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The total number of Mahomedans in these provinces exceeds twenty , . .L . and a half millions (20,664,775). The
Their distribution. . . • » ., x' ,'
vast majority ot them, namely, seventeen and a half millions, are to be found in Lower Bengal. In Behar they hardly number more than two and a half out * of a total population of nearly twenty millions. In Assam, Chota Nagpore, and particularly in Orissa, they are very sparse.
The district in which Mussulmans are most numerous, as compared with other classes of the community, is Bogra, where they compose upwards of 80 per cent, of the population. In Rajshahye they are over 77 per cent., and in Pubna 69 per cent. In the districts of Chittagong and Noakhally the Mussulmans constitute three-fourths of the population.
Curious as it may appear, it is not in the great Mogul capitals that we find the Mahomedans most numerous. In Dacca, which for a long time contained the seat of Government, Mahomedans are very slightly in excess of Hindoos; in the Maldah district, which contained the city of Gour, the Mahomedans form 46 per cent, of the population; in Moorshedabad they are scarcely 45 per cent.; in Patna they only form 12 per cent, of the inhabitants of the district; even in the city of Patna they are only 24 per cent. On the other hand, not to refer to the districts already mentioned, in Backergunge, Tipperah, Rungpore, and Mymensingh, they constitute two-thirds of the population; and in Dinagepore, Nuddea, J essore, and Furreedpore, more than half.
Wherever the Mahomedans form the bulk of the population, it will be found, as a rule, that they are the cultivating classes of the people, while the upper and mercantile classes are Hindoo, and some very low classes are semi-Hindoos, probably for the most part aboriginal in blood. All the sailors of the Eastern districts are Mahomedans.
The number of Mahomedans in Behar is comparatively small, and they mostly belong to the upper orders, living in towns such as Patna, Barb, and Behar. The great mass of the people and cultivating classes in that province are still Hindoo. The fabric of Hindooism was probably too firm to be shaken by the Mussulman invasion, and conversion had comparatively little success. Though the aboriginal tribes are still to be found in Behar, they probably did not at that time form so large a percentage of the population as in the lower delta of Bengal. Swept on by the Aryan tide of immigration, large numbers of them had probably been exterminated, or were driven down the Gangetic valley, or into the wilds of Chota Nagpore. The Aryan element was thus left more to itself, and seems to have consolidated its position sufficiently to be able to resist the shock of a proselytising faith.
But in Bengal it was not so: there the Mussulman invasion probably found Hindooism resting on weak and uncertain foundations, with but feeble hold over the minds and affections of the great bulk of the inhabitants. The Aryan element, so far from displacing the indigenous children of the soil, was only able to hold its own by frequent importations of fresh blood from Upper India; and so it happened that when the Mussulman conquerors of Hindoostan invaded the lower delta with the sword and the Koran, they were not altogether unwelcome. They proclaimed equality and broke down the trammels of caste. In Bengal Hindooism succumbed, and the mass of the people embraced the faith of Mahomed.
The Mussulmans of the Delta little differ in language, customs, or occupation from the other inhabitants of the country. The Mahomedan has the same language and uses precisely the same nomenclature and expressions of thought as his Hindoo neighbour.
The gTeat bulk of Mahomedans in Bengal, as elsewhere in India, are Soonies, very few Shias being found in this country. The eastern districts, it is well known, abound in Ferazees.
There are altogether in Bengal 19,857 Europeans of all nations, . of whom 11,324 are English, 3,631
Europeans and non-As.ahc.. . an(j g^g Scotch.6 There are
360 Frenchmen, and 854 Germans. The American population is 2,649, the African 83, and the Australasian, 19. Altogether the non-Asiatics in Bengal number 22,608; of this total 17,135 belong to Bengal proper, 13,757 are comprised in the 24-Pergunnahs, including in this district the city of Calcutta. In Hooghly with Howrah there are 813, in Darjeeling 420, in Burdwan 333, and scarcely more than 200 in any other district. In the province of Behar the number of Europeans is 3,287; 1,620 are in the Fatna district, and 510 in Monghyr. The remaining districts average from 85 in Chumparun to 257 in Shahabad; but the proportion of the European community is (if we exclude Calcutta) much more considerable in the Behar and Bhaugulpore divisions than it is elsewhere in Bengal. This is due to the greater development of European industry as well as to the military element, and partly to the more salubrious climate of the upper provinces. In Orissa there are 232 Europeans. In Chota Nagpore there are 1,501, the great bulk of whom are in Hazarcebaugh, which besides containing the European penitentiary is a military station. The Europeans of Assam are the tea-planters and officials of the province. If they are fewer (394) than might have been expected, it must be remembered that a large number frequently leave Assam to visit Calcutta during the cold weather; 137 are residents of Lukhimpore.
The Eurasian population is 20,279, of whom 18,419 belong to Eurasians Bengal proper: 10,362 are in Calcutta
.urasians. an(j ^ 24-Pergunnahs, and 5,638 in
Dacca; there are 896 in Chittagong, and 557 in Hooghly. In Dacca and Chittagong there are colonies of Feringhees, descendants of Portuguese, who made these places their head-quarters in Eastern Bengal.
The population of Asiatics other than natives of India and British . . x. .. .. , T ,. Burmah is 47,030. The majority of
Asiatics other than natives of India. ,, , - ,, -.s
these are composed of the Nepaulese in Darjeeling, and the Munipoorees in Sylhet and Cachar; 2,277 Nepaulese were enumerated along the frontier of our Behar territory. The Armenian community comprises nearly 800 souls, chiefly in Calcutta and Dacca. The Chinese number 582, nearly all shoe-makers and carpenters in Calcutta. The Jews, 574, mainly in the metropolis; Parsees 1,223, and Persians 277.
Christians, Native and European together, number no more than Pj^j^ 93,003 souls. At least one-half of
ians" these are Europeans or East Indians..
The native converts are chiefly found in the Presidency, Dacca, and Chota Nagpore divisions. There are several missions in the neighbourhood of Calcutta, though apparently not more than 3,000 native converts in Calcutta itself. In Nuddea and Backergunge there are several Christian villages. A few scattered mission stations are found in the Sonthal Pergunnahs and Orissa. It is, however, in Chota Nagpore that Christianity has made most progress. The census returns show 16,000 Christians in that province, nearly all of whom are native converts. They belong mainly to the aboriginal tribes, and the great majority are located in Lohardugga. Ranchee is a large mission station, and there are missions also at Purulia and Chyebassa.
The Boodhists are mostly found in Chittagong, where they consist -Qfa, of the Mughs in the south of the
18' district and in the Hill Tracts. There
is also a small colony of Mughs in Backergunge. In Darjeeling the Lepchas and Serpa Bhootias profess a form of Boodhism. In Assam we also find the Khamtis and some other Boodhist tribes. According to the returns, which do not claim to be wholly accurate, the Boodhist* number 86,496.
The tables show a total of 2,351,904 souls, belonging to abori
. . ginal tribes, who have not adopted any
neinM* form of Hindooism. This total would
probably not fall far short of two millions and three-quarters if we
include the aboriginal tribes found in Hill Tipperah and the North
Eastern Frontier Hills. .
In regard to race, however, it has been found impossible to draw
„' any very distinct line between the
Mixed races. , * . . * , T1. , ..
aborigines and Hindoo races, as they
merge insensibly into one another. Besides the two million of western aborigines using their own language, there are probably at least as many people in Chota Nagpore, the western districts of Bengal, and the confines of Behar, who avowedly belong to aboriginal tribes, but who have adopted the Hindustanee or Bengalee language ; and there are both in Bengal and Behar large numbers of. low castes and out-castes which are probably very aboriginal in blood and can scarcely be said to be Hindoo in any real sense, though they are put down as such. The system of castes in the Hindoo religion gives room for the introduction of any number of outsiders ;—so long as people do not interfere with established castes, they may form a new caste, and call themselves Hindoos if they like; and the Brahmins are always ready to receive all who will submit to them and pay them. The process of manufacturing Rajpoots from ambitious aborigines goes on before our eyes, and both in the west and the east many new Hindoos exist who are in no degree Hindoo in blood. The low castes, however, keep to deities and religious observances of their own, are not recognized by Hindoos, and are only put down as Hindoos because they do not come under any other general name. Classified as nearly as possible according to race, we have returned 3,890,578 pure aborigines, and 10,088,491 semi-Hindooised aborigines to 31,154,256 Hindoos and 624,276 unclassified. Roughly we might say that the population consists of 31£ millions of Hindoos, 21 millions Mahomedans, and 14 millions aborigines, the three classes being in the proportion of 9,6, and 4.
The ethnical varieties observable in the people of Bengal do not,
however, end with the broad distinctions Cumin Tun. of nationality. Within each nation
ality there are in fact numerous tribes and castes, which clearly indicate a difference of origin and race; and even where no distinction of race can be found, we frequently meet with tribal sub-divisions with their own ethnical peculiarities. The number of separate tribes and castes which have been found to exist in Bengal do not probably fall short of one thousand. If their respective sub-divisions and departments or classes were taken into account, they would probably amount to many thousands. The aboriginal tribes alone are very numerous, while those for whom, though Hindooised to a certain extent, an aboriginal origin may be claimed, would swell the number by a very large amount. No attempt will be made in this place to give a full account of the numerous castes and tribes which have been mentioned in the census returns. The principal castes and tribes alone will be alluded to.
In Bengal Proper the aboriginal population is 387,157, of whom
139,761 are Sonthals. Sonthals are to ng roper. ^e foun(j -n near]v &\\ the districts of
the provinces, but most largely in Midnapore, where they number 96,921; in Bancoorah, where they are 25,378; and in Beerbhoom, where they are 6,954. The total aboriginal population in the great Midnapore district is 138,350; the majority of these are Sonthals, but there are 35,344 of the Bhumij race.
The semi-Hindooised aboriginals comprise 5,110,989 inhabitants; 1,620,545 are Chundals, 739,886 are Rajbunshees, 680,278 are Bagdis, 893,490 are Chamars and Muchis, 354,450 are Palis. The Chundals are the great pariah caste, to which were doubtless consigned the great bulk of the aboriginal tribes who embraced Hindooism in Bengal. They are a hardy and almost semi-amphibious people, most numerous in the eastern districts of Jessore, Furreedpore, Backergunge, Dacca, Mymensingh, and Sylhet. The Rajbunshees are much the same as the Palis of Dinagepore and Maldah, and the Kochs of Rungpore, and united these castes number considerably over a million souls. They are mostly cultivators, and are evidently an Indo-Chinese race. The Bagdis are the fishermen and palkee-bearers of Western Bengal. In Burdwan alone they number 205,074; they are probably allied to the Baoris (199,968), who are found in the same localities. The Muchis prepare hides and work in leather; they are distributed all over the province, and are to be found in every village: in the 24-Pergunnahs there are more than 70,000 Muchis, and in Burdwan and Nuddea more than 50,000 each. Mais or Malos are more or less numerous in every district in Bengal: the total number found is 115,704, largely distributed in Bancoorah, Beerbhoom, Moorshedabad, Mymensingh, Sylhet, and less thickly in Nuddea, Moorshedabad, Maldab, and Purreedpore. They are boatmen and fishermen.
Among Hindoos in Bengal Proper, the Brahmans, the Chettries or Rajpoots, the Boidyas, and the Kayasths, are the superior castes. There are 1,100,105 Brahmans in the province, who are most numerous in Burdwan (160,824), in the 24-Pergunnahs (120,102), in Midnapore (118,700), and in Hooghly with Howrah (107,534), but they are numerous in all the districts. The Kayasths of Bengal (1,160,478) claim almost equal rank with Brahmans; they exceed the Brahmans in number, and with them form the literary class of the country. Kayasths are most numerous in Backergunge (125,164), Mymensingh (105,537), Dacca (102,084), Midnapore (101,663), and in Jessore, Sylhet, 24-Pergunnahs, Chittagong, and Burdwan, where they vary in number from 50 to 100,000. The Rajpoots (117,508) in Lower Bengal are not numerous in any district. The Boidyas number 68,353.
The Gandhabanias or Banias are the most populous of the trading castes. They number 127,178, of whicb 32,105 are in Burdwan alone.
Among pastoral castes the Goalas are alone of importance. They number 625,163, of whom 99,325 are in Burdwan, 91,269 in Nuddea, and 88,551 in the 24-Pergunnahs. They are freely distributed, though in less numbers, over all the other districts.
The great cultivating Hindoo castes of Bengal are the Koibortto and Sadgop. Of these the former number over two millions. They are most numerous in Midnapore, Hooghly, 24-Pergunnahs, Sylhet, Nuddea, and Moorshedabad. The caste is divided into two classes, the Chasha or Haliya Koibortto, who are cultivators, and the Jalya Koiborttos, who are fishermen. The Sadgops are the highest among the cultivating Hindoo castes of Bengal. They are included among the Nobosakhs, from whose hands a Brahman will receive water. They number over 630,000, thus exceeding the number of Goalas, the parent caste, from whicb they are said to have sprung. Sadgops are most numerous in Burdwan and Beerbhoom. The Agoorees (70,606) appear to have their home almost exclusively in the district of Burdwan. The Baruis (156,807) are p&n cultivators; the Tamlis (59,726) are p&n sellers, and not unfrequently are wealthy mahajuns. They form a tolerably numerous class in Bengal, especially in those districts like Jessore, Backergunge, and Sylhet, where the supari palm is grown. The Puras (12,988) are vegetable sellers, and seem to be confined to the lower central districts.
Among the boating and fishing castes, the Jaliyas (361,917) occupy the first place. They are most numerous in Jessore, but are to be found everywhere. The Tiyars (331,661) are a numerous body, most abundant in Kungpore, where alone they number 141,213, and it is probable that a large number of low castes in the lower delta, who devote themselves to fishing, have assumed the name. The Pods (293,121) are almost entirely found in the district of the 24-Pergunnahs. Patnis (127,636) are ferry men everywhere, but are principally found in Sylhet, Mymensingh, and Cachar. The Metiyas (24,662), nearly all found in Burdwan, are fishmongers.
Of the artizan castes, the oilmen are the most important, numbering altogether, Telis, Tilis, and Kaloos, 572,659. Some of these are men of wealth. They are most numerous in the Burdwan and Midnapore