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plied with five or six Deputy Collectors, whose duties in the Revenue Department mainly depended on the Collector : one or two generally remained at Head Quarters, and the remainder were sent into the district. Each Deputy superintended a district, containing from 300 to 400 villages, and yielding a revenue of about two lacs, or two and a half. The whole Province was not much more than a Commissionership in India-the Collectors having charges of perhaps equal extent with those in the N. W. Provinces; whilst the charges of Deputy Collectors were about equal to Tahsildarís. In each Deputy Collectorate were from 10 to 15 Kardars with their establishments, having from 50 to 80 villages in their Tuppahs. Further reductions took place annually ; and the Collectors seemed to consider it necessary to shew reductions in each succeeding annual report, though no reason was ever assigned for this repeated crippling of establishments: but it looked well on paper.
The Scinde establishments have frequently been considered by those, who have seen only partial statements, to have been at all events cheap. But, on the contrary, they were not only inefficient, but exorbitantly expensive. A number of ill-paid, and consequently untrust-worthy, men were located all over the country, for the performance of duties, which a few well paid men of respectability could have done far better. European officers were placed in great numbers—six being appointed, where two would have sufficed. It is true that the pay of these permanent establishments did not appear large in the aggregate ; and the pay of these only has been hitherto taken into account. The enormous multitudes of land measurers, Buttaí-dars, and their múnshís, with the field and grain watchmen, and the expenses of stowing and weighing grain, have never been brought into the calculation, and were charged in contingent bills. These officers and watchmen, who were nothing less than a permanent gang of thieves fixed on the country, amounted on the lowest scale to 40,000 men. After all the reductions made, the expenses of collection in Scinde amounted to not much less than fifteen per cent. on the gross revenue. It has been estimated that the whole civil expenditure of the Punjab (a newly acquired country) will not exceed that per centage.
With regard to the native officers, their low pay and want of respectability were not the only objections to them. They were mostly paid in grain. Now this gave them vast opportunities of extortion. The receipt of money from the farmers could never be criminally brought against them; for it might appear readily às payment for grain, and a fair transaction between man and man; at the same time that it obliged them to speculate more
or less--a custom most objectionable. But the system was injurious to the country. As much coin, as could be gathered, was thrown into the Treasury: but not a pice ever left in it, for which a grain equivalent could be given. The management of the grain sales was left entirely in the hands of the Collectors, and possessed too much of a mercantile character. In some parts, the grain was sold peremptorily without reference to the state of the market : and this was the best and only legitimate method of procedure. In other parts again, it was kept in store till prices rose : and it is quite certain that the eventual loss to Government by this practice was more than could be compensated by occasional profits, at the same time that it gave an improper influence to Government in the market. The injurious plan was afterwards contemplated of leaving the grain in the hands of the Kardars, who were to receive a percentage on the sale.
Another point connected with the Revenue Department remains to be observed, viz. the system of accounts; and here, as might be expected, was much confusion. The complicity of the collections at every stage, of itself, rendered a clear account impossible ; nor was it known in the offices what statements and re. turns were necessary as checks. The only accurate document therefore was the monthly Treasury account; that is to say, the Collectors accounted only for sums absolutely received: but from that it was in no way evident, that the said sums were what ought to have been received. Every thing from first to last was speculative. The Collectors might indeed, at the commencement of the harvest, frame an estimate of their probable receipts from the average of former years, and the general prospects of the season; but such documents were not to be depended on; and no correct account could be given of each season's receipts, till the whole had been collected, and the grain sold, which was frequently not till several seasons had passed by. No periodical returns were furnished, except of actual monthly, quarterly, half yearly, or annual receipts and disbursements—those of the different seasons running into each other.
It is true the accounts of each season were drawn up in Persian, and lodged in the Collectors' offices. But it must be remembered that few of the Collectors and Deputy Collectors could read, write, or understand Persian. Even those, who could, had not the leisure to go over the voluminous records contained in each season's accounts ; so that all were more or less in the hands of an ill-paid office múnshí. As for audit, it was a farce ; there was no real auditor, but the Collector himself. The Bombay auditor certainly might check errors in the abstracts of permanent establishments, or errors in calculation; but that might have been done equally well by a good head clerk. But with regard to the items in the Contingent Bill, which contained all the large and important sums of expenditure, the payment of the real ministers of collection, &c. &c., the auditor-general could merely gaze at them, wonder, and suppose it was all right. What did he know of fieldwatchmen, storekeepers, buttai-dars, zabits, &c. &c. ? How could he assert, that five field watchmen were entertained, at village A or B, in excess of what was required ? And when they came to be paid in grain, by certain portions of the fees levied, it became a case of confusion worse confounded.'
