Madras Regulation XXV of 1802 insisted the landholder to grant each
tenant a Patta which mentioned the amount to be paid by him and which explained
every condition of the contract. When a Zamindar refused to comply with the
demands of his tenants they had the right to sue him in the Adalat of the Zillah.
After the expiry of a reasonable period of time from the execution of Kabuliyat, it
was the duty of the Zamindar to renew it. If not he should be liable to be sued in
the Adalat of the Zillah and the Zamindar should also be liable to such damages as
might be decreed by the Adalat to the complainant.’
Young Uttumalai zamindar with Anglo-officer
In 1803, 25 erstwhile
Palayakkarars received the Sanad-i-Milkiat Istimirar or deed of permanent
settlement and become Zamindars. They were:
- Kadambur (Maravar Zamin)
- Maniyachi (Maravar Zamin)
- Shivagiri (Maravar Zamin)
- Talaivankottai (Maravar Zamin)
- Avudaiyapuram (Nerkattumseval) (Maravar Zamin)
- Naduvakuruchi (Maravar Zamin)
- Alagapuri (Maravar Zamin)
- Uttumalai (Maravar Zamin)
- Surandai (Maravar Zamin)
- Chokkampatti (Maravar Zamin)
- Urkadu (Maravar Zamin)
Selection from Old Records, Letter No: 124, Madras, 1934, p. 147.
- Singampatti (Maravar Zamin)
- Seittur (Maravar Zamin)
- Kollamkondan (Maravar Zamin)
Palayakkarars lost their military power and became the subject of the
Company. The military establishments of all the Palayakkarars were disbanded as
a part of the permanent settlement scheme.
According to the terms of Sanad, the Zamindar was given the right to
collect land revenue and other items and enjoy the benefits and pre-requisites
thereof only as long as he was loyal to the Government.
^ H. R. Pate, Tinnevelly District Gazetteer, Madras, 1916, p. 273.
^Appendices to the Report of the Madras Estate Land Act Committee, Madras, 1938, p. 35.
“* The Zamindari System in Madras: Government’s Proposals for Abolition. P. 7.
The Terms of the Sanad-i-Milkiat Istimirar
The Zamindar should regularly pay in all seasons the amount of the
permanent assessment. The remissions which had been granted, according to the
custom of the country, on account of drought, flood or other natural calamity of
the season were stopped. If the Zamindar failed to discharge his responsibility his
Zamindari and his personal property were liable to attachment in the first instance.
If there was recurrence of such failure the lands would be ultimately confiscated
and sold. The Zamindar will forever lose the land for non-payment of the public
revenue. Since the terms of assessment on the Zamindari was moderate this event
happened only in consequence of Zamindar’s own default.^
The Zamindar was at liberty to transfer, without the previous consent of
Government, or of any other authority, the Zamindar’s proprietory right in the
whole or in any part of the Zamindari. Such transfer of land was valid and
recognized by the courts and officers of Government provided they were not
violative of the Muhammadan or Hindu laws or the regulations of the British
Government. The sale, gift or transfer must have been regularly registered at the
office of the Collector. Otherwise such sale, gift or transfer was of no legal force.
In the event of sale, gift or transfer, the Zamindar was to furnish the Collector with
true account of entire Zamindari. Although the Zamindar was entitled to transfer.
^ Selection from Old Records, Enclosure of Sanad-i-Milkiat Istimirar with Letter No: 124,
Madras, 1934, p. 46.
the Zamindars were forbidden to make any part of their lands into a separate
estate, paying its jumma directly to Government, unless the public assessment on
such separate estate shall amount to the annual value of 500 star pagodas.^
In the event of the sale of any part of his Zamindari for the settlement of
arrears of assessment, he shall identify the part of his Zamindari to be so
separated. The assessment to be settled on the separated parts of the Zamindari
lands should be proportionate to the actual produce of the separated portion.
The Karnam was appointed from time to time by the Zamindar. The
Government discharged the police duty and defrayed the entire expense of that
establishment. The Zamindar enquired and sent the list of all robbers or disturbers
of the public peace to the Magistrate.^
Kabuliyat of Shivagiri Zamin
A Zamindar by an agreement had to accept the terms of the Sanad
through a Kabuliyat. The Zamindar of Shivagiri by that Kabuliyat agreed to
continue to pay the assessment of his Zamindari fixed at the assessment made in
the year 1803 (fasli 1212). Accordingly the annual sum of star pagodas sixteen
thousand was fixed which was acknowledged later by the Zamindar to be the
‘Ibid. ^Ibid. ^ Ibid., p. 47. 93
permanent annual Peshkush of his Zamindari payable in the then prevailing coin
of the province in fixed monthly installment.^
The Zamindar was committed to pay regularly in all seasons the amount
permanently assessed and to fulfil this commitment at all costs. He accepted the
condition that no remission would be given on account of drought, flood or any
other natural calamity. Even in extreme famine conditions only postponement of
collection of Kist was ordered. The district Collector in the context of famine
proposed and Board of Revenue sanctioned the collection of tax in the Zamindari
estates of Tirunelveli district. He recommended the postponement of Peshkush for
the estates in Tenkasi, Sankarankoil and Srivilliputhur Taluks till Kists were due
next year. He instructed that similar gesture must be shown to tenants by
The Zamindar accepted to aid and assist the police officers in
apprehending and securing offenders of all description. He agreed to enquire and
give notice to the magistrate of all robbers or disturbers of the public peace who
might be found or who might seek refuge in his Zamindari.
