(First Edition 1983)
This volume is the sixth in the series of the Punjab District Gazetteers published under the scheme of Revision of District Gazetteers. The previous editions of the Firozpur Gazetteer were prepared under the British regime from time to time, as detailed below:
The original edition of the Firozpur District Gazetteer was published in 1883-84. Mr. F mainly based it on the Settlement Reports and a draft Gazetteer compiled between 1870 and 1874. Cunningham, Barrister-at-Law. Notes on certain points were supplied by district officers, while the Census Report of 1881 was also utilized. Shortly after the publication of the first edition of the gazetteer, the area of the district was considerably enlarged in consequence of the partition of the then Sirsa District which took place in November 1834. the whole of the Fazilka Tehsil (together with a few villages from the Dabwali Tehsil) was attached to his district. A revised edition of the gazetteer was thus rendered necessary, which was published in 1888-89. Mr. E.B. Francis, Settlement Officer, Firozpur, appears to have been responsible for this revision. After the publication of the revised edition of the gazetteer, numerous changes took place and the district developed greatly. Another revised edition was, therefore, prepared in 1915 and published in 1916 by Mr. M.M.L. Currie, Settlement Officer, Firozpur. It was based on the previous edition of 1888-89, but a considerable amount of new matter was included.
Besides the above-mentioned three editions of the main descriptive volume of the district gazetteer in the old series, their Statistical Tables were prepared in 1904, 1913 and 1935 and published in separate volumes.
Since the compilation of the last edition of the Firozpur District Gazetteer in the middle of the second decade of the present century and especially after the achievement of independence in 1947, vast developments have taken place in the political, social, cultural and economic life of the people. The partition of the country in 1947. Placed the district on the international border with Pakistan. The mass migration of the minority population from both sides of the border with Pakistan completely changed the social set-up of the region. The implementation of the Five-Year Plants has brought about vast development in all spheres of life. An attempt has been made to depict the impact of such developments and changes in the present volume of the gazetteer.
The preparation of the present edition of the Firozpur District Gazetteer was actually taken up in April 1971. By the time the draft was about to be completed, the hitherto district of Firozpur was bifurcated on 7 August 1972, and two of its tehsil/subdivisions, viz. Moga and Muktsar were transferred to the newly created Faridkot District. Thus, the re-organized Firozpur District was left with remaining three tehsils/subdivisions, viz. Firozpur, Zira and Fazilka (including the Sub-tehsil Abohar). Since the data for the gazetteer was collected and compiled before the bifurcation of the district, it was decided that the gazetteer may be recast by eliminating the data and references of places pertaining to the Moga and Muktsar tehsil s, wherever possible. Accordingly, the gazetteer was revised and sent to the Government of India in November 1975 which was received back in November 1977 after their approval. However, due to certain procedural factors, the publication of the gazetteer remained withheld. As the information/data contained in the gazetteer related to the year 1971-72, it was, therefore decided in 1980 to revise it to bring the figures up-to-date. Accordingly, the gazetteer was revised and the information/data up to the year 1979-80 was incorporated.
It would be interesting to note that the Survey of India have changed the spellings of the district ‘Ferozepore’ to that of ‘Firozpur’ which have been adopted in this gazetteer.
In the preparation of this volume, the Gazetteers Unit has benefited immensely by the able guidance and encouragement given by the Financial Commissioners. Revenue, and other officers of the Department from time to time.
My thanks are due to the staff of the Gazetteers Unit, viz Sarvshri Jagmohan Singh Hans, Rajinder Singh Gandhi, Editors; Rajinder Kumar Gupta, Ved Parkash Rampal and Mohinder Singh Sandhu, compilers; and Sureshar Lal Sahi, Draftsman-cumArtist for assisting me in the preparation of this volume.
I am indebted to the late Dr. Kishan Singh Bedi, M.Sc. (Agr. Pb.) Ph.D (minn) USA, retired Joint Director, Agriculture, Punjab, for going through the draft and making useful suggestions. It is a matter of satisfaction that he accomplished this job a few days prior to his demise in December 1981.
My thanks are also due to Dr. PN Chopra, Editor (Gazetteers) and the officers of the Central Gazetteers Unit, New Delhi, for their scrutiny of the draft and making suggestions.
