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INDIA, a great country and empire of Asia under British rule, inhabited by a congeries of different races, speaking upwards of 200 different languages. The area of the whole Indian empire, omitting Burma and Aden, is 1,575,107 sq.m., and its population being about equal to the area and popula tion of the whole of Europe without Russia. Gibbon's estimate for all the races and nations which obeyed imperial Rome was I20 millions.

The Indians can scarcely be said to have a word of their own by which to express their common country. In Sanskrit, it would be called "Bharata-varsha," from Bharata, a legendary monarch of the Lunar line; but Sanskrit is no more the vernacular of India than Latin is of Europe. The name "Hindustan," which was at one time adopted by European geographers, applies prop erly only to that portion of the peninsula lying north of the Vindhya mountains, or yet more strictly to the upper basin of the Ganges where Hindi is the spoken language. The "East Indies" is an old-fashioned and inaccurate phrase, dating from the dawn of maritime discovery. "India," a word derived through the Greeks from the Persicized form of the Sanskrit sindhu, a "river," pre-eminently the Indus, has become familiar since the British acquired the country, and is now officially recognized in the imperial title of the sovereign.

Position and Shape.—India, as thus defined, is the middle of the three irregularly shaped peninsulas which jut out south wards from the mainland of Asia. Its form is that of a great triangle, with its base resting upon the Himalayan range and its apex running far into the ocean. It extends from the 8th to the 37th degree of north latitude; that is to say, from the hottest regions of the equator to far within the temperate zone. The length of India from north to south, and its greatest breadth from east to west, are both about 1,90o m. ; but the triangle tapers with a pear-shaped curve to a point at Cape Comorin, its south ern extremity. To this compact dominion the British have added Burma, the strip of country on the eastern shores of the Bay of Bengal. But on the other hand the adjacent island of Ceylon has been administratively severed and placed under the Colonial Office. Two groups of islands in the Bay of Bengal, the Anda mans and the Nicobars; one group in the Arabian Sea, the Laccadives ; and the outlying station of Aden at the mouth of the Red Sea, with Perim, and protectorates over the island of Sokotra, along the southern coast of Arabia and in the Persian Gulf, are all politically included within the Indian empire ; while on the coast of the peninsula itself, small Portuguese and French settlements break the continuous line of British territory.


Boundaries.—India is shut off from the rest of Asia on the north by a vast mountainous region, known in the aggregate as the Himalayas, amid which lie the independent states of Nepal and Bhutan, with the great table-land of Tibet behind. From the rest of the world it is severed by tropical oceans, except where Burma marches, in a confused succession of little explored ranges, with the kingdom of Siam. The empire included within these boundaries is rich in varieties of scenery and climate, from the highest mountains in the world to vast river deltas raised only a few inches above the level of the sea. It practically forms a continent rather than a country, divisible into three separate and well-defined tracts.

Himalayas.—The first of the three regions is the Himalaya mountains and their offshoots to the southward, comprising a system of stupendous ranges, the loftiest in the world. They extend in the shape of a scimitar, with its edge facing south wards, for a distance of 1,5oo m. along the northern frontier of India. At the north-eastern angle of that frontier, the Dihang river, the connecting link between the Tsanpo of Tibet and the Brahmaputra of Assam, bursts through the main axis of the range. At the opposite or north-western angle, the Indus in like manner pierces the Himalayas, and turns southwards on its course through the Punjab. Ancient and well-known trade routes exist, by means of which merchandise from the Punjab finds its way over heights of i 8,000 ft. into Eastern Turkestan and Tibet. The Murtagh (Snowy Mountain), the Karakoram (Black Mountain), and the Changchenmo are the most famous of these passes.

The Himalayas not only form a double wall along the north of India, but at both their eastern and western extremities send out ranges to the south, which protect its north-eastern and north western frontiers. On the north-east, those offshoots form a barrier between the civilized districts of Assam and the wild tribes of Upper Burma. On the opposite or north-western frontier of India, the mountains run down the entire length of the British boundaries from the Himalayas to the sea. As they proceed south wards, their best marked ranges are in turn known as the Sal ed Koh, the Suliman and the Hala mountains. These massive bar riers have peaks of great height, culminating in the Takht-i Suliman or Throne of Solomon, 11,317 ft. above the level of the sea. But the mountain wall is pierced at the corner where it strikes southwards from the Himalayas by an opening through which the Kabul river flows into India. An adjacent opening, the Khyber Pass, the Kurram Pass to the south of it, the Gomal Pass near Dera Ismail Khan, the Tochi Pass between the two last-named, and the famous Bolan Pass still farther south, furnish the gateways between India and Afghanistan. The Hala, Brahui and Pab mountains, forming the southern hilly offshoots between India and Baluchistan, have a much less elevation.

River Plains.—The wide plains watered by the Himalayan rivers form the second of the three regions of India. They extend from the Bay of Bengal on the east to the Afghan frontier and the Arabian Sea on the west, and contain the richest and most densely crowded provinces of the empire. The vast level tract which thus covers northern India is watered by three distinct river systems. One of these systems takes its rise in the hollow trough beyond the Himalayas, and issues through their western ranges upon the Punjab as the Sutlej and Indus. The second of the three river systems also takes its rise beyond the double wall of the Himalayas, not very far from the sources of the Indus and the Sutlej. It turns, however, almost due east instead of west, enters India at the eastern extremity of the Himalayas, and becomes the Brahmaputra. These rivers collect the drainage of the northern slopes of the Himalayas, and convey it, by long and tortuous although opposite routes, into India. The third river system of northern India receives the drainage of their southern slopes, and eventually unites into the mighty stream of the Ganges.

Southern Table-land.—The third division of India com prises the three-sided table-land which covers the southern or more strictly peninsular portion of India. This tract comprises the Central Provinces and Berar, the presidencies of Madras and Bombay, and also Hyderabad, Mysore and other states.

Its northern side rests on confused ranges, running with a general direction of east to west, and known in the aggregate as the Vindhya mountains. Guarding the flanks of this tumbled mass stand two peaks sacred to the mysteries of the Jain religion, Mount Abu on the extreme west, and Mount Parasnath on the extreme east, with a succession of ranges stretching Boo m. between. The various ranges of the Vindhyas, from 1,5oo to over 4,00o ft. high, form, as it were, the northern wall and buttresses which support the central table-land. Though now pierced by road and railway, they stood in former times as a barrier of mountain and jungle between northern and southern India, and formed one of the main obstructions to welding the whole into an empire.