‘ Selection from Old Records, Enclosvire of the Kabuliyat with Letter No: 76, p. 50.
” Proceedings of the Board of Revenue for the year 1891, p. 348.
‘^ Selection from Old Records, Enclosure of the Kabuliyat with Letter No: 76, p. 5 L
The land revenue demand on all Zamindaris, Mittahs and other
proprietory estates were fixed once for all. Water rates were charged on Zamindari
lands when water was used from source of irrigation newly created by the
Government. The charge was made only on lands actually irrigated. ^ ^ The
Peshkush of large Zamindaris was generally paid into the collector’s treasury and
that of small Zamindaris into Taluk treasury. ^” ^
Peshkush Amount for Shivagiri
Shivagiri was a Zamindari situated mainly in the north west of the
Sankarankoil Taluk of Tirunelveli district with an area of nearly 125 square miles,
excluding 30 square miles of forest on the slopes of Western Ghats. The Peshkush
of the Zamindari was originally fixed in 1802^^ (fasli 1211). The Zamin paid a
Peshkush of Rs.55000/- and a land cess amounting to Rs.5000/. The income of the
estate was about Rs. 1,84,000. Even as late as 1879 there was no change in the
Peshkush amount paid (Rs.54580-2-0).^^
‘^ C. Annadurai Aiyer, The revenue code containing all the unrepealed revenue regulations and
Acts applicable to the Madras Presidency (from 1802 – 1894), Madras, 1894, p. 38.
” Ibid., p. 40.
” Petition on behalf of M. R. Ry. Senthatikalai Pandia Chinna Thambiar, Zamindar of Shivagiri
to the Asst. Commissioner of Income Tax, Madurai on 29-01-1931.
‘^ A. J. Stuart, Tinnevelly Manual, p. 99.
The Zamindar paid the Peshkush but the question was whether he paid
land revenue in respect of the forests included in his Zamindari. A Sanad was
issued to him on 24 September 1841, as the original Sanad granted in 1802 had
been lost. The second Sanad mentioned only 102 villages and not the forests. But
it was claimed that the Zamindar’s forests were also included in the assessment of
Peshkush. Income tax officer assessment of the Zamindar’s income from forests
was as follows
Forest revenue proper
Forest miscellaneous revenue
Total Rs. 15681-6-0
Deduct establishment charges etc. Rs. 1513-14-10
Net income Rs.14167-7-2
The Zamindar’s lawyer claimed that the income from fisheries was also
agricultural income. But it had been held in various high court decisions that
income from fisheries could not be treated as agricultural income. The Zamindar’s
accounts showed that his income from fisheries in the year of 1929-30 came to
” I.T. Department, File No: 2146 – 1929-30.
Rs.5469-7-0. He claimed a deduction of Rs.852-11-8 on the ground that he
incurred certain estabUshment charges for deriving the income.’^
Peshkush Amount for Seittur
The Peshkush amount fixed for Seittur Zamin was Rs.12636-13-1.^^
According to the private papers of Seittur Zamin, the Zamin derived a land
revenue of Rs.35,000/- and the forest revenue of Rs. 1000/-. The Zamin’s Peshkush
remained Rs. 12441/- even at the turn of the 20* century.^° The total Peshkush,
according to the Collector’s record, amounted to Rs.12,533-7-9. ^’
Revenue Divisional Officer submitted a statement showing the
reduction of Peshkush to be made for Seittur Zamindari on account of the lands
acquired for a burning ground at north Seittur. The following statement shows the
reduction made in the Peshkush of Seittur Zamindari. But even here there is no
substantial charge in the amount of Peshkush collected.
” A. J. Stuart, Tinnevelly Manual, p. 112.
^° Private Paper – IR 59, File No: 59, True copy of Letter written on 29-11-1905 by V.I.S. Sevuga
Pandia Thevar, the Zamindar of Seittur.
^’ Ramnad District Collectorate Record 72/18, 9-4-1918. Letter from Senneck LC.S, Sub
Collector of Sivakasi to the Collector of Ramnad.