I am grateful to the various Heads of departments and offices in the State, especially the Deputy Commissioner, Firozpur, and the different officers working under him for extending whole-hearted cooperation in supplying the requisite information and data for the compilation of this volume.
Thanks are also due to the Controller, Printing and Stationery, Chandigarh, and his staff for extending full cooperation in the printing of this volume
CHANDIGARH B.R. SHARMA
1 October 1982 STATE EDITOR, GAZETTEERS.
1. Chart showing Growth of Population in the Firozpur District, 1951-1981.
2. Chart showing Tehsilwise Population in the Firozpur District, 1981.
3. Chart showing Classification of Area by Land Use in Firozpur District, 1979-80.
4. Chart showing number of Educational Institutions in the Firozpur District, as on 30 September 1979.
5. Panj Pir, Abohar.
6. Victory Pillar at Ferozshah.
7. Anglo-Sikh Was Memorial at Ferozeshah.
8. Saragari Memorial, Firozpur Cantonment.
9. Memorial of Martyrs Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru and Sukhdev at Hussainiwala.
10. Victory Pillar at Mudki.
11. Victory Pilar at Sobraon.
(i) Origin of the Name of the Firozpur District --- The name Firozpur obviously means the town of Firoz. Probably the founder was Firoz Shah Tughlaq (A.D.) 1351-88), as the place must always have occupied an important position on the line of communication between Delhi and Lahore. Another tradition, however, ascribes its foundation to one of the Bhatti chief named Firoz Khan, in the middle of the sixteen century.
(ii) Location, General, Total Area and Population of the District:-- The Firozpur District lies between latitude 29-55’ and 31-09’ and between longitude 73-53 and 75-24’. Before 15 August 1973, this district was the southernmost of the seven districts of the Jalandhar Division of the Punjab State. On that date, the new Firozpur Division was formed and the Firozpur District was included in it. The boundary of the present Firozpur District on the east runs along the Faridkot District. On the north-east, the River Satluj generally separates it from the Jalandhar and Kapurthala districts. the united stream of the Satluj and the Beas generally separates it from the Amritsar District in the north-west, and farther down from the Pakistan, with the exception of some areas on each side of the river.
District comprises there tehsils/subdivisions, viz. Firozpur in the middle, Zira on the east, Fazilka on the south-west. All important places in the District are connected by rail or road.
Almost 11 km from the Hussainiwala border on the west and 121 km from Ludhiana in the east lies the City of Firozpur, the headquarters of the District administration. By road, it is 116 km from Amritsar, 130 km from Jalandhar, 122 km from Ludhiana, 103 km from Bathinda (via Kot Kapura), and 86 km from Fazilka. The city lies on the Firozpur Cantonment—Ludhiana Branch Line of the Northern Railway.
According to the Director of Land Records, Punjab, Jalandhar, the area of the District during 1971-72 was 5864.06 sq. km. The tehsil-wise area is given below :-
Tehsil Firozpur 1,813.37
Tehsil Zira 1,312.64
Tehsil Fazilka 2,738.05
According to the 1981 Census, the population of the Firozpur District was 13,07,804 comprising that of the Firozpur Tehsil--4,36,655, that of the Zira Tehsil --2,95,958 and that of the Fazilka-5,75,191.
(iii) History of the District as an Administrative Unit and the Changes in its Component Parts --- The district came into being on the annexation of Firozpur by the British in 1836. As a result of the First Anglo-Sikh War, 1845-46, the ilaqas of Khai Mudki, etc. and certain other Lahore territories, east of the Satluj, were added to it. When the Badhni District (now called Badhni Kalan in the Faridkot District) was broken up in 1847, some of its parts were added to the Firozpur District. The next addition compressed portions of the ilaqas of Muktsar and Kot Kapura in 1852. In 1856, the estates of the deposed Nawab of Mamdot were annexed. In 1958, village of Sibian was taken back from the Faridkot State. On the partition of the Sirsa District in 1884, its western half was included in the Firozpur District. In 1959, the Nathana Sub Tehsil (comprising 37 villages) of the Firozpur Tehsil was transferred to the Bathinda District. On the exchange of enclaves between India and Pakistan on 17 January 1961, following an agreement between the Government of India and the Government of Pakistan on 11 January 1960, certain areas in the vicinity of the Suleimanki Headworks in the Fazilka Tehsil were transferred to Pakistan in exchange of the areas near the Hussaniwala Headworks. These areas were added to the Firozpur Tehsil.
