Bombay Geographical Society.

Transactions of the Bombay Geographical Society .. online

. (page 1 of 35)
Online LibraryBombay Geographical SocietyTransactions of the Bombay Geographical Society .. → online text (page 1 of 35)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project
to make the world's books discoverable online.

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover.

Marks, notations and other marginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the
publisher to a library and finally to you.

Usage guidelines

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing this resource, we have taken steps to
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for
personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Maintain attribution The Google "watermark" you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it.

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About Google Book Search

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web

at http : //books . google . com/|


Digitized by LjOOQ IC

Digitized by LjOOQ IC

Digitized by LjOOQ IC

Digitized by LjOOQ IC

Digitized by LjOOQ IC








.'.K. ^

Digitized by VjOOQIC


Abt. I £^tn^ -fifom Major Jema' Statistloal and Qeographical Me-
moir of the West^ft Voifir of India.— SecUon, Revenue and

Land Tenures * ..•-„. .^. ...* 1

Afpbndix. , /

No. I.— Treaties made between tlw Portagnea^ Viceroy of Goa.and

the Mahrattas or Peshwa ' * t- '-^.. ^29

II.— Tahnama or Treaty of Adjustment entered into between Bal-
lajee Vishwunatb Peshwa^ and Seedee Yakoot Kban of Jungee-

ra : on the conclusion of hostilities, A. D. 1732 131

III.— Authentic account of the Land Revenue, Sayer or variable
Imposts ; Land and Sea Customs of the North and South Kon-
kun, (9755 Sq. miles) under British administration, for a period

of 15 years from the date of its first acquisition by conquest 137

IV.— The Kushelee Grant, dated A. D. 1191, June 20th 138

AsT. II — Census of the Population of the Nortliem Konkun 145

Art. I. — Extract from late Colonel Lambton's Notices of Malabar. —

Communicated by Major T. B. Jervis 1

Abt. II — Descriptive and Geographical Account of the Nilgiri Hills.
By Messrs Fox and Tumbull. — Communicated by Major T. B.

Jervis ... 9

Art. Ill — Descriptive and Geographical account of the Province of Ma-
labar. By Captains B. S. Ward and Connor, Madras Survey Es-
tablishment. — Communicated by the Right Honorable Sir F.

Adam, Governor of Madras, to Major T. B. Jervis 33

Kavoy Talook 39

Oheracul Talook of North Malabar 45

Kotinm Talook 49

Kartanad Talook 54

Digitized by LjOOQ IC


Wynaud Talook c 58

Karambanand Talook 69

Calient llilook 74

Shernaud Talook 80

Ernaud Talook 83

Bettadanaud Talook 90

Walavanaud Talook 94

Neddooganaad Talook 102

Paolghaut Talook 106

StatemoDt shewing the Qaantity, Value, and Duty of Articles
Imported and Exported to and from Calicut and Tellicherry from
May, 1828, to April, 1829 118

Art. IV. — Statbtical Tables of the Population and Agriculture of the
Ceded Districts of Madras — Communicated to Major T. B. Jer*
vis by the late Principal Collector, Mr Robertson 125

Art. V. Statement showing the works of Irrigation in the Bellary Divi-
sion of the Ceded Districts, the amount of Garden and Wet cul-
tivation under the same in Fusly 1235, and the actual sums dis-
bursed for Repairs since the Cession, or from Fusly 1210 to 31st
December, 1236 127

Memoir on the Origin, Progress, and Present State, of the Surveys in In-

dia, by Captain Thomas Best Jervis « 133

Address delivered at the Geographical Section of tlie British Association,
Newcastle-on-Tyne,— Friday, August 26th, 1838. Descriptive
of the State, Progress, and Prospects, of the various Surveys, and
other Scientific inquiries, instituted by the Honorable East India
Company throughout Asia ; with a prefatory sketch of the Prin-
ciples and Requirements of Geography : by Major T. B. Jervis... 155

Digitized by LjOOQ IC




MAY, 1840.

