The Sur administrative reforms in Haryana

The Sur administrative reforms


Haryana was the ancestral home of Sher Shah. His grandfather Ibrahim Khan Sur who came from Afghanistan, served under Jamal Khan Sarang Khani of Hisar- Firuzah who bestowed on him ‘several villages in pargana Narnaul for the maintenance of forty horsemen’. His son, Hasan Khan, entered the service of Umar Khan, Khan-i-azam, the counsellor and courtier of Sultan Bahlol. Bahlol gave several villages in the pargana Shahbad as a jagir to Hasan Khan. After Ibrahim’s death Hasan Khan succeeded to his father’s jagir with several additions to it. It was at Narnaul id 1486 that he was blessed with a child named Farid (later famous Sher Shah Sur). Sher Khan, who also served in Haryana under Mathhi Khan and Jamal Khan, later on, built a tomb at Narnaul in the memory of his grandfather Ibrahim Khan. A perfect example of square tomb of the Pathan style it was constructed under the supervision of Shaikh Ahmad Niyazi.


It was but natural for Sher Shah to extend his administrative measures also to Haryana, his home province. As before Haryana remained divided into four sarkars: Delhi, Mewat, Hisar and Sirhind. The important administrative officers were Shiqdar- e-Shiqdaran (Chief military-officer), Mmsif-e-Munshifan (chief judicial-officer), Shiqdar (in-charge of pargana), Munsif (judicial and revenue administrator of pargana) Quanungo (record-officer), Knajanchi (treasurer). Village, the smallest administrative unit, was looked after by the panchayat, mukaddam and patwari. The imperial land revenue system of Sher Shah was similarly introduced in Haryana also.” Sher Shah was careful in making new appointments. Haji Khan was placed in-charge of the region of Mewat, while Khawas Khan was appointed subedar of Sirhind who appointed Malik Bhagawant as his representative there.”


Sher Shah’s public welfare activities especially construction of roads and sarais also benefitted this region. The largest of his roads (about 1580 kms) which ran from Sonargaon to the Indus passed through Haryana. Trees were planted on both sides of the roads and sarais were built at intervals of every two /rrofo providing separate accommodation for Hindus as well as Muslims. For the up-keep of the sarais, villages were granted by the state. Every sarai had a well, a mosque, and a staff consisting of an imam, a muazzim and a number of watermen, all paid out of the income of the lands attached to the sarais. Ruins of Sher Shah’s sarais are still to be seen in the town of Thanesar while towards the north on the Sarasvatl there are remains of an old bridge which is said to have been constructed by that ruler. These sarais, in fact, worked as dak chowkis through which news came to the emperor from the western most parts of his empire. Besides administrative importance, the sarais must have developed into trade centres as well.


The accidential death of Sher Shah at Kalanjar on May 17, 1545 resulted in a war of succession between his sons, Adil Khan and Jalal Khan. The former, who was elder and the heir-apparent, was supported by influential amirs like Khawas Khan and Qutab Khan. The younger, who had already crowned himself with the title of Islam Shah decided to settle the issue in the battlefield, and came out successful ultimately. But he became suspicious of Haibat Khan Niyazi, the Governor of Punjab and the supporter of his rival. Haibat Khan was also joined in by Khawas Khan and other Niyazi nobles. An agreement was reached between them to dethrone Islam Shah. Haibat Khan Niyazi thus raised the standard of revolt and many disgruntled noble of the court also joined him.


The two forces met near Ambala. The cause of the new confederacy was doomed because of sharp differences among the confederates. Haibat Khan himself wanted to become the King while Khawas Khan who pleaded the cause of Adil Khan decided to withdraw from the contest leaving the Niyazis to their fate. The result of the battle was now a foregone conclusion. Although the Niyazis fought bravely, they were ultimately overpowered and defeated and were pursued up to Rohtas.


The disintegration of the Afghan empire soon after the death of Islam Shah offered Humayun a golden opportunity to regain his Indian possessions. Leaving Kabul in November, 1554 and following the route via Peshawar and Kalanur, Humayun occupied Lahore in February, 1555. He had already despatched a strong force under Bairam Khan towards Haryana which was then under Nasib Khan.


