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a morsel (lit. share) for the dog. It reminds one of olden times, when every Parsee street had a dog, not only for religious purposes as the sag-did but for Police purposes as well, Even now in a Parsees town like Naosari, some people feed, on some occasions, the dogs of the street. Up to a few years ago, it was a practice, even in Bombay, to send a bread or breads to the Towers when a corpse was carried there, to feed the dogs kept there for the sag-dîd. After the recital of the Satûm, this plate of meals is given to the dog or dugs of the street for food. When there are no such dogs, it may be given to the poor as charity, or to young children of the family, on the principle, perhaps, that "charity begins at home,"

The occasions of the monthly Bâj, i.e., the monthly Occasions for reday during the first year after death citing the Satûm. on which a person died, and of the anniversaries of death are the principal occasions for the Satum. It is also recited on other religious holidays like the Gâhambârs, the Fravardegân holidays, the Jashans, etc. Its recital is not necessarily connected with the deed. It may be recited even on joyous occasions,



(Read on 27th October 1920 ).

To the student of Indian Political Institutions the Village ard its organization should always be a subject of much interest. It is a commonplace to say that India is primarily an agricultural country. In this Presidency 64 per cent. of the population are

used in Persian, buk' (c) meaning "having little milk” (Steingass). It is a practice with some to give to a dog, on such an occasion, a little milk, and a meal may be a substitute for such milk,

agricultural according to the last census and 84 per cent. live in villages. The number of towns and cities was 338, but of these the large majority partake rather of the village than of the true city type as their occupations are agricultural rather than industrial or commercial; they are in fact rather enlarged villages than small towns.

India is indeed pre-eminently the land of the village. The waves and storms of social, of political or military change have swept over the country, but the villages have remained, the solid features of a changing landscape, the indispensible foundations of every administration that has ever ruled the country.

In these circumstances it might be expected that the history of the Indian village system would have attracted the interest of historians, social and political, and that there would be a considerable volume of literature on the subject. In point of fact, however, this is not the case and it is practically an anworked field. I have in vain searched for any competent authority for this Presidency, but there is none. Mr. Baden Powell's book which purports to deal with the whole of India is that of a lawyer and at the same time of one whose practical knowledge is confined to the North of India. It is no wonder therefore if he comes to grief when he attempts to deal with the South. Beyond this there is nothing in a definite form. It is true that from time to time attempts have been made on the basis mainly of literary sources to frame somewhat idealised pictures of village life in the old days and of the panchayet system as its foundation, through the success of these attempts must be considered doubtful.

Nevertheless, there is this some truth in the idea that the village as an independent organism is not what it was and without going here into the question of whether the results are good or bad the fact in question points to one reason for the lack of interest taken nowadays in the vil age system, The tendency of the system of administration introduced by

the British Government has been to produce uniformity and from the point of view of an agricultural community the most important feature has been the introduction of this uniformity into the land tenures; for to the student of village organisation in agricultural communities of the Indian type it is the tenures which throw the chief light on that organisation and in which the history of the village is reflected. Over this field, however, the steam roller of British Administration has passed, in most cases, from the picturesque point of view, with fatal effect. The tenure of Government lands is of one type nowadays; the inam tenures have been finally settled. It is true that there are one or two cases which are yet in dispute but practically all the tenures are fixed, determined and stereotyped once and for all. Therefore they cease to interest.

It was quite otherwise however when the British first took over the administration of the country. At that time tenure was one of the main interests of Government and the early reports are full of the subject. Nor could this be otherwise when the revenue was derived almost entirely from the land and the amount of land revenue depended on the tenure. He therefore who would trace the history of the village organization must go back to the old reports and labouriously dig out from thence the old records, like the Geologist digging out fossils from the rocks, and trace therefrom the history of the past.

The first thing he would find is that it is impossible to lay down any one simple kind of structure to which all classes of tenure will conform, for tenure, like every other human institution, is subject to many moulding forces, geographical, social and political, which by their own diversity make for diversity in their results; and what I propose to do here is to describe a few specimens of the tenures with which I am acquainted in order to illustrate what I have said.

The first class of tenure with which I shall deal is the talukdari system of the Ahmedabad District with which I am well ac

quainted as I had the luck to be Talukdari Settlement Officer in Gujarat for 4 years. I use the word "luck" in this connection because the talukdari tenure, from the point of view of the village system, is one of the few over which the British steam roller has not yet passed. True it is trying to do so and probably will succeed: let us therefore seize the fleeting movement and put on record the present feature of the tenures before they are flattened past recognition. The talukdars, I must premise, are the descendants of the old Rajput and other tribes who, though nominally subject to the Mahamadans and Maratha Kingdoms, were the real rulers of Gujarat previous to the advent of the British rule. They escaped the flattening process because their villages were not 'Sarkari' or Government villages and because Government has not interfered with their internal administration, being content to leave that to the talukdars themselves. The history of this class of the King's subjects is very interesting but I have no time to go into it here, so will turn at once to the description of the tenures. I may divide them into three classes which, for want of better terms, I will call the Communal", "Coparcenary" and "Clan types." The "Communal" type is that found among the Mehvasis of the Prantij Taluka and the Modasa Mahal. These Mehvasis are the most aboriginal and primitive of all the talukdars and are found in the most distant and jungli parts of Ahmedabad-as also in the Panch Mahalswhere it may be presumed they have been driven by the pressure of their more civilised competitors. Though they give themselves Rajput names and call themselves "Thakors" they really belong to the Koli class. The Communal' system of tenure, which still exists in the least developed of their village is organized as follows. The village as a whole belongs to a brotherhood who are called the 'Bhayat'. At the head of the Bhayat' is a Mukhi' or headman who is always the eldest son of the leading family in the village. The post is hereditary and occasionally a strong man has obtained a position which leads him to claim the ownership of the whole village and to reduce his brethren to subjection. The heads of the other leading families

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are called Matadars' and are associated with the "Mukhi' in the organization of the village. The village lands are owned by the community as a whole and no individual has a right or claim to any piece of land as his own. It is true in point of fact that individuals do cultivate continuously certain lands assigned to them, but I have been repeatedly assured that they are not the owners of these lands which still belong to the community as a whole. Even though, as often happens, they mortgage these lands, yet the right of ownership is still with the community, The contributions towards the Jama of the village payable to Government is collected in the form of a rough plough-tax assessed on the number of ploughs held by each. If the 'Bhayat' cannot cultivate the whole area themselves they lease it out to cultivators who pay a share of the crop in addition to a ploughtax. That this system has broken down in some villages and the system of individual holdings introduced in its place may be admitted. There is small doubt however that the primitive form is that described.

The next form of tenure is that which I have called the 'Coparcenary' and which exists among the so called Thakardas of the Viramgam Taluka. The Thakardas are a mixed people being half Koli, half Rajput and derive their origin from mixed marriages of these two classes. As such they are a cut above the Mehvasis and their organization is proportionately more elaborate. What I may call the 'type' form of organization is as follows:-The village or villages if they possess more than one-belongs also to a brotherhood who however call themselves 'bhagdars' or 'sharers', not 'bhayat'. What may be called the interest' in the village-but not, be it noted, the village lands themselves-is divided into 100 fractional parts called 'dokdas'—what we should call percentages'. These fractional parts are then distributed among the bhagdars' as follows;First come what are called the 'mota bhags' or main shares, which represent the original division among the heirs of the founder of the village. Thus, if the founder had 4 sons they

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