Mountstuart Elphinstone.

Selections from the minutes and other official writings of the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, governor of Bombay. With an introductory memoir online

. (page 32 of 41)
Online LibraryMountstuart ElphinstoneSelections from the minutes and other official writings of the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, governor of Bombay. With an introductory memoir → online text (page 32 of 41)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

which Tatoji had got before was null. The assembly
having examined the above papers, sent Visaji Dadu
Kulkami to Yeswant Eav Sawant, Sirojdar at Koregam,
to tell him that the Deshmukh had called an as-
sembly of the caste to inquire respecting the Wattan
and lands of the Bhandaris, but that an order
was necessary for them to proceed to a decision;
on which he gave orders for the assembly to decide
according to justice, and the whole of the villagers,
Mukaddams, and Sakal Prabhu Thalwais and twelve
Balotes of Apte, assembled together to investigate
the case. Both persons produced their papers as
follows :

Gomaji bin Mahuji produced the Muhuzur which
had been given at Apte. Jiwaji bin Eahoji pro-
duced the Muhuzur of the ordeal at Moheri, and also
the decision of an assembly of three or four villagers
at Apte. Having examined all the papers, and taken
security from both parties, viz., for Jiwaji Eavji,
Chougule of Koregam ; and for Gomaji Subaji Siwba,
Chougule of Apte, that each would submit to whatever
the assembly directed, both gave in Rajinamas and
Tukras in writing. The witnesses were then examined
before the whole of the assembly standing in the Murk-
kund (a circle described on the ground to represent a
hill), with a cow's skin on their heads, and gave testi-
mony as follows :

1st. Siwle Mukaddam deposed that the origin of
the family is not of this place, but of Apte- — Eahoji
had Miras land in Wudhu. That on account of some
injuries committed by Tanaji he had talked them
over, and gained his friendship, by giving him his
daughter, and nine Eukhas of land, in l\Iiras, out of
his own ; that besides this, he had given him nothing.
That he knew not what relation this person was to


Tanaji ; that he knew of the Muhiizur which had been
granted at Apte, and also of the ordeal.

2nd. Tej Patil Argare Mukaddam deposed that
there was a quarrel amongst the Bhandjiris at Apte,
and that a Muhuzur had been given in his name re-
garding it ; that then Kanoji used to call himself
Gumashta ; but this was proved false. Kanoji took
the hand of Tukaji in asseveration of Tukoji's being
the descendant of Tanaji ; at this time Katroji's family
were dead and gone ; afterwards an ordeal took place,
in which Kahoji was proved true, and Mahuji

3rd. Santaji bin Khandoji Dhigge, of Apte, de-
posed that Siwle had brought Tukoji Bha^ndari from
Kellewcidi ; that in their village (Apte) Tanaji had
a son named Kankoji, who gave Tukoji into his
(the deponent's) hand, saying, ' This is my brother.'
That Tukoji and Kanoji afterwards quarrelled, and
that an assembly of twelve villagers gave a Muhuzur ;
that all this he knew to be true. That Rahoji was
not there at that time ; that the ancestors of Kanoji
and Tukoji were not connected, nor settled Miras-
dars ; that the Dhigge were masters of the Miras
land, but that Ealioji enjoyed the benefit since the
ordeal at Moheri.

4th. Apaji Patil Dhigge of Apte, deposed that
he had committed thefts in Wudhu, which had been
traced to his forefather, that people had been sent to
seize the thief, and that he had delivered Tiitoji to
them. That a fine was exacted of Tatoji, which he
demanded of his (the deponent's) ancestor, on which he
murdered him. That Tcitoji had a grandson named
Tauiiji, whom he had brought to a reconciliation and
given him 6 Sazgaunis Tliall land out of his own,
and made him next in rank to Siwle. That after-



wards Kanoji Bhandare was going to leave the village ;
but that he had given him 6 Eukhas of Thall, and
kept him. AYhen the whole of the land was in culti-
vation, he gave Kanoji 6 Sazgannis of land ; that
then Kankoji, son of Tanaji, came from Wudhu,
and bringing the Patil and Balotes, brought Tukoji
from Kellewadi, and gave him into his (the deponent's)
ancestor's hand. That Kanoji and Tukoji began to
quarrel about the garden lands of Kankoji, and that
time Tukoji was proved to be the true descendant of
Tanaji, and Kanoji's pretensions to be false. That the
brother of Eahoji was one of the assembly who gave
this decision — that seven generations have seen no
ancestors of Eahoji. He has only enjoyed possession
since the ordeal.

5th. * The Thalwaiks and Sathi Praja of Wudhu
and the Dhigges and Chougules of Apte deposed that
they know not who was the descendant of Tanaji.
They knew of the Muhuzur which had been given
at Apte by the assembly of the Patils of twelve
villagers, on the dispute between Kanoji and Tukoji.
At that time Eahoji's ancestor was not in the village :
but on Eahoji's coming to the village, he fixed
upon Eesnund, for his Panchayat ; and then having
taken security, they referred the case to Molieri,
where Eahoji performed the ordeal and was cleared,
and Mahuji proved false ; that all this they knew.

Having weighed this evidence, it did not appear to
agree in any way with Mahuji's Sukar. Eahoji's
ancestor was not in the village when the Muhuzur was
given at Apte. When he came to the village and
began his dispute, it was settled by ordeal, on whicl
Eahoji was proved true, and Mahuji false. Of
this the evidence is clear. The Muhuzur of the

* The Wattandt'irs and all the villagers.


assembly of Moheri, which Gomaji has, is annulled ;
the villagers knew that Maliuji was unjustly accused.
Jiwaji bin Eahoji has enjoyed his Wattan since the
ordeal, and Mahuji has no ground of complaint
against him. The ancestors of Rahoji did with their
own hands, and out of their own pleasure, give
9 Rukhas of Apte and 7 Eukhas of Wudhu, which
they let Mahuji enjoy in comfort ; besides this, he
has no claim to the house and land and Chougulki
of the two villages. Tsinaji is the original Wattandar;
an ordeal has been undergone for the Chougulki and
house and lands of the villages. The whole Wattan
and lands and house above mentioned are Eahoji's,
and let Jiwaji enjoy them.

3rd. Jaminkatba of Resnund Santoji Jadhav of
Kesnand, security for Eahoji ; Newji Arguwra of
Wudhu Budruk, security for Mahuji.

4th. * Niwadepatra Shak 1623, Ursish Savantchari,
17th October, Wadhya, dated Tuhipur. Assembled
seven persons of the caste (named) who having de-
liberated, have decided that Babji Siwla and Mahadji
Siwla, Chougulas of Apte, and Kamlaji Bhandari, of
Apte, have come to us and preferred for decision a dis-
pute between them, respecting the Chougulki of Apte
— and have given a Eajinama and Katbii, that they
agree to the true evidence of the Mukaddams of Apte,
given in the Pagoda. Upon this Khetji, Patil of Apte,
went into the holy Pagoda, and took them both by the
hand, in asseveration that they were both his Chougulas
by right, an inheritance and descent : any future in-
terference with this decision will be in vain.

Parwana under seal of Jurjarul Mulk Myrul
]\Iabhi, Nawab Assutkhan, dated 7tli of the Moon of
the month Safar el Muzafar San 27, to the Gumiistas,

* Award.


and Jahagirdars, Deshmiiklis and Deshpandis, Mukad-
dams and Muzafars of Pabul, Sarkar Jumar. Be it
known that Ra\'ji wallad Somaji Bliandari, of
Wudhu, in the above-mentioned district, has come
and complained ' that the office of Chougule has be-
longed to my family for many generations, but now
Tatoji, the son of Tukoji Bhandari, of Apte, sup-
planted me by violence and injustice : therefore it
is written that the said Tutoji has by deceit and
fraud carried away the Sannads, and is not to be
trusted, and according to the Hindu Sannad under the
signature of the Mukaddams and Shuityes and Muhu-
zurs of Moheri, the right of Chougulkar of the
above-mentioned village has been confirmed to the said
Rahoji : that whatever rights or privileges belong to
that situation are to be restored him. You are therefore
desired to restore him to his rights forthwith, and to
obey this order without reply or delay.

Having thus weighed and considered the Takrar,
and Pursish, and papers of both parties, it appears
by the evidence of both that they are not of the same
family, but only brothers by surname. The Wattan
land of Wudhu has existed for many years. Tanaji
obtained the land of Apte and half the Chougulki.
This point is asserted by Jiwaji only. On examining
the actual state of possession, it appears by the papers
that both have had possession at times in both villages ;
but the possession of Jiwaji in the village of Wudhu
seems to have been more permanent, as it appears that
Eavji's descendants have enjoyed uninterrupted pos-
session of the W'attan and lands of Wudhu since
the quarrel between Paihoji and Mahoji Bhandari,
and the ordeal which was undergone. In the Shak
1607, Gomt4ji made an attempt to dispute the point;
but this being proved false, no dispute has occurred


since. The descendcints of Ralioji, clown to the present
Jiwaji, have held undisturbed possession of the VVattan
of Wudhu, and this Tatoji does not now dispute ; but
Jiwaji disputes and claims the Chougulki and land of
Apte, and therefore it is that Tatoji asserts a right
to the Wattan of Wudhu. Both liavji and Kamlaji
formerly enjoyed the Wattan of Apte, and the dispute
between these two persons has been handed down till
now. This dispute happened during the administration
of Dhabare. Tatoji produced the papers, but Dhabare
would not dispense justice, the prayers being only on
one side of the question ; from that period Tatoji's
descendants have eujoyed uninterrupted possession.
This appears to be the true state of the case ; but
Jiwaji says that Dhabare unjustly confused the lands.
It appears, however, that this enjoyment of Wattan of
Apte is one confirmation of the rights of Tatoji ;
another confirmation is the Muhuzur, which was given
132 years ago, by the assembled villagers of Apte and
twelve other villagers, in the dispute between Tukoji
and Kanoji, deciding that Tukoji was the rightful heir
of Tanaji : from this and other papers it appears that
this dispute is of many years' standing. The village
assembly decided that Kanoji was not the descendant
of Tanaji ; if Tukoji then had been under similar
circumstances with Kanoji, how could they have
decided that he was the rightful heir of Tanaji, but by
examining and comparmg the Muhuzur of the year
(Shak 1607). The evidence of the villagers at that
period differ from that given in Shak 1558. In the
Shak 1607, the villagers of the two villages gave their
evidence according to the best of their recollection and
belief, but the substance of it is contradictory and in-
consistent. The witnesses do not seem to have agreed
with each other. In the Muhuzur of Shak 1558, the


particulars of the evidence of each village are not given ;
but Kanoji Bhandari himself confessed the very point
in dispute, viz., that Tukoji was the true heir of
Tanaji. This being the case, what ground could he
have for dispute at all ? On minutely examining this
Muhuzur, it appears that no cross-questioning or due
examination of the witnesses took place. They all
said the same at once, and the Muhuzur was made
without further inquiry or investigation. But Jiwaji
also allows that this Muhuzur was given, but that his
ancestor was in another country at the time. When
Kanoji began the dispute, Jiwaji and Kamloji, by
the desire of the villagers, brought Tukoji from
Kellewadi, and the villagers, believing from the circum-
stance that he was their brother, declared that he was
of the family of Tanaji. Looking, therefore, to the
matter of ordeal, we have the certificate from Moheri,
the place where the ordeal was undergone, by which it
appears that the nails of Eahoji were pared ofif three
days before, and bags put over his hands ; that on
Sunday he performed the ordeal, that on Tuesday his
hands were examined, and his truth proved ; but to
this Tatoji objects, that he rubbed his hands with the
juice of a Wanaspatti (plant), and was thus enabled
to undergo the trial. On the other hand, many ordeals
have been performed at Moheri, and have been con-
ducted with fairness and justice ; how should any trick
have been allowed in this instance ? Tatoji's asser-
tion of Eahoji's having rubbed the juice of the
Wanaspatti over his hands appears false. That the
ordeal was undergone is manifestly established by the
papers, as well as the admission of l)oth parties. In
short, the ordeal was performed because no just decision
had been given upon the evidence of the villagers ;
falsehood was proved, and the possession on both


