1902 Encyclopedia > Bhagalpur (district), British India

Bhagalpur (district), British India




BHAGALPUR, a district of British India in the division of the same name, under the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, situated between 26° 35' 30" and 24° 32' 39" N. lat., and 87° 33' 51" and 86° 21' 32" E. long. It is bounded on the N. by the independent state of Nepal, on the E. by the districts of Purniah and the Santal Parganas, on the S. by the Santal Parganis and Haz&rfb&gh, and on the W. by the districts of Monghir and Tirhut. BMgalpur is a long and narrow district, divided into two unequal parts by the River Ganges. In the southern portion of the district the scenery in parts of the hill-ranges and the high-lands which connect them is very beautiful. The hills are of the primary formation, with fine masses of contorted gneiss. The ground is broken up into picturesque gorges and deep ravines, and the whole is covered with fine forest trees and a rich undergrowth. Within this portion also lie the lowlands of Bhagalpur, fertile, well planted, well watered, and highly cultivated. The country north of the Ganges is level, but beautifully diversified with trees and verdure. Three fine rivers flow through the district—the Ganges, Kusi, and Ghagri. The Ganges runs a course of 60 miles through Bh&galpur, is navigable all the year round, and has an average width of three miles. The Kusf rises in the Himalayas and falls into the Ganges near Colgong (Kahlgion), within Bhagalpur. It is a fine stream, navigable up to the foot of the hills, and re-ceives the Ghagrf eight miles above its debouchure.





The census of 1872 disclosed a population of 1,826,290 souls, inhabiting 2739 towns or villages ; and 329,372 houses, giving an average of 422 per square mile, 667 per village, and 5'5 per house. Of the total population, 1,639,949, or 89-8 per cent., are Hindus; 169,426, or 9-3 per cent., Mahometans; 532 Christians; 19 Buddhists; 16,364, or -9 per cent., of unspecified religions, chiefly of aboriginal tribes, consisting of hillmen, Nats, Santals, &c. In the early days of British administration these hill people gave much trouble. They were the original inhabitants of the country whom the Aryan conquerors had driven back into the barren hills and unhealthy forests. This they avenged from generation to generation by plundering and ravaging the plains. The efforts to subdue or restrain these marauders proved fruitless, till Augustus Cleveland, the collector of Bhagalpur in the latter half of last century, won them by mild measures, and successfully made over the protection of the district to the very hill people who a few years before had been its scourge. Bice, wheat, barley, oats, Indian corn, various kinds of millet, pulses, oil-seeds, tobacco, cotton, indigo, opium, flax and hemp, and sugar-cane, are the principal agricultural pro- ducts of Bhagalpur district. The jungles afford good pasturage in the hot weather, and abound in lac, silk cocoons, catechu, resin, and the mahua fruit, which is both used as fruit and for the manu- facture of spirits. Iron, gold, coal, and building stone are found, but no iron or coal is at present smelted or worked. Gold is washed from the river sand in small particles. Silk cloth, called tasar, and pots similar to Chinese ware, are the principal manufactures of Bhagalpur. Principal seats of trade—Bhagalpur, Ghogha, Colgong (Kahlgaon), Pirpainti, and Sultanganj on the East Indian Railway; Umarpur, Purainl, Chandpur, Belhar, Jaipur, Kataria, Sabalpur, Panjwara, and Chandan, in the south of the district; and Bihpur, Krishnaganj, Muraliganj, and Pratapganj north of the Ganges. Besides nine principal roads with a total length of 368 miles, which form the means of external and internal communication, 62 miles of the East Indian Railway connect Bhdgalpur with Calcutta and Upper India. For administrative purposes Bhagalpur district is divided into four magisterial subdivisions, viz., the headquarters subdivision, and those of Bankf, Madhupura, and Supul; and for police purposes into twelve thdnds. A regular police, 600 strong, was maintained in 1872 at a total cost of £9569, or an average of one man to every 7'06 square miles, and 2979 of the population. Besides the regular police there were, in 1872, 3666 village watch- men, supported at an estimated cost of £5700, paid by the land- holders and villagers, exclusive of the service lands which they enjoy rent free. The total net revenue of the district, in 1870-71, amounted to £139,545, of which £72,161, or 51 '71 per cent., was derived from the land ; expenditure, £82,570. For the education of the people there were, in 1872, 14 Government and aided schools, attended by 876 pupils, and maintained at a total cost of £2313, of which Government contributed £929. The unaided schools num- bered 314, attended by 3593 pupils. The climate of Bhdgalpur partakes of the character both of the deltaic districts of Bengal and of the districts of Behar, between which it is situated. The hot season sets in about the end of March, continues till the beginning of June, the temperature at this time rising as high as 110° Fahr. The rains usually begin at the end of June and last till the middle of September ; average annual rainfall, 55 inches. The cold season commences at the beginning of November and lasts till March. During December and January the temperature falls as low as 41* Fahr. The average annual temperature is 78°. Bhagalpur formed a part of the ancient Sanskrit kingdom of Anga. In later times it was included in the powerful Hindu kingdom of Magadha or Behar, and in the 7th century A.D. it was an independent state, with the city of Champa for its capital. It afterwards formed a part of the Mahometan kingdom of Gaur, and was subsequently subjugated by Akbar, who declared it to be a part of the Dehli empire. Bhagalpur passed to the East India Company by the grant of the Emperor Shah Alam in 1765. (W. W. H.)







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