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The Land and the People.

§1. Extent, rainfall, soil and crops.

To-day nearly eleven millions of men, forming about half the entire population of the Bombay Presidency (minus its unnatural adjunct, Sindh), speak Marathi, and another nine millions living in the Central Provinces, the Nizam's Dominions, and other parts, claim the same language as their mother-tongue.*[1] This language has been steadily gaining ground since the days of the Peshwas, and its peaceful annexation of the children of ruder and less literary tongues has gone on unabated even during the British period.

But the Maratha country is not coextensive with the land where the Marathi speech prevails to-day.

  1. * The Census of 1911 showed a total of 19.8 millions as speaking Marathi (against 18.23 millions in 1901.) Of this total 10.74 millions live in Bombay and its States, 4.8 millions in the C. P., and 3.5 millions in the Haidarabad State. Marathi is spoken by above 86 p. c. of the population of the Konkan division, 85 p.c. of the Deccan division, and nearly 54 p. c. of Bombay city. In the C. P. 31 p. c. and in the Haidarabad State 26 p. c. of the population speak it.