Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858

5. Unbewegliche Hinterlassenschaften

3. Agriculture / by Edward Balfour (1885)

hrsg. von Alois Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Balfour, Edward <1813-1889>: Agriculture (1885). -- (Quellenkunde zur indischen Geschichte bis 1858 / Alois Payer ; 5. Unbewegliche Hinterlasenschaften, 3.). -- Fassung vom 2008-03-28. -- http://www.payer.de/quellenkunde/quellen053.htm

Erstmals publiziert in:

Balfour, Edward <1813-1889>: Cyclopædia of India and of eastern and southern Asia, commercial, industrial and scientific: products of the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, useful arts and manufactures / ed. by Edward Balfour. -- 3rd ed. -- London: Quaritch. -- Vol. 1. -- 1885. -- S. 45 - 48.

Erstmals hier publiziert: 2008-03-28


Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung FS 2008

©opyright: Public Domain

Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Sanskrit  von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

Falls Sie die diakritischen Zeichen nicht dargestellt bekommen, installieren Sie eine Schrift mit Diakritika wie z.B. Tahoma.

AGRICULTURE is the only industrial enterprise which is conducted on a large scale in British India. In China it is a great and highly-honoured employment, and it affords a livelihood to the large majority of their respective populations. 34,844,000 adult males, or 66.2 per cent, of the entire population of British India, are agricultural, living exclusively by the soil, or eking out the earnings of other employments by the produce of the land they till, or as agricultural labourers. There are also large numbers of women and children similarly employed, and the field labourers are 7½ millions in number. The owners of the lands of British India are mostly all of the Hindu religion, or of the various original or modified cults which the non-Aryan races profess. Brahmans and Rajputs are large proprietors, and some Mahomedans are owners, but few of these three races labour with their own hands. In the extreme south of the Peninsula, the great body of the cultivator landlords speaking the Tamil, Canarese, Malealam, and Telugu languages, are the Valalar, Idayan, Kavadi of Coorg, Okaliga, Nair, Reddi, Balja, Kandh, Kapa, Kamma, and Gond. In the south of India, these are broken up into many sections, who have assumed the form of castes, whom the Census report of 1872 enumerates as—

Tamil, viz. Brahman, Vaisya, Valalan, Kavari; Pulley, Kukalavun ; Idayan, Kanakan, Chaneyn, Vaneyn, Ochhen, Panechavun, Ambutten, Kuvayen, Sanan, Parayan; Vettyan, Kummalen, Chakili, Tulukun, and Reddi

Telugu, viz. Brahman, Kapa or Kamma, Kolla, Balja, Sanay, Mangala, Mathuraju, Sakala, Karamara, Yanathi, Vetti, Mutham, Tuluka, Tuthekala, Kondla, Komsala, Odla, Gandra, and Nambe.

The people speaking Canarese, almost all of the lingaet sect, are largely agricultural.

In the Bombay Presidency, and extending into Berar and Malwa, the Kunbi, a Mahratta race, is so exclusively agricultural, that their tribal name is ordinarily used to indicate a cultivator.

Farther north are the Kurmi, a numerous race, whom some ethnologists consider identical with the Kunbi, also the Lodha. In Bengal are the Chasa and Kisan; farther to the north-west are the Gujar, Rajput, and Jat, the last being spread throughout the Panjab southwards to the Arabian Sea. The finer garden work is carried on everywhere by the Tota-Kara, the Mali, the Kach'hi, Lodha, and others.

The labourers consist of the broken tribes, whose position, even yet, is almost a predial slavery. The great body of labourers in the Tamil country are not Hinduized, as, for instance, the Pariah (parayan) and Chakili; in the Telugu country, the Madhera, Malla, and Madiga; in Coorg and the Canarcse districts, are the Holiya and their branches, Badaga, Balagei, Kembutti, Kulika, Madiga, Mara, and Marangi. Amongst the countries formerly ruled by the Peshwa are the Mhar and Mang, and Dher, and Koli, and Bhil; and farther to the north are the Southal, Dom, and Chamar, with many other non-Aryan tribes.

