C.P. Brown, Thamos Munro, Mackenzie-Zamindary, Polegary System

C.P. Brown

Charles Philip Brown (10 November 1798 – 12 December 1884) was a British official of the East India Company. He worked in what is now Andhra Pradesh, and became an important scholarly figure in Telugu language literature.

While Brown concentrated on Telugu, he was a polyglot. Other languages he knew were: Greek, Latin, Persian, Sanskrit. He supported Telugu in three ways: he produced his own works, he recovered and discovered old works and he printed books in Telugu. He financed himself and sometimes borrowed to do so. He established two free schools in Cuddapah, and two more in Machilipattanam.  Brown’s interests turned to Vemana’s writings in 1824.

He studied Telugu meter and grammar under the guidance of Venkatasivasastri Tippabhatla and Advaitabrahmasastri Vatthyam. He continued his study of Telugu literature in Rajahmundry from 1825. He collected rare manuscripts of Telugu Kavyas (poems), and had them copied. He also collected essays, stories, and poems that existed as an oral literature. During his stay in London from 1835, he was employed by Horace Hayman Wilson in cataloguing South Indian Languages manuscripts from the East India House Library. Ultimately many of those were sent back to Madras. Friedrich August Rosen encouraged his work on Telegu prosody, and had Brown’s essay on it published in the Asiatic Journal. There Brown advocated a more incisive approach, less reliant on Indian traditions, and levelled some criticisms at the old school of Henry Colebrooke, Sir William Jones and William Yates.[9] He published in the Madras Journal of Literature and Science, on Colin Mackenzie’s manuscript collection from 1838 to 1848.

Thomas Munro-revenue system

Ryotwari system, one of the three principal methods of revenue collection in British India. It was prevalent in most of southern India, being the standard system of the Madras Presidency (a British-controlled area now constituting much of present-day Tamil Nadu and portions of neighbouring states). The system was devised by Capt. Alexander Read and Thomas (later Sir Thomas) Munro at the end of the 18th century and introduced by the latter when he was governor (1820–27) of Madras (now Chennai). The principle was the direct collection of the land revenue from each individual cultivator by government agents. For this purpose all holdings were measured and assessed according to crop potential and actual cultivation. The advantages of this system were the elimination of middlemen, who often oppressed villagers, and an assessment of the tax on land actually cultivated and not merely occupied. Offsetting these advantages was the cost of detailed measurement and of individual collection. This system also gave much power to subordinate revenue officials, whose activities were inadequately supervised.

The name of the system comes from the word ryot, an Anglicization by the British in India of the Arabic word raʿīyah, meaning a peasant or cultivator. The Arabic word passed into Persian (raʿeyyat) and was carried by the Mughals, who used it throughout India in their revenue administration. The British borrowed the word from them and continued to use it for revenue purposes in the Anglicized form. The word has passed into various Indian languages, but in northern India the Hindi term kisan is generally used.

Mackenzie-mahalwari system

The Mahalwari system was one of the three major land revenue settlements of British colonial India introduced under the administration of East India Company. It was the last land settlement experimented by the company administration and expected to be an improvement over both the previous working settlements. The other two major settlements were Zamindari (in Bengal presidency) and Ryotwari (in Madras and Bombay Presidency).

It was a settlement for the estates of proprietary bodies , first introduced in the region of North-Western Provinces* under the regulation VIII of 1822. Further, it was extended up to areas of the Central Provinces and the British Punjab. It was an intermediary type of the land settlement, first implemented in the Ceded* and Conquered* provinces which Lord Wellesly had acquired between 1801 and 1802. The settlement under the Mahalwari operation was directly made with the villages or estates or Mahals by the instruction of the settlement officers, who fixed the rent with the consultation of ‘lambardar’ and the rent to be paid by the cultivating peasants. The settlement possesses a mixture of Bengal Zamindari as well as Madras Rayotwari. Here, the settlements had neither been with great hereditary revenue farmers like the Bengal `Zamindars nor with the humble cultivators as in madras, but generally with the co-sharing village brotherhood called as “village community”.

Most of the historians placed the new system as a modified version of Permanent Zamindari of Bengal which was usually made with the ‘body of co-sharers’. In all Mahalwari regions, the land revenue was revised periodically.

The Mahalwari system of land revenue was of temporary in nature and implemented with the provision that the assessment should be revised after certain fixed period of time usually after 30 years. In few cases, the assessment of land revenue should be revised only after a period of 20 years and even at some occasions it was revised after a marginal gap of 10 years. In a simple revenue language, the Mahalwari settlement was famous as a ‘mauzawar’ settlement where ‘mauza’ stands for a village or a unit of assessment. The foundation of entire land revenue assessment and realization in the Mahalwari operated region was based on the records of ‘shajra’ or field map and “khasra” or field register. Under the system, the settlement was made directly with Mahals or estates in which a recognized landlord or proprietor of some kind declared responsible for the payment of land revenue to the government. 6 The collection of land revenue amount in Mahalwari settlement was directly connected to the existing Mahals or mauzas.

Poligar System

Polygar as the feudal title for a class of territorial administrative and military governors appointed by the Nayaka rulers of South India (notably Vijayanagara Empire, Madurai Nayakas and the Kakatiya dynasty) during the 16th–18th centuries.

The Polygars of Madurai Country were instrumental in establishing administrative reforms by building irrigation projects, forts and religious institutions. The Polygars whom worshipped the goddess Kali did not allow their territory to be annexed by Aurangzeb.

Their wars with the British East India Company after the demise of the Madurai Nayakas is often regarded as one of the earliest struggles for Indian independence. The British hanged many and banished others to the Andaman Islands. Veerapandya Kattabomman, Maveeran Alagumuthu Kone, Puli Thevar, Dheeran Chinnamalai, Maruthanayagam Pillai,the Marudu brothers and Uyyalawada Narasimha Reddy were some notable Polygars who rose up in revolt against the British rule in South India. The war against the British forces predates the Indian rebellion of 1857 in Northern India by many decades but is still largely given less importance by historian.

The Polygar’s role was to administer their Palaiyams (territories) from their fortified centres. Their chief functions were to collect taxes, maintain law and order, run the local judiciary, and maintain a battalion of troops for the king.

They served as regional military and civil administrators. In turn they were to retain ¼ of the revenue collected as tax, and submit the remaining to the king’s treasury. The Polygars also at times founded villages, built dams, constructed tanks and built temples. Also the rulers taxed regions according to the cultivable and fertility of the land. Often several new rainwater tanks were erected in the semi-arid tracts of western and southern Tamil Nadu.  Their armed status was also to protect the civilians from robbers and dacoits who were rampant in those regions and from invading armies which often resorted to pillaging the villages and countryside.

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