From Indpaedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Hindi English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

Cachar district

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, and many tahsils upgraded to districts. Some units have since been renamed. Therefore, this article is being posted mainly for its historical value.



Physical aspects

{Kachar). — District in Eastern Bengal and assam, which derives its name from the Kachari tribe, whose Raja married a Tippera princess and received as her dowry the upper portion of the Surma Val- ley. It lies between 24*^ 12' and 25° 50' N. and 92° 26' and 93^ 29' E., and covers an area of 3,769 square miles. On the north it is bounded by the Kapili and Doiang rivers, which separate it from Nowgong Dis- trict ; on the east by the Naga Hills and the State of Manipur ; on the south by the Lushai Hills ; and on the west by the District of Sylhct and the Jaintia Hills.

The District falls into two natural divisions, the plains and the hills, 'i'he latter (area 1,706 square miles) is a section of the range which divides the Surma Valley irom that of the Brahmaputra. 'J"he former is the upper portion of the valley of the Barak or Surma, and consists of a level plain dotted with isolated hillocks and broken up by ranges of low hills, which project from the mountains surrounding it on three sides. The area of the plains portion is 2,063 square miles. The Barail range, which connects the north Manipur hills and the Khasi range, forms a continuous wall along the north of the Barak valley, varying from 2,500 to 6,000 feet in height. South of the Barak the District is bounded on the east by the Bhuhans, which vary from 700 to 3,000 feet in height, and on the west by the Siddheswar Hills. The plain is further broken up by two long ranges running north and south, called the Rengtipahar and the Tilain.

All of these hills are formed in ridges and peaks, with precipitous sides covered with tree forest. The general appearance of the District is extremely picturesque. On three sides it is shut in by range upon range of blue hills, whose forest-clad sides are seamed with white landslips and gleam- ing waterfalls. The villages are buried in groves of feathery bamboos and the graceful areca palm, and the country on every side looks fresh and green. Here and there, swamps and marshes lend variety to the scene, and the low hills with which the plain is dotted are covered, as a rule, with neat rows of tea bushes and crowned at the top with the planter's bungalow. The Barak winds through the centre of the plain, its surface dotted with the sails of native craft, and in places hills come down almost to the water's edge.

The chief river of Cachar is the Barak or Surma, which enters the District from Manipur at the extreme south-east corner, and, flowing north, forms the boundary between that State and British territory till it turns westward a little to the south-east of Lakhipur.

Its bed is from 100 to 200 yards in width, and in places is as much as 70 feet deep. Its principal tributaries in Cachar District from east to west are : on the south bank, the Sonai, the Ghagra, and the Dhaleswari, with its new channel, the Katakhal ; on the north bank, the JiRi, which also divides Cachar and Manipur, the Chiri, the Madhura, and the Jatinga. The Doiang, which falls into the Kapili, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, is the largest river north of the Barail. The most important sheet of water in the District is the Chatla haor, or fen, a low-lying tract between the Rengtipahar and Tilain hill ranges, which during the greater part of the year is drained by the Ghagra river, ^^'hen the monsoon breaks, the rainfall on the surrounding hills, assisted by the floods of the Barak, turns this marsh into a navigable lake 12 miles in length by 2 in breadth. The floods, however, deposit large quantities of silt, and year by year the level is being raised and the area liable to inundation diminished. Other marshes, though of less importance, are the Bakri, the Bowalia, the Kholang, the Thapani, and the Puma.

The Cachar plains form an alluvial tract which is gradually being rai.sed by the action of the rivers, which overflow their banks and deposit a layer of silt. The constituents of the soil are clav, sand, and vegetable matter. The hills surrounding the valley are for the most part composed of Upper Tertiary sandstones.

The vegetation of the District presents the usual characteristics of a sub-tropical region. The hills are covered with dense evergreen forest and bamboo jungle, and in the plains there are the remains of a savan- nah forest, of which the principal constituents are simul {Bombax mala- baricnni) and jarnl {Lagersiroemia Flos Reginae). High grass grows on the lower land and floating weeds cover the numerous swamps.