Whatever resistance the Afghans offered was put down by the Mughals. The initial success of the Mughals forced Sultan Sikandar (a nephew of Sher Shah who was in possession both of Delhi and Agra at the time of Humayun’s return march) for a decisive action. In the two battles at Bajra and Sirhind the Mughals defeated their rivals, the Afghans. Sultan Sikandar fled towards the Siwaliks and thus Punjab and Haryana up to Delhi came into Humayun’s possession. He ascended the throne of Delhi on July 23, 1555.


Akbar received the news of Humayun’s death at Kalanaur (in Punjab). Immediately after his accession on February 14, 1556, Akbar had to deal with the Afghans, who although subdued, were not completely vanquished. One of their leaders Sikandar Shah along with his men wandered in the hills near Ambala with the hope that fortune might turn in his favour and enable him to regain the throne which his uncle Sher Shah had occupied with so much distinction. The rival claims could be settled only by the sword. After the capture of Delhi, Akbar returned to Sirhind and then pursued Sikandar until May 1557 when the latter finally submitted.


The unstable conditions under Sher Shah’s incompetent successors brought Hemu, a Hindu chief of Rewari (in Mewat) to prominence. Born at Qutbpur in the Dhusar caste of the baniya or mercantile class Hemu’s early life was full of hardships and difficulties. As his father Puran Das had renounced worldly life, Hemu had to earn livelihood by selling salt and acting as weighman. He soon became a government contractor and rose to the position of Shahana-i- Bazar (superintendent of markets) and then later on held the position of Chief of Intelligence and Daroga- Dakhoki. He was appointed prime-minister under Adi! Shah, and was known to have won twenty-two victories for his master. In spite of the disadvantages of his belonging to a merchant community and ‘puny form’, Hemu justified his sovereign’s confidence by proving himself ‘an able general and ruler of men’. At the time of Humayun’s return march to recapture his lost throne, Adil Shah sent Hemu to oppose him, while he himself retired to Chunar. At the time of Humayun’s death Hemu thus remained in the field on behalf of Adil Shah ‘to prevent Akbar from taking effective possession of his father’s kingdom’.


After his accession Akbar promoted Tardi Beg (one of the most influential and experienced officers under Humayun), to the rank of commander of 5,000 and appointed him as Governor of Delhi and also kept under his control the affairs of Mewat and other parganas which had but lately been brought under royal authority. Capturing Gwalior and Agra, Hemu proceeded to Delhi. Tardi Beg, the governor, seized with consternation, sent express messages to all the Mughal chiefs in the neighbourhood to come to his aid. Hemu charged Tardi with such impetuosity that he compelled him to quit the field. The right wing of the Mughals was routed, flight became general, and the city of Delhi surrendered. Tardi Beg fled to Sirhind, leaving the whole country open to the enemy. Hemu captured 160 elephants, 1000 Arab horses and an immense quantity of valuable booty of the Mughals.


The decisive victory over Tardi Beg and the capture of Delhi and Agra considerably enhanced Hemu’s political power and stimulated his imperial ambition. Commenting on this aspect of Hemu’s career V.A. Smith wrote


Hemu …. now began to reflect that his sovereign was a long way off, that he himself was in possession of the army and elephants, and that it might be better to gain a kingdom for his own benefit rather than that of his absent employer. Accordingly, he distributed the spoil, excepting the elephants, among the Afghans who accompanied him and thus won them over to his side. With their concurrence he entered Delhi, raised the imperial canopy over his own head, and exercised the most cherished privilege of sovereignty by staking coin in his name. He assumed the style of Raja Bikramajit or Yikramaditya, which had been borne by several of the must renowned Hindu monarchs in ancient times, and so entered the field as a competitor for the throne of Hindustan against both Akbar and Sikandar Sur. While writing to his nominal sovereign Adil Shah, he concealed his usurption and pretended to be acting in his master’s name.


