Henry Waterfield , ( 1875 ), Memorandum on the Census of British India 1871-72 , London , Eyre and Spottiswoode , p. 16

suggestions are made to account for this large number of children,—the most probable being the almost universal custom of marriage, coupled with the practice of contracting a second or third marriage if no male offspring result from the first (one instance is given of seven wives in Berar); but it may be questioned whether union at a very early age would generally result in large families.

Another view is that the proportion of children is excessive, owing to the greater mortality of adults in India than in colder countries. The inferences to be drawn from the tables of age have been worked out with great pains by Mr. Plowden, who is satisfied that, notwithstanding the notorious inaccuracy of Natives of India on the subject, the information has been obtained with sufficient probability to render it not unsafe to deduce general conclusions; and one which forces itself prominently on his mind is the very low rate of life, or rather the excessive mortality, which prevails in India, and which he considers to be about on a par with that found in Italy or Spain, and worse than in any other European country except Russia. Surgeon-Major Lumsdaine states the average age throughout the Bombay Presidency to be 11 or 12 years lower than the average in England; and he sums up the main differences between the population of Bombay and that of England with the observation that in the former the" children are "more numerous, they reach maturity earlier, and, as adults, they die earlier." Surgeon-Major Cornish expresses the same view when he says that" the aged are "rare, and youth superabundant, in an Indian community."


Classified according to religion, the population of British India is, in round numbers, divided into 140½ millions of Hindoos (including Sikhs), or 73½ per cent., 40¾ millions of Mahomedans, or 21½ per cent., and 9¼ millions of others, or barely 5 per cent., including under this title Buddhists and Jains, Christians, Jews, Parsees, Brahmoes, and Hill men of whose religion no census was taken or no accurate description can be given.

Hindoos 139,248,568
Sikhs 1,174,436
Mahomedans 40,882,537
Buddhists and Jains 2,832,851
Christians 896,658
Others 5,102,823
Religion not known 425,175

Thus, at least 19 in every 20 persons in India are either of the Hindoo or of the Mahomedan religion, and there are 7 of the former to 2 of the latter.

The Hindoo element preponderates especially in the south. In Mysore, it comprises 95 per cent, of the whole popu- lation, and in Coorg and Madras about 92 per cent. In Oude, the North-West Pro- vinces, Ajmere, and Berar, it forms between 80 and 90 per cent, of the people. Bombay contains 79½ per cent, of Hindoos, and the Central Provinces 7l½ per cent. In Bengal and Assam the percentage is about 64½, and in the Punjab 34¾ without, or 41¼ with, the Sikhs. In British Burma, the stronghold of Buddhism, there are only 11/3 per cent. of Hindoos.

Bengal 38,975,418
Assam 2,679,507
North West Provinces 26,568,071
Ajmere 252,996
Oude 10,003,323
Punjab 6,125,460
Central Provinces 5,879,772
Berar 1,912,155
Mysore 4,807,425
Coorg 154,476
British Burma 36,658
Madras 28,863,978
Bombay 12,989,329
Total 139,248,568

Conversely, the Mahomedans are found to be most numerous in the northern parts of India. In the Punjab they form the larger half, 53 per cent., of the population. In Bengal they amount to 321/3, and in Assam 26¾, per cent.; in Ajmere nearly 20, in the North-West Provinces 13½, and in Oude 10½, per cent.; Bombay has 17½ per cent, of Mussulmans; but in Berar and Coorg they do not come up to 7, in Madras they are barely 6, and in Mysore, British Burma, and the Central Provinces, they are only 4, 3½, and less than 3 per cent., respectively. It is remarkable that, of the 20½ millions of Mussulmans in Bengal and Assam (forming the larger moiety of the Mahomedan population of British India), 17½ millions are found in Eastern Bengal and the adjoining Districts of Sylhet and Cachar, where they amount to 49 per cent, of the total population; and in two districts, those of Bogra and Rajshahye, to about 80 per cent. In that part of the country they comprise the bulk of the cultivating

Bengal 19,553,831
Assam 1,104,601
North-West Provinces 4,189,348
Ajmere 62,722
Oude 1,197,704
Punjab 9,337,685
Central Provinces 233,247
Berar 154,951
Mysore 208,991
Coorg 11,304
British Burma 99,846
Madras 1,857,857
Bombay 2,870,450