Superintendent of the Bengal bduca- 
Military Orphanage, started a boarding school for young Hindus '^^°^' 
in Howrah. Mr. Brown himself paid Us. 1,800 for the site and English 

— sctiools 

building ; but the school collapsed on his removal from Howrah 
in 1788.* The Serampore Baptist missionaries next opened bazar 

* H. B. Hyde, Parochial Annals of Bengal, pp. 251-2, 

140 HOWRAH. 

schools in Howrah and S&lkhia in 1793, and in 1820 set up a 
regular English school for Indian boys. The first Government 
aided English school was opened in 1845, on the application of 
nearly two hundred Hindu parents. Nearly Rs. 4,000 were 
subscribed locally for the building, and Government granted 
a site of 2^ big/ids to the east of the Salt Office on the maicidn. 
The school was managed by a local committee, with the Magis- 
trate as president, and began to send up students for the Entrance 
Examination in 1858, the year after the foundation of the Uni- 
versity. The first English school under Indian management 
appears to have been started at Salkhia in 1855 through the public 
spirit of a inul<litdr. It received a monthly grant of Us. 87 
from Government in 1857, and began to send up students for the 
Entrance Examination in 1859. Other schools were started 
shortly aftei'wards in various parts of the town and also in the 
interior, English schools, aided or unaided, being established at 
Audul, Baguau, Mugkalyiin and Ami a before 1870-71. 
Verua- Missionurios were also the first to start vernacular schools. In 

cular 1818 the Christian Knowledge Society began to open a number 

of vernacular schools, which were grouped into circles, one such 
circle being located in Howrah district. In 1824 the Howrah 
circle had six schools extending from Sibpur to Bally, and in 
1827 an additional school was opened at Baiitra in Howrah town. 
It is not known when the Government opened its own vernacular 
schools ; but in 1856-57 six such institutions were reported as 
in existence. The first vernacular school under Indian manage- 
ment was established in SantragSchhi in 1857 with the aid of a 
Government grant. 
Special Schools for European and Eurasian children were opened in 

Bchwia t}^Q early years of British administration. The earliest that can 
be traced was the Bengal Military Orphan Asylum, intended for 
the education of the orphans of soldiers. This school was 
managed by a committee and received from Government an 
allowance of lis. '6 (subsequently raised to Kb. 6) for each orphan. 
Originally located at Dakshineswar in the 24-rargauas, it 
was transferred in 1785 to Lovett's house at Howrah, a site 
now occupied by the Courts. It contained 500 children, and 
its first Superintendent was the Revd. David Brown, who when 
an undergraduate at Cambridge was offered the appointment 
on condition that within two months he took Holy Orders and 
married. He fulfilled both conditions and took over charge in 
1786 ; but his services were dispensed with in 1788, because he 
gave up too much time to his work aa Garrison Chaplain and to 
preaching at the Miflaion Church. In 1790 the wards of the 



upper school were removed to Banvell's old house at Alipore, 
and in 1815 those of the lower school to Barasat in consequence 
of an outbreak of opthalmia. From an advertisement in the 
Calcutta Gazette of 1807 we find that " the girls were taught, 
among other accomplishments, embroidery or chicundoz work," 
and orders for needle-work were asked for by the Secretary.* 

Other attempts to found schools were made, chiefly by mis- 
sionaries, but were unsuccessful. A boarding school for European 
and Eurasian boys was opened in 1821 by Mr, Statham, the first 
Baptist missionary resident at Howrah, and a free school in 1842 
by another Baptist missionary, the Revd. T. Morgan ; but both 
had to be closed, the first after six, and the second after sixteen 
years. Several other schools started by ladies in 1860 and 1861 
also failed. At length, with the help of grants from the Govern- 
ment and the East Indian Railway Company, of private subscrip- 
tions, and a sum of Rs. 15,000 realised from a fancy fair, 
St. '.Phomas' School was opened in 1864. This school is located in 
a fine building on the Grand Trunk Road opposite the maiddn. 

Missionaries also took the lead in regard to collegiate edu- Coliegeg. 
cation. Bishop's College, which was intended to serve as a 
Missionary College, was opened at Sibpur in 1824 owing mainly 
to the zeal of Bishop Middleton for the missionary cause. 
Government gave it 62 bifjhds of land, but other expenses were 
met chiefly by the Missionary Societies. The buildings are now 
occupied by the Civil Engineering College. This College was 
first started in 1856 under the control of the Public Works 
Department, when it was located in Writers' Buildings, Calcutta. 
In 1864 it was transferred to the charge of the Education 
Department and moved to the Presidency College. In 1880 the 
institution was made independent and removed to Sibpur. It 
is now the centre of technical education in Bengal, with six 
affiliated schools in Eastern Bengal and five in Bengal ; and the 
course of teachiog, formerly confined to mechanical engineering, 
has been extended by means of special classes in electrical and 
mining engineering and industrial chemistry. 

The educational activity of the Serampore missionaries also q\j\^' 
displayed itself in female education. They appear to have been tugiiah 
the first to open a school for Indian girls at Howrah (in 1820), ^' °°*' 
and in 1839 the Misses Hampton had a similar school. The first 
native girls' school under Indian management was established at 
Santragachhi in 1863 with a small grant-in-aid from Government. 

* H. B. iJyde, Parochial Annals of Bengal, pp. 246-52; Selections, Vol. IV, 
p. 429. 

142 HOWRAH. 

It was followed Bhoi'tly after by other girls' schools at Sibpur 
and Salkhia, and a little later at Bally. By 1870-71 the well- 
known Hitakilri Sabha of Uttarpara began its course of examina- 
tioDB for gills. 
PRB3BNT The statistics obtained at the census of 1901 show that at the 

EDucA- present day Howrah is the most advanced district in BeDgal 
TioN. from an educational point of view. No less than 98,001 or 11*5 
per cent, of the population were returned as literate, i.e., able to 
read and write some language, while 17,90o could read and 
write in English. Among males 21*2 per cent, were literate 
— the highest proportion for any district in the Province — and 
among females 1'2 per cent., a proportion exceeded iu only three 
other districts, viz., Hooghly, the 24-Parganas and Darjeeling, 
where conditions are exceptional owing to the number of European 
residents and visitors. As regards knowledge of English, Howrah 
was facile princepi^, 38 "9 males and 2 females in every thousand 
being returned as literate in that language. It is somewhat 
surprising that outside the municipalities the highest percentage 
of those able to read and write is returned for Syampur thana, 
where Brahmans and Kayasths are proportionately few and the 
principal caste consists of Kaibarttas, who are not known to have 
any predilectioa for letters. 

The advance made in recent years is apparent from the fact 
that in 1891 only 17*9 per cent, of the male population were re- 
tiimed as literate, while only 7 per mille of the female population 
could read and write. Similar evidence of progress is afforded by 
the returns prepared by the Education Department. The number 
of public educational institutions rose from 859 in 1892-93 to 
894 in 1907-08, and of pupils from 33,200 to 39,535, while the 
percentage of boys to the male population of school-going age 
advanced from 56'8 per cent, to 59*4 per cent. The number of 
Musalraan pupils in schools of all classes increased from 3,674 to 
5,333, of whom 5*7 per cent, were in secondary schools, 79*0 
in primary schools and 13'fi per cent, in inokt(ib>i. The inspecting 
staff in 1907-08 consists of three Deputy Inspectors, six Sub- 
Inspectors, two Assietant Sub-Inspectors and five Inspecting 
Collegiate 'Ihe Only college in the district is the Civil Engineering 
e.iu(utioD. College at Sibpur, which on the 31st March 1908 had 349 
students on the rolls. It is divided into two departments, the 
Engineer Department and the Apprentice Department. The 
former is intended for the training of engineers for the Public 
Works Department and other Government bodies ; the latter for 
training men to fill subordinate ranks of the Public Works 


Department and to carry out similar duties under public or 
private bodies. In ] 'J 07 the number of students being trained 
in these two Departments was 94 and 233 respectively. 

In the Engiueey Department prominence is given to practical 
work in the workshops and science laboratories. The qualification 
for admission is the Intermediate Examination of the Calcutta 
University or its equivalent ; and the course, which is for four 
years, leads to the Calcutta University degree of Bachelor of 
Engineering in Civil Engineering. 

In the Apprentice Department there are three courses of 
instruction, viz., (1) the sub-overseer course for two yeara, (2) the 
overseer course for another 2 years, and (3) a course of practical 
workshop training extending over about 16 months. An exami- 
nation is held at the end of the Fub- overseer course, and the 
successful candidate receives a certificate showing that he possesses 
the qualifications required for a sub-overseer in the Public 
Works Department. Having passed the sub-overseer examina- 
tion, the student proceeds t o the overseer course, which is offered in 
two branches, viz., (1) general engineering, leading to an overseer 
certificate, and (2) mining, leading to the Government of India 
diploma in the principles of mining. The practical workshop 
training is for the general branch only and leads to the certificate 
of foreman mechanic or upper subordinate. 

A third branch of work consists of industrial classes in the 
various workshops, viz., carpenters, blacksmiths, fitters, turners, 
pattern-making and founding in iron and brass. For the first 
year the student attends the carpentry shop ; in the second, the 
smith- shop ; in the third, the pattern-making and foundry shop ; 
in the fourth year, the fitting shop. The fifth year is devoted to 
all-round practical training. 

Among recent developments may be mentioned the establish- 
ment in 1896 of a special course for electrical training and of 
mining classes in 1905. A student who has passed the sub- 
overseer standard may join the classes for a specialized course of 
two years, six weeks of each year being spent in a mining 
district, in the study of mining survey, and in practical 
training. A scheme has also been inaugurated for providing 
instruction in mining for assistants and others employed in the 
Bengal colliery districts, and a special Mining Advisory Board 
has been attached to the college. Since November 1906 there 
has been a regular course of instruction at colliery centres, 
viz., Sanctoria and Charanpur in the Ramganj coal-field and 
Jheiria and Sijua in the Jherria field. A further development 
of some interest has been the establishment of o, class for training 




motor-driver meclianics, the course of instruction including both 
maintenance and driving. 

It has recently been decided to remove the college to Ranchi, 
on account of the general unhealthiness and unsuitability of the 

There are no less than 59 secondary schools in the district, 
including 26 High English schools, 27 Middle English schools 
and 6 Middle Vernacular schools. Considering the size of the 
district, the number is unusually large, representing approxi- 
mately one secondary school for every eight square miles. Of the 
High English schools, eight are situated in Howrah, one in Bally 
and 17 in the mofussil. Seven (five in Howrah and two in 
the Uluberia subdivision) are unaided; 18 receive grants-in- 
aid from public funds; and one, the Howrah Zila school, is 
maintained jointly by the District Board and the Municipality. 
The number of pupils attending these schools increased from 
3,601 in 1892-93 to 5,162 in 1907-08, when the total expenditure 
was Rs. 90,395, of which Rs. 7,580 or 8*3 per cent, were derived 
from public funds and the rest from fees, endowments and 
subscriptions. The following table gives the salient statistics for 
the High schools in 1907-08. 

Maintained hy District Board and Municipality. 

School . 

Howrah Zila school ,.. 

of pupils. 







Bally (Rivers Thompson) ... 


Howrah Bible ... 


Jaypur (Fakirdaa Institution) 

Jhapardah (Duke Institution) 

of pupils. 
. 132 
. 19S 
. 151 
. 101 


Jliinkra ... 

Maju (R. N. Bose's) 


Narit (Nyayaratna Institution) 




Siisati (Nahala Abinash) 

Salkhia (A. S. School) 

of pupils. 
.. 115 
.. 217 


Bantra ... ... 30G 

Bantra (Belileo's Institution) 250 

Howrah (Ripon Collegiate) ... 369 

Salkliia (Hindu) 



Of the Middle English schools, one is managed by the 
District Board, 21 are aided and 5 are unaided. They had 
1,945 boys on the [rolls in 1907-08, as against 1,728 in 1892-93, 


when there were 23 such schools. Of tlie Middle Vernacular 
schools, five are aided and one is unaided, and the attendance in 
1907-08 was 629 pupils as against 1,002 (in 11 schools) in 1892- 
93. The total cost in 1907-08 of Middle English schools was 
Es. 22,858 and of Middle Vernacular schools lis. 5,425— in all 
Rb. 28,383, of which Es. 5,885 or 20 "9 per cent, were paid from 
public funds. 

Primary education is given in two classes of schools. Upper Primary 
and Lower Primary schools. In 1 907-08 there were 68 Upper '*^''"'^''^- 
Primary schools for boys and 634 Lower Primary schools, with 
an attendance of 30,230 boys and 802 girls. The total expendi- 
ture in that 3 ear was Es. 78,726, of which 21 per cent. 
(Es. 16,637) was derived from public funds, while 71*6 per cent, 
was reaHsed from fees. Including the pupils attending Primary 
schools for girls, the total number taught in Primary schools was 
33,313 as against 26,284 in 1892-93, representing an increase of 
26'8 per cent, in fifteen years, although the number of schools 
remained practically stationary, being 772 as against 773 in 

In 1907-08 there were 71 girls' schools, of which one (the Qiris' 
Baniban School) was a Middle English school, while 11 were ^''b'^''^^' 
Upper Primary and 59 Lower Primary schools. The total 
number of pupils attending these schools, including a few young 
boys, was 2,317. Excluding the boys, and adding the girls 
reading in boys' schools, the total number of girls under 
instruction in 1907-08 was 3,186. Sixty-seven girls' schools 
received aid, and four Lower Primary schools were unaided. 
The total cost amounted to Es. 11,342, of which Es. 2,418 
were paid from Provincial revenues, Es. 2,159 by the District 
Board, Es. 1,135 from Municipal funds and Es. 5,630 from 
private sources. No fees were charged in any girl's schools 
except in the Baniban Middle English school and the Mission 
schools, but only Es. 641 were thus realised. The Mission schools 
generally prepare candidates for the Calcutta Standard Examina- 
tion ; but the other schools send up pupils for the examinations 
conducted by the Uttarpara Hitakari Sabha. 

At the Carriage and Wagon Workshops of the East Indian Special 
Railway at Liluah there is a technical school for apprentices. ^^ '^'^ "' 
With this exception, there is no separate technical or industrial 
school in the district, but the District Board and Howrah Muni- 
cipality make contributions for the grant of scholarships tenable at 
the artisan class of the Sibpur Engineering College. 

There are 19 toh and 28 maktabs with 866 pupils. Of these, 
eight toh receive small grants-in-aid, seven from the Howrah and 


146 HOWRAH. 

two from the Bally Municipality, wliile 18 nmktaha are aided, m., 
10 from the special Government allotment and two from the 
lIo-wTah Municipality. There are also 14 nnaided indigenous 
schools, including /o/.s, niahinh^ and Korto schools, with 376 

Eleven night schools, i.e,, Primary schools attended by adult 
labourers and cultivators in the evening after their day's work, 
ore in existence, and had 189 pupils on the rolls in 1907-08. 
For training ijiiruti or Primary Sfhool teachers, four schools were 
started in 1907-08, two in each subdivision, at which 45 teachers 
were instructed. Three students' hostels are maintained, all of 
which are self-supporting. 
Europoiiii There are four European schools in the district with 287 

education. ^^^^^-^^ ^^ ^^^ ^.^^l^ ^^ 3^^^ Mnxoh. 1908, viz., St. Aloysius' School 

(71 pupils), St. Agnes' School (77), St. Thomas' School (45), and 
St. Elizabeth's School (94). 
MiflcKL- Fifteen public libraries are reported, all kept, up by local subs- 

criptions except one at Bally and anotlier at Belur, which receive 
small grants from the Bally Municipality. There are also 
several reading rooms in the town and in the interior. The 
library of the llovvrah Institute, which is managed by a 
committee of European gentlemen, is said to be a useful institu- 
tion, while the Public Libraries at liowrah and Bally and the 
Friends' Union Club at Sibpur are growing in importance. 
The other libraries call for no special notice, containing 
mainly novels. Some are maintained fro?u a percentage 
on the sale of sweep-stake tickets. Two weekly papers, the 
Honrah Uiloishi published in Bengali, and Truth published 
in English, are issued to a limited })ublic. There are a number of 
printing presses in liowrah town, of which the most important 
are the Caledonia Steam I'riuting Press, the Municipal Press 
and the East Indian llailway Press. Tlie oldest press in the 
district wtis probably the Euoyclopoedia Press at Bishop's College, 
which can be traced back to 185'J. At tliis press religious books 
and missionary reports Avore printed, among others the Sniydrnaba 
of the llevd. K. M. Banerjeo. Among social and political 
instil utions may be mentioned the Kaie-payors' Assooiaticm at 
liowrah, a branch of the Indian Association at Uluboria, the 
Sadharani Sablia at Bally, and a branch of the Calcutta Aniisilan 
Samiti at Phuleswar in the Uluberia subdivision. 