The Muslim chronicles,’ the basis of Smith’s observation have greatly distorted Hemu’s character, ridiculing his humble origin and uncommon physique and highlighting his selfishness although admitting his courage, dairing and capacity to rule. The chronicles present an unfair portrayal of this remarkable figure of medieval India which rose to prominence by ‘sheer force of genius’. As very aptly remarked by K. Qanungo


No religious animosity marred the project of a common resistance to the Mughals under the leadership of Hemu. Haji Khan Pathan contributed to Hemu’s victory over Tardi Beg in the battle of Tughlaqabad by timely resistance, and Hemu’s defeat in the second battle of Panipat was a mere accident of war, namely, the capture of his artillery a few days before by Ali Quli Khan- Zaman, and the loss of his own eyes in the battle. No Hindu had ever been covered with so many glorious wounds on the field of battle except Maharana Sanga; no Rajput wielded the sword so bravely against foreign invaders as this humble Hemu of Rewari did on the field of Panipat.


Akbar who received the news of the disaster at Tughlaqabad on October 13, 1556 at Jullundhur decided to proceed to Delhi. He already sent a to Tardi Beg and other ofiFicers ‘directing them to keep up their hearts and to stand firm’ and that, as a matter of extreme caution ‘assemble at the town of Thanesarand there await the arrival of the imperial army’. Next day Akbar moved from Jullundhur and encamped at Sirhind where Ali Quli Khan Shaibani and other defeated officers who had not received the imperial order, were dealt with. Tardi Beg, on the charge of abandoning his position without adequate reason and his disgracefully feeble resistance, was executed soon after his arrival at Sirhind. The imperial army next reached Thanesar. The census of the army at Thanesar showed that Mughals had about 26,000 horsemen. Badagh Khan with 4000 horsemen was sent as an advance party and was directed ‘to keep always one march ahead of the emperor’. Akbar halted at Thanesar for a few days. It was at this juncture that he received the blessings of the famous Saint Shaikh Jalal. Ahmad Yadgar in his Tdrikh-i-Saldtin-i-Afghana makes particular mention of the interesting dialogue which tcok place between the saint, Akbar and his regent. He wrote –


T’Bairam Khan took the prince into the presence of Kutbul Aktab Saiyad Jalal Thanesari and procured him the honour of kissing the feet of that most holy individual. When they were about to depart, they begged him to give them the assistance of his prayers. They said. ‘This accused infidel is coming with an army numerous as ants and locusts, it is proper that your holiness should protect the cause of Islam.’ The Saiyad reflected for a short time, and then said to them, ‘Have you net heard what little boys at play say?’ He then dismissed them.


Little different version of the event is given in the Bibliotheca Indica text of the Tarikh-i-Mubdrkshdhi. It states


They entreated His Holiness to recite a Fatiha soliciting divine assistance on their enterprise. Further, the text makes the saying of the saint more explicit by adding ‘ un sun baniydn, km pakad dniydh’ which means ‘they have displayed hundreds of clever tricks, but have at last come back pinching (or gripping) their ears (with their own fingers in token of abasement and discomfiture).


The incident not only shows the extent of Shaikh Jalal’s reputation but also how Akbar and his regent were anxious to seek the blessings of a saint like the Shaikh for victory in the battle against Hemu.


The location of the battle-field where Mughals fought the Afghans for the second time has been a matter of considerable difference of scholarly opinion. On the basis of contemporary and other sources G. Khurana has re-examined the issue recently.’’’ Al-Badaoni mentions a place named Kharmanda which Hemu reached after starting from Panipat (which shows that the battle could not have been fought at Panipat proper). Abul Fazl mentions plain of Sarai Kaharunda/Karunda.’’’ H. Beveridge who sees a close identity in the places mentioned by the above Muslim historians, and further equates it with Kharkhuda (which was then included in the Delhi Sarkar, and is presently in the Rohtak district). But the learned scholar himself had doubts about the validity of his second suggestion on the ground that Akbar marched to Panipat from Jullundhiir following the route via Thanesar and Karnal, the place in Rohtak district seems too far south. Ahmad Yadgar although does not name the place but mentions Hemu’s setting his camp two kos west of Panipat. This has been accepted by V.A. Smith and the Karnal District Gazetteer (1910).