^\'ild animals are no longer common in the valley ; but elephants, bison, buffalo, tigers, leopards, bear, and various kinds of deer are still found in the wilder parts and in the hills.

The climate of the valley is characterized by excessive humidity, and, being shut in by ranges of hills on almost every side, at certain seasons of the year it becomes decidedly oppressive. The hottest montlis are June to September, with an average mean temperature of about 83 degrees ; the coldest month is January, with a mean of 65 degrees. During the rainy season the air is charged with moisture, the annual rainfall in the plains ranging from 100 to 165 inches, but north of the Barail towards the Nowgong border it sinks to 55. Cachar suffers little either from cyclones or floods. In 1869 there was a severe earthquake, which seriously damaged many buildings in Silchar, and cut up the roads and wrecked the bridges throughout the District. Another severe shock was felt in 1882. The great earthquake of 1897 did some damage to masonry buildings, but the effects of the shock were incon- siderable in comparison with the widespread havoc caused in other parts of the Province.


The seat of the Kachari rulers was originally fixed in the Assam ^'alley, and at the beginning of the thirteenth century they occupied the western portion of Sibsagar and a large part of istory. Nowgong District. Their capital was situated on the

banks of the Dhansiri at Dimapur ; and the ruins still to be seen show tluit the town must once have been the seat of a king, far in advance, both in power and civilization, of the simple tribesmen of the present day. In 1536 Dimapur was sacked by the Ahom king, its ruler Detsung killed, and the people compelled to remove their capital to Maibang in the North Cachar hills. Even here they were not safe, and in 1706 Rudra Singh, the most powerful of the Ahom princes, dis- patched an army into the hills, which sacked Maibang and compelled the Raja to take refuge in the plains of Cachar. He was treacherously seized by the Jaintia king, but was rescued by the Ahoms and reinstated on the throne. From this time forward the Kachari princes seem to have settled in the plains of Cachar, their court being usually located at Khaspur, but the Kapili valley in Nowgong District also remained Kachari territory till it finally passed into the possession of the British.

The first occasion on which the British entered the District was in 1762, when a Mr. Yerelst marched from Chittagong to Khaspur to the assistance of the Manipur Raja, but was prevented from going farther by the difificulties of the country. The reigning ftimily were converted to Hinduism in 1790, and a few years later the last prince, Ciobind Chand, was driven from his throne by Marjit Singh of Manipur. This man had established himself on the throne of Manipur by the aid of the Burmans, but when he endeavoured to assert his independence they drove him from the State into the Surma Valley. The Burmans then threatened to annex Cachar, but this the British Government, which was in possession of Sylhet, was unable to permit. They espoused the cause of the Kachari Raja, expelled the Burmans, and handed back the District to Gobind Chand. On his death without heirs in 1830, it lapsed to the British Government under the terms of a treaty concluded in 1826.

A large portion of the North Cachar hills had, however, been seized seventeen years before by a man called Kacha Din, who had originally been one of the Raja's table servants. He was enticed down into the plains and killed ; but his son Tula Ram succeeded in holding his own against the various attacks made upon him, and in 1829 Gobind Chand was induced by Mr. Scott, the Agent to the Governor-General on the north-east frontier of Bengal, to recognize his independence and assign him a separate fief This territory was subsequently resumed by the British Government in 1854, in consequence of the misconduct and incapacity of Tula Ram and his descendants.

In 1857 a party of Sepoy mutineers made their way from Chittagong through Tippera and Sylhet into Cachar. They were routed and dis- persed near Lakhipur, and the fugitives who escaped into the jungle were hunted down and killed by Kukis. The southern frontier of the District was for long exposed to the attacks of the Lushais, who raided the valley in 1849, 1869, 1871, and 1892. In 1871 they attacked the garden of Alexandrapur, killed a planter and many of the coolies, and carried off the planter's little daughter; in 1892 they raided Barun- chara and killed forty-two coolies.

