Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/158

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142
SIND

London; the fourth daughter, Catherine (1800-1864), at one time enjoyed some vogue as an author.

See Correspondence of the Right Hon. Sir John Sinclair, Bart., with Reminiscences of Distinguished Characters (2 vols., London, 1831); and Memoirs of the Life and Works of the Right Hon. Sir John Sinclair (2 vols., Edinburgh, 1837).


SIND, a former province of India, now a division of the Bombay presidency. It is the most northerly portion of the presidency, lying between 23° 35′ and 28° 29′ N. and between 66° 40′ and 71 10′ E., having an area of 53,116 sq. m. and a population (1901) of 3,410,223. It includes the six districts of Karachi, Hyderabad, Thar and Parkar, Larkhana, Sukkur and Upper Sind Frontier, together with the native state of Khairpur. It differs widely in physical features and climate, no less than in the language, dress and customs of the people, from the rest of the presidency, from which it is cut off by the deserts or the sea. It is bounded on the N. by Baluchistan and the Punjab; on the E. by the desert tracts of W. Rajputana; on the S. by the Runn of Cutch and the Indian Ocean; and on the W. by Baluchistan.

Physical features.—Sind proper, or the central alluvial plain watered by the Indus, lies between the Kohistan or hilly country that rises to the Kirthar range on the Baluchistan border, and the Registan or Thar desert that stretches E. into Rajputana. The Kohistan in years of good rainfall yields abundant fodder for cattle and camels, and supports a scanty tillage on the banks of the hill streams or nais, one of which, named the Hab, forms the boundary between Sind and Baluch- istan. Central Sind lies on both banks of the Indus, which flows S. in a bed that has been raised by the deposit of silt above the surrounding country. Except where its bed is confined by rocks, as at Sukkur, Rohriand along the edge of the Kohistan from Lakhi to Jhirak, the river constantly changes its course, especially in the delta, the head of which is now opposite Shah- bandar. Central Sind depends on the yearly inundation of the Indus, which begins to rise in March and reaches its highest point about the middle of August. The water is distributed by a very ancient system of canals, which has been greatly improved and extended since the British conquest. The soil is a plastic clay desposited by the river.

The great geographical feature in Sind is the lower Indus, which passes through the entire length of the country, first in a S.W. direction, then turning somewhat to the E., then returning to a line more directly S., and finally inclining to the W., to seek an outlet at the sea. The distant line of mountains between Sukkur and Sehwan, the steep pass overhanging the water at Lakhi, and the hill country below Sehwan give a distinctive character to the right bank. Sind has been aptly likened to Egypt. If the one depends for life and fertility on the Nile, so does the other on the Indus. The cities and towns are not so readily to be compared. Hyderabad, notwithstanding its remarkable fortress and handsome tombs, can scarcely vie in interest as a native capital with Cairo; nor can Karachi, as a Europeanized capital, be said to have attained the celebrity of Alexandria. The province contains many monuments of archaeological and architectural interest.

Owing to the deficiency of rain, the continuance of hot weather in Sind is exceptional. Lying between two monsoons, it just escapes the influence of both. The S.W. monsoon stops short at Lakhpat in Cutch, the N.W. monsoon at Karachi, and even here the annual rainfall is not reckoned at more than 6 or 8 in. At times there is no rain for two or three years, while at others there is a whole season's rainfall in one or two days. The average temperature of the summer months rises to 95° F., and the winter average is 60°, the summer maximum being 120° and the winter minimum 28°. The temperature on the sea-coast is much more equable than elsewhere. In northern Sind we find frost in winter, while both here and in Lower Sind the summer heat is extreme and prolonged. This great heat, combined with the poisonous exhalations from the pools left after the annual inundation and the decaying vegetable deposits, produces fever and ague, to which even the natives fall a prey.

Agriculture.—The salt of the delta is the only mineral product of commercial importance. Timber and fuel are supplied chiefly by the babul (Acacia arabica), bahan (Populus euphratica), kandi (Pro- sopis spicigera) and iron wood (Tocoma undulata), and fruit by the date, mango and pomegranate. The chief rabi or spring crops, sown from August to October and reaped from February to April, are wheat, barley, gram, oilseeds and vegetables. The chief winter or kharif crops, sown from May to July and reaped from October to December, are the millets (bajri and juar), rice, urad (Phaseolus radiatus), mung (Phaseolus mungo), cotton and indigo. Efforts are being made to introduce the long-stapled Egyptian cotton. Agriculture is almost entirely dependent upon irrigation from the Indus.

