Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/670

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the Punjab into one of the great wheat fields of the British Empire.

While the general name Punjab is applied to the whole country of the “five rivers,” there are distinct names for each of the doabs (do, two; ab, water) or tracts between two adjoining rivers. The country between the Sutlej and the Beas is called the Jullundur Doab; it includes the districts of Jullundur and Hoshiarpur. The long strip between the Beas and the Ravi, containing the greater part of Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Lahore, Montgomery, and Multan districts, is called the Bari Doab. Rechna Doab is the tract between the Ravi and the Chenab, embracing Sialkot and Gujranwala districts, with the trans-Ravi portions of the districts of the Bari Doab. Chaj or Jech is the doab between the Chenab and the Jhelum (Gujrat and Shahpur districts and part of Jhang), and Sind Sagar is the name of the large doab between the Jhelum and the Indus, including Rawalpindi, Jhelum and Muzaffargarh districts, with parts of Shahpur, Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan. The higher and dryer parts of the doabs are called bar. They are waste, but not barren, scantily covered with low shrubs, and capable, when watered, of being well cultivated. The bar is the great camel-grazing land. Large areas of Muzaffargarh and Multan districts are thal, barren tracts of shifting sand. The middle part of the Bari Doab, in Amritsar district, bears the distinctive name of Manjha (middle) as the centre and headquarters of the Sikh nation, containing their two sacred tanks of Amritsar and Taran Taran. The Maiwa Sikhs, again, are those of the cis-Sutlej country.

South of the Himalayas stretch the great plains, which constitute by far the larger proportion of the province. With The Punjab Plains. the exception of the Himalayan and Salt range tracts the Punjab presents, from the Jumna on the east to the Sulimans in the west, one vast level, unbroken save by the wide eroded channels within which the great rivers ever shift their beds, by the insignificant spurs of the Aravalli range in the south-eastern corner, and the low hills of Chiniot and Kirana in Jhang. The whole of these vast plains is of alluvial formation. Stones are unknown save at the immediate foot of the hills; micaceous river sand is to be found everywhere at varying depths; and the only mineral is nodular accretions of limestone, called kankar, which is used for the construction of roads. The soil is a singularly uniform loam, the quality being determined by the greater or smaller proportion of sand present. In the local hollows and drainage lines the constant deposit of argillaceous particles has produced stiff tenacious soil, especially adapted to rice cultivation, while in the beds of the great rivers, and on the wind-fretted water-sheds pure sand is commonly found. Where neither sand nor the saline efflorescence called reh is present, the soil is uniformly fertile, if only the rainfall be sufficient or means of irrigation be available. Throughout the greater part of the western plains, however, the insufficiency of rainfall is a permanent condition; and until recently the uniform aspect of the country was that of wide steppes of intrinsically fertile soil, useful, however, only as grazing grounds for herds of camels or cattle.

The Punjab may be divided into four great natural divisions: the Himalayan tract, the submontane tract, the eastern and Natural Divisions. western plains and the Salt range tract, which have characteristics widely different from each other. The Himalayan tract, which includes the Punjab hill states, consists of 20,000 sq. m. of sparsely inhabited mountain, with tiny hamlets perched on the hill-sides or nestling in the valleys. The people consist chiefly of Rajputs, Kanets, Ghiraths, Brahmans and Dagis or menials. The eastern and western plains, which are divided from each other by a line passing through Lahore, are dissimilar in character. The eastern are arable plains of moderate rainfall and almost without rivers, except along their northern and eastern edges. They are inhabited by the Hindu races of India, and contain the great cities of Delhi, Amritsar and Lahore. They formed, until the recent spread of irrigation, the most fertile, wealthy and populous portion of the province. The western plains, except where canal irrigation has been introduced, consist of arid pastures with scanty rainfall, traversed by the five great rivers, of which the broad valleys alone are cultivable. They are inhabited largely by Mahommedan tribes, and it is in this tract that irrigation has worked such great changes. The Chenab and Jhelum Canal colonies are already pronounced successes, and it is hoped that in process of time the Lower Bari Doab and the Sind-Sagar Doab will be similarly fertilized. The submontane tract, skirting the foot of the hills, has an area of 10,000 sq. m., consisting of some of the most fertile and thickly populated portions of the province. Its population comes midway between the peoples of the hills and of the plains in race, religion and language, Mahommedanism being less prevalent, Hindi more generally spoken, and Rajputs and hill menials more common than in the plains. The Gujars form a special feature of this zone. Its only large town is Sialkot. The Salt range tract includes the districts of Rawalpindi and Jhelum and a small portion of Shahpur district, and consists of some 9000 sq. m. of broken and confused country.