Trouble was also experienced in the north, and in 1880 a raid was made by the Khonoma Nagas on the Baladhan garden, where the. manager and some of his coolies were killed. Shortly afterwards a Kachari fanatic, named Sambhudan, estab- lished himself at Maibang and gave out that he possessed miraculous powers, and that he had been sent to restore the Kachari kingdom. He evaded the Deputy-Commissioner, Major Boyd, who had proceeded to arrest him, and attacked and burnt the subdivisional head-quarters at Gunjong, killing three persons. He then returned to Maibang, where his followers were dispersed by the police, but in the )uelee Major Boyd received a wound, which for want of proper treatment brought on mortification and eventually caused hi.s death. Sambhudan was subse- quently surrounded and shot while endeavouring to escape. In 1893 some excitement was aroused by the murder of the European manager of the Baladhan garden, and in 1898 by the death of Mr. Wilde, an engineer engaged on the construction of the railway, who was cut down by two Pathan contractors.


The District contains no archaeological remains of any importance, l)ut there are a few rock-carvings at Maibang.

Cachar contains one town, Silchar (population, 9,256), the District head-quarters, and 1,332 villages. The population at the last four enumerations was: (1872) 235,027, (1881) 313,858, (1891) 386,483, and (1901) 455'593- The steady increase is largely due to the importation of garden coolies and to immi- gration from the neighbouring District of Sylhet, and in 1901 more than a quarter of the total population were natives of other Provinces. The District is divided into three subdivisions : Silchar and Hailakandi, with head-quarters at the towns of those names, and North C.\char, with head-quarters at Haflang. The following table gives particulars of area, towns and villages, and population according to the Census of 1 90 1 : —


The majority of the population live in the centre of the plains and in the Hailakandi valley. The North Cachar hills, which are covered with forest and bamboo jungle, have an indigenous population of only twelve persons per square mile. Hindus number 303,000, or 66 per cent, of the population ; Muhammadans, 133,000, o-- 29 per cent.; while most of the rest profess various forms of Animism. Rather more than half the population speak Bengali, 21 per cent. Hindi and Hindustani, 10 per cent. ManipurT, and 4 per cent. Dimasa or hill Kacharl.

The Hindu population is chiefly composed of low castes, who have migrated from Sylhet or have come up to work on tea gardens. Those most strongly represented are the Dom-Patnis (41,000), Namasudras or Chandals (13,500), Baurls (13,500), Chamars (11,900), and Bhuiyas (9,900). There are also 28,700 Manipurls who profess the Hindu religion. Among aboriginal tribes, the Kacharis number 12,900, the Kukis 9,300, and the Nagas 6,600. Only 317 members of European race were enumerated in the District in 1901. The lower castes have, as a rule, abandoned their traditional occupations and taken to agri- culture, which is the means of livelihood of 85 per cent, of the people.

About the middle of the last century a branch of the Welsh Presby- terian Mission was started at Silchar. I'wenty years later the work was abandoned, and not resumed till 1887. In 1903 there were four members of this mission residing in the town, but the total number of native Christians in the District was only 683.


The soil of the plains consists of clay and sand in varying proportions, and its fertility depends upon the suitability of the mixture of these two ingredients, and, still more largely, upon the water- supply. The banks of the rivers are higher than the surrounding country, and the level gradually falls away from them and rises again as it approaches the hills. In the centre of these shallow troughs the ground is sometimes too low for cultivation, producing nothing but reeds and grass jungle ; but as the rivers, when they over- flow, deposit silt, the general tendency is for the level of the District to be raised. In the North Cachar hills migratory or jhuvi cultivation is the rule. The jungle growing on the hill-side is cut down and burned, and the seeds of hill rice and other crops are sown among the ashes. After the second or third year the clearing is abandoned, as weeds then become troublesome, and further cropping would be liable to destroy the roots of ikra {Sacchanim arundmaceioti) and bamboo, on the growth of which the soil largely depends for its refertilization. Famine is unknown.

