Tuesday, November 11, 2014

95. Megh : Ahmedabad

बॉम्बे प्रेसिडेंसी गज़ेटियर - अहमदाबाद, सन-1879, से नीचे कुछ विशेष दृष्टव्य पंक्तियाँ उद्धृत की जा रही है। जो उस समय के मेघों के जन-जीवन पर कुछ प्रकाश अवश्य डालती है। मूल दस्तावेज का सन्दर्भ निम्नोक्त है-

Bombay :

Population के चैप्टर 3 मे हिन्दू जन संख्या में unclean classes में मोची और खालपा के वर्णन के बाद पृष्ठ 39-40 पर डिप्रेस क्लासेज में इनकी जन संख्या दर्ज की गयी-
"Besides the Khalpas there were five Depressed castes with a total strength of 54,427 souls (males 29,477, females 24,950) or 7-28 per cent of the total Hindu population. Of these 2333 (males 1213, females 1120) were Garudas or Dhed priests; 39,341 (males 21,272, females 18,069) Dheds, weavers and carriers of dead animals; 12,705 (males 6968, females 5737) Bhangias, scavengers ; and 48 (males 24, females 24) Parvaris, apparently of Deccan origin. Some of the Dheds and Bhangias are said to be in miserable condition." pages-39-40

ईसाई जनसँख्या का अलग से वर्णन है एवं उस समय के conversion पर अच्छी खासी जानकारी है, जिसमे ब्राह्मण से लेकर भंगी तक के धर्म परिवर्तन का जिक्र है-
"The Gogha Christian mission, begun by the Rev. James McKee in 1844, is part of the Kathiawar and Gujarat mission establishment, started and supported by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. Including three mission agents the Gogha Christian community at present (1878) numbers eighty-nine souls2 of whom twenty-three are communicants. Besides these there are several persons without families. The missionary lives at Gogha. The Gogha district has not been fruitful of converts. But in 1871 a number of Christian colonists came from Gujarat, and settled on a tract of land near the village of Kureda, about eleven miles south-west of Gogha. This settlement is the hamlet of Wallacepur, so called in memory of the Rev. James Wallace, long a missionary at Gogha. The hamlet of eight dwellings has a neat church with a good bell, a missionaries-house, a rest-house, a public well, and a cattle pond. The houses, most of them whitewashed within and without, have each two rooms and a walled-in yard with out-houses for fodder and cattle. Care is taken to keep the village clean, and the villagers are fined if they tie cattle in the street or in their verandahs, if they let dirt gather near the houses, or wash clothes at the village well. A row of trees runs along the centre of the present street, and other rows mark future street- lines. The village was laid out and most of the houses were built by the Rev. William Beatty, for ten years (1867-1877) missionary at Gogha. Additions have been made by the Rev. G. T. Rea, who since 1877 has been in charge of the mission. Some of the people of Wallacepur used to be weavers ; now all are farmers. A son of one of them is in the service of the Bhavnagar state as faujddr or chief constable. Another man, formerly a teacher, is in the same service as a road-overseer, while a third Christian acts as house steward to His Highness the Bhavnagar Chief. Each family in Wallacepur holds about thirty acres of land, part of it tilled and part under grass. The land and houses are rented from the mission, the mission being the Government tenant. Each family has a well. A light English iron plough and an English harrow have been introduced with good effect. Though in breaking up fresh soil four are needed, in ordinary tilled land the plough can be drawn by two bullocks. Each family owns one and some own two pairs of working bullocks, and several buffaloes and cows. The farm tools are also their own. They raise a good stock of poultry, which, with the eggs, they sell and use. Their food is the ordinary local grains and vegetables, and occasionally potatoes, tea, coffee, mutton and venison. Both men and women, some of whom were orphan girls brought up in the Surat Mission Orphanage, can nearly all read and write, and are daily instructed by the daughter of one of the settlers, who was educated in Ireland. They are also familiar with the Bible and Christian hymns. The people are from various castes, from the Brahman to the Dhed. They keep Sunday as a day of rest, most of them going twice to church services led by a native evangelist. They have also a social house-to-house religious meeting every evening. Caste feasts, customs, and distinctions, as well as excessive expen diture on festive occasions are strictly prohibited, as is the use of liquor, opium, and all other intoxicating or enervating preparations. Church censure or excommunication is the penalty for the breach of this rule. Tobacco smoking is allowed but discouraged. Though not blameless, the conduct of the community is better than that of ordinary natives of similar rank. No breach of the Penal Code has ever occurred in the village, though provocation from non-Christian neighbours has often been given. In several cases, people of different castes have intermarried, Brahmans with Kolis, Brahmans with Vanias, and Kolis with Dheds. Widow marriage is encouraged and has frequently taken place. Child marriage is unknown. Both bride and bridegroom must be old enough to choose for themselves and to understand the duties of husband and wife. Of Native Christian workers, three are evangelists and five school-teachers. The rest of the school-teachers are Hindus, Brahmans by caste. Seven schools, five for boys and two for girls, are at present at work, with an aggregate roll of 241, 192 of them boys and 49 girls. Three of the boys' schools are attended by good caste Hindus and Musalmans, and the remaining two by Dhed boys. One of the girls' schools is attended by upper class Hindus and the other by lower. A few girls also attend one of the Dhed schools. In two of the best schools Christian boys of Dhed parentage are pupils without objection from teachers or scholars. These upper schools, both for boys and girls, teach according to the Government standards, and receive yearly grants-in-aid. There is no other girls' school in Gogha. Christian books are taught in all the mission schools and Christian hymns are learned by heart. Until last year, when from the hard times attendance fell off, there were schools for Bhangias or sweepers, and many of this class hare learned to read and write. Bhangia boys are as a rule stupid. But Dhed boys, once in the way of learning are little, if at all, less gifted than higher class boys. Foot races and other games are sometimes got up for the school boys and are much enjoyed." pages- 43 to 45

