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Accession to the Dewanny.
the landholders, tenants, and public officers were as usual required to pay the stated revenues to the Company instead of to the treasury, and to submit to the authority of the Company, which thus held a conditional jageer of these districts. These grants were confirmed on the 10th July 1763 by Meer Jaffier when he in turn was restored,' and his acts were further confirmed by the Emperor in 1765.
The above grants to the East India Company were completed on the 12th August 1765 by the grant of the dewanny of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa. This was made by Shah Alum, the Emperor of Delhi, as a free gift and altumgha under the red seal; and it amounted to a perpetual grant of the office of dewan, which gave the Company the entire management of the revenues of the districts included in it. The grant was upon condition of paying twenty-six lacs of rupees a year into the royal treasury, and of providing for the expenses of the Nizamut. We have seen that this grant was simultaneous with the firman confirming the Company in the full right to the revenue of the Twenty-four Pergunnahs.
The English, having thus acquired the dewanny, conti-. nued at first to employ native agency and took no direct part themselves in the collection of the revenue. Mahomed Reza Khan and his two assistants, Dolubram and Juggut Seat, managed all revenue collections up to 1769. But in that year the Company took the first step towards bringing the collections under their own control by appointing supervisors to superintend the native officers in collecting
· Harington's Analysis, Vol. I, 45. See the treaties and sunnuds in Aitchison's Treaties, Vol. I, 46 to 55.
• Fifth Report, Vol. I, 2. Harington's Analysis, Vol. I, 5, 6. See the treaty and firmans in Aitchison's Treaties, Vol. I, 56 to 66.
the revenue and administering justice. They were appointed by a resolution of the Select Committee at the Presidency passed on the 16th August 1769 in accordance with orders from the Court of Directors in England. The Directors remark that the direct administration of the revenue by the English has when adopted proved beneficial both to the country and to the revenue: that they do not intend to interfere with the rents and profits of the zemindar, much less to add to the rents of the ryots, but to relieve both from oppression; and that they intend to establish committees for the management of the revenue at Moorshedabad and Patna, with Mahomed Reza Khan and Shitab Roy, or two other principal persons, as naibs of the respective provinces. And while they declare that they have “no view to prejudice the rights of the zemindars, who hold certain districts by inheritance,” they direct that, when any of these die without heirs, the lands are to be let for a term of years, upon such conditions as may encourage cultivation. The same course is to be followed with regard to waste land. Lastly, the Directors object to the union of the judicial and revenue jurisdiction in the same persons. In the instructions to the supervisors they were directed Instructions to
the supervisors. to enquire into the following matters :- They were to enquire into the history of the provinces, not however going back to records of earlier date than the time of Shujaa Khan (1725 to 1739), the successor of Jaffier Khan,
as, at that era of good order and good government, no alterations had taken place in the ancient divisions of the
· Fifth Report, Vol. I, 3. Harington's Analysis, Vol. II, 7. Colebrooke's Supplement, 174.
· Auber's India, Vol. I, 275 to 279.
country, and the confusion which is now apparent has been posterior to those times.". They were to compile a complete hustabood or rent-roll, to ascertain the ancient boundaries of the land and the quantity held by the zemindars without paying revenue; to enquire into the abuses in the bestowal and sale of talooks, and in grants for charitable purposes; to examine into the titles of the holders of jageers; to ascertain the extent, production, and value of the land held khas or under direct Government superintendence for want of farmers; and to ascertain the same particulars as to comar (or khamar) lands, which are described as lands cultivated by contract; as to ryotty lands, which are tenanted and cultivated by the natives on the spot; and as to waste lands, distinguishing those which have become so from decrease of population from those covered with jungle. The Committee announce that all lands illegally held free of revenue will be resumed: that the nankar or nejaut (neej-jote) will be restricted to its proper amount; and nuzzerana or sedee to a reasonable contribution; that excessive fines and demands are to be cut down, and batta or exchange on the money payment of revenue to be abolished. The supervisors are to scrutinise strictly the titles to talooks, and such as have not been confirmed by the Nawab are to be resumed. The same rule is laid down as to jageers. The Committee consider the talooks to be lightly assessed, and the increase of them which has been allowed to be highly impolitic and injurious; and they complain that the ryots are drawn away to the talooks from other
Colebrooke's Supplement, 178.
lands, and that the talookdars have encroached upon the LECTURE neighbouring lands, and hold much more than they are entitled to. With regard to charitable and religious endowments, they are to be reduced to their original amount, or, in case they have become perverted or decayed, to be altogether resumed. The supervisors are to give notice that the revenue of the khas lands will be farmed for periods of three, four, or five years at an annually increasing rent." The Committee remark that the khamar lands have no Khamar lands. native tenants, but that the zemindar cultivates them by contract, and makes advances to the cultivator with whom he contracts, receiving in return one-half or two-thirds of the produce, together with his advances and interest thereon. This substantially agrees with what we have already noticed. The Committee however consider this a mischievous anomaly, and desire to induce cultivators to settle upon the khamar lands, and to change them into ryotty lands. This contemplates what may seem at first sight an encroachment upon the zemindar's rights as already described, the zemindar being solely entitled in later times to bring khamar land into cultivation and to receive the revenue, since there were no other vested interests in such lands. It must be remembered however that this was originally the right of the State, and that the zemindar only assumed this right as the agent of the State, and was bound to account for the revenue derived from such lands; although when he was allowed to cultivate
Colebrooke's Supplement, 182. 9 Ib., 183.
* Ib., 184.
such lands himself, he was of course entitled to the cultivator's share in the produce. It was therefore only a step towards reducing the zemindars to their original position; and as they must in most cases have amply repaid themselves for their exertions in bringing the waste lands into cultivation by the profit derived during the time they had already held them, the measure was probably not an unjust one. The Committee consider the State at liberty to interfere with the disposal of the khamar lands by the zemindar, plainly showing that they did not consider even the khamar lands to be the absolute property of the zemindar. I may remark, before leaving this point, that the lands of which the zemindar appropriated the revenue under this title were the waste lands brought into cultivation by him during the term of his engagement for the revenue; and that he claimed the revenue of such lands on the ground that, as he had agreed to render a certain revenue during his term, any profit to be derived from an increase in the area of cultivation during that term properly belonged to him. Thus such lands were properly khamar only during the zemindar's term; and after that had expired, the lands were strictly liable to assessment in the same way as other lands. It is probable however that the designation continued to adhere in many cases to the land, as it was the obvious interest of the zemindar that it should, and as we find was the case in other instances, such as in land being called khoodkasht, &c. In this way probably, or almost certainly, a great deal of land would come to be included in the khamar land which, with respect to the
See 'Rustic Bengal' by J. B. P. in the Calcutta Review for October 1874.