  1. Khurana suggests the identification of Kharamanda with Mehrana (present Madana) mentioned in the revenue records, as situated about five kms southwest of the old town of Panipat. In support of his suggestion the scholar points out the existence of a Khara at that place which was popularly known as Karamadana. Further, it is stated that the famous caravan sarai (popularly known as Sarai Pilkhan) mentioned by Badaoni is situated near this place (about 3 kms south of Panipat on the highway leading to Delhi and about 2| kms east of the then Kharamadana). Thus, the battle-field according to Khurana extended from Sarai Pilkhan to Kharmanda and was spread over an area of about two to five kms southwest of Panipat. To this the scholar tries to find support in the Tdrikh-i-Salcitin-Afghana mentioning the respective positions of the two armies, and concludes that Hemu might have camped his army in the vicinity of the Firozshahi canal (in the west of Panipat) which assured supply of water for his men as well as animals. Kharmanda was situated on the eastern side of the canal and the battle must have fought round it (November 5, 1556).


The suggestion although interesting fails to explain the derivation of the place name Mehrana (Madana) after the original Kahaiunda or Karunda on linguistic grounds. The scholar although takes into consideration Kharmanda mentioned by Badaoni completely ignores the variants Kaharunda or Karunda as metioned by Abul Fazl, or Kharunda of the Khulasat-Tawdnkhf. Is it then identical with Gharaunda where there still exists a sarai of that period?


To boost the morale of his soldiers. Bairam Khan gave them an inspiring address followed by presentation of gifts to the notables and promises of future to others. The soldiers were further encouraged when Ahmad Beg, the madman, also made the prediction ‘the victory is on our side, but one chief of rank will obtain martyrdom during the fight’,


The battle started with the attack of Hemu’s advance guard commanding the artillery and the forces of the Mughal general Ali Quli Khan Shaibani. The Mughals followed all tactics — audacity, deceit and cunning. Consequently, Hemu’s advance party was w’orsted and fled away leaving their guns on the battle-field. Undaunted by this initial reverse, i.e., the Jess of artillery, Hemu again advanced with an army com- prising of 30,000 Rajput and Afghan horsemen, with 5C0 armoured elephants mounted by musketeers and cross bowmen. With a lightening speed Hemu attacked the enemy. This was met with stubborn resistance by Ali Quli Khan and his 10,000 horsemen. Hemu’s elephant made a furious charge on the right, left and centre of the Mughal army. This did not prove effective as Mughal horsemen wheeled along the sides and fell on Hemu’s flanks and rear slashing the elephant’s legs and shooting the mahouts, Abul Fazl in his Akbarndnid mentions a great ravine which ‘even elephants could not cross’. It appears as pointed out by A. L. Srivastava after initial reverses, the Mughals had taken positions across the ravine which not only saved the Mughal centre from the onslaught of Hemu’s elephants but also gave it an opportunity to make an effective use of its arrows and bullets. Dalpat Vilas, a Rajasthani work, also mentions the crossing of a nullah by the Mughal army on the eve of the battle. As the onslaught of the enemy forces slackened, Ali Quli Khan made a determined attack on Hemu’s rear. Hemu, mounted on a lofty elephant, surveyed the situation, and then rushed to the side of his army which was threatened by the enemy and made counter charges with his elephants. In the action, two of his brave generals — Bhagwan Das and Shadi Khan were killed but the struggle continued with unabated fury. The battle as if it were a roaring flood, proceeded when an arrow came whizzing and pierced one of Hemii’s eyes and came out at the back of his head. He pulled out the barb, bandaged his eye with a scarf and gave orders to continue the battle but soon he fainted and fell down in his howdah v^hich further spread panic and confusion in his army. Hemu’s soldiers made no further attempt at resistance and at once scattered in various directions. Hemu’s elephant which fled into the jungle was brought back by Shah Kuli Khan and its unconscious ride was placed before the Protecter and Akbar.^® On the combined testimony of Ahmad Yadgar and the Dutch writer Broecke it appears, as rightly pointed out by Smith, that he was beheaded ‘his head sent to Kabul to be exposed, and his trunk was gibbeted at one of the gates of Delhi’, and that ‘the offleial story of magnanimous sentiment of unwillingness (on Akbar’s part) to strike a helpless prisoner’ seem to be a late invention of court flatterers.