I. — Historical and OeograpMcal Account of the Western
Coast of India. — Revenue and Land Tenures. — By Major
T. B. Jervis^ of the Bombay Engineers^ F. R. S.

" The love of things ancient doth argue staidness ; but levity and want of
experience maketh apt unto innovations. That which wisdom did first begin
and bath been with good men long continued, cballengeth allowance of them
that succeed, although, it plead for itself nothing. That which is new, if it
promise not much, doth fear condemnation before trial \ until trial, no man doth
acquit or trust it, what good soever it pretend and promise : so that in this kind
there are few things known to be good, till such time as thej grow to be ancient«*'
Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity, vol. 2, page 27.

The amount, collection, and appropriation of the Revenues of
every state is as intimately connected with the individual welfare of
the people, as the stability and improvement of the Government.
The extent of happiness or misery attendant on an equitable system
of finance, or the introduction and continuance of an injudicious or
oppressive assessment, is rarely understood until it has been long in
operation, and those effects which are referable to remote causes, but
little appreciated, unless fraught with some immediate danger or
distress, in which case it is frequently impracticable to trace the
progress of any evil to its true source : hence it becomes obligatory
to propose a remedy which has this sbgular disadvantage, that it
has yet to be tried, and is therefore inexpedient and doubtful in pro-
portion as the origin of the evil to be obviated is remote and un-

The foregoing observation arises out of the consideration of Indian
Revenue, which is either depreciated, or diminished, to an amount

Digitized by LjOOQ IC


that bespeaks little for the financial wisdom of the Hindus or Ma«
homedans, or for those legislative measares which have paralyzed the
energies of the people, and brought them to such a condition that they
can pay no more, without sacrificing what is indispensable to their
very subsistence, — a condition of such complicated embarassment
as calls for immediate relief.

The revenues of the state in India being chiefly drawn from the
land, it might be supposed, since the mass of the people follow agri-
culture in a greater or less degree, that the taxes would bear gene-
rally and equitably on every individual member of the community.
The principle of the Hindu law allotted the far greater burthen to
the middling and inferior classes ; the Mahomedans wrung from the
people as much as they could take, with certain reservations in favor
of those of like persuasion, leaving every individual to settle with
their agents for as much beyond that amount, as these agents
thought fit to demand : this gave rise to a new branch of revenue,
which was very comroodiously levied under the comprehensive word
gayer. The land revenue, the sayer, with the imposts on commerce
by land and by water, compose the general amount of taxes without
any express or even intentional view to the expences of the Govern-
ment. The objects of the sayer being indefinite and variable
throughout all parts of India, the items and proceeds have under-
gone modification in accordance with the spirit of the ruling power,
and present with other absurdities of Indian finance, a plain and
ready solution of the motives to that chicanery, which runs through
every department and political measure of native governments. In
. its train we may perceive the corruption, venality, mendacity, and
suspicion, which operate to the destruction of every honorable and
virtuous principle. To over- reach and deceive the members of
Government, was always considered as inherent in the character of
the subject, as it was known to be habitual to the officers appointed
to the realization of the revenue, or consistent with the policy
mutually observed between all native princes and their dependents.
Of the four heads under which revenue was collected, the first, or
assessment on land, was the amount exacted by the state ; the second,
or sayer, by the zumeendars, pat els, and officers deputed to admi-
nister the general affairs of the villages, districts, provinces, or
principality : the third and fourth, were usually assigned to some
favorite, relative, or dependent, of the ruling authorities, and were
therefore liable to great abuses. If there were no other evidence to
this effect, the appropriation of the second item of Revenue by the

Digitized by LjOOQ IC

zomeendars and revenue agents of the former native governments
would establish the proprietory right of the sovereign to the soil
from which the principal item was derived, for these officers in the
first instance^ acquired their rights in virtue of their masters;
and yet, when the BJharattas obtained the sovereignty* the prince
observing that the people paid a great deal to the revenue and dis-
trict officers, over an^ above the fixed land revenue, required the full
amount of land revenue and sayer to be brought into the accounts
of the public resources. The same rule of exaction however was per-
severed in by the subordinate agents, in a new form, as BabteeSt and
other imposts ; in plain English, douceurs, official presents, first-fruits,
and private cesses, required for the temporary managers and farmers
of districts, and in this predicament, overwhelmed with the most
impolitic and vexatious burthens, the late Peshwa's dominions came
into the hands of the British Government, partly as we have already
seen, by cessions, but much more as acquisitions made during the
war with the last prince who exercised that office.