On 17 March 1970, 3 villages of the Zira Tehsil of the Firozpur District were transferred to the Shahkot Sub-Tehsil of the Nakodar Tehsil of the Jalandhar District, Eighteen villages of the Nakodar Tehsil of the Jalandhar District were transferred to the Zira Tehsil of the Firozpur District. Nine villages of the Patti Tehsil of the Amritsar District were transferred to the Zira Tehsil of the Firozpur District.
The above-mentioned 9 village, transferred from the Patti Tehsil of the Amritsar District to the Zira Tehsil of the Firozpur District were further transferred to the Firozpur Tehsil on 15 September 1971.
On 7 August 1972, two tehsils, namely Moga and Muktsar, of the Firozpur District were transferred to the Faridkot District, formed on the same date. The Firozpur District was, thus, left with only three tehsils, namely Firozpur, Zira and Fazilka, with a total number of 1,054 inhabited villages.
(iv) Subdivisions, Tehisils and Thanas --- The District is divided into three tehsils, namely Firozpur, Zira and Fazilka, all of which have been upgraded to subdivisions and are under the control of three subdivisional officers,
The tehsil-wise list of police-stations and police posts, in the District is given in Chapter XII ‘Law and Order and Justice..
Physiographically, the Firozpur District constitutes a part of the Punjab plain, which is largely flat and featureless and is formed of Pleistocene and Sub-recent alluvial deposits of the Indo-Gangetic system. Wind act has also played a part in shaping the relief of the District, located as it is in the vicinity of the Rajasthan Desert. That is why the alluvial surface of the District is strewn with sand-dunes in some parts.
The general elevation of the District ranges from 230 metres in the north-east to about 175 metres in the south-west, giving a north-east-to south-west gradient of one metre in 4km. Though the physiography of the District is apparently a homogeneous plain, in general, it displays significant variations, if examined at local levels. The following three torrain units can be indentified :
(i) The floodplain of the Satluj
(ii) the sand-dune-infested tract
(iii) The upland plain.
(i)The Floodplain of the Satluj—the floodplain of the Satluj occupies the northern half of the Zira Tehsil, the northern and western sections of the Firozpur Tehsil and the north-western part of the Fazilka tehsil. This tract is locally known as the bet Satluj. It is a lowlying, uneven 10-15 -km-wide stretch of land along the Satluj River. It is covered with new alluvium and is separated from one sand-duen-infested tract to its south and east by a low cliff. Before the damming of the Satluj at Bhakra and the construction of barrages at Nagal and Harike, the River used to flood this tract during the rainy season. This area is quite safe from floods at present, giving stability to its settlements and agriculture. At places, the tract contrains abandoned courses of the River, patches of marshy land, and pockets of thickly growing grasses. It is now being reclaimed or agriculture and other uses.
(ii) The Sand-Dune-Infested Tract—This tract, which runs parralles to the bet Satluj to it south and east and which covers the lower part of the Zira Tehsil, the eastern half of the Firozpur Teshil and the middle zone of the Fazilka Tehsil, is a linear stretch of numerous closely spaced sand-dunes. In fact, this tract coincides largely with the old course of the Satluj, through which the River used to flow about 400 years back, since when it has been drifting westwards. The base of the sand-dune-infested tract is formed of the alluvium deposited by the River. The sand-dunes here have been deposited by strong winds, from south-west and north-west, picking up sand largely from the dry bed of the River during winter and the pre-monsoon periods when the discharge in the River is meagre. the sand-dunes are small, a few hundred metres long, and generally low, only 2 to 5 metres above the level of the surrounding ground. However, these sand-dunes are spaced close to one another, providing a distinct type of topography.
(iii) The Upland Plain --- The upland plain, which includes the interior parts of the District, possesses a firm base of old alluvium, with sporadically distributed sand-dunes superimposed on it. Here, the soils are reddish brown sandy loam. Within the upland plain, however, there are differences in certain respects. the north-eastern part is higher (its elevation ranging from 215 to 230 metres) than the south-western part, the elevation of which is 175 to 200 metres. Moreover, the frequency of sand-dunes is more in the latter (which adjoins the Rajasthan Desert) than in the former.
