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66 ATTEMPTS TO CURB THE ZEMINDARS.
Lecturs in the collections, but nothing more.1 But in course of time II. — the zemindars who had grown out of these claimants, began
to encroach upon the rights of both the State and the
Ala-ood-deen's cultivator: and by the time of Ala-ood-deen, who died in
the Zemindars. A.D. 1316, they were thought to require curbing. The superintendents of the revenue department were accordingly required "to take care that the zemindars should demand no more from the cultivators than the estimates the zemindars themselves had made;"2 thus bringing them back to their original position to some extent, and forbidding what were known as abwabs and cesses. But in spite of this check the power of the zemindars was not crushed, but they regained their position, and ultimately became almost independent.3
Ala-ood-deen intended to abolish the authority of the mocuddums and chowdhries, as well as of the zemindars proper, as oppressive to the ryots; and to appropriate their fees and perquisites as part of the revenue.4 He also, as we have seen, endeavoured to raise the assessment to half the gross produce to be levied upon measurement. His proceedings were a sort of foretaste of those of Jaffier Khan in the eighteenth century. After the time of Ala-ood-deen, we do not hear of any check to the progress of the zemindar's power, except perhaps Akbar's settlement in the sixteenth century, until Jaffier Khan's time.
1 Mr. Fortescue'a Evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Commons (1832), 2283 to 2285. Orissa, Vol. II, 227.
* Patton's Asiatic Monarchies, 88, 89. Baillie's Land Tax, xxxix. 'FifthReport.Vol.iI, 12.
* Patton's Asiatic Monarchies, 88, 89,
Akbar's or Todar Mull's settlement for ten years—Four classes of land—Mode of ascertaining average produce for one season—Average of ten years then taken—New assessment lower than former rate—Proportion taken by the State—The rebba—A fixed money-rate the main object of the settlement— The position of the ryot not affected—The Assul Toomar Jumma—The old methods of rendering the revenue might still be adopted—Remissions and deductions—The settlement made with the ryots direct—The headman—The zemindar—Attempted return to the Hindoo system—The settlement only partially carried out—Commencement of the modern revenue system—Todar Mull's assessment the basis of all subsequent assessments—The fiscal divisions —Khalsa and jageer lands—Khalsa lands—Jageer lands—Havilly lands— The Soubah—The circar—The chucklah—Three stages of fiscal division— Zemindaries—A cutcherry attached to each division of the zemindary—Fiscal organization above the zemindar—The crory—The Foujdar Aumildar—Claims of fiscal officers to hereditary rights—Military force employed in revenue collection—The crory's emoluments—The canoongoe—The putwarry—The chucklah superseded the circar—Attempts at centralization—Hindoos filled the lower revenue offices, and Mahomcdans the higher—The aumil—His subordinates.
In the year 1582 Akbar began those changes in the Akbar's or
J i Todar Mull's
revenue system of which the ten years' settlement, known settlement for
as Todar Mull's or Toory Mull's settlement, was the most important result. That was the first general settlement for any longer period than a year of which we have any record. Up to that time, as far as we can learn, the amount of the year's revenue was settled upon a measurement of the lands and an estimate of the crop, or upon actual weighment and division of the crop. The standard of measurement however does not seem to have been fixed, and it was the first of Akbar's reforms to fix it. He established as the standard measure of length the iktha guz, a measure not unknown before, but not before accepted as 68 FOUR CLASSES OF LAND.
Lucrum: a standard. This measure was equivalent to the Arabian in. — zira. Having established a standard measure of length
he next established as the standard measure of area the
jureeb, or beegah of sixty square guz.1
Four classes of He abolished all arbitrary taxes, and prepared to assess the revenue upon the true capacity of the land.2 For this purpose the land was distributed into four classes: first— Poolej land, or land which was cultivated for every harvest, and which did not require to lie fallow; second—Perowty land, or land which was allowed to lie fallow for a short time to recover its strength; third— Checker land, or land which had lain fallow for three or four years from excessive rain or inundation; and fourth—Bunjer land, or land which for the same causes had lain fallow for five years or upwards. It is obvious that land of the first or second class might interchange classes or fall into one of the two other classes; and land of the first class in particular could hardly remain always in cultivation without requiring rest.