We have seen the Revenue collected under its first simple form ;
secondly, the increased taxation, by the addition of sayer, or of
variable imposts; thirdly the land revenue^ sayer, and customs
further increased by the imposition of Babtees, Chur, and so forth,
vexatious cesses without any fixed definition, commuted at wOl, for
money or service.

In this were intermixed a thousand questions of right dependent
on the first infringement of the sovereign's demands, and the ryot*s
or cultivator's dues : the village, district, or provincial officers,
were involved in consequence, in the most complicated disputes for
their share of the sayer, which had either been overlooked, or winked
at, in the emergencies of their bounden superiors. Thus in the
partition of property by descent according to Hin^a, or Mahome-
tan law, fraud and falsehood became necessary to the possession,
maintenance, or security, of claims which had no real foundation
either in justice or sound policy. The ingenuity of the natives has
clothed this subject in all the seeming legality and plausibility of a
substantial and authorized inheritance, and even disposed many of
our most talented countrymen to award to them the indefeasible and
original property in the soil, than which there can be nothing more
inconsistent or incorrect ; for if we suppose any proprietory right to
vest in the zumeendars, or superior landlords, it must resolve itself
finally into the proprietory right of the highest and most powerful
landlord, and that the Sovereign.

Digitized by LjOOQ IC ^

It appears from all the ancient grants of land which have yet
been discovered, that the Sea customs and transit duties came also
under the one head of sayer, and as such, were recognized by the
several members of the Bengal Government, in their examination of
existing native records, at the time the Marquis Comwallis suggested
his memorable reforms. Among other curious documents which
fell into my hands, were two in the possession, of a Purbhoo family
in the Ushtnmmee district, containing an account of the revennes
drawn by the Moghul Government from the Tul Konkun*, which
is explained by the best informed natives to mean all the tract from
Duman to its southern boundary, or the Savitree river ; it is stated
to be eleven lacs of luhree, each of one-third of a rupee. At this rate
upwards of 3^ lacs of rupees were drawn from the land alone, and, it
being the practice at that time, to levy at most only one-tenthf, we
may judge how much the revenue has fallen off by the addition of
the sayer branch. According to the official returns, the collective
amount of land revenue of the northern and southern zillahs,
Salsette, Bombay, and islands, was rupees 17,89,200, in 1820-21,
and this levied in the acknowledged proportion of one-third, in
many parts even one-half, on a much greater surface of land than
formerly ; allowing for the revenue of Angria's country and the
deductions for territory acquired from the Jowar chieftain, the tenth
of the produce would at the former date give thirty- five lacs, which
is just about equivalent to twice the land revenue now derived. Nay,
in strictness it should properly shew a far greater deficiency, for
those productive diluvial tracts which have been recovered from the
sea and rivers by the natural and gradual depositions of silt and loam,
accumulated in the course of the last 400 years. In fact, the far
greater produce of those districts of Tul Konkun which have recent-
ly been removed from the charge of the Collector of the southern,
to that of the northern ziUah, is obtained from such diluvial deposits,
and the progress of these appears to have been going on in the
Konkun and Malabar, as in Goojrat, Kattiwar, and Kuch, with
much greater rapidity, during the last 200 years, than previously :

* I have found an exact explanation of this geographical division in the treaty
between Seevajee and the Emperor Shah Jehan's viceroy in 1632, that he should
be allowed the whole of Tul Konkun, that is the districts dependant on Dowlnta-
bad or Ahmednuggur, as holding of the Emperor, if he would relinquish all
claim to the territory dependent on that fortress above the ghauts, and desist from
rebellion. It could not mean the Dhabol Soobha, over which he had no

t This will be clearly proved in the sequel.