Amta.~A villago in Uio uortli-eastof the Uluberia subdivision, 
eituaiod on ilui lofl bank of ilio Djiiuodar rivor, 'M niilos I'roin 
llowrah by rail and !J(> miloa by road. It is eouuootod willi Iho 
latter placo by llio Ilowrah-Amtft liailway, of which it is the 
torniinus. Amta is tlio ]ioad(iii!irlt)r8 of an Union Coniniiltoo, and 
may bo roganU'd for practical purposes us consistiug of a group 
of villages about a mile and a half long north to south aud a mile 
broad. It ooniains u Munsif's court, a court of Honorary 
Magistrates, a sub-rogistry ollico, ])olice staiion, post ollice, 
charil able dispensary, a 1 ligh l^]iiglish soliool founded by the late 
Babu IMtanibar (!1uikraviiili, with u ]»ubli(! library aiiaclicd, and 
a i'ulili(i Works l)t>partniont bungalow. JSuveral of its roads aro 
brick-paved. It is protected from the Dslmodar floods by a liigh 
Government embankment, and from (loods in 11m upland basins by 
a /^^AvJv;' enibankmeni buill along Iho lelY bank of the Madari4 
h'/iaL It is fairly free from the malaria ihat prevails iu the north 
aud norlb-west of ilie tliana. 

Amta has long been an important ceniro of Irade, formerly 
it contained miiny smII, and coal depots, being au entrepdt for salt 
brought from Midna}>oi'e and coal brought from tlie Ranigani coal- 
lield. The Damodar tln^i formed a broad higl\way of commerce, 
bearing hundreds of <^argo boats ; a memorial of this time still 
exists in tlie name ham far, i.e., ])ort, given \o a part of Ihe river 
bank. The railways have killed the river-borne irade in salt 
and coal ; but, on the other hand, the trade in paddy and straw, 
carried i)artly by boats and ]»;irtly by rail, has (lonrished, and there 
nre also large exports to llowiah of jute, vegetables and iish. 
Brown country jiapcu' used to be manufactured here, but this 
industry has been cruHhed by the pressure of competition. 

Among Hindus the plaee is best known for a temple dedicated 
to Melai Chandi, a goddess mentioned in 'Jhandi, a ))oem >vritteu 
by Kavlkankan -UX) yearn ago. Tradition says that her shrine was 
originally at Jayant i, a placu; on the otlua* side of the river, about, 
a mile from its present site. It marked one of the fifty-two 

148 HOWRAH. 

tirt/'ns sanctified by receiving portions of the dismembered body 
of Sat! (Diirga), being the spot on which her knee-joint 
fell. Her worshippers had to cross the river to reach the shrine, 
and this caused no Uttle inconvenience, especially when the 
country was flooded in the rains. An ancestor of the present 
seljdits, therefore, prayed that the goddess would take pity on her 
votaries and come to Amta, The goddess appeared to him in a 
dream and granted his prayer ; and next day her image was found at 
the foot of a tree near the site of the present High school. A 
temple was next built by a merchant, whose salt boats had sunk in 
the river near Amta, He vowed that, if the boats were restored, 
he would erect a temple over the image. They were raised 
miraculously with the cargo undamaged, and the grateful merchant 
built the present temple. It has a Bengali inscription in two 
lines on the outside at a height of about ten feet above the plinth. 
Owing to frequent coats of whitewash, it is somewhat illegible, but 
is said to ascribe the building of the temple to a Karmakar in the 
year 1056 of the Bengali era, i.e., 260 years ago. The temple has 
a marble floor and a roof of the usual Bengali type. The image 
IE in stone, 3^ feet high, with a vermiKon-painted face. In the 
ame enclosure stands another temple of Siva with a roof of the 
Bengali style of architecture, which was built at the expense of the 
late Babu Madanmohan Datta of llatkhola, Calcutta. The 
temple has a valuable endowment {debottar) of about a thousand 
big has of land, a part of which is occupied by a bazar, the largest 
in the district outside Howrah. 

There are several important villages with High English schools 
in the jurisdiction of Amta thana, such aa Raspur, Jaypur, Panpur, 
Jhinkra, and Narit, the home of the late Pandit Mahesh Chandra 
Nyayaratna. Other places which may be mentioned are Pandua, 
with the ruins of a fort on the Kan a Nadi, which was the home of 
the well-known poet Bharat Chandra Rai, wliose ability won for 
him the title of Guuakar, i.e.,i\ie mine of talents (1712-1760 A.D.); 
Amragori with a charitable dispensary chiefly maintained from an 
endowment given by the late Babu Iswar Chandra Hazra ; 
Bautra, the home of Babu Jiban Krishna Hai, said to be the 
richest Kaibartta in the subdivision ; and Bhatora on the Riip- 
narayan river with a police beat-house. 

Audul. — A village in the Howrah subdivision, situated on the 
right bank of the old Saraswati river, 4 miles west by road of 
Howrah town. It is connected with Andul station on the Bengal- 
Nitgpur Railway by a road a mile and a half long. Speaking 
generally, Audul may be taken as including Mahiari (Mauri) 
and several other villages, and thus covers Q,n area of about a 


square mile aud a half. Andul itself has a High English school 
and a considerable daily bazar, while a post office is situated at 
Mahiari, where an important //a^ is held, the chief articles sold 
being paddy, coconuts, eto. At the latter place there is a high 
brick tower with five storie?, about 165 feet in height, the top of 
which can be reached by a long series of steps inside. This 
tower is one of several erected in the early days of British rule 
for semaphore signalling before the introduction of the electric 
telegraph. Another neighbouring village, Argoria, was once 
noted for its fine cotton dinitis. 

Andul is of local importance owing to its being the head- 
quarters of well-to-do families, such as the Malliks and Mitras of 
Andul and the Kundu-Chaudhris of Mahiari. The founder of 
the Mallik family was Gaur Charaii Mallik, who settled at Andul 
when the district was under Muhammadan rule. His grandson 
Kasi Nath, is said to have been appointed D'nodn of Outtack in 
the time of Lord Comwallis and secured lands in that district. 
He next became head inuk/ifdr of Maharaja Tejchandra of 
Burdwan, and his services were rewarded by a grant of the bulk 
of Nawabpur Mahal in Howrah. His son, Jagannath Prasad, 
left three sons, Jogendra Nath, Nagendra Nath and Khagendra 
Nath, besides two daughters. Jogendra Nath built a large house 
with grounds attached known as the Qoldb-bdg or rose garden, 
which may still be seen at Andul. He also opened a vernacular 
school in 1848, which was subsequently raised to the status of a 
High English school and still exists. He was a good scholar, and 
several small compositions of his in Sanskrit are known. He 
died childless in 1884, and his two brothers left no sons. The 
property being heavily mortgaged was then sold and bought by 
Mati Lai Sil. 

The founder of the Mitra zamindari was Diwan Ram Chandra 
Rai, who, according to the family chronicles, served under Lord 
Olive. At the instance of Olive, it is said, the Emperor Shah 
Alam conferred on his son Ram Lochan the title of Raja -with a 
command of 4,000 troops in 1765. The latter started a local 
era called Anduldbda, beginning in 1771 A.D., for observance in 
his estates. Ram Lochan's grandson, Rajnarayan Rai, was a 
liberal patron of Indian music ; and in 183(5 Lord Auckland 
recognized his title of Raja, and bestowed on him a dress of 
honour with a jewelled sword and dagger. His son Bijay Keshab 
Rai died childless, but gave permission to both his widows to 
adopt. Both adopted boys, and litigation followed, the Privy 
Council ultimately liolding the adoptions illegal. The property, 
heavily burdened with the cost of litigation, was inherited by 

160 HOWRAH. 

the daughter's son, the late Babu Kshetra Krishna Mitra, who 
died in 1907 leaving two sons, Upendra Nath and Nagendra 
Nath. Their house, adorned with high columns, is one of the 
sights of Andul.* 

The third family, the Kundu-Chaudhris of Mahiari, were 
originally traders and money-lenders who gradually attained the 
dignity of zamindars. Tekauri Datta, who was the first to settle 
at Mahiari, acquired the estate of parrjanr: Muzaffarpur; and his 
descendants, Babu Kedar Nath Kundu, Babu Hiraman Kundu 
and others, still combine money-lending with zamindari.t 

Bagnan. — Village and headquarters of a thana in the 
Uluberia subdivision, situated 12 miles from Uluberia and a 
quarter of a mile from the Bengal-Nagpur Eailway station of 
the same name. It is situated on the Orissa Trunk Road, and 
contains a High English school and post office. Two miles to 
the east, on the other side of the JJamodar, is Mahishrekha, 
which was for twenty years the headquarters of the subdivision, 
until it was removed to Uluberia in 1883-84. Traces of its 
former importance are found in a ferry, a post office and a large 
Public Works Department bungalow. Excellent snipe shooting 
can be had here. Other noti(!eablo villages are I'anitras and 
Mugkalyan with High English schools, and Agunshe, the home 
of the late Mr. Justice Dwarka Nath Mitra. 

Bally (Bali).— A town in the Howrah subdivision, situated 
on the right bank of the Hooghly. It forms a continuation of 
Howrah City northwards up to the Bally K/id/, and in 1901 it 
had a population of 18,662, as compared with 13,715 in 1872. 
Many of the inhabitants are immigrants, as may be gathered from 
the fact that the increase since 1872 occurred almost exclusively 
among the male population, and that more than 60 per cent, were 
born outside the district. The majority of the inhabitants are 
Hindus, the Muhammadans representing only 13 per cent. 

The name is evidently derived from the accumulations of 
sand (bah) deposited by the river. It is an old place, mentioned 
in Cluinch, a poem composed by Kavikankan 300 years ago, 
and in Bengali poems of the 17th and 18th centuries; it 
also api^ears in Rennell's Atlas (Tlates VII and XIX). It 
was a stronghold of Brahmanism, having several tch and being 
inhabited by many Rarhi Brahmans. The almanacs issued by 
its Acharyas or astrologers were much in vogue before the days 
of printing. Tradition relates that some of its Brahmans stood 

* A Brief Rislory of the Andul Rctj, lOOU. 

t Much of the above iiiforuiation has been kindlj supplied by Babu Nibaraa 
Chandra Ghatak, Deputy Magigtrate, Howrah. 



round the scaffold on which Nand Kumar was hanged in 1775, 
and, to quote from Macaulay's essay on AVarren Hastings, horrified 
at the execution of their fellow Brahman " fled with loud wailings 
towards the Hooghly and plunged into its holy waters, as if to 
purify themselves from the guilt of having looked on such a 
crime." They then, so the story runs, returned to Bally and 
took a vow never to set foot in the city which had been polluted 
by the hanging of a Brahman, It is said that this oath was 
religiously observed for many years, but, according to an article 
written in 1848, ''the necessities of trade and other causes have 
long since rendered their resolution nugatory." In the begin- 
ning of the nineteenth century the place became a den of thieves, 
robbers and dacoits, whose depredations continued until they 
were checked by the Dacoity Department in the middle of that 

Bally formed a part of the Howrah Municipality until 1882-83, 
when BaUy, Belur, Barrackpore t-nd a part of Ghusuri were 
formed into a distinct municipality under the name of Bally with 
an area of about 2 square miles. The chief industrial concern is 
the Bally Mill on the creek close to the railway station. Origi- 
nally (in 1839) a sugar factory, it passed through various hands 
until purchased by the Borneo Company, which converted it into 
a paper mill, long known as the Bally Paper Mill. In 1906 
the paper works were sold to Messrs. Heilger & Co., the site 
being utilized for a branch mill of the Baranagar Jute Mill 
Company. On the other side of the railway line a bone mill has 
been recently started ; and at Belur on the river bank is a masonry 
building with a compound occupied by the Ramkrishna Mission. 
Here an annual meld is held on the anniversary of the death of 
Eamkrishna Paramhansa. Among other institutions may be 
mentioned a police station, a post office, a High English school 
and a charitable dispensary. 

Bator.— One of the quarters of Howrah city, which is men- 
tioned in early works long before Howrah itself. A reference to 
it appears as early as 1495 in a Bengali poem by one Bipradas. 
The hero of the poem, Chand Saudagar, was rowed in his boat down 
the Bhagirathi, keeping Ariadaha on the east and Ghusuri on the 
west, after which he arrived at Bator, where he worshipped its 
presiding goddess Betai Chandi. Bator was apparently, therefore, 
situated along the reach of the river, extending from Shalimar 
Point to the Sibpur Engineering College ; and the deep stream 
probably ran close to the bank. Later it became an entrepot of 
European trade up to which sea-going vessels sailed, while from 
it boats and smaller sloops went further up the Hooghly, returning 

l52 HOWRAiJ. 

with cargoes. From the account left by Cesare Federici, who visited 
Bator in 1575, it appears that a large temporary mart (the 
modern hat) was lield here during the winter months, many 
thatched huts being built for the time and a brisk trade carried 
on. His account will be found in Chapter II, and need not 
therefore be reproduced here. 

Bator was subsequently abandoned by the European traders. 
The Portugese removed their trade to Ilooghly town ; the Dutch 
to Baranagar and Chinsura ; the French to Chandernagore ; the 
EngUsh at first to Ilooghly and then to Calcutta. Hence Bator, 
which was shewn as an important place in the maps of De Barros 
(15o2-1613) and Blaev (1645-50), disappears from the maps of 
the second half of the seventeenth century downwards except 
Rennell's. Its abandonment as a haven may have been due 
partly to a change in the course of the river, the deep stream 
flowing on the east side instead of the west. The village, 
however, survived, and was one of those for the inclusion of 
which in their zamindari the English administration of Fort 
AVilliam made an application to the Emperor Farrukhsiyar in 
May 1714.* It now app9ar.s under the name lihatore in the 
latest survey maps. 

Bauria. — A village, situated 4^ miles above Uluberia, and 
12 miles by road and 15 miles by rail from Ilowrah. It is an 
old place, being found in Rennell's Atlas (^Plate XIX), while 
adjoining it on the north was Fort Grloster with some powder 
mills (Plates VII and XIX). It contains an independent police 
outpost and a post office ; but it is best known for its mills, the 
Fort Gloster Jute Mills, Bauria Cotton iMills, and Lawrence Jute 
Mills. The first two are connected with the railway station by a 
siding. The new boundary pillar of the Port Commissioners is 
located just above the Lawrence Jute Mills. The Bauria Cotton 
Mills are said to be the oldest in India, having started work in 
1817 or 1H22. 

Bhot-bagan. —A part of Ghusuri, in Ilowrah city, situated a 
little to the north of Salkhia. The name moans the Tibetan 
garden and is duo to the tact that it contains an old Tibetan 
temple or monastery, called the Bhot-Mandir or Bhot-Math. The 
building has an interesting history, liaving been established by 
Warren Hastings at the request of the Tashi Lama of Tibet. In 
1772 the Blmtanese invaded Cooch Behar, where they captured and 
carried off the Raja. A punitive force sent by the British defeated 
the Bhutanese, at the request of whose Chief tlie Tashi Lama 

<- C. K. Wilson, Earhj Annals of the English in Bengal, Vol. II, p. 172. 


interceded and sent an envoy to Warren Hastings. Quick to 
grasp this opportunity of opening up trade witli Tibet, Warren Hast- 
ings in 1774 despatched a mission under Mr. Bogle to negotiate 
with the Tashi Lama, whom he believed to be the chief pontiff of 
that priest-ridden coimtry. At Tashihimpo, Bogle, a man of con- 
siderable tact, had a friendly reception. The Tashi Lama, on his 
part, asked that he might be given a place on the banks of the 
Ganges— a river sacred to Buddhists as well as Hindus — to which 
he might send his people to pray. Bogle returned in 1775, 
and Warren Hastings at once granted a site for the Tibetan 
temple, and had it built under the supervision of Bogle. When 
it was complete, the Tashi Lama sent down Tibetan images and 
sacred books, to be enshrined in it, and assigned the land and 
temple to a Saivite sannydsl named Puran Gir Gosain. 