villages confirmed to Rahoji. Since then Gomaji, the
descendant of Malioji, again made a complaint which
was proved false, and a Muhuzur given to this effect.
Tanjiji himself made the Wattans of both villages ;
but Tukoji says that he only reviewed that of
Wudhii, and obtained for the first time that of Apte.
Rahoji, however, established by ordeal in the quarrel
with Tatoji's ancestor Mahoji, that he, and not
Mahoji, was the true descendant of Tanaji, and it
was decided that Rahoji should enjoy Tauciji's Wattan
of both villages. Mahoji is not the descendant of
Tanaji, and therefore has no claim to the Wattan of
either village. This fact has long been decided.

Tatoji now wishes to have the village assembly
again called, evidence examined, and a fresh decision
passed ; but as an ordeal has been undergone, it is not
proper that any further investigation should now take
place. Since the Gods have signified their decision on
the result of the ordeal, what would the words of men
avail ? We have just seen that the judgments of the
village assemblies at two difierent times had been con-
trary to each other, and that an ordeal was then resorted
to ; after this, to send for witnesses and enter into a
fresh investigation would be useless. By the Muhuzur
of Shak 1558, Jiwaji's ancestor was not proved false
in the dispute, nor were they proved false at any time
in any subsequent dispute between them and the ances-
tors of Tatoji ; but the ancestors of Tatoji were
proved false. The Muhuzur which was granted in
favour of Kanoji during the absence of Jiwaji's ances-
tor, was an irregular intemperate proceeding. However,
had no ordeal taken place, this Muhuzur must have
been an authority ; but it was at once annulled by the
result of the ordeal. That Tatoji should have un-
justly, and by force, enjoyed the Wattan of Apte after



the ordeal is proved by its result to have been im-

(True translation)

(Signed) J. Macleod.

' Puna, I8th September.'

(True copy)

(Signed) J. Macleod.

Transation of a SarXunsh, 1819.

Sakaram Eamchandra Patwardhan versus Govind
Viswanath Patwardhan, in a dispute respecting pro-
perty. These two persons having written and given in
their declarations and securities, and produced their
documents in evidence, and given in a list of the names
of a Panchayat by which they agreed to abide, this
Panchayat, having investigated the affair, has drawn up
the following abstract.

Sakaram Piamchandra complains : ' Shrimant
Kajeshri Babasaheb ' (the Peshwa) ' gave me on the
occasion of a Shraddh, a Dakshana of 2,200 rupees,
and desired me to go and build a house at Phulgam.
This money my uncle Govind Patwardhan lodged for me
in the hands of Janoba Eanade, at 10 annas interest.
Of this I have received 427-3-0 rupees, and a balance
of 1,772-13-0 rupees is due as follows : viz., by Janoba
Piiinade, l,192-14^-0rupees,and Govind Pant Patward-
han, 579-14^-0 rupees. This balance is due by them
both, and I now desire an order that the part of it
which has been received by Govind Pant may be
inquired into and settled.' Dated Pluilgun Waddya, 10
Shak 1740. The respondent, Govind Viswanath Pat-
wardhan, answers : ' My nephew Sakaram Eamchandra
received this money from the Sarkiir to build a house at


