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THE ZEMINDAR. 241
assessment then subsisting, ought to have been subject to Lkotcirk „ VII.
the ordinary assessment. —
For the purposes already mentioned, the supervisors The zemindars, were directed to hold local investigations; and in order to prevent collusion between the zemindars and collectors, they were authorised to threaten the zemindars with the loss of their zemindaries, and the collectors with the loss of their employment :l thus treating the zemindars as officers of the Government rather than as absolute proprietors of the land.
The Committee remark upon the prevailing grievances to be remedied: these are, first, the inequality of assessment, owing to the number of talooks and the quantity of land paying no revenue; this is to be corrected by a strict scrutiny into the cesses and taxes, and the classes upon which they fall; second, the variety of exactions " which the collectors, from the aumil and zemindar to the lowest pyke," impose; and third, the multiplication of superfluous agents and inferior collectors.2
With regard to the exactions of the zemindars they observe that" the truth cannot be doubted that the poor and industrious tenant is taxed by his zemindar or collector for every extravagance that avarice, ambition, pride, vanity or intemperance may lead him into, over and above what is generally deemed the established rent of his lands. If he is to be married, a child born, honors conferred, luxury indulged, and nuzzeranas or fines exacted, even for his own misconduct, all must be paid by the ryot. And what
1 Colebrooke's Supplement, 179.
242 THE RYOT.
Lkoturk heightens the distressful scene, the more opulent, who can —. better obtain redress for imposition, escape, while the weaker are obliged to submit"1 Protection for In order to protect the ryots the amount which the zemindars can legally claim is to be fixed,2 and pottahs specifying this amount are to be granted.3 The Committee observe that the supervisors are "to fix the amount of what the zemindar receives from the ryot as his income or emolument wherein they generally exceed the bounds of moderation, taking advantage of the personal attachment of their people and of the inefficacy of the present restrictions upon them; hence the presence of the aumil more frequently produces a scene of collusion than a wariness of conduct. When the sum of the produce of the lands and of each demand on the tenant is thus ascertained with certainty, the proportion of what remains to him for the support of his family and encouragement of his industry will clearly appear and lead us to the reality of his condition. Amongst the chief effects which are hoped for from your residence in that province, and which ought to employ and never wander from your attention, are to convince the ryot that you will stand between him and the hand of oppression; that you will be his refuge and the redresser of his wrongs; that the calamities he has already suffered have sprung from an intermediate cause, and were neither known nor permitted by us; that honest and direct applications to you will never fail producing speedy and equitable decisions; that after supplying the legal due of Government, he may be secure in the enjoyment of the remainder; and finally to teach him
1 Colebrooke's Supplement, 185.
• It)., 176.
* Ib., 178.
THE HUSTABOOft 243
a veneration and affection for the humane maxims of our Lkcturk
Yii. Government."1 —
The hustabood or rent-roll, which was to be drawn up Tha hustabood. after all the prescribed enquiries had been made, was to show the quantity, productions, and rent of all cultivated lands under Government; the quantity, productions, and value of all jageers, talooks, charitable and religious donations, &c., with observations thereon.2 And this was to be followed by yearly accounts showing the state of the revenue for the year."
I have given the instructions of the Committee in some detail, because they are interesting as showing the views of those who were first directly concerned with the revenue on behalf of the English. As we have seen they were anxious to relieve the ryots; and while professing to leave the zemindar's rights untouched, claimed to bring him back to his original position in some respects, and evidently did not consider him the absolute proprietor of the soil.
In 1770 Bengal suffered from a famine which is said to Direct manngchave destroyed a third of its inhabitants.* There was great revenue by th« confusion in revenue affairs; but the amount of revenue was kept up notwithstanding the famine : this was however only accomplished by the free exaction of najay from the cultivators, that is, by making the actual cultivators pay the whole revenue, including that due from those who had died or absconded.' In this year the two Revenue Councils
1 Colebrooke's Supplement, 176.
4 Harington's Analysis, Vol. II, 6.
1 Ib., 7.
DIRECT MANAGEMENT OF REVENUE.
at Patna and Moorshedabad which the Court of Directors had intimated their intention of establishing were appointed, but they seem not to have answered the purpose for which they were instituted.1 On the 28th August 1771 the Court of Directors announced their determination "to stand forth as dewan, and by the agency of the Company's servants to take upon themselves the entire care and management of the revenues." This involved displacing Mahomed Reza Khan and the native establishment under him, which was done on the 11th May 1772 by proclamation under the orders of the Directors. This proclamation announced that the charge of the office of dewan would be assumed for the present by the Revenue Councils at Moorshedabad and Patna: it also contained a summary of the branches of administration which appertained to the dewanny.2 The first step after assuming direct charge of the dewanny was to make arrangements with respect to the revenue. This was done by Regulations passed on the 14th May 1772, providing for letting the revenue to farm for five years; and also providing for the administration of justice in the provinces, and the regulation and conduct of affairs at the Presidency.3 It was provided by these Regulations that the revenue should be farmed for five years from the 1st Bysack 1179 (10th April 1772) :* the farms to consist of entire pergunnahs, provided they did not yield more than a lac of rupees a year as revenue.5 The settlement FARMING SETTLEMENT. 245
1 Harington's Analysis, 6.
• lb., 11, 12. Colebrooke's Supplement, 189, 190.
3 Fifth Report Vol. I, 4. Harington's Analysis, Vol. II, 12. Colebrooke's Supplement, 190, 191.
4 Art. 1.
• Art. 2.
in the mofussil was to be made by a Committee of the Lkcturk
. T, vn
Board composed of Mr. Warren Hastings as President, and —
four other members going circuit for that purpose.1 The
collecting officers were to be called Collectors instead of
supervisors.2 With the Collector was to be associated a
fixed dewan to keep separate accounts of the collections
according to the established forms.3 No sepoys, peons, or
other persons with authority were to be sent into the
lands belonging to the farmers, except when indispensable
for the farmer's assistance, and in that case only under
a warrant* The farmer was prohibited from receiving
on any pretence larger rents from the ryots than the
amount stipulated for in the pottahs, and on a conviction
for doing so the farmer was to be compelled to repay the
ryot the sum extorted, and to pay a penalty of equal amount
to the Government; upon repetition of the offence, or
in a notorious case, his lease was to be annulled.5 Similarly
no demand was to be made upon the farmers beyond the
agreed dowl or rent-roll delivered to them with their lease.6
The imposition of mathoots, or assessments upon the ryots Abwabs and
under the names of mangun, baurie gundee, sood, or prohibited.
any other abwab or tax, was prohibited. Abwabs of
late establishment were to be carefully scrutinised, and, if
found oppressive and pernicious, to be abolished by the
Committee.7 Similarly all nuzzurs and salamees, which are
described as being usually presented at the first interview
1 Art. 3.
• Art. 6.
3 Art. 7.
4 Art. 9.
1 Art. 10.
• Art. 11.