1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Montgomery (India)

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20812491911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 18 — Montgomery (India)

MONTGOMERY, a town and district of British India, in the Lahore division of the Punjab. The town has a station on the North-Western railway about half-way between Lahore and Multan. Pop. (1901), 6602. It was founded in 1864 on the opening of the railway, and called after Sir Robert Montgomery, then lieutenant-governor. It is situated in a desolate upland, and though not unhealthy is singularly comfortless.

The District of Montgomery lies in the Bari Doab, or tract between the Sutlej and the Ravi, extending also across the latter river. Area, 4771 sq. m. In the former tract a fringe of cultivated lowland skirts the bank of either river, but the whole interior upland consists of a desert plateau partially overgrown with brushwood and coarse grass, and in places with impenetrable jungle. On the farther side of the Ravi, again, the country at once assumes the same desert aspect. The population in 1901 was 463,586, showing an apparent decrease of 0·4% in the decade due to emigration to the Chenab Colony. The principal crops are wheat, pulse, cotton and fodder. Camels are bred for export. The leading manufactures are of cotton and silk, and lacquered woodwork, and there are factories for ginning and pressing cotton. The district is traversed by the main line of the North-Western railway, from Lahore to Multan, and is irrigated by the Upper Sutlej inundation canal system, and also from the Ravi.

From time immemorial the Rechna Doāb has formed the home of a wild race of pastoral Jāts, who have constantly maintained a sturdy independence against the successive rulers of northern India. The sites of Kot Kamalia and Harappa contain large mounds of antique bricks and other ruins, while many other remains of ancient cities or villages lie scattered along the river bank, or dot the now barren stretches of the central waste. The pastoral tribes of this barren expanse do not appear to have paid more than a nominal allegiance to the Moslem rulers, and even in later days, when Ranjit Singh extended the Sikh supremacy as far as Mūltān, the population for the most part remained in a chronic state of rebellion. British influence was first exercised in the district in 1847, when an officer was deputed to effect a summary settlement of the land revenue. Direct British rule was effected on the annexation of the Punjab in 1849. There was a general rising of the wild clans during the Mutiny of 1857, several actions being fought before order was restored.