2 According to Manu Smrithi the operations of collecting the taxes were described as follows "Just as the leech,the calf and the bee take their sustenance little by little, so must the king draw from his kingdom annual tax little by little. Let the king notcub his own root nap the root of others by exess~ greed". It was also mentioned in the laws of Manu that the share of the state was one-sixth of the gross produce, i.e, of the grain heap bade up at the threshing floor and the increase of land tax from one-sixth to one-fourth in times of war or any other emergency, The famous Hindu sages Gautama, Vasista and others quoted in their works that the king was subjected to take a maximum of one-sixth part of the gross produce as his share. According to Santi Parva of the Maha Bharatha and Kamandakiya, taxes should be raised gradually in small amount and they were to be collected at a fixed time and place. Special war rates were collected from lands at the times of war and were exempted on several occasions. According to the Artha sasthra of Kautily,, the lands were under the control of the crown and there were various sorts of taxes on the land. "Produce from crown lands (Sita) portion produce payable to the Government (bhaga), religious taxes (bali), taxes paid in money (kara)". The king was the sole proprietor of all lands in his klngdom. These royal lands were cultivated by the slaves, labourers and prisoners. When the treasury was in a bad need of money, Kautilya pew&the king to take up the one-third of the produce., from land.
3 Even in normal conditions, the peasants had to pay a number of taxes. They were 1) Pindakarq (Land revenue) 2) Sadbhaga (One sixth of the produce), 3) Sena bhakta (Proivisions for the army) 4) s i (Tribute) 5) Kara (Tax.) 6) Utsamga (Literature lap) 7) Parsya (Literature side) 8) Pari hinika (Compensation for loss of grain lost on the fields) 9) Aupayanik? (Presents) 10) Kausthev- [Shortage). These taxes were collected from the people of the countryside. The peasants who tilled the irrigated land, had to pay "water rate" which Kautilya names 'Udakabaha~a"(Share of water). Onefifth was taken from the lands under water set in motion by hand from their own water-sources, one-fourth was taken from the lands, under the water set in motion by shoulders, one-third was accepted from the lands under the flowing channels by a mechanism and one-fourth from the lands under the rivers, lakes, tanks, and wells. Where as from non-irrigated Land, one-sixth of the crop was taken as the state's share. Even after the beginning of the Christian era, the prevalence of the tax of one-sixth of crop was found. This fact was illustrated in the literary work of Kalidasa named "Abhi~nana sakuntala "(in Act ii). According to Karnandaka-Nithi written by Kamandaka the Guptas mostly depended on the land tax. There were two significant taxes called or the produce of the crown lands and b-or share of revenue from privately owned lands. It was revealed from the karitalai copper plate inscription of the Maharaja Jayantha that the tax called bhaga bhoa was used in the sense of royalties. According to other inscriptions, the taxes were accepted by the king both in kind and cash. <
4 Ala-ud-din Khilji, adopted the method of 'guess or computa- tion' in the assessment of revenue, and devised for first time the scheme of jarib (a standard scale of measurement) and tried to improve the system of assessment present at that time. The taxatlon was very hlgh during his time. Mohammad-Bin Tughluk, the great successor of Ala-ud-din khilji also adopted the same method of "guess or computation" in the fixation of assessment. The demand of the state reached to zenith during his time. This heavy taxation led to the ruin of the country and the delay of subjects. After the death of Muhammad- Bin-Tughluk, Feroz Shah Tugluk succeeded to the throne and made sincere efforts to make the country prosperous. Taxes collected during his time based on the first and beneficient pnnciples It was after the advent of the Mughals, a sound system of revenue was established in India. Akbar, the great Mughal emperor devoted considerable attention to agrarian administration. He at first introduced a standard scale of measurement called "Janb" made of bamboos connected together wth iron rings. In 1582, Raja Todar Ma1 was appointed by Akbar as the Diwan-IAshraf (Revenue Minister). Todar Ma1 got an aggregate of the rates of collection for 10 years from 1570 to 1580 and one-third of them was taken as the standard for the fixation of assessment. The entire land was divided into 4 classes, namely polaj. parauti, chachar and banjar according to their fertile value. Fur-
