Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
844
BHANG—BHARATPUR

pulse, linseed, and a little sugar-cane. The district is traversed by the main road from Nagpur to the east, and also by the Bengal-Nagpur railway. It suffered in the famine of 1896-1897, and yet more severely in 1900.

Bhandara district contains 25 semi-independent chiefships. These little states are exempted from the revenue system, and only pay a light tribute. Their territory, however, is included within the returns of area and population above given. The climate of Bhandara is unhealthy,—the prevailing diseases being fever, small-pox and cholera. Nothing is known of the early history of the district. Tradition says that at a remote period a tribe of men, called the Gaulis or Gaulars, overran and conquered it. At the end of the 17th century it belonged to the Gond raja of Deogarh. In 1743 it was conquered by the Mahrattas, who governed it till 1853, when it lapsed to the British government, the raja of Nagpur having died without an heir.

BHANG, an East Indian name for the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa (see Hemp), but applied specially to the leaves dried and prepared for use as a narcotic drug. In India the products of the plant for use as a narcotic and intoxicant are recognized under the three names and forms of Bhang, Gunja or Ganja, and Churrus or Charas. Bhang consists of the larger leaves and capsules of the plant on which an efflorescence of resinous matter has occurred. The leaves are in broken and partly agglutinated pieces, having a dark-green colour and a heavy but not unpleasant smell. Bhang is used in India for smoking, with or without tobacco; it is prepared in the form of a cake or manjan, and it is made into an intoxicating beverage by infusing in cold water and straining. Gunja is the flowering or fruit-bearing tops of the female plants. It is gathered in stalks of several inches in length, the tops of which form a matted mass, from the agglutination of flowers, seeds and leaflets by the abundant resinous exudation which coats them. Churrus is the crude resinous substance separated from the plant. The use of preparations of hemp among the Mussulman and Hindu population of India is very general; and the habit also obtains among the population of central Asia, the Arabs and Egyptians, extending even to the negroes of the valley of the Zambezi and the Hottentots of South Africa. The habit appears to date from very remote times, for Herodotus says of the Scythians, that they creep inside huts and throw hemp seeds on hot stones.

BHARAHAT, or Barhut, a village in the small state of Nagod in India, lying about 24° 15′ N. by 80° 45′ E., about 120 m. S.W. of Allahabad. General A. Cunningham discovered there in 1873 the remains of a stūpa (i.e. a burial mound over the ashes of some distinguished person) which were excavated, in 1874, by his assistant, J. D. Beglar. The results showed that it must have been one of the most imposing and handsome in India; and it is especially important now from the large number of inscriptions found upon it. The ancient name of the place has not been yet traced, but it must have been a considerable city and its site lay on the high road between the ancient capitals of Ujjenī and Kosāmbī. The stūpa was circular, 70 ft. in diameter and 42 ft. high. It was surrounded by a stone railing 100 ft. in diameter, so that between railing and stūpa there was an open circle round which visitors could walk; and the whole stood towards the east side of a paved quadrangle about 300 ft. by 320 ft., surrounded by a stone wall. On the top of the stūpa was an ornament shaped like the letter T, and as the base of the stūpa was above the quadrangle, the total height of the monument was between 50 and 60 ft. But its main interest, to us, lies in the railing. This consisted of eighty square pillars, 7 ft. 1 in. in height, connected by cross-bars about 1 ft. broad. Both pillars and cross-bars were elaborately carved in bas-relief, and most of them bore inscriptions giving either the name of the donor, or the subject of the bas-relief, or both. There were four entrances through the railing, facing the cardinal points, and each one protected by the railing coming out at right angles, and then turning back across it in the shape of the letter L. This gave the whole ground plan of the monument, and no doubt designedly so, the shape of a gigantic swastika (i.e. a symbol of good fortune). By the forms of the letters of the inscriptions, and by the architectural details, the age of the monument has been approximately fixed in the 3rd century B.C. The bas-reliefs give us invaluable evidence of the literature, and also of the clothing, buildings and other details of the social conditions of the peoples of Buddhist India at that period. The subjects are taken from the Buddhist sacred books, more especially from the accounts given in them of the life of the Buddha in his last or in his previous births. Unfortunately, only about half the pillars, and about one-third of the cross-bars have been recovered. When the stūpa was discovered the villagers had already carried off the greater part of the monument to build their cottages with the stones and bricks of it. The process has gone on till now nothing is left except what General Cunningham found and rescued and carried off to Calcutta. Even the mere money value of the lost pieces must be immense, and among them is the central relic box, which would have told us in whose honour the monument was put up.

See A. Cunningham, The Stūpa of Bharhut (London, 1879); T. W. Rhys Davids, Buddhist India (London, 1903).

 (T. W. R. D.) 

BHARAL, the Tatar name for the “blue sheep” Ovis (Pseudois) nahura, of Ladak and Tibet. The general colour is blue-grey with black “points” and white markings and belly; and the horns of the rams are olive-brown and nearly smooth, with a characteristic backward curvature. In the absence of face-glands, as well as in certain other features, the bharal serves to connect more typical sheep (q.v.) with goats.

BHARATPUR, or Bhurtpore, a native state of India, in the Rajputana agency. Its area covers 1982 sq. m. The country is generally level, about 700 ft. above the sea. Small detached hills, rising to 200 ft. in height, occur, especially in the northern part. These hills contain good building stone for ornamental architecture, and in some of them iron ore is abundant. The Banganga is the only river which flows through the state. It takes its rise at Manoharpur in the territory of Jaipur, and flowing eastward passes through the heart of the Bharatpur state, and joins the Jamna below Agra.

Bharatpur rose into importance under Suraj Mall, who bore a conspicuous part in the destruction of the Delhi empire. Having built the forts of Dig and Kumbher in 1730, he received in 1756 the title of raja, and subsequently joined the great Mahratta army with 30,000 troops. But the misconduct of the Mahratta leader induced him to abandon the confederacy, just in time to escape the murderous defeat at Panipat. Suraj Mall raised the Jat power to its highest point; and Colonel Dow, in 1770, estimated the raja’s revenue (perhaps extravagantly) at £2,000,000 and his military force at 60,000 or 70,000 men. In 1803 the East India Company concluded a treaty, offensive and defensive, with Bharatpur. In 1804, however, the raja assisted the Mahrattas against the British. The English under Lord Lake captured the fort of Dig and besieged Bharatpur, but were compelled to raise the siege after four attempts at storming. A treaty, concluded on the 17th of April 1805, guaranteed the raja’s territory; but he became bound to pay £200,000 as indemnity to the East India Company. A dispute as to the right of the succession again led to a war in 1825, and Lord Combermere captured Bharatpur with a besieging force of 20,000 men, after a desperate resistance, on the 18th of January 1826. The fortifications were dismantled, the hostile chief being deported to Benares, and an infant son of the former raja installed under a treaty favourable to the company. In 1853 the Bharatpur ruler died, leaving a minor heir. The state came under British management, and the administration was improved, the revenue increased, a system of irrigation developed, new tanks and wells constructed and an excellent system of roads and public buildings organized. Owing to the hot winds blowing from Rajputana, the climate of Bharatpur is extremely sultry till the setting in of the periodical rains.

In 1901 the population was 626,665, a decrease of 2%. The estimated revenue is £180,000. The maharaja Ram Singh, who succeeded his father in 1893, was deprived of power of government