In 1871, Mr. Oliphant,then Deputy Commissioner of what is now known as Ranchi, recommended that a simple demarcation with registration should be made in all such khuntkatti villages, in order to make the holders secure in the possession of their holdings.
But Colonel Dalton, the then Commissioner, thought this would be exceedingly difficult, except aspart of a regular revenue survey of the district. Accordingly the proposal was rejected by Government on the ground that nothing had occurred to bring the khuntkattidars to the special notice. It is much to be regretted that no such survey and registration was then made effective. For since 1871 many villages, then wholly khuntkatti, have ceased to be such.
The work of the destruction has chiefly effected through the agency of the Courts assisted by apolitical agitation in such shape of a refusal to pay rent and by the greed of the Mundas. Such villagers become what, for want of a better term, I can only call mutilated khuntkatti villages.They are to be found in all stages of decay, but in each are lands held by descendants of the founder and claimed as khuntkatti. I have refrained from using the term bhuinhari to describe such lands because since the passing ofthe Act of 1869 a certain legal significance has become attached to that term, which it is not desirable to adopt here. Apart from this, however, the terms are really synonymous. They were so employed by Dr. Davidson in 1839, and are still so used by the people in the south-east of Ranchi.
“The sections in the revised Bill with regard to Mundari-khuntkattidari tenancies embody what the Select Committee, after hearing and examining Mr. Lister, consider to be essential in order to allay, as far as possible, the agitation which has been going on for so long a time among the Mundaris. Their acceptance will greatly weaken the agitation, but will not satisfy the extreme party of the Mundaris, whose wishes are impossible of attainment, as they want the Government to go back to what, in their opinion, was the state of the country before the Hindus entered it.”
The objects it is desired to secure are:
(1) to prohibit sale;
(2) to stop all forms of mortgage save that known as Bhugut-bundha, and thereby prevent these savages becoming the serfs of money-lenders;
(3) to follow recognized custom and allow certain forms of transfer to other Mundaris;
(4) to invest the Deputy Commissioner with power to give effect to this prohibition of sale and certain restrictions on transfer;
(5) to provide for the realization of arrears of the rent;
(6) to secure the finality of the record-of-rights.
The joint and individual responsibility of the members of the brotherhood of a Mundari khuntkattidari tenancy with regard to the rent will benoted in the record-of-rights as well as the nature of the right, whatever it may be, of the landlord to resume. As to prohibition of sale, I would point out that the idea of the sale is repugnant to the Mundaris, wherever they have no come under the influence of alien theories.