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DISTRICT MUZAFFARNAGAR GAZEETEER Contents of Chapter1

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Contents of Chapter1

 

BOUNDARIES AREA

NATURAL DIVISION

GANGES KHADIR

CHANGES IN THE KHADIR

HISTORY OF THE KHADIR

THE EASTERN UPLANDS

THE SANDAY BELT

CENTRAL TRACT

WESTERN TRACT

JAMUNA RIVER

KIRSANI RIVER

HINDAN RIVER

EASTERN KALI NADI

BANGANGA RIVER

SWAMPS

LEVELS

WATER LEVEL

MINERALS & BUILDING MATERIALS

REH

JUNGLES

WASTE LANDS

WILD ANIMALS

CATTLE

HORSE BREEDING

CLIMATE

FEVER

DEATH RATE

SAMLLPOX

CHOLERA

CATTLE DISEASE

RAINFALL

DISTRIBUTION OF RAIN

CHAPTER I

General Features

 

BOUNDARIES AREA

The district of Muzaffarnagar forms a portion of the Meerut division, and is situated in the Duab of the Ganges and the Jumna, between the districts of Meerut on the south and Saharanpur on the north. On the west the, Jamunna separates it from the Panipat and Thanesar tahsils of the Karnal district, of the Panjab; and on the east, the river Ganges forms the boundary between this district and the Bijnor tahsil of the district of the same name. It is roughly  rectangular in shape lying between north latitude 29° 11' 30" and 20° 45' 15". and east longitude 77° 3' 45" and 78° 7'. The greatest length of the district from cast to west is sixty-one miles, and its greatest breadth from north to south thirty-six miles. The average length and breadth are about fifty-three and thirty-one miles, respectively. The total area in 1901 amounted to 1,963,662 acres, or 1,662 square miles. (City longitude : 77° 42' 16" , latitude :29° 28' 30" )

 

NATURAL DIVISION

"Looking on the entire area from its physical aspect, we find it to consist of four fairly distinct tracts. On the extreme east we have the riverain tract of the Ganges valley containing the; whole of the pargana Gordhanpur and portions of Bhukarheri and Bhuma Sambalhera. Next comes the tract, between the Ganges and the western Kali Nadi, through which runs the Ganges canal. West of this again we have the Duab of the Kali and Hindan rivers, And, lastly, the remaining tract comprises that portion of the district which extends from the Hindan to the Jumna, the eastern half of which is traversed by the Jumna canal.

 

GANGES KHADIR

The Ganges valley or khadir consists of a stretch of low lying land that was presumably at one time the bed of the river. At the present it is bounded on the west by the old high bank,  a line of cliffs broken by ravines, which sometimes  attains   a  height   of   one  hundred   feet  above  the   low country, and which slopes down  from the  level of  the uplands towards the Ganges itself.    Its width is greatest towards the north, where it extends for as much as twelve miles.    Moving southwards it gradually  narrows, until in the vicinity of Bhu-karheri the  river approaches  to within a mile of the cliff.    A smaller river, known as the Solani, which, until 1852 or thereabouts, flowed into the Ganges in the Saharanpur district, now meanders through the tract in an uncertain course, keeping, as a rule, closer to the cliff than to the   Ganges.    As is only to be expected in a tract of this description, the rivers have constantly changed   their course.    The great change in the Ganges, which resulted in the formation of the khadir, is said   to have taken place about  1400 A.D.,  while a   further change, according to tradition, dates from the reign of Shahjahan.    The latter change seems to be  supported by   the statement  that Nurjahan had a country seat at  the village of Nurnngar in the north-east of Pur-Chhapar;   the place  would  be  picturesque  enough   if the river then flowed at the foot of the ravines, and it is impossible to suppose that the Empress selected a retreat overlooking the dismal  marshes   which   now   extend  eastward from  Nurnagar. The  grounds  for believing the account of the former change are strengthened by an extract from Timur's Memoirs,  referring to his mid into the  Duab.*    After leaving Meerut he marched by Mansura to " Pirozpur,"  which must be either the Firozpur in pargana Hastinapur  in  Meerut, or the Firozpur seventeen miles to the north, near the old Rohilla fort of Shukartar, in pargana Bhukarheri  of  this district. He came  thence  by the  bank of the  Ganges,where he  encamped,  and afterwards marched  for fifteen kos up the river, to Tughlaqpur, which from his description must have been  close to the Ganges.  Now Tughlaqpur is a   well-known   place,  and   gave  its   name  to a pargana in the reign of Akbar, but it is now on the high bank above the Solani, and almost twelve miles from the1 Ganges.   It seems therefore that the present pargana of Gordhanpur then lay on the opposite side of the  river.    In  the southern portion of the khadir below Bhukarheri the directions of the river and ravines diverge, and on the southern border of the district they are separated by a distance of about six miles.

 

CHANGES IN THE KHADIR

It is said that, prior to the opening of the Ganges canal and the incursions of the Solani into this district, the khadir had been from some decades fairly fertile. The canal was opened in 1854, its course lying at a distance of somewhat less than two miles from the crest of the cliffs. There is, however, a distributary running in a parallel line some half- a mile nearer the edge of the khadir. In 1859 it was recognised by Mr. Edwards, the then Collector, that the khadir estates had undergone serious deterioration and that reductions of revenue were necessary. From this time onward, in the •words of the Settlement Officer, " The Gordhanpur khadir has received an amount of attention probably never given to any equally worthless tract of similar size." The causes of this deterioration are threefold. They include, in the first place, floods from the Solani ; in the second, the formation of swamps; and, thirdly, the development of reh. a saline efflorescence, that is the constant accompaniment of saturation, and which renders the land wholly unfit for cultivation. All these three influences are attributable, more or less directly, to the existence of the canal, which flows at a height of more than one hundred feet above the Ganges, and has consequently established a percolating connection with that river. The underground layer of damp subsoil is of little importance on the edge of the canal, since its course is at first sharply downwards, but from the foot of the cliffs till it nears the Ganges itself it need not descend much below the surface. The subsoil of the khadir, therefore, may be compared to a kind of earthy sponge kept fully moistened by the canal, which from its elevation also tends to exercise a syphonic influence driving the moisture to the surface. In the immediate neighbourhood of the Ganges this influence becomes counteracted by the downward drainage action of the river. Consequently, the most waterlogged estates are those nearest to the base of the cliffs ; moving further east, the amount of swamp decreases, but water is still close to the surface, while reh is thrown up by any piece of soil with a tendency to such efflorescence. Towards the Ganges the soil becomes comparatively dry and firm, differing but little from that in the uplands.

 

The action of the Solani is twofold, partly beneficial and partly the reverse. Except in the rains, it undoubtedly acts as a useful drain. But for the percolation from the canal it would certainly cease to exist as anything but a dry channel long before the hot weather sets in. As it is, it runs continuously throughout the year and undoubtedly saves considerable stretches of lands on its banks from becoming perpetually waterlogged and swamped. On the other hand, during the rains it is liable to sudden freshets, which submerge all the low-land in its neighbourhood and sometimes cover them with a deposit of sand. Further, as the waters recede it is a mere matter of chance whether the stream will return to its old channel.

 

HISTORY OF THE KHADIR

It will be more convenient to give in this place the subsequent history of the khadir. Various experiments were tried in 1859 and 1869. The assessment was reduced by Mr. Edwards, to be raised again two years later by Mr. Keene, while in 1864 it was once again reduced by Mr. Martin, and in the same year it was handed over en block to the Canal Department for direct management. A number of drains and a large dam were constructed, in order to control the flow of water, but) the new masters, finding that they had undertaken a task with which they could not successfully cope, soon made haste to return the property to the Revenue authorities. In 1866 Mr. Martin considered the tract to be still deteriorating. In 1867 the Senior Member of the Board of Revenue formed an entirely opposite opinion, and in support of his views desperate efforts were made for a few years to induce external capitalists to invest their money and take up portions of the tract under the waste land rules. In 1872, however, this optimistic view was effectually disposed of by Mr. Cadell, and a system of one-year leases was inaugurated Their term was lengthened to three years, and so remained until Mr. Miller's settlement.

 

Things were progressing fairly well, till an unforeseen misfortune fell upon the khadir. When the Gohna lake formed in the mountains of Garhwal owing to a landslip, it was anticipated that the whole tract would be submerged on the bursting of the dam in the rains of 1894. Consequently, every village was cleared of its inhabitants. As a matter of fact, nothing happened, but the effect of such a measure may be easily imagined. At the best of times it is difficult to allure cultivators to the khadir, and when they had once been ejected from their homes, they showed no inclination to return. The area under cultivation dwindled to a small fraction of its former figures, and at Mr. Macpherson's settlement in 189G a substantial reduction of revenue was necessary. The vanished cultivators are now gradually returning or being replaced by fresh ones, but the population is still less than in Mr. Miller's time. In 1901 a flood occurred on the Solani during the rains ; when the waters retreated it was found that several stretches of swamps and jhils in nine estates had been converted into firm land. Probably there is on the whole somewhat less swamp now than ten years ago, but the slight improvement from the Settlement point of view has been more than discounted by the decrease of population. It seems that so long as the canal is running two-thirds of the khadir can never form other than a precarious fever-stricken tract where cultivation is not only financially insecure, but is only possible at the risk of health. This, at least, is the opinion expressed by Mr. Gracey in his settlement report of Gordhanpur, dated March the 28tb, 1899.

 

Viewed from -above, the khadir presents a broad far-stretching tract of level country covered with patches of cultivation, but elsewhere bearing nothing more than coarse grass with occasional clumps of tamarisk. In the cold weather it is clothed in brown, trees are scarce, and the grass has then began to wither; here and there rivulets occur, and beyond all is seen the silver streak of the Ganges itself. Wild animals, especially pig3, are extremely numerous and tend to enhance the precariousness of the tract, owing to their depredations on the crops. The khadir will continue, however, to be a useful grazing ground and support large qualities of cattle.

 

THE EASTERN UPLANDS

The upland above the khadir lying between the ravines .and the west Ka1i Nadi is generally known as the Ganges canal tract, as it is traversed from north to south-west for its entire extent by the main Ganges canal. All along the high cliff there is a series of ravines worn by the surface drainage and of little value even for pasturage.. Beyond these ravines come the uplands with a general slope from east to west, and, close to the eastern boundary from west to east, with a more considerable slope from north to south, so that from within half a mile beyond the northern boundary, of the district to within a short distance below the southern boundary no less than five falls are required on the Ganges canal to moderate the otherwise excessive slope of the canal channel. To the south-east, between the canal and the low lands, the head water! of the eastern Kali Nadi or Nagan, as it is locally called, collect together, but do not assume a definite shape as a river until they enter the Meerut district. To the west of the canal, the descent of the valley to the west Kali Nadi is in the northern parganas generally more gradual, but in the southern pargana of Khatauli a belt of broken lands divides in most villages the generally level uplands from the valley of the river. Here, too, large areas of fertile land have been destroyed by percolation from the canal.

 

THE SANDAY BELT

The most prominent physical feature of the entire tract is the presence of sand, which occurs in belts of hillocks with a direction from north to south, and occasional transverse ridges in the north and a level sandy plain in the south. This plain commences to the east of the sandy ridge in Muzaffarnagar pargana and extends in a south-easterly directions through Jauli and Bhuma into the Meerut district. The chief ridge starts from the ravines on the eastern border of the most northerly pargana, Pur-Chhapar, and then bending in a south-westerly direction to within four miles of the Kali Nadi turns southwards : from this point it skirts the eastern and southern boundaries of pargana Muzaffarnagar and joins the ravines above the Kali -Nadi in the extreme south of the pargana. Offshoots from this main ridge extend in various directions through Khatauli and Jansath, and there are other isolated sandhills in Pur-Chhapar and elsewhere. The Anupshahr branch canal, which leaves the main canal at Jauli and traverses the south-eastern portion of the district, passes for almost the whole of its course through the broad sandy plain. Outside the sandy tracts the soil is generally a good loam except in the neighbourhood of the Kali, as mentioned above. The tract has greatly improved by ample irrigation and careful cultivation, but even now only a comparative small proportion of the cultivated area is classed as loam or clay.