Puran Gir, who had a reputation for piety and integrity, was in 
the confidence of both the Tibetans and the British. He was the 
envoy of the Tashi Lama, when he interceded for the Bhutanese 
in 1778, bringing talents of gold and silver, gold dust and musk. 
He accompanied Bogie on his mission next year, and when the 
Tashi Lama went to the court of the Emperor of China, Puran 
Gir Gosain went with him. From Pekin he returned to Calcutta 
with the news that the Lama had died of small-pox while at the 
Chinese Court in 178 L He next accompanied the Turner 
Mission to the new Tashi Lama in 1783 ; and in 1785 Warren 
Hastings made bim his accredited agent to the latter. After 
his return in 1785, he settled as Mahant or abbot at the 
Bhot-bagan monastery, which was regularly used by Tibetan 
traders visiting Calcutta, for whom he built rest-houses. The 
fame of the monastery treasures brought about his death, for 
in 1795 it was attacked by a band of dacoits, whom Puran Gir 
gallantly resisted until he was pierced through by a spear. 
Four of the dacoits were caught and hanged on a gallows set up 
in the monastery. The next Maliaid was Daljit Gir, and his 
successors were Kalit Gir, Bilas Gir and Umrao Gir. The present 
Mahant, Trilokh Chandra Gir, was elected in 1905 by the other 
Dasndml Mahants of Bengal, of whom the most influential was 
the Mahant of Tarakeswar in the Hooghly district. 

The temple itself is quaint rather than beautiful, consisting 
of a two-storied building, in which the absence of arches is notice- 
able. Both Hindu and Lamaistic or Tibeto- Buddhistic gods 
are worshipped ; and there is a Tibetan Dungten, cubiform in 
shape, like a Hindu samadhi niandir or tomb, and surmounted by 
Siva's phallus, which is kept in a small low-roofed room having 
a Bengali inscription on its door-top. 

154 HOWRAH. 

" The Bhot-bagan math now remains a solitary monument of 
the genius and of a special policy of the first Governor-General 
of India, of the piety of Tashi Lama as exhibited in Bengal, of 
the work of Puran Gir, and of the Tibeto- Bengal trade, which 
flourished centuries ago and was restored, though in a stifled 
form, a hundred years ago,"* 

Botanic Garden, Sibpur. — The Eoyal Botanic Garden is 
situated in Sibpur, on the bank of the Hooghly, just outside the 
limits of Howrah city. It was established in 1787 for the collec- 
tion of plants indigenous to the country and for the introduction 
and acclimatization of plants from foreign parts. Its establish- 
ment was directly due to Colonel llobert Kyd, Military 
Secretary to Government, who urged upon the acting Governor- 
General, Sir John Macpherson, the utility of such an institution 
for the growth of teak for ship building, the cultivation of spices, 
the introduction or development of cotton, tobacco, and other 
products of economic and commercial importance. The proposal 
having been accepted by the Court of Directors, a large piece of 
land was set aside for the garden immediately below Colonel 
Kyd's private garden at Shalimar. Colonel Kyd, who was an 
ardent horticulturist and had a large collection of exotic plants, 
chiefly from the Straits, was appointed the first Superintendent 
of the Garden. On his death in 1793, Government decided to 
put the garden under the charge of a special officer who should 
have no other duty, and selected Dr. William Roxburgh, the 
"father of Indian botany," who was then the Company's 
Botanist in Madras. Roxburgh having retired on account of ill 
health in 1813 was succeeded by Dr. Francis Buchanan, who on 
BUOceediQg to his mother's property took the name of Buchanan- 
Hamilton, by which he is generally known. He was not only 
an accomplished botanist and zoologist, but was also the first 
writer of gazetteers for Bengal districts, his work, after many 
years and with much mutilation, being published by Montgomery 
Martin under the title of Hhtorij, Topoyrdphij and Siatistics of 
EuHtern India, tie was succeeded in 1817 by Dr. Nathaniel 
Wallich, Surgeon to the Danish Settlement at Serampore, an 
able and energetic botanist, who had already carried out a 
botanical survey of a large portion of India. During the 
lengthened absence of Dr. Wallich in Europe, his place at the 
garden was filled by Dr. W. Griffith, and on Wallich's retire- 
ment in 1846 Dr. Hilgh Falconer was appointed. 

* Gaurdas Bysack, Buddhistic Monastery at Bhot-bagan, I'roc. A. S. B., March 


It was during the incumbency of the latter that Sir Joseph 
Hooker visited the garden, which he describes as 'classic ground 
to the naturalist.' He found it on his first visit in 1848 in a 
neglected state. '' There had," he wrote, " been a great want of 
judgment in the alterations made since Dr. Wallich's time, when 
the gardens were celebrated as the most beautiful gardens in the 
East, and were the great object of attraction to strangers and 
townspeople. I found instead an unsightly wilderness, without 
shade (the first requirement of every tropical garden) or other 
beauties than some isolated grand trees, which had survived the 
indiscriminate destruction of the useful and ornamental which had 
attended the well-meant but ill-judged attempt to render a garden 
a botanical class-book." Great improvements had, however, been 
effected by the time of his second visit in 1850. " The destruction 
of most of the palms, and of all the noble tropical features of the 
gardens, during Dr. Griffith's incumbency, had necessitated the 
replanting of the greater part of the grounds, the obliteration of 
old walks, and the construction of new : it was also necessary to 
fill up tanks whose waters, by injudicious cuttings, were destroy- 
ing some of the most valuable parts of the land, to drain many 
acres, and to raise embankments to prevent the encroachments of 
the Hooghly. The avenue of Cycas trees {Cycas circinalis), once 
the admiration of all visitors, and which for beauty and singularity 
was unmatched in any tropical garden, had been swept away by the 
same unsparing hand which had destroyed the teak, mahogany, 
clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon groves. In 1848, when I first visited 
the establishment, nothing was to be seen of its former beauty and 
grandeur but a few noble trees or graceful palms rearing their 
heads over a low ragged jungle, or spreading their broad leaves 
or naked limbs over the forlorn hope of a botanical garden, that 
consisted of open clay beds, disposed in concentric circles, and 
baking into brick under the fervid heat of a Bengal sun. 

"The rapidity of growth is so great in this climate, that 
within eight months from the commencement of the improve- 
ments, a great change had already taken place. The grounds bore 
a park-like appearance ; broad shady walks had replaced the narrow 
winding paths that ran in distorted lines over the ground, and a 
large Palmetum, or collection of tall and graceful palms of 
various kinds, occupied several acres at one side of the garden; 
whilst a still larger portion of ground was being appropriated to 
a picturesque assemblage of certain closely allied families of 
plants, whose association promised to form a novel and attractive 
object of study to the botani st, painter, and landscape gardener."* 

* Jiimalayan Journalt. 

156 HOWRAH. 

In 1855 Dr. Falconer left the country on account of ill health, 
and was succeeded by Dr. Thomas Thomson, who held office till 
1861. The next Superintendent was Dr. Thomas Anderson, 
whose untimely death in 1870 was caused by disease contracted 
during his efforts to introduce the quinine-yielding cinchonas into 
the Darjeeling Himalayas. For the two years subsequent to Dr. 
Anderson's departure from India, i.e., from 1869 to 1871, 
Mr. C. B. Clarke, r.R.s., acted as Superintendent ; and then Dr. 
(afterwards Sir George) King, k.c.i.e., f.r.s., was appointed, hold- 
ing the office till 1898. His successors have been Lieutenant- 
Colonel D. Prain, i.m.s., the author of Bengal Flants^ and Captain 
A. T. Gage, i.m.s. 

From the first foundation of the garden it was understood 
that it was to be made a source of botanical information for the 
possessions of the East India Company, and at the same time a 
centre to which exotic plants of economic interest could be 
imported for experimental cultivation, and from which, in turn, 
they could be issued for distribution in the Company's posses- 
sions. It was also intended to assist in introducing indigenous 
Indian products to new markets. It was, in brief, intended that 
it should not only be a botanical, but also a hoi-ticultural and 
agricultural garden. At first, great hopes were entertained that 
the spices which rendered the trade of the Company with the 
Malaccas and other of the Malayan Islands so valuable, might 
be cultivated in Bengal. The earliest efforts of Colonel Kyd 
were therefore directed to the introduction of the pepper vines 
and of the trees which yield nutmegs, cloves and cinnamon. 
It was, however, soon proved that the climate of Northern 
India is quite unsuited to these equatorial species. The equa- 
torial fruits, such as mangosteen, langsat, dukko and bread-fruit, 
were also tried with a similar result ; and so were the temperate 
fruits of Europe. In fact, not the least of the benefits conferred on 
the country by the garden in its early days was the demonstration 
by practical experiment that certain natural products, many of 
them of a most desirable kind, cannot be grown in Bengal ; much 
money and fruitless effort being thus saved to the country. 
The introduction of exotic timber trees also received attention, 
and the garden still contains a few of the teak and mahogany 
trees introduced in these early years. 

The introduction of tea was one of the items put down in 
Colonel Kyd's original programme, and the garden bore a most 
important part in the final establishment of what lias now 
become one of the most important industries in Northern India. 
" Among its greatest triumphs," wrote Sir Joseph Hooker, "may 


be considered the introduction of the tea-plant from China, a 
fact I allude to as many of my English readers may not be aware 
that the establishment of the tea-trade in the Himalaya and 
Assam is almost entirely the work of the Superintendents of the 
gardens of Calcutta and Saharunpore." Potato growing was 
also introduced through its agency, and the cultivation of the 
quinine-yielding cinchonas of the Andes was initiated and carried 
to a successful issue under the direction of its Superintendents. 
The garden authorities worked hand in hand with the Agri- 
Horticultural Society of India in the improvement of In(£an 
cotton, and in the introduction both of that and of jute to the 
markets of Europe. By the introduction of some of the best 
kinds of sugarcane from the West Indies, and the dissem- 
ination of these to all parts of the country, a considerable 
improvement was effected both in the quality and quantity of 
the sugar crop of India. In this matter also the Agri- 
Horticultural Society worked in cordial co-operation with the 
garden authorities, for soon after the establishment of the 
Society, some land in the garden was made over to it rent- 
free, and on this land the Society conducted the greater part of its 
operations for forty years. In fact, it was not until 1872 that 
the Society's garden was transferred to its present site in Alipore. 
It is unnecessary to discuss in detail the numerous experi- 
ments in the cultivation of economic plants which have been • 
conducted in the garden since its beginning. A few of the 
products tried may simply be mentioned. Chief among these 
are flax, hemp, tobacco, henbane, vanilla, coffee (Arabian and 
Liberian), ipecacuanha, aloes, sarsaparilla, jalap. India-rubber, 
cardamoms, tapioca, and cocoa. As regards horticulture, it will 
suffice to say that a large proportion of the exotic plants now 
found in private gardens in India have been introduced through 
the agency of the garden, and that the improved methods of 
cultivation which now obtain were to a great extent initiated 
here. Within half a century after its foundation, the garden 
had attained a European reputation ; and owing to the distribu- 
tion of its Herbarium by Dr. Wallich among the museums of 
Europe it had, according to Sir Joseph Hooker, " contributed 
more useful and ornamental tropical plants to the public and 
private gardens of the world than any other establishment before 
or since. This is the most valuable contribution of the kind 
ever made to science, and it is a lasting memorial of the 
princely liberality of the enlightened men who ruled the counsels 
of India in those days." At the same time, however, the garden 
guSered, for the Herbarium was denuded of every specimen 

158 HOWRAH. 

collected during the past 50 years, and it was not till the time of 
Sir Q-eorge King that it was restored to a position commensurate 
with the importance of the garden. 

In 1864 the garden was devastated by a cyclonic storm of 
extraordinary violence, which either uprooted or broke to pieces 
the majority of the trees in it, and, by blowing down all the 
plant-houses, hopelessly crushed their contents. The trees 
which escaped on that occasion were sadly reduced in number 
by a second cyclone which passed over the garden in 1867 ; 
and, at the present time almost the only trees dating from 
before 1867 are the great banyan and a smaller tree of the 
same sort, some pipah and country almonds, about twenty 
mahogany trees, and some palms. Moreover, the destruction of 
all shade, which resulted from the removal of the trees, allowed 
the inveterate weed known popularly as uhi grass, and botanically 
as Imperata cylinr/rica, to take possession of the whole of the 
ground not occupied by roads or flower borders. Consequently, 
when Sir George King assumed charge in 1871, it was necessary 
to lay out the garden entirely anew. The liberality of the 
Bengal Government, under whose control it passed soon after- 
wards, and the tireless energy of Sir George King, combined 
with his genius for landscape gardening, in a few years completely 
altered the aspect of the place, increasing incalculably its value 
as a scientific centre and bestomng on it all the charms that as a 
pleasure ground it now possesses. 

Botanically, the most important feature in the garden is its 
Herbarium, or collection of dried plants. As has already been 
explained, the species collected prior to Dr. Wallich's visit to 
England in 1828 were distributed by him to scientific institutions 
abroad. The commenoement of the present collection dates, 
therefore, from his return to India in 1832. It consists of plants 
contributed by almost every worker at botany in India since 
that date and by a number of botanists in Europe. It is first and 
foremost an Indian Herbarium, but the plants of many other 
countries are represented. Constant communication and inter- 
change of specimens have been kept up for the last 70 years with 
the great national collection at the Kew Garden in England ; 
with other European botanic institutions, such as the Herbarium 
of the British Museum, of the Jardiu des i'lantes at Paris, and 
the Imperial Gardens at St. Petersburg and Berlin ; and in the 
East with the Botanic Gardens at Buitenzorg in Java, at 
Peradeniya in Ceylon, and at Sahilranpur. 

The garden is walled in on three sides, and can be entered by 
three routes, the Howrah gate, the College gate, and the Water 


gate (on the river bank). It is intersected by a number of avenues 
named after distinguished botanists, or occasionally, after prominent 
trees, such as the banyan and palmyra. It has no wells, but gets 
an abundant supply of water from the river, and inside from 26 
tanks. Among other noticeable objects are the grove of bamboos, 
the mahogany group, the great banyan, the Palmetum, the palm- 
house and the orchid-house. The finest bamboos, chiefly natives of 
Java, skirt the Oollett avenue. The mahogany group near the 
middle of the Clarke avenue contains fine specimens 80 years old or 
more. The Palmetum devoted to the cultivation of palms contains 
some fine trees. In the palm-house, an octagonal structure with 
a central dome 50 feet high, are cultivated palms and other 
scandent plants that cannot be grown out of doors. The orchid- 
house in the centre, built on the model of native betel planta- 
tions, contains beautiful orchids, mostly natives of India, which 
flower chiefly during March and April. In the Herbarium, built 
in 1883, are arranged in scientific order a very complete collec- 
tion of dried specimens of Indian plants, with a fair collection of 
those outside it. 

The pride of the garden is the great banyan tree near its 
western limit. Its main trunk is 51 feet in girth at a height of 
5| feet from the ground, and it has no less than 562 aerial roots 
rooted in the soil. The circumference of its leafy head is 997 
feet, and the diameter of the space covered by it at its longest 
is 287 feet and at its shortest 264 feet. It is not known exactly 
how old the tree is, but tradition says that it was in existence in 
1782, when it was a small tree sprouting out from a date palm, 
under which a faMr sat. Observations of the rate of growth of 
this tree and other trees taken since 1871 make it probable that 
it is even older ; and this supposition is supported by the evidence 
of Lord Yalentia, who visited Calcutta in 1803 and described it as 
"the finest object in the garden, a notable specimen of the Ficu& 
bengnlensis'' : in fact, he visited the garden chiefly to see it. 