Hemu’s father Purandas and his wife with their properly were under the protection of Haji Khan, a slave of Sher Shah. Haji Khan, who had no courage to face the imperial forces under Pir Muhammvvd, fled before their arrival. Consequently, Alwar along with the entire territory of Mewat passed on to the Mughal rule. The fugitives, hotly pursued by the Mughals, proceeded to Dewati-Majari, Hemu’s ancestral place and a stronghold, and offered final resistance to the invader before submission. Abul Fazl thus narrates the tragic end of Hemu’s father


He was taken alive and brought before Pir Muhammad who tried to convert him to the taith, but the old man said, ‘For eighty years I have worshipped God in the way of my own religion, how can I now forsake my faith’. Shall I, through fear of death embrace your religion without understanding it? MaulanaPir Muhammad treated his question as unheard and gave him an answer with the tongue of the sword.


Hemu’s widow escaped to the jungle of Bejawada. The prisons of Delhi and Agra were filled ap with hundreds of Hemu’s supporters and followers to be released only when Akbar decided to follow a liberal policy in religious matters. Mewat which had been Tardi Beg’s jagir was conferred on Pir Muhammad, a confidential servant of Bairam Khan.


In 1560 Akbar marched from Delhi to put down the rebellion of Bairam Khan and the imperial standard was planted at the town of Jhajjar (April 22, 1560j. Bairam Khan received the news in the Sarkar Mewat and seeing resistance futile sent all insignia of his office (elephants, standard, kettle-drum etc.) with Husain Quii Beg to be presented to the Emperor at Jhajjard In 1567, while on his way from Lahore to Agra, Akbar again passed through Haryana and encamped at Thanesar. It was the occasion of a solar eclipse when a great assemblage of people had gathered there. Keshav Puri who was the head of the sect of Puri monks came to the emperor with the complaint that their usual place of camping at Kurukshetra tank where they used to receive alms from the pilgrims, was taken over by the rival sects of the Kxirs and that a fight between the two was inevitable. Nizamuddin Ahmad and Abul Fazl both have narrated this incident. According to these authorities the quarrel between the rival sects started over the possession of the gold, silver, jewels and valuable stuff, which were thrown into the water by the people or bestowed as gifts upon the Brahmins. Akbar went to the place for investigation. As persuasion failed, he allowed the two sects to fight out the issue. Bows and arrows, swords and stones were fully used in the fight. As the Paris was little in number the fight was unequal. Akbar thereupon lent some of his soldiers ‘smeared with ashes to assist them. The Puns, thus strengthened, killed the rival Mahant, Anand Kur. Although there were many casualties on both the sides, the event appeared to the emperor a mere ‘gladiators’ sport’ for his penegyrist relates that ‘the holy heart was highly delighted with it’. The incident which occurred during early years of Akbar’s reign, when he had not developed a catholic outlook m religious matters, displays his scant regard for human life and contempt towards other religious faiths.


Apart from this incident the Akbarandmd, however, mentions Kurukshetra as a place of greatest religious importance for the Hindus. It relates Near Thanesar is a tank which might be called Miniature Sea. Formerly there was a wide plain there known as Kurukhet which the ascetics of India have reverenced from Ancient times. Hindus from various parts of India visit it at stated times and distribute alms, and there is a great concourse.


