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case as they aver. They have no idea that an arrangement of this sort enables them more effectually to conceal the real resources of the village, and would be more effective in resisting the inroads or power of an auction purchaser, if any one were to attempt to take their estate at a sale for arrears of revenue. It is certain that many under-let their Seer, and do not cultivate at their own risk. All aver that they give portions of their Seer in payment of service to their ploughmen, herdsmen, and other agricultural labourers. The Putwaree however does not enter these appropriations of the Seer in his accounts: their all appears as Seer, his papers merely showing the extent of each man’s Seer, and the portion assessed on him for payment of the Jumma and village expenses. An exception to this may perhaps be said to exist in what are called in Deogaon, Muzhooree Ryots; but these are only persons to whom the village community have made over shares which have lapsed, or are in abeyance from any cause, so that the land may not be waste and leave a heavier burden on the rest of the village. Where the whole of the land is Seer, in these cases the custom which regulates the payments is called bhaiunsee, in other places it is called beegah dam ; in both, the practice is the same. The payments of the early kists are made according to a low established rate on the Seer land, and towards the close of the year the whole community assemble to audit the accounts. The village expenses are added to the Government Jumma, and from the total is deducted the payment of the Ryots, if there are any. The remainder is distributed according to the bach,h upon the owners of the Seer land.
59th. This audit of accounts (or boojharut, as it is called) is a most important process to the whole of the community. The right of admission to the audit is the criterion of proprietary right. It may so happen that a proprietor has lost his Seer, either from poverty or its accidental appropriation or destruction. Still he has a voice in the audit, and can claim a scrutiny of the Putwaree's papers. It may so happen that the force or fraud of a part of the community or of an individual in it, has for a course of years kept some of the community from the audit. Such exclusion is fatal to the possession of the party. He is considered as dispossessed.
60th. In a community it must always happen that there are some members of superior intelligence or wealth who obtain a preponderance in the brotherhood. Where so much respectis attached to hereditary right, this influence often descends from father to son, although the descendant may not be distinguished by personal worth. The engagements with Government run in the names of these individuals, who are commonly styled Lumberdars (i. e. bearing the number in the Government Registers). These persons in many parts of the country arrogated to themselves the whole of the proprietary right, and imposing upon the ignorance of the European officers of the Government, succeeded in obtaining recognition of themselves as the owners or Zemindars of the estate, instead of mere managers on the part of the whole community. This however was less the case in Azimgurh than in the other neighbouring districts, especially in the province of Benares. The hereditary right of the managers had not become established, and it had been usual on re-settlement of the estate to alter the name of the manager, and sometimes to increase the number of managers. In the present settlement the question has been set at rest by the filing of an agreement entered into by the whole of the village community, declaring the office to be elective, not hereditary, and the incumbent to be liable to be ousted by the voices of the majority of the Puttee or Thoke he might represent, on proved mis-management.
61st. Still under any circumstances the audit of the accounts is the fertile source of discord in the community. The village expenses are primarily authorized by the Lumberdars, or managers, and as they frequently include fees or bribes to public officers, or other items utterly unsusceptible of proof, are regarded with a very jealous eye by those of the community who are not managers. The power which the Putwaree possesses of fomenting these discords is great, and frequently used in the most injurious manner.
It remains to be proved by the result, how far the avowedly elective nature of the office will be now effectual to stifle these dissensions.
62nd. Although, however, the profits of the estate may be divided according to the Seer cultivation of the proprietors, it does not follow that the ancestral sharers are always lost sight of. Sometimes they are, and in such cases the only record of right consists in the Seer, which regulates not only the direct profits arising from cultivation, but also the Sayer, and other proprietary dues. Of this the best instances are Kotelah and Sirsal, and some other villages held by Mahomedan communities in Tuppah Phurchuk Havelee, in Pergunnah Nizamabad. The origin of these communities seems to be totally lost, probably they were originally Hindoo communities, and the genealogy was lost in the confusion which occurred when the Mahomedan faith was adopted.
63rd. In other class of cases the ancestral shares are known and recorded, but profits are still enjoyed according to the Seer. This no doubt has often resulted from over-assessment When the demand of the Government is excessive, the proprietors are compelled to throw their profits as cultivators into the common fund, and of course those who do not cultivate could not share the profits, whilst amongst the cultivators the profits would be made to correspond with the cultivation. Accordingly we find that since the cession, and especially lately, when the cultivated area, and consequent assets of the village, have increased without a correspondent increase of demand, many changes have taken place, and villages which formerly paid Beegah dam (i. e. by a rate on the Seer,) now pay Khoo taitee (i. e. according to ancestral shares.)
64th. In the large Rajpoot communities where the whole of the lands are Seer, though the ancestral rights are well known, yet the custom of paying according to the Seer prevails from another cause, viz. from the constant transfer of land or of shares (generally by mortgage, but sometimes by sale) which takes place amongst the several proprie. tors. The natural multiplication of some branches of the family of course reduces their shares to so small a fraction that some are obliged to seek other modes of subsistence, and leave their shares in the hands of the wealthier members of the family. In other cases, want or temporary distress induces the mortgage of part of the share. The mortgage generally conveys the land with its portion of the revenue. Instances where the land is mortgaged free of revenue are rare, and the periods of such mortgages are short, nor are they often made, except to regular money dealers, the security of course being bad, as it is liable to be endangered by default of the mortgager. Wherever transfers of this sort are paid amongst the members of the brotherhood, the effect is to lodge large portions of the village in the hands of the wealthier proprietors; and as the mortgages are often not reduced for a long series of years, or perhaps not at all, and are at length lost sight of, the ancestral shares cease to regulate the profits of the proprietors.