The following table shows the distribution of the area under its principal heads in 1903-4 in that portion of the plains which has been cadastrally surveyed : —


A portion of this forest area lies within the Lushai Hills.

The Staple food-crop is rice, which in 1903-4 covered 326 square miles, or 66 per cent, of the cropped area. There are two principal varieties : summer rice, or aus, which is sown on high land and reaped about the end of June; and winter rice, which is harvested about December. Winter rice consists, again, of the transplanted variety known as sail, and a man ox long-stemmed rice sown broadcast on the lower levels. The greater part of the total rice area is under sail. Pulse, sugar-cane, mustard, and linseed are also grown, Ixit in compari- son with rice and tea other crops are of comparatively small importance.

Tea comes next in importance to rice as regards the area under cul- tivation (93 square miles), but the value of the manufectured product exceeds that of the whole of the rice crop of the District. The plant was discovered growing wild in Cachar in 1855, and the first grant of land for a tea garden was made in the following year. Reckless specu- lation in the promotion of tea companies led to severe depression, which reached its crisis about 1868, when the industry was placed upon a firmer basis. The plateaux at the foot of the Barail range were found to be well adapted for the cultivation of the plant.

They rise from 20 to 200 feet above the level of the plain ; and though the sides are often steep, the top is generally flat, and has a layer of excellent soil from 5 to 8 feet deep. South of the Barak, gardens were opened out on the numerous round-topped hills known as tilas ; but though at first the soil was little inferior to that of the plateaux, it suffered severely from erosion during the rains. In 1875 the experiment was tried of planting bushes on well-drained marsh land, and it was found that under these conditions the plant gave a large yield, though the tea was of inferior quality. There were, in 1904, 164 tea gardens with an out-turn of over 31,000,000 lb. of manufactured tea, which gave employment to 140 Europeans and 63,500 natives, the latter of whom had been for the most part recruited from other parts of India. The principal tea com- panies are the Tarapur, with its centre at Dewan, 18 miles east of Silchar ; the Scottpur, centre at Pollarbund, 1 1 miles east of Silchar ; and the Bengal Tea Company in Hailakandi, with its centre at Ainakhal.

Since the District came under British rule, it has witnessed an enormous extension of cultivation, and the area under ordinary crops at the last settlement is believed to have been more than ten times that in 1830. Little or no attempt has, however, been made to improve the condition of agriculture or to introduce new staples. The cultivators are prosperous and contented with the existing order of things, and the heavy rainfall renders artificial irrigation unnecessary.

The breed of cattle is poor, and buffaloes, which are of a sturdier stock, are largely used as plough animals. Sheep are imported from other parts of India, as they do not thrive in the damp climate of Cachar.

The ' reserved ' forests of Cachar covered in 1903-4 an area of 807 square miles. With the exception of the Langting Mupa Reserve (area 80 square miles), they are all situated near the southern and eastern borders of the District. These forests have never been thoroughly examined ; it is doubtful whether the whole of the area reserved includes valuable timber, and as the popu- latit)!! begins to press upon the soil, it is probable that tlie process of disforestation, which has already been begun, will be extended. The most valuable trees are /am/ ox ajhar {Lagersiroeinia Flos Reginae), nahor {Mesua ferrea), cham {Artocarpiis Chaplashd), rata {Dysoxylon binectari- fefuiii), si/i/di\ gomari {Gme/i/ia ayborea\ and guudroi [Cinnamo/mtiii glandulifa-uin) ; but the bulk of the trade is in tula {Sfetri//ia alata) and other soft woods which are used for tea boxes. In addition to the Reserves, there is a large area in the North Cachar hills from which timber can be removed free of charge by Government tenants for their own use, or extracted for sale on payment of royalty. The out-turn of these ' unclassed ' state forests has of late exceeded that from the Reserves, Rubber is obtained from Ficns e/astna, but in recent years only a small amount has been collected. The timber merchants are usually Muhammadans, who employ Kukis and Nagas to fell the trees. The logs are dragged by elephants to the Barak or its tributaries, and pay duty at Sonai, Silchar, Siyaltek, or Matijuri.

