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Henry Waterfield , ( 1875 ), Memorandum on the Census of British India 1871-72 , London , Eyre and Spottiswoode , p. 5


Memorandum on the Census of British India of 1871-72.

Census taken in 1871-72.

In the year 1871-72 the first approach was made to the taking of a general census for the whole of India at a given date. Enumerations of the people had already been made in the North-West Provinces in 1853 and 1865, in Oude in 1869, in the Punjab in 1855 and 1868, in the Hyderabad Assigned Districts in 1867, and in the Central Provinces in 1866; while in Madras quinquennial returns have been prepared since 1851-52 by the officers of the Revenue Department, giving with more or less accuracy the numbers of the people in each district, and in British Burma also a tolerably correct census is made each year for the purpose of the capitation rate. Nor was the Government supposed to be without some means of forming an estimate of the numbers under its rule in Bengal, in Bombay, or in the minor provinces, though in Bengal at least the estimate has been found to have been utterly wrong. The Census of 1871 was, however, an attempt to obtain for the whole of India statistics of the age, caste, religion, occupation, education, and infirmities of the population; and the results, for their respective provinces, have been carefully analysed in the reports written by Mr. Beverley for Bengal, Mr. Plowden for the North-West Provinces, Mr. Neill for the Central Provinces, Surgeon-Major Cornish for Madras, Surgeon-Major Lumsdaine for Bombay, Mr. M`Iver for British Burma, and Major Lindsay for Coorg and for Mysore, which State, though administered for its Native Prince, may for present purposes be treated as part of British India.

Imperfection in the Census.

Unfortunately the enumeration was not carried out in all the provinces, it being thought undesirable to incur the expense or disturb the people in the Punjab, Oude, and Berar so soon after the last census taken in those parts of the country. In the following endeavour, therefore, to bring into one view particulars relating to the whole population of British India, it will be necessary to use for those provinces returns which are from three to six years antecedent in date to the general census of 1871-72.

The following Statement gives the Area and Population of British India as shewn in the various Census Reports, with the best information available relating to the Native States:-

Under British Administration
Feudatory States
Total
Provinces
Area in Square Miles.
Population.
Area in Square Miles.
Population.
Area in Square Miles.
Population.
Government of India            
Ajmere 2,661 316,032 - - 2,661 316,032
Berar 17,334 2,231,565 - - 17,334 2,231,565
Coorg 2,000 168,312 - - 2,000 168,312
Mysore 27,077 5,055,412 - - 27,077 5,055,412
Central India and Bundelkund - - 81,140 7,699,502 81,140 7,699,502
Hyderabad - - 78,003 10,666,080 78,003 10,666,080
Munnipoor - - 7,584 126,000 7,584 126,000
Rajpootana - - 118,947 8,981,588 118,947 8,981,588
Bengal 157,598 60,467,724 39,321 2,212,909 196,919 62,680,633
Assam 53,856 4,132,019 - - 53,856 4,132,019
North West Provinces 81,403 30,781,204 5,445 907,013 86,848 31,688,217
Oude 23,992 11,220,232 - - 23,992 11,220,232
Punjab 101,829 17,611,498 114,358 5,299,448 216,187 22,910,946
Central Provinces 84,963 8,201,519 28,834 1,049,710 113,797 9,251,229
British Burma - - 88,556 2,747,148 - - 88,556 2,747,148
Madras 138,318 31,281,177 9,810 2,027,048 148,128 33,308,225
Bombay 124,462 16,349,206 63,253 9,298,612 187,715 25,647,818
Total 904,049 190,563,048 546,695 48,267,901 1,450,744 238,830,958

*Excluding the Cachar and Luckimpoor Hills, of which the population was not counted, the area of Assam is 41,798 square miles.

According to the most recent information from India, the area of one or two of the provinces differs slightly from that above given,* the correction being due either to more accurate survey or to the transfer of territory from one admini -