LAND ADMINISTRATION

[Besides Mr. Vidal's MS. paper on the tenures of the district (pages 203-213), Mr. Gibson's survey details (1853-1878), and Mr. Crawford's account of the final khot settlement, materials for the Administrative History of Ratnagiri include Mr. Pelly's Report, 1820 (Bom. Gov. Rev. Rec. 16 of 1821); Mr. Chaplin's Report, 1821 (ditto); Mr. Dunlop's Report, 1822 (Bom. Gov. Rev. Rec 64 of 1823); Letters to and from the Court of Directors (Bom. Gov. Rev. Rec. Outward 17 of 1823, and 18 of 1824-1826;Inward 5 of 1825-1827, and 6 of 1828-1831); Mr. Dunlop's Report, 1824 (Bom. Gov. Rev. Rec. 121 of 1825); Mr. Reid's Report, August 1828 (Bom. Gov. Rev. Rec. 211 of 1828); Mr. Reid's Report (Lithog.), Dec. 1828; Lieut. Dowell's Survey Report, 1829 (Bom. Gov. Rev. Rec. 225 of 1851); Major T. B. Jervis' Stat. Account of Konkan, 1840; Capt. Wingate's Survey Report, 1851 (Bom. Gov. Sel. Old Series, II. of 1852); Annual Report, 22nd July 1856 (Bom. Gov. Rev. Rec 20, part 4, of 1856); Bom. Gov. Set CXXXIV. New Series, 1873; Mr. Candy's Summary of Khoti Reports. 1873; Mr. Crawford's and the Hon. Mr. Ellis' Memorands, 1873 and 1874, about Khots; Mr. Mandlik's Vatandar Khots, 1874; Mr. Crawford's Report to the Commissioner S. D., November 1878, about Forests; Forest Commission's Report to the Commissioner S. D., February 1879.]

SECTION I.-CHANGES AND STAFF.

1812-1880.

UP to 1812, the British Government had no territory to administer except the fort and factory of Bankot and the nine surrounding vjllages ceded by the Peshwa in 1755 and 1756. The Chiefs or Residents of Bankot, who were also commandants of the garrison, were at first vested with very limited judicial powers. All offenders were sent for examination and trial to Bombay, and the jurisdiction of the Resident in civil matters was limited to deciding suits of not more than 10 (Rs. 100), an appeal lying to the Circuit Judge of Salsette. When, in 1812, it came under British rule, a Resident was appointed to Malvan and the surrounding district. This officer had jurisdiction in civil suits up to 50 (Rs. 500), an appeal lying, as at Bankot, to the Salsette Judge. Owing to its distance from Salsette the Malvan Resident's powers were increased in 1813. This arrangement was continued till 1810, when the Malvan Residency was abolished and the south Konkan formed into a separate collectorate with Bankot as its head-quarters. In 1820 the headquarters were moved to Ratnagiri the most central and convenient place for the chief civil station of the district. The administration of civil justice continued as before subordinate to Thana. In 1830 the three sub-divisions north of the Bankot creek were transferred to the north Konkan, and Ratnagiri reduced to the rank of a sub-collectorate.[See page 856 of MS. Sel. 160 (Northern Konkan. 1818 -1830).] Since 1830 this distribution of sub-divisions has continued, but after two years (31st December 1832) Ratnagiri was again raised to be a collectorate.[ Collector, 22nd March 1880.] For revenue purposes the district included five sub-divisions; Suvarndurg, comprising the present sub-divisions of Dapoli and Khed; Anjanvel, including the present Chiplun and Sangameshvar; Ratnagiri; Vijaydurg, including the present Rajapur and Devgad; and Malvan. Attached to each of these sub-divisions were one or two petty divisions, mahals. In 1868 the district was re-distributed and formed into eight sub divisions and four petty divisions. The sub-divisions were Dapoli, Chiplun, Guhagar, Sangameshvar, Ratnagiri, Rajapur, Devgad, and Malvan; the petty divisions Mandangad, Khed, Lanja, and Vengurla. Subsequently (1st August 1873) the Khed petty division was made a sub-division, and Guhagar made a petty division under Chiplun. From the 1st August 1879 the petty division of Vengurla was made a separate sub-division, and at the same time the petty division of Lanja was abolished and its villages distributed among Rajapur, Sangameshvar, and Ratnagiri.

Staff, 1880.

For fiscal and other administrative purposes the district is formed into nine sub-divisions. Of these the five southern are as a rule entrusted to the first assistant collector, and the four northern to the second assistant collector. The Collector generally keeps one sub-division under his personal control. The supervision of the district treasury is in the hands of an uncovenanted assistant called the head-quarter or huzur deputy collector. These officers are also assistants to the Collector as District Magistrate, and those of them who have revenue charges have, nnder the presidency of the Collector, the chief management of the different administrative bodies, local funds, and municipal committees, within the limits of their charges. Under the supervision of the Collector and his assistants, the revenue management of each fiscal sub-division is placed in the hands of an officer styled mamlatdar. These functionaries, who are also entrusted with magisterial powers, have yearly salaries varying from 120 to 240 (Rs. 1200 - 2400). Two of these fiscal sub-divisions, Dapoli and Chiplun, contain each a petty division, peta or mahal, placed under the charge of an officer styled mahalkari on 72 and 84 (Rs. 720 and Rs. 840) a year respectively. Like mamlatdars these mahalkaris exercise revenue and magisterial powers within their charges.

Village Officers.