Ghats.—The other two sides of the elevated southern triangle are known as the Eastern and Western Ghats. These start south wards from the extremities of the Vindhya system, and run along the eastern and western coasts of India. The Eastern Ghats stretch in fragmentary spurs and ranges down the Madras presi dency, here and there receding inland and leaving broad level tracts between their base and the coast. The Western Ghats form the great sea-wall of the Bombay presidency, with only a narrow strip between them and the shore. The Eastern Ghats have an average elevation of 1,5oo feet. The Western Ghats ascend more abruptly from the sea to an average height of about 3,00o ft. with peaks up to 4,70o along the Bombay coast, rising to 7,000 and even 8,76o (Dodabetta Peak) in the upheaved angle which they unite to form with the Eastern Ghats, towards their south ern extremity. The inner triangular plateau thus enclosed lies from i,000 to 3,00o ft. above the level of the sea. But it is dotted with peaks and seamed with ranges exceeding 4,00o ft. in height. Its best known hills are the Nilgiris, with the summer capital of Madras, Ootacamund, 7,00o f t. above the sea.

Eastern Ghats.—On the eastern side of India, the Ghats are traversed by a number of broad and easy passages from the Madras coast. Through these openings the rainfall of the southern half of the inner plateau reaches the sea. The drainage from the northern or Vindhyan edge of the three-sided table-land falls into the Ganges. The Nerbudda and Tapti carry the rainfall of the southern slopes of the Vindhyas and of the Satpura hills, in almost parallel lines, into the Gulf of Cambay. But from Surat to the furthest south, the Western Ghats form a lofty unbroken barrier between the waters of the central plateau and the Indian Ocean. The drainage has therefore to make its way across India to the eastwards, now turning sharply round projecting ranges, now tumbling down ravines, or rushing along the valleys, until it finally falls into the Bay of Bengal. In this way the three great rivers of the Madras Presidency, viz., the Godavari, the Kistna and the Cauvery, rise in the mountains overhanging the western coast, and traverse the whole breadth of the central table-land before they reach the sea on the eastern shores of India.

Of the three regions of India thus briefly surveyed, the first, or the Himalayas, lies for the most part beyond the British frontier, but a knowledge of it supplies the key to the ethnology and history of India. The second region, or the great river plains in the north, formed the theatre of the ancient race-movements which shaped the civilization and the political destinies of the whole Indian peninsula. The third region, or the triangular table land in the south differs markedly in its population, languages and traditions from either of the other two divisions. (ME.) Geologically, as well as physically, India consists of three distinct elements—the Himalayas, the Peninsula, and the Indo Gangetic plain. The relations of the Himalayas to the Peninsula and the essential differences between them are dealt with in the article on Asia, and a more detailed description of the geology of the Himalayas is given elsewhere. The following account deals only with the Indo-Gangetic plain and the Peninsula.

Indo-Gangetic Plain.

The Indo-Gangetic depression is the fore-deep of the Himalayas, lying between the folded belt which forms the mountain range and the rigid foreland constituted by the Peninsula. It bears the same relation to the Himalayas as the Pacific Deeps bear to the island arcs near which they lie, but in these the level is lower and both foreland and f ore-deep lie beneath the sea. There can be no doubt, however, that the Himalayan fore-deep itself extends far below sea-level, though since its formation it has been filled up by deposit. In the eastern section of the plain the deposit is chiefly alluvial material brought down from the hills, in the western section wind-blown material plays an important part. Everywhere, except in the neighbourhood of the hills, the deposit is fine-grained, consisting of sands and muds, though kankar concretions may sometimes give a pebbly appearance.

No boring has ever reached the base of the alluvium, or has even shown any downward increase in the coarseness of the ma terial. In a boring at Calcutta a bed of peat with wood, about 36o ft. below sea-level, clearly points to subsidence. A boring at Lucknow reached nearly i,000 ft. below sea-level without any indication of an approach to the bottom of the deposit. Sir Sidney Burrard finds that the deflections of the plumb-line and anomalies of gravity suggest that the loose material filling the Indo-gangetic depression extends to a depth of 40,000 feet. He himself thinks so great a depth is scarcely probable. But the fore-deeps of much less massive mountain arcs reach 20,000 f t. and more, and in comparison with these Sir Sidney Burrard's estimate seems not improbable for the Himalayan fore-deep.

Peninsular India.

The geological history of the Indian Peninsula has been so different from that of Europe that the classification of the strata which is natural in Europe cannot be used in India and an almost entirely different terminology be comes necessary. The grouping, originally proposed by Holland, which is now commonly adopted is as follows :— The term Archaean is here used in the restricted sense in which it is often employed, denoting only the crystalline and schistose rocks of Pre-Cambrian age. The Purana group consists of normal sedimentary deposits which rest unconformably upon the Archaean but which, from the total absence of fossils, are believed to be Pre-Cambrian also, like the Algonkian of North America or the Torridonian of Scotland. The Dravidian group, which is absent in the Peninsula but present in the Himalayas, corresponds approximately with the Palaeozoic up to the Upper Carboniferous. The Gondwana system includes the oldest f os siliferous beds of the Peninsula and ranges from the Upper Carboniferous to the Upper Jurassic.

The Pre-Gondwana rocks (Archaean and Purana groups) form the foundation of the whole Peninsula. Southeast of a line drawn from Goa to Allahabad they occupy most of the surface, the areas covered by the later beds being relatively small. North west of this line they are concealed over a wide space by the great outflows of the Deccan Trap, but they reappear at the surface in Bandelkhand and Gujarat. In Southern India appear ances suggest that there was an ancient gneissic series, including granitic and other intrusive masses, into which has been infolded a later series of sedimentary and volcanic beds, now for the most part converted into schists. The schistose series is the Dharwar system, which runs in long narrow bands through the gneiss from south-south-east to north-north-west. There has certainly been strong folding in this direction, but the Mysore geologists think that the Dharwar system is the older and that the gneissic rocks have been intruded into it. Farther north, however, where the Dharwar rocks have been less altered and retain their original bedding, they seem to be later than the main body of the gneiss, though intrusions of later date penetrate both. The gneissic series is in fact a complex of various ages and it has not yet been possible to separate it completely into its several parts.

Rocks of Dharwar type and probably of Dharwar age occur also in the Aravalli Hills, in the Central Provinces and in Western Bengal. The famous "marble rocks" of Jabalpur, for example, are referred to this system. It is interesting to note that while in Southern India the trend of the Dharwar folds is from south south-east to north-north-west, in the Aravalli Hills it is from south-west to north-east.

The Dharwar rocks form the most highly metalliferous system in India. In Southern India all the most productive gold-bearing quartz veins, including those of the Kolar gold-field, lie within it ; while in the Central Provinces and Bengal it includes valuable manganiferous deposits. Iron ore of high quality also occurs at several localities, but is usually too distant from the coalfields to be profitably worked.