No mines or minerals of any value are known to exist in Cachar. Discoveries of coal have frequently been reported, but on examination the deposits have invariably turned out to be anthracite or lignite, not worth working. Petroleum has also been discovered near Badarpur and Masimpur, but not utilized. The local demand for salt was formerly met from salt-wells, but a cheaper and better supply is now (obtained through Calcutta.

Trade and Communication

Apart from tea, there are few manufactures in Cachar, but two saw- mills give employment to 153 hands. The Manipuris weave cotton cloths and mosquito curtains, and manufacture brass vessels. Daos and axes are forged by blacksmiths Arade and from Sylhet, and a certam amount of rough pottery is made, but not enough to satisfy the local demand. The women of the cultivating classes seldom weave even the cloths required for home consumption, and European piece-goods are, in consequence, in great demand.

Cachar exports very little except tea, which in 1904 was valued at about 94 lakhs, and forest produce, such as timber and bamboos, for which there is a considerable demand in Sylhet. The principal articles of import are rice, which is required for the large cooly population, flour, betel-nuts, salt, sugar, g/il, cotton piece-goods, kerosene oil, coal, and iron and steel. In 1903-4 nearly half the trade of the District was carried by rail. The bulk of the trade is with Calcutta. Manipur exports to Cachar timber, rubber, other forest produce, and Indian piece-goods, and till recently supplied tea-seed. It receives in return European piece-goods and cotton twist, dried fish, and betel-nuts. Sil- CH.\R, the head-quarters of the District, is the chief business centre. Other markets of some importance are those at Lakhipur, Sonaimukh Siyaltck, and Barkhala ; but the numerous tea gardens tend to increase trade centres, as on each large estate there is a local market, t(j which the villagers from the neighbourhood bring their surplus products. The natives of Cachar have little aptitude for commerce, and the principal merchants and shopkeepers are natives of Rajputana, Sylhet, and Bengal.

Prior to the construction of the Assam-Bengal Railway, communica- tion with the outside world was difficult, as in the dry season the Barak is navigable only by vessels drawing less than 3 feet of water, and the journey to Calcutta from Silchar took nearly five days. The completion of the railway from Badarpur to Silchar in 1898 reduced the time to thirty-three hours. Badarpur, which is on the Sylhet boundary, is the junction, from which the line turns north, and after crossing the Barak by a large bridge winds through the North Cachar hills into the Assam Valley.

In 1903-4 there were outside the town of Silchar one mile of metalled and 100 miles of unmetalled road, maintained by the Public A\'orks department, and 6 miles of metalled and 346 miles of unmetalled road kept up by the local boards, besides 224 miles of bridle-path. The l)rincipal lines of communication are the Sylhet-Manipur road, which passes through the District from Badarpur to Jirighat ; the Dhayarband road from Silchar to Aijal in the Lushai Hills ; the Natwanpur road, which runs along the north of the District to the Sylhet boundary ; and the road from Salchapra, 10 miles west of Silchar, up the valley of the Dhaleswari through Hailakandi to Kukichara. During the rains these roads are incapable of carrying heavy traffic, and tea is usually conveyed down the various rivers with which the District is intersected, and shipped by steamer to Calcutta. The extreme rapidity with which the rivers rise after rain renders the construction of permanent bridges over the larger streams a matter of some difficulty and of great expense. Ferries are in consequence largely used, and there are more than 100 within the District. In the cold season, when the rivers fall, they are often spanned by temporary bamboo bridges.

