Page images
PDF

By the undersigned, Bustee and Mohooroo, sons of Sadho, deceased; Phoolwa, son of Attoo; Saddasookh, Shaira, Goolzar, Ramsookh, Sawae, and Goordyal, zemindars of mouzah Bankra, pergunnah Atrowlee.

Whereas the settlement of this village was concluded by the former collector in 1239, F. S. at an even annual jumma of 300 rupees with us, and the settlement has been renewed at the same jumma with us from 1243 to 1272, F. S., being a term of thirty years, we have unanimously agreed to it under the following conditions:

1st.—We have appointed Bustee, the son of Sadho, deceased, manager of the estate, through whom the revenue will be punctually paid, according to the regulated kists, into the Government treasury at Atrowlee.

2.l.—The malgoozar will, in the first instance, take half of every grain crop grown by the proprietors. Their money rates for kutcha beegas are as follows:

[ocr errors]

And after liquidating the Government revenue, the profits arising from the out-turn will be equally divided, and each man will receive his share. In case of deficit it will be made up in the same manner by Bach, in proportion to the amount originally collected from each. Should there be a Government balance, the entire village will be sold by public auction for recovery of the arrear.

3d.—with respect to the tenants at will, only one-fourth of the crop will be demanded from them, and their zubtee rates per kutcha beega will be for cotton 12 aunas, churice 4 annas, muckee 8 annas.

Should a change in the rates be at any time contemplated, previous notice thereof will be given at the tuliseel office.

4th.-A seer in every maund of grain is fixed for the village expenses, and the deficiency, if any, is made up by the majks in the manner mentioned in the second article of this engagement. If the cultivation falls off, we will not urge it as a plea to obtain a remission of the Government rtwenue.

5th.-The proprietors have among themselves divided off their several portions of land, and no change or alteration can now be made. The trees of every description standing in each man's field, belong exclusively to him, and those that are in the lands held jointly by the fraternity, are the property of all the proprietors. . According to ancient usage, a transfer of the right possessed by a Biswahdar cannot be made either by sale or mortgage.

6th.-The putwarree's dues are on every maund of grain a quarter of a seer, and on the amount of the zubtee a quarter anna in the rupee. The chokeydar has 10 pucka seers of grain from each house, and two beegas of land. We will pay all fines and forfeitures; obey all orders from the courts and police, and we will not interfere with the rent-free lands.

As it has hitherto been usual for the lumburdar's son to succeed him in office, we will observe this ancient usage for the future. Should we, at any time, infringe those conditions, we shall abide by such punishment as mav be awarded by the authorities to which we are amenable. We, therefore, in due execution of this malgoozaree engagement affix our respective signatures, this 7th day of August, 1836.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[subsumed][ocr errors]

Such is the nature of some of the papers, which it is the business of the settling officer to prepare. Every possible contingency is provided for, and there is no occasion whatever to introduce any amendment, in order to make the record more neat or conformable to a particular system. We have seen a

district mohurrir distort and misrepresent the affairs of a whole pergunnah, in order to make his records conform to

Marticular examples. Any attempt to define and compress the limits of the different tenures, is not only injudicious

but impracticable. Their variety in these provinces is extraordinary, and as the late William Fraser used to observe,” there is scarcely a tenure in the world, however strange or complex, which will not find its counterpart in this presi:

dency; so that every single village should, if necessary, have a new form of its own to exhibit its real peculiarities.

The English settlement forms also, are sometimes made to exhibit fictitious returns, in order to prove that the collector has successfully tried a system, which, perhaps, he has either never attempted, or failed to succeed in introducing. A man may be perfectly convinced he has been acting right while using some peculiar method of his own, which he prefers to the one enjoined for his observance by superior authority, but he will not like to shew by his proceedings that he has gone counter to some express order, which would have inconveniently fettered him in his progress. He will, therefore, endeavour to show that his papers at least correspond with the prescribed pattern, and that the results exhibit the wonderful success of the system which he has carried into effect.