It may be noted that many of the sand-dunes, both in the sand-dune-infested tract and in the upland plain, have been levelled by the farmers and brought under cultivation. This expansion in agricultural land has been made possible by the extension of irrigation, particularly by canals. This development has brought about considerable changes in the topograph of the District. In brief, the physiography of the District was originally designed by the depositional work of the Satluj. Later on, it was worked over by the action of the wind simultaneously with that of the River. Recently, man has been instrumental in smoothening out some of the irregularities in relief consequent upon the development of canal irrigation.
(c) The River System and Water Resources
(i) The Main River, Tributaries and Canals :-
The Satluj River --- The Satluj is the main river of the Firozpur District. It forms the northern boundary between this District and the districts of Jalandhar, Kapurthala and Amritsar. It also separates this District from Pakistan in most parts. The physiography of the district owes its origin largely to the alluvium deposited by this River.
The Satluj performs a total journey of about 200 kilometers along the northern and western borders of the Firozpur District. It enters the District near the Village of Bhodiwala after passing through the Jalandhar and Ludhiana districts. From here it follows a north-westerly course for about 40 km till it reaches harike (situated in the Amritsar District to the other side of the River), where it is joined by the Beas River coming from the north-east. The Satluj flows towards west for about 15 km from Harike and then it turns south-west, a direction which it keeps through the rest of its journey in the District. It passes into Pakistan at Suleimanki.
The Satluj, like most of the rivers in northern India, ha undergone a westward drift during the recent historical times. There is ample evidence to show that it ran throughout the present sand-dune-infested tract about 400 years back. At that time, it did not meet the Beas at Harike, but made its confluence with it somewhere between Bahawalpur and Multan. The westward drift is perhaps explained by Ferrel’s law, according to which moving bodies in the Northern Hemisphere tend to drift to their right.
The Satluj used to be a furious river during the rainy season and used to cause much destruction through its floods before it was dammed up at Bhakra. The diversion of the waters of the River into canals at Nangal, Rupnagar, Harike and Hussainiwala has been responsible for significantly reducing the mighty stream into a semi-dry bed. The River now contains only a small trickily of water during. most of the year.
The Sukar or Sukka Nala ----- Mention may be made of the Sukar or Sukka Nala (dry channel) which is small drainage channel marking its course between the new and the old beds of the Satluj River. In fact, this Nala occupies one of the abandoned courses of the Satluj. It originates near Tihara in the Ludhiana District, enters the Firozpur District near the Village of Jindra and traverses through the flood plain of the Satluj as the Sukka nala in the Zira Tehsil and later on as the Sukhbar Nala in the Firozpur and Fazilka tehsils. This Nala has characteristically serpentine course.
Canals --- Apart from the natural drainage lines discussed above, the District possesses a fairly dense net work of canals. The Rajasthan and Bikaner canals pass through the District, but their waters are meant for use in Rajasthan only. The Eastern Canal System irrigates some areas of the District. Besides, the Sirhind Canal System serves the District.
In sum, it is only in its north and east that the District is traversed by the Satluj River. Otherwise, it is devoid of any other large natural body of water. Of course, it possesses a dense network of canals which play a prominent role in the agriculture of the District.
(iii) Underground Water Resources
Groundwater in the District occurs both under the water-table and under confined conditions. Shallow phreatic aquifers are unconfined and are tapped by means of open wells and shallow tube-well. Systematic studies on groundwater in the District yet remain to be carried out. However, about 3,200 sq. km has been covered in connection with investigations into waterlogging. The studies have shown two very different groundwater conditions occurring in juxtaposition in the District. A longitudinal strip, broadly 35 km wide and running parallel to the Satluj River (between the Satluj and the Bikaner Canal) in a south-west to north, east direction from Fazilka to Firozpur , and then taking a swing towards the east in conformity with the bed of the River, has been affected with waterlogging. Waterlogging or the rise of the water-table to the base of the root zone of the plants has been particularly sever in the regions which are characterized by a low topographic relief. Waterlogging in this tract has been attributed chiefly to the high permeability, characteristics of the soil, to the rapid textural variation of the classic material at shallow depths, the relatively low acquifer transmissibility, salt accretion in the soil and excessive recharge over the discharge of ground-water in the canal-command area. The water-table in this tract rests within three meters from the ground-level. Soil alkalinization has been observed in certain places within the affected area. Shallow tube-wells drilled in this tract to depths ranging from 30 to 60 metres from the ground-level and the tapping the water-table acquifers yield between 45-90 kilolitres of water per hour at economic drawdowns. The chemical quality of the groundwater from these shallow tube-wells is generally fresh and potable and has been found suitable for domestic consumption and irrigation.
