THIS is a general history of India, compiled in 1209 A.H. (1794-5 A.D.), by Sarúp Chand Khatrí. Although written by a Hindú, the work opens as if composed by a devout Musulmán, with praise to God, the Prophet Muhammad, and all his family and companions. The author gives the following explanation of his reasons for undertaking the task; from which it will be seen how history was made subservient to the controversies which raged among our officials at that time.

“It is owing to the curiosity and perseverance of the English that the tree of knowledge is planted anew in this country; and it is also to the inquisitive spirit of that people, and particularly to the zeal and liberality of Sir John Shore, Governor-General of India, that I, an old servant of the State, am favoured with the honour of compiling a work on the History of the Hindús, together with an explanation of the names of days, months, years and eras; the reigns of the Kings of Dehlí, with an ex­planation of the words rája, zamíndár, chaudharí, ta'allúkdár, hawáldár, and the mode of administration, both ancient and modern, together with the names of the súbadárs of Bengal and the revenue and political affairs of the province.”

His definition of these revenue terms is fair and impartial, as will be seen from the extract given below. The author enters upon the question of the frauds practised upon our Government after the first acquisition of Bengal, and if his authority could have had any weight amongst Indian statesmen of his time, we should have been spared the introduction of the Permanent Settlement into Bengal, the most precipitate and suicidal measure recorded in the annals of legislation.

The author quotes several authorities for his historical narra­tive, and amongst them some which are not procurable in these days, as the history of Mahmúd Sabuktigín, by 'Unsurí; the histories of Sultán Bahlol and Sher Sháh, both by Husain Khán Afghán; Táríkh-i Fíroz Sháhí, by Mauláná 'Izzu-d dín Khálid-khání; Táríkh-i Írij, by Khwája Nizámu-d dín Ahmad; Táríkh-i Akbar Sháhí, by Mírzá 'Atá Beg Kazwíní; Tuhfat-i Akbar Sháhí, by Shaikh 'Abbás bin Shaikh 'Alí Shirwání; the history of Sadr-i Jahán Gujarátí; the history of Hájí Muhammad Kandahárí, and the history of Munawwar Khán. I think it not improbable that the author never saw one of these works here quoted, and that he mentions most of them at second hand, on the authority of the Khulásatu-t Tawáríkh, which, as usual in such cases, is itself not mentioned. The Sahíhu-l Akhbár carries the history down to the author's own period, but I have kept no record of its divisions, contenting myself with taking a few extracts while the manuscript was in my possession.

The only copy I have seen of this work was in the possession of Mr. Conolly, a clerk in the Office of the Board of Revenue at Ágra; and since his death, notwithstanding all my inquiries, I have not been able to procure it again.


Persons appointed by a Rája as tahsíldárs, or revenue collectors of two or three parganas, were called chaudharís. The superior class of byopárís, or tradesmen, were called mahájans, or banjárás; and among the sarráfs, or bankers, those who were wealthier than the generality of their profession were entitled sáhs, and those who were wealthiest were called seths. The heads of all classes of trades and professions were termed chaudharís.

From the time of the establishment of the Emperors' power in India, those persons who paid revenue to the Government were called zamíndárs. According to some writers, those who were held responsible to Government for the revenue of several villages or a pargana were called zimmadárs, which word afterwards was corrupted into zamíndár. However, in the time of the Emperor Akbar, all old málguzárs were put down in the Government records as zamíndárs or ta'allukdárs.

The office of chaudharí was at the disposal of the governors, and any person on whom it was conferred by them was designated a chaudharí. No person had a hereditary right to this office.

The term ta'allukdár is peculiar to Bengal, and is not known elsewhere. In the time of the Emperors, any person who had been from of old a proprietor of several parganas was designated a zamíndár, and the proprietors of one or two villages were written down in the records as ta'allukdárs. When a pargana first began to be brought under cultivation and inhabited, those, who by their own labour cut down the forest in a tract of land, and populated it, were distinguished by the title of ta'allukdár jangal burí; and formerly, amongst the higher class of raiyats, those who paid to the Government a revenue of 500 rupees, or beyond it up to 1000 rupees, or those who, like patwárís, collected the revenue of one or two villages, or two or four small circuits, were con­sidered by the Government as holding the office of a revenue collector, and were termed ta'allukdárs. During the reigns of the former Emperors nothing like a durable settlement of land revenue was made for a period of 370 years, because in those days their rule was not firmly established in the country.

In the time of Akbar, all the districts, large and small, were easily occupied and measured. The land was methodically divided, and the revenue of each portion paid. Each division, whether large or small, was called a ta'alluka, and its proprietor a ta'allukdár. If in one pargana the names of several persons were entered in the Government record as ta'allukdárs, they were called taksímí ta'allukdárs, or mazkúrí ta'allukdárs. From the time of Farrukh Siyar, affairs were mismanaged in all the provinces, and no control was maintained over the Government officials, or the zamíndárs. All classes of Government officers were addicted to extortion and corruption, and the whole former system of regu­larity and order was subverted.