The soils of British India are of varied fertility, but the poorest soils can be made to produce something if only watered naturally or artificially ; and the cultivators and their rulers, by constructing weirs across rivers, excavating canals, forming tanks, and digging wells, have never ceased to plan and strive how to provide a supply of that essential element. In most districts the annual rainfall would be ample if it were but distributed throughout the agricultural season. It is a common experience for a tract of country to suffer from drought and flood in the same month. There might be drought for twenty-nine days, and a flood on the thirtieth. This necessitates the employment of storage tanks; but a large part of the country is still without them, and many have fallen into disrepair; and in the Madras s Presidency, many rivers that formerly flowed for five months now flow for only three or four. Fully 80 per cent of the occupied land was still, in 1880, unprotected by irrigation; and as an increasing population has to depend largely on the land for their food, its prices increase and the people suffer. The quantity that runs to waste is something enormous. For instance, one foot of rainfall on a square mile gives 1,032,532 cubic yards, or 174,239,775 gallons. But, in India, the rain falls in heavy downpours, and the proportion absorbed by the soil is comparatively small. The monsoon of 1862, for instance, was under the average in the Karnatic, yet the quantity of water that ran to waste into the sea from the Pennair (a second-class river), after a sufficient supply had been drawn off for all the cultivation as then existing under it, amounted to no less than 4,093,812,356 cubic yards, or 691,831,835,075 gallons, sufficient to have irrigated nearly 1000 square miles. This discharge was calculated from the register kept at the anicut at Nellore, and is rather under than over the mark.

In average seasons, the fields of British India yield more than the population consume. There are 166½ millions of acres under food crops, and 27½ under non-food crops, and the total food out-turn is estimated at 54 millions of tons, and the annual surplus of food at about 5 million tons, part of which is sent to other countries. The usual export of grain is between 1 and 1½ million of tons, rice being about 1 million, and wheat ranging between 50,000 and 325,000 tons. Besides the cereal grains, millets, pulses, vetches, and vegetables, there isother food available for the people, from land and sea, and from horned cattle, sheep, and goats, milk, poultry, eggs, fish, and straw for fodder for their cattle. Former rulers, both Hindu and Mahornedan, have tried to improve the breeds of horses, horned cattle, and sheep, and introduced many exotic plants. Continuing such efforts, the British have established an Agricultural Department of the State, agricultural schools, model farms, horse and cattle fairs. Railroads and a great commercial navy are equalizing the supply, and they have secured for traders the peace essential for their success, and to carry to other marts the surplus produce of caoutchoucs, cardamoms, cinchona, coffee, cotton, dyes, hemps of kinds, indigo, jute, lac, millets, oil-seeds, opium, pepper, pulses, rice, tea, timber, and wheat. But scientific and practical men entertain the belief that the cultivators of British India could improve on their present efforts. The average out-turn of food grains is estimated in the Panjab, Mysore, and Madras, over the cultivated area, at 11 bushels per acre, which, assuming 57 lbs. to the bushel, may be taken at 627 lbs. The average produce per acre on a series of observations extending over ten years, in several districts of the Bombay Presidency, was found to be— Wheat, 9 bushels, or 585 lbs.; Juari, 10 bushels, or 650 lbs.; Bajra, 6 bushels, or 390 lbs.

In the N. W. Provinces and in Bengal, the average out-turn of food grains is estimated to be 13 bushels per acre; in the Central Provinces, 8 bushels; in Bombay, 7 1/2 bushels; in Berar, 6 bushels. The average yield per acre of some of the usual dry crops was found to be as under :—

Black rice, dependent on rain alone, 700 lbs.
Chana or Bengal gram, 450 lbs.
Cooltie or Madras gram, 600 lbs.
Dhal, 500 lbs.
Cotton, unirrigated, 200 lbs.
Indigo, unirrigated, of dry indigo, 30 to 50 lbs.
Wheat, partially,  20 to 30 bushels.
Hemp,460 lbs.

As the result of a great number of experiments in different parts of Southern India, the average yield of rice cultivation, first crop, was found to be as follows per acre:—

Best white rice, fully irrigated, 2400 lbs.
Maximum shown by the experiments, 3650 lbs.
Red rice, fully irrigated, averaged, 1800 lbs.
Black rice, partially irrigated, averaged, 1200 lbs.
Black rice, depending on rain only, averaged, 700 lbs.

But in the Dehra Doon, wheat cultivation averages 1260 lbs. per acre, or say 22 bushels; and Bajra, at the Sind experimental farm, 1420 lbs. per acre, or say 25 bushels. Also, it has been known that Mr. Lawes of Rothamsted, for many years in succession, by free manuring, raised an average of 34.14 bushels of wheat, or say 1945.98 lbs.; and in Jersey the average is 37 bushels per acre, or say 2109 lbs. On these data, Mr. Cunningham says (pp. 15 and 18) that if the standard of cultivation in England could be reached, the additional food available would be 2890 millions of bushels, or enough, at 7 bushels per head, for the annual consumption of an additional population of 410 millions.

