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land, and thus to have made no deliberate change at all in LECTURE the nature of the rights in the land, or even in the fiscal machinery. I have endeavoured to point out some of the indirect effects of the new ideas ; and we shall see that at a later stage, when in fact it was too late, the Mahomedan principles did assert themselves, but with only partial success. And whether the causes be as I have suggested or not, we find that zemindars did arise and become powerful in Mahomedan times, displacing to a great extent the village headman; and that the village fiscal organization fell into decay, and its growth and development were arrested.
The Mahomedan rulers then collected the revenue for some time in much the same way as the Hindoo rulers had done, with the intervention in some cases of the rajah or powerful personage of the district.' They continued the same revenue machinery and collected the revenue through the Hindoo chowdhries, and, where these had existed, zemindars; as the established representatives of the cultivators, and as collectors of the revenue of a fiscal division or pergunnah.The chowdhry afterwards became the The Crory. Mahomedan Crory, administering a chucklah, or a district yielding a crore of dams or two lacs and a half of rupees a year, and he was one of the officers from whom zemindars sprung: He got an allowance of five per cent. on the collections for his remuneration, together with small allotments of the revenue for his subsistence, called nancar or nancar saverum,* to probably about the same amount.
· Baillie's Land Tax, xxxvii. Land Tenure by a Civilian, 33, 73. Fifth Report, Vol. I, 17.
• Fifth Report, Vol. I, 257, 258. Mr. Campbell's Evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Commons (1832), 2355.
3 Fifth Report, Vol. II, 7, 14, 15. See Harington's Analysis, Vol. III, 327 * Fifth Report, Vol. II, 7.
The headman generally continued to distribute the assessment amongst the villagers, as he did even down to British times ;- and he realized the revenue from the cultivators, which he paid into the treasury, or to the superior revenue authority. In later times the headman generally sank into the position of a subordinate revenue-payer, or of a muzkooree, instead of an huzooree malgoozar; paying revenue, not direct to the treasury or the superior revenue officer as such, but paying through a zemindar or talookdar. The village community appears to have gradually sunk, and to have lost its importance as a fiscal unit, although it may have retained and perhaps intensified its social influence. Its principle, as the outcome of the joint family, was alien to the Mahomedan
ideas of personal and individual right, joint families being Influence of unknown amongst the Mahomedans. The influence of Mabomedan and English
Mahomedan ideas, and the effect of a period of disorder and ideas.
disruption, seems to have resulted in a diminution of the importance of these village communities somewhat in the same way as a disintegration was caused by Roman progress in the family communities of Poland, Bohemia, Carinthia and Carniola, which disappeared before the new ideas. A like effect seems to have been produced by English notions of individual rights. It is remarkable that it is in Bengal, which was ultimately brought more completely under Mahomedan, and earlier under English control, than any other part of the country where the Hindoo element still preponderates, that the notion of individual proprietary right is most complete; that the joint family is most loosely
· Land Tenure by a Civilian, 77.
connected, and most easily dissolved; that the rights of its Lectura members are alienable and freely alienated; and that it is most practicable for a Hindoo to acquire separate property, and least difficult for a stranger to acquire land untrammelled by the restrictions of Hindoo law. It is also in Bengal that the village communities have decayed most: and that the zemindars have acquired the greatest influence. The power of the zemindars has, to a great extent, been built upon the ruins of the Hindoo system. They were at first recognised as officers, or partly as officers and partly as persons with a certain interest in the revenue derived from Hindoo times; but the indirect effect of their recognition by the State, at a time when the old Hindoo forces of joint property and hereditary right were weakened, tended to give them a larger right than they had ever ventured to claim; just as the recognition of the zemindars as proprietors at the Permanent Settlement has tended to make them in practice absolute proprietors. Thus, although little was formally changed at the Mahomedan conquest, the seeds of much practical change were sown.
In those parts of the country where the village commu- The zemindar. nities were in vigour, the headmen seem to have retained their position to some extent, and to have dealt with the State direct as huzooree malgoozars under the old Hindoo titles of mokuddums, munduls and bhuinias (or zemindars). But in other places the ancient rajahs and revenue collectors became talookdars and zemindars, and collected the revenue as such ; aumils being appointed to check or control them, with large bodies of troops under their command, cantoned in the district. These zemindars
· Land Tenure by a Civilian, 43. Orissa, Vol. I, 244, 247, 248, 264. · Land Tenure by a Civilian, 33, 40, 73. Orissa, Vol. II, 222.
THE ZEMINDAR AND TALOOKDAR. LECTURE and talookdars, as we have seen, generally contrived to
absorb the functions, or at least the chief emoluments, of the headman, and to displace him to a great extent. Thus the Rajah of Benares is said to have attained his position by this means. And in Orissa the Hindoo fiscal divisions were broken up into a number of subdivisions, at the head of each of which arose a powerful proprietor, who claimed the permanent right of distributing the revenue amongst the villages of the district, and of collecting it from them. These grew to be the talookdars, who sometimes, when they were powerful, paid revenue for their districts direct to Government,—that is, were “independent talookdars,” as such talookdars were afterwards called in Bengal; or paid through the zemindar, who had become the superior fiscal officer of the pergunnah or division,—that is, were “dependent talookdars.” Again, in Monghyr the rise of zemindars and talookdars can be traced. The zemindary is divided into eleven turfs, and the original zemindar was a chowdhry, whose descendants held, until a late period, nine of the turfs. One of the other turfs was waste, and another chowdhry became zemindar of it. The original zemindary was further subdivided by the grant of talooks out of it by the zemindar to his relatives.
Thus arose zemindars and talookdars of whom I shall Descent of a dary and have more to say hereafter. Many of the superior zemin
daries descend by primogeniture, a fact which perhaps points to their having been derived from the ancient rajahs ; as a raj undoubtedly descended mainly in this mode. The inferior zemindars grew out of collectors, farmers, and
· Thomason's Revenue Selections, 111, 114.
other officers of revenue, headmen, and even robber chiefs.' LECTURE The zemindars mentioned in the Ayeen Akbery, as furnishing large military contingents, were probably chiefs who had become zemindars, and had acquired the right of contracting for the revenue from having been powerful in their districts. The zemindars above described either entirely or partially displaced the headmen. Again in some parts of the country there were ryots who did not form part of any village organisation; and in dealing with these an example would be given of the mode of collection, which grew to be almost the only mode, that of collection through a zemindar alone; and the zemindar's power would in such cases be almost absolute.
Again, many of the conquered rajahs were allowed still Jageerdars. to receive the revenue not in the limited capacity of revenue collectors or zemindars, but for their own benefit, on condition of military service, and by grant from the conquerors. Such a grant of revenue was called a jageer; and in such cases the old system would probably continue in its integrity. But in later times many of these also became zemindars.
At the Mahomedan conquest those who claimed to collect the revenue did not claim the ownership of the land : they claimed a right to collect and sometimes a kind of property
· Baillie's Land Tax, xxxvii. Campbell's Cobden Club Essay, 168, 169. Land Tenure by a Civilian, 73. Fifth Report, Vol. II, 156. Orissa, Vol. II, 240. Compare the Poligars of Southern India. Fifth Report, Vol. II, 88, 91, 93.
? Ayeen Akbery, Vol. I, 237; Vol. II, 20.
s Fifth Report, Vol. I, 168. Compare the Poligars of Southern India. Fifth Report, Vol. II, 88, 89.