ग्रामीण जनसँख्या में land administration में इनकी भूमिका रेखांकित करते हुए लिखा गया-
"-----In the Land Administration chapter some account is given of the constitution of Government and proprietary, tdlukddri, villages. Of the village staff those specially considered to be Government servants are the headman, patel or mukhi ; the village accountant, taldti ; the messenger, havdlddr ; the watchman, chokivdla; the tracker, pagi; and the sweepers and police of the Dhed, Bhangia, and Shenvo castes. Except the village accountant, taldti, and the messenger, havdlddr, who receive only money, village servants are paid either in cash or in land or in both. The watchmen and trackers, who are generally armed with swords, receive from some of the villagers doles of grain or money, and in return hold themselves responsible for property stolen from their houses.--------" page-46.

Under the heading of movement of people, there is also mention as given below:
"---------A short time ago all the hands in one of the Ahmedabad spinning mills struck work on finding out that one of the Marvadi workmen was a Dhed who had passed himself off as of higher caste." Page-48

capital and borrowers townsmen- ऋण ग्रस्तता पर टिप्पणी, देखे पृष्ठ- 69:
"------–thereon but his commission of one per cent, if the whole is repaid within a month or thereabouts. So even the Dhed weaver, if an approved customer, can get a loan of £1 (Rs. 10) on his own personal security, for the purchase of hand-made yarn on condition of his paying up as soon as lie has sold the manufactured cloth. Ten per cent is deducted at the time of the advance, and interest is charged at from nine to eighteen per cent per annum according to the promptness he has shown in previous similar transactions. If machine-made yarn is required, it is supplied by the Vania himself, and booked at an advance on the market price of from 3d. to Is. (2-8 as.) per 10s. (Rs. 5), according to the term fixed for payment." ------- the money, and by this means enables him to borrow on the same terms as he can command for himself. It may however be predicated of the great mass of Kolis, Vaghris, Dheds, and other rural labourers, that they have never had sufficient credit to be in debt. " पेज- 69 से 71

