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Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/121

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NUMBERS, RACES, AND LANGUAGES

Fever is very rife in October and November, and these are the most unhealthy months in the year, March and April being the best. The variations under fevers and plague from year to year are enormous. In 1907 the latter claimed 608,685 victims, and the provincial death-rate reached the appalling figure of 61 per 1000 Next year the plague mortality dropped to 30,708, but there were 697,058 deaths from fever. There is unfortunately no reason to believe that plague has spent its force or that the people as a whole will in the near future generally accept the protective measures of inoculation and evacuation. Vaccination, the prejudice against which has largely disappeared, has robbed the small-pox goddess of many offerings As a general cause of mortality the effect of cholera in the Pan jab is now insignificant. But it is still to be feared in the Kashmir valley, especially in the picturesque but filthy summer capital. Syphilis is very common in the hill country in the north-east of the province. Blindness and leprosy are both markedly on the decrease. Both infirmities are common in Kashmir, especially the former. The rigours of the climate in a large part of the State force the people to live day and night for the seven winter months almost entirely in dark and smoky huts, and it is small wonder that their eyesight is ruined.

Occupations.— The Pan jab is preeminently an agricultural country, and the same is true in an almost greater degree of the N.W.F. Province and Kashmir. The typical holding is that of the small landowner tilling from 3 to 10 acres with his own hands with or without help from village menials. The tenant class is increasing, but there are still three owners to two tenants. Together they make up 50 p.c. of the population of the Panjab, and 5 p.c. is added for farm labourers. Altogether, according to the census returns 58 p.c. of the population