Collectors, for instance, are ordered to show the average rent rates which are supposed to prevail in a pergunnah for each kind of soil, and from these they are to deduce their revenue rates. Let us take a table which professed to shew this in more than usual detail, submitted by an officer of no mean reputation.

[ocr errors]

Now, on comparing the village statements received with this form so carefully drawn out, we find not one gross rental correspond with it, and not one deduced revenue rate near the jumma For instance, on comparing two villages we find, that though both had Bangur Rouslee irrigated, one was charged 3 rupees, and the other 2 rupees 8 annas per acre. They exhibited other discrepancies, which it is useless to point out, but which sufficiently proved that this statement was fictitious. The manner in which it was prepared is not difficult to show. The collector, we conceive, after negociating with the zemindars, and getting as much jumma as they were inclined to accede to, fixed the Government demand on what he called “general considerations,” and found, when all the engagements were given in, that the jumma amounted to 77,730 rupees, which fell at the rate of 1 rupee 13 annas 5 pies on the cultivated acre. This was distributed on the Bangur and Khadur area: to the former was assigned 1 rupee 15 annas 9% pies, and to the latter 1 rupee 10 annas 6 pies. But this again had to be distributed on the classes of each soil, and this was done by a back process, till all was made square. There would have been no harm in all this, had it been done previous to settlement, and had the collector found out that the proper sum to assess on the pergunnah was 77,730 rupees, and then divided his rates on each class of soil, and assessed the component mouzahs accordingly; but this was not done, otherwise the village rentals and the assumed rates would of course have coincided, which they did not. The formation of these rates was evidently an after-thought. See also how beautifully the rent rates are drawn out even to the fractions of pies. These are more evidently fictitious than the others, and are formed by adding about 30 per cent. to the revenue rates. This would have been all very fair had it been stated, but the endeavour is made to show how carefully the rates have been ascertained by the collector, and inferences are thence drawn to the disparagement of his predecessors. Now the fact is, that where Metayer rates prevail, as they did in this pergunnah, it is not possible to find out proper rent rates, and by many settlement officers it is consequently never attempted; and, therefore, there was less necessity for making a parade about doing that which was not done, and which it was no error to leave undone.

The nominal division of the village lands exactly according to the hereditary shares of the proprietors is another fiction, now, we are happy to observe, totally repudiated.

Some settlement officers are in the habit of fixing the allowances of the putwaree in money, and orders are issued to the malgoozars, to see that the putwarees are paid from the “ village expense” fund, and in the papers sent up for approval so much is deducted on this account Butlet us go into any of the villages where such orders have been issued, and in scarcely one will the system really be found in practice. These men prefer their own measures to ours, and we should suffer them to legislate for themselves, and not interfere with the internal economy of their villages, as if they were so many children, unable to act without our guidance. We had occasion once to inquire about these putwaree allowances in a district, where the collector professed to fix their money salaries, and found that the proprietors had all reverted to their old mode of paying a certain amount as perquisite in the rupee or maund.

For this reason we consider the police statement furnished with the settlement papers to be somewhat useless, and have great doubt whether the chokeydars are likely, two years hence, to find themselves in possession of the land which has liberally been granted to them. Nay more, we much doubt if the land which is thus bestowed upon the policemen, is any thing more than the portion which the collector thinks they ought to get, but which he never attempts to give them. ... We were much struck a few days since with a most beautifully drawn out chowkedaree form, in which every policeman was stated throughout a whole large pergunnah to have from two to six acres a-piece of irrigated land, and the rent rates of the pergunnah, which such land was supposed to yield, were calculated as the profit of the policemen. Now, where does this land come from ? it must have been in somebody's possession, or it would not have been irrigated;—or if it were the chokeydar's hereditary possession, how did it happen to be in even acres, which is a standard of English mensuration ? On our making further inquiry, it was replied, that all the cultivation of the pergunnah was irrigated, and, therefore, the rent rates were, of necessity, put down at the rate of irrigation. We are almost tempted to believe that in this also there is a lurking fiction. To be sure, on looking at the general statements for three very large pergunnahs sent up by this office, we find nothing except irrigated cultivation, but we can hardly conceive these returns to be correct, when we find that the culturable waste is in each of these pergunnahs as large as the following returns exhibit:

Pergunnah No. 1. Pergunnah No. 2. Pergunnah No. 3.

