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Introduction To 'Panjab Castes' By Denzil Ibbetson
The Census of the Panjab Province was carried out in 1881 by Mr. (afterwards Sir Denzil) Ibbetson of the 'Indian Civil Service and his Report on the Census was published in 1883. The Report has always been recognised as one of the most remarkable official publications in India, and a work of the greatest value both from the administrative and from the literary and scientific point of view. It at once attracted widespread attention, more especially in view of the copious information which it provided regarding the people of the Province, and a separate volume was issued in 1883, under the title of " Panjab Ethnography" which contained a reprint of those portions of the report which dealt with the Religions, the Languages, and the Races, Castes and Tribes of the people. The number of copies published, however, both of the report and of the Ethnography, was comparatively small and they are now difficult to procure outside Indian official circles. There are at the same time indications of a continuing demand for the Report, and more especially for the ethnological portion of it, and to meet this demand the Punjab Government had determined to undertake the issue of the present volume.
This volume reproduces a portion only,- that is the most important portion, of the original Report, namely the chapter on the Races, Castes and Tribes of the Panjab. The chapters on Religion and Language, which formed part of the "Ethnography" published in 1883, though valuable and interesting, have necessarily lost something of their original importance owing to the progress made in scientific enquiry during the last thirty years, but the chapter on the Races, Castes and Tribes still contains much valuable information that cannot be obtained elsewhere, and this chapter must always command attention and respect for its vigorous and comprehensive treatment of the subject. The figures are, ofcourse, out of date and the territorial boundaries of the province and districts with which the chapter deals are now considerably alterd. There are also, no doubts, points on which later investigation suggests modification of the facts and opinions generally given, but it has been thought best to reproduce the chapter as it stands, without any attempt to annotate it or bring it up to date. It is believed that in this way the wishes of most readers will best be met, and its felt that by this course the volume will best fulfil the further object which the Government of the Panjab has in view, namely, the perpetuation in the memory of the original writer.
There are so many still alive to whom Sir Denzil Ibbetson was personally non that anything like a complete description of this career in this introduction is unnecessary, but it may not be out of place to mention a few of its outstanding features. He was born on August 30th, 1847 and after being educated at St, Peter's College Adelaide, and St, John;s College, Cambridge, entened the Indian Civil Service in 1870. He was early in his service selected for the special post of settlement Officer at the Karnal District and Superintendent of the Census Operation in the Panjab, Secretary to the Government of India in the Revenue and Agricultural Department, Chief Commissioner of the Central Provinces, and Member of the Viceroy's Council. In 1970 he became Lieutenant-Governor of the Panjab, but held that important post for all too short a time, succumbing to a fatal malady on the 21st of February 1908.
No one to whom Sir Denzil-Ibbetson was known can ever forget his personality: his tall and commanding presence, his vivacious and original conversation, his constent sense of homour, his quick indignation and his equally quick sympathy. For the thoroughness of his erudition in many directions he was unsurpassed in India and as an administrator there are not a few who hold him to have been the greatest Indian Civil Servant of our time. His character and career are admirably summed up in an inscription placed by the Viceroy on whose council he served on the walls of the Simla Church which runs as follows :-
Table Of Contents For 'Panjab Castes' By Denzil Ibbetson
|The original preface to the Census Report of 1881||iii|
|The Chapter in the Census Report of 1881 on 'The Races Castes and Tribes of the Punjab'|
|Part I - Caste in the Panjab||1|
|Part II - The Biloch, Pathan and allied Races||38|
|Part III - The Jat, Rajput and allied castes||97|
|Part IV - The Minor Landowning and Agricultural Castes||164|
|Part V - Religious, Professional, Mercantile and Miscellaneous Castes||214|
|Part VI - Vagrant, Menial and Artisan Castes||266|
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