Bangalore District, 1908

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This article has been extracted from



Note: National, provincial and district boundaries have changed considerably since 1908. Typically, old states, ‘divisions’ and districts have been broken into smaller units, units, and many tahsils upgraded to districts.Many units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.


Bangalore District

District in the south-east of Mysore State, lying between 12 15' and 13 30' N. and 77 4/ and 77 59' E., with an area of 3,092 square miles. It is bounded north and east by Kolar and the Salem District of Madras ; west by Tumkur and Mysore Districts ; south by the Coimbatore District of Madras.

Physical aspects

The main portion of the District consists of the valley of the Arkavati, with the Cauvery flowing at the southern base. The east includes the upper basin of the Ponnaiyar, the south- west a part of the basin of the Shimsha. The Physical central, southern, and eastern parts are mostly open and undulating. Westward the country is broken and rugged, with a succession of hills, the eastern watershed of the Cauvery rising in places to lofty mountain peaks, such as Sivaganga (4,559 feet) and Savandurga (4,024 feet). The low-lying lands contain series of tanks ; the uplands are often bare or covered with scrub jungle. The hills in the south, as well as Savandurga, are surrounded with forest. The prevailing rock is gneiss, disrupted by trap seams, dikes, and large outcrops, and also by porphyritic and fine-grained granite rocks, rock crystal, amethystic smoky and milky quartz. Adularia, pink felspar, chert, corundum, chalcedony, mica, and hornblende are found.

Hematitic iron ore is abundant. Nodular limestone is found in the valleys, and near Kankanhalli is a formation of industrial lime. Kaolin- itic clays occur, and laterite is found as a flat capping, resting on the denuded surface of gneiss.The hilly parts to the west contain many plants of the Malnad, but of smaller size, such as Stercu/ia, Erythrina, &c. But the greater part of the vegetation of the District is made up of plants such as Alangium Lamarckii, Heptaphurum venulosum, Cassias, Bassias, Acacias, Ficus, Bauhinias, Mangifera, Pougamia, &c. Casuarina equisetifolia is a common exotic, and Lantana Camara is spreading in rank growth.

The climate of Bangalore city is noted for its salubrity, and the tracts north and east are healthy; but the taluks traversed by the western range of hills are subject to malarious fever. The annual rainfall at Bangalore averages 35 inches. The southern taluks get more, and Nelamangala less. The wettest months are generally September and October. The average mean temperature and diurnal range at Bangalore are : in January, 69 and 23 ; in May, 8o° and 22 ; in July, 74 and 16 ; in November, 71 and 17 .


Till 1004 the District was a part of the Ganga kingdom of Ganga- vadi. In the seventh century Mankunda (in the Channapatna taluk) was the royal residence, and in the eighth century Manyapura (Manne, in the Nelamangala taluk).

Traces also exist of the Pallavas in the east, and of the Rashtra- kutras in the north. The Cholas next held the District until 11 16, giving it the name of Vikramachola-mandala. The Hoysalas followed until 1336, when the Vijayanagar kingdom was established. Early in the next century certain Morasu Wokkaligas from the east formed states tributary to Vijayanagar, those in this District being Yelahanka, Devanhalli, and Dod-Ballapur. Hoskote belonged to a chief in Kolar District. Kempe Gauda, a Yelahanka chief, founded Bangalore in 1537, and his son acquired Magadi and Savandurga. Meanwhile, under the name of the Sivasamudram 1 country, much of the District seems to have been subject to the chief of Ummattur (Mysore District), till he was put down by the Vijaya- nagar king in 15 10. After the fall of Vijayanagar in 1565, Jagadeva Raya, the chief of Baramahal (Salem District), repelled the Musulman atttack on Penukonda in 1577, and was rewarded with territory in Mysore, his capital being fixed at Channapatna. In 1644 the District came under the rule of Bijapur, and was given, with other neighbouring tracts, as a jaglr to Shahji, father of the Maratha leader SivajT.

In 1687 the Mughals overran the country to the north, and formed the province of SIra (Tumkur District). At this time Bangalore was sold to the Mysore Rajas, who by the end of the seventeenth century had gained possession of the whole District, except Hoskote and Dod- Ballapur, which were acquired soon after. 1 The name is that of the island at the Falls of the Cauvery, where the chief had his fortress and the temple of his family god.

Kistvaens have been explored near Jala and Savandurga, and found to contain the usual articles of pottery. A find of Roman coins at Yesvantpur in 1891 yielded silver denarii of the early emperors Augustus to Claudius. In the Museum is an inscribed stone of the end of the ninth century, brought from Begur, elaborately sculptured with a battle scene. In the Bangalore fort are the remains of Tipu Sultan's palace. The inscriptions of the District have been translated and published.


The population was 842,233 in 187 1, 679,664 in 1881, 802,994 in 1 891, and 879,263 in 1901. The decrease in 1881 was due to the famine of 1876-8. By religion, in 1901 there were p . . 767,413 Hindus, 73,944 Musalmans, 25,705 Christians, 11,269 Animists, 837 Jains, and 95 'others.' The density was 284 persons per square mile, that for the whole State being 185. Banga- lore City (population, 159,046), the District head-quarters, is the only place with more than 20,000 inhabitants.