The rocks of the Purana group have not been subjected to the intense folding which has affected the Dharwar system and have suffered little from metamorphism. They are mostly sedimentary deposits, such as sandstones, shales and limestones, and rest quite unconformably and of ten horizontally upon the older rocks. But in spite of their unaltered condition no fossils have been found in them and for this reason they are supposed to be Pre Cambrian in age. In Southern India the group occurs in the Cuddapah basin and between Belgaum and Kaladgi. It covers a wide area in the Central Provinces and it forms most of the northern border of the Peninsular massif overlooking the Indo gangetic plain. Several unconformities have been recognised in the group and various local subdivisions have been made; but in the absence of fossils the correlation of rocks in widely separated areas is necessarily open to doubt. Two points of general interest may be noted. In the first place, although both the Cuddapah and the Vindhyan systems are often undisturbed, yet in places the former has been strongly folded. Along the eastern margin of the Cuddapah basin, for example, the Cuddapah beds show strong overfolding and overthrusting towards the east, the trend of the folds being from north to south. If these beds are cor rectly referred to the Pre-Cambrian there were certainly two great periods of mountain-building in Pre-Cambrian times, separated by a long interval, the first one being post-Dharwar and pre Cuddapah and the second post-Cuddapah and pre-Vindhyan.

The second point of general interest is that all the most famous diamond deposits of India, such as that of Karnul in S. India and of Pannah in Bandelkhand, belong to the upper Vindhyan system. The diamonds usually occur in sandstone or conglomer ate, and have evidently been carried by water in the same way as other pebbles. No diamond-bearing igneous rock like that of Kimberley has been found and the original source from which the diamonds have been derived is unknown, though certain igneous rocks have been suspected.

The Gondwana System.

The Gondwana system is the most important and interesting set of beds in India. Outside the Peninsula, for example in Assam, coal is found chiefly in the Eocene, but in the Peninsula all the principal coal-seams lie in the Lower Gondwana series. The Gondwana beds occur in strips which are Iet into the foundation of older rock by faults. These strips, which may be continuous or broken, show a close connec tion with the lines of existing rivers, and probably by their comparative softness determined the courses which the rivers took. There is, for example, a series of Gondwana patches along the Damodar and a more continuous strip roughly parallel to the Mahanadi. These two strips unite into a broad triangular area tra versed by the Son. Another strip is associated with the Godavari.

The Gondwana system consists chiefly of sandstones, shales and clays, with seams of coal in the lower division. For the most part the deposits are entirely of terrestrial origin, but in Cutch and at several places along the Coromandel coast marine beds are interstratified towards the top. The fossils found in these marine bands are of Upper Jurassic age. In general, however, plants are the predominant fossils, with reptiles, crustacea and freshwater fish locally. The Lower Gondwana is characterised by ferns of the Glossopteris type and by Equisitaceae, the Upper Gondwana by the prevalence of Cycadaceae. The lowest sub division of the Gondwana system is known as the Talchir series and near its base is a remarkable clay with striated boulders, now universally admitted to be of glacial origin. In its lithology, fauna and flora the Gondwana system of India is remarkably like the Karroo system of South Africa, and it was this resemblance that led Suess and Neumayr to the conception of "Gondwana Land." It should, however, be pointed out in passing that the Glossopteris flora has a much wider distribution than was orig inally supposed and extends into northern Asia and Russia.

The chief interest of the Indian Cretaceous lies in the evidence that it affords for a former connection between India and South Africa. The marine Cretaceous of the Indian Peninsula belongs entirely to the Upper division of the system. A number of de tached outcrops occur along the valley of the Narbada from the town of Bagh in Gwalior, past Baroda, to Wadhwan in Kathiawar. In the south of India there is a Cretaceous area of two or three hundred square miles in Trichinopoli district, and smaller patches near Pondicherry and Viruddhachalam. By far the greater number of species which have been obtained from the Narbada Cretaceous occur also in Europe but only about a third of them have been found in southern India. On the other hand only about a sixth of the numerous species which have been found in the South Indian Cretaceous occur in Europe. Moreover, there are Cretaceous beds in Assam and nearly all the species found there are Southern Indian forms. Finally, many of the Assam and South Indian species occur also in South Africa. Hence it has been concluded that in Upper Cretaceous times the Narbada area lay in a northern sea which stretched into Europe, while Assam and the southeast border of India lay in a southern sea which extended to South Africa. Between these seas a land-mass stretched from Africa to India.

The Deccan Trap.

The Deccan Trap is an extensive series of basaltic lava-flows, with a total thickness of several thousand feet, which covers an area of about 2 50,00o square miles in the north western quadrant of the Peninsula. Along the west coast it reaches the sea without any diminution in thickness from about 20 ° N. to i6° N., and since the lavas are certainly subaerial it is clear that at the time of their eruption the land must have extended much farther to the west than it does now. The flat-topped hills and deep-cut valleys characteristic of the Deccan Trap area are well shown on the route to Bombay either from Calcutta or Mad ras. In spite of the great extent of these lavas there is very little indication of volcanoes, and it is believed that the eruptions took place from fissures, with little explosive action. The duration of the eruptions cannot be determined with certainty. Probably they began during the later part of the Cretaceous period but may have continued into the Eocene.

The Tertiary beds of the Peninsula are insignificant. Near the west coast there are a few small outcrops in Travancore, Gujarat and Kathiawar, and a more complete sequence in Cutch. On the east coast the Cuddalore series, ranging in age from Eocene to Pliocene, occurs in patches from Orissa to the southern extremity of the Peninsula.

The most interesting of the recent deposits in India is Laterite (q.v.) which caps many of the hills and plateaux of the Deccan Trap area and is also found extensively at a lower level both upon the western and the eastern border of the Peninsula. It is a surface formation due to a special type of weathering characteristic of regions where temperature and humidity are sufficiently high. It owes its prominence to the fact that it hardens on exposure and after hardening it of ten resists erosion more strongly than the rocks on which it rests. (P. LA.) BIBLIOGRAPHY.—The official Manual of the Geology of India, is still useful although the latest edition was published Bibliography.—The official Manual of the Geology of India, is still useful although the latest edition was published 1893. Geology, by T. H. Holland, Vol. I. of the Imperial Gazetteer of India (19o7) ; Geology of India, by D. N. Wadia (1926) . A general geological map of India, scale i in.=32 m., is published by the Geological Survey, last edition 1925.

1. Regional.

The great peninsula of India, with its lofty mountain ranges behind and its extensive seaboard exposed to the first violence of the winds of two oceans, forms an exceptionally valuable field for the study of meteorological phenomena.

From the gorge of the Indus to that of the Brahmaputra, a dis tance of 1,400 m., the Himalayas form an unbroken watershed. The average elevation of the Himalaya crest may be taken at not less than I 9,00o f t., and therefore equal to the height of the lower half of the atmosphere ; and indeed few of the passes are under I 6,000 or 17,00o ft. Across this mountain barrier there appears to be a constant flow of air, more active in the day-time than at night, northwards to the arid plateau of Tibet.

At the foot of the great mountain barrier, and separating it from the more ancient land which now forms the highlands of the penin sula, a broad plain, for the most part alluvial, stretches from sea to sea. In the mid-west of this plain is a dry region occupied partly by the alluvial deposits of the Indus and its tributaries and the saline swamps of Cutch, partly by the rolling sands and rocky surface of the desert of Jaisalmer and Bikaner, and the more fertile tracts to the eastward watered by the Luni. Over the greater part of this region rain is of rare occurrence ; and not in frequently more than a year passes without a drop falling on the parched surface. On its eastern margin, however, in the neighbour hood of the Aravalli hills, and again in the northern Punjab, rain is more frequent, occurring both in the south-west monsoon and also at the opposite season in the cold weather.