The steamer service of the District is provided by the India General Steam Navigation Company and the Rivers Steam Navigation Company. Shallow-draught steamers ply on the Barak in the cold season. During the rainy season there is a regular service of large steamers between Silchar and Calcutta ; and feeder-steamers go up the Barak to I.akhipur, up the Madhura to Chandighat tea estate, up the Ghagra to the Hattia rocks, and up the Katakhal to Kukichara.


For administrative purposes the District is divided into three sub- divisions : Silchar, Hailakandi, and North Cachar. Silchar is in . . . the charge of the Deputy-Commissioner, who usually has three Subordinate Magistrates and a Sub- Deputy-Collector as his immediate assistants. A member of the Assam Commission is usually posted in the Hailakandi subdivision, and is assisted by a Sub-Deputy-Collector, who exercises magisterial powers. The North Cachar hills are in charge of a European police officer. The superior staff of the District includes a Forest officer.

The Deputy-Commissioner is invested with the special powers con- tained in sections 30 and 34 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and is authorized to impose sentences of seven years' rigorous imprisonment. The Judge of Sylhet discharges the functions of a District and Sessions Judge in the plains of Cachar, the Deputy-Commissioner acts as Sub- Judge, and one or more of the assistant magistrates exercise the powers of Munsifs. The High Court at Calcutta is the chief appellate authority ; but in the North Cachar hills its jurisdiction extends only to Europeans charged with criminal offences, and the Deputy-Commissioner exercises the powers of a District and Sessions Judge, appeals lying to the Chief Commissioner. The system of administration in this subdivision is specially adapted to the needs of a primitive people, and the village headmen are allowed to dispose of most civil disputes and all petty criminal cases.

In the time of the Kachari Rajas settlement was made, not with the individual, but with a corporate body. The smallest unit recognized by the State was the khel, a collection of men often bound together by no ties of race, caste, or religion, who held a piece of land in common. These khels were grouped in larger bodies, which were styled the raj. Each individual was jointly and severally responsible for the revenue assessed on the khel, and similarly each khel was responsible for the payments of the raj. The earliest rates mentioned are a he-goat, a pair of fowls, a duck, and two coco-nuts from each holding, irrespective of its size. Subsequently, the rate was fixed at about 2\ annas an acre, and in the time of Kartik Chand raised to 10 annas. Gobind Chand, the last Raja, is said to have sometimes obtained twice this sum. In addition to these money payments, the villagers were obliged to supply labour for the Raja's works, and trade was hampered by high customs duties, market fees, and monopolies.

The first regular settlement of Cachar, after it came under British administration, was made in 1838-9, for a term of five years, the initial revenue being Rs. 25,000. ,In 1843-4 a resettlement was made for fifteen years, which was followed by the settlement of 1859, which expired in 1879. The initial revenue at these two settlements was Rs. 43,000 and Rs. 9 1,000. The rates in 1859 varied from 12 annas to 5 annas per acre. On the expiry of this settlement, a fresh settlement was made for fifteen years. The rates varied from Rs. i-i i to 12 annas per acre of homestead or cultivated land, excluding land held for tea. AVaste was assessed at 3 annas per acre, and the initial revenue was Rs. 2,22,000. The current settlement was made in 1900 for a period of fifteen years. The method of classification adopted is more discrimi- nating than that employed on previous occasions, and distinctions are drawn between good and bad land in the same village. The rates on cultivation vary from Rs. 2-7 to 12 annas per acre. Waste land is assessed at from 6 to 3 annas and tea at a uniform rate of Rs. 2-1 per acre. It was believed on general grounds that the land could pay double the previous rates of revenue without difficulty, but it was deter- mined to limit the enhancement to 50 per cent., and the actual enhance- ment amounted to only 47 per cent, above the previous revenue demand. The fields were divided into different classes and the revenue adjusted in proportion to their value. In all villages in which the total increase amounted to 33 per cent, or upwards, it will be reached by progressive instalments spread over from twelve to eight years. The initial revenue was Rs. 4,01,000.