As regards the general appearance of the garden, the follow- 
ing description is quoted from Mr. Forrest's Cifies of India : — 
" Trees of the rarest kinds, from Nepal and the Cape, Brazil and 
Penang, Java and Sumatra are gathered together in that spot. 
The mahogany towers there, and the Cuba palms form an avenue 
like the aisle of some lofty cathedral. Noble mango trees and 
tamarinds are dotted about the grassy lawns ; and there are 
stately casuarinas, around whose stems are trained climbing plants. 
There are plantains of vast size and beauty from the Malay 
Archipelago, and giant creepers from South America. The crim- 
son hibiscus and scarlet passion-flower dazzle the eye, and the 

160 HOWRAH. 

odour of the ohampak and innumerable jessamines float upon the 
breeze. As Bishop Heber remarked, 'The Botanic Gardens would 
perfectly answer to Milton's idea of Paradise, if they were on a 
hill instead of a dead flat '." 

Dumjor. — A village in the Howrah subdivision, situated 
about 9 miles by road and 10 miles by rail ( Howrah- Amta ) from 
Howrah. It is an old place on the bank of the Saraswati, being 
shown in Renuell's Atlas ( Plate XIX ). The village is the head- 
quarters of an Union, and contains a police station, a post office 
and a District Board bungalow. It is a centre for the jute and 
rice trade of the neighbourhood, and exports a considerable quan- 
tity of milk to the towns. 

The thana of which it is the headquarters is densely populated, 
and contains several important villages. On the bank of the Sara- 
swati are Baluti and Jhapardah with High English schools, and 
Makardah at which a large meld is held on the fifth day of the 
Hoh festival in March. West of the stream are Narna with a 
large mela held on the Charak Sankranti day in April ; Rajapur 
(or Dakshinbar) on the drainage channel of the same name, with 
a railway station and a canal bungalow ; and Begri with a large 
weekly hat. 

Fort Mornington Point. — A point in the extreme south 
of the district at the junction of the Pupnarayan with the 
Hooghly. On this point there formerly stood a fort, said to have 
been built by Lord Olive, which fell into the river owing to the 
erosion of the bank. 

Ghusuri. — A quarter in the northern part of Howrah city 
and in the southern part of Bally, containing jute and cotton 
mills, jute presses, rope works and an old Buddliist temple des- 
cribed in the article on Bhot-bagau. See also the articles on 
Howrah and Bally. 

Howrah. — The headquarters of the district, situated on the 
right bank of the Hooghly opposite Calcutta in 22° 35' north 
latitude and 88° 21' east longitude. The municipality, as defined 
|jy a Government notification, dated 17th January 1884, covers 
an area of about 8| square miles, and is nearly 7 miles long and 
1^ to 2\ miles wide. In 1901 it had a population of 157,094, 
the largest in any town in the Province outside Calcutta, there 
being no less than 17,510 persons per square mile. In 187:^ 
the population was returned at 84,069, and the increase is due 
chiefly to the immigration of labourers attracted by the numerous 
factories and other industrial concerns in Howrah, Calcutta and 
their neighbourhood. So great, indeed, has been the influx of 
immigrants, that it was ascertained in 1901 that no less thaij 


two-thirds of the inhabitants of Howrah were bom outside the 
district. Further, the number of males has increased from 47,213 
to 99,904, or by more than 100 per cent, since 1872, whereas the 
number of females increased from 36,856 to 57,690 or only 
by 56*5 per cent. Hindus predominate largely, numbering 
116,002 or 73-6 per cent, of the population, while Muhammadans 
account for 39,239 or 25 per cent., and Christians for 2,282 or 1*4 
per cent. 

The city lies in the revenue divisions (parganns) of Boro and 
Paikan. Boro appears in Todar Mai's rent-roll as Purah in 
Sarkdr Satgaon, with a revenue of 652,470 ddm.'^, t'.o., at the rate 
of 40 dams per rupee, Rs. 16,311-12.* Paikan, a name meaning 
"pertaining to military service " (from jja^A-, a soldier), cannot be 
traced in the rent-roll, but is mentioned in a list of villages pre- 
pared in 1714, which shows that it comprised land on both sides 
of the Hooghly.t In 1765, when the Diwdni was granted to the 
British, Boro and Paikan formed part of the zamindari of Muham- 
mad Aminpur in Chakld Hooghly, with revenues of Es. 24,006 
and Rs. 2,153 respectively. + Maihammad Aminpur estate then 
belonged to two sons and two nephews of Rameswar, a Kayasth by 
caste and the ancestor of the present Bansberia and Seoraphuli 
zamindars. At the Permanent Settlement Boro was assessed to a 
revenue of Rs. 82,414 and Paikan to Rs. 10,986. This large 
increase shows how valuable land had become in the first years 
of British rule, though the low assessment of 1765 may have been 
partly due, as Mr. Grrant suspected, to the proprietors misrepresent- 
ing the rental of their estates. 

The city is entirely of modern growth. It has been evolved 
from a congeries of villages accreting to the central village of 
Howrah ; and traces of the original villages etill survive in the 
different names of the quarters (pdrdu) into which the city is 
still divided, in spite of the western nomenclature of streets and 
lanes. For example, along the river bank there are the old pdrds 
of Ghusuri, Salkhia, Howrah, Ramkristapur, Sibpur, Shalimar 
and Bator; and further inland are Bantra, Khurut, Kasundi, 
Santragachhi, etc. 

The earliest details of the town are found in an application 
made by the English in 1714 to the Emperor Farrukhsiyar for 
a grant of a number of villages near Calcutta. The list men- 
tions (I) Salica (Salkhia), (2) Harirah (Howrah), (3) Cassundeah 

* Ain-i-A7cbary Jarrett, II. 141; J. R. A. S., 1896., p 103. 
+ C, H. Wilaon, Early Annals of the English in Bengal, Vol. II„ pp. 172-4. 
X Grant's View of the Revenues of Bengal, 1786, Fifth Seport of the Select 
Committee, 1812, Madras Reprint, pp. 157-8. 

162 HO-WTIAH. 

fKafiundi, wesf of Khurut), (4) Ramkrissnopoor ("Ramkristapur), 
anil (5) Batter (Bator\ ■with an aggregate rental of "Rs. 1,450. 
The desire to obtain land on the Howrah side of the Hooghlv 
was natural enough, for apart from its close proximity to Oalcutta, 
there were *' docks made for repairing and fitting their ships' 
hottoms, and a ])retty good garden belonging to tlie Armenians."* 
The concession was granted, but the Englisli could not avail 
tliem?elves of It owing to the refusal oF the zamindars to sell 
thoir rights : and tlie lands continued under ^^ughal rule for 
nearly half a century more. In 1750, Howrah is said to 
have been " a line of mud banks reeldng with malaria, corpses 
in all stages of decomposition floating up and down the stream 
by the dozen, jungle lining the shore, the abode of the snake and 

This is most probably the reason why this part of the river 
bank is shown as blank in Valentijn's map, and in the various old 
charts of the river Hooghlv. Tn the Pilot Chart of Bowrey 
(1688) no villages are entered on this side of the Hooghly, 
but in that of 1703, jungles, indicated by ten trees, are shewn 
above Sumatra Point (the modern Shalimar Point) and next 
" Simple Tom's Tree " near the present Ghusuri. In 1767 we 
find a proposal put forward by the Civil Architect, Mr. Fortnum, 
to have a hospital established at Howrah, Tlie proposal is 
referred to as follows in the Consultation of March 1767 : — " The 
Buxey lays before the Board an extract of a letter which he has 
received from the Civil Architect pointing out two places on the 
opposite side of the river to build an Hospital upon — the one 
opposite Surman's Gardens, and the other opposite the Town — 
but recommending the former as the most eligible spot. Point 
Sumatra, opposite Surman's Gardens, is the most proper spot for 
an Hospital from its being a wholesome situation and contiguous 
to the River, by which the Sick may be easily transported to it 
and better supplied with necessarys." The Board accepted this 
recommendation and directed the Civil Architect to prepare a 
plan and estimate. Fortnum submitted a detailed plan for the 
erection of a hospital on Point Sumatra (the present ShalimSr 
Point) vdth an estimate amounting to 5 lakhs, but reported 
— " Not-withstanding I attended the Sarcar sent down by the 
Fuzdar of Ilughley and marked out the bounds of the spot (four 
months ago), nothing has been done towards clearing of the 
riotts' Hutts, on the contrary a number of others since that time 

• AlexiindtT Iluuiilton, A Xeto Account of fhe East Indies, 1G88 t© 1723, 
Vol. II, p. 12. 

t Howrah, Past and Present, pp. 18-19. 


have beeu put up." Eventually, however, the scheme was 
abaudouod, apparently because it was too ambitious and too 
expensive for llie straitened resources of I'engal at (liat iime.' 

A few years later, Salkhia became a centre of trade, witli 
docks and roperies, and in Eenutdl's Atlas, Plate VII (October 
1779) and Plate XIX (August 1780), we find "Solkee" or 
"Solkey'' printed in large letters and shown as a place from 
which several roads radiated, one starting nortli-west cid Chaudi- 
tala to Burdwan, a second westwards v^d Makardah to Adampur, 
and a third south to Thana Muckwa and Sankrail. "Seebpur" 
and " Bathore " are also shown, but, curiously enough, not 
Howrah. " Ilowra ghaut " appears, however, in a map of ( 'alcutta 
and its environs prepared from Upjohn's survey in 1792 and 
1793, together with " l^amkissenpore's Ut.," "Sulkhia Ghat" 
and " Sulkia Point.'' This map also has the following entries. 
In Salkhia there are two lanes marked " Rope Walk " ; in 
Howrah proper there are three entries, viz., " Burial Grround," 
" Orphans of Private Educated " (indicated by three towers), and 
to the south '• Hospital." Inland, to the west of an unnamed 
road, which is evidently the modern Orand Trunk Road, there 
are " Mosulman's Burial Grround," and, a little south of it but on 
tlie east of the road, '■ Former Practising Oround of the Bengal 
Artillery," from which the modern name Chandmari is derived. 
This interesting map shows other roads and houses, but does not 
name them. 

A proclamation dated 10th September 1794, evidently 
based on Upjohn's survey, laid down the boundaries of Calcutta 
Town.t According to it, the river Hooghly was included within 
the metropolis, its western boundary running from "Colonel 
Robertson's garden called Jackapoore, immediately opposite to the 
mouth of the brook called Chitpore Nulla or Baugbassar Nulla," 
and then along the low water-mark of the river up to " the 
south-east point of Major Kyd's garden" but '-excluding tjio 
said garden and the village of Sheebpore," and also " the Ghauts 
of Ramkisnopore, Howrah and Sulkeah." As mentioned in a 
preceding article, Major Kyd was the founder of the Botanic 
Garden, and his private garden was contained in the gioiinds 
of Shalimar House, now occupied by a rope-work. 

From other sources we learn that docks and roperies existed 
in Salkhia and Ghusuri, and there were two docks, one opposite 

* Notes on tlie 'Origin of the Presidency General Hospital, Calcutta, Indian 
Medical Gazette, February 1903, 

1 Calcutta Gazette, Selections, Vol. II, pp. 130-2. 


164 HOWRAH. 

Fort William and the other a mile below it,* Distilleries were 
also started, one belonging to a Chinaman in " Sulky " being 
advertised for sale in the Calcutta Gazette in 1784 ;t while the 
present court houses are said to have been built in 17H7 for a rum 
distillery. The Hooghly records also mention the existence of 
cotton screws at Salkhia. Gardens, belonging mostly to Arme- 
nians, had been laid out among the houses and fields, to which 
the residents of Calcutta came for a change ; and, according to 
Walter Hamilton, there was an extensive teak plantation above 
the Botanic Garden. The Europeans lived chiefly along the 
river bank in Salkhia and Ghusuri, and later in ITowrah and 
Ramkristapur. The natives lived inland, round the present 
Khurut Koad, which is still known as Purani Sahar^ i.e., the 
old town, and in Sibpur including Bator. Howrah was at this 
time a dumping ground for the Brahmani bulls of Calcutta* 
which roamed about in such numbers as to become a nuisance, 
while the houses and gardens were infested by bands of monkeys. 
Dacoities were common,^ the dacoits hiding themselves in 
the paddy fields and jungle, and committing depredations by 
night in armed bands Their detection was rendered difficult by 
the league which is known to have existed between the dacoits and 
police officers; for the sessions records contain the names of many 
chaiiklddm among the convicted dacoits, while the district records 
show that several ddroyds were degraded or dismissed on suspicion 
of complicity. 

Among the earliest public institutions in Howrah were the 
Royal Military Orphanage, the cemetery attached to it, the 
Hospital to the south of the school, and the salt godowns. The 
school for soldiers' orphans yv&s located in 1785 in a large house, 
known as " Levett's house and garden," which was built about 
1767 and was originally a rum distillery. Mr. Levett had taken 
a lease of Howrah village, but found it so unprofitable, that 
in 1785 he begged the Board of IJevenue to allow him to 
relinquish his title and to pay the rent in future to the zamindar. 
His request was granted in August 1785.11 In the meantime, 
his house, which had a conipoimd extending over no less than 
160 tngkdn, was sold to the Orphan Society for Rs. 65,000. The 
premises were occupied by the Orphanage till 1815, and were 

• Walter Hamilton's Description of Hindostan, 1820, Vol I, p. 29. 
t Selections, Vol. I, p. 45. 

X Selections, Vol. IV, jj. 401 (I7th August 1815;. 

§ A very daring robbery in the village of Howrah was reported in the Calcutta 
Gazette under date July 28th, 1807. Selections, Vol. I ^, pp. 198-9. 
II £engal US. Records, Hunter, Vol. I, p. 122 (No. 1043). 



subsequently divided inio throe portions, one being allotted to 
the Customs House Officers, a second to the Magistrate of the 
24-Parganas to serve as a periodical court, and the third to the 
clergy of Bishop's College in consideration of the services they 
rendered by taking services in the Church. The Civil Court of 
Salkhia was transferred to the second portion, and later the 
Magistrate's Court, when a separate Magistrate was appointed 
in 1843. In 1851 the clergy of Bishop's College vacated their 
portion, and in 1859 the Customs Office was also removed. Since 
then the building has been in sole possession of the Criminal, 
Revenue and Sessions Courts. The ground- rent of the Court 
and the maiddn is still paid to several co-sharing zamindars. 

The cemetery occupied a part of the Orphan School compound 
on the north of these buildings. The oldest inscription in this 
cemetery is on the tomb of Mr. Henry Ackland, Secretary to 
the Orphan Society for eight years, who died in 1791, and the 
next oldest is an epitaph to Mr. J. Wynne, who died in 1799. 
The hospital shewn in Upjohn's survey was removed in 1828 to 
a double-storeyed house at the Howrah Grhat and remained there 
till 1852, when the site was acquired by the railway. The salt 
godowns at Howrah existed before 1801, when they were placed 
under the control of the "Western Salt Chau/d, and were removed 
to Salkhia on the opening of the railway. Salt, it may be 
explained, was imported from Hijili, Orissa and Madras, stored 
here free of duty and then sold, so that the salt godowns were 
practically bonded ware-houses. 

Among other early institutions may be mentioned Bishop's 
College and the churches. The foundation stone of the former 
was laid by the Bishop of Calcutta, Bishop Middleton, in Decem- 
ber 1820, and it was opened in 1H24. The first Church of Eng- 
land church was built, at the instance of the Principal of Bishop's 
College, by private subscriptions and a small Grovemment grant, 
on five bighds of land separated from the Orphan School premises. 
It was finished in 1831 and consecrated under the name of 
St. Thomas' Church. The Roman Catholic Church in Cullen 
Place was built in 1832 by the Revd. Father Paul do Gradoli at a 
cost of Rs. 40,000 realized entirely by subscriptions, and was 
consecrated under the name of the "Church of Our Lady of 
Happy Voyage." The earliest church, however, was one built 
in 1821 by Mr. Statham, the first Baptist resident missionary ; 
when the site was acquired by the railway, a new chapel was built , 
in 1865, at the junction of Dobson's Lane with King's Lane. 