Phulgam Apte, and it was lodged in the shop of Jauard-
han Ranade. In the month Margsirsh, Eajeshri
Hari Bhan Bhat took me with him to the house of
Balhlji Pant Kalle ; a Panchayat was there held, and
receipt for the money was taken in name of Sakaram
Eamchandra ; the receipt, which was in my name, was
given back to the person (Janardhan Ranade). Out
of this money I had spent some, on account of which
I gave back the receipt which I had received from
Ramchandra Viswanath, deceased (father of the com-
plainant), for one-half of my dwelling-house in Puna,
valued at 700 rupees, which he had purchased. The
Panchayat further decided that Sakaram Ramchandra
should pay me 167-8-0 rupees, which I had advanced
to him at Urawri Ambegam, and that I should pay
197-8-0 rupees. This was the decision of the Pancha-
yat, and the papers to this effect are with Sakaram Ram-
chandra. I had given up half the house, which he still
possesses.' Dated Pluilgun Wadliya, 10th Shak 1740.
The Panchayat deliberated on the declarations of the
parties as follows : Under the former Government
Bahiji Pant Kalle Nisbat Goklile having named and
assembled a Panchayat, it had decided that Govind
Pant should repay whatever money he had taken out of
the sum belonging to Sakaram Ramchandra, which he had
lodged in the hands of Janardhan Ranade ; and further
had, in presence of both parties, decided that Govind
Pant should pay 946-1 1^-0 rupees, of which sum he
paid to Rfimchandra 698-7-0 rupees; the balance,
647-10^-0 rupees, remains to be paid to Sakaram.
Pant by Govind Pant. A certificate of this settlement
was made out, to which Govind Pant subscribed, and
this ought to be complied with ; but Govind Pant refuses,
and says that he has a written claim of 167-8 rupees
against Sakaram Pant from the year (Shak) 1734. On


inquiring into the truth of which it appears that
Sakaram Pant had owed to Govind Pant 250 rupees,
and that an obligation to that effect had been given by
Sakaram Pant, dated 10th Shak Margsirsh Shak 1737 ;
but that the debt had been settled by Sakaram Pant,
and his note received back. The above claim of
Govind Pant is antecedent to this settlement, and yet
no mention of it appears; and the writing itself is in-
correct, nor was there any mention of it in the obliga-
tion to Sakaram Pant. Four of the Panchayat ac-
cordingly recommended that Balhiji Pant Kalle should
be asked about the business, and according to his
answer both parties should abide. Upon this Ballaji
Pant Kalle was sent for to the Adalat, where, in
presence of the parties and Panchayats, Ballaji Pant
Kalle and Bajibhat Kelkar declared in the Huzur
Kacheri that a Panchayat had been assembled by them,
and that it had rejected the claim of 167-8-0 rupees.
This claim then is false. This being the case, Govind
Pant must therefore pay to Sakaram Pant 247-8-0
rupees, besides interest. The members of both parties
in the Panchayat subscribed to the above decision, viz :

Waman Shastri Sathe, Bapu Chimnaji Thatte,
Balkrishna Gangadhar Joshi, Denkar Annandrav Joshi,
in tlie manner the members of both parties decided that
Govind Pant should pay the above balance to Sakaram
Pant. Dated 4th of May, 1819.

Confirmed. (Signed) W. J. Lumsden.

(True translation)

(Signed) J. Macleod.

ruiia, 19/A Ikmiikr, 1819.

(True copy)

(Signed) J. Macleod.


Vol. hi. pp. 697—701.


Vol. III. pp. 697—701.

1. The Surat district presents more varietj'- of sur-
face than those hitherto mentioned. The eastern Par-
ganas belong to the hilly and jungly country that
extends to the Ghats ; those in the south partake of
the same character ; the rest is flat and in many parts
fertile, but a large portion of it is covered with babool-
buslies and wild date-trees : nearly one -third of the
whole district is waste. The eastern part of the
district is inhabited by Dublas otherwise resembling the
Bhils, but remarkable for their peaceful and inoffensive
disposition. The other inhabitants of the collectorship,
excluding the city, are Kanbis and Kolis, Mastans and
Bhathelas (or caste of Brahmans), with some Parsis,
Bohoras, and Rajputs.

