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CUTTACK

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Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 675 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CUTTACK, a city and district of British India in the Orissa division of Bengal. The city is situated at the head of the delta of the Mahanadi. Pop. (loot) 51,364. It is the centre of the Orissa canal system, and an important station on the East Coast railway from Madras to Calcutta. It contains the government college, named after. Mr Ravenshaw, a former commissioner; a high school, a training school, a survey school, a medical school and a law school. The city formed one of the five royal strong-holds of ancient Orissa and was founded by a warlike Hindu prince, Makar Kesari, who reigned from 953 to 961. Native kings protected it from the rivers by a masonry embankment several miles long, built of enormous blocks of hewn stone, and in some places 25 ft. high. A fortress defended the north-west corner of the town, and was captured by the English from the Mahrattas in October 1803. It is now abandoned as a place of defence. The DISTRICT OF CUTTACK lies in the centre of Orissa, occupying the deltas of the Mahanadi and Brahmani, together with a hilly tract inland. Its area is 3654 sq. m. It consists of three physical divisions: first, a marshy woodland strip along the coast, from 3 to 30 M. in breadth; second, an intermediate stretch of rice plains; third, a broken hilly region, which forms the western boundary of the district. The marshy strip along the coast is covered with swamps and malaria-breeding jungles. Towards the sea the solid land gives place to a vast network of streams and creeks, whose sluggish waters are constantly depositing silt, and forming morasses or quicksands. Cultivation does not begin till the limits of this dismal region are passed. The inter-mediate rice plains stretch inland for about 40 M. and occupy the older part of the delta between the sea-coast strip and the hilly frontier. They are intersected by three large rivers, the Baitarani, Brahmani and Mahanadi. These issue in magnificent. streams through three gorges in the frontier hills. The Cuttack delta is divided into two great valleys, one of them lying between the Baitarani and the Brahmani, the other between the Brahmani and the Mahanadi. The rivers having, by the silt of ages, gradually raised their beds, now run along high levels. During floods they pour over their banks upon the surrounding valleys, by a thousand channels which interlace and establish communication between the main streams. After numerous bifurcations they find their way into the sea by three principal mouths. Silt-banks and surf-washed bars render the entrance to these rivers perilous. The best harbour in Cuttack district is at False Point, on the north of the Mahanadi estuary. It consists of an anchorage, land-locked by islands or sand-banks, and with two fair channels navigable towards the land. The famine commissioners in 1867 reported it to be the best harbour on the coast of India from the Hugli to Bombay. The intermediate tract is a region of rich cultivation, dotted with great banyan trees, thickets of bamboos, exquisite palm foliage and mango groves. The hilly frontier separates the delta of British Orissa from the semi-independent tributary states. It consists of a series of ranges, so to 15 m. in length, running nearly due east and west, with densely-wooded slopes and lovely valleys between. The timber, however, is small, and is of little value except as fuel. The political character of these three tracts is as distinct as are their natural features. The first and third are still occupied by feudal chiefs, and have never been subjected to a regular land-settlement, by either the Mussulman or the British government. They pay a light fixed tribute. The intermediate rice plains, known as the Mogholbandi, from their having been regularly settled by the Mahommedans, have yielded to the successive dynasties and conquerors of Orissa almost the whole of the revenues derived from the province. The deltaic portions are of course a dead level; and the highest hills within the district in the western or frontier tract do not exceed 2500 ft. They are steep, and covered with jungle, but can be climbed by men. The most interesting of them are the Assa range, with its sandal trees and Buddhist remains; Udayagiri (Sunrise-hill), with its colossal image of Buddha, sacred reservoir, and ruins; and Assagiri, with its mosque of 1719. The Mahavinayaka peak, visible from Cuttack, has been consecrated for ages to Siva-worship by ascetics and pilgrims. The population of the district in 1901 was 2,062,758, showing an increase of 6% in the preceding decade. The aboriginal tribes here, as elsewhere, cling to their mountains and jungles. They chiefly consist of the Bhumij, Tala, Kol and Savara peoples, the Savaras being by far the most numerous, numbering 14,775. They are regarded by the orthodox Hindus as little better than the beasts of the wildernesses which they inhabit. Miserably poor, they subsist for the most part by selling firewood or other products of their jungle; but a few of .them have patches of cultivated land, and many earn wages as day labourers to the Hindus. They occupy, in fact, an intermediate stage of de- Rice forms the staple product of the district; its three chief varieties are biali or early rice, sarad or winter rice, and dalua or spring rice. The other cereal crops consist of mandua (a grass-like plant producing a coarse grain resembling rice), wheat, barley, and china, a rice-like cereal. Suan, another rice-like cereal, not cultivated, grows spontaneously in the paddy fields. Pulses of different sorts, oilseeds, fibres, sugar-cane, tobacco, spices and vegetables also form crops of the district. The cultivators consist of two classes—the resident husbandmen (than) and the non-resident or migratory husbandmen (palm). The Orissa canal system, which lies mainly within Cuttack district, is used both for irrigation and transport purposes. The railway across the district towards Calcutta, a branch of the Bengal-Nagpur system, was opened in 1899. Considerable trade is carried on at the mouth of the rivers along the coast. CUTTLE-FISH. The more familiar and conspicuous types of the molluscan class Cephalopoda (q.v.) are popularly known in English as cuttle-fish, squid, octopus and nautilus. The first of these names (from the A.S. cudele) is applied more particularly to the common Sepia (fig. 1), characterized by its internal calcareous shell, sometimes known as cuttle-bone, and its ink-sac, the contents of which have been long in use as a pigment (sepia). The term squid is employed among fishermen for the ten-armed Cephalopods in which the shell is represented by an uncalcified flexible structure somewhat resembling a pen. Hence in Italian a squid is called calamaio, from calamus a reed or pen, and in English the similar term calamary is sometimes used. Like the Sepia, squids also possess the ink-sac, whence they have some-times been called pen and ink fish, and in German both Sepia and squid and their allies are known as Tinten-fische. The squids have generally softer and more watery tissues than the Sepia, but the former term is not in general use, and the distinction not generally understood. The term cuttle-fishes is sometimes extended to include all the Cephalopoda, but as the peculiarities of the remarkable shell of the true nautilus, and those of the shell-less Octopoda are widely known, we shall consider the name here as applying only to those forms which have ten arms, an ink-sac, an internal shell-rudiment, and only one pair of gills in the mantle cavity. Technically these form the sub-order Decapoda, of the order Dibranchia. The cuttle-fishes are characteristically swimming animals, in contrast with the octopods, which creep about by means of their suckers among the rocks, and lurk in holes. In Sepia the integument is produced laterally into two muscular fins, rather narrow and of uniform breadth running the whole length of the body, but separated by a notch behind. There are four pairs of short non-retractile arms surrounding the mouth, and furnished with suckers on their oral surface, and between the third and fourth of these arms on each side is a much longer tentacular arm, which is usually kept entirely withdrawn into a pocket of the skin. The mantle cavity is on the posterior side of the body, which is the lower side in the swimming position, and the funnel is a tube open at both ends and connected with the body within the mouth of the mantle cavity. The mantle during life performs regular respiratory movements by which water is drawn into the cavity, passing between mantle and funnel, and is expelled through the funnel. In swimming the short arms are directed forwards, the fins undulate, and the motion is slow and deliberate; but if the animal is threatened or alarmed it swims suddenly and rapidly backwards by expelling water 12 forcibly from the mantle cavity through the funnel, at the same time expelling a cloud of ink from its ink-sac. The Sepia feeds principally on Crustacea, and in aquaria has been observed to pursue and capture prawns. The method in b which it secures its prey has been carefully observed and de-scribed by the present writer, who studied the living animal in the aquarium of the biological laboratory at Plymouth. The prawns support themselves on their long slender legs on convenient points of the rockwork, and the Sepia stalks them with great caution and determination, the rapid play of its chromatophores giving evidence of its excitement. When it has arrived within striking distance, the two tentacular arms are shot out with great rapidity, and the prawn is seized between the two expanded ends, drawn within the circle of short arms, and devoured; unless, as sometimes happens, the prawn springs away and the Sepia misses its aim. Two species of Sepia occur in British and European waters, including the Mediterranean, namely, S. elegans and S. officinalis. The usual length of the body is about 9 or ro in. They live mostly between ten and forty fathoms, coming into shallower water in July and August to deposit their eggs, which are about as large as black currants and of somewhat similar colour, and are connected by elongated stalks into a cluster attached to the sea-bottom. Other species occur in various parts of the world, e.g. S. cultrata, which is common on the coasts of Australia. The Sepiidae form the only family of cuttle-fishes in which the shell is calcified. They belong to the tribe Myopsida, characterized by the complete closure of the external corneal covering of the eye outside the iris and the lens. Sepiola and Rossia belong to another family of the Myopsida. Both are British genera living in shallow water, and entering estuaries. The animals of both genera are small, not more than2 or 3 in. in length, with the body rounded at the aboral end, and the fins short and rounded, inserted in the middle of the body length, instead of extending from end to end. Sepiola, although it swims by means of its fins and funnel when active, spends much of its time buried in the sand for concealment. Rossia has similar habits. The shell is chitinous and shorter than the body. In other genera of the Sepiolidae the shell is entirely absent. Idiosepius is the smallest of the Cephalopoda, only I' 5 in. in length. It inhabits the Indian Ocean. The body is elongated and the fins rudimentary. In the Sepiadariidac also the shell is absent. The body is short and the mantle united with the head dorsally. The two genera Sepiadarium and Sepioloidea occur in the Pacific Ocean. The common squid Loligo is the type of the only remaining family of the Myopsida. In this species the shell is a well-developed chitinous pen or gladius with a thickened axis narrowing to a point behind, but bearing posteriorly a wide thin plate on each side. The shape closely resembles that of a quill pen with the quill in front. The fins are large and triangular, extending over rather more than half of the length of the body aborally. The