Howrah, which Bishop Heber described in 1823 as a place 
" chiefly inhabited by shipbuilders," and which in 1848 was 

166 HOWRAH. 

referred to as " the AVapping of Calcutta iuliabited ohieOy by 
pLi'sons couueeted with the docks aud shipping,'' began to 
expand rapidly in the middle of the 19th century. Not only 
did the docks increase in size and in uumber, but other large 
industrial concerns were started, such as engineering yards, 
sugar factories, flour mills, and, after the sixties of the 19th 
century, cotton mills, jute mills and jute presses. The selection 
lin ISoU) by the East Indian llaihvay authorities of Howrah 
as the terminus of their line and the construction of the bridge 
over the Hooghly gave an immense impetus to its development, 
which in recent years has been further facilitated by the entry 
of the Beugal-Nagpur Railway, by the opening of the two light 
railways, and by the starting of steamer services. The rapid 
growth of the to"v\Ti has necessitated considerable modifications 
in its administration. A separate Magistrate was appointed in 
184o, who was vested with the powers of a Deputy Collector 
in 1860, and idtimately was assisted by a Joint-Magistrate, 
several Deputy Collectors and several Coui-ts of Honorary 
Magistrates. The police force was reorganised in 1862, and 
placed under a District Supermtendent in 1863. The jail, alter 
various changes, has been made a third class district jail aud 
located in a large building. The Civil Courts have been enlarged 
and placed in a separate building, where a Small Cause Court 
Judge also holds an occasional court. The town was constituted 
a municipality in 1862, and is now the largest outside Calcutta 
both in population and income. 

The Zila school was opened in 1845 for native boys, 
and the St. Thomas' School in 1864 for European boys. The 
Bishop's College was replaced in 1S80 by the Engineering 
College, now the centre of high technical education in Bengal. 
The lIoAvrah General Hospital was started in 1861, and is 
the largest hospital in Bengal outside Calcutta, with separate wards 
for Europeans, native males and native females. A veterinary 
hospital, named after its donor Kumar Rameswar Malia, has 
also been established. Among other buildinps may be mentioned 
the saltgodowns at Salkhia, wliich contain enormous stocks ot salt 
and are served by a siding of the East Indian linilway, and the 
Town Hall built by private subscriptions over the municipal 

The city is roughly divisible into two parts, the river bank and 
the portion further inland, which aie separated from each other by 
the Grand Trunk Koad. The former contains the l^.uropeau 
residences, olhces and other buildings of business hrnis, and the 
latter the native town. Howrah proper lies nearly midway ; 


and its centre, bounded by Grierson Road on tbe nortb, Telkal- 
gbat Road on the south, the river on the east, and the Grand 
Trunk Road on the west, forms the focus of commercial life. 
Except for a small part to the south in the possession of John 
King and Co., the whole of its river frontage is occupied 
by the railway station and goods-sheds. Then comes the long 
overbridge ending in the Buckland Road, with the Magistrate's 
residence and the Civil Courts on the east, and various other 
public buildings on the west, viz., the post office, the municipal 
office, the old church and cemetery, the Criminal Courts, the police 
reserve lines, and the hospital. The rest of the land is kept 
open, except for the Railway Institute in the north-western 
comer and the new church, the Zila school and the District Board 
office in a corner on the south. Tlie portion left open may be 
regarded as the chief, if not the only, lung of the city, there 
being space for cricket, football, hockey and lawn-tennis, and 
for the pitching of tents in the cold weather for circuses or 
other entertainments. This central section is surrounded by 
other large buildings, such as the staff' residences of the Bengal- 
Nagpur and East Indian Railways on the north ; the distillery, 
St. Thomas' School and Howrah Club on the west ; and Smith 
Stanistreet's branch office and the extensive shipbuilding yard of 
Messrs. Burn and Co., on the south. 

From the Hooghly bridge northwards along the river front 
extend a series of docks with the salt godowns in the middle. 
Above them come other works, between the Grand Trunk Road 
and the river, viz., roperies, timber yards, engineering works 
and oil mills, ending at Ghusuri in cotton mills and jute presses. 
Behind the docks lie a large dJiavHKOinin and the European 
quarters ; and beyond them native houses with several over- 
crowded basdii like Tindelbagau and Gbasbagau. At the 
extreme north end, houses begin to thin out, and fields witli 
gardens appear. South of Burn and Co.'s yard, a considerable 
area has been reclaimed from the river by the Port Commis- 
sioners and is crowded with godowns for storing rice and 
molasses. To the west of the reclaimed cliir>i are -l(i Ohjhd>i 
of land acquired by Government in 1907, on which have been 
located the new jail and the offices of the railway police, with 
the residences of the Civil Surgeon, the Superintendent of Gov- 
ernment Railway Police, and a Deputy Magistrate. Bcyonrl 
them lie a row of small sheds, in which is held the Tuesday 
hat of Ramkristapur, said to be the greatest mart for hand-loom 
cloths in Lower Bengal. Further south, are found various 
factories, such as flour mills, jute mills and presses, timber yards, 

168 HOWRAH. 

etc., until Shalimar Point is reached with ihe Bengal-Nagpur 
Kailway goods yard and wagon ferry. On the river bend come 
uther factories, roperies and paint works, ending in the large 
compound of the Engineering College at Sibpur. 

The river and the Grand Trunk Uoad form the two main 
thoroughfares, the greatest congestion of traffic taking place on 
the Grierson Road leading to the Hooghly bridge. The river bank 
is similarly crowded v/ith cargo boats, which load or unload an 
immense quantity of goods between Bandii Ghat at Salkhia and 
Sibpur Ghat, and with small boats ferrying passengers to and 
from Calcutta or vessels in the river. The river frontage is lined 
vdih. iron (j/idts, long jetties and busy dock yards, having a 
background of tall buildings and grimy chimneys. The Grand 
Trunk Road presents a similar busy scene with rows of small 
shops and several large markets, and carries a heavy traffic to 
and from the railways, the factories, the shops, and private 

On the west of the Grand Trunk Road live the majority of 
the native population. The land gradually slopes away from 
the river bank, the lowest level being reached near Shalimar. 
Ghusuri is 2U feet, while Santragachhi and Shalimar are only 
12 feet above mean sea-level. The natives consist of two classes, 
Via., resident Bengalis and immigrants, mostly mill-hands and 
railway employes. The imrnigrants generally live huddled together 
in dirty over-crowded and ill -ventilated baslis, the Muhammadans 
preferring the quarters north of Khurut Road. Among the 
resident population Kaibarttas predominate, but they are now 
retiring more and more to the outskirts. The higher castes live 
chiefly in Bantra, Khurut, Sibpur and Santragachhi. Kayasths 
and Rarhi Brahmans are chiefly found in Sibpur, and Barendra 
Brahmans in Santragachhi. 

The outer fringe of the town is thinly peopled, being mostly 
occupied by low fields intermixed witli gardens and villas. A 
good deal of the town drainage finds its outlet into those low 
landfl ; and when owing to heavy rain the swamp level rises, the 
drainage is checked and the roads flooded. In September lOl'O, 
the swamp level rose to 13 feet above mean tide level, and for 
days together water stood on most of the roads, causing consi- 
derable inconvenience and damage. 

Tlie derivation of the name liowrah is uaccrtaiti. According 
to one account, it is derived from the Bengali word /tdOar, meaning 
stumbling, with reference to the numerous ruts in the streets of 
liowrah city, which formerly caused the unwary pedestrian to 
btumble. This seems a far-fetched explanation. There is a word 


lidor used in Eastern Bengal for a marsh or a swampy depression 
filled with water in the rains, and this would a priori seem a 
plausible derivation ; bu< the word does not appear to be known 
in Western Bengal. 

Howrah Subdivision. —The headquarters subdivision, situated 
in the north-east of the district, bel ween 22° >MV and 22° 42' N., 
and 88° 2' and 88° 22' E, with an area of 173 square miles. The 
subdivision is a low-lying tract with a slight and gradual fall of 
level from north to south-east. It contains two main portions —(1) 
tlie high riparian strips of land along the Hooghly, Saraswat! and 
Kana Nadi, and (2) the extensive swamps separating them, which 
are now drained by the Howrah, Barajol and Eajapur drainage 
channels. The land is generally fertile, yielding abundant crops 
of winter rice, jute, pulses, sugarcane, potatoes and betel-leaves. 
It contains four urban tlianas, Howrah, Sibpur, Golabari and 
Bally, three rural thanas, Dumjor, Liluah and Jagatballabhpur, 
and three independent police outposts, Santragaohhi, Sankrail 
and Panohla. The population increased from 297,064 in 1872 
to 431,257 in 1901, when the subdivision contained two 'towns 
(Hov/rah and 13ally) and 365 villages. The average density in 
the latter year was 2,493 per square mile, and was greatest in the 
tracts lying along the river banks, where it did not fall below 
3,000 per square mile. These portions of the subdivision are, in 
fact, more like semi-urban than rural tracts. 

Jagatballabhpur. — A village in the Howrah subdivision, 
situated on the left bank of the Kana Nadi, 16 miles from 
Howrah. It contains a police station, a post office, a High 
school, and a small District Board bungalow. Among noticeable 
villages in the tliana, of which it is the headquarters, are 
Bargachhia, a railway juncjtion with a five-storeyed tower of brick, 
165 feet high, clearly one of those erected nearly a century ago 
for long distance semaphore signalling ; Adampur, with the 
remains of a fort, an old place she"wn in Rennell's Atlas (Plate 
VIIj ; Paiutal, one of the largest villages in the district ; Balia, 
with an old temple liberally endowed by the Bur^lwAn Kaj with 
some two thousand btfjhdn of laud, a place which probably gave its 
name to the paryaiia ; and on the west bank of the Kana Nadi, 
Nabasan, once well known for its fine cloth, and Maju, a railway 
station with a High school. 

James and Mary Sands. — A dangerous shoal in the river 
Hooghly, situated in 22° 14' N. and 88" 5' E. between the 
confluence of the Damodar and E-iipnarayan rivers. The origin 
of the shoal was apparently due to changes in the course of 
the two latter rivers. Aa explained in Chapter I, the main 

170 HOWRAH. 

stream of the Damodar formerly flowed aloDg what is now the 
Kaiia Damodar (or, as Europeans called it, the Jan Perdo, *a 
river for great ships') which had its outfall by the modern Sljberia 
Khal above Uluberia. Gradually the main stream was diverted 
to the present channel, and thus brought close to the Rfipnarayan, 
the distance between the two being reduced from 23 miles to 
6i miles. The ROpnarayan again had its south-western channel 
silted up, and discharged all its silt-laden water by the eastern 
mouth. The angles at A\hich botli river deboucli into the Hooghly, 
are favourable to the deposit of silt, which the close proximity of 
the two mouths nearly doubled. The result was that extensive 
slioals were fonned, and their mobility, with the strong eddies set 
up, tended to make navigation dangerous. 

These shoals and eddies were noticed as far back as the latter 
half of the I7th century. In the diary of Streynsham Master, 
under date 8th and 10th September 1G76, we find an entry : — 
'' This evening with the tide of flood wc got into that part of the 
river Ganges that come from llugly. At the mouth of the said 
river there's 18 or 19 fathoms water without, but eiglit or nine 
-within, but it shoals gradually shelvingwisc, soe that oftentimes 
ships and vessels are turned or winded loundby it for a good space 
of time, but seldom receive damage thereby (as afterwards I saw 
one further up the river soe winded), but wee coming neare 
upon a high water gott in without such winding, and they 
happen at the first of the flood and last of the ebb."* Thomas 
Bowrey also speaks of having been caught in fSeptembor 
1676 in an eddy off " the shoals of the river Tomboloe (where 
the river is most crooked)," that being an old name for the 
Kupnarayan. He described his experience as follows: — "It 
happened at that time for the space of lialf an houre to be slack 
water, but then the fresh came down like a boare and hurried up 
away into a most impetuous eddy, when in a moment our ship 
turned round soe often and quick withall that not one of us cold 
stand to doe any thinge. One cable broke, and the other swum 
like to a piece of wood."t From the above description it is clear 
that shoals had been formed by the fouith quarter of the 17th 

The shoals appear under the present name " James and Mary 
Sands" in the Pilot Chart of 1703. The name is evidently 
derived from that of a ship (called after James II and his (pieen 
Mary of Modeua;, which was lost here in September 1694. "The 

*Diart/ of n^illiain Hedjes, Vul«j, 11, 23. 

t Countries round ilie Ba^j of Bengal, Ttiinik, j'p. 17^-74. 


Royall ■hirne^ and Mary arrived in Ballasore Road from the 
west coast in August ... but coming up the river of Hughly 
on the 24th September, she fell on a sand on this side 
Tumbolee Point and was unfortunately lost, for she immediately 
oversett and broke her back, with the loss of four or five men's 

The sands, which are three miles long and a third of a mile in 
width, occupy the centre of the river Hooghly, leaving channels 
on either side, known as the Eastern and Western Gut. Various 
schemes have been suggested for evading this dangerous shoal, 
and it has more than once been proposed to dig a short canal at 
the back of Hughly Point so as to avoid the sands, or to 
construct ship canals from the docks to Diamond Harbour or to 
Port Canning on the Matla river. The problem was examined in 
1865 and again in 1<S')0 by experts, who suggested the construction 
of walls to train the channel into the Western Gut, but this 
proposal was not adopted. 

Liluah. — A village in the Howrah subdivision, situated three 
miles from Howrah. It contains a police station, but is better 
known for the extensive carriage workshops and goods-yards of 
the East Indian liailway. Many garden houses have been 
built in the neighbourhood in recent years by Marwaris and 
others ; and a great part of the surrounding land, which was 
formerly covered with reeds and low jungle, has been brought 
under cultivation. 

Mahiari.— See Andul. 

Mahishrekha. — See Bagnan. 

Mandalghat. — A village in the Uluberia subdivision, situated 
ou the left bank of the Eupnarayan opposite Tamluk. It must 
have been a more important place formerly, for it gave its name to 
the parycuia, while the Damodar river was often called River 
Moundleghat, e.g., in the Pilot Chart of 1703. Mandalghat 
appears in the Ain-i-Akhan as a mahdl of Sarlcdr Mandaran vdih 
a revenue of 906,775 dams, and is mentioned by Valentijn, who 
says: — "Calcutta, Mondelghat, and some other places below, 
supply most of the wax and hemp that we require "; The porr/ana 
is low-lying and was repeatedly flooded by the Damodar in the 
early British period, until protected by embankments. The 
village contains an independent police outpost. 

Panchla. — A village in the extreme south of the Howrah 
subdivision, containing an independent police outpost. At 

* Bengal Letter to Cuurt, I'lth Deceiuber 1094i, 1. c, Vule, II, 133. Tuiuboleu 
Point is showu in tijc Pilot Cliurt 1703 at the present site of Fort Mornlnnt-jn 

172 HOWKAH. 

Jujeswar, a large village in its jurisdiction, are found a few Tutia 
Kaibarttas, who are still employed in silk cocoon rearing. 

Salkhia. — Northern part of Howi-ah city, containing docks. 
Government salt godowns, salt crushing mills, jute presses and 
engineering and iron works. See also the article on Howrah. 

Saukrail. — A large village in the Howrah subdivision, 
situated below the junction of the Saraswati with the Hooghly, 
about seven miles by river from Howrah, and two miles from 
Andul station on the Beugal-Nagpur Eailway. From its 
position commanding the two rivers, it was formerly a place 
of some importance. It was mentioned by W. Schouten in 
1664, by Chamock in his diary dated August 24th, 1690,* and 
by Sir John Goldsborough under the form ''Sea Crowle" m 
1693t ; and it also appears in Rennell's Atlas (Plates VII and 
XIX). The only event, however, of historical interest attaching 
to it is that in 1715 the Portuguese seized a British vessel in 
the Sankrail Reach. It is inhabited by Muhammadans in consi- 
derable numbers, and contains an independent outpost. With 
Pajganj it is served by river steamers. 

The following villages within the jurisdiction of the Sankrail 
outpost may be mentioned : — Andul already described; Eajganj, 
separated from it by the Saraswati Khal, which contains the 
National Jute Mill, and is a centre of the trade in hikd fish ; 
Manikpur, where the Belvedere Jute Mill was opened in 1907, 
an old place shown on the Pilot Chart of 1703 ; and Saranga, 
with brick-fields and a white- washed building dedicated to Pir 
Sarang. This is also an old place, shewn in the Pilot Charts of 
1688 (Bowrey) and of 1703 as "Serrango tree." 