Geology.—By far the greater part of the Punjab is covered by alluvial and wind-blown deposits of the plain of the Indus. The Salt range hills form a plateau with a steeply scarped face to the south, along which there is an axis of abrupt folding, accompanied by faulting. The rocks found in the Salt range belong to the Cambrian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic and Jurassic systems, while Tertiary beds cover the plateau behind. The extensive and valuable deposits of salt, from which the range takes its name, occur near the base of the Cambrian beds. Gypsum, kieserite and other salts are also found. Between the Cambrian and the Carboniferous beds there is an unconformity, which, however, is not very strongly marked, in spite of the lapse of time which it indicates. At the bottom of the Carboniferous series there is usually a boulder bed, the boulders in which have been brought from a distance and are scratched and striated as if by ice. It is generally admitted that this deposit, together with contemporaneous boulder beds in the peninsula of India, in Australia and in South Africa, indicate a southern glacial period in late Carboniferous times. Above the sandstone series at the base of which the boulder bed lies, come the Productus and Ceratite limestones. The former is believed to belong to the Upper Carboniferous and Permian, the latter to the Trias. Jurassic beds are found only in the western portion of the range.

Climate.—Owing to its sub-tropical position, scanty rainfall and cloudless skies, and the wide expanse of untilled plains, the climate of the Punjab presents greater extremes of both heat and cold than any other part of India. From the middle of April to the middle of September it is extremely hot, while from the beginning of October to the end of March there is a magnificent cool season, resembling that of the Riviera, with warm bright days and cool nights. Frosts are frequent in January. In the first three months of the hot season, from April till the end of June, a dry heat is experienced, with a temperature rising to 120° F. in the shade. At the end of June the monsoon arrives, the rains break, and though the heat is less intense the air is moist, and from the middle of August the temperature gradually falls. This is the most unhealthy period of the year, being exceedingly malarious. The Punjab enjoys two well-marked seasons of rainfall; the monsoon period, lasting from the middle of June till the end of September, on which the autumn crops and spring sowings depend; and the winter rains, which fall early in January, and though often insignificant in amount materially affect the prosperity of the spring harvest. Excepting in the Himalayas the rainfall is greatest in the east of the province, as the Bombay monsoon is exhausted in its passage over the great plains of Sind and Rajputana, while the west winds from Baluchistan pass over an arid tract and leave such moisture as they may have collected on the western slopes of the Suliman range; so that the Punjab depends for its rain very largely on the south-east winds from the Bay of Bengal. The submontane tract has an annual average of 36 to 32 in., the eastern plains vary from 20 to 14 in., and the western plains from 10 to 5 in.

Minerals.—Besides rock-salt, the mineral products of the Punjab are not many. Limestone, good for building, is obtained at Chiniot on the Chenab and at a few other places. There are extensive alum-beds at Kalabagh on the Indus. A small quantity of coal is found in the Salt range in disconnected beds, the Dandot colliery in the Jhelum district being worked by the North-Western railway. Petroleum is found in small quantities at a number of places in Rawalpindi, being gathered from the surface of pools or collected in shallow pits. In almost all parts of the Punjab there is kankar, rough nodular limestone, commonly found in thick beds, a few feet below the surface of the ground, used for road metal and burned for lime.

Agriculture.—As in other parts of India, there are commonly two harvests in the year. The spring crops are wheat, barley, gram, various vegetables, oil-seeds, tobacco and a little poppy; the autumn crops are rice, millets, maize, pulses, cotton, indigo and sugar-cane. Wheat has become the most important export of the province. In the spring of 1906 an area of 8½ million acres was harvested, producing 3½ million tons. Tea is cultivated in Kangra district. Flax has been produced successfully, but the cultivation has not been extended. Hops have been grown experimentally, for the Murree brewery, on neighbouring hills; the