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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 7, p. 123.


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BASTAR 123
who was twenty years old in 1905, has been educated at the Rajkumiar
College, Raipur.
The population in 901o was 306,501 persons, having decreased by
i per cent. during the previous decade. The State contains 2,525
inhabited villages, and the density of population is only 23 persons per
square mile. About two-thirds of the inhabitants are Gonds, and there
are also a number of Halbas. The Gonds of Bastar are perhaps the
wildest tribe in the Province. In some localities they still wear no clothing
beyond a string of beads round the waist, while the approach of a stranger
is frequently a signal for the whole village to take to the jungle. The
language principally spoken is Halbi, a mixed dialect of Hindi, Oriya, and
Marathi. Bhatri, a dialect of Oriya, is the speech of about 6 per cent.
of the population, while the Maria Gonds have a language peculiar to
themselves. More than 7 per cent. of the population speak Telugu.
The Methodist Episcopal Church has a station at Jagdalpur.
The soil throughout the greater part of Bastar consists of a light clay
with an admixture of sand, well adapted to the raising of rice, but
requiring a good supply of water. There has been no cadastral survey
except in 647 villages of the open country on the plateau, of which 486
have been regularly settled. No statistics of cultivation for the State as
a whole are therefore available. The cultivation is, however, extremely
sparse, as even in the regularly settled tract, which is the most advanced
and populous portion of the State, only 25 per cent. of the total area
available has been brought under the plough. Rice is by far the most
important crop, but various small millets, pulses, and gram are also
grown. There are a few irrigation tanks in the open country. About
9,800 square miles, or three-fourths of the whole area of the State, are
forest or grass land. but only about 5,ooo square miles contain regular
forest. The remainder either has been wholly denuded of forest growth
by the system of shifting cultivation, or is covered only by valueless low
scrub. The moist or sal forests occur in the tract south of the Indravati
and east of the Bailadila range, principally occupying the valleys and
lower hills and the eastern plateau. The dry forests, in which the
principal tree is teak, are distributed over the south, west, and north-
west of the State, and also cover the higher slopes of the hills in the
moist forest belt. The commercial value of the forests is determined
at present rather by their proximity to a market and the comparative
facilities of transport than by the intrinsic quality of the timber. The
principal products are teak and other timbers, myrabolams, lac,
wax, honey, hides and horns, tanning and dyeing barks, tasar silk
cocoons, and other minor articles. Rich and extensive deposits of iron
ore occur, especially in association with the transition rocks. Mica has
been found in several places, the largest plates discovered near Jungani
from surface deposits measuring about 5 inches across, but being cloudy



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