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or cleared space on the open plain, and gathered into the round shaped storehouse of the Ryot, when the land is again subjected to the plough, and at the close of the rains when the last departing shower has well soaked the upturned clods, the cold weather crop is sown in all its profuse variety. Under the above comprehensive term we may learn what the alluvial land of Bengal is able to produce. Here the cold weather crop consists of Kalye or Vetches of every kind and denomination : there it is gram second only to the far-famed gram of Patna: here again it is a golden crop of barley rivalling the fairest produce of Norfolk or of Hertfordshire, or a magnificent out-turn of millet, or peas and mustard in one and the same furrow,-an arrangement which vividly recalls to our minds the direct prohibition of the old Jewish Law against sowing the field with mingled seed, or wearing a mingled garment of woollen and linen. With all of the above the Aumon or late rice crop has little or nothing to do. But there is one feature in its cultivation too curious to be omitted. In most European countries grain is sown, but it is new to us to hear that in Bengal it is planted. The Aous and the greater part of the Aumon crop, are of course scattered with the hand, after that the rude plough has at the least possible cost of time and labour to the cultivator, just marked out a few furrows in the yielding loam.* But a part of the Aumon crop, termed roa, is actually planted with the hand after the following fashion. A spot is chosen, often near a Ryot's hut, and sometimes in the very precincts of his courtyard, which is thickly sown with rice seed. When the corn has attained the height of eight or ten inches, it is taken up in small sheaves, and carried to a plot of ground, generally at some distance out in the plain, and often on the edge of the lowest lands, which has been previously scraped, smoothed, and cleansed for its reception. The stalks are then planted at the distance of a foot or so from each other in rows, and smoothed down close to the ground in the opposite direction to that whence the prevalent wind blows. The quincunx is formed on the most approved rules of husbandry, and under the combined influence of sun and shower, the plants, for they are no less, gradually raise themselves upright, and as the national poet of Rome would have said, seem to grow in amaze at their own productiveness.

Sometimes when the inundation rises too quickly for the growing corn, the first settings are drowned, and the same process of cleaning, scraping and planting is gone through again. In a good season the produce of the roa crop, cleared as it is from weed or jungle and with plenty of space all around, is perhaps the most valuable of any throughout the year. At the close of the rains a parting legacy in the shape of a heavy shower is ardently looked for and highly prized. If it occurs from the tenth to the twentieth of October, the hopes of the Ryot are at their height. After that the Aumon crop gradually falls by its own weight, or in some districts is smoothed down by a bamboo held lengthways by two men, and there it lies, exposed to the heavy dews of November and its clear north wind until the cutting day be come. We all know the dismay with which an English farmer would look on a fine twenty acre field of wheat, beaten down by the rain and wind of a July hurricane. We can hardly at first comprehend the complacency with which the Bengal cultivator gazes on his tangled crop of rice, level with the water, which its impervious shade keeps cool and almost cold through the whole November day in spite of the bright sun which shines overhead.

* We must make an exception in favour of those Ryots who bring deserted land into cultivation. Their labour is indeed on an equal footing with that of the sturdiest and hardest worked English day-labourer. To clear the jungle grass, roots and all, and cut a foot or so into the hard bound earth, demands a powerful wielding of the kodali or hatchet, and a good exercise of muscle and sinew. But once brought under the plough, the labour of the ensuing year is comparatively trifling.

We now come to the third and last species of rice, which is much less common than the other two. It is termed as we said, the Boru, and is sown just at the time when the latest produce of the Aumon is cut, and in places where other crops could never come to maturity. To understand this we must remember that although in the rainy season Bengal may almost be termed one enormous jhíl, and in the dry season one succession of hard clay-baked plains, yet thousands of bigahs are under water for the whole twelve months of the year. As these jhíls or jhíls decrease from the influence of the hot sun, their edges are scraped and cleared in the same manner as the ground for the roa crop. If a supply of water is at command, the Ryot defies sun and wind, and may sow and cut his crop at any time of the year, setting the seasons and their fluctuations at nought. Thus he plants his Boru crop in January or February, and keeping it constantly supplied with water from the jhíl, cuts it in April or May, when the swamps are at their lowest ebb, and have not yet commenced refilling from the earliest showers of the rainy season.

The above are, we believe, the main features of rice cultivation in the Lower Provinces. Local differences and peculiarities it would be easy to point out, but as a general rule, we think our account will be accurate. We now conclude the mysteries of paddy cultivation,-a word, which by the way, seems to baffle the endeavours of all enquirers into language and to sport with Philology. Paddy is certainly neither Persian, Sanskrit, por aboriginal Hindi, and to the best of our belief, it is not English. We should be obliged to any one who would enlighten us as to whence this outlandish expression dropped into Indian phraseology, and has been universally adopted to designate the staple produce of the plains of Bengal.

We have given the above sketch in the hope that it may not be altogether unacceptable to those who rightly estimate the value of the Lower Provinces. But in well cultivated districts, (and how few are not ?) there are several other means of forcing the soil to pay its tribute in places not exactly suited to the rice crop. Date gardens are highly valued not for the fruit but for the juice, and when the rice crop and the mahajan fail, the Ryot is only too glad to fall back on the gúr and the sugar merchant. Sugar-cane too is highly profitable to those Ryots who can command sufficient capital for the outlay without falling too deeply into the tender mercies of the money lender. At a cost of some twenty rupees cultivation per bigah, cane will give cent. per cent. and even more. Nor is the saline ground, which refuses to bear the rice crop, altogether let off. Sometimes it is reserved as a pasture ground for cattle, and sometimes it is enclosed and yields the long grass used in thatching. The dense mass of apparent jungle in which all Bengalis delight to shroud themselves and which encircles the Zemindar's palace as well as the Ryot's hut, is every where more or less productive. It is composed of the materials for food or for building, the cocoa-nut, the bamboo, the jack tree and the mango. There be seen the tall slender stalks of the supari or betel tree, and the towering stems of the cocoa-nut above them, their long arms waving in the breeze ; on the other side probably a thick garden of plantains, that curious link between the vegetable and the timber; in the back ground an underwood of wild cane, twining itself round every thing of firmer bulk ; and a little further on an undistinguishable mass of thorn, creepers, and underwood of every shade, length and denomination.