Digitized by LjOOQ IC

and by reason of the vellard, or caaseway, eonstructed between the
Islands of Bombay and Salsette. in 1801, will donbtless be found, on
examination, to have progressed onnsoally quickly all along those
parts of the coast, which form the outline of the great sound in
which these islands are situated. It is more particularly observable
on both sides of the Amba, or Nagotna river, the west coast of the
Khynmee muhal ; Oorun or Caranja Island, now almost completely
joined to the main land ; Troomba or Trombay, which is also separat-
ed now by a very shallow channel, and the inundated tracts on the
west side of the Island of Salsette. In the large maps of the
Okliseer, Broach, and Surat Collectorates, the boundary lines of the
Nurbudda, Taptee, and other streams are distinctly seen to have
extended far over those fertile plains, which now support a rich and
industrious population.

In Kattiwar and Kuch also, I noted the progressive retreat
of the sea which has left extensive wastes and morasses, strongly
impregnated with salts and deleterious substances, that may still for a
long time retard its occupation by the husbandman : but we are
warranted by the similar appearance and character of the soil in
many other parts of Goojrat and Kattiwar, in concluding that the
same difficulties stood in the way of the first tenants in remote
ages, which have nevertheless been gradually surmounted, and the
lands brought, even now, into some state of productiveness. The
soil about Kaira, and on either side of the Saburmuttee, for a great
distance from the gulph of Cambay, is extremely poor at great
depths, and when analyzed, proves the existence of salts and other
matters, indicative of its having been, some centuries ago, much in
the same state as we now find the great Run which divides Goojrat
from Kutch. In the infancy of society, there may have been a far
larger portion of the earth occupied by water, which either by
physical causes removed from our apprehension, or adventitious
circumstances dependent on the disintegration of rocks and forests,
perhaps, in no inconsiderable degree on the industry and ingenuity of
man, have been filled up and confined to their present narrow limits,
and this, most happily, in a measure correspondent to that great in-
crease of the human epecies which obtains under the growth and ex-
tension of civilization and security. Even in the memory of many na-
val officers, still living, we may find this work to have advanced con-
siderably on all the line of coast : where any such cause has effected a
change, as in the harbour of Bombay, we might be disposed to assign
it exclusively to these circumstances ; but on the open coast of

Digitized by VjOOQ IC


Malabar, no such reason can be arerred* nor can it be imagined that
any thing short of an earthquake should so have uplifted the yast
level tract of the Run, as to occasion the Bunas and Lolonee rivers
to be lost altogether, even far inland. The first step appears to be
the accumulation of banks of sand at the mouth of the rivers, or
bays, by the mutual and conflicting influence of currents or tides,
and strong winds from the southwest. The bars being thus begun,
accommodate themselves imperceptibly to the outline of the nearest
rocks, till they have formed a mass, more than equivalent to resist
the joint force of the ebb tide and the entire depth of the stream :
the debris of the hills soon fill up the lateral swamps and boggy
tracts, by the deposition of the mud and silt which is brought down
by the periodical rains, year after year, and kept suspended in the
water, till the ebb tide, gradually more and more straightened
in its velocity, where the depth is diminished, resigns the earthy
matter to be formed in a few seas6nB, into fields, and habitable
domains of the greatest value. ^

These facts concur to prove, that in all that diluvial tract which
was formerly designated Tul Konkun, there was much less land in
cultivation, than at present, and that the cultivators could afford
in reality to pay more than they do now, although the Grovemment
share of the produce was but one- tenth, for the value and fruits of
the soil being enhanced, in proportion as the labourer could afford to.
lay out his skill and capital in bringing that little forward, the
Government found their interest in the receipt of the land revenue
alone, and had this system been followed up, not all the artifice and
priestcraft of the Brahmins, nor all the cunning of the harpies,
who under the wing of the Mahomedan and Hindu conquerors,
successively directed the financial affairs of their governments,
could have wrung from the people the unjustifiable cesses, which
have so demoralized and disgraced both them and their oppressors.
They would then have acquired sufficient political strength to
withstand those demands, which have been complied with, entirely
through the pusillanimity of a wretched and impoverished condition.