 

CENTRAL TRACT

Beyond the Kali Nadi westwards is the' central tract between that river and the Hindan. The land is high throughout and is naturally of a fertile character, but the water level is usually at a great depth. It is now traversed by the Deoband branch of the Gauges canal which enters the district in pargana Charthawal and terminates in a ravine of the Hindan near Budhana. The eastern and western portions of the central high land slope down to the rivers on either side, and are marked by much broken ground and a tendency, which is greatest in" the south, to an increase of ravines which cut into the good land above. Between the ravines and the rivers there is a belt of low lying land, which, especially in the khadir of the Kali Nadi, is often unculturable owing to swamp, which appears to have decidedly increased during recent years. The khadir of the Hindan is much better cultivated in the southern villages, but to the north large areas of uncultivated land arc to be found, and here, too, there has been an increase of swamp since the extension of the canal system. In the centre and south of the tract cultivation reaches a very high standard, particularly in the Jat villages; but the northern portion suffered very severely in the drought of 1868, which was followed by a period of depression that is only now on the point of disappearing. Generally speaking, the soil is much less sandy than in the Ganges canal tract, but one well-marked belt of sand passes through its centre, beginning in Charthdwal in the north near the Hindan, and passing through Baghra and the east of Shikarpur towards the Kali. At one time the neighbourhood of the K6li suffered from severe saturation owing to the use of the river as a canal escape, but the subsequent drainage schemes which were undertaken have led to a large disappearance of reh, which at one time threatened to throw large areas permanently out of cultivation.

 

WESTERN TRACT

The remaining portion of the district west of the Hindan is traversed by the streams known as the Kirsani and the Katha, both flowing in a direction roughly parallel to that of the first-mentioned river. The lands between the Hindan and the Kirsani is of a generally uniform character owing to the absence of sand. Near the rivers there is, as usual, much poor soil. The low lands are in places well adapted for rice cultivation, but, as a general rule, the land is not good, and liability to floods renders cultivation precarious and uncertain. The broken ground that spreads between the valley of the Hindan and the upland is of an extremely poor character, and much of the land is not worthy of cultivation. Along the Kirsani there is much loss of this uneven land. The stream flows in a well-defined channel, and the khadir is small. The fields, however, in its vicinity are liable to be swept by heavy floods, the violence of which is increased by the discharge into the Kirsani -of several drainage, cuts, which bring down more water than the river can well carry off. The tract between the two rivers consists of n somewhat elevated plateau, sufficiently low, however, to admit of canal irrigation from a branch of the Jumna canal. In the extreme north there is a group of very poor estates, while in the south some of the villages have a light and not particularly fertile soil. The southern half is perhaps the finest portion of the district, judging from the standard of cultivation and the prosperity of the people.

 

Beyond the Kirsani lies a good tract of land traversed by the main channel of the Eastern Jumna Ca,nal. The villages south of the town of Shamli are of an excellent character, but north of this the tract rapidly deteriorates, the cultivation being poor and the population sparse. There is a large amount of dhak jungle, while in the low ground along the canal the spread of reh has thrown considerable areas out of cultivation. This inferiority of the northern, half is also in largo measure due to the fact that the chief cultivators are Rajputs, whereas in the south the Jats hold the best villages. The south-western portion, too, which is chiefly inhabited by Gujars, is of a very fair description, save in the immediate neighbourhoood of the Jumna and the Katha

 

The latter is a small stream which flows along the north- .-C.ubi west corner of the district. It cuts off the whole of pargana Bidauli and portions of Jhinjhana and Kairana parganas from the main body. The whole tract is in a depressed and miserable condition. The population is scanty and the cultivation backward. Much of the land is under thick dhak jungle, or has been, rendered unculturable by reh. The villages lying along the Katha on both sides have suffered to a great extent from the increased volume of the Hoods in this river, which now receives the contents of several drainage cuts, both hero and in Saharanpur. In addition to this, damage is continually being done by the Jumna, which seems to have a constant tendency towards the east. Between the years 1841 and 1881 six villages were separated from this district and added to Karnal. This process continues year by year, resulting in a falling off in the population and a constant state of depression, which together rendered this tract little superior to Gordhanpur. Of late years cultivation has improved in the southern portion of this tract, but this improvement is limited to a small area.

 

JAMUNA RIVER

The river Jumua, which forms the western boundary of thi- Junma district, flows in an irregular course from north to south along the parganas of Bidauli, Kairana and Kandhla. In the extreme north of the district it appears to occupy much the same place as formerly, and on the south also it washes a high mound on which stood a Mahratta fort, still connected with the name of Sedasheo Bhao. It may further be safely conjectured that the channel of the river has not changed much at this point since the time of the last battle of Panipat. Between these two extreme points, however, the bed of the stream is tortuous and uncertain At several points the river cuts towards the east, but only to lie-thrown off further to the west lower down. Thus the district has not lost much in area as a whole ; but, while cultivated land and villages have been destroyed, nothing has been gained bin accretions of tamarisk jungle or sand. At four places in its course the channel takes a sharp turn to the west, and at all of these the river has, when in flood, a tendency to flow straight on. The most northerly of these points is at Bhari Mustafabad in the north of Bidauli, a village lying on a bank of the stream known as the Sendhli, which enters the district from Saharanpur. Formerly, there was a considerable distance between the Sendhli and the Jaumna, but a few years ago the latter cut through the intervening land, carried off a portion of the village, and broke into the S6ndhli down which its waters pour in the ruins and overflow into all the low-lying lands of the pargana, spreading right across to join the floods of the Katha. The whole tract thus resembles a great lake in the rains. There is some high lying land in the north of the pargana and a similar tract to the north of the road from Jhinjhana to Bidauli, but with these exceptions very few places arc out of danger of being flooded. In the cold weather the tract is comparatively dry, and there arc none of those large swamps that we find in the Ganges khadir. At the same time the inroads of the Jumna at this point form one of the principal causes of the deterioration of Bidauli.

 

"The next point at which the Jumna bends westwards lies a few miles to the west of Bidauli. It turns eastwards again five miles further south, and during the rains the whole of the pro­montory between the two bends is swept by the waters of the river. Cultivation has been almost wholly destroyed in the villages of Sadrpur and Mundigarhi, while the damage extends even further to the cast. Similar injury has been done at the next bend in Rani Mazra and the adjoining estates, but here compensation is brought to some extent by the fine alluvial de­posit left by the river. Further south, there is another sharp bend westwards opposite the town of Kairana, but the damage done here by the floods is of little importance, as none of the land was ever of much value.

