1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Monghyr

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MONGHYR, a town and district of British India, in the Bhagalpur division of Bengal. The town is on the right bank of the Ganges, and has a railway station, with steam ferry to the railway on the opposite bank of the river. Pop. (1901), 35,880. In 1195 Monghyr, a fortress of great natural strength, appears to have been taken by Mahommed Bakhiyar Khilji, the first Moslem conqueror of Bengal. Henceforth it is often mentioned by the Mahommedan chroniclers as a place of military importance, and was frequently chosen as the seat of the local government. After 1590, when Akbar established his supremacy over the Afghan chiefs of Bengal, Monghyr was long the headquarters of his general, Todar Mal; and it also figures prominently during the rebellion of Sultan Shuja against his brother, Aurangzeb. In more recent times Nawab Mir Kasim, in his war with the English, selected it as his residence and the centre of his military preparations. Monghyr is famous for its manufactures of iron: firearms, swords, and iron articles of every kind are produced in abundance but are noted for cheapness rather than quality. The art of inlaying sword-hilts and other articles with gold and silver affords employment to a few families.

The Disrict of Monghyr has an area of 3922 sq. m. The Ganges divides it into two portions. The northern, intersected by the Burhi Gandak and Tiljuga, two important tributaries of the Ganges, is always liable to inundation during the rainy season, and is a rich, flat, wheat and rice country, supporting a large population. A considerable area, immediately bordering the banks of the great rivers, is devoted to permanent pasture. Immense herds of buffaloes are sent every hot season to graze on these marshy prairies; and the ghi, or clarified butter, made from their milk forms an important article of export to Calcutta. To the south of the Ganges the country is dry, much less fertile, and broken up by fragmentary ridges. Irrigation is necessary throughout the section lying on the south of the Ganges. The population in 1901 was 2,068,804, showing an increase of 1.6% in the decade. The principal exports sent to Calcutta, both by rail and by river, are oil-seeds, wheat, rice, indigo, grain and pulse, hides and tobacco; and the chief imports consist of European piece-goods, salt and sugar. The southern portion of the district is well provided with railways. At Lakhisarai junction the arc and chord lines of the East Indian railway divide, and here also starts the branch to Gaya. At Jamalpur, which is the junction for Monghyr, are the engineering workshops of the company. In the early years of British rule Monghyr formed a part of Bhagalpur, and was not created a separate district till 1832.

See Monghyr District Gazetteer (Calcutta, 1909).