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20 THE HEADMAN.
Lkctturk hereditary, but the holder could be dismissed by the — community.1
The headman. I come now to consider the position of the village headman; and in considering his functions we shall arrive at some understanding of the revenue system of the Hindoo governments, and of the relations between the king and the community. The headman bore various titles in different parts of the country. In Bengal he was known by the name of Mokuddim or Mundul, at least in Mahomedan times, and seems to have corresponded with the gram adhiput or superintendent of a village referred to in Menu :2 other names were Qond or Partly elective Oanda, Potail and Purdhan. He was a partly elective, hereditary partly hereditary, officer; and combined the functions of head of the municipality with those of an officer and representative of the Government.* He was supposed to derive his right to the office through his descent from the founder of the village.4 Whether the office was at first wholly elective is uncertain; but considering the strong tendency of all Hindoo offices to become hereditary, the office of headman probably had an hereditary element in
1 Mr. Fottescue's evidence before the House of Commons, Select Committee (Is;i-J , 2241 and 2245. * Land Tenure by a Civilian, 19, 77.
3 Campbell's Cobden Club Essay, 163. Fifth Report, Vol. II, 13, 157. Land Tenure by a Civilian, 76. Harington's Analysis, Vol. II, 67. Robinson's Land Tenure, 69. Orissa, Vol. II, 206, 221, 242, 249 to 251. Steele's Deccan Castes, 204. Evidence of Col. Briggs before the Select Committee of the House of Lords (1830\ 4047, 4152. Evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Commons (1832), of Lieut.-Col. Barnewall, 1734, of Lieut.-Col. Sykes, 2173, of Mr. Fortescue, 2232, 2237, 2238, and of Mr. Holt Mackenzie, 2656.
4 Fifth Report, Vol. I, 18. Orissa, Vol. II, 249 to 251.
THE HEADMAN. 27
very early times.1 The village might elect; but if it did Lkcturk not the office generally went to the fittest member of the — late headman's family, usually with some preference to seniority.2 Sometimes however, at least in modern times, the members of the family discharged its functions in rotation; the head of the family receiving nevertheless a larger share of the emoluments :3 thus there were sometimes found to be several munduls in a village* There are instances of the sale of the office by the occupant; and also by the Government, on the dismissal or failure of heirs of the headman ;5 but in general the office could not be sold. The headman's tenure of office originally depended upon the approval of the village community, but later the zemindar sometimes nominated the headman.6 The State had pro- The state bably always had a veto upon his appointment; since he cou "(mi38was an officer of the State, as well as the representative of the village, and the State could dismiss him at pleasure.7 In this way the zemindar would come in some cases to assume the right of nominating as a superior representative of the Government; and in the decline of these communities the villagers would have no choice but to acquiesce. The hereditary element nevertheless continued
1 Campbell's Cobden Club Essay, 169, 226. Patton's Asiatic Monarchies, 81. Land Tenure, by a Civilian, 33, 76.
'See authorities in note (3) p. 26 ante.
'Land Tenure by a Civilian, 79. Steele's Deccan Castes, 205.
4 Harington's Analysis, Vol. III, 350. Evidence of Mr. Fortescue before the Select Committee of the House of Lords (1830), 503.
5 Land Tenure by a Civilian, 78. Mr. Fortescue's evidence ubi supra, 397 to 400. Orissa, Vol. II, 249 to 251.
• Land Tenure by a Civilian, 75.
; lb., 33.
