Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

India is essentially an agricultural country and agriculture proper supports 224 millions of persons or 71 per cent. of the population of the Empire. If we add the pastoral and hunting occupations the percentage rises to 73, while a considerable proportion of the unfortunately large number of persons in the category of vague and unclassifiable occupations are probably labourers closely connected with the occupations of the land. Industries support 10 per cent. of the population, but the bulk of these are engaged in unorganised industries connected with the supply of personal and household necessities and the simple implements of work.

Organized industries occupy only 1 per cent. of the people. In trade and transport, on which less than 6 per cent. and 2 per cent., respectively, depend a not inconsiderable number are connected with the disposal of the various kinds of agricultural products. The administration and protection of the country engage only 4.825,479 persons, or 1 per cent. of the popu lation, and the remainder are supported by domestic, miscellaneous and unproductive occupations. Though the extent to which agriculture predominates in individual provinces varies, there is no region in which it does not in some form easily take the first place.

In spite of the trade of Calcutta and the

Compared with 1911 the agriculturists have numerous industrial and mining concerns of increased a little faster than the total population, Bengal and Bihar and Orissa the population though fishermen and hunters are fewer. Miners of the eastern provinces is overwhelmingly have risen in number with the recent expansion agricultural and contains a higher percentage of the industry. Industries have substantially of persons supported by the land than any other decreased and of the principal forms of industry tract of India. Of industrial workers the largest the textile workers have dropped considerably, proportions in the local population are in the as also have potters and workers in wood and Punjab, the United Provinces and Bombay. Of metal. An increase under transport by rail these three provinces, however, agriculture domi- is countered by a drop under transport by road. nates the economic life of the first two, where the Trade has increased, trade in textiles showing Industrial occupations, though they engage a a slight rise and trade in food a slight drop. substantial number of persons, are mostly of The number employed in public administration the cottage industry type. In Bombay the is practically stationary, but the army has development of organized industry is of some risen while the police has fallen heavily. Law economic importance, but is at present largely and medicine have gained at the expense of confined to a few of the biggest cities. In the religion, and though instruction has spread category of unclassified occupations the letters have fallen. Rentiers are fewer and majority of persons are labourers whose parti- domestic servants as many. Beggars and cular form of labour is unspecified and the vagrants, the raw material of crime and disease, rest mostly unspecified clerks. have decreased but criminals, the finished article, nave risen in numbers.

[blocks in formation]

Collieries.-Of a total of 288 thousand supported by collieries 205 thousand are actual workers. The most important coal mines lie in the provinces of Bihar and Orissa and Bengal. The Jherria coal-field in Manbhum, the importance of which is due to its accessibility and the superior quality of its coal, alone produces over fifty per cent. of the total annual output of coal in India. According to the industrial census the total population employed in the coal mines of Manbhum was 82,619, of whom 347 were managers, 1,519 belonged to the supervising and technical staff and 1,482 to the clerical staff, while 32,843 were skilled and 46,428 unskilled workers.

Textiles-Cotton-Of the industries the textile industries by far the most importants the number of persons occupied in industries connected with cotton being returned as 5,872,000 or just three-quarters of the whole number of those supported by textile industries. The bulk of the organized establishments are in the western tracts, where the large cities owe a considerable portion of their prosperity to the development of the textile industries and the cotton-growing country is covered with mechanically worked gins and presses for the preliminary treatment of the raw material.

Of the 2,037 establishments connected with cotton manufacture, employing in all 434,000 persons, no less than 737 establishments, with 277,000 employees or 64 per cent. of the personnel, belong to the western Presidency and its States.

Jute.-The spinning, pressing and weaving of jute support a population of 493,099, as compared with 362,369 ten years ago. There are a few mills and presses in Assam, Bihar and Orissa, and Madras, but the industry is practically confined to Bengal.