 

Along the Jumna thirty-two villages are classed as alluvial, find are only settled for short periods. Of these, eighteen lie in pargana Bidauli, thirteen in Kairana and one in Kandhla. The rule observed in settling riparian disputes is that of the deep stream, locally termed " machcha sio, '' by which the deepest branch of the river is always considered the boundary between the lands on cither bank, whatever course the current may take; but land detached as an island apparently remains, as a general rule, in the possession of the original proprietors.

 

Taking the other rivers of the district in order from west, to east, we first come to the Katha, which has been already described in part. It enters the district; from pargana Gangoh of Saharanpur at the village of Nagla, and thence flows in an irregular and ill defined course through the western portion of Jhinjhana to within a short distance of the town of the same name. Here it is crossed by the road to Bidauli and Karnal. It continues in a south-westerly direction through the north­west of Kairana and joins the Jumna at the village of Muham-madpur Rain, about three miles north-west of Kairana.

 

KIRSANI RIVER

The Kirsani or Krishni flows through the parganas of Thana Bhawan, Shamli and Kandhla. It enters the district at the village of Chandaina, three miles north of the town of Jalalabad, from pargana Rampur in the Saharanpur district. It flows in a southerly course to the west of the towns of Jalal­abad and Thana Bhawan, entering Shamli at the village of Kairi. Here it bends to the south-west, but turns south again at Banat where it is bridged and crossed by the road from Shamli to Muzaffarnagar. It then flows south again past the large vil­lages of Kudana and Lisarh, and enters the Mcerut district at the south-western corner of the village of Baral.

 

HINDAN RIVER

Further to the east is the Hindan, which flows in a direction roughly parallel to that of the Kirsani. It enters the district from pargana Deoband of Saharanpur at the village of Badha Khera in pargana Charthawal. After flowing through this pargana and Baghra, Shikarpur and Budhana, it enters the Meerut district at the extreme south of the last-mentioned pargana. The river is generally fordable except after heavy rainfall, and is neither used for irrigation nor navigation. It is crossed by the roads from Muzaffarnagar to Thana Bhawan. Shamli and Budhana. In the north the banks are high and steep, but towards the south they are sloping and the low lands are broader. At the point where the Hindan reaches the Budhina boundary in the south-cast of the pargana it is joined by the Western Kali Nadi, a stream that after rising in the Saharanpur district enters Muzaffarnagar on the eastern boundary of the village of Rohana, and thence flowing south passes the town of Muzatfarnagar. It divides Shikarpur from Khatauli, joining the Hindan at the village of Riauli Nagla. The western Kali is crossed by the North-Western Railway and the road to Deoband, four miles north of Muzarfarcagar ; by the roads from Muzaffaruagar to Charthawal, Shamali and Budhdna about half a m.ile west of the district headquarters ; and by the road from Khatauli to Budhana at the village of Ancbauli.

 

EASTERN KALI NADI

The eastern Kali Nadi or Nagan has its origin in the north-cast corner of pargana Khatauli near the village of Rasulpur Sarai, between the Ganges canal and the main sandy ridge. The source of the stream is a large depression, which collects the drainage of the north and east of the pargana. It runs at first in an ill-defined channel, but ultimately becomes the main arterial line of drainage for the whole of the eastern Duab as far south as Kanauj in the Farrukhabad district. The bed of the stream has been straightened and deepened by the Canal Department of recent years—a measure that has resulted in the disappearance to a large extent of the swamps that formed about 'he upper part of its course. This was rendered necessary by the use of the formerly imperfect channel as a canal escape for the superfluous water from Palri. The name of this river is properly the Kali Nadi, the form Kali Nadi being a false etymology due to the Persian transliteration.

 

BANGANGA RIVER

Reference has already been made to the rivers of the Ganges khadir. Besides the Solani, there is a stream known as the Banganga, which represents an old channel of the Ganges. During the last twelve years the Ganges has shifted considerably to the east, and the course of the Banganga has at the same time changed considerably. It still,as formerly, joins the Ganges at the village of Chandpuri in Gordhanpur, but, whereas it for­merly entered the district close to the village of Gordhanpur m the extreme north of the pargana, its waters now flow from Pargana Jawalapur of Saharanpur into the village of Kanewali some four miles further east. Since 1872 eight villages with an area of 6,019 acres, have been transferred to the district by the fluvial action of the Ganges. Thus, while constantly losing on the west, the district is constantly gaining in the same on the east.

 

SWAMPS

Till recently, the whole line of the Solani in this  district was little else than a chain  of jhils and marshes,   but the flood that occurred two years ago, as mentioned above, has resulted in   the silting up of a number of jhils in  the villages   along the Solani in the north-western portion of Gordhanpur.    Further   south,   in the tract between the Solani and the Ganges, close to the point of junction, the great Jogawali jhil still remains unchanged.    It has an area of 3.5 miles by 2 miles and covers about 4,500 acres. In the southern khadir there is another line of marshes running  parallel to the Ganges from a point about five miles south of the mouth of the Solani as far as the Meerut district.    This probably also  re­presents an old bed of the river, and  the   interval  between  the Ganges  and   the  swamp  is   occupied by a maze of watercourses. Besides the marshy land in Gordhanpur and  Pur, there  are   few jhils worthy of notice in the  district.    The most   important are the Aldi jhil in  Kandhla,  the  Tisang and Jansath jhils in  par­gana Jansath, the Badhiwala jhil in pargana  Muzaffarnagar,   the Chhapar tanks, the Buhma tank  in  Bhuma  Sambaihera, and the jhil at Toda in Bidauli.

 

LEVELS

The table of heights above the level of the sea, as ascertained in the  Great  Trigonometrical   Survey,  is of  some  interest as illustrating the general lie of the country.    The highest point in the central tract is the ninth  mile-stone   from   Muzaffarnagar on the Meerut and Saharanpur road, which has a recorded elevation of 825.32 feet, close to the village of Rohana in the extreme north of the district.    Proceeding southwards   along   this road the elevation remains  practically the  same as far as the Kali Nadi, south of which it drops to 796'9 feet in the  village of Rampur, but rises again to 810'68 feet two miles north of Muzaffarnagar. The headquarter station of  the   district   lies low, the   recorded, elevation being 790 feet, but south of the town  the road rises again to 815 feet at Begharazpur. From this point the surface of the road gradually slopes southwards, the elevation declining at every successive   mile.  At the seventeenth   mile-stone on she road, close to the Meerut boundary, the recorded height is only 768.84 feet. This gives a general idea of the level in  the centre of the district.    In the  eastern portion there   is a much   greater declivity along  the   line  of  the  Ganges  canal.    The bridge at Dhamat near Pur, has a height of 851.5 feet above the sea. At Belra, nine miles further south, the level is 830 feet, while at the last bridge over the canal in this district it is not more than 775.34 feet. The levels along the Eastern Jaumna canal are very similar to those of the Meerut road. Thus we see that, while the general slope of the country is from north to south, there is another and greater declivity from the north-east corner towards the centre, the actual highest point being on the high bank of the Ganges.

