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WASTE LAND. 51
as far as we can judge, these rights of the Hindoo khood- Lecturk kashts appear to have been analogous to, but not derived .— from, Mahomedan practice; and it is very probable that such analogies led the Mahomedans to disturb what they found existing so little as they seem to have done.
There is only one more point in the Mahomedan theory waste land, to be mentioned; and that is with respect to waste land. Waste land was considered the property of the State, that is of the community at large.1 It does not appeal- to have been considered the private property of the sovereign; or the property of the State in the same sense as the State share of the produce, which was at the absolute disposal of the State; but waste land seems to have been considered subject to the disposition of the sovereign for the benefit of the general body of the community.
There is, however, nothing to show that anything but the privilege of bringing the waste land into cultivation was contemplated when the waste was disposed of.2 Whoever brought the waste into cultivation was considered as bringing it into life, as it is expressed in the Futwa Alumgiri. This could only be done, as I have said, with the Imam's permission; but when so authorised, the land brought into cultivation became the property of the cultivator.3 In later times the power to sanction the cultivation of waste land was assumed by the zemindars,—at first as representatives of the State in their capacity as officers of State, but in course of time as a proprietary right. This, as we shall see, was one of the many rights gradually acquired by the zemindars as personal rights by a kind of usurpation.
1 Land Tenure by a Civilian, 89.
52 SIMILARITY OF THE HINDOO AND MAHOMED AN SYSTEMS.
It will be seen, from the description I have given of the Mahomedan theory, that there are many points of resemblance between the Mahomedan theory and the Hindoo practice; most of these points of resemblance I have noticed already. The doctrine as to waste, a further point as to which the Hindoo and Mahomedan laws are almost identical, is to a certain extent the basis of both; but it is also the basis of most theories as to the land, and can hardly be claimed as a distinctive feature of these systems in particular. The result of the similarity we have observed might be expected to be a disposition on the part of the conquerors to allow the collection of the revenue to continue on the Bame principles as before, and this tendency would be very much strengthened by the gradual nature of the Mahomedan conquest: the new rulers would probably be glad to employ, as far as they could, the Hindoo agencies in the collection of revenue, as well as to continue the Hindoo principles; and their ignorance of the practical working details of the system would further confirm the tendency to such a course as I have suggested. And we find that this is very much what actually happened. In the same way that the English continued for a considerable time to employ the native agencies, and for like reasons, the Mahomedans also long kept to the old system. The Mahome- At first the conquerers put some of the Hindoo princes the Hindoo under tribute, without interfering in the internal government of their states :l but probably the more completely subdued states were from the first ruled direct by the Mahomedans. Ultimately the greater part of the country came under their immediate rule, and the tributary princes THE HINDOO SYSTEM SUBSTANTIALLY CONTINUED, 53
1 Fifth Report, Vol. II, 6. Baillie's Land Tax, xxvii.
were either expelled or sank into the position of tax- Luc-runs collectors or zemindars.1 But no material change appears — to have been made in the revenue system. As I have suggested, this may have been partly from the similarity of the system they found existing to that which they would have been inclined to introduce. The revenue paid by the cultivators was similar to the khiraj they would have imposed: and the rights and obligations of the cultivators were similar to those indicated by their own law. But whatever may have been the cause, whether entirely from a feeling of weakness and inability to take the complex details of revenue collection into their own hands; or partly for this reason and partly from the similarity of the Hindoo system to their own; or for neither of these reasons; we do not find that any great change was immediately introduced by them. They did not divide the lands amongst themselves as conquerors: perhaps they were not strong enough to do so if they had desired; but they do not seem to have desired it. They did not impose the khiraj as a new impost, but merely collected the tax already imposed, making however early attempts to increase its amount.2 They did not displace the native revenue officers, although the action of their general system of government produced, in course of time, considerable changes in the status of those officers.
The khiraj does not seem to have been imposed formally, The khiraj not if at all, before the time of Ala-ood-deen, or perhaps of imposed. Akbar. And although the principle of Akbar's system was to abolish the division of the produce, and to substitute a fixed rate for the beegah, it is not clear that this was done
1 Baillie's Land Tax, xxvii.
* Baillie's Land Tax, xxvii, xxviii.
54 SUBSEQUENT ATTEMPTS AT CHANGE.
I.kcturk with any reference to the wuzeefa khiraj as a model to be —- preferred to the mookasumah khiraj; or that it was with a view to imposing the khiraj at all: the sufficient reason given for the change being that the new mode was less burdensome to the cultivator.1 A step in the same direction had been taken by the predecessors of Akbar, Shere Shah and Selim Shah, who abolished, or rather sought to abolish, the practice of dividing the crops.2 Attempted The tax which the Mahomedans found existing in India
was analogous to the mookasumah form of the khiraj; since it was levied by a division of the actual produce ; the system called buttai in Hindoo times. Both the name and the mode of division have come down to the present day; none of the various attempts that have been made to substitute a fixed rate for a division of the produce have completely succeeded. The first change which was attempted on a considerable scale appears to have been that of Alaood-deen, who began to reign in A.D. 1296 and died in 1316. He attempted, what his predecessors had probably been struggling towards, the exaction of the full half of the gross produce from the cultivators:—the highest proportion which could lawfully be demanded, even from a conquered country.3 He endeavoured to make various changes in the revenue system, and particularly to abolish the buttai system. He directed that the revenue should be a fixed rate assessed upon measurement, instead of a proportion of the produce; which, if carried out, would have been an anticipation of Akbar's reform. But it is said that these
1 Ayeen Akbery, Vol. I, 347. Baillie's Land Tax, xvii.
5 Ayeen Akbery, Vol. I, 354. Baillie's Land Tax, xxviii.
3 Patton's Asiatic Monarchies, 88, 89. Baillie's Land Tax, xxviii.
EFFECT OF THOSE ATTEMPTS. 55
regulations came to an end after Ala-ood-deen's death ;1 and Lecturk the cultivators continued to render the revenue according — to the old buttai system. Ala-ood-deen may have had an eye to the khiraj in the rate he endeavoured to impose, and the mode in which he sought to levy it: but it can hardly be said that he imposed, or perhaps that he intended formally to impose, the wuzeefa khiraj ; still less that he intended to give effect to the Mahomedan theory that the payment of wuzeefa khiraj gave the cultivator an exclusive proprietary right in the land.2 We cannot ascertain how far the Mahomedans who settled in India were disposed to carry this theory into practice, or whether it had ever been carried into practice. The theory itself is, to a great extent, an inference only, if it is extended further than the obvious result that when the State ceases to take a share of the produce, and takes instead a fixed rate from the cultivator personally, and accepts his personal liability instead of retaining its hold upon the crop, the cultivator becomes the exclusive proprietor of the crop; and as he cannot be ousted from his holding, at any rate so long as he pays the khiraj, he is to that extent exclusive proprietor of the land. But I cannot find that either Proprietary Ala-ood-deen or Akbar intended to introduce any change disturbed. in the proprietary rights of the cultivators; the bulk of whom had indeed rights similar to those which would belong to wuzeefa khiraj holders. Nor can I find that, before the time of Ala-ood-deen, or while the tax resembled the mookasumah khiraj, the State claimed to interfere with the proprietary rights of the cultivators, or claimed itself the right of property. The course of things seems to have
1 Baillie's Land Tax, xwiii.
* Baillie's Land Tax, xxii, xxx, xxxiii.