Santragachhi. — A large village adjoining Howrah city on 
the west and partly included in the municipal area. According 
to tradition, the principal family of the village, the Chaudhris, 
settled there 200 years ago in the time of the Muhammadan 
rule, and being Barendra Brahmans, induced several other 
Barendra families to take up their residence in the village. The 
village gives its name to the junction of the branches of the 
Bongal-Nagpur Railway which run to Howrah and Shalimar, 
but is nearer to Ramrajatala station. At Ramrajatala, a quarter 
of Santragachhi, a large mela is held in April and May and is 
attended by large numbers. It is called the Bdrwdri meld because 
its cost is met by private subscriptions. The place is noted 
locally for its coconuts and yams {ol). 

* Earhi Annals, Wilson, Voluiuu I, jinge 124, nule i 
■^ Dxur<) itj William Mtdges, Yule, 11, page 91, note 3. 


Shalimar. -A part of Howrah city lying along the Hooghly 
close to Sibpur. It contains rope-works and the goods-yards of 
the Bengal-Nagpur Railway. A century ago it was a country 
retreat for European residents of Calcutta. Here Colonel Kyd, 
the founder of the Royal Botanic Gardeu, had a house and a 
garden, which, it is said, was intended to be a miniature of the 
Shalimar garden and pleasure ground laid out at Lahore in 1G67 
by All Mardan Khan, the celebrated engineer of Shah Jahan. 
Colouel Kyd died here in 1793, and the house was occupied by 
Sir John Royds, a Judge of the High Court, till his death 
in 1817, and after him by James Sutherland, a nephew of 
Colebrooke. Shalimar Point was formerly known as Sumatra 

Sibpur.— The south-western suburb of Howrah city contain- 
ing the Royal Botanic Garden described in a previous article 
and, north of it, the Civil Engineering College. The latter 
occupies the buildings and the site selected by Bishop Middleton, 
the first Bishop of Calcutta for Bishop's College. The site 
was then " a wilderness of high grass, creeping shrubs and 
stagnant pools," but was considered suitable on account of its 
distance from the distractions of Calcutta. The object of the 
College was to be " the education of Christian Youth in sacred 
knowledge, in sound learning, and in the principal languages 
used in this country, in habits of piety and devotion to their 
calling, that they may be qualified to teach among the heathen." 
In other words, it was to be a Missionary College for India. 

The Governor-Greneral, the Marquis of Hastings, presented 62 
highas of land on the east of the Botanic Garden, and liberal 
grants of money were given by the British and Foreign 
Bible Society and by the Church Missionary Society, The 
foundation stone was laid in 1820, and the college opened in 1824, 
the first Principal being Dr. William Hodge Mill. Subsequent- 
ly, the grounds were extended further to the east by the free 
gift of a piece of ground on the banks of the Hooghly by 
Sir Charles Metcalfe; while in 1826 the Governor- General, Lord 
Amherst, at the special request of Bishop Heber, assigned a 
further space of 48 bighds on the bank of the Hooghly for the 
demesnes and out-oflSces of the college. Bishop Heber took 
particular interest in the college, which he wished to be not 
merely an ecclesiastical seminary, but q college from which 
" India would derive her parochial clergy, her professors of the 
liberal sciences, her philosophers, her well-educated merchants, 
gentry and statesmen." The college flourished for nearly half 
ft century, but in 1872 there was 'only one tutor with about 

174 HOWRAH. 

half a dozen students.'* In 18H0 the hmd and buiklings were 
acquired by Government and utilized for the Civil Engineering 

Tlie college occupies three sides of a quardrangle, the southern 
.side beino'iopen an^l facing the river. It is of Gothic architecture* 
and with its turrets and smooth lawns is strikingly like an 
Oxford or Cambridge college. Its architect was AVilliam Jones, 
whose sympathy for Indians, and knowledge of their language 
and customs, earned for him the name of Guru Jones. He came 
out to India in 1800 and for 10 years worked as a mechanic. In 
1810 he is described in the directory as a manufacturer, and 
next year as the proprietor of a canvas manufactory at Ilowrah. 
It was there that he first established himself to any advantage, 
and to his energy and example may be in a great measure at- 
tributed the prosperity of that city. When an expedition was 
about to be despatched in 1811 for the capture of Java, and its 
departure was impeded by the want of cartridge paper, Mr. Jones 
came to the assistance of Government. Ilis mechanical skill 
enabled him to set up a little paper manufactory, from which he 
furnished all the paper that was requisite, closing bis new 
works as soon as the object of the expedition was accomplished. 
Four or live years subsequently, Jones accidentally discovered the 
existence of coal in Burdwan, and with characteristic ardour 
determined to open mines. " It is chiefly in reference to our 
Indian coal, and in contemplating the vast benefit which 
Jones' labours have conferred on India, that his claim to the 
highest rank among her benefactors rests.'' His last public 
engagement was the building of Bishop's College, which he 
undertook in some measure from his desire to promote every 
object of public utility, but also because he aspired to the 
honour of erecting the first Gothic edifice in India. His active 
and useful life was brought to an abrupt close in the month of 
September 1821, in consequence of. a fever contracted while 
superintending the building, which proved fatal in tliree days. 
" It will," wrote Bishop Middleton, "still be his monument."! 

Considerable additions have been made to the college since 
its acquisition by Government in 1880. The most interesting 
building is the chapel begun by Jones, which contains memorial 
tablets erected to Bishops Middleton, Heber and Wilson, and 
to four rdumui of the college who were killed during the Mutiny 
of 1857. One of these, named Cockey, was at the college m 

• Uoicrah, Past and Present. , , ^ , .^ „ • 

t J. C. Mar.hman, Note, on the Eight Bank of the Hooghly, Calcutta Revi.w, 



1846 at the same time as another distinguished pupil, the Bengali 
poet, Michael Madhiisiidan Dutt. 

The area of the college premises is '^'30 hiij/ids, of which 219 
blghds are liigh lands, 05 hUjhdB are accreted lands, and 70 l'iijh(U 
consist of low swampy lands and tanks. Miicli of the area is 
very low-lying or consists of j)tih and tanks. The locality 
is consequently unhealthy, and ns it is uusuitable on other 
grounds for thn work of the college, it has been decided to 
transfer the institution to Ranchl. 

SingtL — A village in the TJluberia subdivision, situated on the 
bank of the Kana Damodar in the extreme north-west of the 
district. It contains an independent police outpost, and is an old 
place shewn in Eennell's Atlas (Plate YIl), as is also Sibpur, 
another large village on the same river. The outpost was trans- 
ferred from the Khanakul thana of Hooghly District to the Amta 
thana of Howrah in 1894, 

Syampur.— A large village on the right bank of the 
Damodar, chiefly inhabited by Kaibarttas. It has a police station, 
a sub-registry office, a post office, a ferry, a charitable dispensary 
and a District Board bungalow. Within its jurisdiction lie 
Sasati, with a High English school, a ferry and a Public Works 
Department bungalow on the Eupnarayan ; Fort Mornington on 
the mouth of the Rupnarayan in the village of Makrapathar ; and 
Pichhalda, two miles north north-wost of Fort Mornington with 
a hdl. Sasati is shewn in EecneH's Atlas (Plate VII), while 
Pichhalda is still older, being shewn in the oldest maps existing, 
viz., those of Gastaldi (1561), De Barros (1623) and Blaev 
(1650) In De Barros' Da Asia, printed in 1 552, it is said — 
*' Granga discharges into the illustrious stream of the Ganges 
between the two places called Angeli and Picholda in about 22 
degrees.''* It is also mentioned in the biographies of Chai- 
tanya as the place where he crossed the river ; and from its 
position, just above the junction of the Eupnarayan and the 
Hooghly, it must have been an important village. 

Tanna or Thana Muckwa. — A village in the Sankrail out- 
post. It is an old place, frequently mentioned in European 
accounts of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The 
earliest reference to the place appears to be contained in a letter 
from Hooghly dated 3 1st March 1674 stating that the sloop 
/In7«;«// had reached "Tannah."t The maps of the second half 

* J. A. S. B., 1892, p. 112. 

t Factory Records, 1. c, Bowrey's Countries Round the Bay of Bengal, 
p. 208, note 4. 

176 HOWRAH. 

of the 17th century have entries of more than one Tanna. The 
map of Valentijn, based on materials obtained in 1660-65 A.D., 
shows Thanna and below it Kl. {i.e., kiln or fort) Thanna ; the 
Pilot Chart of Bowrey (1688) shows Great Tanna and below it 
Little Tanna; and the Pilot Chart of 1703 shows Great Tanna, 
below it Tanna Fort, and still lower down Little Tanna. The 
name Tanna is evidently a corruption of tlnhia or police station. 
The upper Tanna shewa near the bend of the river, on the site 
now occupied by the Civil Engineering College, Sibpur, was 
named Great Tanna, apparently to distinguish it from the Tanna 
lower down at the next bend of the river near Rajganj. A short 
distance below Great Tanna was the fort, the position of which is 
reasonably identified with the site of the house of the Superin- 
tendent of the Botanical Garden. Here the river is so much 
narrower, that a fort on this bank, with the help of another fort 
on the opposite side,* would easily command the waterway. 

According to the diary of Sir Streynsham Master, dated 30th 
November 1676, an old mud walled fort was built af'Tannay" 
to prevent the incursions of pirates from Arakan, who ten or 
twelve years before had carried off people from the river-side 
villages, to sell them in the slave market at Pipli, ''in consequence 
of which none durst live lower than this place." Master 
buried Mr. Call way at '* Little Tanna" on r2th September 1676, 
because the boats could not go further up that day to " Tanna." 
Great Tanna is also mentioned twice in Hedges' diary, viz., on 
23rd July 1682 and Slst December 1684. When war broke out 
between the English and Nawab Shaista Khan of Bengal, Job 
Chamock assaulted and took the fort at Tanna on 11th February 
1687 and after demolishing it landed at Hijili. Subsequently, 
when the war was suspended by a temporary peace, Charnock pro- 
ceeded to Little Tanna on the way up to Chutanuti, and thence 
sent a despatch to the Governors on 10th September 1687. 
The war was not actually concluded till 1690, but even after 
that the Governor of Hooghly would not permit the English 
shipping to come above Tanna Fort for some time. However, 
on 24th August 1690, Charnock arrived at Chutanuti for the 
third and last time, and recorded that on his arrival the Governor 
of Tanna sent his servant to greet him.t 

In 1696, when Subha Singh and Rahim Khan rebelled, their 
forces besieged the Tanna fort, but were repulsed by its com- 
mandant, with the help of the vessel Thomas lent by the English 

• Hedges' Dia^y, Yule, Vol. Ill, p. 215. 

t Hedges' Diani, Yule, Vol. I, pp. 32, 17i; Vol. II, pp. 02-65, 68, 233, 237, 



to serve as a guardsbip.* The fort is said to have been captured 
by the Mar&thSs in their early invasions in 1741-42, and is last 
heard of in the first war of Lord Clive with Siraj-ud-daiila, At 
that time the Tanna fort, was of brick, while the fort opposite it 
(at Matiaburuz) was of mud. On ist January 1757, the seamen 
of the Tyger took possession of " Tannari Fort", which the 
Muhammadaus had abandoned, and the boats of H. M. S. 
Kent took the fort on the opposite side. Forty cannon 
were found in the two forts, several being 14-pounders.t The 
English set fire to both the forts, but two years later (in J 759) 
Clive hearing of the approach of a Dutch force, strengthened 
the Tanna fort and Charnock's fort (the one opposite to it) and 
put them under the charge of Captain Knox. Since then all 
trace of the fortifications at Tanna is lost, Kennell's Atlas (Plates 
VII and XIX) showing only the village of Tanna or Tanna 
Muckwa on the spot now occupied by the Botanic Garden. 
The fort at one time gave its name to this part of the river, as 
may be gathered from a report of the 19th May 1704 that the 
English sloop Cnssimbnzzar returned to Calcutta, "having sprung 
her mast at Tana reach, about 4 miles below the Factory ".J 

Uluberia. — The headquarters town of the subdivision of the 
same name, situated on the right bank of the Hooghly river, in 
22° 28' N. and 88° 7' E. Population (1901) 5,395. It is 19 
miles distant by river from Howrah and 20 miles by rail, and is 
accessible by boat, steamer and rail. One steamer service runs 
from Calcutta to Uluberia, and another to Ghatal via Uluberia. 
The Orissa Trunk Eoad and the High Level Canal to Midnapore 
also stait from this town, and there is a station on the Bengal- 
Nagpur Railway at a short distance from it. The town, which 
is protected from the river by a bigh embankment, is rural in 
character and has no features of interest. Before the railway 
was extended to it, Uluberia was a place of some importance, for 
pilgrims passed through it on their way to and from Jagannath, 
and there was a large bazar to meet their wants. It still has a 
considerable trade in rice and fish, especially mango-fish and 
hilm. In 1903 it was constituted a municipality ; but in April 
1907, the municipality was abolished as unsuitable to local 
conditions, and the place was made the head-quarters of an 
Union. It has the usual Subdivisional oflBces, Criminal and 

* Harly Annals of the English in Bengal, I, 124, note 1. 

t Stewart's Sistory of Bengal, 1847, p. 2] 0. Captain Cope's A Xfew Eistory 
of the East Indies, (1758), Appendix VI, pp. 418, 420 ; Ives, p. 101, 1. e. Eedge$' 
Diary, Vol. Ill, p. 215. 

X Early Annals of the English in Bengal, I., 251. 


178 HOWRAH. 

Civil Courts, Local Board offices, a sub- jail, a police station, a 
sub-registry office, a postal-telegraph office, a charitable dispen- 
sary, a High English school, and a Public Works Department 
Dak bungalow. The name is probably derived from ulu (a kind 
of grass) and Icre (fence), the ulu grass growing in abundance 
round the town. The derivation "Abode of Owls" given by 
Sir William Hunter is fantastic and improbable. 

This little river-side town has an interesting history. It 
first came into prominence in consequence of Chamock's war with 
the Bengal Nawab» The first campaign was concluded by an 
agreement between Charnock and the Nawab's BaJishl Abdul 
Samad, by which the former handed over Hijil! and was permitted 
to proceed to Chutanati and to demand a ne^farman with twelve 
conditions. Charnock accordingly proceeded on 17th June 1687 
" with half the fleet to TJlleberrea and Little Tanna."* One 
of the twelve conditions was that the English should be allowed 
to establish themselves at Uluberia, besides keeping their factory 
at Hooghly. This condition was granted by the Nawab in a 
parw&na ox order from Dacca dated 21st July 1687.t It was 
also tentatively approved by the Court of Directors, who on 
27th August 1688, wrote : — " Your town of Ulabarreah, we 
understand, hath depth of water sufficient to make Docks and 
conveniences for the repairing of any of our biggest ships, and is 
a healthfull place, and therefore we have added a Paragraph to 
our letter to our Generall that, if he can obtain a Phirmaund from 
the MoguU for our holding that place fortifyed with the same 
immunities and priviledges we hold Fort St. George, we will be 
therewith content, without looking further, or being at any new 
charge in contending for any other fortifyed settlement in 
Bengali . . . We hope you may so manage that place or 
Town of Ullaberreah which you have articled for, that it may 
in time become a famous and well governed English Colony."* 

The truce, however, was a hollow one, and, as the war continued, 
the Bengal Council with all their shipping had ultimately to retire 
to Madras. In the meantime, Charnock and other members of 
the Council changed their minds, and in reply to the above letter 
of the Court wrote from Madras under the date oOth September 
1689 — " In our Generall Letter by the Beaufort and our diaries 
of that Yeare, wherein wee have layd downe Our reasons for the 
altering Our Opinion about Ullaberreah and pitching on Chut- 
tanutte as the best and fittest up the Hiver on the Maine, as We 

* Hedges' Diary, II, G8. 
t Ditto II, 71. 

i Ditto II, 75. 