 

WATER LEVEL

Some further idea of the general lie of the country may be obtained from an examination of the water level in various parts. In this connection, however, it should be remembered that the extensive canal system has altogether upset the old levels, so that for this purpose intention should rather be paid to the levels recorded prior to the construction of the canals. In the khadir of the Ganges water has at all times been very close to the surface. In the more settled parts of this tract, that is to say, in the villages lying nearer the actual bed of the river than the old high cliff, the water level is frequently as much as fifteen feet or more below the surface ; but as we approach the high cliff the water rises very greatly, and at the present time, owing to percolation from the canal, the water in many places actually oozes from the surface. Above the high cliff water was formerly found at a greater depth than anywhere else in the district, in many cases lying more than 100 feet from the sur-face. I he depth of wells decreases as the land slopes westwards, and, whereas it is now frequently within 20 feet of the surface as we approach the Kali Nadi, it was even formerly no more than forty feet. In the Duab of the Kali and the Hindan the depth of water from the surface is also comparatively great. Even after the great rise that has followed the construction of the Deoband canal, water is seldom met with at less than thirty feet below the  level  of  the soil.    Further    west,   beyond   the Hindan, the water level rises    considerably, and at all   times   this tract possessed ample facilities for the construction of wells, chiefly on account of the absence of sand, as compared with the eastern parganas. In the duab of the  Jumna   and  the   Katha   we   find again practically the same  slate of things as that   which   prevail  in the khadir of the Ganges. The whole of Bidauli and considerable portions of Jhinjhana and Kairana lie very low, and water is everywhere, and at all times has been, close to the surface. At the present time throughout the district a very noticeable rise in the water level has taken place-a phenomenon that must be ascribed to the canals ; but this rise seems to have rendered the water level more susceptible to variations according to the season.

 

MINERALS & BUILDING MATERIALS

The mineral productions of the district are very unimportant. Kankar alone possesses any commercial value,  but   even  this   is scarce.    There are only two fair quarries in the Shamli tehsil, only one in Jansath and one in the valley of the Solani in  tehsil  Muzaffarnagar.    The distance from these quarries is  so  great   that the kankar for the main roads is brought from  the neighbouring district of Meerut and Saharanpur.    Consequently, stone is very seldom used for building, as not even block kankar is to be obtained here.    Bricks are  manufactured  in  many  places,  the   price varying  according  to  size  and  quality.  First  class   bricks, measuring 9   by   4.5   inches,   cost   from  Rs.  8  to  Rs.  10  per thousand ; second class bricks, measuring 8 by 2.5 inches, fetch from Rs. 4 to Rs. 5 per thousand; while the small native bricks,   4   by 2.5 inches, are sold at prices varying from Re. 1 to Re. 1-8.    Lime is generally imported from Dehra Dun and Roorkee, and   is sold at an average price of eleven annas per maund.    Tiles for roofing are  also   generally   imported  either from   Roorkee or   Meerut, but are not much used in the district.   Those most in favour  are known as Allahabad tiles, and cost Rs. 12 per hundred.    Sal logs are imported from the Garhwal  forest vid   Najibabad in Bijnor. When sold in the form of poles, the price varies from Rs.  30  to Rs. 25 per score ; otherwise the price is Rs. 3 to Rs. 3-8 per cubic foot.    Excavation of foundations for building costs from Ra.  2 to Rs. 2-8 per  hundred   cubic  feet; while  the same amount  of concrte masonry work in foundations costs Rs. 14. The general price of iron work  is  Rs.   12  per   maund.  Panelled  doors cost twelve annas per square foot, the price  rising with glazing to one rupee.

 

REH

The only other mineral product deserving of mention in this district is that known as reh, an impure carbonate of soda. whose presence is very undesirable.    Owing   to   the  absence of usar it is nowhere so prevalent as in   the   lower   districts of  the Duab but it occurs in considerable quantities   along   the  Jumna in Bidauli, in  a  much  more  marked degree along the course of the Eastern Jumna canal, and  occasionally   along   the west   Kali Nadi and the Ganges canal.    Its  presence   is   almost   invariably connected with saturation of the  soil,  and  whenever  the  efflorescence become* general the  productiveness  of  the   land ceases. In many parts of the Duab reh is extensively   used   by Manihars in the manufacture of coarse country glass ; but in Muzaffarnagar, according to the last census   returns,   there   was only one glass-maker in   the  whole district.    The   reason   of  this is   probably that  the   reh  is  never  found   in  the  neighbourhood   of sand, although both   are   so   unpleasantly  abundant   in   the   district. The existence  of reh   therefore  is  altogether  undesirable.    It destroys the water of wells in its vicinity   as   well   for   drinking as for irrigation purposes.    And when it once attacks a tract its effects  are    soon  seen on  the groves.    In  Shamli  and   Thana Bhawan trees, and especially mango trees, begin,  to   wither   long before the crops  are  attacked.    As   reh  increases,  the   mango disappears and is soon  followed  by  the   shisham,  and   lastly by grass, so that what was  twenty years  previously  a  grove   now becomes unculturable land covered with white efflorescence.    On the other  hand,   the   numerous  improvements   in the drainage effected by  the  Canal  Department have  had a   very   beneficial effect in removing the excess of water and in reducing the saturated areas, so  that at  present   the  tendency of reh is rather   to disappear than otherwise.    The extent of this   tendency   may be well illustrated by figures.  In 1293 F. the   reh-infected area   of the district amounted to 25,153 acres, mostly  scattered  over the various  tracts  of khadir  land.    In 1309 F. this  area bad been reduced to only 8,272 acres, which appears to show that   drainage works have effected a great deal.    No doubt with good drainage reh   does not occur, but it does not necessarily follow that drainage alone can cure soils that have become affected.    A most important auxiliary factor in removing reh is a dry climate, and the   recent years of draught have atleast  in this direction, contributed largely to the  improvement of the district.

