Land Revenue System of Sher Shah Suri

Shershah Suri had laid the foundation of administration on which Akbar raised the superstructure. Todarmal, who later carried out most reforms under Akbar had gained considerable experience under former master Shershah Suri.

Shershah is known to have made a systematic survey and measurement of the entire cultivable land of his empire using a unit called Sikandari Gaj. {Sikandari Gaj was introduced by Sikandar Lodi and it was equivalent to 39 inches). He introduced the so called Patta and Kabuliyat (or Qabuliyat) system of land deeds.

Under Patta system, the area sown, types of crops cultivated and revenue share was duly written on paper. The Qabuliyat system involved a deed agreement between the peasant and the government. Qabuliyat system aimed at discouraging the Jagir system.

Shershah had also established the per Bigha land (Rai) for the lands under continuous cultivation (Polaj) and the lands which kept out of cultivation temporarily (Parauti). Rai was average of three rates representing good, middle and low yields. This rai system was later adopted by Akbar.

Shershah also introduced direct remittances of the taxes to the government so that the taxpayers are saved from any exploitation by the middle officers. He also placed a survey charge of 2.5% called Jaribana and collection charge of 5% called Muhasilans.

But Shershah died soon and much of his work was destroyed by the anarchy that followed his death.


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