The defects in the agricultural work of British India, to which all European investigators point as the causes of scant yield, are too slight ploughing, want of manure, heavy annual cropping, and reckless watering. In British India, only special crops are manured; but the benefit of manuring lands has been shown, as under, by Messrs. Lawes and Gilbert of Rothamsted:—

So that, whilst wheat on properly cultivated but unmanured land in England produced a yield on the average of 12.97 bushels or 744.29 lbs. per acre, fully manured lands yielded 34.14 bushels or about 2030 lbs. per acre. The Indian cultivator is, however, well acquainted with the importance of manuring his lands. He may be less thrifty with it, and may make insufficient exertion to obtain due supplies of it, but more than all he can possibly gather could be applied to the spade husbandry of his gardens, where sugar-cane, betel-leaf, and the finer and higher-priced fruits and vegetables are grown. Many of them, also, are no doubt wasteful, even destructive with their water supply, and on these points the Indian cultivator might take a lesson from the Chinese, who are of the very highest class of gardeners and farmers, though their agricultural implements are scarcely any better than those of the Hindus. Their secret is that they are exceedingly industrious, and waste nothing. There is not an inch of a Chinaman's field left uncultivated, or a clod that has not received its due portion of manure; the sewage of towns and villages is not wasted, or worse than wasted, as in India, but is returned to the land; whence the surprising productiveness of Chinese agriculture. The Chinese also thoroughly understand irrigation. They do not waste their water or their land in the process, but cause drainage and irrigation to go on together. Mr. Elliot says the native farmer thoroughly understands his business as regards fertilizing the soil, and that if he does manure very little, he at least manures as much as he can; leaves are used to add to the manure heaps; nitrous earth is also used in some parts of India; fish are applied to land on the coast; town sweepings are carefully used, and so also are the refuse of oil mills and indigo vats; crops to be ploughed in green are in some instances grown; salt earth is applied to cocoa-nut trees in Mysore; in the Madura collectorate, even bats' dung is collected from old and ruined buildings; where flocks of sheep are to be met with, the owners receive regular payment for every night they are folded on a farmer's field; and in some parts of the country, where the means of enclosing them exist, cattle are also folded on the land. The cattle are, however, not stalled, and even what can be collected of their dung is dried and used for fuel. This is a loss to the Indian Lands. In England, every 1000 lbs. of the dung of grass-fed cattle contains 11 lbs. of valuable manurial matter,—4 lbs. of nitrogen, 3 lbs. of phosphoric acid, and 4 lbs. of lime. In India, every morsel of dung that falls on roads and lanes and the barren plain is carefully gathered, and used as fuel. This is chiefly the consequence of the great dearth of wood over all the cultivated tracts; and the necessity of planting is now recognised by the governments of India. There is a custom, in the Nellore district, of planting a certain proportion of the lands bordering on streams, or intersected with watercourses, with the Acacia arabica and A. leucophloea. These shelter the grass in hot weather, and their pods are used as food for cattle and sheep. The wood is also valuable; and when about ten years old it is cut down for timber, after which the land is put under crop, and another section is laid down under this admirably combined system of fodder and timber growing. Manures containing organic matter increase the condensing powers of the soil. But, as a general rule, the Indian farming exhausts the organic matter in the soil, and thus renders it less able to take up moisture from the air. Their cropping of the land is very exhausting, not so much from the crops grown being those that make great demands on the soil, but because nearly the whole are removed and not consumed by the stock of the farm; and the native practice of allowing the land to lie fallow for several seasons, is a proof of their consciousness that they have been exhausting it Also, according to existing rules, a cultivator pays rent or revenue only on the fields he cultivates. The ryot has not a fixed holding, but changes it at pleasure, and as a consequence the land is becoming exhausted, and permanent improvements are not made. The ryots of a village may not pay for more than 200 acres, and yet in the course of years may temporarily exhaust many hundred acres. If each cultivator were obliged to keep to a given area, the exhausting character of the husbandry would render the soil unfit to yield the scanty produce obtained by the ryot. The existing practice is only a modification of the Kumari form of cultivation as followed by all the hill tribes of the East Indies, which consists in burning the forest or brushwood and sowing their grains in the ashes, taking only one crop off the cleared land, and preceding to another place in the year following.