5 ther the polaj and parauti lands were divided in to good, middling and bad ones. The average of these three was taken as the basis of the assessment. One-third of it was fixed as the share of the state, But in the case of chachar and banjar lands, different methods were followed. Todar Ma1 fixed the rates of converting revenue in kind into revenue in cash by taking an average of the actual prices for 10 years. The stat& share was fixed one-third of the gross produce. The ryots were at liberty to remit the revenue in cash or kind, All necessary steps were taken by the Mughal rulers to offer their helping hand to the cultivators during the period of unfavourable conditions. This system of revenue was called the "Zabti system". Other systems of revenue like the Gallabhaksha and Nasaq were also prevalent in some parts of the country. Thus the foundations for the sound system of land revenue were laid during the period of the Mughals. Regarding the revenue systems of south India, the Cholas who conquered and ruled nearly the whole of what later became the presidency of Madras were famous for sound system of land revenue. They ruled during the years 2nd century A.D to 13h century A.D. with Tanjore as their capital. During their period, the ownership of land had a high soclal value, and the independent peasant proprietor was then "the backbone of social life". Every ryot had a scope of becoming a land owner. The village was then a settlement of peasants and the village assembly was an assembly of land lords. Another significant feature of the revenue policy of the Cholas was the existence of the communal ownership of land. All
6 the cultivable land was under 3 broad classes of tenure described as peasant proprietorship called vellanvam in the inscriptions, service tenures consisting of all the holdings described variously as Jlvita, Bhoga, KaMI Vritti and eluncosynary tenure comprising ~rahmadeva, Devadana, and Salabhaga resulting from charitable gifts and administered by significant rules. The next Hindu rulers under whose control, the tracts of the Anantapur, Bellary and other near by districts existed were the Rayas of Vijayanagar empire. They ruled over this region with Hampi as their capital from 1336 to 1 565,~mong the sovereigdof Vijayanagar, Krishna Devaraya gained name and fame for his benevolent rule and ruled between 1509 and During their period, the lands were surveyed in the Anantapur district. The fields were perfectly measured and assessed every year, the names of holders were registered and the extent of their holdings having been entered in special registers called 'kavilas'. Inscriptional evldence certify that the lands were demarcated by the land marks and boundary stones. A bamboo pole was used for measuring the lands. Lands were pnrnarily divided into arable and pasture fields. The arable fields were further divided into 'niraramba' and 'kadarambq' fields corresponding to wet and dry. These lands were again divided into good, middling and inferior. The wet lands were classified into rice and garden lands. According to inscriptional evidences also the tenants of the 'Athavana Tantram' the state collected "m' (1/3) and even 'Sangow' (1/2) from certain types of lands. Holders of '-' (inam lands) had to pay taxes like I&&', 'Kan&' type of Inarn land. '$rotriyam' a tax synonymous with Jedt was also collected from all Inam villages and service Inarns.
7 Usually the payment of tax was made in, kind to the 'Gaud' (a village officer) The 'Gaud' should collect and pay the land revenue in due time to the treasury. Another system was selling the collecting rights of revenue to the contractors who had intimate touch with the revenue department which fixed the village rental. Krishna Deva Raya and his officials allowed frequent remissions of taxes because of their profound interest in the progress of the cultivators. The Bijapur Sultans who ruled over Rayadw and some of the western taluks of the Old Bellary district after the down fall of the vijayanagar, Empire appeared to have fixed the assessment without any regular survey. The Karnil assessment &ed by them was about cantaroy pagodas 24,84,188, By about the beginning of the 17th Century, the Nawabs 'f Golconda enforced a system of land assessment based on the principle of equal divisions of the crop between the state and the cultivator. The mode of assessment involved an actual survey of the land in vi1lage.s. The rents fixed on land should be paid in money. The share of the state was fured at one half of the gross produce of the different classes of dry and wet lands. The value of grains should be commuted into money. The value of the grains were determined on the basis of the prices of grains of past 10 years. The object of the assessment was to squeeze more and more revenue. An 'Auction system' was prevalent under which the entire district was auctioned to the private contractors to realize the rent from the peasants and remit the stipulated amount to the treasury. These contractors looked after the civil and criminal matters and even resorted to extortion. But this system was
8 abolished by Madanna, the well-known Prime Minister of Abul- Hasan- Tanah shah. the last Sultan of Golconda and introduced the system of direct payment of revenue. Both Hyder Ali Khan the Carnatic Nawab and Tipu Sultan. the ruler of Mysore followed a sound system of revenue. The department of Finance and Revenue was called "Mir Asaf Cutcheri". The head of the department was called Diwan or Mir Asaf. Under his control, there were five officers called Mir Asaf, Saristadars (Chief Accounts) and Muta Saddis (~ccountmbr clerks) worked. The revenue accounts were maintained in Persian, Kanarese and Marathi languages. Mir Sadiq was the chief Diwan of Sultan and the president of Revenue and Finance Department. Tipu Sultan had a sound knowledge of revenue affairs. The principle of his land tenure was that a tenant and his heirs occupied land so long as they cultivated and paid rent. If they failed to fulfil these conditions, the government was entitled to transfer the land to other tenants. The dry lands were taxed one half of the crop in the form of kind. But these rates were usually fixed in cash at the average rates of the district. The cultivable land1 was extended under Tipu's rule. This was mainly due to giving lands to the ryots on favourable terms. Waste lands were devoid of rent in the flrst year, in the second year the one-fourth of the customary assessment was collected and during the succeeding years, the usual amount of revenue was collected. The assessment flxed by Hyder Ali Khan for the entire Ceded districts was cantaroy pagodas (Rs. 59,33,328) His son and successor Tipu Sultan collected cantaroy Pagodas