Total revenue of the estate Rs.88385-6-1
Peshkush in the year 1920 Rs. 12536-11 -2
Peshkush for the following year Rs. 12536-8-2
Source: Ramnad District Collectorate Record 83/20, 19-08-1920.
Peshkush Amount for Chockampatti Zamin
In 1802 the Peshkush amount fixed for Chockampatti Zamindari an
ancient Palayam in Tirunelveli district was Rs.25,550-0-0, it assets being valued at
Peshkush Amount for Talaivankottai Zamin
Talaivankottai was the headquarters of this ancient Zamin about 10
square miles in extent which comprised two villages and yielded an annual rental
of about Rs.20,000/. Its population in 1910 was 3085.^^ According to A. J. Stuart,
it was one among the seven minor Zamindaris and the Peshkush amount of the
Zamindari was Rs.2732-9-0.^”^
The Zamindars of the attached estates had no mocasee and
Kattukuthagai villages or Sarvamaniyam lands in their estates with the exception
of the Zamindar of Talaivankottai who had a kattukuthagai village named
^^ Selection from Old Records, Letter No: 54, 21-04-1838, p. 36.
“‘ H. R. Pate, Tinnevelly District Gazetteer, p. 419.
^’^ A. J. Stuart, Tinnevelly Manual, p. 99.
Darukapuram in Sankarankoil Taluk which paid to the government annually
Rs.1272-11-7. This village was not attached because it did not form any part of the
estate and consequently the average income derived therefrom to the holder was
Rule of Succession in Maravar Zamins
Opinions were received from the several ancient Zamindaris and
Palayakkarars in the Timnelveli district on the subject of the rule of succession
among the children of several wives. Zamindars of Shivagiri, Maniyachi,
Naduvakuruchi, Kadambur, Talaivankottai, Melmandi, Surandi, Attangarai etc
gave their opinion that the eldest surviving male issue of the wife earliest in order
should be the heir to his father.’^^ Uttumalai Zamindar expressed the view that if a
Zamindar had married two wives at the same time the first bom son of either of
those should be considered senior for the succession.^^
The Seittur, KoUamkondan, Aavudaiyapuram declared that the
Zamindars had the power to select the heir among all his sons by different wives.
Seittur Zamindar stated that the rule for Zamindars of his Marava caste was that
the son of the first wife if he survived was rightful heir. In the event of absence of
^^ Selection from Old Records, Letter No: 41, 5-03-1836, p. 3.
-^ Selection from Old Records, Letter No: 166, 24-08-1849, pp. 94-95.
27 Ibid. 99
a son by the first wife, the first bom among the sons by all other wives had right to
succeed his father.
The Collector E.B. Thomas argued that the widow’s opinion was
preferable since her claim was supported by many of the Hindu laws. ^^
The Government did not regulate the succession to Zamindaris. They
sometimes interfered to recognize a prima facie claimant in cases of death and
pending decision of the law courts. The ancient Zamindaris like Ramnad,
Sivagangai differed then from those subsequently created under Regulation No.
XXV of 1802 in two respects. In cases of succession by death, the law of
primogeniture facilitated the oldest son succeeding and the remainder of the
family being entitled to no more than maintenance.
Only in ancient Zamindaris the Zamindar was restrained from alienating
his estate beyond his life time. In the case of all other estates, which were not
ancient Zamindaris, the ordinary Hindu rule of inheritance prevailed. They were
sub-divided and alienated freely like any form of real property. The Government
had no concern with regard to the question of succession.’^^
^^ Ibid., p. 95..^’ Letter of E.B. Thomas, 13.09.1845.
30 CD. Maclean, Manual of the Administration of the Madras Presidency, vol. I, p. 120.
100 Travails of the Permanent Settlement
The proprietory rights of the Zamindars were not absolute. It was
dependent on the proper and punctual payment of the Peshkush. Default in
revenue would give the British a free hand to take over the estate. However, that
right was not to curtail the established rights of the tenantry.
Under the permanent settlement the Zamindaris were invested neither
with political nor with legal authority. A special commission on Ramnad,
Sivagangai and Tirunelveli reported in 1803 that the Palayakkarars of
Naduvakuruchi, Maniyachi, Surandai, Melmandai, Attangarai, Singampatti and
Aavudaiyapuram felt that the resources of their Palayams were unequal to the
-J T payment of the increased Peshkush.
^’ Nicholas. B. Dirks, “From Little Kingdoms to Landlord”, Comparative Study in Society and
History, vol. 28, 307.33, New York, 1986, p. 318.
‘- Ibid., p. 323.
” Appendices to the Report of Madras Estate Land Act Committee, 1938, p. 83.