मजदूरी की दरों पर वर्णन करते हुए उनके बारे मे पृष्ठ 76 पर लिखा गया- "-------A Dhed weaver, if supplied with yarn, is paid at the rate of 2s. (one rupee) per piece of cloth two feet broad and thirteen to twenty yards long according to texture. He is moreover only expected to return the same weight of cloth as he received of yarn, whereby out of every five pounds of yarn he can retain about half a pound in exchange for the same amount of size." Page- 76

मजदूरों की हालातों में उनकी दुर्दशा का जिक्र, पृष्ठ 80 देखे-
"----------It is true that in Gogha, Dholka, and other places, which have only partially shared in the modern revival of trade, many Musalman women have suffered much, as work in their own homes such as spinning yarn is the only means of livelihood permitted to them by custom. Against this however may be set the increase in remunerative home labour in the cotton districts where even Brahman and Varna women unhusk cotton and do other light work. The Dheds too have been to a great extent ousted by machine-made cloth from their occupation of weaving. As there is a prejudice against employing these people on regular field work, and as the operatives in the steam mills and similar establishments refuse to associate with them they would have been hard pressed butfor (4) the extension of railway, local funds, and other public works, which give employment to large numbers of unskilled labourers of various castes. These ranks are swelled in the open season by gangs of Marvadis who mostly return to their country before the rains, but many who moved into the district during the famine of 1869 have settled as permanent residents." Page 80

गुलामी का जीवन- पृष्ठ 80 जमीदारी रिपोट 1819 के हवाले पर फूटनोट में बताया गया कि कोली आदि कई जातियां के लोग अकाल में गुलाम के रूप में बेच दिए जाते थे- "•Mr Dunlop in his jamdbandi report for 1819 notes that ' the Kolis of Bayad is Parantii are all slaves to the Patels, their ancestors having sold themselves during. famine ' All trace of this has disappeared and some of the sons of these slaves new make their way as far as Bhavnagar for employment in the open season". Page-80

पृष्ठ 115 का वर्णन स्वतः स्पस्ट है-
"-----The carcasses of animals which die in the homo are sometimes given, sometimes sold to Dheds, who carry them off for the sake of their skins and bury them." Page-115

सूती कपड़ा और बुनाई- "---- The weaving of cotton cloth is an important industry. At Ranpur a few Bohoras and Tais weave from English yarn cloth of a rather fine texture, finding a ready sale among the surrounding Girasias and Kathis. At Dholka from the same materials Hindu Khatris make women's robes, sddis, of much local repute for stead fastness of colour, and in Ahmedabad, although to a less extent, rich Musalman, Momna, and Hindu Khatris make very good silk- bordered waist cloths, dhotis, robes, sddis, scarfs, dupattds, and smaller waist cloths, chalotds, which are sent to Gujarat, Bombay, and Khandesh. With these and a few other exceptions the only hand- woven cloth is made by Dheds, a few of whom are found in almost every large village. Much of this cloth is now made of English or local mill-yarn. Dhed-woven cloth, though from differences of shape known as hhddi, chofdl, and doti, is all of the same coarse strong texture. Since the beginning of British rule hand loom weaving has greatly declined. In 18201 English made cloth was a new article in Ahmedabad trade. But so rapidly did it make its way that by 1825 even in the best mart of the district the consump tion of superior country made cloth had become very inconsiderable.8 The coarse hand woven cloth on account of its much greater strength held its own with the cheaper sorts of European cloth. But the produce of the local mills has greatly affected the demand for this class of hand woven goods." Page-131 उनके वस्त्र बुनाई पर फूटनोट (Bom. Gov. SeL X. 60. A doctor Gilder, senior partner in the firm of fiilder D'Souxa 4 Co. is said to have been the first to introduce European madapollams and yarn into this part of Gujarat. Brigs' Cities of Gujrashtra, 317. This class of goods still goes by the name of Doctori kapada, or doctor's cloth.)पेज-131------

"--------Wool weaving is not an industry of much importance. In Ahmedabad and still more in many of the country towns, Bharvads and Dheds weave wool into blankets and pack saddles. These articles have no special merit and are made chiefly for local use"पेज 139. continues---

शेष अगली पोस्ट में लिखा जायेगा।

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