9 The Nizam of Hyderabad brought the whole tract of the ceded districts under his contr to1 after defeating Tipu Sultan in Mysore wars ( ) and taxed them. The revenue in this area of ceded districts declined during the period The collection of revenue fell from cantoroy Pagodas k. to cantroy PaMas 15, 02, /4. The delay was owing to the weakness of the government. The Ceded districts of Bellary, Cuddapah, Kurnool and Anantapur were handed over to the East India Company by the Ni zam of Hyderabad in the year1800. Thomas Munro was appointed as the principal Collector of this region. On the eve of transfer of the Ceded districts to the company, conditions were disturbed. The factors that responsible for the worst condition of agrarian society in Andhra region were the breakup of the Vijayanagar Empire after 1565, the annexation of the Qutubshahi Kingdom by the Mughal imperialists in 1687, the declaration of independence by the Nizam-ul-mulk in 1724 and the vlrtual autonomy of the Carnatic Nawab from The Zmindars in Coastal Andhra, the poligars in the Ceded districts and Deshmukhs in Telengana region were the farmers of revenue under whose control the whole agrarian society existed before the advent of the British. The East India Company of English merchants who had entered into India with the purpose of trade and commerce noticed the disintegration of state and society with growing greed for its share of spoils. British Company gained vigour by the enormous resources and garrisoned fortresses and occupied Andhra region through war and diplomacy and won legitimacy through a Mughal
10 farman m the way in which a company& :merchants became a powerful factor in the politics of South India is a sad commentary on the tragic disintegration of an ancient society of peasants. The seventy zarnindars with their forty thousand armed peons in coastal Andhra and the eighty poligars with their thirty thousand armed peons in the ceded districts and the ten western poligars of Chittor with their four thousand armed retainers who were the overlords of the paraganas and districts presented a spectacle of degenerate chieftains who often resisted the foreigner and surrendered ignonimously or allowed themselves to be ruth- lessly exterminated by the foreign conqueror, Besides the heavy assessments of Poligars, the absence of the regular Kistabandh! or payment of revenue by instalrnents and the persuasion of Amildars or collectors of revenue for collecting revenue before the season of harvest caused double loss to the ~yots,. The continual warfare of poligars with the Nizam and other troubles created by the poligars led to the ruin of the country. In several areas of Gooty, Bellary, hdurg, and Penukonda, the revenue declined due to the same bad conditions, and in particular due to famines in Western districts in the years 1792 and So in 1800, Munro, the principal collector of the ceded districts found under his charge a territory that was in a state of political and economic decomposition. In a letter to the Board of Revenue dated 12& Au~us~, 1801, PI unro described the native land systems prevailed in this region as follows: 'The land seems at all times to have been regarded as the property of the state. No traces can be discovered of its ever having been that of the cultivator or renters. The inam lands of
11 Vljayanagar rayas as well as those of more ancient princes universally grant the soil as well as rent a convincing proof that it was considered to belong to the sovereign." The financial policy of British was another cause of the extreme poverty and backwardness of the people. The British had to pay salaries to the army, police and other public establishments in cash. They collected taxes on land in money which caused the impoverishment of ryots. The British had to send large amounts of India~revenue to the British treasury for the payments of the Home charges usually sty!ed, "The Indian Tribute". They had to pay the interest in cash to the newly founded funded pubhc debt. As a result of this stringent financial measures, the discontent of the people streadily grew and the peasants rose in revolt against the government in every part of Indian Peninsula. The East India Company consolidated its position in Andhra dunng the first half of the nineteenth century. It reorganized the administration by dividing the entire region into many districts and appointed collectors over them. The collector was entrusted with the responsibilities of revenue administration and general admmistration of the district. The entire area of coastal Andhra was divlded Into five collectorates of Ganjam, Visakhapatnarn, Godavari, Knshna and Nellore. The hyalaseema area ceded by the Nizam to the East India Company in 1800 was constituted into a single collectorate with Anantapur as its head quarters. Four subcollectors namely Thackeray, Cochrane, Graeme and Stoward were appointed at Harpanahalli. Adoni. Cuddapah and Cumbum to assist the collector in his work. In 1808, the area was placed under two collectorates of Bellary and Cuddapah.