GAZETTBRft. 179 

have since experienced, and likewise been eattisfyed that Ulubar- 
reeah was misrepresented to Us by those sent to survay it."* 
Uluberia thus never became "a famous and well-governed 
English Colony." It continued, however, to be a place of some 
importance, for it is shewn in the Pilot Charts of 1688 and 1703 
and in Eennell's Atlas (Plates YII and XIX). 

Within the jurisdiction of the Uluberia thana there are 
several important villages, e.g., Phuleswar with the New Ring 
Cotton Mills; Sijberia at the mouth of the Raj Spur Drainage 
Channel with a canal bungalow ; Garhbhabanipur with a High 
English school ; and Nunti with plantations of betel-leaf, well- 
known in Northern India for its fine flavour. All the early maps 
shew below the present Uluberia a place named Pisacol, which 
may have given its name to pnnjana " PechacolIy"t on the 
other side of the river, one of the original 24 Parganas. There 
is no trace of this village in the maps published after the middle 
of the 17th century. The Pilot Charts of 1688 and 1703 show a 
village Rangamatte, a name which still survives in the Ranga- 
mete Khal opposite Mayapur Magazine. Valentijn's map shows 
another village Basanderi, which is also mentioned by Alexander 
Hamilton: — "Basundri and Tresinddi ... are on that river 
which produce the greatest quantities of the best Sugars in 
Bengal"4 It probably gave the name to the large pargana of 
Balia Bassendhari, which formed a portion of the Burdwan 
zamindari, while a small part of it was included in Lord Clive's 
zamindari of the 24-Parganas.§ 

Uluberia Subdivision. — A subdivision occupying the whole of 
south and the western half of the north of the district, between 
22° 13' and 22° 47' N. latitude and 87° 51' and 88^ 12' E. 
longitude, with an area of 337 square miles. The tract is 
generally low-lying with a gradual slope from the northwest, to the 
south-east. It is drained by the Damodar and its branch channels 
and on the south-west by the Rupnarayan. The north-western 
part is exposed to inundation, the embankment on the right 
bank of the Damodar having been abandoned; but the rest 
of the subdivision is mostly protected by embankments. The 
subdivision is divided into four thanas, Uluberia, Bagnan, Amta 
and Syampur, with three independent outposts, Bauria, Singti 
and Mandalghat. The population increased from 298,801 in 

* Sedges' Diary, II, 86. 

t Grant's View of the Revenues of Bengal, The Fifth Report, p. 491- Statis- 
tical Account of the 24-Parganas, Appendix, p. 384, 

X A. New Account of the East Indies, \o\. II, p. 6. 
I Grant, pp. 478,491. 


180 HOWRAH. 

1872 to 419,257 in 1901, when it was ccntained in 1,08G village 

The north and north-west of Amta suffer periodically from 

epidemics of malarial fever ; and this thana, on the whole, shews 

least progress. The i redominating castes are Kaibarttas, Pods 

and Bagdis ; the higher castes being comparatively few in number. 

The subdivision al headquarters were for twenty years at Mahish- 

rekha, but were removed to Uluberia in 1883. Khanakul thana 

was then included ki this subdivision, but was transferred to 

the Arambagh (formerly Jahanabad) subdivision of the Hooghly 

district. The density of population in all the thanas is nearly 

the same, averaging 1,244 per square mile or less than half of 

that in the Howrah subdivision 

[ N I) E X 


Aclampur, 169. 

Administrativo changes, 26, 27 ; 

charges and staff, 128, 131. 
Administration, general, 128-132. 
Agricultural statistics, 68 ; cIhhsch, 7r>, {)(',. 
Agriculture, 65-75. 
Agunshe, 150. 
Ahalyii Bai's Road, 119. 
Albion Factory, 114. 
Albion Foundry, 109. 
Jman rieo, cultivation of, 69, 70. 
American Mission, 37. 
Amragori, dispensary at, 64, 148. 
Amta, description of, 147, 148; dibpen- 
•ary at, 64; fair at, 103; bungi.low 
at, 121 ; sub -registry oflice at, 130; 
thana at, 182; Union Committee 
at, 134 ; High school at, 141,. 
Amta drainage schcmo, 77, 81. 
Andul, High school at, 140, Ml.; 

description of, 148-150. 
Andul Raj, 149, 150. 
Andulabda era, 149. 
Animists, 38, 39. 
Archceology, 27. 
Argoria, 149. 
Artisans, wages of, 90; material 

condition of, 94. 
Arts and industries, 97-102, 
Aus rice, cnltivation of; 69. 
Awal land, 68. 


Bagdis, 40. 

Bagnan, description of, 150; th;iiia at, 

132; Union Committee at, 184; High 

school at, 140, 144. 

BaiHkiIti, 36. 
im\—Sec Hiiily. 
Biilia, 169. 

Bally, description of, 150, 151 ; popula- 
tion of, 31 ; dispensary at, 64; juto 
mills at. 111, 112; tliana at 132; 
municipality at, 184, 135 ; IIi^,'h 
school at, 114; liltrary at, 146 » 
paper m ills at, 151. 
Bally Khdl, 13, 122, 123. 
Bally Khiil Bone Mills, 113. 
Bully Sadhurani Sabhii, 146. 
Biiluhati, 7. 

Baluti, 7, 160; Hi-h school at, 144. 
Btimangfichhi, 125. 
Biiniban, girls' school at, 145. 
Baiikura Riii, worship of, 48. 
Banspiiti Khul, 3, 11, 123. 
BiintrH, High suhool at, 144. 
Bantul, 72. 

Banyan tree of the Botanic Garden, 159. 
Baptist MiKsiou, 36, 37. 
Barajol drainage works, 79. 
Bara Mairu, 11. 
Bargachhiii. 2. 102, 169. 
Barrackpur, 114. 
Baslii in Ilowah City, 63. 
Sasttt land, 68. 
Basundi, 179. 
Bator, 19, 20, 23 ; Foderici's account of, 

19, 20; description of, 151, 152. 
Bauria, description of, 152, 153; cotton 
and juto mills at, 110, 111, 112; outpost 
at, 132. 
Bauria Cotton Mills, 110, HI. 
Beggars, 95. 
Begri, 160. 
Bogn hat, 100,103. 



Bela land, 68. 

Belur, 48, 49, 50; library at, 146; 
Ramkrisbna Miss'on at, 151. 

Belvedere Jute Mills, 111,112. 

Bengal Flour Mill, 113. 

Bengal-Nagpnr Railway, 126; work- 
shops of, 110. 

Bengali language, 36. 

Betel-lcaf, cultivation of, 72, 

BhSgirathI river, 3, 4, 

Bbandardah, 7. 

Bharat-Abhyuday Cott'>n Mills, 111. 

Bharat (Chandra Rai, birth place of, 3, 
6, 148. 

Bbatora, 148 ; outpost at, 132. 

Bbot-bagan, description of, 153, 154. 

Birth-rate, 53, 54. 

Bishop's College at Sibpur, 141 ; history 
of, 173, 174. 

Boats, 124, 125. 

Bone mills, 113. 

Bore of the Hooghly, 6, 7. 

Boro parffanTi, 161. 

Boro rice, cultivation of, 69. 

Botanic Garden, Sibpur, description of, 

Botany, 13. 

Boundaries of the district, 1, 2. 

Brahmans, 39; of Bally, 150,151. 

Brick manufacture, 114. 

Bridges, 121,122. 

British, 'early rule of, 25, 26. 

British India Dock, 107. 

British India Engineering Deparlment, 

Brown, Revd, David, 140. 

Buchanan Hamilton, 154. 

Backland Bridge, 121. 
Budge-Budge Reach, 5. 

Bungalows, 121. 

Burdwan fever, 56. 

Burn & Co. Ld. 108; Iron Works of; 
109, 110. 


Calmuitics, natural, 88-88. 
Caledonia Docks, 106, 107. 

Caledonia Steam Printing Works, 

113, 146. 
Canals, 76, 123 ; irrigation from, 67. 
Cane work, 100. 
Carp, 102 

Carriage workshops, 110. 
Cash rents, 89, 90. 
Castes, 39. 
Cattle, 74, 75. 
Cemetery at Howrah, 1 65. 
Census statistics, 28, 29; 
Central Jute Mills, 110, 111. 
Chuharam land, 68. 
Chakkasi, jute mills at. 111, 112, 
Champa Khal, 3. 
Chandmari, 163. 
Chandlpur, 99. 

Charitable Dispensaries, 63, 64. 
Charnock, Job, 21, 22. 
Chars of the Hooghly, 7; Of the Rupna- 

rayan, 9. 
Chmkldars, 132. 
Chelopati Ghat, 114. 
Chikan work, 98. 
Cholera, epidemics of, 56. 
Chota Maira, 11. 
Christian Missions, 36, 37; educational 

work of, 139-142. 
Christians, 36. 

Church Missionary Society, 36. 
Churches at Howrah, 165, 
Civil Engineering College, 141, 142- 

Civil justice, administration of, 131. 
Climate, 14-16. 
Cloth weaving, 97, 98. 
Clothing of the people, 32, 33. 
Cocoon rearing, 99. 
Coffrey Reach, 5. 
Colleges, 141, 14'2-144. 
Commerce, 102, 103. 
Commercial classes, 96, 
Communication, means of, 118-127. 
Con6guration of the district, 2, 3. 
Conservancy, C8. 
Contract supply system, 129. 
Cotton mills, 110, 111. 



Cotton weaving, 97, 98. 

Country spirit, naanufacturo and coiiBiiuip- 
tiou of, 129, 130. 

Courts, civil and criminal, 131. 

Creeks, 122, 123. 

Crime, 131, 132. 

Criminal just'.ce, administration of, 131. 

Crops, principal, 68-72. 

Cultivation, extension of, 73,74; improve- 
ments in practice, 74. 

Cultivators, material condition of, 93, 04. 

Cyclones,,83, 84 ; of 1738, 83, 84 ; of 1864 


Dafadars, 132. 

Dak bungalows, 121. 

Dakshinbar, 160. 

Damodar river, description of, 7-9; 
changes of it scourse, 10, 11 ; embank- 
ments on, 81, 82 ; navigation on, 122; 
ferries on, 123. 

DangH land, 68. 

Dankuni swamp, 79. 

Death-rate, 52, 53, 54. 

Delta Jute JJills, 111, 112. 

Density of population, 29-30. 

Dhapa, 11. 

Dharmaraj, worship of, 42, 43. 

Diarrhoea, 57, 58. 

Dispensaries, 63, 64. 

Diseases, 54-59. 

Distilleries, 113, 114 

District Board, administration of 
133, 134. 

District, formation of, 26, 27. 

District roads, 120. 

District staff, 128, 131, 

Dock-yards, 105-108. 

Domestic animals, 74, 75. 

Donga, 67. 

Boyam land, 68. 

Drainage, legislation regarding, 77, 78. 

Drainage system, 62. 

Drainage works, 76-81, 

Dress of the people, 32-33. 

Drinking, 34, 35. 

Dudhkliall, 11. 

Dumjor, inspection bungalow at, 121 ; 

thanaat, 132; Union Committee at, 

134 ; description of, 160. 
Dutch, war with, 25. 
Dwellings, 33, 
Dysentery, 57, 58. 


Earthquakes, 83. 

East Indian Railway, 125, 126; work- 
shops of, 110. 

Eastern Gut, 5. 

Education, 138-146. 

Educational staff, 142. 

Electric tramway, 127. 

Embankments, 81, 82. 

Embroidery work, 98. 

Emigration, 30, 31. 

Empress of India Jute Press, 112. 

Engineering, works, 108-110; Work- 
shops, 110; college, 141, 142-144. 

English schools, 139, 140, 144. 

Bntel land, 68. 

European schools, 140, 141, 146. 

Europeans, early trade of, 19-21 ; educa- 
tion of, 146. 

Excise, administration of, 12!), 130. 

Extension of cultivation, 73, 74. 


Factories, 110-113. 

Factory industries, 104*11 7. 

Factory life, 115-117. 

Fairs, 103. 

Falconer, Dr., 154, 156. 

Falta Reach, 5, 

Famine, 84, 85; of 1866, 85. 

Fauna, 13, 14, 

Federici'a account of Bator, 19, 20. 

Female education, 139, 145. 

Ferries, 123, 124, 

Fever, prevalence of, 55, 56. 

Fish, 13, 14, 100-102. 

Fisheries, 100-102. 

Fisherman's Reach, 5, 


I y I» K X . 

Flood*, 85-88; of 1885, 8«. 67; of 1900, 

87; of IC-O* ami 1905, 88. 
Flotjr millJ, 112, 113. 
YvA of tke people, 33. 34. 
Formatifm of the district, 2C, 27. 
Fort OIo«t*r .Jate MilU, 111, 112. 
Fort Mc^mington, 2. 
Fort MoramgUm Point, ICj. 
Fort William Flonr Mill, 113. 
Fotindriw, 108, lOG. 
FriCTjd'i Union Clnb, 146, 
FrniU, 72, 73. 


Oaighitl-Baksbi Khal, 3, 76. 123; 

dfei^ription r/t, 9, 10. 
Ganged Engineering Works, 109. 
fiani?c«.Ir)i>; Mills, 110, 111. 
GAftja consumption of, 13'^^. 
flarhbhabiniptir, 17& ; High ichool a', 

General a^lminiitratioi), 128-132. 
Geology, 12. 

Gbantakama, woribip of, 4^i. 
Ghn«nri, 161 ; rope work* at, 109 ; 

fotton mill.* at. 111, 112; y,U: 

mills at, 111, 112, 
Gbtwari Cotton Mills, 110, 111. 
Gbnsnri Jut* Press, 112. 
Girls' schools, 139, HI, 142,145. 
GfAt^ndi, paint works at, 113. 
Ooalas, 39. 

Oodlings, worship of, 42-47. 
OoBbiri, dock yards at, l(/i, 107 ; tbari>. 

at, 132. 
Grand Tmnk Eo&d, 119. 120, 
('mx\n,i groTinds, 75. 
Guru training school, 146. 


Hsad tndocttiM, 97- 102. 

Hangman Point, 4. 

HMtings, Warren, ir^S. 

Hit*, 103. 

Health, poblic, B2-^;4. 

Hemp drugs, consamption of, 130. 

High Enj^Iisb schools, 144, 

High Level Canal, 123. 

HiUa fish, 101, 102, 

Hindi langTxage, 3^>. 

Hindus, 39>4L 

Hisv^ry of thh di»trict, 17-27. 

Hf/-^ River Rea>ch, 3. 

HogUi reed, 73. 

Honorary lCag!strat««, 131. 

Hwghly Docking Works, 107. 

Hryjgbly river, deecriptioo of, 3-7 ; 
reaches of, 4, 5; narigation on, 5, 6, 
122; tides of, 6; bore of, 6,7; chan 
of, 7; embankccents on, 82; ferries 
on, 124. 

Hookahs, mantifactare of, 100. 

Hooker, Sir Joseph, 155. 

Hoepitals, 64. 

Hotisea of the people, 33. 

Howrah-Amta liailway, 126, 127. 

Howrah Bri'lge, description of, 121, 122. 

HowrahCity; description of, 161-169; 
rainfall of, 16; f;arly references 
tf>, 22, 23; density of popnlation 
in, 29, 30, migration to, 30, 31, 
population of, 81, sanitation of, 
60, 61 ; water supply of, 61, 62 ; 
drainage of, 62, 63; batlit, 63 ; 
(Anservancy, 63; General Hospital 
at, 64; dock-yards in, 106; railway 
workshop at, 110; s-jb-registry 
office at, 130; district jail at, 132; 
municipality at, 135-137; school* at, 
139-141, 144; Kate-payer*' Ass'vd*- 
tion at, 146. 

How rah drainage scheme, 77, 7H, 79. 

Howrah Flour Mills, 113. 
i Howrah Fonndry, 109. 
; Howrah HilaUM (Newspipcr), 146. 
I Howrah Hydraulic Jute Press. 112. 

Howrah Institut*, 14^'- 
, Howrah Iron Works, V/J. 

Howrah Jute Mills, HI, 112. 

Howrah Oil Mills, 113. 

Howrah-hhiakhala Railway, 126. 

Howrah subdivision, 169, 

Ha, worship of, 47. 

I K I) K X 


Humidity, 14, 15. 
Horrioaues, S3, S4. 