Mulla Ahmad, although an author of the times of Jahangir, probably refers to the reign of Akbar while contending that ‘Islam had become so weak that the Hindus destroyed mosque without fear’. But in support of his statement the solitary instance which he cites is that of Thanesar where the Hindus had destroyed a mosque in the midst of the tank, sacred to the Hindus, and built a temple.‘‘ The sacred tank mentioned here no doubt stands for the famous Brahniasara but there is absolutely no evidence -literary or archaeological, to show the existance on any mosque in the midst of it before the times of Akbar or that the alleged temple built by the Hindus afterwards. Secondly, it would be difficult to explain why the Hindus should destroy a mosque. It may simply be a charge based on the allegations made by the orthodox Badaoni and others on Akbar’s liberal religious policy. The dominance of this orthodox party may be seen, in the descretion of the celebrated temple of Mahanandi at Nagarkot by the men of Husain Quli Khan in 1572, which even the presence of Birbal could not stop. Bayazid, a Mughal officer, likewise, converted an ancient temple at Benaras into a mosque.


The rebel Ibrahim Husain Mirza defeated by Akbar in Gujarat in 1573 escaped to Punjab passing through Narnaul, Sonepat, Panipat and Karnal and thence to Multan where he died, a wounded prisoner. In 1577 Akbar again moved his camp in the direction of Punjab. In the neighbourhood of Narnaul (December, 1577) he held a special council at which he settled many matters of business in consultation with Raja Todar Mall and Khwaja Shah Mansur. One of the important departments then dealt with was that of mint. The following year he paid his respects to Shaikh Nizam Narnauli, the Sufi saint. The emperor, however, was disappointed when he failed to find marks of enlightenment in the Shaikh. Abul Fazl call him ‘a vaunter of simplicity’ probably hinting at his boastful nature and ‘passing of things of small value as being of great prize’. In fact, the meeting only increased Akbar’s search for the eternal truth, an urge which so much lacked among the ‘wearers of rags’ or the ‘learned of the age’. The same year the emperor also visited the shrine of Shaikh Jamal (one of the lieutenants of Shaikh Farid Shakarganj) at Hansi. He paid his devotions to god and distributed gifts among those who attended the shrine.


In 1581 after having learnt about the plan of Mirza Muhammad Hakim (Akbar’s half-brother), the ruler of Kabul to invade India, Akbar, accompanied by the Princes Salim and Murad, started on February 8, to meet the challenge. Shah Mansur, Akbar’s Finance Minister, several of whose letters were intercepted, seems to have some understanding with the ruler of Kabul. The submission of Malik Sani, a confidential servant of Muhammad Hakim, and his stay with Mansur lends some support to it. The Army then moved on to Panipat and Thanesar, at the last mentioned place Akbar paid his second visit to the hermitage of Shaikh Jalal. An interesting account of this visit is given b> Abul Fazl. Akbar who always desired the company of the servants of God visited the hermitage of Shaikh Jalal who for his life long devotion to God, was held in very high esteem by the people. Abul Fazl relates


The Shaikh made his supplications according to the measure of his knowledge and represented, ‘At this day our wishes are bound up in the assistance of the truthful throne-occupant. For his pleasure, the heavens revolve’. He implored his blessings and begged for a statement of truths. The world’s Lord made some acute remarks and solved some difficulties. He (Akbar) discoursed eloquently. Many heart impressing words illuminated the holy temple of the dervish. At a hint from His Majesty, the author of this noble volume (Abul Fazl) asked the Shaikh saying, ‘You have spent a long life, and have enjoyed the society of the good. Can you tell of a cure for melancholy? And have you obtained a remedy for a heart distracted by opposing desires? At first he answered by tears, and then he recited this verse:


Oh, for sweet content, oh, oh !


It has closed to pride the path of both worlds.


The Iqbdlndmd gives a slightly different but more explicit version of the story, It says


At the end of the interview, Abul Fazl asked the Shaikh, what was the remedy for the pain of search {dardtalab) and the nearway to the attainment of desires? The Shaikh wept and then repeated the lines.


The army next marched on to Shahbad where Shah Mansur was hanged on a tree adjoining the Sarai of Kot Kachhwaha. This memorable execution has been best told by Father Monserrate, who was with the camp and wrote up his notes each evening. Commenting on the effects of this execution he wrote


Throughout the whole camp, the punishment of the wicked man was approved with rejoicing. No internal sedition being now to be feared, Akbar anticipated the successful issue of the war, which he accomplished by the favour of God. Muhammad Hakim, when he heard of what happened, repented his action and thought of peace.