The revenue management differs from that of the Deccan, on account of the special revenue system known as the khoti or village renting tenure. Under this system, besides Government, khalsa, and alienated, inam, there are three classes of villages, rented, khoti, peasant-held, dharekari, and mixed, khichadi, that is part rented part peasant-held. In khoti villages, the khot is responsible for the payment of the village assessment, and according to the customary village rates, collects a grain rent from the cultivators realizing as profit all collections in excess of the Government dues. In mixed, khichadi, villages the land revenue is collected by the khot who receives a percentage of the collections from peasant-held, dhara, land. In peasant held, dhara, villages not under the management of khoti, and in Government, khalsa, villages the land revenue is collected by paid officials styled accountants, talatis, whose charges include one to five villages, and whose yearly salaries vary from 8 8s. to 14 8s. (Rs. 84 - 144).

Khots or talatis as such exercise no police functions. Each village has a separate police patil, nominated from among the more influential villagers, and appointed either for life or for a fixed term. In surveyed villages the yearly pay of police patils varies from 8s. to 4 8s. (Rs. 4 - 44). There are comparatively few hereditary village accountants, kulkarnis, and these are mostly in the southern sub-divisions. The kulkarnis keep the village accounts under the headmen or gaonkars, and are yearly paid from 8s. to 25 (Rs.4 -250). Under the khots and talatis are village servants called mhars, available both for revenue and police duties. In the settled sub-divisions they are paid by yearly allowances, varying according to the size and importance of the village from 4s. to 2 4s. (Rs. 2 -22).

District officers.

There are fifteen district hereditary officers, raj deshmukh, sar desdi, desdi or deshmukh, sar deshpande, deshpande or nadkarni, karnik, nadgauda, sar potdar, potdar, sar mukadam, mukadam, sar mahajan, adhikari, sar naik; and deshkulkarni. The origin and duties of these officers vary little from those of the corresponding officers in other parts of the Maratha country. [For details see Grant Duff's History of the Marathia; Nairne's Revenue Hand Book (1872), 351 - 352; Molesworth's Dictionary; and Wilson's Glosslary of Indian Revenue Terms.]

The first three, the raj deshmukh, sar desai, and desai are indiscriminately termed deshmukhs or head officers of a sub-division, pargana or taraf. Their chief duty is to make and collect the yearly rent settlement. They hold, in relation to their charges, a place corresponding to that which the headman, patil, holds to his village. The sub-divisional headman, nadgauda, [This is Kanarese, nadu a village and gauda a headman.] has similar functions. The next three, the Sar deshpande, deshpande or nadkarni, and karnik are all called sub-divisional accountants, deshpandes. Their duties are those of clerks and accountants, and they bear the same relation to sub-divisional superintendents, deshmukhs, as village accountants do to village headmen. The sar mukadams, mukadams, adhikaris, and sar naiks, ranking below the deshmukhs, perform similar duties. The deshkulkarni has functions corresponding to those of the deshpande. The sar potdars and potdars officiated as assayers of all coin paid into the public treasuries, white the mahajans' business lay in superintending the trade of the principal towns, and collecting taxes levied on particular industries. The total number of such district hereditary offices, vatans, is eighty-two. Their emoluments paid, except in one or two cases, exclusively in cash, are partly fixed and permanent charges, and partly percentages on the revenues of the sub-divisions, parganas or tarafs, to which their offices belong. Their aggregate emoluments, including a sum of 448 18s. (Rs. 4489) attached to the Pant Amatya as sar desai of Bavda, amounted, before any settlements were made, to 2739 4s. (Rs. 27,392), or an average of 33 8s. (Rs. 334) for each office. These offices are so minutely sub-divided that the aggregate emoluments of the actual holders of the eighty-two offices were, in 1864, stated, by the president of the vatan commission; to be less than those of one corresponding office in the Southern Maratha country.[Mr. S. St. J. Gordon to the Chief Secretary to Government, 100, 31st December 1864. The meaning of the original is not quite clear.] The Ratnagiri district officers were at that time (1864) a poor depressed class, men of quite a different stamp from the large, powerful landholders of the Southern Maratha districts. Still, though under the Marathas some of their power was lost by the employment of stipendiary officers, they have always possessed considerable local influence. Under the British the service of hereditary district officers was continued. The average contribution for service was found by the vatan commission (1864) to be about 34.375 per cent (5 annas in the rupee) of emoluments. A non-service settlement, by which, in consideration of release from duty, the holders should give up 34.375 per cent (5 annas in the rupee) of their pay, was subsequently offered. Of the eighty-two officers only thirty-five, with yearly emoluments of 138 6s. (Rs. 1383), have hitherto accepted the non-service settlement. The rest continue, either in person or by deputy, to perform such clerical work as is assigned to them by the stipendiary officers, mamlatdars and mahalkaris, of the sub-divisions and petty divisions to which they are attached.

Village Herediary Officers.

There are no hereditary village headmen, patils, their place being in a great measure supplied by the village renters, khots. In 329 villages out of 1337 there are hereditary village accountants, kulkarnis, whose pay, except in a few isolated instances, consists entirely of cash allowances. Of the 1337 villages, 607 or nearly one-half are rented, khoti [These are also known as purely rented, nival khoti.], 210 are peasant-held, dharekari or kulargi, and 397 are mixed, khichadi, that is part rented part peasant-held. The rest are either granted, inam,[Among the granted, inam, villages many are rented, khoti, the renters holding' the same position to the grantees as their brethren in other villages do to Government. Mr. G. W. Vidal, C. S.] or managed by Government, khalsa.