Cultivation by the stars is a time-honoured Indian custom, upon which an interesting note by Mr. S. Dutt, Divisional Agricultural Inspector, Tirhut Division, appears in the first number of the new half-yearly Agricultural Journal issued from the Government Press of Bihar and Orissa.
Indian cultivators, as Mr. Dutt observes, are mostly illiterate and know very little about scientific observations. Certain astronomical rules and traditions have been handed down to them from time immemorial, chiefly by rote, and by these rules they determine the time for ploughing, sowing, irrigating, and other work.
All these operations, says Mr. Dutt, are carried out more or less under the influence of certain stars, nineteen in number, which are supposed to be auspicious for their success. When the stars governing rain or drought are in the ascendant, the cultivators confidently count on rains or drought, as the case may be, and make preparations accordingly.
The best and most auspicious star for cultivation comes about the end of May, when one or two good showers are expected; and the worst of the stars coincides with waterlogging of the soil by the rains. In fact the cultivators reckon the seasons by the stars much as we do by the months of the year.