Page:A Brief History of the Indian Peoples.djvu/143

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AKBAR'S REVENUE SYSTEM. 139 have existed for the protection of person and property until after the establishment of British rule. The Hindu village-system had its hereditary watchman for each hamlet. These village watch- men were in many parts of the country taken from the preda- tory castes, and were as often leagued with the robbers as opposed to them. The landholders and revenue officers had each their own set of personal police, who plundered the peasantry in their names. Akbar's Bevenue System. — Akbar's revenue system was based on the ancient Hindu customs, and survives to this day. He first executed a survey or actual measurement of the fields. His officers then found out the produce of each acre of land, and settled the Government share, amounting to one-third of the gross produce. Finally, they fixed the rates at which this share of the crop might be commuted into a money payment. These processes, known as the land settlement, were at first repeated every year. But, to save the peasant from the ex- tortions and vexations incident to an annual inquiry, Akbar's land settlement was afterwards made for ten years. His officers strictly enforced the payment of a third of the whole produce ; and Akbar's land revenue from Northern India exceeded what the British levy at the present day. From his fifteen Provinces, including Kibul beyond the Afghan frontier, and Khandesh in Southern India, he demanded 14 millions sterling per annum; or, excluding Kabul, Khandesh, and Sind, 12 J millions. The British land tax from a much larger area of Northern India was only 12 millions in 1883. Allowing for the difference in area and in purchasing power of silver, Akbar's tax was about three times the amount which the British take. Two later returns show the land revenue of Akbar at i6£ and 17^ millions sterling. The Provinces had also to support a local militia (Mmi), in contradistinction to the regular royal army, at a cost of at least 10 millions sterling. Excluding both Kabul and Khdndesh, Akbar's demand from the soil of Northern India exceeded 22 millions sterling per annum, under the two items of land revenue and militia cess. There were also a number of miscellaneous taxes. Akbar's total revenue is estimated at 42 millions sterling.