Krosh

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Krosh traditional unit of distance. Until the British 'mile' system was introduced in Bengal, krosh was the criteria for distance measuring. Krosh was also called kos in some places of Bengal and India. Krosh was also the standard measuring unit in other parts of India, but the actual distance of krosh was not the same everywhere. In Bengal usually 8,000 cubits used to make a krosh or kosh.

There were controversies about krosh among ancient Indian scholars: according to Manu, krosh was equal to 4,000 cubits (hasta or hat); according to Projapati, it equaled 5,000 cubits; and according to Lilavati it was 8,000 cubits. In ancient Indian measurement, or estimation, 4 kroshas went to the yojana (jojan). Sir HM Elliot deduced from distances recorded in the routes travelled by the Chinese pilgrim Fa-hian that the yojana of his age was close to 7 miles. Cunningham makes it 7' or 8, Fergusson 6; but taking Elliot's estimate as a mean, the ancient krosh would be 13/4 miles.

The krosh as laid down in the Ain-i-Akbari (ed Jarrett, iii. 414) was of 5,000 gaz. The British Government calculated the length of Akbar's Ilahi gaz as 33 inches, and this would make Akbar's kos equal to 2 miles 4 furlongs 1831/3 yards. Actual measurement of the road distance between Akbar's Kos minars or pillars still standing in the areas near Delhi gives a mean of 2 miles 4 furlongs 158 yards.

The measurements of krosh and other related units used in Bengal as well as the other parts of India were standardised as below:

3 job               =    1 anguli, or thumb-breath (¾ of an inch)

4 anguli          =    1 mushti (3 inches)

3 musht           =    1 bigat (9 inches)

2 bigat            =    1 hath (cubit of 18 inches)

4 hath             =    1 dhanu (6 feet)

2 000 dhanu   =    1 krosh (4,000 yards, or about 2¼ miles)

4 krosh            =    1 yojana

In the greater part of the Bengal Presidency the estimated krosh was about 2 miles, but it was much less in the northwest. In the upper part of the Doab, it was estimated with considerable accuracy, as 11/4 miles. In Bundelkhand it was nearly 3 miles, or, according to Beames, even 4 miles. In Madras it was 21/4 miles, and in Mysore the Sultani kos was about 4 miles. In several parts of the country there were two kinds of krosh, a pakka and a kachcha krosh, a double system which pervades all the weights and measures of India; and which has prevailed also in many other parts of the world. At present, krosh and other related units are not so popular as units of measurement, nor widely accepted. But in many areas of Bangladesh, some people still use those units within their community. [Masud Hasan Chowdhury]