The system of joint leases, which was well suited to the time when the greater part of the District was covered with jungle, was found to be only a source of inconvenience when the land was cleared and cultivated. At the last settlement these joint estates were broken up, and separate leases issued to each individual for the land to which he was entitled. The average assessment per acre of homestead or garden land is Rs. 2-1, of rice land Rs. i-i i, and of ' dry-crop ' land Rs. 1-3. The total revenue and land revenue of the District, in thou- sands of rupees, is shown in the table below : —


Exclusive of forest receipts.

A special feature of the Cachar revenue administration has been the grant of land on favourable terms, not only for the growth of tea, but also for the cultivation of the ordinary staples of the Province. Under the former rules leases were issued for twenty to thirty years, with a revenue-free period and low but progressive rates of revenue, which did not, as a rule, exceed 1 2 annas per acre. The existing rules, which are modelled on those in force in other parts of Assam, do not offer any concessions to the villager who wishes to bring waste land under ordinary cultivation, but a revenue-free period and low rates have been allowed to settlers in the areas disforested in the south of the District.

The local affairs of the Silchar and Hailakandi subdivisions are managed by boards, who exercise the functions usually assigned to them in Assam. The presence of a strong European element on the boards adds much to their efficiency, and the Deputy-Commissioner or the Subdivisional Officer acts as chairman and executive agent. The total expenditure in 1903-4 was about Rs. 1,17,000, the greater part of which was laid out on public works and education. The chief sources of income are local rates, tolls on ferries, and a substantial grant from Provincial revenues. Silchar is the only nmnicipal town.

For the prevention and detection of crime, Cachar is divided into seven investigating centres. The police force in 1904 consisted of 33 officers and 145 men, with 663 chaiik'iddrs or village watchmen. A detachment of the Lakhimpur military police battalion is stationed at Silchar. The District jail at Silchar has accommodation for 84 prisoners.

Education has made more progress in the Cachar plains than in other parts of the Province. The number of pupils under instruction in 1880-1, 1890-1, 1900-1, and 1903-4 was 3,025, 5,157, 7,900, and 8,090 respectively. That the development of education has been satis- factory is also evident from the fact that the number of pupils at school in 1903-4 was more than three times that of the number twenty-nine years before. At the Census of 190 1, 5 per cent, of the population in the plains (9-1 males and 0-4 females) were returned as literate. Only a small proportion of the natives of the North Cachar hills know how to read and write, and the percentage of literacy in the plains is reduced by the large number of ignorant coolies brought up to the tea gardens. There were 245 primary, 6 secondary, and 2 special schools in the District in 1903-4. The number of female scholars was 298. The enormous majority of the boys under instruction and all the girls are in the primary stage. Of the male population of school-going age 19 per cent, and of the female population of the same age less than one per cent, were under primary instruction. The total expenditure on education was Rs. 63,000, of which Rs. 13,000 was derived from fees. About 43 per cent, of the direct expenditure was devoted to primary schools.

Cachar contains 3 hospitals and 4 dispensaries, with accommodation for 45 in-patients. In 1904 the number of cases treated was 58,000, of whom 500 were in-patients, and 1,300 operations were performed. The expenditure was Rs. 14,000, the greater part of which was met from Local funds.

Vaccination is compulsory only in Silchar municipality. A staff of vaccinators is employed for work in the District ; but in this respect Cachar is very backward, only 19 per 1,000 having been protected in 1903-4, as compared with 44 per 1,000 for the Province as a whole.

[Sir W. W. Hunter, A Statistical Account of Assam, vol. ii (1879): S. C. Banarji, Settlement Report (1901) ; B. C. Allen, District Gazetteer of Cachar (1906).]

See also


Dima Hasao/ North Cachar

Personal tools