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86 THE CIRCAR.
Lkcthkk by a chowdhry;1 but as the zemindary system gained ground — the pergunnah became in many cases merely a subordinate part of a zemindary, and the chowdhry merely a servant of the zemindar. And in some cases it would seem that the title of chowdhry was transferred to the fiscal head of the circar, the division above the pergunnah, and under the direct administration of the State. The chowdhry, as a Hindoo officer, undoubtedly claimed an hereditary right, and had allowances which were similar to those of the headman and afterwards of the zemindar. And it is said that the title of chowdhry (chief or director) was frequently given to those zemindars who distinguished themselves by good management,' which seems to indicate • that it was a coveted distinction. Moreover, if the title was associated with hereditary and proprietary claims, we can understand the officers who administered the newly invented circar adopting it; and hence that the title of chowdhry was sometimes assumed by the fiscal head of the The crory. circar. The Mahomedan title of that officer was crory, since the circar was supposed to yield a revenue of a crore of dams or two lacs and a half of rupees.* The office of crory was originally instituted by Akbar,* but it seems not to have retained its original title. The crories, whether under that title or under the titles of chowdhry and desmookh, constantly tended to become zemindars. In
1 Ante, Lecture I, p. 37.
1 Harington's Analysis, Vol. III, 327.
• Fifth Report, Vol. II, 7, 155, 167, 170. Harington's Analysis, Vol. III, 350. Orissa, Vol. II, 216. Compare the evidence of Lieut. Col. Sykes before the Select Committee of the House of Commons (1832;, 2173. Patton's Asiatic Monarchies, 81.
4 Harington's Analysis, Vol. III, 332, 347. Fifth Report, Vol. II, 155. , .
THE CHUCKLAH. 87
this way and from the introduction of a new division, that Lkcturh
of the chucklah, the division into circars fell in many parts —
into disuse, and the crories were merged in the zemindars.
The chucklah was administered by an officer partly The Fouidar military and partly fiscal, called a Foujdar Aumildar,1 but sometimes known under the former titles given to the head officer of the circar. We however still find chowdhries exercising functions in connexion with the revenue, generally as subordinate to the zemindar; they are spoken of as collecting from talookdars and as receiving as their remuneration a fee or rusaoom in money; and sometimes a small allowance of land besides, which is said to be allotted to them for office expenses (dufter serinjamy).2
The desmookh, chowdhry or crory held his office by the Claims of fiscal
officers to heresame tenure as most of those officers who ultimately became ditary rights.
zemindars, or were merged in the zemindars. There was
probably, on the one hand, a claim to hereditary right derived
from the traditions of the Hindoo officers whom they had
superseded; and on the other hand there was the strict theory
of the Mahomedan system, that these offices were held at
the pleasure of the sovereign. And the usual result
followed, that the hereditary claim overpowered the strict
theory, and the office, although theoretically held only
during pleasure, became practically hereditary, the holder
being seldom ejected except in cases of delinquency.3
These officers exercised the general functions of Govern- Military force
° employed m
ment, and were responsible for the peace of their districts, as r.eTenue coiiecwell as for the collection of the revenue;* and for this
1 Fifth Report, Vol. I, 389.
* Harington's Analysis, Vol. III, 347, 350.
'Fifth Report, Vol. II, 155.
'Orissa, Vol. II, 216.
purpose the crory or desmookh had at his disposal a body of troops called khandaits and pykes with a commander at their head, and these were supported by a jageer.1 There were besides inferior officers in regular gradation, chiefly Hindoos, who also held jageers.2 The crory himself received an allowance or russoom on his collections amounting to about five per cent.; and he got also an allotment of land free of revenue to about the same amount. This land was generally dispersed throughout his district, with the view as is suggested of inducing him to look after every part of his charge.3 In these respects we are strongly reminded of the headman, and the Hindoo village and revenue officers, with their revenue-free holdings; and can hardly help concluding that the crory's allotments of land were nothing more than the old allotments to the Hindoo revenue officers; and that the dispersion in question was due to the crory's having absorbed the emoluments of the corresponding officer, the chowdhry or desmookh, in several pergunnahs. These holdings of the crory are indeed spoken of as being at one period the only ones of the kind, as if the crory had absorbed the similar emoluments of all the inferior officers. It is said that "till the death of Alumgir in 1707 the crory was, properly speaking, the only subject of the Crown of Delhi who held anything like a free tenure in lands to the extent of a family subsistence."4 The crories were, it is said, chosen from amongst the agents of the former proprietors who had been ejected, or from amongst experienced farmers of revenue:5 in short they
1 Orissa, Vol. II, 216.
• lb., Vol. II, 218.
• Fifth Report, Vol. II, 155. 4 lb.
THE CANOONGOE AND PUTWARRY. 89
"were probably chosen on account of their having under Lecturk the old system performed similar functions; as all the — officers who ultimately became zemindars were originally chosen. And it was because they were thus chosen that they brought with them those vague claims to the office which could never be uprooted.
Below the circar was the pergunnah, and below the per- The canoongoe. gunnah was the mouzah or village. The pergunnah, as we have seen, was originally the chief fiscal division administered by a chowdhry, who had under his control a canoongoe or despandeah. This officer, of whose functions I shall have to speak more at length presently, kept the revenue records of the pergunnah; and when the circar displaced the pergunnah as the main fiscal division, the pergunnah revenue was practically administered by the canoongoe,1 of course subject to the crory and afterwards to the aumil at the head of the chucklah. The village revenue again was still administered by the headman; only the headman had sunk or was sinking to the position of a mere servant of the zemindar or subordinate of the revenue officers.2 And the The putwarry. headman was to some extent associated in his functions of administering the revenue with the putwarry (or koolkurny, called also curnum). This officer, of whom also I shall say more hereafter, was the village registrar and accountant, and occupied in Mahomedan times a position in the village similar to that of the canoongoe in the pergunnah3 This office has everywhere survived up to the present day. The canoongoe's office has undergone various vicissitudes, but has ultimately become extinct in Bengal.
1 Fifth Report, Vol. I, 18, 19; Vol. II, 157.
• Fifth Report, Vol. II, 12, 157. Haringtuii's Analysis, Vol. II, 67.
? Fifth Report, Vol. II, 12, 157.
90 ATTEMPTS AT CENTRALISATION.
LrcTunB When the chucklah became the main division for fiscal — purposes the circars seem not to have been abolished, but SjiSSwtte to have gradually become obsolete.1 We also find that the '"" crories in some instances became zemindars,2 and this sug
gests a mode in which the circars may have been gradually effaced as divisions and merged in zemindaries in some cases. Attempts at The Mahomedans seem in the successive substitutions of
the circar for the pergunnah, and the chucklah for the circar, to have been aiming at greater centralisation. But as they had succeeded to and adopted the Hindoo system, with its hereditary ideas and a spirit opposed to centralisation, they found influences still at work which made it impossible to administer the revenue without practically retaining the officers of the inferior grades in a subordinate capacity. These officers were less within the reach of the central Government than they had formerly been, before the fiscal divisions to which they were attached had become subordinate, and while therefore they were the officers of the main fiscal divisions, and as such in immediate contact with the central Government. And in this way, it seems not improbable, the vague claims of the officers of the village, pergunnah, and circar may have grown in obscurity into rights which the State found itself unable to deal with. These claims however might probably have been dealt with if the Mahomedan Government could have got rid of the old system and the Hindoo element, and could have taken the whole revenue collection into its own hands, through a new set of officers and with
1 Fifth Report, Vol. I, 236.