1902 Encyclopedia > Hyderabad (District), Sind, India

Hyderabad (District), Sind, India

HYDERABAD, or HAIDARABAD, a British district in the commissionership of Sind, India, lying between 24° 13' and 27° 15' N. lat., and between 67° 51' and 69° 22' E. long., with an area of 9053 square miles. It is bounded N. by Kairpur state, E. by Thar and P4rkar political superintendency, S. by the same tract and the river Kori, and W. by the river Indus and Karachi district. The district is a vast alluvial plain, 216 miles long and 48 broad. Fertile along the course of the Indus, it de-generates towards the east into sandy wastes, sparsely populated, and defying cultivation. The monotony is re-lieved by the fringe of forest which marks the course of the river, and by the avenues of trees that line the irrigation channels which branch eastward from this stream. The south of the district has a special feature in its large natural water-courses (called dhoras) and basin-like shallows (chhaus), which retain the rains for a long time. A limestone range called the Ganga and the pleasant frequency of garden lands break the monotonous landscape. The soil, wherever irrigated, is very fertile. Very few species of the large wild animals are found; among birds, the bustard alone is remarkable. Venomous reptiles abound. The Indus sup-plies a large variety of fish, one of which, the pala, is peculiar to the river.

Of the total area of the district about one-half is uncultivable ; 2,300,000 acres are cultivable though not cultivated, and 566,800 are under irrigation. Agriculture is entirely dependent upon arti-ficial irrigation, and is looked upon as a lottery, in which the cultivator stakes a certain amount of labour and seed, and takes his chance of getting a return. If the water rises either too high or not high enough, he loses his crop. There are 317 canals, fifty of which are main channels, and tap the Indus direct ; the remainder are connecting branches. The principal crops are wheat, barley, oil-seeds, pulses, vegetables, jodr, bdjra, til, rice, cotton, sugar-cane, chana, hemp, tobacco, water-melons, and indigo. The manufactures of the district maintain the excellence for which they have been famous from early times, namely, that for lacquered work, gold and silver embroidery, striped and brilliant cloths known as siisis and rhesis, and glazed pottery. The manufacture of car-pets, silk thread, and gold and silver ornaments is carried on to a large extent; salt also is produced in such quantities as to allow of a considerable exportation. The total number of fairs is 33, and the average attendance about 5000. The roads of the district extend to 1925 miles in length, of which 263 are metalled, bridged, and marked with milestones. The ferries number 68 ; the one at Gidu-Bandar (3J miles from Hyderabad) is a steam ferry connecting Hyderabad with Kotri, on Sind Railway. There are 10 travellers' bungalows, 16 dharmsdlds, 4 dispensaries, a civil and police hospital, a convict hospital, and a charitable dispensary.

Considerable variations of climate are found within the district. In the north, the hot season of April and May is followed by two months of floods, the rest of the year being cold and dry. In the central divisions, the cold season succeeds the hot without any intervening inundations to graduate the transition ; and the change occurs sometimes with such suddenness that, to quote a local saying, " sunstroke and frost-bite are possible in one and the same day." In the south the temperature is more equable throughout the year, 60° F. and 100° F. representing the extremes. The rain-fall is very moderate ; and the district is healthy as compared with other parts of India.

The population is divided as follows :—Mahometans, 560,349 ; Hindus, 118,652 ; other creeds and tribes, 44,882 ;—total, 723,883. Of the Mahometans 373,705, or more than three-fifths, are Sinds. More important, however, as regards social status and personal character, are the Pathans, found chiefly about Hyderabad and Upper Sind ; they number only 15,815 persons. As regards occu-pation, the Hindus of the district may be called the shopkeeping class, the Mahometans the artisan and agricultural.

The chief revenue and magisterial authority is vested in a col-lector and magistrate. He is assisted by the four deputy collectors of Hala, Tando Muhammad Khan, Naushahro, and Hyderabad taluks, of which the district is composed. The police force is under the charge of a European district superintendent, and com-prises a total of 876 men, with 4 inspectors and 19 chief constables. The average land revenue for 6 years (1868-74) was £111,655; drug revenue (1873-74), £5304 ; receipts from the farming of liquor-shops (1873-74), £9640 ; imperial revenue (1874), £144,944 ; local revenue(1874), £12,434; forests yield an annual revenue of £11,216. The Government boys' schools numbered 55 in 1874, with 3227 pupils ; the girls' schools 12, with 368 pupils. These figures in-clude the returns for the high, normal, engineering, and Anglo-vernacular schools in Hyderabad city.

The local history of Hyderabad district is so mixed up with that of the province that little could be said of it separately which will not more properly find a place under the history of Sind. The battles of Miani (Meeanee) and Dabo, which decided the fate of Sind in favour of the British, were fought within its limits.

SEE ALSO the article on the capital cityof this district: Hyderabad, City, Sind, India

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