Social Scientist. v 12, no. 133 (June 1984) p. 52.


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The Magnitude of Land Revenue Demand in Kashmir-1846 to 1900 AD.

EVEN as the agrarian history of different regions of Inxiia in the remote as well as recent periods has been explored in varying degrees, little attention has been paid to the economic questions in Kashmir's history. C6qwtiy? the history --of Karfmrir stifr comprises eloquent obiter dim about the region^ political and social elite. An attempt will therefore be made in this paper to assess the magnitude of land revenue demand in the l^ion VQ, ih^ s^co^ ii^f of the nineteenth century. The choice of the period has been dictated largely by the availability of the data. Very little in the form of concrete evidence in this regard is unfortunately known prior to the establishment of the Dogra rule in Jammu and Kashmir in 1846.1

In 1586 when the valley was included in the Mughal empire, the land revenue was theoretically demanded at one third of the produce but in practice it amounted to two thirds. Emperor Akbar fixed the land revenue demand at one half.2 Under the Afghans (1553-1819) the state demand worked out to 60 to 65 percent of the produce.3 The Sikh rulers <1819-1846) fixed the state's share of produce generally at one half but over and above this share the state levied a number of cesses 4

The state under Maharaja Gulab Singh (1846-1857) realised the land revenue in kind, theoretically at the rate of one half of the produce.5 But the taxes and cesses actually realised were far in excess of those that finally went into the treasury. In addition to a half of the produce as land revenue the peasant had to pay 16 per cent of the produce as trakee and abwabs9 The total demand amounted to two-thirds of the produce and one-third was left with the peasant.7 But then this one-third was further subjected to a whole variety of exactions.

Maharaja Gulab Singh reduced the rate of trakee on both Sarkasht and Paikasht lands During the Sikh period four traks per kharwar of paddy were charged as trakee from the peasants.8 To quote Ramju Dhar, ^Maharnja Saheb Ba^adur (i.e. Gulab Singh) reduce4 th^ rate of trokee



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