The following are the principal statistics of population in 1901 : —


The numerically strongest caste is the Wokkaligas or cultivators, 244,000; next, the outcaste Holeyas and Madigas, 95,000 and 51,000 ; then Kurubas or shepherds, 39,000 ; Tigalas or market gardeners, 32,000; Woddas or stonemasons, and Neygi or weavers, 24,000 each. Of Lingayats there are 39,000 and of Brahmans 30,000. Among Musalmans there are 36,000 Shaikhs, 12,300 Saiyids, and 12,000 Pathans. The nomad tribes are represented by 5,300 Koracha or Korama, and 3,800 Lambanis. As regards occupation, 54 per cent, of the population are engaged in pasture and agriculture, 15 per cent, in the preparation and supply of material substances, 7 per cent, in unskilled labour not agricultural, and 6 per cent, in the State service.

Bangalore District contains more than half of the 50,000 Christians in the State of Mysore, and nearly one-third of the total are in the Civil an Military Station of Bangalore. Of native Christians the great majority are Roman Catholics. A chapel is said to have been built by a Dominican friar at Anekal so far back as 1400. Bangalore and Devanhalli were occupied by Jesuit priests in 1702, and Kan- kanhalli in 1704. A bishop resides at Bangalore, where the Roman Catholics have important educational and medical institutions, while they have formed two agricultural settlements in the District for famine orphans. The Anglican and Scottish churches are mainly for the European garrison of Bangalore, but the chaplains also visit Whitefield and Chik-Banavar. For natives, the Church of England S.P.G.

Mission has a church, and the Zanana Mission has a gosha hospital for females and schools. The latter has also established a gosha hospital at Channapatna. The London and the Wesleyan Missions began work among the natives, in Bangalore, in 1820 and 1822 respectively. The sphere of the former is to the east and north of the District, and that of the latter to the west and south. They have places of worship and large schools in Bangalore. The Wesleyan Mission press was for many years of great importance, but has now been removed to Mysore. The American Methodist Episcopal Mission was established in Banga- lore in 1880, in the parts mostly occupied by Eurasians. There are also small communities of Baptists and Lutherans, both at Bangalore.


The prevailing soil is a fertile red loam, found in every shade from light to dark red and deep chocolate. It overlies the metamorphic granite, and varies from a few inches to several feet in depth. The darker rich red and chocolate soils are supposed to be mould weathered from the trap rocks. The decomposi- tion of the normal gneissose rock gives the grey, sandy, and sterile soils, and the kaolinitic clays. There are a few isolated tracts of black soil, but not sufficient for the special cultivation usual in such ground. The following are the statistics of cultivation in 1903-4 : —


miles, rice 98, gram 91, other food-grains 107, oilseeds 36, orchards and garden produce 16, fodder crops 11. Coffee has been successfully grown in the plains, with irrigation, but the fall in prices has stopped its cultivation. Numerous private plantations have been formed of grafted mango-trees, and of casuarina for fuel. From 1 89 1 to 1904, 1-37 lakhs was advanced for irrigation wells. Loans for land improvement during the eight years ending 1904 amounted to Rs. 55,000.

There are no irrigation canals, but 109 square miles are supplied from tanks and wells, and 11 from other sources. The number of tanks is 1,969, of which 402 are classed as ' major.' The area of State forests in 1904 was 322 square miles, of 'reserved ' lands 74, and of plantations 19. Teak grows, but not at its best. Casuarinas supply scaffolding poles and fuel. Sandal-wood and bamboos are important products. The forest receipts in 1903-4 were Rs. 77,000. There are no mines. Gneissose stone is everywhere quarried for building purposes, and broken up for road-metal. Limestone is found, as well as pottery clay.

Trade and communication

Bangalore city contains woollen, cotton, and silk-mills, tile and brick works, oil-mills, coffee-curing works, an iron foundry, and brass and copper works, under European management; brew- eries, partly under European and partly under native management ; and tanneries, under Muhammadans. The number of private looms or small works in the District is : for silk, 370; cotton, 4,647; wool, 681; other fibres, 25; wood, 92; iron, 209 ; brass and copper, 28 ; building materials, 94 ; oil-mills, 481 ; jaggery and sugar, 597. The chief articles of commerce are grain, cloth, silk, and oilseeds. Cotton cloth and coarse woollen blankets are woven in all parts.

Tape for bedsteads and cotton carpets are made at Sarjapur. Good drugget carpets are produced in Bangalore, but the demand for them is not so great as in former days. Silks of stout texture and costly patterns are also woven in Bangalore. The production of raw silk is a reviving industry ; and inspectors of sericulture, trained in Japanese methods at Mr. Tata's silk farm in Bangalore, have been appointed for its improve- ment. Steel wire of a superior quality, for strings of musical instruments, is made at Channapatna, where also lacquered ware and toys are manu- factured. Iron and steel are produced to some extent in Magadi. Oil- pressing from castor, ground-nuts, and gingelly seed is general. Banga- lore city is a centre for numerous industries ministering to the wants of Europeans. In addition to the city, the chief marts of trade in the District are Channapatna, Dod-Ballapur, Sarjapur, Vadigenhalli, Tyamagondal, and Hindiginal.

The railway system radiates from Bangalore city, and the total length of railways in the District is 130 miles. The Bangalore branch of the Madras Railway, broad gauge, runs east to Jalarpet. The remaining lines, metre gauge, are the Mysore State Railway, south-west to Mysore and Nanjangud ; and the Southern Mahratta Railway, north to Guntakal and north-west to Poona. A light railway, 2 feet gauge, is projected to run north to Chik-Ballapur. Provincial roads, leading to Madras, Salem, Hindupur, Bellary, Mangalore, and Cannanore, have a total length of 230 miles. The total length of District roads is 448 miles. All main roads are metalled.


Since the great famine which ended in 1878, scarcity owing to failure of the rainfall has been felt in parts of the District in 1884-5, in 1891-2, and in 1896-7; but remedial measures were adopted, principally in providing facilities for grazing in ' reserved ' lands, and distress was not serious.


The District is divided into nine taluks: Anekal, Bangalore, Chan- napatna, Devanhalli, Dod-Ballapur, Hoskote, Kankanhalli, Magadi, and Nelamangala. The District is under a Deputy-Commissioner; and since 1903 the taluks have been formed into three groups under Assistant Commissioners. The groups are : Dod-Ballapur, Devanhalli, and Nelamangala, with head-quarters at Nelamangala ; Bangalore, Hoskote, and Anekal, with head-quarters at Bangalore ; Kankanhalli, Channapatna, and Magadi, with head-quarters at Closepet.

Besides the Chief Court, whose jurisdiction extends over the whole State, there are the District court and the Subordinate Judge's court, both with jurisdiction over Bangalore, Kolar, and Tumkur Districts, and three Munsifs' courts. All are in Bangalore, except one Munsifs court at Dod-Ballapur. Serious crime is not common. The land revenue and total revenue are shown below, in thousands of rupees : —


The revenue survey and settlement were carried out in Bangalore and the west of the District between 1872 and 1879, in the north and east between 1881 and 1886, and in the south between 1891 and 1896. The incidence of land revenue per acre of cultivated area in I 9°3 _ 4 was Rs. 1-10-3. The average assessment per acre on 'dry' land is Rs. 1-1-8 (maximum scale Rs. 2-12-0, minimum scale R. 0-1— o) ; on 'wet' land, Rs. 4-1 2-10 (maximum scale Rs. 10-0-0, minimum scale R. 0-7-0) ; and on garden land, Rs. 4-15-8 (maxi- mum scale Rs. 20, minimum scale Rs. 2).

Excluding the Civil and Military Station of Bangalore, which is under British administration, there were 13 municipal boards in 1904, and 4 Unions. The municipalities are Bangalore city, Hoskote, Dod- Ballapur, Nelamangala, Tyamagondal, Kankanhalli, Magadi, Closepet, Channapatna, Anekal, Sarjapur, Devanhalli, and Vadigenhalli. The Unions are Yelahanka, Kengeri, Sulibele, and Dommasandra. Apart from Bangalore city, the total municipal income in 1903-4 was Rs. 37,000, and the expenditure Rs. 39,000 ; those of the Unions were Rs. 3,900 and Rs. 7,400. The District and taluk boards in that year had an income of Rs. 73,000 and an expenditure of Rs. 70,000, the cost of public works being Rs. 61,000.

The police force in 1903-4 consisted of 3 superior officers, 132 sub- ordinate officers, and 826 constables, of whom 38 officers and 289 constables form the city police. The Bangalore Central jail has accommodation for 892 prisoners. The daily average in 1904 was 684. There are also nine lock-ups, with a daily average of seven prisoners. The percentage of literate persons (excluding the Civil and Military Station of Bangalore) in 1901 was 20-5 in the city and 4-3 in the District (10-4 males and 0-9 females). The number of schools in- creased from 520 with 19,811 pupils in 1890-1 to 563 with 19,819 pupils in 1900-1. In 1903-4 there were 588 schools (409 public and 179 private) with 20,186 pupils, of whom 3,977 were girls. The Civil and Military Station of Bangalore contained in 1903-4, in addition, 117 schools (62 public and 55 private) with 6,931 pupils (4,234 male, 2,697 female), besides schools under the military authorities. The colleges are the Central, of the first grade, and St. Joseph's, of the second grade, with college classes for girls at the Sacred Heart. Of special schools, there are two industrial, one commercial, and one training school.

Besides the large hospitals in Bangalore, there were 16 dispensaries in the District in 1904, at which 226,000 patients were treated, of whom 4,520 were in-patients, the beds available being 123 for men and 83 for women. The total expenditure was 1-57 lakhs. The number of persons vaccinated in 1904 was 8,797, or only 10 per 1,000 of the population.

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