65th. I would here remark a curious distinction in these mortgages, which will often be found to afford the clue to disputes amongst the proprietorg. Mortgages are either of specific fields, or of shares; the former are called Khet khut, the latter Khoont khut. A man in distress will mortgage away all his fields one after the other, and at last he makes over his share also; but this transfer, perhaps, carries no land with it. Khet khut does not impair the proprietary right of the mortgager, nor does it create any such right in the mortgagee; but the execution of Khoont khut at once terminates the connection of the mortgager with the village, and substitutes the mortgagee in his place.
The Khoont khut probably conveys only a nominal right,
or at least only a right to some small item of Sayer, still it is given with great reluctance, and only under the sternest necessity, and on account of the higher value attached to the privileges it represents, may command a considerable sum.
66th. A similar distinction often exists in titles acquired otherwise than by mortgage. In the village of Burragoon, in Tuppah Chitpoor, Pergunnah Mahomedabad, there were two Puttees in one half of the villages, and only one in the other half. The owners of the latter found themselves numerically the weaker, and fearing that they might be overborne by the two Puttees, summoned a distant member of the family from a neighbouring village, gave him an interest in their half, and had his name inserted in the engagements with Government, together with the representative of their Puttee. There was much waste land in the village, and it was agreed that in each half the waste land was to be apportioned on the Seer of the proprietors. The stranger claimed his share, the owners of the one Puttee resisted it. On further inquiry it was discovered that the stranger had acquired a right to certain fields only, not to a share, he was an owner of khet not of khoont, and his claim of course fell to the ground. This is an instance of one of the modes, in which the practical bearing of the distinction developes itself.
67th. The mortgage bonds of this sort are frequently worded so as to be deeds of sale, and yet by common custom redemption is allowed. It is astonishing what good faith is generally observed among the members of the large Rajpoot communities regarding these mortgages. A member may have been absent for years, but when he returns to his village in circumstances admitting of the redemption of his share, a meeting of the community is held, his share is determined and given up to him, or the mortgaged fields traced out and restored. An attempt to resist any claim of this sort is highly reprobated amongst the Rajpoots, and indelibly fixes a stain upon the person who resists. Unfortunately the artificial system which is springing up under the influence of our Courts weakens and undermines this generous conduct. Supported by the strong arm of our civil power, a man will now venture to brave the hostility of a community, which in another state of Society, would summarily have enforced its own award.
68th. The man in possession is now supported by the Government till he is ejected by the decree of a Civil Court. The usual way of resisting claims of redemption is either by pleading actual sale, instead of mortgage, and taking shelter under the rule of limitation, which bars 'the admission of a claim after a certain period, or admitting the mortgage, by bringing forward a long counter-statement of expenses incurred in maintaining possession of the mortgaged lands, or in cultivating them. This account may be swelled to a length far exceeding the value of the land, or the means of the mortgager, and he is at the same time tempted to bring forward a counter-claim for the refund of mesne profits. A case of this sort can only be settled by arbitration. In some parts of the district, as in Tuppahs Chowree and Koobah, Pergunnah Deogaon, the admitted custom is, that redemption takes place on payment of double the mortgage money, and here disputes of this sort are less liable to cause litigation. The village of Ailwul, held by a body of Bissen Rajpoots, which includes a part of the town of Azimgurh itself, is an instance of the ruin which disputes of this sort occasion. Two of the Puttees deserted the village during the oppressions of the period prior to the cession. After that they returned and reclaimed their shares. This was resisted by the remaining proprietor, who had borne all the difficulties which had led to the expulsion of his weaker brothers. The arbitrators absolutely, and free of expense, restored their shares to the claimants. A bloody affray ensued, and the subsequent bitter animosity between the parties compels the constant interference of a Suzawul on the part of the Government to collect the Jumma for the several individuals separately.
69th. The system of Beegah-dam, however, very frequently prevails in villages where the shares are the subject of dispute, and here the greatest animosity prevails. The lapse of a share by failure of issue, the conflicting claims of children by different mothers, and the irregular transfer by widows, who may retain the management of their husband's land, are amongst the fruitful sources of these dissensions. Here the contending parties dispute to the utmost the point of inherent right, and when driven from that, the predominant party fall back on the question of village custom; and dropping all mention of the manner in which they originally acquired their large portion of Seer, claim the maintenance of the custom which makes it the criterion of their interest in the village.
70th. The circumstances of Tolookah Sith wul, Tuppah Phurchuk Havelee, Pergunnah Nizamabad, so clearly illustrate many of the curious and difficult questions attending cases of this sort, that I cannot refrain from mentioning it somewhat in detail.
71st. This Talookah originally belonged to a family of Rajpoots, who are now represented by four branches. Between the years 1085
F. and 1130 A. F. (4. D. 1677-1722) they sold the estate to a Ranee of the reigning family at Azimgurh, who founded on it a Bazar, now called Ranee-ka-Serai. It was subsequently re-purchased