« ПредишнаНапред »
SUJAH KHAN'S ABWABS. 181
settlement as marks of investiture, (c.) Pooshtabundy, to Lecturk defray the cost of embanking the river near the Lai Baug, — and the killah of Moorshedabad. (d.) Russoom-nezarut, instead of a commission formerly paid by the zemindar to the nazir jemmadar, or head peon, on the treasure brought from the mofussil. This was ten annas in the thousand rupees.1
3. Maihoot feel-khaneh, a tax chiefly levied from Mathoot feeithe interior districts to pay for feeding the elephants of
the nazim and dewan at Moorshedabad: it amounted to Rs. 3,22,631.
4. Foujdarry, an increased assessment by way of abwab Fonjdarr/. upon the imperfectly-settled districts which were chiefly under the jurisdiction of foujdars and tannahdars (or military governors supported by jageers,) and not of zemindars. This abwab also included a duty on cattle brought
to Moorshedabad for sale, and a tax for the support of
1 Fifth Report, Vol. I, 278.
Aliverdy Khan, who administered the province from 1740 to 1755, imposed three abwabs:—
1. The Chout Mahratta or Mahratta fourth. This was imposed to supply the loss of revenue from the cession of Orissa to the Mahrattas, which was made in place of tribute. The Mahrattas claimed one-fourth of the revenue in imitation of the claim of the Mogul sovereign to the rebba, or one-fourth of the produce, and succeeded in levying this tribute. And Mahomed Shah having recognised this claim, the greater part of Orissa was ultimately ceded to the Mahrattas in liquidation of it as far as Bengal was concerned: the Soubahdar imposing on the rest of his jurisdiction the present abwab, as a substitute for tribute before collected by the Mahrattas and to indemnify the State for the loss of the revenue of Orissa. Its amount was Rs. 15,31,817.1
2. Ahuk, an abwab levied on some interior districts, ostensibly for the purpose of bringing lime and chunam from Sylhet to the killah of Moorshedabad. This abwab also included kimut kheshtgour, for the cost of dismantling the city of Gour, the former capital, and of bringing thence a particular kind of enamelled brick."
3. Nuzzeranah Munsoorgunge, an abwab levied from the larger zemindaries in the interior under the following circumstances. Aliverdi's grandson, Suraj-ul-Dowlah, had built for himself a pleasure-house which he invited Alverdi to visit; during his visit Suraj-ul-Dowlah contrived to lock him up in the new house, and threatened to keep him there unless the chief zemindars present would COSSIM ALl'S ABWABS. 183
1 Fifth Report, Vol. I, 282 to 289; Vol. II, 163.
ransom him. This probably collusive contrivance resulted L*ctur« in the chief zemindars agreeing to the abwab above-named. —— The house was named from this occurrence Munsoorgunge, or the store-house of the victor: the privilege of establishing a gunge, granary, or market having been voluntarily conferred by Aliverdy on Suraj-ul-Dowlah.1 The increase of assessment during Aliverdi's time amounted to Rs. 22,25,554 :2 nevertheless, the actual receipts fell off during his time to the extent of ten lacs of rupees.3 The next important abwab was that imposed by Cossim Cossim AU's
Ali, who governed Bengal from 1760 to 1763; and who seems to have been considered specially oppressive in his exactions.4 He endeavoured, it is said, not only to secure for the State nearly all the ryots then paid, but even attempted to take away from the ryots the bare subsistence which had hitherto been left to them. He employed agents to ascertain the exactions and sources of emolument of the zemindars and officers of the revenue, and at once demanded an increase of revenue to the amount of Rs. 74,81,340; but it does not appear that he ever succeeded in realising this increased sum.5 Indeed, as we have seen, the revenue had already begun to decrease in spite of all exactions. The abwab which Cossim Ali imposed was called the serf sicca Serf sicca half
Italf anna. The zemindars had been allowed to levy an increased assessment at the recoinage in Jaffier Khan's time to make up the loss they suffered thereby. The amount allowed to be levied was about two per cent.; but
1 Fifth Report, Vol. I, 290.
* Ib., 105.
* lb., 292, 293.
* Ib., 108, 109.
184 COSSIM ALl'S ABWABS.
Lk<ti;iik the zemindars in reality managed to exact much more. — Cossim Ali having discovered this practice endeavoured to transfer the benefit of it from the zemindars to himself, by levying the serf as an abwab. This was an anna and a half in the rupee upon the whole hustabood or gross revenue including the former abwabs.1 This charge was, as just mentioned, formerly allowed against the revenue; it came under the head of deh khurcha or village expenses* A similar abwab had been expressly prohibited by Akbar.5 Cossim Ali also increased the jumma by enhancing the assessment of insufficiently assessed lands, by assessing resumed jageers, and by enforcing the payment of towfeer, or excess of revenue over that assigned as jageer. These were called abwabs, but were as appears partly of a different nature; being not extra exactions, at least in some cases, but the resumption of revenue abstracted without authority. They were called (1), the keffyet hustabood, or increase of the assessment upon lands insufficiently assessed, and resumption of revenue assigned for the support of the military establishments, which had been reduced;4 (2), keffyet foujdaran, a similar increase from the military frontier jurisdictions of the foujdars, who were in the habit of levying increased revenue for their own benefit ;5 and (3), towfeer jageer-daran, the excess of the actual revenue received by the jageerdars above the amount assigned to them.6
THE STATE SHARE OF THE PRODUCE. 185
This general description of the abwabs will convey a suffi- Lecturi cient idea of their nature without descending to details.1 — These with the assul-jumma make up the total jumma. From the gross jumma, as we have seen, various deductions were made under the head of muzkoorat in order to arrive at the net jumma. And the amount assigned as jageer had also to be excluded in arriving at the net jumma.2 The full particulars of the jumma for each village and pergunnah were contained in a record called a tuckseem. This contained Tn-e tuckseem. complete details of the boundaries, rights to markets and gunges, the rights in the land, and all other matters connected with the revenue. The aggregate of these formed the toomar or rent-roll of the Soubah.5
It now remains to ascertain the proportion of produce Proportion of
taken by the State as revenue in Mahomedan times. And *» revenue. upon this point there is a good deal of difference of opinion; and the proportion seems to have varied in different parts of the country. I shall give the various opinions.
Sir George Campbell says the State, before British rule, took from one-fourth to half of the gross produce, onethird and two-fifths being the most common proportions.4 The Fifth Report puts the State proportion at three-fifths in fully settled land, leaving the cultivator two-fifths.5 Out of the three-fifths taken by the State, the zemindar and
1 See an abstract of the abwabs, Fifth Report, Vol. I, p. 309, et seq. See an instance of a local abwab in the dehdary of the Bhaugulpore district, lb., 216.
* Harington's Analysis, Vol. III, 340, 343.
'Fifth Report, Vol. I, 173, 181, 360, 361. Harington's Analysis, Vol. III, 233.
4 Cobden Club Essay, 157.
4 Fifth Report, Vol. I, 18.