9o B URD WAN DIVISION
disease has gradually died out, and the population is at present rapidly
increasing. There are now 591 inhabitants to the square mile. In
1901 Hindus constituted 83 per cent. of the population, Musalmans
13 per cent., and Animists 3 ffper cent., while there were 9,463 Chris-
tians, of whom half were natives. The Division is peopled largely by
castes closely allied to the tribes of Chota Nagpur, such as the Bagdi,'
Bauri, Kaibartta, Kora, Mal, and Santal. It is also the home of several
distinctive castes with claims to a higher rank in the Hindu social
system, such as the Aguri, Sukli, Sadgop, Kayasth, and Raju, and is
the head-quarters of a well-known sub-caste of Brahmans.
District. Area in Population, and cesses,
square miles. 1901. 1903-4,
Burdwan 2,689 11902,280 31,58
Bankura 2,621 1,r16,4r1 5,72
Midnapore 5,186 2,189,114 1 28,02
Hooghly 1,191 1,049,232 1 ' 15,87
Howrah * 850;514
- _ 96,54
Total -_13 949 81240,076
* The land revenue and cesses of Howrah are paid into the Collectorate
of Hooghly and are included in the figures for that District.
The Division contains 27 towns and 24,869 villages, the largest
towns being HOWRAH, the great suburb of Calcutta (population,
157,594), SERAMPORE (44,451), BURDWAN (35,022), MIDNAPORE
(33,140), HOOGHLY with CHINSURA (29,383), and BANKURA (20,737).
The BHAGIRATHI, the old channel of the Ganges, is still the sacred
stream of the Hindus, TRIBENI and TARAKESWAR in Hooghly District
possess considerable religious importance, and in Birbhum several
localities are associated with the legends of Hindu mythology. The
whole of the strip extending along the west bank of the Hooghly from
north of Hooghly town to the south of Howrah is of great historic
interest, containing the sites of the old capital Of SATGAON and of
successive settlements of the Portuguese, English, Dutch, French, and
Danes at Bandel, Hooghly, Chinsura, Chandernagore, and Serampore.
The same tract, which includes Howrah, Bally, and Serampore, is now
one of the most densely populated industrial areas in India. The
north-west of the Division is rich in iron and coal, the centres of the
industry being at RANIGANJ and ASANSOL ; the output of coal in
1903-4 amounted to 2,837,071 tons. Silk is manufactured in Midna-
pore, Birbhum, and Bankura.
The greater part of the estates of the Maharaja of Burdwan (see
BURDW,XN RRJ) lies within the Division. These were closely assessed