Such is the general aspect of a village in Bengal and such it will ever be, until the higher classes of natives will practically admit that currents of fresh air, and cleared spaces, and purified tanks, are not amongst the peculiarities of climate most prejudicial to health. There are in fact two sorts of jungle in Bengal, the one natural, and the other artificial. The, former, which still lives in the great Malda jungle, the Rajmahal hills, the Terai, and in some of the Eastern districts, or at least on those vast churs formed by the Megna or the Podma,

There may is slowly but certainly disappearing before the spread of cultivation under our rule. But it disappears only to be succeeded by one of a different kind. The Ryot must have his fruit tree and his bamboo which yield him a return with no amount of labour, but that required for gathering or cutting, his protection for the womankind, and his shade against the fierce sun of April or May. If he attains these primary objects he is content. No matter how much miasma may be exhaled from the decaying vegetation, how much disease may lurk in that fair but deceitful mass of green foliage, how many reptiles and venomous snakes


be concealed in the unwholesome shades which surround his paternal inheritance. The sun and the gaze of the passing neighbour must alike be excluded. Grant him this and he will endure with stoical fortitude, the periodical fever, the steamy heat of the rains, and the fetid water which stagnates in the pools whence he has dug the materials for his bíta, only because it cannot feel the influence of the breeze and the light. Many a time on threading his way through a small and miry path in the midst of such a jungle the traveller has suddenly come on some respectable Grihastha's dwelling, and has wondered at the well-to-do appearance of the whole,—the four departments of the house towards the four cardinal points of the compass, neatly thatched and in good repair, the cpen courtyard between, as cleanly swept as that of the most thrifty housewife in England, the cow-house where some four or five bullocks are lazily cropping the dub grass, and it may be the Thakur bari where the owner pays his devotions to the presiding deity.

Jungle such as the above is met with in every district in Lower Bengal, and often most where the greatest amount of cultivation prevails. It is the inseparable accompaniment of the spread of agriculture. Let a new village be founded on some wide extended plain covered with nothing higher than the mere jungle grass, by an enterprizing Planter, or by a Zemindar possessed of more energy than his neighbours, and in the course of a very few years the artificial jungle springs up by the side of the hut and lays incontinently the foundation of future disease and mortality. But the real natural jungle, the opponent of agricultural wealth, the mainstay of primeval barbarism, is fading away gradually under the stability of our rule. Not more certainly have the back settlers in the woods of America removed the deer and the Red Indian some hundreds of miles from their frontier, than the Bengal Ryot has the tiger and the wild elephant from whole districts together. Those entirely cultivated are, as may be readily imagined, the nearest to the great commercial capital. In Húgly, Baraset, the twenty-four Pergunnahs, Jessore and Nudiya, it is,


generally speaking, one vast sheet of rice in the plain, and the fruit-bearing trees in the village. In others remnants of the jungle still remain and hold a sort of disputed reign, with civilization. Such are the districts of Furrídpore, Múrshedabad, Pubna, Bakergunge and Dacca. To the west Midnapore is still more than half overrun with the low shal tree jungle: Bancurah is only partly cleared, and Bírbhúm has its dry Kankar rock and its hills crowned with thick brushwood. To the south again the Sunderbunds are gradually being narrowed, and may possibly return at some future period to that state of cultivation in which tradition represents them to have been some five hundred years ago.

To the east and the north the wild beast has often undisputed sway over whole tracts. The hills of Chittagong are clothed with an almost impenetrable shield. Beyond Dacca and Tipperah heavy tree jungle is to be met with. To the north of Purnea and north east of Rungpore stretch the deadly Morung and the forests of Kúsh Bahar. And in Rajshahi, Bogra, the vast district of Mymunsing, Malda and Dinajpore, the deer and the tiger still hold the same haunts,-fierceness and timidity in close approximation. It is not altogether uninteresting to mark the successive steps by which the Denizens of the Forest give way to man. The lordly Elephant is the first to depart. Old Travellers speak of him as found on both sides of the Ganges, and he is now, we believe, banished to the hills of Rajmahal, the great forests of Berar, or caught in the Kheddahs of Chittagong. Next goes the Rhinoceros. The jungle monarch holds his own a little longer, but retreats or is killed when he cannot change his haunts so as to elude the search of the sportsman. With him or shortly after him, go the Peacock, the jungle Fowl, and the Deer of all species, the spotted, the Hog Deer, and that graceful and diminutive species, the Mouse. A longer space is allowed to the vast herds of Buffaloes, who often lord it in the very teeth of cultivation over a jhíl, a large plain, or a chur, which regains in one season what it lost in the one preceding. The Leopard or Panther and the wild Hog remain the last of all. Common jungle grass or the village itself are ample shelter for them, to the daily detriment, not perhaps of the lives, but of the herds and the crops of the Ryot.

The network of rivers which intersect Bengal form too curious a feature in its history to be altogether omitted. To them it owes in part its origin, from their currents it is daily undergoing some change and under their adverse or propitious influence the spread of cultivation is either retarded or promoted. These rivers are of every imaginable size. The deep well-filled stream, navigable at all times of the year and never varying in its level

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