The area in the south and south-east of the waterlogged tract (i.e south-east of the Bikaner Canal) suffers from acute scarcity of fresh potable groundwater. the water-table is generally deep and rests between 6 and 40 metres from the ground-level. The drop in the water-table outside the waterlogged areas generally conforms to the topographic rise. The water in the formation, by and large, is brackish to saline. It has been observed that the mineralization of groundwater increases with the depth of salinity, in general, and is chiefly attributed to aridity in this area. In addition, the low permeability of the water-bearing formations which progressively decrease with depth owning to overburden transits of great length from areas of recharge in the case of deep aquifers and a prolonged contract of water with the formation material may also raise the level of sodium chloride in the water at various depths. However, in certain localized areas, particularly in the canal-command areas, freshwater lenses resting over saline groundwater have been generally encountered. The formation of such freshwater lenses has chiefly resulted from the infiltration of canal water which effects (1) a dilution of the mineralized groundwater in the upper stratum of the zone of saturation, and (2) the accumulation of fresh recharged water over the saline groundwater in the area.
Such freshwater lenses are, however, limited in thickness, and have been generally observed to occur down to depths ranging from 20 to 50 metres from the ground-level. Any increase in the pumping of fresh water or the deepening of wells in such areas may lead to the intrusion of saline water from the deeper levels. Electrical resistivity surveys undertaken in the Abohar Sub-Tehsil for the delineation of the zones of fresh and saline water have generally indicated the presence of fresh-water lenses of varying thickness resting over saline groundwater in the area. Appreciable, or often abrupt, variations in the thickness of the freshwater columns have been recorded. The thickness of this column has been found to vary, on an average, from two to forty metres, being greatest along the canals, where the interface of fresh and saline water has been invariably pushed down owing to continuous infiltration and owing to canal water. Resistivity have indicated that the areas to the north of the branch of the Abohar Canal appear to have very limited thickness of the layers of fresh water. But the area on the east and south-west of Abohar shows an appreciable thickness of the freshwater column and is found to the favourable to the development of groundwater by shallow tube-wells.
The shallow tube-wells drilled in the areas around Abohar to depths ranging from 9 to 24 metres from the ground-level yield fresh potable water. The yield of the tube-wells varies from 20 to 140 kilolitres of water per hour. The exploitation of groundwater from shallow depths is also done through open wells. Deep tube-wells which have been attempted in this area have invariably yielded brackish to saline water.
An analysis of the water-table in the Firozpur District makes an interesting study. Parts of the floodplain of the Satluj area waterlogged, the water-table being within one or two metres from the surface. thus whereas the parts of the floodplain of the Satluj suffer from waterlogging, most of the other areas of the District have deep water-tables, and the underground water is brackish only at places.
(i) Geological Formation
The area forms a part of Indo-Gangetic alluvium. It is practically flat except for occurrence of small scattered sand-dunes. The geological formations identified in the area are : sandy clay with saltpetre encrustations at places, clay with sporadic sandy nodules, coarse sand, a water-bearing sand horizon. and impervious clay. The formations which have been encountered from a bore-hole drilled for oil, are the middle and upper Shiwaliks (between 195 and 700 metres).
(ii) Mineral Resources
Except saltpetre, other mineral occurrences in the Firozpur District are rather rare. The seepage of natural gas and the occurrences of groundwater have also been reported from this area.
Natural Gas --- The seepage of natural gas has been reported from Zira. The details of the seepage are not known.
Saltpetre. ---Saltpetre is essentially a nitrate of potassium and sodium, with minor amounts of chloride, sulphate and carbonate redicals. It occurs as a thin, white encrustation on the surface. The efflorescence appears during the hot months, viz. May and June and even during July in the absence of adequate rains.