The alluvial plain which lies north of the desert area and is traversed by the Indus and its tributaries passes into that of the Gangetic valley without visible interruption. Up or down this plain, at opposite seasons, sweep the rain-bearing monsoon winds, in a direction at right angles to that of their nominal course. Nearly the whole surface of the Gangetic plain is under cultiva tion, and it ranks among the most productive as well as the most densely populated regions of the world. The rainfall diminishes from i oo in. in its south-east corner to less than 3o in. at Agra and Delhi, and there is an average difference of from 15 to 25 in. between the northern and southern borders of the plain.

From the Bengal delta at its eastern extremity, two alluvial plains stretch up between the hills which connect the Himalayan system with that of Burma. The first, or the valley of Assam and the Brahmaputra, is long and narrow, bordered on the north by the Himalayas, on the south by the lower plateau of the Garo, Khasi and Naga hills. The other, short and broad, and in great part occupied by swamps, separates the Garo, Khasi and Naga hills from those of Tippera and the Lushai country. The climate of these plains is damp and equable, and the rainfall is prolonged and generally heavy, especially on the southern slopes of the hills.

The peninsula area of India, cut off from the encircling ranges by the broad Indo-Gangetic plain, is divided into two unequal parts by the Vindhyas, an amalgam of several hill systems running al most continuously across the country from west by south to east by north, just south of the Tropic of Cancer. The waters to the north of this watershed drain chiefly into the Nerbudda and the Ganges, those to the south into the Tapti, the Mahanadi, the Godavari and some smaller streams. Together with the two par allel valleys of the Nerbudda and Tapti, which drain the flanks of its western half, this mass of hills gives, at opposite seasons of the year, a decided easterly and westerly direction to the winds of this part of India, and condenses a tolerably copious rainfall during the south-west monsoon.

The peninsula south of the Vindhyas consists chiefly of the triangular plateau of the Deccan, terminating abruptly on the west in the Sahyadri range (Western Ghats), and shelving to the east (Eastern Ghats). This plateau is swept by the south-west monsoon, but not until it has surmounted the western barrier of the Ghats ; and hence the rainfall is, as a rule, light at Poona and places similarly situated under the lee of the range, and but moderate over the more easterly parts of the plateau. The rains, however, are prolonged some three or four weeks later than in tracts to the north of the Vindhyas, since they are also brought by the easterly winds which blow from the Bay of Bengal in October and the early part of November, when the recurved southerly wind ceases to blow up the Gangetic valley, and sets towards the south-east coast.

At the junction of the Eastern and Western Ghats rises the bold triangular plateau of the Nilgiris, and to the south of them come the Anamalais, the Palnis, and the hills of Travancore. These ranges are separated from the Nilgiris by a broad depression or pass known as the Palghat Gap, some 25 m. wide, the highest point of which is only 1,50o ft. above the sea. This gap affords a passage to the winds which elsewhere are barred by the hills of the Ghat chain. The country to the east of the gap receives the rainfall of the south-west monsoon. In the strip of low country that fringes the peninsula below the Ghats the rainfall is heavy.


The Seasons.—Within the boundaries of India almost any extreme of climate that is known to the tropics or the temperate zone can be found. It is influenced from outside by two adjoining areas. On the north, the Himalaya range and the plateau of Af ghanistan give it a continental climate ; on the south the ocean gives it an oceanic climate. The continental type of weather pre vails over almost the whole of India from December to May, and the oceanic type from June to November, thus giving rise to the two great divisions of the year, the dry season or north-east mon soon, and the rainy season or south-west monsoon. India thus becomes the type of a tropical monsoon climate.

The Indian year may be divided into f our seasons : the cold season, including the months of January and February; the hot season, comprising the months of March, April and May; the south-west monsoon period, including the months of June, July, August, September and October ; and the retreating monsoon period, including the months of November and December. The temperature is nearly constant in southern India the whole year round, but in northern India the variation is very large.

In the cold season the mean temperature averages about 3o° F lower In the Punjab than in southern India. In the Punjab, the United Provinces, and northern India generally the climate from November to February resembles that of the Riviera, with a bril liant cloudless sky and cool dry weather. This is the time for the tourist to visit India. The hot season begins about the middle of March, when there is a steady rise in temperature, until the break of the rains in June. In May the highest temperatures are found in Upper Sind, north-west Rajputana, and south-west Punjab. At Jacobabad the thermometer sometimes rises to 12 5 ° in the shade.

The south-west monsoon currents usually set in during the first fortnight of June on the Bombay and Bengal coasts, though they linger on their way up-country, and give more or less general rain in every part of India during the next three months. But the distri bution of the rainfall is very uneven. Overlooking the Bay of Bengal, where the mountains catch the masses of vapour as it rises off the sea, the rainfall is enormous. At Cherrapunji in the Khasi hills it averages upwards of Soo in. a year. The Bombay monsoon leaves with very little rain a strip ioo to 200 m. in width in the western Deccan parallel with the Ghats, and it is this part of the Deccan, together with the Mysore table-land and the Carnatic, that is most subject to drought. Similarly the Bengal monsoon passes by the Coromandel coast and the Carnatic with an occa sional shower, taking a larger volume inland, and abundant rain to Assam and Cachar. The same current also supplies with rain the broad band across India, which includes the Vindhyas, Chota Nag pur, the greater part of the Central Provinces and Central India, Orissa and Bengal. Rainfall rapidly diminishes to the north-west from that belt. A branch of the Bombay current blows pretty steadily through Rajputana to the Punjab, carrying some rain to the latter province. But the greater part of north-west India is served as a rule by cyclonic storms between the two currents. In September the force of the monsoon begins rapidly to decline, and in its rear springs up a gentle steady north-east wind, which grad ually extends over the Bay of Bengal, and is known as the north east monsoon. A wind similar in character, but rather more east erly in direction, simultaneously takes possession of the Arabian Sea. The most unhealthy season immediately follows the rains, when malaria is prevalent, especially in northern India. (ME.) British India (including Ceylon and Burma) has not any dis tinctive botanical features peculiar to itself ; its flora is corn pounded out of those of the adjoining countries. In the mountain ous region in the extreme north-west many European and Siberian forms occur, while the north-east displays the influence of Western China. The South of the Peninsula and Ceylon show distinct affinity with Malaya and to a certain extent with East Africa. Burma, while akin to India, has a strong Malayan bias.

The whole area is divisible into three primary botanical sections: Himalayan, Western and Eastern. These, however, are by no means homologous and are susceptible of further subdivision and they are best considered under the following eight main botanical regions.

The Western Himalayan Region.

This region consists of the western portion of the Himalayas from Chitral to Kumaon and covers a vast depth from north to south, embracing a series of parallel snow-clad ranges. Towards the south the valleys are nar row and tortuous ; northwards they are more open and tend to form elevated table-lands which merge into the great Tibetan Plateau. The predominant families are: Gramineae, Leguminosae, Cyperaceae, Labiatae, Ranunculaceae, Orchidaceae, Cruciferae, Rosaceae, and Scrophulariaceae, showing a definite western in fluence, more especially at the higher levels. In the South sub tropical trees and shrubs intrude, such as Boswellia and Holoptelia. The oaks are few and among them is the European Holm Oak (Quercus Ilex). Of conifers we find the Cedrus Deodara, Pinus longi f olia, P. excelsa, A bies Pindrow, Cupressus torulosa, Juni perus macropoda and in the drier localities Pinus Gerardiana.

The Eastern Himalayan Region.

The remainder of the Himalayan range falls into the next region, which is narrower from north to south and has a lower average level. Tropical forms here are more numerous and there is a definite Chinese influence. The dominating families are : Orchidaceae, Gramineae, Legumin osae, Coinpositae, Cyperaceae, Urticaceae (in the wide sense), Scrophulariaceae, Rosaceae, Rubiaceae and Euphorbiaceae. A number of oaks and Castanopsis and a large number of Rhododen drons characterize this region as also many species of Primula and Meconopsis. The Deodar hardly occurs at all and few of the conifers of the last region; they are replaced by Abies Webbiana, Picea Morinda, Larix Grif}ithii, Tsuga Brunoniana and two species of Juniperus. Tree Magnolias are conspicuous and the tropical influence is emphasized by the presence of numerous species of Impatiens and Orchids.

The Indus Plain Region.

The Punjab, Sind, Rajputana west of the Aravalli Hills, Cutch and Northern Guzerat make up this region. Over the greater part arid conditions prevail with a very low rainfall and a scanty vegetation which approaches extinc tion in the Indian Desert. Tree growth is comparatively rare and stunted ; the vegetation is mainly herbaceous and is burnt or dried up in the hot season. Thorny species are conspicuously numerous. The dominant families are : Gramineae, Leguminosae, Compositae, Cyperaceae, Scrophulariaceae, Labiatae, Boraginaceae, Malvaceae, Euphorbiaceae and Convolvulaceae. Characteristic among the shrubs and undershrubs are Fagonia arabica, thorny species of Capparis and Zizyphus and Calotropis. There are two indigenous palms—Phoenix sylvestris and Nanorrhops Ritchieana—and one bamboo—Dendrocalamus strictus.

The Gangetic Plain Region.

Extending from the Aravalli Hills eastwards to the Bay of Bengal, this region comprises all the tract from the Himalayan foothills to the low country of Orissa. There are considerable variations in the vegetation of its different parts, all of which are far more humid than the last region. The dominant families are: Gramineae, Leguminosae, Cyperaceae, Compositae, Scrophulariaceae, Malvaceae, Acanthaceae, Euphor biaceae, Convolvulaceae and Labiatae. The deltas of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra consist of a number of islands which sup port a dense evergreen forest of trees and shrubs in which the mangroves predominate. A valuable timber tree, the Sal (Shores robusta), is almost confined to this region.' The Malabar Region.—This region occupies a wet zone of mountainous country with a narrow strip of low land between it and the west coast running from Guzerat to Travancore. Its highest peaks attain to a little short of 9,000 feet in elevation. The vegetation generally is very luxuriant and mainly evergreen and approaches the Malayan type. Dense evergreen forests with thick cane (Calamus) brakes and bamboo thickets are characteristic. On the higher hills are found wide expanses of grassy downs dotted with patches of evergreen woods, the remnants of former extensive forests left clinging to the sides of ravines and depressions. In the moderately wet areas below 2,000 feet, the teak—Tectona grandis—attains to very large dimensions, growing mixed with a number of other large and valuable timber trees—Dalbergia, Pter ocarpus, Terminalia, Lagerstroemia—and with Bambusa arundina cea. In the wetter forests at moderate elevations Anonaceae, Garcinia, Dipterocarpaceae, Mesua ferrea, Calophyllum, Cullenia, many Rubiaceous trees, shrubs and herbs, Euphorbiaceae, Ficus, Artocarpus and Zingiberaceae occur as also a single conifer Podocarpus lati f olia—and a number of palms and numerous ferns. In the low-lying swampy localities Pandanus and several Araceae are noticeable. At higher elevations many Acanthaceous shrubs, particularly of the genus Strobilanthes, are prominent and among the trees, species of Elaeocarpus, many Eugenics and a tree Composite—Vernonia monosis. Epiphytic orchids are fairly num erous and tree ferns appear here and there. Among the grasses of the downs at elevations over 6,000 feet are numerous herbs and undershrubs of Impatiens, Leguminosae, Umbelliferae, Rubiaceae, Compositae, terrestrial orchids, Liliaceae, Commelinaceae and patches of the bracken fern.

The Deccan Region.—The whole of the peninsula south of the Ganges valley and east of the Western Ghats is comprised in this region. With the exception of a belt of dry-evergreen, low jungle along part of the east coast, characterised by species of Capparis, Pterospermum, Eugenia, Ixora, Mimusops, Diospyros and Strychnos, the vegetation is mainly deciduous and much of it is thorny. Leguminosae occupy a conspicuous place ; other promi nent families, besides the ubiquitous Gramineae, are : Tiliaceae, Rhamnaceae, Rubiaceae, Asclepiadaceae, Convolvulaceae and Euphorbiaceae, with large areas occupied almost exclusively by one or other of the two common bamboos—Bambusa arundinacea and Dendrocalamus strictus. On dry rocky hillocks Givotia rottleri formis, Sterculia wrens, Gyrocarpus Jacquinii, Cochlospermum gossypium, Cassia Fistula and Euphorbia antiquorum claim atten tion. Along the coast and in the semi-desert sandy tract in the extreme South the Palmyra palm—Borassus fiabelli f ormis—f orms dense groves and thickets; similar aggregations of another palm— Phoenix sylvestris—occur inland. The true sandalwood—Santal um album—is found in the south central part.

The chief cultivated plants of British India include rice, wheat, many pulses and grains ; castor, Sesarnum and ground-nut oil seeds; fruit trees such as the mango, citrus fruits, the coconut, Palmyra and Areca-nut palms; apples, pears, peaches, apricots, walnuts in the Himalayan valleys; tea plantations cover large areas in the North as well as in the South Indian mountains and in the latter and in Ceylon are also extensive coffee, rubber, cardamom and pepper gardens. Rubber is also grown in Burma. In several damp localities cinchona is successfully grown. (C. E. C. F.) Mammals.—The lion (Felis leo) was not uncommon within historical times in Hindustan proper and the Punjab. A peculiar variety is preserved in the Gir, or rocky hill-desert and forest of Kathiawar, often described incorrectly as maneless.

The tiger (F. tigris), is found in every part of the country, from the slopes of the Himalayas to the Sundarbans swamps. The average length of a tiger from nose to tip of tail is 9 ft. to io ft. for tigers, and 8 f t. to 9 ft. for tigresses, but a tiger of 12 ft. 4 in. has been shot. The advance of cultivation, even more than the incessant attacks of sportsmen, has reduced numbers but extermi nation is very unlikely. The malarious tarcii fringing the Himal ayas, the uninhabitable swamps of the Gangetic delta, and the wide jungles of the central plateau are at present the chief home of the tiger. His favourite food appears to be deer, antelope and wild hog. When these abound he will disregard domestic cattle. In deed, the natives are disposed to consider him as in some sort their protector, as he saves their crops from destruction by the wild animals on which he feeds. But he may develop a taste for human blood and the confirmed man-eater, generally an old beast disabled from overtaking his usual prey, seems to accumulate victims in sheer cruelty rather than for food. The favourite mode of shooting the tiger is from the back of elephants, or from elevated platforms (machdns) of boughs in the jungle.

The leopard or panther (F. pardus) is far more common than the tiger in all parts of India, and at least equally destructive to life and property. The greatest length of the leopard is about 7 ft. 6 in. A black variety, as beautiful as it is rare, is sometimes found in the extreme south of the peninsula, and also in Java.

The cheetah or hunting leopard (Cynaelurus jubatus), found only on the Deccan, is trained for hunting the antelope. The cheetah's limbs are long, its hair rough, and its claws blunt and only partially retractile. Other Indian cats are the ounce or snow leopard (F. uncia), the clouded leopard (F. nebulosa), the marbled cat (F. marmorata), the jungle cat (F. chaus), and the viverrine cat (F. viverrina).

Wolves (Canis lupus) abound in open country preying on sheep, but are said to run down or ambush antelopes and hares. The Indian wolf has a dingy reddish-white fur, some of the hairs being tipped with black. By some naturalists it is regarded as a dis tinct species, under the name of Canis pallipes. Three distinct varieties, the white, the red and the black wolf, are found in the Tibetan Himalayas. The Indian fox (Vulpes bengalensis) is comparatively rare, but the jackal (C. aureus) abounds.

The wild dog, or dhole (Cyon), is found in all the wilder jungles of India. Its characteristic is that it hunts in packs, some times containing thirty dogs, and does not give tongue. A pe culiar variety of wild dog exists in the Karen hills of Burma, black and white, as hairy as a Skye terrier, and as large as a medium-size spaniel. Among other dogs of India are the pariah, which is merely a mongrel, run wild and half starved ; the poligar dog, an immense creature peculiar to the south; the greyhound, used for coursing; and the mastiff of Tibet and Bhutan. The striped hyaena (Hyaena striata) is common, being found wherever the wolf is absent. Like the wolf, it is very destructive.

Of bears, the common black or sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) is common throughout India wherever rocky hills and forests occur. It is distinguished by a white horse-shoe mark on its breast. Its food consists of ants, honey and fruit. When disturbed it will at tack man, and it is a dangerous antagonist, for it always strikes at the face. The Himalayan or Tibetan sun bear (Ursus tor quatus) is found along the north, from the Punjab to Assam. During the summer it remains high up in the mountains, near the limit of snow, but in the winter it descends to 5,000 ft. and even lower. Its congener, the Malayan sun bear (U. malayanus), is found in Lower Burma.

The elephant (Elephas indicus) is now, at any rate, an inhabi tant, not of the plains, but of the hills; and even on the hills it is usually found among the higher ridges and plateaus, and not in the valleys. From the peninsula of India the elephant has been gradu ally exterminated, being only found now in the primeval forests of Coorg, Mysore and Travancore, and in the tributary states of Orissa. It still exists in places along the tardi or submontane fringe of the Himalayas. The main source of supply is the north east transition zone from Assam to Burma. Two varieties are there distinguished, the gunda or tusker, and the makna or hive, which has no tusks. The maximum height is probably 1 2 f t. The elephant must be hunted on foot. A special law, under the title of "The Elephants Preservation Act" (No. VI. of 1879), regulates the licensing of hunting.

Of the rhinoceros, three distinct varieties are enumerated, two with a single and one with a double horn. The most familiar is the Rhinoceros unicornis, commonly found in the Brahmaputra valley. It has but one horn, and is covered with massive folds of naked skin. It sometimes attains a height of 6 ft.; its long horn is much prized by natives for medicinal purposes. The Javan rhinoceros (R. sondaicus) is found in the Sundarbans and also in Burma. It also has but one horn, and mainly differs from the fore going in being smaller, and having less prominent "shields." The Sumatran rhinoceros (R. sumatrensis) is found from Chittagong southwards through Burma. It has two horns and a bristly coat.

The wild hog (Sus cristatus) is well known. It frequents culti vated situations, and is the most mischievous enemy of the vil lager. A rare animal, called the pigmy hog (S. salvanius), exists in the tardi of Nepal and Sikkim, and has been shot in Assam. Its height is only io in., and its weight does not exceed lb.

The wild ass (Equus hemionus) is confined to the sandy deserts of Sind and Cutch, where it is almost unapproachable.

Many wild species of the sheep and goat tribe are to be found in the Himalayan ranges. The Ovis ammon and 0. poli are Tibetan rather than Indian species. The urial and the shapu are kindred species of wild sheep (Ovis vignei), found respectively in Ladakh and the Suleiman range. The former comes down to 2,000 ft. above the sea, the latter is never seen at altitudes lower than 12,000 ft. The barhal, or blue wild sheep (0. nahura), and the markhor and tahr (both wild goats), also inhabit the Himalayas. A variety of the ibex is also found there, as well as in the highest ranges of southern India. The saran (Nemorhaedus bubalinus), allied to the chamois, inhabits the mountains of the north.

The antelope tribe is represented by comparatively few species, as compared with the great number peculiar to Africa. The ante lope proper (Antilope), the "black buck" of sportsmen, is very generally distributed. Its special habitat is salt plains, as on the coast-line of Gujarat and Orissa, where herds of fifty does may be seen, accompanied by a single buck. The doe is of a light fawn colour and has no horns. The colour of the buck is a deep brown black above, sharply marked off from the white of the belly. His spiral horns, twisted for three or four turns like a corkscrew, often reach the length of 3o in. The flesh is dry and unsavoury, but is permitted meat for Hindus, even of the Brahman caste. The nilgai or blue cow (Boselaplius tragocamelus) is also widely distributed, but specially abounds in Hindustan Proper and Gu jarat. As with the antelope, the male alone has the dark-blue colour. The nilgai is held peculiarly sacred by Hindus, from its fancied kinship to the cow. The four-horned antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis) and the gazelle (Gazella bennetti), the chinkara or "ravine deer" of sportsmen, are also found in India.

The sdmbhar or jarau (Cervus unicolor) is found on the forest clad hills in all parts. It is of a deep-brown colour, with hair on its neck almost like a mane; and it stands nearly 5 ft. high, with spreading antlers nearly 3 ft. in length. Next in size is the swamp deer or bara-singha, signifying "twelve points" (C. duvauceli), which is common in Lower Bengal and Assam. The chital or spotted deer (C. axis) is generally admitted to be the most beauti ful inhabitant of the Indian jungles. Other species include the hog deer (C. porcinus), the barking deer or muntjac (Cervulus muntjac), and the chevrotain or mouse deer (Tragulus meminna). The musk deer (Moschus rnoscliiferus) is confined to Tibet.

The gaur (Bos gaurus), the "bison" of sportsmen, is found in the hill jungles, in the Western Ghats, in Central India, also in Assam, and in Burma. This animal sometimes attains a height of 20 hands (close on 7 ft.), measuring from the hump above the shoulder. Its short curved horns and skull are enormously mas sive. Its colour is dark chestnut, or coffee-brown. From the diffi cult nature of its habitat, and from the ferocity with which it charges an enemy, the pursuit of the bison is no less dangerous and no less exciting than that of the tiger or the elephant. Akin to the gaur, though not identical, are the gaydl, or mithun (B. frontalis), confined to the hills of the north-east frontier, where it is domesticated for sacrificial purposes by the aboriginal tribes, and the tsine or banting (B. sondaicus), found in Burma. The wild buffalo (Bos bubalus) differs from the tame buffalo only in being larger and more fierce. The finest specimens come from Assam and Burma. The horns of the bull are thicker than those of the cow, but the horns of the cow are larger. A head has been known to measure 13 ft. 6 in. in circumference, and 6 ft. 6 in. between the tips. The greatest height is 6 ft. The colour is a slaty black; the hide is immensely thick, with scanty hairs.

The rat and mouse family is only too numerous. The loath some bandicoot (Nesocia bandicota), which sometimes measures 2 ft. in length, including its tail, and weighs 3 lb., burrows under houses, and is very destructive to plants, fruit and even poultry. More interesting is the tree mouse (Vandeleusia), about 7 in. long, which makes its nest in palms and bamboos. The field rats (Mus mettada) occasionally multiply so exceedingly as to diminish the out-turn of the local harvest.


The ornithology of India is not considered so rich in specimens of gorgeous and variegated plumage as that of other tropical regions. The parrot tribe is the most remarkable for beauty. Four vultures are found, including the common scav engers (Gyps indicus and G. bengalensis). The eagles comprise many species, but none to surpass the golden eagle of Europe. Of falcons, there are the peregrine (F. peregrinus), the slain (F. peregrinator), and the lagar (F. jugger), which are all trained by the Indians for hawking; of hawks, the shikara (Astur badius), the goshawk (A. palumbarius), and the sparrow-hawk (Accipiter nisus). Kingfishers of various kinds and herons are sought for their plumage. The rnaina (Acridotheres tristis), a member of the starling family, lives contentedly in a cage, and talks well. Snipe (Gallinago coelestis), pigeons, partridges, quail, plover, duck, teal, sheldrake, widgeon—all of many varieties—make up the list of small game. The red jungle fowl (Gallus ferrugineus), sup posed to be the ancestor of our own poultry, is not good eating; and the same may be said of the peacock (Pavo cristatus) .


Serpents swarm in gardens, and intrude into dwell ings, especially in the rainy season. The cobra di capello (Naia tripudians)—the name given to it by the Portuguese, from the appearance of a hood produced by the expanded skin about the neck—is the most dreaded. The Russelian snake (Vipera russellii), about 4 ft. in length, is of a pale yellowish-brown, beautifully variegated with large oval spots of deep brown, with a white edging. Its bite is extremely fatal. All the salt-water snakes in India are poisonous ; the fresh-water forms are innocuous.

The other reptiles include two species of crocodile (C. porosus and C. palustris) and the ghariyal (Gavialis gangeticus). These are more ugly than destructive. Scorpions abound.


Fish are eaten as nearly fresh as may be, for the art of curing them is not generally practised, owing to the exigencies of the salt monopoly. At Goalanda, at the junction of the Brahmaputra with the Ganges, and along the Madras coast many establishments exist for salting fish in bond. Among edible Indian fishes, the Cyprinidae or carp family and the Siluridae or cat-fishes are best represented. From the angler's point of view, by far the finest fish is the mahseer (Barbustor), found in all hill streams, whether in Assam, the Punjab or the South. The mahseer is a species of barbel. One of the richest and most delicious of Indian fishes is the hilsa (Clupea ilislia).

Insects.—Mosquitoes are innumerable, and moths and ants of the most destructive kind, as well as others equally noxious and disagreeable. Amongst those which are useful are the bee, the silk worm, and the insect that produces lac. Clouds of locusts occa sionally appear, which leave no green thing behind them. There are many beautiful butterflies. (X.) Racial Origins and Types.—With a population of 319 mil lions (one-fifth of the whole human race) such as India possesses, racial origins are incapable of exact definition. It is generally accepted however that, in remote antiquity, India was occupied by a negroid people of low culture, ethnically related to the abori gines of Ceylon, Sumatra and possibly even Australia. At a still pre-historic stage, it is believed that an inflow of what are loosely called Dravidian races made its way through Baluchistan from Western Asia, and slowly penetrated India to the far south. An other pre-historic movement, more restricted in its scope, was an infiltration of Mongoloid races from the north-east. The fusion of these elements with the indigenes had probably gone far when the long series of invasions from outer Asia through the north west passes began. From that period successive waves, starting with the Indo-Aryans and ending in historical times with the Moslem invasions, have swept through and got largely absorbed among the older inhabitants. Eight racial types can be traced with some confidence and for them, Risley's names are provision ally retained though it is recognised that progress of research has converted some of them into mere labels. Dravidian and Scythian as racial names are used without relation to linguistic or historical facts.

(I) The aboriginal or pre-Dravidian type, surviving in the short, platyrhine men of certain scattered primitive tribes of the hills and jungles, such as the Santals and Bhils, and farther south, the Paniyan, Kadir, Kurumba, Irula, Kanihar, etc.

(2) The Dravidian type, now extending from Ceylon, all over the Southern peninsula, up to the Gangetic valley.

(3) The Indo-Aryan type, in Kashmir, tailing off into the Punjab and Rajputana.

(4) The Aryo-Dravidian or Hindustani type in the Gangetic valley, the product of the absorption into a mainly Dravidian population, of colonies from the more definitely Indo-Aryan country farther west.

(5) The Scytho-Dravidian type, running east of the Indus, down through Gujerat and the western part of Bombay, and represented chiefly by the Mahrattas.

(6) The Turko-Iranian type, found west of the Indus on the north-west frontier and adjoining districts.

(7) The Mongoloid type, in Burma, Assam and among the foot-hills of the eastern Himalayas, clearly originating in China and Tibet.

(8) The Mongolo-Dravidian type, probably a blend of Dravi dian and Mongoloid elements, with a strain of Indo-Aryan blood in the higher groups, of which the Bengalis are unmistakable representatives.