During this time, the Collectors, as they gained experience, detected the more glaring evils, which appeared in the mode of collection, and applied remedies of greater or less efficiency. Thus the facility for fraud, by the use of the heaped measure, early met discovery; and a strike measure was substituted with great advantage. The original measure had been, as observed in a former note, the toyah. It was a conical wooden measure with an iron rim; and it is evident that, by the mode of heaping it up, a vast difference might be caused, which, in large measurements, would amount to an immense sum.* An iron measuring rod (symbolical, to some fertile imaginations, of the Napierian rule) was substituted for the old wooden one; and both these strike measures and measuring rods were obtainable from the Collector by private individuals. These improvements were all mechanical. The universal frauds, committed by the Kardars, and every man subordinate to them, in the collection of the revenue, early attracted notice ; and measures were adopted with a view to check them: but all was patchwork, and none struck at the root of the evil. The most common was the use of that degenerate class of men-informers. Low-born rascals, of infamous character, with cringing, buttered manner, spread their influence, like a foul and noxious vapour, over the length
It must be remembered that all grain transactions in Scinde were regulated by measurement. The average weight of the undermenticned grains per karwar of 240 Toyahs, was: Jowain and Barley.......
18 mds. Bajhue and Gram
20 Rice and Arjun.....
14 Wheat, Pease, Múng
21 Mustard and Kunjud
16 Now if we consider that 1 toyah was thus equal to only about 3 seers, we may imagine the difference that could be made by fraudulent variations,
and breadth of the land; their very touch, pollution; their haunts, a sink of iniquity. The alliance of Government with such a class of men could not be otherwise than defamatory. Nor did it answer the end in view. Without checking fraud, it only tended to a wider perpetration of it, and the entire withdrawal of good men. A few karwars of grain propitiated the informer; whilst the Kardar, unable or unwilling to pay the required douceur, was seen on the roads of the principal station, adorned with the felon's distinguishing mark. But we were still as far as ever from the radical evil. In all these attempts at improvement, the Collectors were left to their own resources, and each adopted his own views of the case ; so much so, that from the system in force in each district we might without difficulty or previous acquaintance describe the characters of the several Collectors.
“ All philosophers, who find
Some favourite system to their mind,
Will force all nature to submit," Another crying evil, attended at times with equal injustice, was the trial of revenue officers by military commissions ; but we shall speak more at large upon this point presently, when we examine the nature of those Courts. We now turn for a while to the mode of administering criminal and civil justice in Scinde.
The bona fide Magistrates were the Collectors and Deputy Collectors. But the Captains and Lieutenants of Police had also magisterial powers, and at first exercised them as frequently as the regular Magistrates. The officers, commanding the Scinde Horse, and the Camel Corps, were likewise magistrates, as well as the Officers of the Camel department, and of the Indus Flotilla. These department-magistrates were intended to act only in cases connected with men serving under their immediate command; but this was not specially stated; and the rule was often transgressed, even when a regular magistrate was on the spot. The plan was good; for when a corps, as the Seinde Horse, was at a distance from any Magistrate's station, with a large bazar, and a number of camp-followers, it was very expedient that the Commanding Officer should be vested with magisterial power : it saved much time and expense. We cannot see the advantage however arising from the extension of the system to officers of corps at the station of a magistrate, or to officers of the Navy, who were similarly located. These departmental magistrates furnished no periodical returns, and were subordi
nate to no superior. Collectors, Deputy Collectors, Captains and Lieutenants of Police, were all vested with equal powers. They were empowered to punish summarily by imprisonment, with or without labour, for three months ; by corporal punishment of fifty lashes; or by fine of 100 rupees. In all such cases, the entry of the case, in a book kept for that purpose, was deemed sufficient. They might punish by imprisonment, with or without labour, for six months, on taking down the proceedings in Persian. But this was a mere farce, and served as no check, because there was no system of appeal in such cases; the proceedings were briefly, carelessly, and unmethodically recorded ; and remained in the office to rot. Of both these kinds of cases, a monthly return was forwarded, through the Collector (who had no superior powers to the Deputy Collector), to the Judge Advocate General at Kurrachí. In cases requiring a higher punishment (except fraud on the revenue by Kardars, highway robbery, wounding, or murder), the proceedings were taken down in English as in a Court Martial.
The following is the form of record employed :-
, upon the trial of who appears a prisoner before the Court, and the following charge is read to him :
? are you guilty or not guilty ? A.
The witnesses for the prosecution are then called in, and examined—the questions and answers being all recorded verbatim, and so those for the defence. The finding and sentence follow in due form. The latter was at first unlimited : but afterwards a scale of punishments was drawn up, giving the minimum and maximum in each case ; and Magistrates were advised to adopt a middle course, where no circumstances appeared of an extenuating or aggravating nature. These proceedings were forwarded to the Collector by his Deputies, and to the Captain of Police by his Lieutenants. These officials expressed their approval or disapproval of the finding, or sentence, by remarks at the foot, and transmitted them to the Judge Advocate General at Kurrachí, who made his remarks upon them; and they were finally submitted to the Governor, who perused them, and made his remarks either confirming, commuting, remitting, or increasing the punishment. This was final. An extract of the charge, finding, sentence, and the remarks of all the intermediate authorities, was made in the Judge Advocate General's office, and returned through the regular channel to the Magistrate, when the sen