DMPQ: Throw light on the contribution of Raja Todarmal in the development of Dahsala Settlement

In 1580, Akbar instituted a new system called the dahsala developed by Raja Todarmal; under this system, the average produce of different crops along with the average prices prevailing over the last ten (dah) years were calculated. However, the state demand was stated in cash. This was done by converting the state share into money on the basis of a schedule of average prices over the past ten years.

Raja Todarmal took a careful survey of crop yields and prices cultivated for a 10-year period (1570-1580). On this basis, tax was fixed on each crop in cash. Each province was divided into revenue circles with their own rates of revenue and a schedule of individual crops. This system was prevalent where the Mughal administration could survey the land and keep careful accounts.

For the revenue system, Akbar’s territory was divided into 15 Subahs, which were further subdivided into a total of 187 Sarkars across 15 subahs, and those 197 sarkars (sirkar) were further subdivided into a total of 3367 Mahals or Pargana. Several Mahals were grouped into Dasturs, a unit between Mahal and Sirkar. Portion of larger Mahal or Pargana was called taraf. Mahals was subdivided into standardised Bighas. A Bigha was made of 3600 Ilahi Gaj, which is roughly half of modern acre. Unit of measurement was standardised to Ilahi Gaj, which was equivalent to 41 fingers (29-32 inches). Lead measuring rope, called Tenab, was also standardised by joining pieces of Bamboo with iron rings so that the length of Tenab did not vary with seasonal changes.

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