 

JUNGLES

The trees of the district are of the same kind  as   we  find  in the   other  districts  of  the Duab.    The only jungle left is to be found in the north-western corner, where it consists   of stretches of   comparatively   useless    dhak   trees.   At the  time of Mr. Thornton's settlement of 1841, the grove area of the district was extremely  small,   and  the important increase in the area under plantations forms   one of the  most  satisfactory   changes which marked the period between 1841 and  the  following   settlement. The   total   grove area at Mr. Thornton's settlement was less than 2,500 acres.    The increase   during   the   following  twenty  years was   due   not   only to the exertions of the zamindars, but also to the extensive plantations made by the Canal   department.   Since Mr.  Cadell's  settlement   the  increase has been very much more marked.    At that time the total   grove  area   was computed   at 4,978 acres, but a great deal of this was comprised in the plantations along the canal and  in groves  covering  cultivated   land. The total area of actual grove land was then 2,592 acres. At Mr Miller's settlement this  had  risen  to 10,561  acres-a  striking and   very satisfactory! increase.    Groves now cover one per cent. of the total area of the district, exclusive of jungle land and   the plantations  along the canals.    Besides1 this a good deal has been done by the Public Works department  in  the   way   of roadside arboriculture, so that the deficiency which had at one time marked the district in this respect  has  now disappeared.    Except  in the  sandy tracts  the  district   is  well wooded, but the modern plantations are frequently designed rather as gardens  than  as groves ;   they are  carefully  enclosed  and are kept with a strict view to profit from the sale  of  mangoes  or  other  fruits.    The mango is the favourite tree, but the pomegranate and the gnava are also frequently cultivated.    Some of the earlier Collectors of the district  gave their  attention   to  tree-planting on the roadsides, and there are now numerous fine avenues in which  the shisham, the jamun and the siras are the most common species.

 

WASTE LANDS

In the Ganges khadir there is a very large area of waste land, amounting at the last settlement to 9,171 acres, exclusive of that which is occupied by village sites and roads or covered with water. Of the remainder, nearly half lies in the Kairana tahsil, where it is mainly confined to the parganas of Bidauli and Thana Bhawan. The spontaneous vegetable products  of this waste are of very little importance. At one time considerable profits were realized in the Ganges khadir from the sale of thatchng grass which grows there in great abundance; but the trade appears to have declined since the general introduction of tiled roofs in the Meerut cantonment.

 

WILD ANIMALS

The fauna of the district also   call   for  no  special   comment. In the  swampy  portions   of   the khadir in the Ganges there arc large herds of wild pig and  considerable   numbers   of   hog-deer, which   commit  great   ravages   on the scanty crops in these parts as well as in the   neighbouring  uplands.    The  thick  vegetation along the canal, too, affords during the rains and early cold weather, ample  cover   for wild  pigs and occasionally for leopards. The latter arc also found in   the Ganges khadir, and now  and again a tiger is shot hero in the same neighbourhood.  The remainder of the district,   with  the  exception of Bidauli,   is   too  thickly  populated to allow  of  wild  animals   increasing to the injury of the cultivation.

 

CATTLE

The domestic cattle bred in this district are  of  a   generally inferior  stamp.    As   formerly, the best cattle are imported from the Panjab or purchased at   the  Batesar   fair.    The   reason   for this  inferiority  lies not so much in the absence of pasture lands as in the entire neglect   of  care   in  breeding.    There is  no  important cattle  fair  in the   district,   and  no   attempts have been made by the zamindars to raise the standard of locally   bred animals.    Consequently, the prices of animals bred in this district are very low.    Oxen fetch from Rs. 20 to Rs. 5 0; buffaloes from Rs. 25 to Rs. 60 ; and cows from Rs. 8 to Rs. 20 :   facts which of  themselves  testify  to  the  inferiority   of the breed.    A cattle census was taken in August 1899.    The   figures do   not   profess  to  be altogether  reliable   owing   to   the   difficulty  of ensuring a sufficiently careful enumeration, but at the same  time  their   approximate  accuracy serves as a useful guide in estimating the number of cattle   maintained in   the   district.    Muzaffarnagar   possesses largo  grazing-grounds   on the banks of the rivers and elsewhere, to which cattle-breeders resort from other districts, but  owing  to the   season   at   which   the   census   was   taken   the proportion of cattle belonging to other districts must  have   been as small   us  possible. The statement shows that there were at that time 168,264 bulls and bullocks; and 10555 male buffaloes. All of these were available for ploughing purposes, and that the great number of them was so used appears from, the fact that the number of ploughs was then returned at 63,524. The average cultivated area per plough, according to the figures of the same year, was 10.89 acres. The number of cows and cow-buffaloes was returned at 91,817 and 71,317, respectively. Besides these, 186,168 animals were entered as young stock. Sheep numbered 51,500 and goats 35,000.

 

HORSE BREEDING

On the  other   hand,   horse-breeding finds considerable favour   Herewith the people, although not so popular here as in Saharanpur. The   district   now   contains   ten   imperial  and   nine   provincial stallions  and   554  branded mares.    Every year in March a very largely-attended horse show is held at  Muzaffarnagar,   at   which numerous  prizes are awarded.    The number of horses present at the show in 1901 was 1,015, as against 886 in the preceding year. Siud-bred colts and fillies fetch prices ranging from   Rs.   125   to Rs.   400,   according   to    age   and   quality.    Tnis   occupation   13 chiefly followed by Rajputs, Jats, and Gujars.    It, is perhaps not the least valuable feature of the encouragement given  to   horse-breeding   that it  provides   for  many   of  the   small   farmers an interesting and remunerative occupation that takes  them  out of the monotonous routine of a purely agricultural life.    The number of horses and ponies in the district, according  to   the  stock census   of 1899,  was 12,900-a very much lower figure than that returned in the adjoining districts.

