« ПредишнаНапред »
THE ASSESSMENT OF REVENUE. 31
that of the Hindoo villages, the chief had a larger or better Lecture allotment of land as his remuneration.1 —
Although the headman had the strength of hereditary Dismissal. claims to support him, his office was not a freehold. He could be dismissed by the State; and then his services to the village being rendered useless, his emoluments ceased: but of course he retained his own lands, paying the ordinary revenue for them. He could not however be dismissed by the State except for failure to make good the revenue assessed upon the village,2 and for the due payment of which he was responsible. In fact, he was in something like the same position as the zemindars subsequently, except that he was in some sort elected by the village subject to the sanction of the State, and not appointed by the State. He might however have advanced claims to be considered the absolute proprietor upon almost as good grounds as have been advanced by or rather for the zemindars; but in truth he was a mere official originally; having nevertheless land which he cultivated himself within the limits of his jurisdiction, just as the zemindars afterwards had. The position and emoluments of the zemindars seem to have been an extension of those of the headman: many of the headmen became zemindars, and their rights as headmen were combined with and merged in their claims as zemindars.3
We have seen that the assessment of revenue was upon Mode of
, • ,. . i i ,,. , , iii ii • assessment
the individual cultivator; but the headman and the entire of revenue, village were responsible for its paj'ment. The cultivator was dealt with individually, but as a member of the village
1 M. de Laveleye in the Revue des Deux Mondes, tome 100, p. 511.
* Land Tenure by a Civilian, 33, 79.
3 Land Tenure by a Civilian, 33, 76. Thoinason's Selections, 18.
Mode of payment.
LitcTuitK and through the headman :* and so strong was the custom — of having the assessment settled with reference to the village usages, and to the position of the individual as a member of the village, that in the Madras presidency some villages were found where the individual cultivators had been assessed direct by the Government for half a century, but had always redistributed the assessment amongst themselves according to their own usages.2 The same thing also happened in Java, where, as I have mentioned, the village system is derived from India.3 The headman made over the revenue either direct to the superior representative of the. Government, or indirectly through a talookdar or zemindar; the latter chiefly in Mahomedan times. When he paid the revenue direct he was called in Mahomedan times an huzooree or kharij malgoozar; but if he paid through a talookdar or zemindar, he was called a muzkooree (dependent), shikmi, mofussil or slutmili malgoozar.4 The word muzkooree is now however sometimes applied in the opposite sense to direct paying malgoozars in the Swrbaro>kari and Mocuddumy holdings in Cuttack, while zati is used for the dependent tenures.5
If the headman refused, on the part of the village, ag1r"eru>u8ed't0 to agree to the amount of assessment required by the PAYMENT OF REVENUE. 33
1 Orissa, Vol. II, 166. Evidence before the House of Commons, Select Committee (1832) of Mr. Sullivan, 12 and 13; and of Mr. Fortescue, 2237, 2238. Directions for Revenue Officers, 4.
* Campbell's Cobden Club Essay, 197. Mr. Fortescue's evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Lords (1830), 402, 404. Fifth Report, Vol. II, 41.
» M. de Laveleye in the Revue des Deux Mondes, tome 100, p. 160.
* Land Tenure by a Civilian, 45, 61. Whinfield's Landlord and Tenant, 5. Harington's Analysis, Vol. II, 62.
5 Whinfield's Landlord and Tenant, 5. Harington's Analysis, Vol. II, 62.
officers of Government, the settlement was eometimes Lkcturk
I. made with the cultivators direct; or the revenue was farmed
in theka (farm) or ijarah (lease) for a year or sometimes for
a term of three or even five years f and the headman was
assessed for the lands cultivated by him like the rest of the
The headman was not generally a farmer of the revenue, Headman not
or a contractor for it like the Mahomedan zemindars. In revenue.
settling the amount to be charged to the village he acted
chiefly in the interests of the village; and when the amount
was settled, he collected that amount in money or kind
from the villagers chiefly in his capacity of revenue officer.
He was responsible for its collection; but does not appear
to have been so otherwise than as a representative at once
of the Government and the village. The assessment, as
I have said, was upon the cultivators individually ; but the
whole village, and the headman as its representative, was But he and the
responsible for its collection. Probably in still earlier times sibie.
when the village may have been the political and fiscal
unit,4 the assessment may have been simply upon the
village in a single sum, as was the practice since the British
rule in the South of India. The various rates paid by the
various classes of ryots would seem to point to a time
when the village was assessed in a single sum, and the
distribution of that sum amongst the ryots was made by
the village and was a matter of indifference to the State.
Afterwards, when the State came into more direct relations
1 Directions for lievenue Officers, 4, 173. Fifth Report, Vol. II, 353, 575.
* Land Tenure by a Civilian, 60. 'lb.
'See Freeman's Growth of the English Constitution (London: Macmillan & Co., 1872;, pp. 9, 10. ,
34 ASSESSMENT UPON THE INDIVIDUAL.
Lecturs with the cultivators, the assessment would still follow — the established usages, and would become an assessment
npon the indi- of the individual through the headman of the village, vidual cultiva- .. *i»i««»i
tor. and with reference to the position of the individual
in the village. As early as the time of Menu, the individual appears to have been recognised in connexion with the revenue. On this subject the following extract from the Fifth Report is deserving of attention:—" It is represented by the Board of Revenue, in their report in favour of the village system of rent, that it was at least as old as the age of Menu; but if by this be meant that such a mode of settlement was in conformity to the general and settled practice of the Hindoo Governments, the fact appears to be at variance with such information as the Committee have been able to collect in their enquiries upon that subject. The usual course pursued by them for the realization of their territorial revenue appears to have been to collect it from those having an interest in the cultivation of the soil, either in proprietary right or as tenants, through the medium of their own officers. They may have farmed out the revenues of a whole village or more to the head inhabitants on terms of specific contract; but when this occurred this Committee believe it to have been a deviation from the general rule. In the latter periods of the Mahomedan dominion the system of farming the revenues by degrees came into very general use; and to this, it is believed, may be traced the origin of most of the zemindars in the Bengal provinces and in the Northern Circars. They were, as it is now pretty clearly ascertained, in general no other than the revenue servants of districts or sub-divisions of a province; who, as the Committee have formerly explained, were obliged by the conditions on
THE ZEMINDAR. 35
which they held their office to account for the collections Lkcturh they made, or the share of the crop they received from the — ryots, to the governing power in whose service they were employed; and for which service they were in the enjoyment of certain remuneratory advantages, regulated on the principle of a percentage or commission on the revenues within the limits of their local charge; but having, in the process of time and during periods of revolution or of weakness in the sovereign authority, acquired an influence and ascendancy which it was difficult to keep within the confines of official duty, it was found convenient to treat with them as contractors for the revenues of their respective districts; that is, they were allowed, on stipulating to pay the State a certain sum for such advantage for a given period, to appropriate the revenues to their own use and profit: the amount of the sum for which they engaged depended on the relative strength or weakness of the parties; the ability of the government to enforce or of the zemindar to resist. In this situation of things, the practice of sub-renting naturally ensued; and the detail of the farming system would extend itself to several villages. In the Carnatic territory, where large tracts were leased by the Nabob Mahomed Ally to individuals for a greater or lesser number of years under engagements entered into at the seat of his residency, it was found, on that territory being annexed to the British possessions, that the revenues of each village were generally sub-rented to the potails. But in the districts ceded by the Nizam, and in the Mysore country, which also passed from the rule of Mahomedan Princes to that of the East India Company, sub-renting by villages was by no means universal; though it existed to a considerable extent. Whole districts were still under ryot