ImmiiTration, 30, 31. 
Imivrial Juve Press, 112. 
Income-tax, 130. 
Industries, Pr.f'il ; 104-11^1. 
Infantile mortality, M. 
In•titutiou^, medieal, t>3, 64. 
luundrttious, S6-S8. 
Iron works, lOS-110. 
Irrigation, 66-6S. 


Jaguuuathpiir 11. 

Jagatballabhpur, description of. 1^9; 
inspection bungralow at, 121; sub- 
registry office at, 130 ; thiinn at, 
133; Union Committee at, 134; 
High school at, 144. 
Jagatballabhpur-Amta road, 1-0. 
Jails, 132. 

Jala land, 68. 

Jaliya Kiiibtirttas, 41. 

James and Mary Sands, 169-17J. 

Jan Perdo river, 10; derivation of name, 

Janai basin, 70. 

Jarmaker's R«»vch, 5. 

Jaypur, 148 ; High school at, H-i. 

Jessop i Co., Ld., lOS; Iron Works of, 

Jliapardah, IGO; High school at, Hi. 

Jhiukra, 148; High school at, 144. 

Jones, William, 174. 

Jugeswar, 99. 

Justice, administration of, 131, 13-. 

Jute, cultivation of, 71. 

Jute mills. 111, 112. 

Jute presses. 111, 112. 

Jwarasur, worship of, 46. 


£3g}iaz% Muhauimadans, 90. 
Kaibarttas 39. 40, character of, 93, 94. 
Kalsapa K/ial, 128. 

Kini Damoilar river, dcicription of, 8, 9. 
Kaori», 41. 
Kausiki river, 8, 9. 
I KarirMji system of uiodiciue, 64. 
I Kayasths, 39. 
' Kh<ih, 3, li2, 123. 
KkesMri, culti\-at.ion of. 70, 71. 
King, Sir Geor^je, ITx?. ir>8. 
Koran schivls, 146. 
i KrithSm, «iige.>of, 91. 
j Kulin Hrahmaus, 35. 
! Emidu-Chaudhuris of Andul. l.'iO. 
I Kyd, Colonel Kobert, l.Vt, 

i ^" 

I Labour supph. Ill, lir>. 

LobonrcTS, wages of. 90; maferi.-il con- 
dition of, 94. 9."). 

Labouring classes, 96. 

Land revenue, receipts from, 12S, 12i\ 

Language, 36. 

Lawrence Jut« Mills, 111, Hj. 

Libraries, 146. 

Light railways, 126, 127. 
Lilniih. description of. 171; rniiway 
workshop at. 110; Ihana at, 132; 
railway technical school at, 145 
Lime works, 113. 
Linsoed, cultivation of, 71. 
Lit«rate population, 142. 
Local Boards, aduiiuistratiou of, KH. 
Local Sclf-Governmenf, 133-137. 
Locomotive workshops, 110. 


MadiiriS Khal, 8, 10, 123. 

Madrasas, 139. 

Magistrates, 131. 

Mahaufs of Bhot-bagiin, 153. 

Mahittri, 148, 149 ; trade of, 102, 103. 

Mahisrekhii, 8, 9, 150; rainfall of, 16 ; 

bungalow at, 121. 
MAhishyas, 40. 
Mainan, 100. 

Maju, 169 ; High school at, 144. 
Majurs, wages of, 91. 
Makardah, 2, 8, 160 ; fair at, 103. 



MaTctals, 188, 145, 146. 

Malarial fever, 55, 56. 

Malliks of Andul, 140. 

Manasa, worship of, 43, 44. 

Mandalgbat, outpost at, 132 ; description 

of, 171. 
Mandaran, 17, 18, 10. 
Mangal Cliandi, Worship of, 47. 
Mangoes, 72. 
Mango fish, 101, 102. 
Manikhali Point, 4. 
Manikpur, 172; jute mills at. Ill, 112; 

lime works at, 113. 
Mansmari, 11. 

Manufactures, 97-99, 104-114. 
Manure, 74. 

Marathas, invasion of, 23. 
Markets, 103. 
Marriage custoTis, 35. 
Marshes, 76, 77, 
Masurl, cultivation of, 71. 
Material condition of the peopU', 92-95. 
Mauri, 148, 149. 
Mayapur Roach, 5. 
Means of communication, 118-127. 
Medical aspects, 52-64. 
Medical institutions, 63, 64. 
Melai Chandi, temple of, 147. 
Melancholy Point, 4. 
Middle English schools, 144. 
Middle Vernacular schools, 145. 
Miduapore Canal, 76 , 
Migration, 30, 31. 
Military Orphan Asylum, 140. 
Military Road, 119. 
Milki, 11. 
Mills, 110-113. 

Missionaries, educational work of, 36, 37. 
Missions, Christian, 36, 37 ; cducationnl 

work of, 189.142, 
Mission sihofjls, 145. 
Iklithttkundn Kkal, 123. 
Mitras of Andul, 149, 150. 
Monarch Flour Mills, 113. 
Mondalghat river, 10. 
Mugkiilyau, 150; High school itt, 144. 
Muhummadan rule, 18-25. 

Muhammadans, 37, 38. 
Mulberries, 73; culti\ation of, 99 
Mung, cultivation of, 70. 
Municipalities, 134-137. 
Mustard, cultivation of, 71. 
Mutiny of 1857, 26. 


Nabosan, 98, 169. 

Nainan Reach, 5. 

NSrit, 148; High school at, 144. 

Narna, 160; fair at, 103. 

Nasmyth Jute Press, 112. 

National Jute Mills, 111, 112.* 

Natural calamities, 82-88. 

Navigation, 122, 123 ; on the Hooghly, 

Nets used for fishing, 100, 101. 
New Bally Jute Mills, 111, 112. 
New Ring Cotton Mills, 111. 
Newspapers, 146. 
Night schools, 146. 
Nunti, 73, 179. 
Nurpur Reach, 5. 


Occupations of the people, 96. 
Oil mills, 113. 
Oil-seeds, cultivation of, 71. 
Ola Bibi, worship of, 46. 
Old BenSres Road, 119, 120. 
Orissa Trunk Road, 119, 120. 
Oriya language, 36. 
Oriyas, invasion of, 17, 18, 
Opium, consumption of, 130. 
Outposts, police, 132, 
Outstill system, 129. 


Paikan pargana, 161. 
Paintal, 169. 
Paint works, 113. 
Panchanan, worship of, 44. 
Panchla Jol basins, 79. 
Panchla, outpost at, 182; description 
of, 171, 172. 



Pandua, 148. 

Panitrls, 150; Ul^h school at, 144. 

Panpur, 148; High school at, 141. 

Paper, manufacture of, 99. 

Paper mill, 151. 

Pasturage, 75, 

P5thi5l, 99. 

Pafhsdlds, 138. 

Patni taluks, 92. 

Peas, cultivation of, 70. 

Penico land, 68. 

People, the, 28-51 ; material condition of, 
92-95; occupations of, 9G. 

Persand^r, 123. 

Phdnriddrs, 182. 

Phoenix Flour Mills, 112. 

Phuleswar, 179; cotton mills at. 111; 
AnusilHU Samiti at, 146. 

Physical aspects, 1-16. 

Pichhaldaha, 10, 19, 175. 

Pirates, raids of, 20, 21. 

Pisacoly, 19. 

Pisolta, 10, 19. 

Plague, 58, 59. 

Pods, 41. 

Police, administration of, 132. 

Polygamy, practice of, 35. 

Population, growth of, 28, 29; census 
statistics 29; density of, 29, 30; 
urban, 31; rural, 31, 33. 

Port Commissioners' Dock, 107. 

Postal statistics, 127. 

Pottery making, 99. 

Presbyterian Church, 37. 

Presses, 146. 

Prices, 91, 92. 

Primary schools, 145. 

Printing presses, 146 . 

Printing works, 113. 

Produce rents, 89. 

Professional classes, 96 ; material condi- 
tion of, 92. 

Provincial roads, 120. 

Public health, 52-64. 

Public Works Department, 128. 

FulseB, cultivation of, 70, 71 

Puran Oir, life of, 153. 


Iladhas, 17. 

Railways, 125-127; workshops of, 110. 

Rainfall, 15, 16; in relation to agriculture, 

65, 66. 
Rajapur, 160 ; bungalow at, 121. 
Uajapur drainage scheme, 77, 79, 80. 
Rajapur Jol basin, 79. 
Rajganj, 172; jute uuilla at, 111, 112. 
Rajganj K7ial, 3. 
Ramdayal Cotton Mills, 111. 
Ramkrishna Mission, 47-51. 
Ramkrishna Parmhansa, 48, 49, 50. 
Ramkristapur, hat at, 98, 103; rope 
works at, 108; flour mill at, 112, 
113; oil mill ut, 113; char at, 114. 
Rape, cultivation of, 71. 
Raspur, 148; High school at, 144. 
Raspur river, 10 . 
Rates of root, 89, 90. 
Rate-payers' A ssociatiou, 146. 
Rautra, 1 48, 
Uayapur Beach, 5. 
Registration, 130, 131. 
Registry offices, 130. 

Religions, 36-41; Christians, 36, 37; 
Muhammadans, 37, 38 ; Hindus, 39- 
41 ; popular beliefs, 41-47 ; Ram- 
krishna Mission, 47-51. 
Rents, 89, 90. 

Revenue of the district, 128-131. 
Rice cultivation of, 69, 70 . 
Rice trade in Howarh, 114, 
River courses, changes in, 9-12, 
River system, 3-12. 

Roads, early, 119, 120; modern, 120, 121 ; 
Provincial, 120; District Board. 120- 
121 ; Municipal, 121. 
Roman Catholics, 37. 
Rope Works, 108. 
Roxburgh, Dr. William, 154. 
Rum factory, 113, 114, 
Rupnarayan river, description of, 9 ; 
changes of its course, II ; embank- 
ments on, 82 ; navigation on, 122 ; 
ferries on, 123. 
Rural population, 31, 32. 




Sadgops, 39. 

Sdli land, 68. 

Salkhii-Chandltala road, 120. 

Salkhia Cotton Mills, 111. 

Salkhia, description of, 172; dock -yards 
at, 106, 107; cotton mills at, 
110, 111; oil mill at, 113; salt 
crushing mills at, 113 ; timber 
yards at, 113 ; schools at, 142, 144. 

Salkhia Jute Press, 112. 

Salt-crushing mills, 113. 

SaltSs, 125. 

Sanitation, 59-61. 

Sankrail 99 ; paint works at, 113 ; out- 
post at, 132 ; description of, 172. 

Sankrail Khal, 3, 123. 

Sanskrit tols, 138, 139. 

SantrSgachbi, out-post at, 132 ; givls' 
school at, 141; description of, 172^ 

Saranga, 172. 

Saraswati river, description of, 7, 8 ; 
changes of its course, 11, 12. 

Sarsati or Sarsuti river, 7. 

Sasati, 176; bungalow at, 121; High 
school at, 144. 

SasthI, worship of, 45. 

Satgaon, 18, 19, 20 ; sarJcar, 19. 

Satya-Narayan, worship of, 46, 47. 

Saw mills, 113. 

Scarcity, 84, 85. 

Schools, 138-146. 

Secondary schools, 144, 145. 

Septic tanks, 63. 

Scrampore looms, use of, 94, 98. 

Servants, wages of, 90. 

>Seyam land, 68. 

Shaista Khan, 21. 

Sbilimar branch line, 126. 

Shalimar Point, 4. 

Shiliinar, description of, 173; rope works 
at, 108; railway workshop at, 110 ; 
paint works at, 113. 

Sibpur Botanic Garden, 154-160. 

Sibpur College workshops, 109. 

Sibpur Engineering College, 141, 142- 

Sibpur Iron Works, 109. 
Sibpur Jute Mills, 111, 112 ; timber yards 

at, 113. 
Sibpur plough, 74. 
Sibpur, description of 173 175 ; workshop 

at, 110; jute mills at. 111, 112; 

flour mills at, 112, 113; timber 

yards at, 113 ; thana at, 133 ; 

College at, 141, 142-144; High 

school at, 144. * 

Sijberia, 179 ; bungalow at, 121. 
Sijberia Khal, 3, 10. 
Silk cocoons, 99. 
Silk spinning, 98, 99. 
Singti, dispensary at, 63; outpost at, 132 ; 

description of, 175. 
Sitala worship of, 45, 46. 
Small-pox, 56. 
Social conditions, 32. 
Soils, 68. 
Sotia land, 68. 
Special schools, 145, 146. 
Spirits, consumption of, 34, 35. 
St. Agnes' School, 146. 
St. Aloysius' School, 146. 
St. Elizabeth's School, 146. 
St. Thomas' School at Howrah, 141, 146, 

Staff of district, 142. 
Staging bungalows, 121. 
Stamps, receipts from, 129. 
Statistics, of rainfall, 16; vital, 53: of 

agriculture, 68; postal, 127. 
Steamer services, 124. 
SubachanI, worship of, 47. 
Sugarcane, cultivation of, 71, 72. 
Sugar factories, 113, 114, 
Suhmae, 17. 
Sulaimanabad, 18, 19. 
Sumatra Point, 162. 
Supply of labour, 114, 115. 
Surki mills, 113. 
Swades/il movement, 94, 98. 



Swami Vivekanandn, 48, 50, 

Swamps, 76, 77. 

Syilmpur, description of, 175; dispeusavy 
at, 64; inspection bungalow at, 121' 
Bub-registry office at, 130; th£iia at- 

Sylhet lime works, 113. 


Taiavi embankment, 82, 

Tamalee, Tomberlie or Tumbolco river, H. 

Tamluk, 17. 

Tamraliptas, 17. 

T5mralipti% 17. 

Tanna fort, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25; history 

of, 175-177. 
Tari, consumption of 84, 35, 130. 
Technical school, 145. 
Telkalghat, origin of aame, 113. 
Temperature, 14, 15. 
Temples, ancient, 27. 
TeorS, cultivation of, 71. 
Thana Muckwa, 175-177. 
Thanas, police, 132. 
Tibet, trade with, 153. 
Tides, 6. 

Til, cultivation of, 71. 
Tile making, 114, 
Timber yards, 113. 
Tiyars, 41. 

Tobacco, cultivation of, 72, 
Tols, 138, 139, 145. 
Topography, 1. 
Towns, 31. 

Trade, 102, 103; in rice, 114. 
Trading classes, material condition of 

92, 93. 
Tramways, 127. 
Truth (Newspaper) 146. 
Trypanosomiasis, 57. 
Tutia Kaibarttas, 99, 


Udldstu land, 68. 

Uluberia Canal, 123. 

Ulaberia Cotton Mills, 111, 

Uluberia, description of, 177-179; rain. 

fall of, 16 ; Charnock'B stay at, 21, 
22; dispensary at, 64; cattle market 
at, 75 ; trade of, 102, 103, cotton 
and jute mills at. Ill, 112; dik 
bungalow at, 121 ; sub-registry office 
at, 130 ; thana at, 132 ; sub-j»il at, 
132; Union Committee at, 134; 
High school at, 144; Indian Asso- 
ciation at, 146. 

Uluberia Reach, 5. 

Uluberia subdivision, 179, 180. • 

Uhi grass, 158. 

Union CommitteeB, 134, 

Urban, population, 31; •anitatiou, 
60, 61. 


Vaccination, 59. 
Vegetables, 73.^ 
Vernacular schools, 140. 
Veterinery hospital, 166. 
Victoria Cotton Mills, 111, 
Victoria Engine Works, 109. 
Village deities, worship of, 42-47. 
Village life, 35-36. 
Village sanitation, 60. 
Villages, 31, 32. 
Vital statistics, 53. 
Vivekananda, 48, 50, 


Wages, 90, 91. 

Wallich, Dr., 154. 

Warren Hastings, 15S. 

Waterlifts, 67, 68. 

Witerways, 122,123. 

Water-works, 62, 63. 

Weaving industry, 97, 98, 

Western Gut, 5, 

West Patent Jute Press, 112, 

Widow marriage, 85. 

Wild animals, 13. 

Winter rice, cultivation of, 69, 70. 


Zila school, 141. 

t1. 3. Press— 7-10.1909— 3064J -638— E. Q. 



AA 000 889 261 4