The soil, containing this salt, becomes loose and is different from the soil beneath it. Nearly a 2-Centimetre-thick layer is scraped and is loosely stacked in a kachcha pond, 50 cm deep. A sufficient amount of water is spread over it and the percolating water takes into solution the salt content of the heaped soil. This solution is then led into a first set of pans and allowed to evaporate there. After a few days, it is transferred to another set of pans where it is kept for another five or six days. From there, it is known as crude saltpetre. The product is then taken to factories and is subjected to filtration and heating to obtain pure saltpetre.
Saltpetre is used primarily in the production of nitrates and potash which are extracted indigenously from the soil in two different stages. the refined product is used in the manufacture of gunpowder. It is also of some use of enamel and fireworks industries. Potash is used in the manufacturing of soap, matches, explosives and in the glass and ceramic industries.
Firozpur is an important saltpetre-producing district of the Punjab. A majority of the occurrences are confined to the deserted villages lying between the Satluj River and the Firozpur-Fazilka road.
Seismically, the Firozpur District is situated in a region which is liable to slight to moderate damage due to earthquakes. Although no major epicentral track has been located near Firozpur, a number of earthquake shocks, originating in the Hindukush, the Himalayan Boundary fault zone and the Karakoram regions, are occasionally experienced at Firozpur, with slight to moderate intensity.
From the records, it is seen that the maximum seismic intensity experienced at Firozpur was between VI and VII on the Modified Mercalli Scale-1931^5 during the Kangra earthquake of 1905 its proximity to the Himalayan Boundary fault zone. Firozpur has been placed in zone III of the earthquake zoning map of India. In this zone the maximum earthquake intensity may reach VII M.M.
In order that engineering structures at Firozpur may not suffer damage or consequently result in the loss of life owing to earthquakes, the civil engineering structures may be provided with safety factors. For ordinary structures, the following factors have been suggested in the Indian Standard Institution Code, Criteria for the Earthquake-Resistant Design of Structures.
Earthquake factor .. 04 g .05 g .06
I Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale of 1931 Scale Specifications
III Felt quite noticeably indoors, especially on the upper floors of building, but many people do not recognize it as an earthquake. Standing motorcars may rock lightly. Vibrations like passing of lorry. Duration estimated.
VI Felt by all; many frightened and run out doors. Some heavy furniture moved a few instances of fallen plaster or damaged chimneys. Damage slight.
VII Every body runs outdoors. Damage negligible broken in buildings of good design and construction; slight to moderate in well-built ordinary structures; considering in poorly built or badly designed structures; some chimeneys brocken. Noticed by person driving motor-cars.
The Firozpur District is sparsely wooded. With a progressive increase in the area under cultivation, the scrub type of forest, which covered large tracts in the past, has almost disappeared. The scrub, which originally consisted of a thick growth of Salvadora oleioides Dene (van, mal), which yields the berries, known as pilu; Capparis decidua (Forsk.) Edgew. (karir or the leafless caper) and Acacia nilotica (L.) Wild. ex DC. Subsp. indica (Bth.) Brenan (kikar) are now represented by scattered trees of these species, which, however, from the common trees of the District. In the south-west, Prosopis cineraria (L.) Druce (Jand) is frequently seen. Dalbergia sissoo Roxb. (shisam or tahli), Albizia leddeck Bth. (siris) are planted alongside the canal banks and roads. Among other trees seen in the District are the neem (Azadirachata Indica Zucc.) and the Bukain or Persian lilac (Melia, azedareh L.)
The well-grown trees of Tamarix aphylla (L). Karst. (pharwan) are seen along the canals. The earliest plantation of this species through cuttings dates back to 1876-79, according to the old Gazetteer of the and A. modesta Wall. (phulahi) are also seen. The ber, comprising two species of Zizyphus viz. Z. mauritiana Lamk., and Z. nummularia (Burm. f.) W. & A., are widely distributed, the latter, particularly in good soil. Near villages and on the edges of ponds, the pipal (Ficus religiosa L.) is frequently planted.
The wild date, pnoenix sylvestris (L) Roxb., is found near Firozpur and Fazilka.
The commonly cultivated fruit-trees of the District are mango, orange, lime, pomegranate and jamun. Banana is also grown.
