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Lecture alleged to belong to this class in the North West Provinces.
Probably the holdings were originally inalienable without the consent of the village community. This consent would, according to ordinary experience in such cases, tend to become a tacit consent or absence of objection if the instances of alienation were frequent. But if such instances were rare, the necessity for any consent, except a tacit consent or absence of objection, would grow to be ignored from mere lapse of time. And we find that there was little left to the cultivators beyond a bare subsistence after paying the Government revenue, and that there was very little to sell in consequence: and that there was no competition for land at that period. Hence it probably happened that there were few occasions for sale or voluntary transfer; but that by lapse of time the original condition of transfer, which required the consent of the village community, had ceased to be considered binding. We know that the principle of these communities had become very much weakened, and that in some places the existence of such communities was almost unknown at the British accession:“ and in the gradual decay of these institutions, the veto on alienation would be set at
' Evidence of Colonel Briggs before the Select Committee of the House of Lords (1830), 4078. Evidence before Select Committee of House of Commons (1832) of Lieut.-Col. Barnewall, 1744. Compare Directions for Revenue Officers, 63,
? Whinfield's Landlord and Tenant, 17. Campbell's Cobden Club Essay, 170.
* Great Rent Case, B. L. R., Supp. Vol., 253, 279, 295, 296. Campbell's Cobden Club Essay, 164. Compare Directions for Revenue Officers, 41.
* See India by R. Rickards, Esq., 2 vols. (London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1828), Vol. I, 587; Vol. II, 285, 289, 290, 291.
KHOODKASHTS PAID HIGHER RATES THAN OTHERS. 17
nought as occasions and opportunities of transfer became more frequent. We may therefore conclude that these cultivators held a permanent, hereditary, and although originally an inalienable, yet probably subsequently a transferable, interest in the land.
They paid the customary rate, which could not be raised : Rates paid by and in some parts when the assessment was once fixed, custom prohibited a measurement of the land with a view to surcharging the Khoodkashts. But while they had a right to cultivate on these terms, they were also bound to cultivate and pay the assessment: failure in either of these conditions involved forfeiture, a penalty which, as may be supposed in the scarcity of cultivators, was generally waived for an increased payment. And besides being bound to keep up the cultivation to the full extent, they were bound to cultivate in the customary way. They paid a higher rate of Paid a higher
rate than other revenue than other cultivators in former times;but from the cultivators
formerly. changed state of things under British rule this is reversed. There is now some competition by the cultivators for land, and not as formerly merely a competition for cultivators." I shall have occasion to refer to this very significant fact again when I come to discuss the nature of the proprietary rights of the holders of the various interests in the land. The khoodkashts then, in consequence of the change referred to, came in later times to pay lower rates than the other cultivators, but in the Hindoo period they paid higher rates. ' Fifth Report, Vol. I, 165.
Fifth Report, Vol. II, 303, 456. * Fifth Report, Vol. I, 164. Directions for Revenue Officers, 274.
Campbell's Cobden Club Essay, 157. Orissa, Vol. II, 242. Fifth Report, Vol. I, 140.
Campbell's Cobden Club Essay, 164. Directions for Revenue Officers, 41. The Great Rent Case, B. L. R., Supp. Vol., 253, 279, 295, 296.
& The Great Rent Case, B. L. R., Supp. Vol., 220.
On the other hand the khoodkashts enjoyed various privileges arising out of their position as the original settlers of the village. They had a preference in the choice of land when any came to be allotted, and no doubt they always occupied the most central and most easily cultivated land. They were at liberty to dig wells upon their land and let out the water;" a privilege considered in India to indicate a high kind of proprietary right, and guarded with jealousy. They also received russooms or fees (called also marahs in the northern Circars) from the other cultivators. Some had a right to the services of the servile labourers, who were attached to the community as beforementioned, or to an allowance of one-eighth of the crop deducted from their assessment in lieu of such services.3 In some places they had allotments of land for which no revenue was paid. Thus in the Jageer they held allotments of this kind called maniums, which were held in common, free of revenue, by all the meerassadars of the village. Again in Cuttack the thani ryots had the ground on which their houses were built free of revenue, together with a small portion of land surrounding them called khana bari and khush bash.6 In some parts of the country there was a periodical redistribution of the lands among this class, a relic of the times when the lands were considered common: for we find the same feature in the Euro
Land Tenure by a Civilian, 80. Directions for Revenue Officers, 5.
3 Land Tenure by a Civilian, 78, 80.
THE SECOND CLASS OF CULTIVATORS.
pean village communities. The right of this class of cultivators was so strong that even if they abandoned their holdings or lost them by not keeping up the cultivation or by failing to pay the revenue, they or their descendants could at any distance of time reclaim them on paying a sufficient compensation to the holder. They enjoyed also, probably in common with the other permanent cultivators, the use of the productions of the waste for the construction and repair of their houses and implements of husbandry, and had the right of pasturing their cattle upon the unoccupied lands of the village. These rights were similar to the rights of common in England. From the description I have given of the position of this class of ryots I think it clearly appears that they had proprietary rights of a very complete kind; but they do not seem to have been of that unlimited kind which we understand by a fee-simple.
The next class of ryots very nearly approach the position The second of the khoodkashts and are sometimes ranked with them. cultivators. There are however some differences which mark the distinction between the original settlers and those afterwards admitted to form part of the permanent village community.
The cultivators of this class are generally included in the class called pyekasht (cultivating in another village than their own), but sometimes the term pyekasht is restricted to those strictly so, the mere sojourners in the village, or those who living in another village cultivate land in the village with respect to which they are reckoned pyekashts. This second class of cultivators was also called chupper
Land Tenure by a Civilian, 82. Fifth Report, Vol. II, 87, 496 ; compare the nair mul guenies of Malabar and Canara, Fifth Report, Vol. II, 77, 78, 456, 467, 468, 472, 473, 481.
• Whinfield's Landlord and Tenant, 17.
bund or judeed, names specially applied to immigrants who
have permanently settled in the village to which they have Their rights in emigrated.
from Sir George Campbell's essay referred to above seems to apply more especially to these cultivators; their right to a permanent interest in the soil, which nearly approaches that of the khoodkashts, depends upon their having settled as permanent inhabitants in the village, building and clearing and establishing themselves as members of the village community ready to
undertake a share in the responsibilities attaching to that What occupa- position. It does not depend on the length of time they
have occupied, except that the disposition to become permanent settlers could hardly be satisfactorily proved without some length of possession. Accordingly those who had settled in the village for more than one generation were generally considered to have sufficiently shown their intention, and such settlers became recognised as chupperbund cultivators. They appear to have come in originally to cultivate land abandoned by the khoodkashts, to whom they paid russooms or fees, and to whom they were bound to surrender their holdings when required; but they were entitled to a proper compensation for the loss of them. They were called pyacarries and ool paracoodies in the Northern Circars and the South of India generally
" Whinfield's Landlord and Tenant, 17.
Campbell's Cobden Club Essay, 165. Directions for Revenue Officers, 65.
3 Robinson's Land Revenue, 15, 41, Great Rent Case, B. L. R., Supp. Vol., 300.
* Fifth Report, Vol. II, 41, 42, 87, 301, 308, 490 to 493. Campbell's Cobden Club Essay, 161, 162. Land Tenure by a Civilian, 81, 82.
5 Land Tenure by a Civilian, 82. Fifth Report, Vol. II, 87, 456, 496.
6 Fifth Report, Vol. II, 41, 42, 87, 308, 491 to 493.