In the south of India, soils are classed roughly as Nanja and Panja, or wet and dry. Nanja soil is fitted for the cultivation of rice, admitting of artificial irrigation, and hence commonly termed wet cultivation, in contradistinction to Panja, or dry cultivation, which comprises all such crops as are dependent solely or chiefly upon rainfall and dews. Amongst these dry crops may be named an inferior sort of rice, yielding a scanty and precarious crop; several oil-seeds, as linseed, castor, gingely or sesamum, (Sesamum Indicum), all dry grains, as wheat, barley, sorghum, bajra (Penicillaria spicata), maize, millet, ragi (Eleusine coracana), and the like; all vetches, dhal (Cajanus Indicus), Madras gram (Dolichos uniflorus), Bengal gram (Cicer arietinum) ; also indigo, cotton, with a few garden plants, as tobacco, chillies, turmeric, which require partial irrigation.

Undoubtedly, for the food of the community, more could be made of the land than at present, but the agricultural races have still much land available. The Panjab has 30,000 square miles of cultivable waste, Bengal 85,000 square miles out of an area of 144,000; Assam has 7500 square miles cultivated, and 18,000 of cultivable waste; Burma has a total area of 87,000 square miles, of which 5000 are cultivated and 37,000 believed to be cultivable. The lands still uncultivated in these two provinces cover an area of 55,000 square miles, five times as large as Belgium, in which a redundant population could be placed. In the Central Provinces, out of a total area of 114,000 square miles, 30,000 are cultivated and 40,000 believed to be cultivable. In Bombay, 30,000 square miles of the 88,000 square miles of cultivable land are actually under cultivation; and in Madras, which has, besides the zamindaries, a total area of 130,000 square miles, only 10,000 square miles of inferior soil remain uncultivated.

In Northern India, the harvests are ordinarily classed as rabi and kharif. The rabi crops, those sown at the fall of the year and reaped in the early spring, consist of the cotton, maize, sorghum, indigo, wheat, barley, oil-seeds, hemp, jute, vetches, peas, Bengal gram, and Madras gram, and the arhar or tur dhal (Cajanus Indicus).

However largely the means of irrigating lands may be extended, the dry cultivation must ever form the backbone of Indian agriculture; it is for this that retentive soils have so high a value. The best of these is the regur, kali matti, or cotton soil, which overlies the great outburst of volcanic rocks that spread from the Belgaum district northwards to Malwa, and is to be seen in patches throughout the country. It is capable of absorbing and retaining more than one-third of its entire weight in water, and has, in a remarkable degree, the power of absorbing moisture from the air. The rabi crops being grown in the cold season of the year, and on the plateaux and table-lauds, need all the heat obtainable. One conclusion come to by Dr. Wight as the result of his cotton experiments in S. India, was that, from being sown there for a winter growth, it did not receive sufficient heat. And throughout the central plateaux of peninsular India, the cultivators regard hedges and trees as injurious to crops, which are annually enclosed by the branches of thorny trees, and are burned after the harvest; consequently, when the crops are off the ground, the whole region has a treeless aspect.

To secure the utmost benefit from the available water supply, the beds of paddy fields are in terraces, so as to admit of the water being led from the higher to the lower beds, and in all the mountainous countries terracing is to be seen carried out to a great extent. On the N.W. of British India, Elphinstone (Caubul, p. 353) described it as followed by the Othman Khel, and, at Srinuggur, he says, walls are made along the sides of the hills, and filled with soil from the lower part of the hill; the walls are from three to ten feet high, and the terraces about five yards broad. The walls are soon concealed by grass and other vegetation, and as they are never straight, but consult the bends in the surface of the hills, the effect is pleasing and picturesque. In Beluchistan, in the Mekran province, and in the valley beyond Baghwan, terracing by some prior race has been conducted in a manner so cyclopean as to excite the wonder of all who have seen the huge rocks which have been laid across the slopes of the mountains. The Malai Arasar, or hill kings of the Pulneys, in the extreme south of India, follow the terracing system. And in the Archipelago, the people of the Tengger mountains, described by Raffles, and the Serwatti and Letti, Baba and Timor Laut islanders, scarp the hill-sides into a succession of platforms and terraces.

