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IN 1867 A GAZETTEER was published for the Central Provinces .with the following remarks from Sir R. Temple, the then Chief Commissioner of the Provinces:

"It has long seemed to the Chief Commissioner that a Gazetteer is needed for the Central Provinces. None will dispute that for the good management of districts local knowledge is necessary. The more detailed and intimate such knowledge is, the better. This remark, however general may be its application, is particularly applicable to provinces like these, where the areas are widespread; where the tribes and circumstances are diverse; where the component parts are separated from each other by mountain barriers or other physical obstacles; where information is often difficult of acquisition by reason of the remoteness of localities; and where the annals of the country, though to some extent existing, are for the most part inaccessible to the majority of our countrymen.

"When such knowledge is merely acquired by individuals, it is apt to be of a fugitive character, owing to those frequent changes which are inevitable in Indian administration. It constantly happens that when an officer has, by travelling about, and by communicating with the people, learnt very much regarding his district, he is obliged by ill health, or by the requirements of the service, or by other reasons, to leave, and then he carries all his knowledge away with him, his successor having to study everything ab initio.

"Thus it becomes of importance that the multiform facts of local interest and value should be recorded by all who have the means of knowing them; and that such record should be embodied in an abiding shape, patent to, and within the reach of all, so that everyone who is concerned to ascertain these things may have the ordinary resources of information ready to hand.

"Therefore it was in 1864 resolved to collect materials for a Gazetteer. With this view all officers serving in these Provinces were furnished with a sketch of the information required. In due course every officer transmitted the data for his district. Advantage was also taken of the Settlement Department being in operation to obtain therefrom all the facts bearing on the subjects in question. Thus in the course of two years a mass of information in manuscript was accumulated.

"The work thus brought out, though probably as complete as it can be made at the present time, is yet avowedly imperfect, and is in some respects only preliminary. The information generally may from year to year be supplemented by further details, and on numerous points will doubtless be found susceptible of emendation. The statistics especially will constantly be open to enlargement and rectification. Still a broad foundation for future superstructure has at least been raised. (The Gazetteer of the Central Provinces of India by Charles Grant, 1870, pp. v-vi.)."

The impression of that edition was soon exhausted and a revised edition was prepared in 1870 by Mr. Charles Grant, Secretary to the Chief Commissioner of the Central Provinces. The article on Nagpur in the volume running into 54 pages and divided into various sections, with the exception of one or two slight interpolations, was contributed by Mr. M. Low, a former Deputy Commissioner of Nagpur.

The Gazetteers for the various districts of the Central Provinces were compiled in the beginning of this century and the first Nagpur District Gazetteer was prepared by Mr. R. V. Russell, I.C.S., in 1908, who in his prefatory note wrote:

"The extant Settlement Reports on the Nagpur District are those of Mr. A. B. Ross (1869) and Mr. R. H. Craddock (1899). A large part of the Gazetteer has simply been reproduced, from Mr. Craddock's Report, including the description of the District, the notice of climate, several notices of castes, a part of the chapter on Agriculture and that on Land Revenue Administration with numerous other quotations. The description of the Bhonsla dynasty and of the occurrences during the Mutiny is taken from Mr. M. Low's interesting article on the Nagpur District in the Central Provinces Gazetteer of 1871; and some details have been added from the collection of papers called , Sitabaldi', printed under the direction of Mr. J. O. Miller, then Chief Commissioner. The chapter on General Administration, the article on Nagpur City and a note on the Material Condition of the People were furnished by Mr. F. Dewar, lately Deputy Commissioner of the District, and constitute an interesting epitome of its recent rapid development. A number of the Gazetteer articles, including those on Saoner, Katol, Kalmeshwar, Mohpa, Mowar, Narkher, all the articles on rivers, and those on tahsils, together with the notice of Wild Animals, were contributed by Mr. D. G. Mitchell, Assistant Commissioner; and the section on Manufactures by Mr. B. De, Assistant Commissioner. The section on Geology and Minerals were written by Mr. L. L. Fermor of the Geological Survey; that on Communications by Captain Oldham, R. E., and the excellent article on Kamptee by Lieut.-Col. F.A.C. Kreyer, for many years Cantonment Magistrate. The articles on Ramtek, Nagardhan and Mansar were written from notes drawn up by Mr. Hira Lal, Assistant Gazetteer Superintendent. The photographs of Sitabaldi, Ambajheri tank and Government House were given by Mr. J. K. Batten."