Manufactures.—Among the chief manufactures may be mentioned gold, silver, and silk embroideries, carpets, cloths, lacquered ware, horse-trappings and other leather-work, paper, pottery, tiles, swords and matchlocks, and the boxes and other articles of inlaid work introduced from Shiraz. Lac work, a widely extended industry in India, is also in vogue in Sind. Variously coloured lac is laid in succession on the boxes while turning on the lathe, and the design is then cut through the different colours. Hyderabad was long famous for its silks and cottons, silver and gold work and lacquered ornaments, and the district could once boast of skilled workmen in arms and armour; but these old industries are now on the decline. In the cloths called sudi, silk is woven with the striped cotton—a practice possibly due to the large Mahommedan population of the country, as no Moslem may wear a garment of pure silk. Chundari, or knotting, is another method of decorating cotton and silk goods. The extension of cotton cultivation in Sind has caused a brisk development in ginning factories of recent years. The Sind cotton- printers are the most skilful and tasteful in the Bombay presidency. Cotton carpets, rugs, horse-cloths, towels and napkins are manufactured at the gaols. Woollen saddle-cloths, blankets and felts are also made. Sind produces the best pottery of India. The art was introduced or developed by the Mahommedans, whose rulers gave it every encouragement. Magnificent tombs and mosques, now in ruins, testify to the skill of the ancient potters. Leather is worked in a variety of articles, such as saddle-covers for camels and horses, shoes, leggings and accoutrements. In 1904 two new flour and rice-cleaning mills were started at Sukkur.

Trade.—The trade of Sind is carried on through Karachi with foreign countries, and across the land frontier with Afghanistan, Baluchistan and Seistan. Karachi is the great port for the grain trade of all N. India, and is also the great strategic military port for the N.W. frontier. The chief articles of import are cotton and woollen goods, iron and steel, mineral oil, sugar, tea and machinery; while the chief exports are wheat and other grains, cotton, wool, oilseeds, hides and skins, and bones. On the land frontier the chief articles of import are horses, ponies, mules, sheep and goats, woollen and cotton piece-goods, wheat, gram and pulse, rice, fruits and nuts, provisions, stores, leather, ghee, raw wool, silver, assafoetida, drugjs, hides, fish, seeds, manufactured silk, spices and tobacco; while the exports are cotton twist and yarn, piece-goods, leather, metals, coal and coke, wheat, husked rice, liquors, ghee, sugar, tea, tobacco, wool and silver.

Fauna.—The last tiger in Sind was shot about 1885. Among other wild animals are the hyaena, the gurkhar or wild ass (in the S. of the Thar and Parkar district), the wolf, jackal, fox, wild hog, antelope, pharho or hog deer, hares and porcupines. Of birds of prey, the vulture and several varieties of falcon may be mentioned. The flamingo, pelican, stork, crane and Egyptian ibis frequent the shores of the delta. Besides these there are the ubara (bustard) or tilur, the rock-grouse, quail, partridge and various kinds of parrots. Waterfowl are plentiful; in the cold season the lakes or dhandhs are covered with wild geese, kulang, ducks, teal, curlew and snipe. Among other animals to be noted are scorpions, lizards, centipedes and many snakes.

The domestic animals include camels (one-humped), buffaloes, sheep and goats, horses and asses (small but hardy), mules and bullocks. Of fish there are, on the sea-coast, sharks, saw-fish, rays and skate; cod, sir, cavalho, red-snapper, gassir, begti, dangara and buru abound. A kind of sardine also frequents the coast. In the Indus, the finest flavoured and most plentiful fish is the palo, generally identified with the hilsa of the Ganges. Dambhro (Labeo rohita) and mullet, morako (Cirrhina mrigala), gandan (Notopterus hapirat), khago or catfish (Rita buchanani), popri (Barbus sarana), shakur, jerkho and singhdri (Macrones aor) are also found. Otter, turtle and porpoise are frequently met with ; so too are long-snouted crocodiles and water-snakes.

Forests.—The area of reserved forest in Sind is 1065 sq. m. The forests are situated for the most part on the banks of the Indus, and extend S. from near Rohri to the middle delta. They are narrow strips of land, from 2 to 3 m. in length, and ranging from 2 furlongs to 2 m. in breadth. The largest are between 9000 and 10,000 acres in area, but are subject to diminution owing to the encroachments of the stream. The wood is principally babul (Acacia arabica), bahan (Populus euphratica) and kandi (Prosopis spicigera). The tali (Dalbergia Sissoo) grows to some extent in Upper Sind ; the iron-wood tree (Tocoma undulata) is found near the hills in the Mehar districts. There are, besides, the nim (Melia Azadirachta), the pipal (Ficus religiosa), the ber (Zizyphus Jujuba). The delta has no forests, but its shores abound with mangrove trees. Of trees introduced are the tamarind (Tamarindus indica), several Australian wattle trees, the water-chestnut (Trapa natans), the aula (Emblica officinalis), the bahera (Terminalia Bellerica), the carob tree (Ceratonia Siliqua), the China tallow (Stillingia sebifera), the bel (Aegle Marmelos) and the manah (Bassia latifolia). There is a specially organized forest department.