12 The directors of the East-India Company at London wanted to realize maximum revenue from the newly conquered areas. This resulted in excessive taxation. The company experimented the two systems of revenue namely the Zamindari in the coastal area and the Ryotwari in the ceded districts. The company used to collect high amounts of "Peshcush (Revenue) from zarnindars. this, many zamindars ruined. Due to The Ryotwari system was introduced by Thomas Munro in this region with the aim of increasing taxation with the rise of yielding capacity of lands. The ryotwari aimed at the fixation of more assessment on the lands of producing crops like sugar, indigo etc. than on those of yieldmg only ordinary grain. Moreover the cultivation of waste land was taken into consideration by Munro. In 1806, an estimate was made of the acreage of wastelands brought under cultivation for the first time. But before the introduction of this system, Munro applied "Village system of Revenue" to this region in It existed for one year. As a result of this village system, each village was assessed at a certain val~~ation and cultivators were held respon- sible for that sum. This settlement resulted in the collection of an enormous revenue of rupees 20 lakhs which was highly unbearable to the peasants. The ryots became paupers and were unable to cany on cultivation with out obtaining substantial aid from the government for the purchase of bullocks, carts, seeds. forage etc. The loans advanced to them ranged between Rs.2 and Rs.50. on this basis. Madras Pagodas 6,000, 3,200, 4,000 and 3,000 were given as advances in Harpanahalli, Adoni, Cuddapah and Cumbum during the cultivation season of Inspite of these
13 measures,the cultivation declined, land lost. its saleable value and people migrated to other places in search of living wage. Munro was adament to the reduction of assessment because he felt that any leniency on the part of government would make collections difficult. The factors that led to the experimentation of ryotwari system in this region were the disinterestedness of the Madras government in the implementation of Zamindari system, the incapability of the Havildars to pay large amounts of Peshcush to the government, the absence of Zamindars in these areas and the acquaintance of the principles of ryotwari system by the native people. On the introduction of ryotwari system, Munro opined that the system would bring more revenue to the government with the rise in yielding capacity of soils. More and more acres of waste land would be brought under cultivation which would increase the extent of cultivation in the district. The system was introduced with the object of fixing a defined tax on each field irrespective of the nature of land (wet, garden or dry land and the kind of crop. Munro thought that this system would not cause any innovation but perpetuated the ancient custom. The system would diffuse more wdely than any other system, the benefits of private property in land. Moreover, the ryotwari was well suited to narrow circumstances of the ryots. It would make the ryots more independent. It would enable the country to obtain greater produce and perhaps a higher revenue than any other system did. The lyotwari survey of lands was ordered immediately after the arrival of Munro in 1801 with the object of raising the amount
14 of assessment thereby increasing the saleable value of lands. Classification of the lands under various categories on the basb of the fertility of land to fix the suitable rents on land was made. During this process considerable attention rnyt be paid to the quality of the land and the condition of the cultivators. Where there were good lands and the owners of those lands were in bad condition, assessment should b e made on the basis of their circumstances. But no lowering of tax was possible to suit their convenience. The fundamental principles on which the settlement of lyotwari depended were the settlement should be ryotwari. The amount of the assessment should increase or decrease annually on the b e of the extent of land under cultivation. A reduction of 25% on all land should be made in the survey rate of assessment. An additional reduction in the assessment of8% or 33% in all should be allowed on all lands watered by wells or by water raised by machinery from rivers and nullahs. A small reduction should be permitted on the lands watered by small tanks wherever the cultivator agreed to bear the expense of repairs. At the endof every year, the ryot should be at liberty to occupy more or relinquish a part of his land. But he should accept or reject proportional share of the good and bad land together. Every ryot should possess the nght of ownership of his land by which he could sell or mortgage or lend it to a tenant for as much rent he could demand. No remissions should be allowed on ordinary occasions for bad havest. All unoccupied land should be under the control of the Government and the rent of whatever part of it might be hereafter cultivated should be added to the public revenue. All taxes on
15 shops, houses or professions, all duties, licenses etc. should belong exclusively to the Government. The ryot on whose land shops or houses might be constructed should not be entitled to receive a higher rent from them the equivalent of the survey rent of the ground which they occupied. The repairs of all tanks which were not rendered private property by an extra remission or dasavandum inam should be made at the cost of the govemment. Taccavi should be gradually discontinued. Patels, Kamarns and all other village servants should remain as here before under the Collectors. On the bagbof the above ryotwari principles, survey of land was made by Munro in the Ceded districts during the years The entire cultivated area of the region was urveyed, a number was given to each field, the name of the holder was registered and the assessment was fixed. ',The work provided on the whole wonderfully correct and thorough it is even to this day a safe guide in most village disputes" (according to Thomas Munro) The prime motive of ryotwari survey was to determine the taxable capacity and general prosperity of the inhabitants of a village. Without regular survey, it was not possible to the govemment to carry on the fiscal administration. Hence the government undertook the survey operations in the district. But the early ryotwan survey work was defective. It was made in a hurry by the survey-officers, by using the imperfect instruments. The work was entrusted to the ignorant men. In the beginning, the village Kamams made the survey. But the statement that they prepared created vast opportunity both of imposing excessive taxes on peasants and cheating the govemment. Boundary stones for the
16 demarcation of fields were not used and the occupied lands were not registered properly. Further, no maps illustrating the location of different fields, the topography of the village etc, were not prepared. But the survey certainly increased the extent of land under cultivation. The lands were not properly classified according to the quality. Ignorance and bribery played dominant role in the classification of soils into wet, dry and garden land. Although steps were taken to eradicate the evils present in this system by appointing five head assessors it proved a failure. Actually 32 lakhs of acres of land were brought under cultivation under the ryotwari system. The assessments faed upon the tilled and the arable areas in 1807 were pagodas 18,52,955 and 39,54,417 respectively. A radical change in the nature and extent of the land tax under ryotwari also caused troubles to the ryots. The inequity In the assessment based on Munro's settlement was essentially due to the fixation of total demand for the taluk and its later distribution to the villages. Adjustment of individual to the total demand on the village involved exaction from some and relief to others. Likewise, the inter village adjustments ordered by Munro through the agency of the neighbouring villages resulted in mutual quarrels and acrimony. In the fixation of assessment, the lyot's caste, his resources and his health were taken into account. The cash payments of land tax enhanced the hard ships of peasants. The excessive rates turned them into paupers. Instead of detemimg equal and moderato tax, the ryotwari greatly increased the government demand upon the country.
17 The table of money rates of assessment was prepared per acre by taking the centaroy pagodas and fanarn as worth Rs and Re.O-4-8, : Rs and Rs : Rs and and Rs and Rs They were the maximum and minimum rates of the wet, dry and garden lands respectively in the ceded districts: with the introduction of these rates. Munro was able to fill the treasury. Munro was able to fill the treasury. Munro's claim that he was responsible for the introduction of reduced rates proved to be an eye wash act. If the rates of former Hindu rulers were oppressive, those of Muslim kings were rapacious, Munro's rates were "war rates". In addition to that, he sent orders to his assistants not to minimise the kists (taxes), only in the conditions of incapability of ryots, at least 4 out of 6 kists were to be paid by them. Village officials were treated roughly in the case. of their failure of collection of more taxes. In consequence ryots started migrating to other places but he restored 'inams' enjoyed by people during the periods of Tipu Sultan of Mysore and the Nizarn of Hyderbad, The then attitude of the East India Company Government towards the peasants was aptly described by Lord Macaulay in his instructions (Board of revenue instructions) dated 24b April of 1808 to Munro: "Govern leniently but send us more money, be the father and oppressor of the people, be just and unjust, moderate and rapacious". During the early years of ryotwari settlement, the ryot was not considered as the owner of the land but treated as only a cultivating tenant. The early ryotwari system had various defects. Restrictions were placed upon the relinquishment of land. The cultivation of
18 garden lands, Li.e.1 lands cultivated with special crops and irrigated from wells sunk by the ryots with their own capital and labour, was made difficult with the imposition of heavy taxes. such rates had become a burden on ryots when the prices of grains went down. ~hough the Court of Directors condemned the excessive taxation, steps were not taken to reduce the same by the Madras Government. The excessive rates caused the marked shrinkage in the volume of agricultural output. The stable wage rates of labour and the growth of agricultural indebtedness were added to the problems of ryots. The increase of population was hindered by the general depression. There was near absence of land market. A severe agricultural depression occurred on account of low prices which then prevailed in agricultural produce, The other reasons for it were the slow development of export trade and the remittance of a considerable amount to England, shortage of the currency, substitution of cash payments for payments in kind both in respect of taxes and the disbursements of government. The taccan (agricultural advances) sanctioned to the poor and needy ryots was so meagre amount that it could not meet their necessities. Tahsildars showed partiality in distributing this sum to ryots. As a result of this system, the annual load of debt went on increasing year to year and left the ryot, as a beggar. Though the water tax was collected from ryots for repairing the irrigation sources, they were compelled to bear the cost of the reconstruction of the same. Even for getting remissions, the lyots had to wet the hands of the meristadar or Head Revenue officer to get their favour at the time of annual settlements or Jamabandl.
19 Even the ~yots could not get any favourable treatment from the higher authorities of the Board of Revenue by sending petitions against the lower officials. Even at time of harvest, the ryots were persuaded by the tahsildars to collect their revenue before the expiry of the period of three months given for the realization of the klst (tax). At that time the ryots had to sell all the grain produced to the nearest grain merchant at the lowest cost and remit the revenue. Under this process, the ryots had to face the above said three types of losses. The petition of the Madras Native Association of 1861 pointed out the abuses in the revenue department that in the case of failure of ryots to pay the land taxes, they were harassed to sell all their belongings including bullocks, farming utensils, and the little rest of his property to remit the same to the government. When they refused to pay the excess of the assessment, their houses were stripped of their roofs, their ploughs, ploughing cattle, grain, seed and forage for their grazing cattle were attached and sold by auction. If the paid amount was not sufficient, the ryots were arrested and tortured by applying cruel methods. Some of the punishments inflicted on them were flogging, beating on their knees, spitting on their faces. insulting them by using filthy words. preventing the ryots from going for calls of nature, avoiding their cattle to graze in the open fields, pinching, slapping, putting a low caste man on their heads, striking two defaulters heads, squeezing and crossing fingers, tying their hair to donkey's tail, keeping a man in the sun, placing a necklace of bones or other degrading or disgusting material around his neck etc. The defaulters were finally not allowed to draw water from the public wells or tanks for
20 their purposes of home. These punishments inflicted on peasants were mentioned in the "Report of the Commissioners for the investigation of Alleged cases of Torture" in the Madras presidency submitted to the Honourable the Governor in council of Fort St. George on the 16~ April, '1855. The operation of ryotwari system was burdensome on the government and there was a heavy drain of money in implementing the same. government. Irrigation facilities were not provided by the company Moreover, the ryotwari brought only the destruction of the village constitutions. Another problem of famines increased the hardships of ryots. There was a heavy loss of life and cattle and failure of crops. Thomas Munro went to England. After his departure, the ceded districts were split up into two collectorates of Cuddaph and Bellary. William Chaplin was made incharge of Bellary collectorate which included the present Anantapur district. Though the Board of Revenue was not favourable to the ullage lease system, it has to introduce it because of the criticism, agalns t ryo twari settlement. Hodgson in his 'memoir' commented that the ryotwari system proved injurious to xyots because of the proporationate inequalities that may exist at the time it was declared permanent and in proposition to the current moderate rents becoming unequal. The same opinions against the lyotwari system were expressed by the Tanjore committee Report dated 2Znd February, It rejected the Mootahday and the ~0~~ settlements, and in their place it recommended the village lease system.