Over-irrigating seems to have the effect of bringing the saline particles of the soil to the surface. Mr. Schrottky has informed us that in the saline soils of Kattywar, the quantities of chloride of sodium decreased from the surface downwards. The first six inches had 3 per cent ; at one foot below there was 0.48 per cent; and in the subsoil at feet, only 0.44 per cent His recommendation for its removal was subsoil draining. Mr. Robertson of the Madras school also recommends improved ploughs and deep ploughing, to bring fresh soil to the surface.
The agricultural implements of India are constructed with the same objects in view as those of Europe, and those employed in the Dharwar collectorate may be noticed for the whole. The large plough is used on ground being brought into cultivation for the first time. It is broken up with this lengthways and crossways. If the land is heavy, eight, even sixteen, bullocks are used; if light, four are sufficient. It is used in cotton and also in grain cultivation. A smaller plough is used in black soil at intervals from six to ten years, and worked with two or four bullocks, according to the depth of ploughing and stiffness of the soil. In cotton and also in grain cultivation, and in red soils, it is used every year. The kulu is used with two bullocks after ploughing, for further breaking up the soil, and also used without previous ploughing in the years when the black cotton soil is not ploughed. After the seed—whether cotton or grain—is sown with the drill, the iron and wooden supports are removed from this instrument, and the soil smoothed over the seed with the upper wood alone, drawn by two bullocks, and kept down by the foot of the driver. The tephun drill is used for sowing cotton. It is drawn by two bullocks; the two seed tubes are fed by a woman each. The kuri drill is used in sowing grain. It is worked with two bullocks, which one man drives, and this man feeds the receptacle for the seed communicating to the four tubes, and a third man works the extra tubes at the side, with which another description of seed or oil-seed is very commonly sown in every fifth row. The kuri or drill used in rice cultivation is similar to that employed for other grains, except that there are six tubes, and no extra tube for other grain is used, rice being sown alone. It is worked by two bullocks. The kulpa, or kulpi, is drawn by two bullocks, and is for rooting up the weeds between the rows of grain. The row of grain is left untouched in the interval in the middle. The earth is also, by the same operation, loosened around the roots of the grain. Two of these are frequently worked together with one pair of bullocks and two men. The hulli bandi is not seen much of large size in the Dekhan, but is very common in the southern Mahratta country, drawn by eight bullocks. The tires are of heavy iron, commonly six inches deep. A pair of wheels costs up to 120 rupees; they last 50 or even 100 years, and are handed down as heirlooms in families.

The nagor, or plough employed for rice cultivation, is worked with two bullocks. Rice land is ploughed with this two or three times every year. The don, or clod-crusher, is drawn with two bullocks, and the driver stands on the implement when working it. The khora is a hoe. The korpi, or weeder, is used for clearing away any weeds which may have escaped the kulpa, drawn by bullocks. The akri or hook is used for collecting the grain in straw together. The phaura is a hoe. The dantala is a rake. The fewutti is a stool for standing on when winnowing. It is six or seven feet high. The bhirut or mill is used for removing the husk from rice.

In sugar-cane cultivation, the ghurda is used for raising water three or four feet; it is worked by men holding the ropes at the corners, and swinging it backwards and forwards.

In Mysore, the implements are the nagalu or plough, the halavay or harrow, the kurigay or sowing machine, the kuntey or weeding machine, the halaleey or levelling machine, and the hegguntey rumte or harrow.

Cunningham's India; Mr. R. H. Elliot on Measures and Suggestions for the Advancement of the Wet and Dry Cultivation in India; F. C. Danvers in Jo. Soc. of Arts, on Agriculture in India; Mr. W. Robertson, Supl. Govt. Farms, Madras, in Jo. Soc. of Arts; Mr. Schrottky, Farming in India; Elphinstone's Kingdom of Caubul, p. 353; Cunningham's British India; Mr. James Caird's Report on the Condition of India, 1880; Reports i. and ii. of the Indian Famine Commission, 1880; Balfour on the Influence of Trees on Climate. See Soils.

[Quelle: Balfour, Edward <1813-1889>: Cyclopædia of India and of eastern and southern Asia, commercial, industrial and scientific: products of the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms, useful arts and manufactures / ed. by Edward Balfour. -- 3rd ed. -- London: Quaritch. -- Vol. 1. -- 1885. -- S. 45 - 48.]

Zu 5.4. Some south Indian villages /  by Gilbert Slater (1918)