Mode of ascer- Moreover as the land of each class would generally not be
taming aver- °"
ai;e produce 0f Unif0rm quality, a iust estimate of its capability was
for one season. *. "" *■"
sought by taking an average of the produce during one season of one beegah of each quality, the best, the middling and the worst, and taking one-third of the produce of these three beegahs as the produce of an average beegah. This method was only applied to the first or the first and second classes, the other classes being scarcely worth the trouble of such an enquiry.5
1 Ayeen Akbery, Vol. I, 351 to 355. Baillie's Laud Tax, xxix. Fifth Report, Vol. I, 239, 240.
* Ayeen Akbery, Vol. I, 355 to 361. A concise account of Akbar's settlement will be found in Elphinstone's History of India, pp. 541 to 544. Fifth Report, Vol. II, 165.
• Ayeen Akbery, Vol. I, 355. Baillie's Land Tax, xxix.
AVERAGE PRODUCE OF TEN YEARS TAKEN. 69
The average produce during one season, allowing for the Lkcturk different qualities of land of the same class, having thus — been ascertained, it was still necessary, in order to fix the ^""then ,en revenue for a longer period than a year, to ascertain the takeu' average produce of different seasons. This was done by ascertaining the actual produce of various kinds of land during the preceding ten years, from the fourteenth to the twenty-fourth of the reign. The produce of the last five years of that period was ascertained from the records of the provincial or pergunnah canoongoes. But for some reason the registers of the crop of the first five years were not forthcoming; perhaps because, as afterwards happened, the canoongoe's office had shown a tendency to fall into disuse until the prospect of preparations for a settlement of this kind stirred it into life again. However this may be, the produce of the first five years of the period could only be ascertained by local enquiry, and " the representations of persons of integrity." When the produce of the ten years was thus ascertained an average of one-tenth was taken as a fair standard. The first five years of the period had however been years of plenty, which would tend to
raise the average. The new rate of assessment was never- New assessment lower
theless somewhat lower than the former rate, but the than former
receipts had always fallen far short of the old assessment.1
There is some conflict amongst the authorities as to the Proportion
taken by the
proportion of the produce then taken by the State. It State. is said by some to have been one-third for poolej and perowty lands.2 Other authorities agree in this.* But one
1 Ayeen Akbery, Vol. I, 365, 366. Fifth Report, Vol. I, 139; Vol.11, 164 to 1C6. 'Fifth Report, Vol. I, 354, 355. 'Baillie's Land Tax, xxix. Fifth Report, Vol. I, 139.
authority says that one-fourth of the gross produce, or onethird of the net produce, was taken: the net produce being what remained after all deductions on account of losses, village dues, &cl In the Appendix to the Fifth Report it is stated that there were several rates of assessment. If the revenue was paid in kind, the Government share of the ordinary crop was one-half, the crop being appraised on the ground: one-third was taken of crops grown out of season or artificially irrigated: and one-fourth to one-eighth of crops difficult to cultivate. But it is said that all these might be commuted for a fixed moneypayment of one-fourth of the gross produce, called the rebba, which was estimated by taking an average of the different kinds of land, and was irrespective of the actual crop cultivated.2 This is probably the correct account: for we know that all subsequent assessments were based upon Akbar's, or Todar Mull's as it was called; and although the amount was increased in various ways, there does not appear to have been much if any alteration in the primary assessment handed down from Akbar's time. And when Akbar's reforms had their full effect the various payments were commuted for the rebba, or fixed money-payment, of one-fourth of the gross produce, a term which was sometimes used as interchangeable with "revenue."3
The rate of assessment, whether one-third or one-fourth, was paid by poolej land always, whether cultivated or not: but perowty land, although yielding the same rate of revenue when cultivated, rendered no revenue when unculti
1 Land Tenure by a Civilian, 128, 129, 130, 150, 151. * Fifth Report, Vol. II, 165. Great Rent Case, B. L. R., Supp. Vol., 211. » Fifth Report, Vol. I, 367; Vol. II, 165, 166, 235.