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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 6, p. 195.


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BAHXAWALPUR STATE,


195


and Bikaner. Its length from north-east to south-west is about 300 miles,
and its mean breadth 40 miles. Devoid of hills and streams, except
the pools and backwaters of the three great rivers, it
Physical
is divided lengthwise into three great strips. Of these, aspects.
the first is a part of the Great Indian Desert, known
as the Rohi or Cholistan; the central tract is chiefly desert, not capable
of cultivation, identical with the Bar or Pat uplands of the western
Punjab; and -the third, a fertile alluvial tract in the river valley, is
called the Sind. The desert is separated from the central tract by
a depression known as the Hakra, which must at one time have
carried the waters of a large river. Opinions are divided as to whether
this river was the Sutlej, the Ghaggar, or the Jumna.
The State lies entirely in the alluvium. The Cholistan is a deep mass
of sand in which wells fail to reach a substratum of clay, and which is at
some places overlaid with deposits of amorphous sulphate of lime, while
its surface is a succession of sand-dunes, rising in places to a height of
500 feet, and covered with the vegetation peculiar to sandy tracts. The
central upland is a stiff clay mixed with sand, and the riverain tract is
a micaceous soil with alternating layers of light bluish silt.
The flora of the State is as varied as its natural divisions. The
scenery of the fertile riverain with its countless palms is almost Egyptian
in character, and the lotus abounds in the pools by the river. In the
uplands and in the Sind tamarisk jungles stretch for miles; and in the
Rohi there are stretches of dhar (Caroxylon Griffithti), from which
the State derives an income of more than Rs. 30,000.
Wolves are found in the Sind and Rohi, and the wild ass occurs
in the latter. Hog and hog deer abound in the Sind, and antelope,
chinkiara, or 'ravine deer,' and nil/ai in the uplands. Fish are common
in the rivers, and the State derives a small income from the fisheries
which are leased to the Jhabel, Mor, and Kehal-three indigenous
tribes of almost amphibious habits.
'In Bahawalpur,' says a local proverb, 'rain changes into storms of
wind.' In July and August showers fall occasionally, but the annual
rainfall rarely exceeds 5 inches. This deficiency of rain causes a climate
abnormally hot in spite of its extra-tropical latitude; and from the end of
April to the middle or end of June the mean shade temperature is I03,
the air is dry and the wind fiery, so that the growth of vegetation is im-
perceptible. During the monsoon clouds soften the temperature, and
with only an inch of rain the country becomes fresh and green. After
November the mean temperature falls to 60 or 65 with frosty nights.
The climate is generally healthy, except in the Sind during the autumn.
The water is bad in some places, and it is to this cause that the frequency
of stone and scurvy is attributed. Spleen-disease is common.
Floods are said to be less frequent than they were before the great


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