The total area* of the territory now under consideration is 13,265

* The area of the North Konkun, prior to 1830, wai 4,524 square miles ;
the area of the south Konkun, 5,232 ; the Portuguese territories, 1,402 square miles
including the Provincias del Norte de Damao : the Jowar raja's country, 517 ;
Angria*s, 211 -, the Hubshee's, 279 ; the Bowra chiefs, 167 ; and Sawunt warree,
944 square miles. These areas are all computed with the greatest possible car^
from an exact survey and boundaries, executed under my orders.

Digitized by LjOOQ IC


square miles ; that is, 84,89,600 English acres*, of which there are,
at present, 9,08,691 acres under cultivation, and prohably 19,21,175
acres adapted to tillage, including all that has been abandoned or
neglected from former times ; the amouAt of unproductive land,
rocks, rivers, and insalubrious forests, forms about two-thirds of the
whole of that which is cultivated : the proportion producing rice
may be 5,14,508 acres, the bhurrtar, umrkus, and doongur or hill land,
on which a variety of small corn is raised, may be estimated at
3,94,1 83 acres ; hence, allowing for the rice land, at a medium, eight
and a half rupees per acre, and for the hill land, rupees three and
two annas per acre English, it is perfectly clear that the soil has
greatly deteriorated in fruitfulness, as well as in valuef ; and that
what has been gained to the state in the very objectionable shape of
sayer, and other indefinite imposts, setting aside those payments
and cesses which are perpetuated to the persons and officers of
the district and village officers, is ^ar less than might have been
derived from a just and extremely light assessment on the land
itself. Let it be inquired how far the very small amount of

* The following b a more detailed specification of the extent of arable, availahle
and anproductive land, which will be found in the Ist vol. of my Statistical Tables.
Rice lands. North Konkon, 3,27,0d3 beegahs ; Kolwun, Jowar raja's, 4,309
beegabs ; Angria's, 27,198 beegahs ; Hubshee*s, 13,266 ; Bowrekur'8,2,147 ; Sawunt
warree, 13,872 ; South Konkun, 1,30,966 ; Goa and Duman, 20,624 ;~Total Rice
land, 5,39,476 beegabs ; or 5,14,508 English statute acres. So also the beegahs of
Hill land or wurkus and bhurrnr are in each, North Konkun, 1,37,013 ; Kolwun,
15,664 ; Angria's, 2,892 ; Hubsbee's. 6,667 ; Bowrekur's, 6,782 ; Warree 34.951 ; Goa
and Duman 51,963 ; the Southern Konkun zillah, 1,58,390 ; Total 4,13,312 beegahs .
of wurkus or bhurrur land, or 3,94,183 English statute acres, including all land in
actual cultivation during any one year, for there is actually a vast deal more bhurur
or wurkus land cleared, on which, by alternate fallows, a crop is raised every third,
fifth, or seventh year ; but such fallow, or unoccupied land, does not pay revenue.
This may give a faint idea of a poorly cultivated district which cannot boast of so
much land under tillage as Sweden, the least productive of all Europe, for an equal
extent, since there the lands under culture equal one<eightb of the entire area,
rocks, rivers and forests included.

t The actual land rental on an average of 15 years for the North
and South Konkun, all extra cesses inclusive, gives on 5,14,508 statute Rupees
acres rice land at 3 Rs. 8 anas, 18,00,778

And on 3,94,183 wurkus, or arable hill land, at 1 R. 4 anas, 4,49,896

Online LibraryBombay Geographical SocietyTransactions of the Bombay Geographical Society .. → online text (page 1 of 35)