21 The petitions of Madras Native Association, 1861 the Governor of Madras favoured the village system of leases on account of several causes. They are 1. The collections of revenue from the land by means of villages instead of individuals without the interference of the zarnindars or Middlemen on one hand and free from the harassing oppression of the government servants on the other. 2. The Government would be benefited by this system because it was devoid of the loss and corruption that were prevalent under the ryotwan system. 3. The system was secured from all loss arising from unequal land tax 4. The revenue was not fixed on the basis of correct ascertainment of cultivation. 5. The charge of collection would be considerably decreased. The pehtion pointed out that a lighter and a more reasonable assessment would ensure a much larger cultivation and thereby the revenues of the government would be increased. Similar were the opinions expressed by the committee appointed by the higher authorities to make an inquiry into the village lease system. The Board of Revenue believed that the village lease system had its origin in the time of Manu, the ancient law giver. The Board of Revenue also opined that greater security would be got under this system due to the stable rents. It was concluded from the study of the authorities that several joint villages existed side by side in Southern India before the Muslim conquest. The joint villages had possessed more developed organization and unlimited powers to manage their local affairs. Neither the Board nor Munro could get a clear idea of the Pre-British systems of revenue that prevailed in Southern India. Their attitudes were influenced by local factors and their ideas were destroyed by the chaos which dominated the field of land revenue at the time of the beginning of British rule in
22 Southern India. The board also thought that the village system of revenue as a beneficient one. The main characterisitic of this system was once it was introduced, the scope for internal disturbances and anarchy were less unless the village was over assessed. One of the possible objections to it was the probability of the rise of the influence of the village headmen which may cause injury to the common peasants. The Board thought that the Munro's system of revenue had unnecessarily revolutionized the land revenue administration. By replacing this one by the village lease, the old and time honoured mode of land tenure would be protected. The promise of adequate revenue was also another cause of the introduction of it. The less chances for the fluctuations of the rents and the requirement of simpler administrative mechanism, the decrease of the government responsibilities under this system and its conduciveness to the welfare of the ryots cornpelled the government to introduce the same in the district of Bellary and other areas. As a result of the trienniel lease system (settlement for three years) dunng the years , both the government and the ryots were not benefited. The resources of the district of Bellary were injured because of the oppression of ryots by the revenue officials and weakness of the renters. The cultivation in many vlllages fell off. The main causes for the failure of triennial lease were the very high rents and short duration of the lease period. After the careful consideration of the Board of Revenue, it suggested that misrule of earlier Nawabs, and the experimentation of Ryotwari system by Munro were primary causes for the failure of the villages lease system and the impoverishment of ryots. The
23 arguments against the Ryotwari system were the deterioration of the economic conditions of people and less chances for the recov- ery of ryots due to high assessments, under it. By taking to consideration, the Board of Revenue ordered for the introduction of Decennial lease in the district of Bellary, in its proceedings dated 31 st December, The main object of decennial lease system was to allow sufficient time for due examination and discussion of the accounts and resources of each village which could not be accomplished satisfactorily in one season. The ryot was made responsible for his land holdings till the end of settlement period and rents were fried on the basis of the collections of past years. But the experiment proved a failure. During the early years of the lease, due to the lmpoverlshment and migration of ryots to other places, the mis- management of or the inability of the renters, the continuous opposition of the expelled renters, the frequent quarrels between the joint partners the system was unsuccessful. In the fifth year of lease due to failure of rains the number of defaulting ryots increased. The collectors resumed all the relinquished lands and by the end of the year 18 16, half the district remained under the renting system. The collector of Bellary district observed in that the renting system was under any circumstances unsuit- able to the country". Therefore he recommended a reduction of assessment by 25%. The decennial leases expired in and 776 villages which were still under the renting system of land revenue were brought under the Ryotwari system. Thus the "Ryotwari system' was reintroduced in the district of Bellary. The Decennial lease was on the whole, resulted in the decline of
