Изображения страниц



It may be worth while to give the following extracts from the Times on the population and area of British India. Our Indian Empire is becoming more and more important, consequently more accurate knowledge of it is desirable.

1. "POPULATION OF BRITISH INDIA.-The census of 1871-72 has shown that the population under the Government of Bengal, never before regularly enumerated, but estimated in the Administration Report of 1870-71 at 42,500,000, was in 1872 no less than 66,856,859, about two millions belonging to the tributary States. Half the area of the Bengal Government consists of the hilly and thinly-populated tracts of Chota Nágpur and Assam, with only 87 and 63 souls to the square mile; but the other half is one of the most densely-peopled countries in the world. In Bardwán there are 573, in Patna 553, in Rájshahi 500 souls to the square mile; in the United Kingdom 261, and 422 taking England alone. For the whole of Bengal, in the restricted sense of that word, the number is 430; for Behar 465. If the lands uncultivated or incapable of cultivation, or waste and marshy, are left out, the food-producing area cannot average less than 650 souls to the square mile, crops being excluded which are not food-producing. This enormous population inhabits a country which exports grain, so that the supply of food is abundant in ordinary years; but it is terrible to think of the consequences of a failure of crops, and the bare possibility of it points to the urgent importance of a perfect system of communication between all the grain-producing provinces. The census shows that the number of men and women is nearly equal. About two-thirds of the population are agricultural. In the central and eastern portions, half the population is Mohammedan, and in some districts the latter largely predominate; but it is remarkable that this preponderance does not prevail around the old seats of Mohammedan power. In Dacca there are comparatively few, round the site of ancient Gour hardly any, and at Patna only 12 per cent. of the inhabitants; at Murshidabad the vast majority of the people are Hindu. It is inferred that the Bengal Mohammedans are not descendants of the old conquerors, but of convicts who were lowcaste Hindus, and embraced Islam to escape from their ignoble position under the Hindu system. These provinces contain 21,000,000 Mohammedans-more than in any other country in the world, and they are supposed to be on the increase. It is asserted that it is a mistake to suppose that the Hindu religion is not proselytising, but the assertion must be taken with reserve: the statement is that outsiders, so long as they do not interfere with established castes, can form a new caste, and call themselves Hindus, and that the Brahmins are always ready to receive all who submit to them and pay them. In the North-West Provinces the new census gives the population at 30,769,056, and the density at 380 souls per square mile; 798 in the thickly-peopled district of Benares. There are reported to be


25,000,000 Hindus to 4,000,000 Mohammedans. In the Punjaub the returns for 1872 gave a population of over 17.600,000, with a density of 172 to the square mile; here the Mohammedans largely preponderate, numbering 9,000,000 to 6,000,000 Hindus, and 1,000,000 Sikhs. Oude the returns of 1869 give 11,220,747, and a density of 465 to the square mile. In the Central Provinces the census of 1872 shows upwards of 9,000,000 souls, the density being 108 to the square mile. In the Berars, a portion of the Haidarabad territory, the population in 1867 was 2,231,565, or 132 to the square mile. The census of 1872 was very carefully taken in the Madras Presidency, and the population is stated at 31,311,142, or 221 to the square mile; of the four nationalities, the Tamils are by far the most numerous, numbering about 16,000,000 souls, while about 8,000,000 speak Telugu, 5,000,000 Canarese, and 2,000,000 Malayalma. In the Bombay Presidency the return is given as exceeding 14,000,000. In British Burmah the Administration Returns put the population at 2,562,323; the density is said to be 27 to a square mile in the whole of British Burmah, and 53 in Pegu. The return for Mysore is 5,055,412, and for Curg 168,312 souls. The whole population of British India is supposed to be rather understated by the census, and, probably, falls little short of 200,000,000 souls."


2. THE AREA OF BRITISH INDIA.-The total area of British India is officially stated at 950,919 square miles. Under the administration of the Governor-General of India there are Ajmere, containing 2672 square miles; Coorg, 2000; Berar, 16,960; and Mysore, 27,077. Under Governors there are Madras, with 141,746 square miles, and Bombay, with 127,532 square miles. Under Lieutenant-Governors, Bengal, with 248,231 square miles; the North-West Provinces, with 80,901; and the Punjaub, with 102,001. Under Chief Commissioners, Oude, with 23,973 square miles; the Central Provinces, with 84,162 square miles; and British Burmah, with 93,664 square miles. All this great region is under British administration or government, and is exclusive of Native States. It has a pop. on an average of 201 per sq. m.' 3. "COLONIAL PRODUCE.-The import into the United Kingdom of cotton and wool from British possessions abroad, amounted in the year 1872 to 444,873,520 lb., an increase of nearly 11,000,000 over the preceding year. The quantity imported from the West Indies fell off; but British India, with Ceylon, increased the supply sent thence to us to 443,234,736 lb., being 12,000,000 more than in 1871. Our import of cocoa from the Colonies also increased in 1872 to 8,294,975 lb., being a million more than the preceding year. But the import of coffee from India and the Colonies fell from 131,000,000 lb. in 1871 to 114,220,843 lb. in 1872, the decrease being in the supply from India, Ceylon, and the Straits Settlements, which was nearly 127,000,000 lb. in 1871, but only 107,606,433 lb. in 1872. The import of colonial rum also declined from above 7,000,000 gallons in 1871 to 6,208,653 gallons in 1872; the decrease was chiefly in the supply from British Guiana. Our import of colonial sugar and molasses did not quite keep up to that of the preceding year, being 5,301,085 cwt. in 1871, and 5,224,461 cwt. in 1872."

[ocr errors]


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »