Krishi Sampad-translation

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Introductory notes

Krishi Sampad was a monthly journal published from the city of Dhaka(npw in Bangladesh). The journal focused on news and practices pertaining to agriculture and farming. The Journal was edited by Nishikanta Ghosh. The present volume of the journal was published in 1911. The selected aritcle, "Rajputanar Krishi o Krishak" was authored by Sir Jadunath Sarkar. Sir Jadunath, born in 1870, was a noted Indian historian. Sarkar is remembered for his works on Mughal and Maratha history, which demonstrated his grasp over Persian and Marathi sources. Sir Jadunath served briefly as the Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University. He was knighted for his services in 1929.

The selections from this issue of Krishi Sampad have been made from the article of "Rajputanar Krishi o Krishak" ie "Farming practices and Farmers of Rajputana". The province of Rajaputana presently falls within the state of Rajasthan. The articles mention the challenges faced by the farmers of Rajputana owing to the regions arid climate. The articles highlights on the innovative methods of storing water adopted by the farmers of Rajputana. The article also suggests to how was not looked down upon and people of all class and strata took part in the farming process.

Selection details

The selections from this issue of Krishi Sampad have been made from the article of "Rajputanar Krishi o Krishak" ie "Farming practices and Farmers of Rajputana". The province of Rajaputana presently falls within the state of Rajasthan. The articles mention the challenges faced by the farmers of Rajputana owing to the regions arid climate. The articles highlights on the innovative methods of storing water adopted by the farmers of Rajputana. The article also suggests to how was not looked down upon and people of all class and strata took part in the farming process.

[Page 166]

1. Farming and farmers of Rajputana
Authored by Jadunath Sarkar M.A., who recently returned after his visit to Japan.

Many of us are aware of Rajaputana's valiant past from historical texts or through legends that are being passed through generations. However very few had the opportunity of acquiring knowledge about the state of agriculture in Rajputana. To address this gap, here we have discussed a few thing about the cultivators and cultivation in Rajputana.

In Bengal it seems the mother nature is ever sympathetic and ready to help the cultivators in their work. In Rajputana, on the other hand, the cultivators have to continuously struggle against the hurdles put forward by mother nature. Fertile land, favorable climate and temperature- all these three factors are necessary for cultivating successfully. In Rajputana all these three factors are absent. In comparison to Bengal, entire Rajputana can be described as a huge desert. Three princely states are located at the center of this desert- Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaisalmir. The land with high percentage of gravel and sand is infertile for almost the entire stretch of this desert. The states of Udaipur, Kishangarh, Jaipur, Bharatpur, Jind, Patiala and Bhawalpur situated at the edge of the desert are also known for lands with higher percentage of sand and gravel. Though certain patches of fertile tracts can also be located at the edge of the desert. The temperature also is not conducive for crop production. During summer, the temperature of rises to 121 °F. During those days the hot "loo" wind which blows dries up trees and plants. The winter months too are as extreme as the summers. In certain years the temperature drops down to such a level that, the Neem, Shirish trees dies within 3 or 4 days. Last winter, thousands of trees planted over a period died within just two days. Rajputana experiences such extreme climatic conditions because of low percentage of water vapour in the air. Arrangement for regular water supply to the fields in Bikaner and Jaisalmir is still a distant dream for the cultivators. The villages in these parts often faces scarcity of drinking water during the summer months. Each year quite a few people due to lack of drinking water during the summer months. During the summer months, the guests are generally requested to carry their own drinking water while attending any social function.

[Page 167]

No river, canals or lakes are to be found in these regions. The average depth of well is about 330 ft. Cultivation is only possible during the monsoon months. The crops which grow on sandy soil are cultivated during these months. Monsoon generally arrives during the month of July. Previously these regions used to receive rainfall about 4 inches to 10 inches. Since last four years the marked rise of rainfall between 10 to 18 inches have helped in development of agrarian activities in Bikaner. However this year Bikaner has received not even an inch of rainfall. The best period of cultivation in Bikaner is between the month of July to the month of November. Bajra is the principal form of cereal that is produced in the districts of Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaisalmir. Bajra is similar to Millet. Handmade bread of Bajra is very healthy. Though it is not easily digestible for the Bengalis. "Mot" is the principal form of pulse that is produced in this region. North part of Bikaner however do not faces similar crisis of water. The canals of Punjab have been extended till northern part of Bikaner. It is hoped that in future the canals will be extended till the town of Bikaner. Bajra, wheat, gram, mugh, sesame and mustard are grown in these parts. The lands in Rajputana are not divided to small holdings like Bengal. The cultivators can cultivate in as much stretch of land as they wish in return for minimal rent paid to the zamindars. Cultivation is generally practiced in low lands or valleys. The land selected for cultivation is generally surrounded by a moat 3 feet deep and 2 feet wide. The earth that is dug is used for erecting a low wall surrounding the field. Such a wall protects the land from boar, cow, horse and other animals. Rainwater accumulated in the moat keeps the land aqueous. Sandy soil can be easily ploughed and the land is generally not ploughed more than once. Dry leaves and cowdung are generally used as manure for the field. Leaves and cowdungs that are to be used as manure are often dried artificially. Due to scarcity of water all over the region, modern technology like Motorised steam-engine and Persian wheel are being used only in places like Bikaner.

[Page 168]

If proper attention is paid, even crops of other varieties can be produced in the trying conditions of Rajputana. In most cases seeds of other regions are not fruitful in Rajputana. My efforts of planting crops with seeds from Bengal have met with faliure. Though similar attempts with seeds from Bombay, Lahore or Saharanpur have met with success. This suggests only seeds from similar climate can be grown in Rajputana. It is true the crops take time to grow in sandy soil with lesser percentage of water vapor in the air. But the crops are generally more tastier. Watermelons that grows here more tastier than that of Goalanda in Bengal, though they are much smaller in size. A zaminder in Bikaner have even set up sugar factories, extracting sugar from the watermelons produced in the region.

Wools worth millions of rupees are imported each year from Bikaner to England. The vast stretch of fallow lands are ideal for rearing sheep. In Australia modern scientific methods are known to be applied for wool production. In Bikaner however similar methods are yet to be employed. In terms of quality of the four possible class of wool, Bikaner produces second class of wool.

The cattle and horses of Rajputana are sturdy and robust. A cow which costs 40 or 50 rupees can produce 8-10 seers of milk daily. High quality of ghee is produced in this region. This year however, the production of ghee is low due to scarcity and dearth.

Camel is the chief form of domesticated animal in Rajputana. Camel is described as the ship of the desert. The sturdiest of camels in India can only be found in Bikaner. The state of Bikaner can only boast of a regiment of camels in its army.

The states which are located at the fringes of the Thar desert, Udaipur, Jaipur, Bharatpur etc produces all the major variety of crops other than rice. Canals and lakes are common in these regions. The wells too are not that deep. I have observed that the cultivators generally dig a well near his field and uses water from there during cultivation. Bharatpur and Jaipur produces cotton as well. The cultivators of Jaipur, Bharatpur are known for their capability of working hard.

[Page 169]

I will conclude my article with a few words on the cultivators of Rajputana. I feel the educated class of Bengal has a lot to learn from the cultivators of Rajputana. Unlike Bengal, here cultivation is not considered to be a lowly job. People of all classes are found to be involved in cultivation. Even the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and other high caste people participate in the cultivation process. However one must admit the rate of literacy is marked in these regions.

The Vaishyas ie the Marwari businessmen from Rajputana are mostly based in the big cities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras. The people of other classes, who has received education, generally take jobs as clerk or accountant. Otherwise almost all other classes are engaged in cultivation. Even the princes of the royal family do not hesitate to take part in the farming activity. The zamindars too take part in farming. Even person having titles of "Raja" are found to take part in farming in special circumstances. Such an old Raja working in the field reminded me of Raja Janak of Ramayana.

On the other hand the "babus" of Bengal generally look down upon farming as a lowly job. In Bengal the farmers are considered to be ignorant and uncultured. Hence the word "chasha" or "farmer" is now considered to be an obscenity. The only positive is, such attitude to farming is slowly disappearing. Now many educated youth are found to be going back to field to work independently. In every civilized nation of the world, even in every other province than Bengal, farming is not looked down upon as a lowly activity. In Rajputana, the Brahmins, Kshatriya and Rajputs, all can be found working in the field. Farming is one of the honest profession that is possible in the present world. Hard work is the only route to success in farming. The unfavorable conditions of Rajputana are in a way responsible for the honest, hard working nature of cultivators in the region.

This text is an English-language translation of the original version:

This is a selection from the original text


agriculture, crops, farmer, rainfall

Source text

Title: Rajputanar Krishi O Krishak, Krishi Sampad

Subtitle: 2nd year, 5th and 6th Part

Author: Jadunath Sarkar

Publication date: 2016

Digital edition

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) pages 166 to 169


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: India > manuals and guides

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.