The most widely distributed plant in the District is, perhaps, the akk (Calotropis procera (Ait.) Ait. It is very common in the poor sandy soil on fallow land and waste places. The plant sometimes attains a considerable size. The stems are used as firewood and also in the construction of huts by the poorer sections of the population. the roots of the this plant often harbour a parasite, Cistanch tubelosa Wt. (Orobanchaceae), which puts out its fleshy flowering spikes above the ground. The flowers vary in colour from yellow to brownish purple. IN the canal-irrigated land and in abandoned fields, there occurs commonly a member of the onion family, viz. Asphodelus tenuifolius Ca., which is locally known as piazi or bhugaat. In the riverain tracts also occurs a plant which is quite conspicuous by its prickly habit. It is the jowanya (Alhagi pseudalhagi (Bib.) Desv., a low bushy plant with small reddish flowers. Along the river banks, another species of Tamarix, viz. T. dioica Roxb., locally known as pilchhi, forms a thick scrub and this is used largely as firewood.
The characteristic plant of the uplands is Aerva tomenstosa (Burm.f) Juss. (bui), with its dense woolly spike, giving a greyish-white appearance to the countryside where it abound; Crotalaria burhia Buch.—Hum ex. Bth., the wild Indian hemp, a wiry plant, with small yellow flowers; Farsetia Jacquemontii Hk. & T. (lathia), whose growth is indicative of baqd sand, and others. In the sandy soil, the trailing Citrullus colocvnthis (L.) Cogn. (tumma) of the gourd family occurs in profusion. Ephedra foliata Biss. is seen in dry places. An intruduced weed, now running wild and often proving to be a nuisance, is a thistle-like spiny plant, with yellow flowers, Carthamus oxyacanthus Bieb.
The useful grasses of the District include (Saccharum bengalense Retze = Munja Roxb.), locally known as sarr or sarkanda. It is particularly common in the riverain tracts. this grass finds many uses and the baan or munj fibre extracted from it is twisted into ropes or is used to make chairs and stools (moorhas). Its stems are used for making huts and serve as fence poles. The young sprouts are sometimes used as fodder. Phragmiles karka (Retz.) Trin., a tall reedy grass, forming clumps in marshy places; (Eranthus ravennae (L.) P. Beauv., a tall robust grass; the doob grass, Cynodon dactylon (L.) pers.; Cenchrus ciliaris L. (dhaman) and the dabh or talla and Desmostachya bipinnata (L.) Stapf., a tufted grass, though useful as a sand-binder, all spread with great rapidity, sometimes proving troublesome. Some other grasses are also found in the District.
The plants of medicinal importance found in the District include Centella asiatica (L.) Urban (brahmi), (datura innoxia Mill. (dhatura), Grewia tenax (Forsk.) Fiori (ganger mewa); Pegamum harmala L. (harmal) and Withania somnifera (L.) Druce asgand or aksan).
(i) Animals—The Firozpur District contains but little of big game. The black buck is plentiful in the Bishnoi villages in the Fazilka, and is occasionally found in the areas near about. The nilgai is found in field areas of the Fazilka Tehsil and the hog-deer is found along the banks of River Satluj. An occasional wolf is brought in for reward. The wild boar abounds in the riverain jungles to the east of Firozpur, especially near Sobraon, but seems to have been exterminated in the west of Firozpur though there are a few of it in the Abohar silting tank and in the municipal reserve at Fazilka. The wild ass and the tiger, which were sometimes founds in Fazilka, have long since disappeared. Jackals are common in the riverain tract and in the neighbourhood of towns, but are very rare in the uplands. The fox is found in the sandy parts of the District, whereas the hare is common. The otter is sometimes found along the River and near the large jheels. In the River itself, the tortoise is common.
In many parts of the District, the field rats are so common that they have become a veritable plague and cause much damage to the crops. In buildings, the ordinary house rat is common. The mongoose (neola) is by no means rare.
(ii) Birds—With respect to bird life the District is much better off. The black partridge is common in the riverain tract, whereas the grey partridge is found in almost all places. In the sandy parts of the District sandgrouse, both the imperial and common varieties, are found the former being especially plentiful in the cold weather. The latter is believed to breed in the District. The great Indian bustard is found on the Bikaner border. In the cold weather, various varieties of duck are to found on the jheels and in the River, whereas large flocks of the kunj or demoiselle crane daily wing their way inland from the River to the gram fields where they feed on the sundi (caterpillar). the common crane also is by no means rare.
