Geology, Meteorology And Ethnology Of Meghalaya
As its title indicates, the book contains a brief but significant account of the geological structure, meteorology and ethnology of Khasi Hills in the North Eastern Frontier of India during the middle of Nineteenth Century when its region was annexed by the British power and made administratively a part of Bengal. Assam had already acquired the distinction of possessing unlimited mineral wealth. During 1851, the author who was holding the post of the Superintendent of the Geological Survey of India, proceeded to the station of Chira Poonjee which is famous for the heaviest rainfall in the world, with a view to examine the mode of occurrence, extent and character of its mineral wealth particularly the iron ores which had for many ages been worked in these hills. He visited some of the principal washings for the iron ore, traced out some of the coal beds and examined and reported on the coal pits at Lakadong in the Jyntea (Jantia) hills. He continued his efforts to make the geological researches into the physical structure of these hills during 1952 as well. He found that a very large area in the Khasi hills was composed of salty and gneissose rocks presenting for the most part a highly crystalline character and traversed throughout their entire extent by numerous veins of granite and here and there by dykes an bursts of greenstone. The second part of the book records the author?s observations about the economical geology of the Khasi Hills. Among its mineral products the most important are lime, coal and iron ore. The working of local mines was given on a perpetual lease, by Soobah Singh, the then Raja of Chera Poonjee, to the British Government on a nominal royalty of Re. 1 for every 100 maunds according to an Agreement signed by the Rajah with British power on 20th April, 1840. The book also describes the growth and cultivation of agricultural crops like potato, pine-apples and oranges in the Khasi hills from where they were exported to Calcutta markets. At the end there are three Appendices. They record the elevation above the sea of various localities in the Khasi Hills and the climate and meteorology of Chera Poonjee which has a peculiar position on account of its situation on the summit of a highly elevated which rises rapidly and almost perpendicularly from the great expanse of the plains of Bengal. Lastly in the third appendix the author has described the language and ethnology of the Khasis. He has described the peculiar position of the country inhabited by Khasis, their connection on the one side with the Bengali groups that dwell on the plains of Sylhet, Tipparah (Tripura) and Mymensing and on the other side with the Assamese and several other factors which continue to render the study of their language, their habits and customs as one of great interest. The book is undoubtedly one of the earliest authentic reference tools and a valuable source book of immense research utility for those who are engaged in the research on geography, geology, anthropology, ethnology and meteorology and the North Eastern Front of India.
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