Nature of Ownership.-Of the total number cf 15,606 etablishments 677 are owned by Government, 3.292 by registered companies and 11,637 by private persons. The Government owned concerns are mostly railway and engineering workshops and other concerns such as brick and tile factories connected with the construction of roads and building and printing presses. The tea and rubber plantations are mostly the property of companies. Out of the 795 tea plantations in Assam 632 belong to companies. On the other hand the coffee plantations of Madras, which are much smaller concerns than the tea gardens, are mostly privately owned, only 23 out of 127 belonging to companies in Madras and 10 out of 242 in Mysore. The collieries are mostly company-owned, but of the 42 manganese mines of the Central Provinces half are owned by companies and half by private persons. Of the 392 cotton ginning mills in Bombay 333 are private owned, but of the cotton weaving mills 129 out of 345 are owned by companies. Similarly the jute presses are mostly private, while 60 out of the 62 jute mills of Bengal are company owned. Practically all the printing presses are private concerns, and so are a large number of the general workshops and such concerns like flour and rice mills and brick and tile works, which are mostly on a small scale. European companies own the majority of the tea gardens of

Assam and Bengal, but as has already been seen Indian enterprise is growing in regard to the private ventures. Indigo in Bihar and Orissa, coffee in Madras and rubber in Travancore are mostly in European hands but the coffee plantations of Mysore are largely owned by Indians. Most of the large collieries of Bengal are held by European companies, but 65 out of the 73 private concerns belong to Indians. The cotton industry of Western India is almost entirely Indian; while the jute mills of Bengal are in European hands though the small presses are mostly owned by Indians. The rice and flour mills and the brick and tile factories, with the exception of a few large concerns, are in the hands of Indians.

adult women

Women as Workers.-The (unskilled) number 508 per 1,000 adult men and the proportion of the children of both sexes under 14 years old is 140 per 1,000 adults. By far the majority of women labourers, viz., 322 out of 540 thousand, are on the plantations, where their proportion per 100 men is as high as 94, the children being 190 per 1,000 adults. Women and children are also numerous in the textile and mining industries and in the former there are 408 adult women (unskilled) per 1,000 men and in the latter 521. Nearly 30 per cent. of the women employed in textile industries are recorded as skilled. About 61 per cent. of the total number of children employed in organized boys on the plantations and in the mines and industries are boys and the girls almost equal the

form about one-fifth of the child labour in the textile industries. In the larger industries (20 persons and above) both female and child labour has dropped since 1911, the proportion of women (unskilled) being 515 now against 561 in 1911 per 1,000 men and the proportion of children per 1,000 adults 141 against 191 in 1911. The figures vary curiously in different industries and suggest that they are not altogether trustworthy. Women have increased in the plantations and textiles and declined in the mines. Children have decreased in the plantations and textiles and increased in the mines. Both women and children find considerable employment in the establishments connected with glass, pottery, cement and building and to a less extent in those of food and dress.

some

Occupation of Europeans-Of the 103,405 male Europeans, 63,538 belong in capacity to the category of Public Force, i.e.. the Army, Navy, Air Force and Police; over 9.000 to Transport, i.e., largely railway officials and about 6,000 to Public Administration; 4,600 to Mines and Industries; 5,900 to professions; 4,600 to trade, while there are about 4,200 imperfect entries, a number which together with the known deficiency in the census of Europeans generally somewhat detracts from the value of the details. The abnormal constitution of the foreign European population is exhibited by the small number of dependants viz., 62,000, as against 111,000 workers, whereas the number of Anglo-Indian dependants is just about double the number of their workers. Nearly one-third of the Anglo-Indian males are employed on Transport, .e., chiefly Railway, and the remainder mostly find employment as clerks and upper subordinates.

Manners and Customs.

Next to the complexion of the people, which varies from fair to black, the tourist's attention in India is drawn by their dress and personal decoration. In its simplest form a Hindu's dress consists of a piece of cloth round the loins. Many an ascetic, who regards dress as a luxury, wears nothing more, and he would dispense with even so much if the police allowed him to. The Mahomedan always covers his legs, generally with trousers, sometimes with a piece of cloth tied round the waist and reaching to the ankles. Hill men and women, who at one time wore a few leaves before and behind and were totally innocent of clothing, do not appear to-day within the precincts of civilisation and will not meet the tourist's eye. Children, either absolutely nude or with a piece of metal hanging from the waist in front, may be seen in the streets in the most advanced cities, and in the homes of the rich. The child Krishna, with all the jewels on his person, is nude in his pictures and images.