The snipe and jack snipe are scarce. Large flocks of bar-headed geese are to be seen on the River and in the fields in the neighbourhood. The quail is not so plentiful as in some other districts. There are always a few about. Various varieties of plover occur, the commonest being the courier, grey, green, and goggle-eyed plovers; both the ordinary variety and the so called black variety of curlew are not uncommon. Herons, pelicans, spoonbills, paddybirds, coots, cormorants and debchicks are plentiful in suitable localities, whereas the sarus and the black and white stork (chitror) are occasionally seen. The common blue pigeon is to be found everywhere, but the green pigeon is rare. At the beginning of the cold weather, large flocks of the eastern stock pigeon visit the District. Doves, crows, sparrow, starlings (mainas), and parrots occur in swarms, and the vultures and various varieties of hawks are also plentiful. Ravens are also not uncommon. In the cold weather, large flocks of starlings and the rosy pastor appear.
The following is a list of the game-birds found in the district :
English Name Vernacular Latin name Remarks
Great Indian Gurain Eupodotis Very rare
Imperial or Bhattitar, Pterocles Plentiful in
black-bellied kashmira, or arenarius suitable loca
sandgrouse palla lities.
Common sand- Bhattitar Pterocolinus Not uncommon
Black partridge Kala titar Francolinus Common in riv-
Greay partridge Titar Ortygornis Plentiful
Quali Bater Conturnix Not every plentiful
Bar-headed Mag Anser indicus Common
Whooper swan Hans Cygnus musicus Occassionally visit
the District in excep-
tionally severd winters
ruddy Shel- Surkhah Casarca rutila Common
drake or brah-
Whistling teal Bara silahi Dendrocyena Rare
Mallard Nilsir, nila Anas hoscas Common
Spot-billed duck Murgabi Anas pocci- Common;breeds
lorhyncha in the District,
gadwall Bey khur Chaulelasmus Common
Common teal Sou churka or nattion crecca Common
Wigeon Peason Mareca penelope Not common.In
fact distincly rare.
Pintail Shinkhpar Dafila acuta Not Common
Carganey teal Chatwa khira Querquedula Rarely seen, except
circia at the end of season.
White-eye Burar Nyroca africana Common
Shoveller Tidari Spatula clypeata Fairly common
Marbled duck Murgabi Marmoronetta Rare
Red-crested Lal sir Netta rufina Fairly common
pochard Nyroca berina
Tufted pochard Dubaru Fuligula fuligula Not common
Common crane Kunj Grus communis
Demoiselle Kunj Anthropoides
Indian blue Kabutar Columba livia Common everywhere
rock pigeon intermedia
Eastern stock Kabutar Columbia every Large flocks in
pigeon smanni cold weather
Green pigeon Hariyal Crocopus Rare
(iii) Reptiles—The krait is perhaps the commonest variety of poisonous snake found in the District. Cobras and a variety of viper (Ecbis carinata) also occur. The chhimba or wanis (Psammenis diadema), though commonly supposed by the people to be poisonous and a hybrid cobra, is really a non-poisonous, though vicious, snake. The small house lizard is common, whereas the larger goh or iguana is by no means rare.
(iv) Insects - Mosquitoes are plentiful in the irrigated parts of the District, whereas in certain seasons sandflies are a veritable plague. While-ants or termites are very common and do considerable damage in houses, and black and red ants are also plentiful. Locusts sometimes appear in large swarms, especially in the Fazilka Tehsil and a number of grasshoppers also cause damage at times. The sundi (caterpillar), the larva of a species of leaf-cutter moth, does lot of damage to the gram crop and to a less extent to sarson. Tela, a gree aphis, damages the sarson crop and, in some years, almost blights it. Kira, a sort of borer, in certain seasons, ruins the jowar and maize crops.
(v) Fish—The principal kinds of fish found in the Satluj are the mahser, rohu, and sowal. The other kinds observed are : charanda, dhungna, dambara, jhails, malli, sohni, mohri, bachwa, and ghogu, the last beind intentified as Callichroas bimaculatus.