 

CLIMATE

The  climate  of  the  district   generally   resembles    that   of   climate. Saharanpur,    The   rainfall  is  less owing to the greater distance from the hills, which removes the district,   to  a   certain   extent, from  the  influence of the local storms that are not infrequent, in. the   more    northern   tract  immediately   under   the   hills.    The average   heat  is   decidedly   greater   than in Rahtiranpur, though perceptibly less than at Meerut, only  half  a  degree   south.     At the   same    time    the   district   possesses   a   comparatively   cool climate, the mean temperature being about  76°F.    There  is   no meteorological   station   in   the   district, so that we have no accurate   records   of  the   temperature.    In   the    cold   weather   the thermometer frequently falls below.- freezing-point, and the early months of  the year remain cool for a longer time than in the districts further south. May and June are decidedly hot. while after the commencement of the rains the temperature falls, but the climate becomes very moist and somewhat unhealthy. There can be no reasonable doubt that the wide extension of canal irrigation has had a very prejudicial effect on the climate, and its stoppage has been occasionally necessary in the interest of the public health. At one time the revenue reports used year after year to recount the unhealthiness of the headquarters station of Muzaffarnagar, but about 1870 irrigation was stopped in the immediate neighbourhood of the town, and the complaints then became much less frequent. The town of Shamli used at one time to furnish a typical example of the degree of unhealthiness that Indian towns could reach, but vigorous and extensive sanitary measures, combined with the prohibition of irrigation over a comparatively small area, have succeeded in making Shamli as healthy as any place in the neighbourhood. More recently, canal irrigation has been also stopped in the lands surrounding the town of Jansath. In the tract between the Hindan and the Kali there is a general opinion prevalent that the climate has become less healthy since the construction of the Deoband canal. In addition to the prohibition of canal irrigation in the neighbourhood of the above mentioned towns, orders have also been passed forbidding the cultivation of high-growing kharif crops-a measure that has proved of considerable benefit here as also in Saharanpur.

 

FEVER

The spread of malarial fever was observed in this district soon after the construction of the main canals. Whatever theory may be adopted with regard to the dissemination of this disease, it is undoubtedly the case that the general rise in the water level consequent on the development of the canal system and the saturation of numerous tracts in the neighbourhood of the canals  has been accompanied by a very great increase  in. the mortality recorded  as   clue   to malarial   fever.    The  mortuary statistics of early years are no doubt   very   unreliable,   but   still they serve to show the general proportion of deaths caused by various diseases. In 1867 the deaths   from   fever  amounted  to only 514, or loss than 4 per cent. of the total mortality recorded; this is of course far below the mark, but still the year was a very dry one and was followed by a famine. In 1868 the number of deaths had risen to 4,l3l, and two years later they were as many as 16,855, or over (17 per cent, of the whole. This rise m the mortality from fever at once drew the attention of Government and was the primary cause of the institution of the schemes for preventing fever, such as the prohibition of irrigation in certain localities, the commencement of drainage operations in the swamp-affected lands, and the clearing of several minor water-courses in places where they had silted up. Much improvement was thus effector! around the civil station-itself and in the neighbourhood of Shamli, Salawar and Bhainswal. During the year 1871 Government organized a special medical establishment for the relief of the fever-stricken population of the district. Eight hospital assistants were employed throughout the district under the superintendence of the Civil Surgeon ; and temporary dispensaries were opened at Budhana, Shamli and Jansath. These measures proved very beneficial, judging from the number of cases ..successfully treated, but, notwithstanding, the returns showed 4,360 deaths from malarious fever during the months of August, September and October 1871. The next few years showed a considerable decrease of fever in the district, although the number of deaths recorded was always greater than 11,000 annually. In 1878, however, the figures rose to 18,491, the highest figure hitherto recorded, but this was totally eclipsed by the returns of 1879, when no less than 40,537 persons were said to have died of fever in this district, the death-rate in that year reaching the appalling figure of 61'5 per thousand of the population.

 

DEATH RATE

Since 1879 the number of deaths from fever has always been very high, and during tho past twenty years has in no case been less than 18,000 persons, and, with the exception of 1883 and 1893, the figure has always been above 21,000. During the last twelve years the average mortality from fever has been nearly 27,500 deaths annually. The figures of 1879 have never been subsequently approached, the highest mortality occurring in 1890, when 33,614 persons died of fever. There has been no noticeable diminution, in the number of deaths, the only fact observable being that fever is less prevalent in years of drought. At the same time it may be mentioned on behalf of the canals that the district was visited by epidemics of malarious fever similar to those of 1870 and 1879 in 1817 and 1843  neither of these can be attributed to the canals, for in 1817 there was no irrigation from canals whatever, and in 1843 the Ganges canal had not been commenced.

 

The early mortuary records are undoubtedly incorrect, for it cannot be believed that the death-rate rose from 16 per thousand in 1868 to 36'5 per thousand in 1870. This would have been conceivably possible bad the former year been exceptionally healthy, but as a matter of fact it was marked by a severe outbreak of smallpox which carried off over 2,000 persons, while a large number of persons also died of cholera. Further, a new system of record was instituted in 1870, which necessarily involved more accurate returns. Since that year the average annual death-rate throughout the district has been 33.1 per thousand of the population. Excepting 1879, the figure has only risen above forty on three occasions, the last being in 1890, when there was a severe epidemic of fever and a considerable outbreak of small-pox and cholera. The lowest mortality was in 1893, when the rate stood at 25.39 per thousand. In that year there was the lowest mortality from fever recorded for fifteen years previously, and the number of deaths from that cause has been much greater in all the subsequent years; at  the same time there was practically no small-pox and very little cholera.

 

SAMLLPOX

A note written by the Civil Surgeon in 1873 states that small-pox was common in the district and stood next to fever as a destructive disease. He added that it occurred all the years through, but spread to a greater extent during the. Dry hot months of April, May and June than at any other season. The district  is still visited periodically by epidemics of smallpox but the figures never approach the excessive mortality of former years. In 1871 no less  than 4,332 persons died of this diseases average mortality for the years 1868 to 1873 inclusive   was   no   leas   than   2490   annually. From1875  to 1878 also the district was severely visited by small-pox, but  since that  time  the only great epidemic occurred in 1883, when 1,156 persons died of this disease.    It has   never   been   entierly   absent from   the  district,   and  minor epidemics  occurred in 1800, 1896 and 1897 ; but in six out of the   past   twelve   years   the   number of  deaths has been   less  than ten.    The disappearance of smallpox can only  be  ascribed  to  the  spread  of  vaccination.    The practice of inoculation is rapidly spreading,   and   the   reports  of the   past  five years show a steady increase, the number of operations   rising   from   24,399  in  1896   to 27,381 in 1901, while the number of failures has decreased in a corresponding proportion. With   the experience of its benefits gradually gained every year, the confidence of the   people in   the   advantages   of  vaccination has increased, and they are taking to it more and more willingly.