tentacular arms are only partly retractile. The body is elongated and conical, and reaches about a foot in length. The squid is gregarious, and forms a favourite food of the larger fishes, especially of conger. All the Myopsida are more or less littoral in habit, and the British forms are familiar in consequence of their frequent capture in the nets of fishermen. The shell, or " bone " as it is commonly called, of the common Sepia frequently occurs in abundance on the shore among the sea-weed and other refuse left by the tide. The Oigopsida, or cuttle-fishes in which the corneal covering of the eye is perforated, are on the whole more oceanic than littoral, and many of the species are abyssal. Ommatostrephes sagittatus is one of the forms that occurs off the British coasts, especially the more northern, e.g. in the Firth of Forth. In general appearance it resembles the common squid, but the fins are broader and shorter, not extending to the middle of the body. The shell is similar to that of Loligo, but ends aborally in a little hollow cone. The suckers bear chitinous rings which are toothed along the outer edge. The tentacular arms are rather short and thick. Two specimens of allied species have been taken on British coasts, one of which, captured off, Salcombe in Devon-shire in 1892, had a body 66 cm. (22 in.) long, and tentacular arms 64 cm. long, or nearly the same length as the body. Most of the species of Ommatostrephes are naturally gregarious and oceanic, and occur in the open seas in all latitudes, swimming near the surface and often leaping out of the water. They are largely devoured by albatrosses and other marine birds, and by Cetacea. They are used as bait in the Newfoundland cod fishery. Some of the oceanic cuttle-fishes reach a very large size, and the stories of these ocean monsters which are narrated by the older writers, though to some extent exaggerated, are now known to be founded on fact. The figure given by one author of a gigantic Cephalopod rising from the surface of the ocean and embracing with its arms a full-rigged ship does not accurately represent an actual occurrence, but on the other hand there are authentic instances on record of fishermen in small boats on the banks of Newfoundland being in great peril in consequence of large squids throwing their arms across their boats. In November 1894 a specimen was brought ashore at St John's, Newfoundland, which had been caught in herring nets. Its body was 7 ft. long, its fins 22 in. broad, and its tentacular arms 24 ft. long. Several others have been recorded, taken in the same region, which were as large or larger, the total length of the body and tentacles together varying from 3o to 52 ft., and the estimated weight of one of them being 1000 lb. In April 187 5 one of these large squids occurred off Boffin's Island on the Irish coast. The crew of a curragh rowed out to it and attacked it, cutting off two of its arms and its head. The shorter arms measured 8 ft. in length and 15 in. in circumference; the tentacular arms are said to have been 30 ft. long. In the Natural History Museum in London there is one of the shorter arms of a specimen; this arm is 9 ft. in length and 11 in. in circumference, and the total length of the specimen, including body and tentacles, is stated to have been 40 ft. The maximum known length of these giant squids is stated to be 18 metres or about 582 ft. All these gigantic specimens belong, so far as at present known, to one genus called Architeuthis, referred to the same family as Ommatostrephes. They are the largest known invertebrates. These huge cuttle-fishes as well as those of various other oceanic species form the food of the cachalot or sperm whale, and F. T. Bullen, in his Cruise of the Cachalot and other writings, has graphically described contests which came under his own observation between the cachalot and its prey. The prince of Monaco in his yacht the " Princess Alice " was fortunate enough to be able to make a very complete scientific investigation in the case of one specimen of the cachalot, which not only confirmed the most important of Mr Bullen's statements, but added considerably to our knowledge of oceanic cuttle-fishes. Off the Azores in July 1895 the prince in his yacht witnessed the killing of a cachalot 13.90 metres long (about 45 ft. 8 in.) by the crew of a whaler. The animal in its death-agony vomited the contents of its stomach, most of which were carefully collected and preserved, and after-wards examined by Professor Joubin. On the lips of the whale were found impressions several centimetres wide which corresponded exactly to the toothed suckers of the largest cuttle-fish arms obtained from its stomach. The contents of the stomach consisted entirely of cuttle-fish or parts of cuttle-fish, including the giant Architeuthis, and among them was the body, without the head, of a form new to science, distinguished by a condition of the external surface which occurs in no other species of the group. The surface of the skin was divided into small angular flat projections like scales, arranged in a regular spiral like the scales of a pine cone. From this character the new genus was called Lepidoteuthis. The body, without the head, of the specimen obtained was 86 cm. (nearly 3 ft.) in length. The family Onychoteuthidae is remarkable for the formidable chitinous hooks borne on the arms. 'these hooks are special modifications of the toothed chitinous ring which covers thesucker-rim in the Decapoda generally. The teeth of the ring are often unequal in size, and in the Onychoteuthidae one tooth is enormously developed. The maximum development occurs in Veranya, found in the Mediterranean, where the suckers have lost their function and are merely fleshy projections bearing the hooks at their extremities. Onychoteuthis reaches a large size, the length of the body without the arms being in one specimen from the Pacific coast of America 8 ft. Figures of this and several of the following genera are given in the article
End of Article: CUTTACK
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