Dress.-The next stage in the evolution of the Hindu dress brings the loincloth nearly down to the feet. On the Malabar coast, as in Burma, the ends are left loose in front. In the greater part of India, they are tucked up behind-a fashion which is supposed to befit the warrior, or one end is gathered up in folds before and the other tucked up behind. The simplest dress for the trunk is a scarf thrown over the left shoulder, or round both the shoulders like a Roman toga. Under this garment is often worn a coat or a shirt. When an Indian appears in his full indigenous dress, he wears a long robe, reaching at least down to the calves: the sleeves may be wide, or long and sometimes puckered from the wrist to the elbow. Before Europeans introduced buttons, a coat was fastened by ribbons, and the fashion is not obsolete. The Mahomedan prefers to button his coat to the left, the Hindu to the right. A shawl is tied round the waist over the long coat, and serves as a belt, in which one may carry money or a weapon, if allowed. The greatest variety is shown in the headdress. More han seventy shapes of caps, hats, and turbans, may be seen in the city of Bombay. In the Punjab and the United Provinces, in Bengal, in Burma and in Madras other varieties prevail. Cones and cylinders, domes and truncated pyramids, high and low, with sides at different angles: folded brims, projecting brims: long strips of cloth wound round the head or the cap in all possible ways, ingenuity culminating perhaps in the "parrot's beak" of the Maratha turban-all these fashions have been evolved by different communities and in different places, so that a trained eye can tell from the head-covering whether the wearer is a Hinda, Mahomedan or Parsi, and whether he hails from Poona or Dharwar, Ahmedabad or Bhavnagar.

Fashion Variations.-Fashions often vary with climate and occupation. The Bombay fisherman may wear a short coat and a cap, and may carry a watch in his pocket; yet, as he must work for long hours in water, he would not cover his legs, but suspend only a coloured kerchief from his waist in front. The Pathan of the cold north-west affects loose baggy

[ocr errors]

trousers, a tall head-dress befitting his stature and covers his ears with its folds as if to keep off cold. The poorer people in Bengal and Madras do not cover their heads, except when they work in the sun or must appear respectable. Many well-to-do Indians wear European dress at the present day, or a compromise between the Indian and European costumes; Most notably the Indian Christians and Parsis. Parsis however have retained their own headdress, and many have not borrowed the European collar and cuffs. The majority of the people do not use shoes: those who can afford them wear sandals, slippers and shoes, and a few cover their feet with stockings and boots after the European fashion in public.

or

Women's Costumes.-The usual dress of a woman consists of a long piece of cloth tied round the waist, with olds in front, and one end brought over the shoulder or the head. The folds are sometimes drawn in and tucked up behind. In the greater part of India women wear a bodice: on the Malabar coast many do not, but merely throw a piece of cloth over the breast. In some communities petticoats drawers, or both are worn. Many Mussalinan The ladies wear gowns and scarfs over them. vast majority of Mahomedan women are gosha and their dress and persons are hidden by a veil when they appear in public: a few converts from Hinduism have not borrowed the custom. In Northern India Hindu women have generally adopted the Mussalman practice of seclusion. In the Dekhan and in Southern India they have not.

As a rule the hair is daily oiled, combed, parted in the middle of the head, plaited and rolled into a chignon, by most women. Among high caste Hindu widows sometimes shave their heads in imitation of certain ascetics, or monks and nuns. Hindu men do not, as a rule, completely shave their heads, Mahomedans in most cases do. The former generally remove the hair from a part of the head in front, over the temples, and near the neck, and grov it in the centre, the quantity grown depending upon the fancy of the individual. Nowadays many keep the hair cropped in the European fashion, which is also followed by Parsis and Indian Christians. Most Mussalmans grow beards, most Hindus do not, except in Bengal and elsewhere, where the Mahomedan influence was paramount in the past. Parsis and Christians follow their individual inclinations. Hindu ascetics, known as Sadhus or Bairagis as distinguished from Sanyasis, do not clip their hair, and generally coil the uncombed hair of the head into a crest, in imitation of the god Shiva.

wear

Hindu women wear more ornaments than others of the corresponding grade in society. Ornaments bedeck the head, the ears, the nose, the neck, the arms, wrists, fingers, the waist-until motherhood is attained, and by some even later-and the toes. Children anklets. Each community affects its peculiar ornaments, though imitation is not uncommon. Serpents with several heads, and flowers, like the lotus, the rose, and the champaka, are among the most popular object of representation in gold or silver.

« PreviousContinue »