Chapter XIII. Praedial Conditions and the Commutation and Record thereof (CNT Act 1908) Excerpts (B)

Chapter XIII. Praedial Conditions and the Commutation and Record thereof

In Singhbhum District, the Rakumats leviable by custom are very few and were found to average in value not more than 2 or 3 Annas per Raiyati tenancy.
The most common items are Sunia Salami, Boda or Bhera, Shamabhati Chaul, Nagad Siki, and Ghee.
Sunia Salami: Is a Salami of 1 rupee paid by the tenure holder of the village on the Indra puja day, from which the local agricultural year begins. The amount is generally collected from the Raiyats.
Boda or Bhera: Is the goat or sheep delivered to the Zamindar by the general body of Raiyats for sacrifice at various festivals and at the pujas of the deities, Rankini, Durga and Kali.
Shamabhati Chaul: Is a contribution of rice for the Puja of the goddess Shama.
Legality of Rukumats:
The legislature has from very early times attempted to abolish existing Abwabs and to prevent the imposition of any new dues. The attempts have hitherto met with failures. The Zamindars were required to consolidate all existing Abwabs, and were prohibited from imposing any new Abwabs or Mahtut upon the Raiyats, under severe penalties.
Praedial conditions were defined to “include Rakumats and Abwabs, which by custom are payable by Raiyats to their landlords.” Praedial conditions are defined in the present Act to include “every Mahtut, Mangan, Madad, and every other similar demand however denominated and whether, and whether regularly recurrent or intermittent.
Begari: The incidence of Begari was found to vary in the same way a Rakumats. There is no doubt that at one time the Raiyats of the Ranchi District were accustomed to render a considerable amount of service for their Chattisa holdings. The tendency for many years has been to increase or enhance the cash rent, and reduce the number of days of compulsory labour. In some villages, it was found that the Raiyats had ceased to render Begari for long periods. In some only 2 or 3 days service are rendered in the year; but in large numbers of villages, it was found that the Raiyats still render from 10 to 15 days service. The services are utilized for the cultivation of the landlord’s Khas lands, and the harvesting of the crops. In addition the Raiyats assist him by carrying loads (Bhars) for him on his journeys. The incidence is per tenancy and not per unit of land.
Certain privileged castes are ordinarily exempted from Begari; and the Hindu Raiyats generally render a smaller number of days’ service than the Aboriginal Raiyats. The landlord supplies food or drink to the Raiyats, whenever they work for him or attend him on his journeys and the period of labour is generally limited to ½ a day, so that the cash value of a day’s service rarely exceeds 1 Anna.
The Begari renderable in a typical village in Ranchi district is as follows:
·         3 days’ ploughing (Har)
·         3 days’ digging (Kuri)
·         3 days’ planting or sowing (Ropni)
·         3 days’ cutting (Katni)
·         1 day’s thrashing (Misni)
·         1 day’s storing the grain (Morabandhi)
·         1 or 2 days’ carrying the landlords’ burdens on his journeys (Des Bides)
In Singhbhum district, Begari charges were found to be much lighter than in Ranchi. They rarely exceed 2 or 3 days’ service in a year per household.
It was found in pargana Dhalbhum that Begari charges were restricted to what is locally known as Gharbeth, i.e., labour for the construction and repairs of the landlords’ houses, kacharis, etc. The materials are obtained from the landlords’ jungles free of cost.
It should be noted that the Rent as defined in the Act does not include the value of personal services for the use or occupation of land. a landlord cannot, therefore, now recover the value of Begari in a suit for arrears of rent, he must apply for commutation.
The maxima rates usually allowed in commutation proceedings in the Ranchi Settlement were Rs. 5-0-0 per acre first class Don, Rs. 3-0-0 per acre second and third class Don, and 6 Annas per acre for all Tanr lands. Rates in excess of these were found to be abnormal; but, in a few cases where the lands were specially valuable, higher rates were allowed.

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