28 THE HEADMAN.
Lecturk persistently to assert itself, even down to modern times, and — in declining or decayed communities; and in most of the large talooks descendants of the headman continued to claim the right to exercise the office on a vacancy.1
In considering the headman's duties it is almost impossible to say positively whether they were his original functions, or whether they were the growth of Mahomedan times; but we may I think safely assume that they were mainly his original functions under the Hindoo system; since the office was then in its full vigour, and its functions and privileges would be likely to be diminished rather than increased. I shall not attempt to separate in my description his original functions from those subsequently assumed, since I am obliged to base my account of them upon comparatively modern descriptions; but I shall indicate as far as I can any change which may have taken place in his position. His functions. His most important functions, as far as we are concerned, were those of adjuster of the revenue on the village and of collector of the revenue. He arranged all the details of the assessment; ascertained the extent of each holding in the village; estimated the growing crop, and saw the threshed corn heaps weighed; and apportioned the revenue accordingly, either by estimate or by the actual out-turn. He also received the share which represented the revenue, and delivered it in kind to the superior revenue collector; or at a later period to the malgoozar or contractor for the revenue; or else handed it over for sale to the village weighman or to the mahajun (or village merchant), who bought the grain of the village
Land Tenure by a Civilian, 79.
THE HEADMAN. 29
and advanced the amount of the revenue for payment in Lecturk money.1 The headman also settled the allowance to be — made for injury to the crops near the pathways. He set the village watchmen to look after the crops, and to see that the cultivation was so conducted that the revenue might not surfer. He settled the share to be paid by each ryot towards the deh khurclia (or village expenses), and each ryot's share of the cost of watching the crops; and, in Mahomedan times, the amount of abwab or extra assessment that fell to each cultivator's share. He was bound to see that the putwaree or village accountant made the proper entries in his books. He was besides the village magistrate, and superintended the village police or chowkeedars2
The headman's duties were numerous and responsible; His emoluand his emoluments were in consequence considerable. He had a few beegahs of land, free of revenue, for a garden; and paid a lower rate for the rest of his lands than ordinary ryots.3 He was allowed the services of one or more of the servile labourers of the village, and of their families; and |th or Jth of his grain crop was set apart for their maintenance before his crop was assessed. Or if he did not require their labour, he was sometimes allowed the deduction instead. He got fees and dues (called huhs in the Deccan) from the non-agricultural villagers; such as money for a dress and turban; oil and tobacco daily from the shops; a present on the marriage of
1 Mr. Newnham's evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Commons (1832), 2765.
'Land Tenure by a Civilian, 32, 77. Harington's Analysis Vol. II, 67, 68. Fifth Report, Vol. II, 13, 352, 353. Robinson's Land Revenue, 55, 69. Orissa, Vol. II, 242. Directions for Revenue Officers, 4.
3 Orissa, Vol. I, 60, 61; Vol. II, 253, 254.
In Orissa villages.
any of the tenants-at-will (popurees or pyekashts); fees from travellers, fcc.1 These were called mohiurfa. His money dues amounted to about a penny in the acre in Orissa.2 He had a right, prior to that the rest of the village, to water from the common wells or dams. He was entitled to any surplus of the deh khurcha (village fund) or watching fund. He was paid his expenses for food and travelling when employed on the village affairs. He was entitled to have his water and wood brought to him by the village servants, and even to the services of a shampooer.3 These emoluments were in the Deccan included under the generic term xouttun* I have mentioned that he paid less than the other cultivators for his own holding; this appears to have been his remuneration as a servant of the State; while his other emoluments were derived from the village, and were the payment of his services to the village. He paid from fth to Jth of his grain crop (nujkaree) as revenue, while the other villagers paid higher rates; and he was charged from £th to £rd less than ordinary ryots for his other crops of a superior kind (zubtee).5
The Kandh villages in Orissa were in like manner presided over by headmen, but owing to the loose organisation of those villages, their headmen had none of the power or privileges of the Hindoo village headman.6 In the ancient German villages, which had an organisation something like
1 Steele's Deccan Castes, 204, 205.
» Orissa, Vol. I, 60, 61; Vol II, 253, 254.
• Land Tenure by a Civilian, 78, 80. Orissa, Vol. I, 60, 61. Fifth Report, Vol. II, 13, 76. Steele's Deccan Castes, 204, 205. See Menu, cb. VII, si. 119.
4 Robinson's Land Revenue, 69. Steele's Deccan Castes, 204.
5 Land Tenure by a Civilian 80.