 

CHOLERA

Cholera is not endemic in the district, but it  occasionally   is  found   in  an  epidemic   form.    In   1861   a  severe   outbreak   of cholera  occurred after the  famine.    On this occasion its ravages were confined to towns and villages   on   the   lower  ground   near the  Kirsani,  in tho west of the district, but the mortality caused was considerable.    Again in April 1867   cholera   was   introduced bv pilgrims from Hardwar.    It occurred   chiefly  along   the   line of road   followed  by  the   pilgrims, and as many as 2,051 deaths from this disease are  recorded   in   that  year.    Since   that   time there  has been   only one severe   outbreak  of cholera, although minor   epidemics   occurred  in   1875,  1879  and   1900.    In 1893 534 persons died of cholera ; the disease remained in   the  district, and  in   the   following   year  2,109   deaths   were reported.    The epidemic continued into 1892, when 575  persons died,   and  then disappeared.    The  other   common   diseases   of  the   district   are dysentery   and   bowel   complaints, ophthalmia,   and  some   form of skin disease.     Ophthalmia   appears   mostly   during   the hot  mouths  of the year and may be regarded as an endemic disease . It spreads chiefly  among  tho   inhabitants   of   large   towns,   who live  for  the   most part in crowded houses.     In many instanses it leads to partial or total blindness.

 

CATTLE DISEASE

Cattle disease is   fairly  prevalent,  the   most   common   f orms in  this  district being  rinderpest,   foot-and-mouth    disease   and pleuro-pneumonia. All  these dieases are contagious  and   are known by different, names at different parts of the district, Rinderpest is  the  most   fatal ; it is known as mahami or chera , and generally occurs towards the end of  the rains.  Foot-and-mouth disease, known as rora, akrao, or tephora, is the most common in this district, but   less fatal, while pleuro-pneumonia or phephri is comparatively rare.     No figures of sufficient accuracy   are  available to show   the  number of deaths that have occurred annually from these diseases, and, as   everywhere,  it  is   almost  impossible to obtain accurate  returns owing to the suspicion of the people. A veterinary-dispensary is maintained at   Muzaffarnagar   in   the charge   of  a    veterinary  assistant working   under   the   district board.    A  second   veterinary assistant   is  attached  to   the  district and moves about from place to place for out-door work.

 

RAINFALL

Records of the rainfall in this district are available since 1845, with the exception of the years 1855 to I860 inclusive. Rain-gauge stations are established at the four tahsil head­quarters, at Kandhla and at Bhainswal. The average annual rainfall for the whole district from 1845 to 1902 is 32.91 inches. During the last thirteen years the average has been somewhat higher, amounting to 33.55 inches. The highest recorded rain­fall in any year is 60.45 inches, which was reached in 1849, when no less than 49.8 inches fell between the 1st of July and the end of September. In no other year has the average rainfall exceeded 50 inches. Of recent years the greatest falls have been 44.1 inches in 1895, 42.7 inches in 1880 and 42 inches in 1888. The lowest ever recorded was 17.1 inches in 1868. This was a year of severe famine, but the other periods of scarcity do not seem to have been accompanied by an abnormally small rainfall, although no doubt 1860 showed a great deficiency. The total fall for that year is not available, but ouly eight inches fell between 1st of June and the end of September, so that the amount of rain during no whole year was probably very small. In 1876 the total rainfall was only 23.2 inches, and exactly the same amount fell in 1879 and 1883. In 1896 the average rainfall for the district was  22.79 inches and in the following year 23.65 inches.

 

DISTRIBUTION OF RAIN

The eastern portion of the district appears to receive very much more rain  than the western parganas. At Jansath average fall for the last, 13 years has been 37.3 inches.  At  Muzaffarnagar the average, fall for the same period has been 33.9 inches; while the average for Kairana and Budhana is practically the same, amounting to about 30 inches. It thus appears that more rain falls in the neighbourhood of the Ganges than of the Jumna, and a similar phenomenon is observable in the other districts of the Duab. In 1895 Jansath had a total fall of over 61 inches, while that of  Kairana was very little more than half of this. Similarly in 1897 Budhana only received 15 inches of rain, while Jansath recorded 32.5 inches. The difference is even more marked in the case of Kandhla, which receives less rain even than Kairana, Here the highest fall recorded in any of the past thirteen years is 41.4 inches, whereas this was exceeded by Jansath on four occasions.

 

July is by far the wettest portion of the year arid on an average 10.64 inches fall in that month. Next comes August with 7.88 inches, September with 4.8 inches, and June with 3.74 inches. The driest months are, in order, November, April, December and October. The winter rains but seldom fail in this district and on an average over 2.5 inches fall between the 1st December and the end of February. There is no instance on record of a complete failure of the rains during these months, with the single exception of 1875. In 1876 only two inches of rain had fallen up to the first of July.

 

In this connection we may quote the words of Mr. Miller : - " It is a curious coincidence that both the revision of settlement and the present operations were conducted during seasons of abundant rainfall ; and both were accompanied by unusual complaints of over-saturation and by special efforts of the Canal Department to improve the drainage. It does, however, seem remarkable that the few wet years after 1870, following a long period of light or deficient rainfall, should so rapidly have produced signs of deterioration as to attract attention, and it may be inferred how much more grave the damage is likely to be now after six years of fall or heavy rainfall. It is worthy of note also that the people, when questioned about the date from which they had reason to complain of saturation generally refer to the floods of 1880, and it is possible that the country had not recovered from the effects of the exceptionally heavy rains of that year, when the last series of seasons of heavy rainfall came upon it." This is an extract from the Settlement Report, written in 1890. There can be doubt that, while the major portion of the blame is perhaps to be laid upon the canals, a very great deal depends on the weather. A succession of dry years or of years with a slightly deficient rainfall will do more towards restoring saturated land than any number of artificial drainage channels.

 

END OF CHAPTER – I (CLICK HERE TO GO TOP)

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