Tea Gardening in British Garhwal

Tea Gardening in British Garhwal
British Administration in Garhwal -201
History of British Rule/Administration over Kumaun and Garhwal (1815-1947) -221

History of Uttarakhand (Garhwal, Kumaon and Haridwar) -1054
By: Bhishma Kukreti (History Student)
Tea trading in Europe by calling tea from China and Indo-China islands was profit making trade. A few British business men requested East India Company for Tea Gardening in India. Company accepted their requests for creating private tea gardens. British found the plants similar to China tea plants in Assam. In 1821, Moorcroft from Bushehar, Himachal and Bishop Hevar in Kumaon reported wild tea plants. Hevar reported that wild tea plants are availavle in Kumaon in abundance. He reported that the geographical conditions are same as in China where tea plants are grown.
In 1834, the Company sent a person to china for bringing tea seeds and Chinese workers for growing tea in India. The Company started selecting suitable places in India where tea could be grown. Saharanpur Garden Superintendent Dr. Royal suggested Bhimtal, Hawalbag, Almora, Mussurie, Dehradun, Jarapani Nahan, Pinjor and Sabayu places as suitable places for tea plantation.
In 1834, the company established experimental tea cultivation gardens in Lachmesar near Almora and Bharatpur near Bhimtal. However, by getting wild china tea plants in Assam, Assam gor preference for tea plantation.
By 1835, tea plants started growing satisfactory in Bharatpur and Koth in Tehri Garhwal. However, there was no knowledge for tea plantation and tea leaves making process. Officials decided for bringing Chinese workers for gardening in Garhwal and Kumaon. In 1842, a Chinese delegation reached to Kumaon and pleased by seeing Kumaon tea leaves in experimental garden. They made tea by Kumaon tea leaves and the tea was marvelous. In 1843, London people appreciated tea taste (Atkinson page 314).
In 1844, Dr. Jameson reported that Tea plants are growing satisfactory in Garhwal as in Koth, Ramasirain, Gadoli. he reported that may tea plants were of 6 feet height. In 1845, there were 8000 tea plants in Kaulagiri of Dehradun; 729 tea plants in Koth and 728 in Ramasirain of Tehri Garhwal and 5000 tea plants in Gadoli (Pauri Garhwal). The tea testers appreciated the tea from Garhwal. In 1847, the cost of green tea leaves was Rs.9.25 per ser and from Rs. 4 to 7.50 for black tea leaves.
Chinese were supervisors for main tea gardening works and Garhwali –kumaoni workers were for other minor labor works. Initially, experimental gardens were owned by the company. However, British business men were main gardens owners.
Government sanctioned tea garden lands to tea gardens owners on
1-No tax under Grants rules
2-As waste land
3-Through auction
4-Sold government gardens as free sample gardens
Most of tea gardens were in north Garhwal. There was no tea garden in Salan.
British had perception that Garhwalis and Kumaoni would follow Assamese buy selling their lands and would become tea garden labor. But Garhwalis and Kumaonis still think selling ancestor land as bad as doing a sin.
There were following major tea garden companies in Garhwal –
Talwari tea company- The tea gardens of this company were in Chiriya, Chiringagunth, Gwaldam, Talwari, Kauriya and Sartoli of Pindar Patti. The company had 2946 Beesee land for tea plantation.
Silkot Tea Company- The tea gardens were in Ghandiyal, Silkot, Chhapali, Ruriya, Rohinda, Matkotkhal of Lobha Patti. The land was for 788 Beesee.
j a a Richards had gardens in Rauthiya, Satoli and Diwali of Lobha Patti and land was for 288 Beesee.
The gardens (200 Beesee) of Major Man were in Chandpur, Lobha and Kandarsyun Patti.
Captain Gaun was owner of Tea gardens (1549 Beesee0 were in Chandpur patti.
J henary ad tea Gardens (1191 Beesee) in Choparakot, Dhoundiyalsyun and Kandarsyun Pattis.
C R Trup had gardens (517 Beesee) in Piandarwar Patti.
Tea Gardneing business did not flourish in Garhwal by two major reasons. First Garhwalis did not sell land and becoming labor for tea gardens as happened in Assam. By not getting adequate land the small gardens were not commercially vival. Second bigger problem was getting hard workers as in Assam. Garhwalis women were not ready for working in bending position in tea gardens for whole day. Due to shortage of cheap labor, slowly tea gardens became barren gardens.
In road construction, British imported Nepali workers but in Tea Gardening business men did not get suitable and hard workers.

1-Shiv Prasad Dabral ‘Charan’, Uttarakhand ka Itihas, Part -7 Garhwal par British -Shasan, part -1, page- 343-456
2- Atkinson, Himalayan Districts Vol.2
3-Moorcrft et all, Travels in Hindustan Vol 1 page 9-56

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