24 cultivation, the hardships of people, due to high assessments and in the fall of saleable value of land. At last in 1824, the ryotwari system cane into practice. Robertson, the collector of Bellary district introduced the following rules for the welfare of the ryots of the district, with the perrnis- sion of the Board of Revenue. freedom They are 1. The sanction of the of ryots in relinquishing both bad and good lands together. 2. the grant of the right of complete ownership of his land to ryots. 3. Avoiding of extra assessments and 4. The grant of remissions on lands under tanks in case of failure of water- supply to fields. In addition to the implementation of the above said prin- clples, the rates of assessment were reduced. Even under this system, agriculture did not show any signs of progress. Though there were rich black sorls in the district, yet it was very difficult and expensive to cultivate there, more labour and more stock than other kinds of soil were essential. This resulted in the abandon- ment of lands by ryots, particularly the extent of 24, 751 acres of black land assessed at cantaroy pagodas 16,406 in Gooty Taluk, and the extent of highly assessed land of 30, 058 acres assessed contaroy pagodas 21,676. Only the extent of interior land of 30, 195 acres assessed at cantaroy pagodas 4,433 were newly occu- pled. In Rayadrug taluk, 25, 157 acres of black land assessed at cantaroy pagodas 13, 000 per acre and altogether 45, 313 acres assessed at about cantaroy pagodas 23, 119 were given up. In the entire district of Bellary, 63,278 acres of Black soil assessed at contaroy pagodas 57, 345 were thus abandoned or 1,34,080 acres of mixed land assessed at only cantaroy pagodas 2,489 were newly
25 occupied. 'l'he picture of the Bellary district as given by the collector d~owed the sapped conditions of agriculture. The ryots were obliged to weed-grown fields away from their dwellings. It caused the misuse of labour, time and expenditure. In Munro hoped that land no longer bp abandoned from the want of cowle. improve agriculture. The general remission of 25% was expected to Then the ryots became ready to take advan- tage of cowle. In the 72 villages inspected by the collector, 291 great ploughs were found at work. Another matter which laid stress on the ryots was the great fall in prices. The reasons for such a condition were the slow development of export trade and the remittance of a considerable amount of money to England, inadequacy of the currency, substi- tution of cash payments for payments in kind both in respect of taxes and the disbursement of Government. The money rates fixed on the basis of high prices of grains of former years became burdensome to ryots. The severe famines in addition to the problems of the defective land tenures, the occurance of frequent drought, failure of crops due to scarcity of irrigation sources, lack of adequate knowledge of revenue matters. On the part of officials, the Intrigues of the revenue servants, made agricultural advancement difficult. The drought of 1823 laid a disastrous impact on the eco- nomic structure of Anantapur. Bellary, Kurnool, Cuddapah, Visakhapatnam, Guntur and Nellore. The series of famines that visited in 1833, 1839 and 1853 were also destructive ones. The
26 government undertook certain measures of affording gratuitous relief to those in absolute want, opening relief works and encouraging the importation of grains to ameliorate the conditions of' the ryots in the district of Bellary. Construction of certain roads like a road from Anantapur to Bangalore etc. was taken up during the famine of Though many steps were taken, by the govemment, yet the conditions of the people were miserable. There was a heavy loss of life and cattle. Vincent Smith says that "the rural population wanted two things, first, a light assessment secondly the minimum of official interferencen. The right of propfietorship of land was assured to each holder of land under the ryotwari system. He was not harassed by the government unless he paid the assessment. But only in the case of failure of payment of tax by him, the ryot was evicted from land. This practice of eviction of ryot from his land was not present during the period of rulers. But under the ryotwari system, a patta assuring the right of complete ownership* of his land was given to each ryot. It is actually a great achievement. According to Thomas Munro, the right of complete ownership of land was not at all enjoyed by the ryots at any time in the past. Only the king was the sole owner of land in his kingdom. It was amazingly, during the reign of the Cholas, the sole ownership of ryots on their lands was granted. But this right could not be enjoyed by the ryots under the company government on account of excessive land assessments which made agriculture completely unremunerative and stopped the formation of capital within the agricultural economy and also blocked the way of the flow of outside capital entering into the agricultural sector. Peasants who were in dire necessity of money to pay land n?venue in
27 cash, had to take loans from the private money lenders and fell in the ditch of debt. Moreover, the frequent occurance of bad seasons. famines and droughts, infertile soil, out fashioned imple- ments lack of encouragement in the shape of taccavi loans to the peasants from the government and the unsatisfactory irrigabon resources caused the decline in agriculture. The lack of proper understanding of the native revenue set up, the customs and institutions in the villages, by the British rulers resulted in the failure of their revenue experiments. More- over, the alien rulers were influenced by the utilitarian ideas which had their impact on Indian administration. Stokes mentioned in his book titled "English utilitarians and India (Oxford, 1959) chap- ter 11" that this policy resulted in oppressive over assessment. The compulsion of ryots to pay land revenue in cash not only increased the debt of ryots but also the cash crop-cultivation. Moreover, the legal system introduced by the British brought far reaching changes in the agricultural sector. The poor farmers were placed at the mercy of the courts where they could get little justice. The police happened to be under the revenue department were drafted to assist the officials in the collection of revenue, neglecting their immediate duty of maintaining law and order and safeguarding the lives of people and theu- property. The ryotwari settlements encouraged the people to turn in to wets. But this tendency of the labouring class converting into cultivators resulted in a shortage of labour and agricultural serf- dom appeared as a slowly disappearing institution. Under the old
