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system of government they would introduce. Probably LECTURE each conquest, as it was made, was felt to be precarious, as indeed it was proved in many cases to be; and the conquerors would be glad to govern through the established agencies, and to be content with a tribute, or with collecting the revenue as it had theretofore been collected. The Mahomedan law indeed speaks of the conquering Imam's option to leave the conquered inhabitants in possession of their lands, or to eject them : but this was an option which could only be exercised upon a much more sweeping success than that of the Mussulman invaders of India; a success such as those invaders had perhaps been accustomed to attain in their conflicts with the uncivilised races of the desert, but which they could not hope for in India.
The invaders of India were Mahomedans of the Hanifite The Mahomesect, and the law peculiar to them is chiefly to be found of India. in the Futwa Alumgiri, which purport to be decisions of Alumgir or Arungzebe. And in this work, together with the Hedayah and other treatises, we find some light thrown, not indeed upon the Indian land system, but upon the principles which the Mahomedans applied in their land system for conquered countries, when the conquest was sufficiently complete to enable them to do so. In other cases they were content with a tribute. It would be beyond our present scope to dwell upon the general characteristics of the Mahomedan invaders, and their general system of government; but one important point must be noticed. It appears to be pretty certain that the Mahome- Their system
non-hereditdan system of government was throughout a non-hereditary ary. system; while the Hindoo system was essentially hereditary. Sir George Campbell says:—“The Mahomedan system is quite
The Hindoo system
LECTURE non-hereditary,—I may say anti-hereditary.” On the other
hand, the Hindoo system was a distinct contrast in this
respect in all its grades, from the hereditary rajah to the hereditary.
hereditary village dancing girl. And so we find that while the Hindoo officers succeeded to their office simply by descent, or by the mixture of descent and election which, as we have seer, sometimes prevailed, yet this established hereditary right was not sufficient in Mahomedan times
without some recognition by the State. One result of this Struggle
difference between the two systems appears to have been between the two systems.
that a long struggle between the opposing principles took place; the Hindoos clinging to the hereditary principle, and the Mahomedans seeking to cut it down as much as possible; and where it proved too strong for them, insisting at least upon the formal recognition of the principle of choice; for instance by requiring the acceptance of a sunnud and the payment of fees on succession in many cases. A system of
government which was opposed to hereditary offices would The Mahome- naturally tend to become, if it was not originally, a highly dan system a centralised centralised government; in this again presenting a marked
contrast to the Hindoo system with its village communities. In this respect also there seems to have been a struggle between the two opposite principles; and the village communities ceased to develop and tended to decay under Mahomedan rule. We shall, as we proceed, see traces of
the struggles above referred to; especially in the proceedThe Mahome- ings of Jaffier Khan. But before noticing the course dan land theory. actually pursued by the Mahomedans with regard to the
land, it will be useful to see what their theory was.
Cobden Club Essay, 152.
Patton's Asiatic Monarchies, 81. Campbell's Cobden Club Essay, 169, 226.
That theory is somewhat complicated; but I shall dwell, as far as possible, only upon that part of it which is more directly applicable to India.
When the inhabitants of a country conquered by the The Khiraj. Mahomedans were left in the enjoyment of their own land, a tax called the khiraj was to be imposed upon them. There was another form of the land-tax for Mussulmans : The Ooshr. this was called the ooshr, and could only be imposed upon believers. The ooshr was of course a lighter tax, being only imposed on land actually productive and in respect of the actual produce; while the khiraj was imposed on all land capable of production, whether actually made productive or not.
The Sowad of Irak appears to have been the typical The Sowad of khiraj land. The khiraj was there imposed by Omar. But a tax of the same kind as the khiraj had been before levied there under the Persian rulers of the country: this was based upon a division of the produce between the sovereign and the cultivator. Cobad, one of the Persian sovereigns of the Sowad, considering this method an oppressive one, contemplated a measurement of all the arable land of his empire, but died before he could carry out his intention. The scheme, upon which he appears to have begun to act, was however carried to completion by his son Noorshevan, who imposed a fixed rate in grain or grain and money as the khiraj :* this was apparently equivalent to one-third of the produce, and was assessed on the jureeb or beegah.5
· Baillie's Land Tax. Ayeen Akbery, Vol. I, 349, 350,
In fact the Persian sovereigns of the Sowad seem originally to have considered that something like a partnership existed in the produce between the sovereign and the cultivator, like the metayer system in some European countries. A contract for such a division of the produce as was thus assumed to be implied in the relation of sovereign and cultivator was not unknown to Mahomedan law, and was called mozaraut. The analogy in the khiraj to such a contract depended upon the sovereign's taking a proportion of the actual produce; and according to that analogy the sovereign was the original proprietor of the land : that analogy however failed when a fixed rate was imposed, since in Mahomedan law the reservation of a fixed quantity, instead of a share, vitiated the contract of mozaraut. The sovereign would therefore, according to the Mahomedan theory, cease to be the proprietor of the land as soon as he commuted his right to a share of the produce for a fixed rate in money.. In the Sowad, as we shall see was the case in India, Omar in imposing the khiraj, in general adopted the rates which he found prevailing; but he increased the rate for some kinds of produce. Omar's proceedings appear to have been thenceforth considered a binding precedent for all cases to which they were applicable; but in cases for which they were not a proper precedent, the khiraj was imposed according to the circumstances of the case, being always à proportion of the produce or a fixed equivalent. Where, however, Omar's assessment was binding, the rates fixed by him could not be increased: but it was generally considered that they might be reduced according to the
Proprietary rights according to Mahomedan law.
· Baillie's Land Tax, xvii.
: Baillie's Land Tax, xviii,
capacity of the lands." The Sowad assessment does not LECTURE seem to have been acted upon as a precedent in India, and probably for the reason that the conquest of India was gradually completed, and therefore the system to be introduced was determined much more by practical than by theoretical considerations. We have seen that the khiraj was sometimes a proportion The two kinds
of khiraj. of the produce and sometimes a fixed money rate. These two methods of assessment came in time to be considered different in kind, and bore different names. The kind of khiraj which was a proportion of the produce was called mookasumah. The proportion taken was one-fifth or onesixth of the actual crop. This class of tax was assimilated to the ooshr when it came to depend upon the actual crop and not on the capacity of the land. It failed, in consequence, when the land was uncultivated. The other class of khiraj was called wuzeefa (something in obligation). The obligation to pay this class of khiraj was considered personal liability on account of a definite portion of land,” depending on its capability and not on its actual produce; and it was therefore due so long as the land retained that capability, whether actually productive or not. It retained therefore in this respect the characteristics of the original khiraj, and it was this feature of the original khiraj which was held to render it a peculiarly suitable tax for unbelievers. It was consequently the wuzeefa khiraj which was imposed on conquered unbelievers.
· Baillie's Land Tax, xxi.
Baillie's Laud Tax, xix.