Religions.—The chief Indian religions, with the numbers of their followers according to the census of 1931 are: Hindu 195,140), Mohammedan Buddhist (12,786,8a6), Sikh (4,335,771), Jain (1,252,105), Christian (6,296,763), Parsee (109,752), and Animist (8,280,347)• The oldest of these religions is Animism (q.v.), which represents the beginnings of religion in India, and is still professed by the more primitive tribes, such as Santals, Bhils and Gonds. The transition from this crude form of religion to popular Hinduism is comparatively easy. The most obvious characteristics of the ordinary Hindu are that he worships a plurality of gods, looks upon the cow as a sacred animal, regards certain rivers and pools as holy, and accepts the Brahmanical supremacy and the caste system; and when it is a question whether one of the animistic tribes has or has not en tered the fold of Hinduism, these seem to be the proper test to apply. On the other hand there are various offshoots from ortho dox Hinduism, the distinguishing feature of which, in their earlier history at least, is the obliteration of caste distinctions and the rejection of the Brahmanical hierarchy. It is doubtful if Buddhism, and still more so if Jainism and Sikhism, all of which are corn monly recognized as distinct religions, ever differed from Hinduism to a greater extent than did the tenets of the earlier followers of Chaitanya in Bengal or those of the Lingayats in Mysore ; and yet these latter two are regarded only as sects of Hinduism. Considera tions of their history and past political importance have led to the elevation of Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism to the rank of independent religions, while the numerous other schismatic bodies are held to be only sects. But there is a marked tendency both on the part of the sects and of the distinct religions to lapse into the parent religion from which they sprang.

The bewildering diversity of religious beliefs collected under the name of Hinduism has no counterpart amongst the Moham medans, who are limited as to their main tenets by the teaching of a single book, the Koran. The two main sects are the Sunnis and the Shiahs. In India the Sunnis greatly preponderate, but they usually share with the Shiahs their veneration for Hasan and Husain and strictly observe the Mohurrum.

Muslims.—The Mohammedans of India may be divided into two classes, pure Mohammedans from the Mogul and Pathan conquering races, and Mohammedan converts, who differ very little from the surrounding Hindu population from which they originally sprang. The pure Mohammedans may again be sub divided into four sections : Moguls, or the descendants of the last conquering race, including Persians; Afghans or Pathans, in the Punjab and in the Rohilkhand division of the United Provinces; Saiyads, who claim to be lineally descended from the Prophet ; and Sheikhs, which is a name often adopted by converts. The re mainder are unspecified. In Bengal the vast majority of the Mohammedans in their devotion to hereditary occupations are scarcely to be distinguished from Hindu castes. In the Punjab, besides the Pathan immigrants from across the frontier, Islam has taken a strong hold of the Jats, Rajputs and Gujars. Bombay pos sesses three peculiar classes of Mussulmans, each of which is specially devoted to maritime trade—the Memons, chiefly in Sind; the Borahs, mainly in Gujarat; and the Khojahs, of whom half live in the island of Bombay. In southern India are found the two peculiar races of the Moplahs and the Labbays, both of which are seated along the coast and follow a seafaring life. They are descended from the Arab traders who settled there in very early times, and were recruited partly by voluntary adhesions and partly by forcible conversions during the persecutions of Hyder Ali and Tippoo Sultan. The Moplahs of Malabar are notorious for repeated outbreaks of bloody fanaticism. In proportion to the total population Islam is most strongly represented in the North West Frontier Province, where it is the religion of 92% of the inhabitants; then follow Kashmir with 77%, Sind with 73%, Bengal with 55%, the Punjab with 56%, and the United Prov inces with 15%. In the great Mohammedan state of Hyderabad the proportion is only I 1 %.

The Sikh religion is almost entirely confined to the Punjab, its adherents numbering 4,335,771. Buddhism had disappeared from India long before the East India Company gained a foot hold in the country, and at the present day there are very few Buddhists in India outside Burma, where they number over 12 millions. More than two-fifths of the Jains in India (1,252,105 in all) are found in Bombay and its states, including Baroda. The Parsees, though influential and wealthy, are a very small com munity, numbering only Io9,752, of whom all but 20,208 are found in Bombay. The remainder are scattered all over India.

Christians.—The Christian community numbers 6,296,763, of whom 5,989,134 are Indians and the remainder Europeans and Anglo-Indians. Of the Indian Christians about two-fifths are Roman Catholics. More than half of the Indian Christians are found in Madras and the adjoining states, a tribute to the labours of St. Francis Xavier and the Protestant missionary Schwarz. The adherents of the Syrian church, known as "Christians of St. Thomas," in Malabar, Travancore and Cochin are the most ancient Christian community in the south. After these come the Roman Catholics, who trace their origin to the teaching of St. Francis Xavier and the Madura Jesuits. The Protestant churches date only from about the beginning of the 19th century, but their progress since that time has been considerable. As is to be expected in the case of a religion with a strong proselytizing agency, the growth of Christianity is far more rapid than that of the general population. Taking Indian Christians alone, their numbers increased from 1,246,288 in 1872 to 5,989,134 in 1931, and the rate of increase was even greater than these figures would show, because they include the Syrian church, whose numbers are practically constant. The classes most receptive of Christianity are those who are outside the Hindu system, or whom Hinduism regards as degraded. Conversions from Islam are relatively scarce.


So far as Hinduism is concerned, the intermixing of the racial types described above has left one definite ethnical legacy in Caste ; for it is apparently from the differences in civili zation and political power resulting from the imposition of suc cessive strata of conquerors over the conquered that the Hindu system of caste arose. The Census report of 191 I defines a caste as "an endogamous group or collection of such groups bearing a common name and having the same traditional occupation, who are so linked together by these and other ties, such as the tradition of a common origin and the possession of the same tutelary deity, and the same social status, ceremonial observances and family priests, that they regard themselves, and are regarded by others, as forming a single homogeneous community." Not only is the caste usually endogamous, but within it there are a number of smaller circles, each of which is also endogamous. Caste has come to be the chief factor in the life of the ordinary Hindu, regulating his acts from the cradle to the grave; and its influence extends to the Mohammedan masses who are descended from the more recent converts to Islam. (See CASTE.) Languages.—According to the linguistic survey of India, no fewer than 220 distinct languages are recorded as vernacular in the country. These are grouped in linguistic families as follows :— The Mon-Khmer sub-family, which is most numerous in Indo China, is represented in India by the Talaings of southern Burma and the Khasis of Assam. The Munda languages, belonging to the Austric family of speech, are chiefly confined to Chota Nagpur, their best-known tribe the Santals. Of the Tibeto-Chinese family, the main groups are spoken from Tibet to Burma ; while the Siamese-Chinese sub-family is represented by the Shans of Burma. The Dravidian family includes the four literary languages of the south, as well as many dialects spoken by hill tribes in Central India, and also the isolated Brahui in Baluchistan. The Indo European family embraces the tongues of the great mass of the people of northern India. (ME.)

south, found, western, peninsula, hills, north and ft