28 ryotwari. system, the government enjoyed monopoly of both land and labour. There were no competitors for whom the ryots could employ their labour. This was considered unjust when the lyotwari system was remodelled. Munro cut across the monopolistic privileges of the upper caste clique and created an atmosphere for the extension of cultivation. agricultural advancement, and an awareness of prescriptive property rights among the peasants of all castes despite the apathy of the British Beurocracy at home and the civil servants in south India who waged a rareguard struggle against his ideas and sabotaged his first ryotwari experiments. Munro's strenuous efforts for the private property of the peasants and their customary institutions proved his broad humanism, utilitarian reformism, his love for the peasants and his solicitude for their traditions and customs. Munro, the champion of the Ryotwari system in the ceded districts strove hard for the welfare of peasants when he was the Governlor. of the Madras presidency. He made many reforms not only of revenue but also of education, judiciary and others. He was the man of superior genius and had real sympathy for the Indian people. He was an honest advocate of government, in an age of corruption and racial superiority. The benefits of his pet revenue system can be categorized as follows: i) Firstly the grant of the right of ownership of ryot on his land 11) The improvement of cordial relations between the government and the cultivators due to the absence of intermediar-
29 ies or middle men and also to the system of direct payments to the government iii) cash payments of tax made easier the task of revenue collection. The date of payment, the amount of tax were mentioned in the pattas given to the ryots. Hence there were no chances of excessive payments by ryots. Moreover, they could pay the tax in time. survey greatly helped the ryots. Occasional reductions in the assessment and the there were unfavorable conditions in the district. Remissions were allowed when The collectors were fountains of authority in the district. The ability and calibre of the collectors enhanced the chances for the success of ryotwari system. They used to conduct daily visits to the rural areas to collect the information regarding the land etc and hear the com- plaints from the ryots and solve them. Village was the unit of the administration. At the time of jamabandi (the annual settlement) the village headmen. their villages. Karnam etc were instructed to go out of In this way their domination was curbed to a certain extent. The subordinate officers had no power.s of arrest- ~ng the defaulter or inflicting punishments on the defaulters. According to Karl Manr (in one of his letters) the ryohvari system aimed at the preservation of native institutions especially the village panchayat and peasant proprietorship. The first war of Indian independence broke out in As a result of it, the company rule ended and the crown took over the administration of Indian territories m AS a result of the company rule in Andhra region, certain benefits were obtained by the people. They are mainly. the absence of fear of attacks from other rulers, palegars or Zamindars. Though the artisan class was ruined under the administration of
30 company yet it gave stability to the government. The entire Andhra area was free from wars and other disturbances. Another benefit was the establishment of centralized administration. The authority of the British government was centralized. The lower officials were simply to obey the commands of the higher authorities. That was why the British government was relieved from the harassment of the separatist tendencies. Appointment of honest and responsible persons to the higher posts was another benefit of the company rule which enhanced the efficiency of the administration of the British only able, educated and non-corrupt persons with required qualifications were employed in the higher positions. Before the British law, all people are equal. All the people Irrespective of their castes, religions, economic status were equally treated before law. Establishment of legislative assemblies, district Boards, municipal Boards by the British were given much importance by the Indians later on. The company rule led to the birth of nationalistic feelings in the hearts of Indians. The system of education was introduced on western basis. So the youth who were educated in the Christian missionery schools and English medium schools were imbibed with the ideas of liberty, equality and universal brotherhood and for the first time they came to understand the evils of the British rule. Thus nationalism developed under the rule of the east India company.
31 The next benefit is concerned with the economic field. At the beginning itself, the British observed that there were three radical evils in South India. They were the insubordination of the Zamindars, and palegars, the lack of recognized laws and law courts and the uncertainties of the land revenue system. By subjugating palegars, Zamindars they not only established peace but also evolved their own land revenue policy which caused benefits to both the government and the ryots to a certain extent. Some of other benefits of the company rule were the increase of population, of law and order, decrease of the attacks of the famines, rapid rise in the production of food-crops, and decrease in the attacks of dreadful diseases. It was during the period , the population was doubled. The crown took over the reins of administration of Indian territories in It was under the rule of the British crown, during , a ryotwari surey system on more scientific lines was introduced. In 1864, the "New settlements" of Ryotwari land tenure were introduced with the purpose of fixing the assessment on the surveyed lands on a clearly defined basis. A notable feature of survey was the classification of lands into various categories by taking into consideration certain factors like thickness and fertile value of soil. The assessment was determined at half of the net produce, which was to be paid in cash, the money value being worked out on the basis of commutation price of the produce which was flxed on the average of the prices of the twenty nonfamine years preceeding the settlement. With the introduction of the "New settlements" in 1864, the period of settlement was fixed for 30 years. This system provided