In Bombay Presidency' as early as 1843 an attempt was made to arrange for the preparation of Statistical Accounts of the different districts. The following extracts (Gazetteer of Bombay Presidency, Vol. I, Part I (History of Gujarat, pp. iii and iv). will he found interesting as giving an idea of the intention of those who desired to have such Accounts compiled:
Government called on the Revenue Commissioners to obtain from all the Collectors as part of their next Annual Report, the fullest available information regarding their districts. . . . . . Government remarked that, as Collectors and their Assistants during the large portion of the year moved about the district in constant and intimate communication with all classes, they possessed advantages which no other public officers enjoyed of acquiring a full knowledge of the condition of the country; the causes of progress or retrogradation, the good measures which require to be fostered and extended, the evil measures which call for abandonment, the defects in existing institutions which require to be remedied, and the nature of the remedies to be applied. Collectors also, it was observed, have an opportunity of judging of the effect of British rule on the condition and character of the people, and their caste prejudices, and on their superstitious observances. They can trace any alteration for the better or worse in dwellings, clothing and can observe, the use of improved implements of husbandry or other crafts, the habits of locomotion, the state of education, particularly among the higher classes whose decaying means and energy under our most levelling system compared with that of preceding Governments will attract their attention. Finally they can learn how far existing village institutions are effectual to their end and may be made available for self-government and in the management of local taxation for local purposes:

"In obedience to these orders, reports were received from the Collectors of Ahmedabad, Broach, Kaira, Thana and Khandesh. Some of the reports contained much interesting information. These five northern reports were practically the only result of the Circular Letter of 1843."

The matter does not seem to have been pursued any further.

In October 1867, the Secretary of State for India desired the Bombay Government to take concrete steps for the compilation of a Gazetteer of the Presidency on the model of the Gazetteer prepared during that year for the Central Provinces. The Government of Bombay then requested some of its responsible officials to submit a scheme for carrying into effect the orders of Secretary of State, and in 1868, appointed the Bombay Gazetteer Committee to supervise and direct the preparation of the Gazetteer. After a few organisational experiments the responsibility was finally entrusted to Mr. James M. Campbell of the Bombay Civil Service, who commenced the compilation in 1874 and completed the series in. 1884. The actual publication, however, of these volumes was spread over a period of 27 years between 1877 and 1904 in which year the last General Index Volume was published.

Though a Gazetteer literally means only a geographical index or a geographical dictionary, the scope of this particular compilation was much wider. It included not only a description of the physical and natural features of a region but also a broad narrative of the social, political, economic and cultural life of the people living in that region. The purpose which the Gazetteer was intended to serve was made clear in the following remarks of Sir William Hunter, Director-General of Statistics to the Government of India, when his opinion was sought on a draft article on Dharwar District in 1871(Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, Vol. I, Part I (History of Gujarat), p. vii.). He said

"My own conception of the work is that, in return for a couple of days' reading, the Account should give a new Collector, a comprehensive, and, at the same time, a distinct idea of the district which he has been sent to administer. Mere reading can never supersede practical experience in the district administration. But a succinct and well-conceived district account is capable of antedating the acquisition of such personal experience by many months and of both facilitating and systematising a Collector's personal enquiries. . . . But in all cases a District Account besides dealing with local specialities should furnish a historical narration of its revenue and expenditure since it passed under the British rule, of the sums which we have taken from it in taxes, and of the amount which we have returned to it in the protection of property and person and the other charges of Civil Government."

The Gazetteer was thus intended to give a complete picture of the district to men who were entire strangers to India and its people but who as members of the ruling rare carried on their shoulders the responsibility of conducting its administration.

The Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency had 27 Volumes, some split up into two or three parts, making a total of 35 books including the General Index which was published in 1904. Some of the Volumes were of .a general nature and were not confined to the limits of a particular district. For example, Volume I dealt with History and was split up into two parts, one dealing with Gujarat and the other with Konkan, Deccan and Southern Maratha Country; Volume IX was devoted to the Population of Gujarat and contained two parts, one describing Hindus and the other Musalmans and Parsis, but there was no corresponding Volume devoted to the population of Maharashtra or Karnatak; Volume XXV gave an account of the Botany of the area covered in the whole Presidency. The remaining volumes dealt with various districts of the Presidency and with what were then known as Native States attached to the Bombay Presidency. Same of the District Volumes had two or three parts, for example, those of Thana, Kanara, Poona and Bombay. On the other hand, there was only one combined volume for some districts as for example, Surat and Broach, and Kaira and Panch Mahals.

The scheme of the contents was more or less the same for all the District Volumes though the accounts or particular items varied considerably from district to district. Information was collected from Government offices and, in respect of social and religious practices, from responsible citizens. Eminent scholars, experts and administrators contributed articles on special subjects.

This Gazetteer compiled over many decades ago had long become scarce and entirely out of print. It contained authentic and useful information on several aspects of life in a district and was considered to be of great value to the administrator, the scholar and the general reader. There was a general desire that there should be a new and revised edition of this monu­mental work. The then Government of Bombay, therefore, decided that the old Gazetteer should be revised and republished and entrusted the work of revision to an Editorial Board specially created for that purpose in 1949. This volume has been prepared under the guidance of that Editorial Board by the Gazetteers Department, Government of Maharashtra. In view of the Reorganisation of States in 1956 and the coming into existence of the State of Maharashtra in 1960, areas far which no District Gazetteers had previously been compiled are taken up and new District Gazetteers are being compiled in accordance with the common pattern.

In the nature of things, after a lapse of over many decades after their publication, most of the statistical information contained in the old Gazetteer had become entirely out of date and had to be dropped altogether. In this edition an attempt has been made to give an idea of the latest developments whether in regard to the administrative structure or the economic set-up or in regard to social, religious and cultural trends. There are portions in the old Gazetteer bearing on archaeology and history which have the impress of profound scholarship and learning and their worth has not diminished by the mere passage of time. Even in their case, however, some restatement is occasionally necessary in view of later investigations and new archaeological discoveries by scholars, and an attempt has been made to incorporate in this edition, the results of such subsequent research. The revision of old Volumes has, in fact, meant an entire rewriting of most of the chapters and sections. In doing so, statistical and other information is obtained from the relevant Departments of Government, and articles on certain specialised subjects are obtained from competent scholars.

In this dynamic world, circumstances and facts of life change, and so do national requirements and social values. Such significant changes have taken place in India as in other countries during the last half-a-century, and more so after the advent of Independence in 1947. The general scheme and contents of this revised series of the Gazetteers have been adapted to the needs of altered conditions. There is inevitably some shift in emphasis in the presentation and interpretation of certain phenomena.

For example, the weighted importance given to caste and community in the old Gazetteer cannot obviously accord with the ideological concepts of a secular democracy, though much of that data may have considerable interest from the functional, sociological or cultural point of view. What is necessary is a change in perspective in presenting that account so that it could be viewed against the background of a broad nationalism and the synthesis of a larger social life. It is also necessary to abridge and even to eliminate, elaborate details about customs and practices which no longer obtain on any extensive scale or which are too insignificant to need any elaboration. In the revised Gazetteer, therefore, only a general outline of the practices and customs of the main sections of the population has been given.

An important addition to the District Volume in this edition is the Directory of Villages and Towns given at the end which contains, in a tabulated form, useful information about every village' and town in the district. The district map given in this edition is also fairly large and up-to-date.

The revised Gazetteers are published in two series:-

1. The General Series: - This comprises volumes on subjects which can best be treated for the State as a whole and not for the smaller area of a district. As at present planned, they will deal with Physical Features, Fauna, People and their Culture, History, Language and Literature, Botany, and Public Administration.

2. The District Series:-This contains one Volume for every district of the Maharashtra State. The information given in all the Volumes will follow the same pattern, and the table of contents will more or less be the same for all the districts.

In the preparation of this Volume, this Department has received every assistance from the Gazetteers Unit, Ministry of Education, Government of India. A draft copy of this Volume was sent to the Gazetteers Unit and, was returned with valuable suggestions which have been incorporated in the Volume. The Government of India gives a grant-in-aid of Rs. 6,000 per Volume towards the cost of compilation and 40 per cent of the actual printing charges.

March 1966.
Executive Editor and Secretary.