Irrigated ............... 21,096 . . . . . . . . 6,050 .......... 18,511
Culturable waste ...... 8,643 . . . . . . . . 1,917 .......... 7,655
Lately abandoned...... 1,404 . . . . . . . . 739 . . . . . . . . . . 880

and in these pergunnahs there is not one single acre of unitigated land 2 It may be true, and the high character of the gentleman whose forms are under consideration forbids us to surmise the contrary, but the circumstance is unparalleled, particularly when the same gentleman reports that he fixed his assessment with reference to the means of irrigation, which means, as they were open to all, there was no occasion to take into consideration. These pergunnahs, moreover, are by no means the best in the district, for under the former Government they were allowed two fingers in every yard, in order to make up in quantity what they were deficient in quality on comparison with one of the neighbouring pergunnahs. But to revert to the chokeydars, we inquire, have they got actual possession of this irrigated land in even acres 2 The value of their land was deducted from the village assets, and thus given maaf by Government. Was it intended that this vast body of men should become Government stipendiaries 7 Certainly not, according to Sec. 32 Reg. XXV. 1803.

We may remark here upon the tendency of some men to found their cal

culations, in the first instance, on the very unsubstantial basis of putwarees’ papers. Ingenuous men are apt to think that these loose detached furds represent the true state of the collections. Even when they are gained, at whatever price, a special interpreter will be required for these Sybilline leaves, unless the collector, as indeed he ought, is able to read them himself. Almost the only true putwaree papers which are to be gained, are those which represent jumma dala rates; but these again are also dangerous in their way, for we have known a man take his average pergunnah rate from them, and asses his villages so high, in consequence (because the ryots' land was entirely excluded from consideration in that particular instance) that he was compelled after the first year to revise his own settlement. Moreover in selecting putwarees’ papers for examination, we almost naturally look out for the best villages, and the nearer they approach to truth, the heavier will be the assessment on the who'e pergunnah. In endeavouring to seek for averages, there is almost always a danger of taking the best as our standard ; for we do not like to look at the dark side of the picture, and do not consequently mix the bad with the good in the requisite proportions. This was strikingly illustrated in the old Bijnore settlements by Mr. Halhed, who conceived he had taken as his standard average crops, when it was notorious that he was content to measure the produce of

those fields only, which presented an inviting appearance. This was, no doubt,

the cause of many other Regulation VII. settlements breaking down.

When the villages are classified, and the standard of assessment, or of comparison, is once obtained by the preliminary calculations, we are of opinion, it should not be departed from, and that three or four other standards should not be assumed at the same time, which are to be appealed to in case of necessity, that is, when the collector finds himself diverging considerably from his original rates. We will elucidate our meaning from the papers of a man, who has taken, perhaps, more care than any other settlement officer to fix his jummabundees. We will quote a few of the miscellaneous general remarks. “The estimates for the rental,” he says, “are as follows:

[ocr errors]

of 10 years accord-lof measurement. |F. S by ameen.
ing to Putwarees'
papers.

2,201 2,760 3,090 - 2,808 - 2,930

The land is of productive quality, and there is a pool of water in which singaras are produced, and which pays in good years about 300 rupees. But this is rather an uncertain item, as it occasionally fails entirely. The sum which I have assumed as gross rental, will be thought sufficient when compared with the estimate by average rates.”

The sum assumed in this instance as gross rental is 2,749 rupees, which comes nearest to the second rate. But it should be remembered, that the 1st

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »