1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Saran

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SARAN, a district of British India, in the Tirhut division of Bengal. Area, 2674 sq. m. It is a vast alluvial plain, possessing scarcely any undulations, but with a general inclination towards the south-east, as indicated by the flow of the rivers in that direction. The principal rivers, besides the Ganges, are the Gandak and Gogra, which are navigable throughout the year. The district has long been noted for its high state of cultivation. It yields large crops of rice, besides other cereals, pulses, oil seeds, poppy, indigo and sugar-cane.

The population in 1901 was 2,409,509, showing a decrease of 2.2%, compared with an increase of 7.4% in the previous decade. The average density of population, 901 per square mile, is the highest rate for all India. The indigo industry, formerly of the first importance, has declined, and sugar refining has in great part taken its place. Some saltpetre is produced, and shellac is manufactured. Saran is exposed to drought and flood. It suffered from the famine of 1874, and again in 1896–1899. An irrigation scheme from the river Gandak, started in 1878, proved a failure, after a capital expenditure of Rs. 7,000,000. The Bengal North-Western railway runs through the south of the district. The administrative headquarters are at Chapra.

See Saran District Gazetteer (Calcutta, 1908).