THE EMPIRE OF INDIA
India is a great triangle, 1,900 miles across its greatest length and an equal distance across its greatest breadth. It extends from a region of perpetual snow in the Himalayas, almost to the equator. The superficial area is 1,766,642 square miles, and you can understand better what that means when I tell you that the United States has an area of 2,970,230 square miles, without counting Alaska or Hawaii. India is about as large as that portion of the United States lying east of a line drawn southward along the western boundary of the Dakotas, Kansas and Texas.
The population of India in 1901 was 294,361,056 or about one-fifth of the human race, and it comprises more than 100 distinct nations and peoples in every grade of civilization from absolute savages to the most complete and complex commercial and social organizations. It has every variety of climate from the tropical humidity along the southern coast to the frigid cold of the mountains; peaks of ice, reefs of coral, impenetrable jungles and bleak, treeless plains. One portion of its territory records the greatest rainfall of any spot on earth; another, of several hundred thousand square miles, is seldom watered with a drop of rain and is entirely dependent for moisture upon the melting snows of the mountains. Twelve thousands different kinds of animals are enumerated in its fauna, 28,000 plants in its flora, and the statistical survey prepared by the government fills 128 volumes of the size of our census reports. One hundred and eighteen distinct languages are spoken in various parts of India and fifty-nine of these languages are spoken by more than 100,000 people each. A large number of other languages and dialects are spoken by different tribes and clans of less than 100,000 population. The British Bible Society has published the whole or parts of the Holy Scriptures in forty-two languages which reach 220,000,000 people, but leave 74,000,000 without the Holy Word. In order to give the Bible to the remainder of the population of India it would be necessary to publish 108 additional translations, which the society has no money and no men to prepare. From this little statement some conception of the variety of the people of India may be obtained, because each of the tribes and clans has its own distinct organization and individuality, and each is practically a separate nation.
Language. Spoken by Language. Spoken by
Hindi 85,675,373 Malayalam 5,428,250
Bengali 41,343,762 Masalmani 3,669,390
Telugu 19,885,137 Sindhi 2,592,341
Marathi 18,892,875 Santhal 1,709,680
Punjabi 17,724,610 Western Pahari 1,523,098
Tamil 15,229,759 Assamese 1,435,820
Gujarathi 10,619,789 Gond 1,379,580
Kanarese 9,751,885 Central Pahari 1,153,384
Uriya 9,010,957 Marwadi 1,147,480
Burmese 5,926,864 Pashtu 1,080,931
The Province of Bengal, for example, is nearly as large as all our North Atlantic states combined, and contains an area of 122,548 square miles. The Province of Rajputana is even larger, and has a population of 74,744,886, almost as great as that of the entire United States. Madras has a population of 38,000,000, and the central provinces 47,000,000, while several of the 160 different states into which India is divided have more than 10,000,000 each.
The population is divided according to religions as follows:
Hindus 207,146,422 Sikhs 2,195,268
Mohammedans 62,458,061 Jains 1,334,148
Buddhists 9,476,750 Parsees 94,190
Animistic 8,711,300 Jews 18,228
It will be interesting to know that of the Christians enumerated at the last census 1,202,039 were Roman Catholics, 453,612 belonged to the established Church of England, 322,586 were orthodox Greeks, 220,863 were Baptists, 155,455 Lutherans, 53,829 Presbyterians and 157,847 put themselves down as Protestants without giving the sect to which they adhere.
The foreign population of India is very small. The British-born number only 96,653; 104,583 were born on the continent of Europe, and only 641,854 out of nearly 300,000,000 were born outside the boundaries of India.
India consists of four separate and well-defined regions: the jungles of the coast and the vast tract of country known as the Deccan, which make up the southern half of the Empire; the great plain which stretches southward from the Himalayas and constitutes what was formerly known as Hindustan; and a three-sided tableland which lies between, in the center of the empire, and is drained by a thousand rivers, which carry the water off as fast as it falls and leave but little to refresh the earth. This is the scene of periodical famine, but the government is pushing the irrigation system so rapidly that before many years the danger from that source will be much diminished.