The present work aims at giving an opening to the earliest archival record pertaining to the economic and institutional study of Marwar. The title Patta Bahi' (account book of the pattas) 1764-1770 v.s. (1707-1713 A.D.) specifies the assignments and grants of pattas for the period but the bahi actually carries it upto 1780v.s. (1723A.D.) although the entries beyond 1770 v.s. are quite few. It thus almost covers the entire reign of Ajit Singh.
The period is, unequivocally, crucial for it witnessed the disintegration of the Mughal empire and upon its ruin saw the rise of a number of states with different nature. Marwar - the largest in size in Rajputana - was one of assumed an autonomous role without declaring independence from Mughal yoke.
Patta stands for the assignment of a jagir to a pattayat, bureaucrat (muttsadi) against a patrimonial or prebendal tenure. Jagir was assessed in terms of rekh which was the assessed land revenue of a tract. The first two bahis for the reigns of Ajit Singh and Abhay Singh enumerate pattas clan-wise, against a chronological order along with genealogy too. The present bahi carries some 1078 pattas.
The language of the bahi is Rajasthani with Marwari orientation as was prevalent during the times, interspersed with words coming from Persian vocabulary then commonly used in this region in their corrupt form. There is a complete lack of punctuation marks like other manuscripts of the times. We have only grouped certain words to facilitate its reading.
To edit such a work appears to be a difficult undertaking. Changes in the then prevalent diction, almost readily, and confusion caused by misreading words on the score of a bad hand writing almost resembling shikastah of the Persian language makes the thing doubly difficult. An earnest effort has been made to put the records straight but still the sins of omission and commission cannot be ruled out.
The period marks the virtual collapse of the Mughal empire and the rise of a number of states, with varied characteristics, upon its ruins.
Marwar was neither the challenging one like the states of Sikhs and Maraths nor the succession states like Hyderabad, Oudh etc. but assumed an autonomous role without declaring themselves independent of the Mughal yoke.
The period preceding it witnessed a clash of interests between the Mughals and Marwar regarding the succession of Ajit Singh - the heir-apparent of Jaswant Singh. It coincided with the beginning of the Bahi when the emperor recognized him as the ruler.
Marwar represents a unique example of a Rathor raj becoming a regional power in the early years of 16th century under Rao Maldeo (1532-1562). It was initiated under the flagship of Rao Jodha when he modelled its birth by making it as a joint venture of Rathors and thus equating the ruler as Primus-inter-pares. It was the call of the hour to bring Rathors under a single umbrella. Jagirs were assigned against a patrimonial base in making the raj and not as tan of a salaried Rathor. This continued till Rao Maldeo when his tenure saw a see-saw struggle between centripetal and centrifugal forces. The one recognized the superiority of the ruler against pattayats while the other stood for the plurality of the clan as a whole. It required a careful handling within the segemantory lineages of the ruling elite of the raj. Rao Maldeo could not swallow the concept of the ruler as primus-inter-pares. He visualized that the ruler should be brought out of the confines of bhai-bund and exalted to the supermost position. This he did by replacing the older concept of bhai-bund to bhai-bunt-chakar. The suffix reduced clan-retainers as subordinates from co-sharers of power thereby elevating the ruler where power revolved round the person of the ruler alone. This changed scenario could be maintained so long as the man at the helm was strong enough. The things reverted to basics under weak successors. The entire mechanism was covered by pattas.
Patta means a written title or deed assigned or granted by a ruler to a single asami or sometimes a couple. The earlier pattas were simple assignments of land meant for the maintenance of the holder with an implied understanding that the grantee would be contributing his mite in safeguarding the raj. These assignments though patrimonial yet, were subjected to transfer at the sweet-will of the ruler. The revenue from it was termed as rekh. It was an arbitrary assessed land revenue. The mechanism of assigning of rekh was not exactly what the jagirs portrayed. The jagirs assigned to Jaswant Singh were against jama figures of the Mughals which had remained static since the times of Akbar. These figures had increased considerably in the imperial territory since then. As such the Rathor rulers adopted separate arrangement for internal administration and brought in their own assessment which was termed likewise. This brought rekh figures much higher than the jagir statistics of the Mughals reducing them roughly to an almost sasmah (six monthly) jagir or even less.
The assignment of a jagir was not against service tenure. For a Rathor service as a salaried official was an anomaly. The feudal concept of jagir carried an unwritten but acknowledged understanding against which a thakur who served or advised the ruler did it freely in a twin sense - voluntary and without pay i.e. as a peer rather than a paid employee. The jagirs, as such, were not regarded tan but a share against the services rendered by a pattayat in bringing the raj as a living identity. The jagirs were unrevocable excepting when the doings of a pattayat challenged the interests of the raj. Pattayats took it as a holy duty to defend the raj against it. Under normal circumstances the jagirs were renewed as a routine affair after matmi ceremonies and the incumbent's pledged loyalty and confirmed it by fulfilling the security of the raj in the sense of defending it. As such separate military contingents to be maintained by the raj was never thought of. With the changed circumstances new avenues had to be sorted out for keeping the raj intact.
The pattas were assigned against rekh (land revenue). But sometimes as a matter of favour pattayats were permitted to collect other taxes too. Pratap Singh Amra Jeth Mal (C) was allowed to collect ghasmari (grazing tax) from his jagir. Fateh Singh Ram Singh was given the right to collect mal (tax on Persian wheel) and ghasmari while Badri Das Ram Chand was having the rights of mal, basil and ghasmari.
Rekh had some short comings too. However carefully it might have been assessed but sometimes it fell short of salary (tan) against which it was given. In case where the amount fell short of the defecit was treated as talab (pay-claim) as the balance that was supposed to be paid to an assignee. Udai Singh Harnath (KA) was given a jagir of Rs. 12101 along with a talab of Rs. 2900_ to bring the total to 15001 against maintaining 15 horses. In the case of Kesri Singh Tej Singh (Kalawat) a talab of Rs. 1400 was given to make it match the rekh.
Though rekh was a fixed amount yet sometimes it was enhanced or reduced. In the case of Amar Singh Kishor Das the jagir was assigned after adding Rs. 501 and thus bringing it to 5001. As opposed to it in the case of Anop Singh Pratap Singh it was slashed by something like Rs. 3000. The village Raino was assigned to him against Rs. 7000 while previously it carried Rs. 10000 only. Closely following it was the practice of granting ijafa (increment) to a pattayat. Achal Singh Sanwal Das possessed a jagir of Rs. 10001 while it carried an ijafa of Rs. 813 bringing the total to Rs. 10813. Similarly Abhay Ram Sadul (U) ws assigned Rs.7000 against jagir but carried an ijafa of Rs. 4000 only. In these two cases ijafa was governed as per the fertility of the tract. If the ruler felt good or the claim of a pattayat fell short of the assigned rekh additional assignments were made. But in the case of Jai Singh Sabal Singh (B) increment was granted against his performance.
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