September 25, 1885
Legal Document No
(1) The custom of "khodkasht'`. This is a system by which the State
farms a part of the village lands itself. Advances are annually made to
the persons employed for the purpose, but it is notorious that they embezzle
the money, and cultivate the land with forced labour, and seed extorted
from the villagers.
(2) The custom of "leri". This is a system of paying sepoys and others
by remission of rent, instead of in coin and, for some reason not easily
explained, is much disliked.
(3) Each group of ten houses in Jammu territory will no longer as before,
be obliged to supply one Sepoy or other Government servant; forcible enlistment
generally is abolished; and the role of obliging families to provide substitutes
for deserters in done away with.
(4) The customs duty on rice and other provisions brought into Srinagar
for sale is reduced from two annas in the rupee to half an anna, in other
words from 12 1/2 to 3 l/8 per cent.
To understand the severity of this tax it must be explained that Government
itself is the principal grain dealer, and fixes a permanent rate at whicl1
grain is sold. Thus the rate for unhusked rice in Re. 1-4 (English) per
kharwar, equivalent to about 10 annas a man. If a Zemindar sends rice to
market, he can ask no more for it than 10 annas a man, and has in addition
to pay the customs contractor l l/4 Anna before he can offer it for sale.
Under these conditions it is clear that the remission of three-fourths
of this tax will benefit the producer, and not the ccr.sun or, who will
pay the some price for his rice as before.
(5) The next impost remitted is also in favour of Zeminder. Every large
village community in Kashmir comprises a "Zillahdar," or "Harkara," whose
business it is to report the misdeeds of his fellows. The Durbar affect
to look on these officials as rural police; but as they are occasionally
women, and have no
powers beyond reporting, spies would be a better name for them. They
are paid by a cess of I 1/2 per cent on the gross produce of the land.
Some years ago it occurred to Wazir Punna that the Zillahdars were making
too much money, and he therefore made their chief, the Harkara-Bashi (head-bringer
of news) pay an annual sum to the treasury. This has been raised till it
now amounts to 60,000 Chilki rupees (37,500 English) a great deal more
than the estimated total value of the cess from which it is supposed to
be paid. This most obnoxious impost is now abolished, but the Zillahdars
are warned that they must continue to send in reports, and that if found
extorting any thing beyond the legitimate 1 112 per cent they will be punished.
(6) The tax on the sale of horses in Kashmir, called "Zari-nakas", which
at one time amounted to 50 per cent of the purchase money, is abolished.
(7) The tax on "Ekhas" playing for hire to Sailkot, which amounted to
Re. 1-11 on a total of Rs. 2-10 annas is abolished, and some other minor
dues are remitted.