2. There are no Girasias or Mevasis in the district.
One or two chiefs of Bhils, nominally dependent on
Rajpipla, and some others further south, who seem
nearly or entirely independent, have sometimes plun-
dered the district, but are generally restrained by fear.
Three Piajput Eajas occupy portions of the jungle to


the east of the Zilla. The first of them, the Eaja of
Mandvi, has a country about eighteen kos long and ten
broad : half of ifc is open, and his principal town
contains about 2,000 houses; the rest is jungle,
inhabited by predatory Bhils. His revenue is about
180,000 rupees, 80,000 of which is giras, collected
from the British and Gaikwar's territories. He paj^s
a tribute of 60,000 rupees to the British Government.

3. The Raja of Bansda's country is of less extent
and more jangli ; the inhabitants are Dublas and
Dhodias. His revenue is about 60,000 rupees ; he
pays a tribute of 7.800.

4. The Eaja of Dharampor's territory is about thirty
kos long and twenty broad : the whole is a thick forest,
with scarcely any cultivation. Some of the inhabitants
are Dhodias, but by far the greatest proportion are
Kokaneas, a tribe resembling the Dhodias, but speaking
the language of the Konkan, from whence they origi-
nally came. His revenue is about 140,000 rupees.
The British Government has Chokis throughout his
countrj^ for the purpose of collecting customs.

5. The Navab of Surat is the only chief with
any independent authority within the district, and his
only extends to his own dependents. He has only
1,600 Bighas of land, about 300 Rayats, 200 armed
attendants, and 150 servants and slaves.

6. There is a good deal of Vanta land and pecuniary
payments to Girasias. In both cases the payments are
fixed, and they are made by the collector to the pro-
prietors, who reside in Rajpipla, and other adjoining
districts, and whose outrages and exactions at one time
greatly disturbed the district. Most of these pay a
Salami, or quit-rent, which is levied direct from the
Eayats. The principal other alienations are Vazifa
lands, which are managed by the owners, and pay a


Salami or otherwise according to the tenure. The
Talpacl land is held on different tenures : 1st. That of
Khatebandi, here called Japti, is very prevalent. The
Japti Rayat has a right to retain his ground, and his
rent ought not to be raised ; but this last privilege
appears to have been little attended to. He pays a
higher rent than other Rayats ; but except in the
neighbourhood of the city, he is entitled to his trees
and to a portion of grass-land rent free. 2nd. There is
another tenure, called hunda, which resembles that last
mentioned ; except that the Rayat holds the whole of
the lands for a certain sum, and not for a separate rent
on each Bigha. In some Parganas it is originally
formed by the division of a village in the same manner
as is usual among Bhagdars ; but there is no mutual re-
sponsibility as in Bhagdar villages, and the division once
made, the sharers hold exactly on the terms of Khatebandi.
To the southward the term Hunda applies to any land
paid for in the lump. 3rd. The rest are Ganotias or
annual leaseholders, who, though never expelled from their
lands, change a good deal from field to field and village to
village every year. 4th. Uparvadias, who live in one
village and cultivate the lands of another, are particu-
larly common in this district. 5th. Some of the ill-
cultivated lands in the east pay an Udliar Fala, or an
equal sum on each Bigha ; and Gth. Some pay a
certain sum on each plough.

7. The system of collection in the Surat district is
now almost entirely Rayatwar, but this improvement is
veiy recently introduced. Before we got this district,
and for a long time after our acquisition of it, the
country was completely in the hands of the Desais,
who considered their possession so permanent that each
family partitioned its Parganas among its members,
like the Patels of a Bhagdar's village. Every Desai



managed the village of his own Bhag as he pleased,
and in general they displaced the old Patels, and
earned on even the interior management of each
village by means of their own agents, who were called
Talukdars. The Desai was thus the perfect master

Online LibraryMountstuart ElphinstoneSelections from the minutes and other official writings of the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, governor of Bombay. With an introductory memoir → online text (page 32 of 41)