After the death of Mirza Muhammad Hakim towards the end of July 1585 Akbar was now in a position to device plans from the incorporation of Kabul as a province of the empire. He again started on his march in the autumn and passed through the region. In September he encamped at Thanesar from which place Sadrd-Jahan was sent in advance to proceed to Kabul ‘to instil confidence and hope in the people in regard to Akbar’. Abul Fazb informs us that during this expedition Shaikh Ismail, grandson of Shaikh Salim Fathpuri (one of the officers) fell ill and died at Thanesar, and that Haji Sultan, who was previously punished by Akbar for killing a cow at Thanesar was later pardoned due to the mediation of Khan-i-Khanan and was appointed Karori of Thanesar (Sultan’s home-town) and Karnal. Even after this new assignment Sultan did not improve his w^ays and started behaving like a madman. He renewed his old grudges and ruled tyranically so much so that when Akbar visited Thanesar (December 1598) a petition was made to him by the ryots, Akbar made a thorough inquiry into the charges and when ‘some of his tyranny was proved’, he gave Sultan ‘the extreme penalty of death’ Haryana also felt the impact of the administrative reforms which were envisaged for the welfare of Akbar’s entire kingdom. It did not form then a separate Subah, but was mostly included in the Delhi Subah and partly in the Agra Subah. The Delhi Subah under Akbar consisted of three distinct cultural divisions: Rohilkhand, the Upper doab and most of the Haryana tract. The division of Haryana comprised of four Sarkars (modern districts) — Delhi, Rewari, Hissar and Sirhind. Parts of Haryana such as Kanod, Namaul, Hodal and Nuh were included in Swf»aA Agra. Every Sarkar was put in-charge of a Faujdar who was to act as a military as well as civil functionary. As put by Jadunath Sarkar ‘He was the commander of military forces stationed in the Sarkar to put down smaller rebellions, disperse or arrest gangs of robbers, take cognizance of all violent crimes, and make demonstrations of force to overawe opposition to the revenue authorities or the criminal judge or the censor’. Next in importance was Karori or the revenue collector assisted by a Bitikchi (or a writer) incharge of the maintenance of monthly records of receipts and expenditure. The Khazandar (treasurer) who was below him in rank received the land revenue and maintained its accounts.


The Delhi Sarkar included the following parganas of the present day Haryana. They were: Islamabad, Pakal, Adah, Panipat, Palwal, Jhadasa, Jhajjar, Dadari Rohtak, Safidon, Kutana, Chaproli, Sonepat, Toda, Bhawan, Zinana, Kedla, Gangirkheda, Karnal and Ganaur. Its land under cultivation was ‘,126 107 b;g/ 7 as and 17 with a annual revenue 123, 0 1 2, 590 Jumj. The land granted as Suyurghal (religious endowment) amounted to 10, 990, 260 dams a year. Cavalry and infantry forces stationed at various places were 4000 and 23980 respectively. The land holders were of various castes— Afghans, Gujjars, Rajputs, Rangars, Jats Ahirs and Taga.


The importance of the Rewari iqta during the Sultanate has already been noted. Under Akbar it constituted a Sarkar of the Delhi Subah, and was divided into 12 parganas or mahals for administrative purposes. Its land under cultivation was 11, 55, 011 bighas and 10 biswas yielding an annual revenue of 3, 52, 22, 658 dams and the valuation of the land granted for charitable purposes was equal to 7 39 268 dams per annum. The cavalry and infantry stationed at various parganas were 2, 175 and 14600 respectively. The parganas were: Bawal, Pataudi, Bhoharah Taoru, Rewari Khas, Ratai— Jatai, Kot Qasim Ali, Ghelot, Kohana, Suhna and Nimrana. The land holders were comprised mainly of Ahir, Rajput and Jats. The lower castes were Muslmans, Khaildar and Thethar etc.


Hissar which came to prominence since the times of Firuz Tughlaq remained the headquarter of a shiq throughout the Sultanate, became a Sarkar under Sher Shah and continued to be so under the Mughals. It constituted 27 parganas-Agroha, Ahroni, Atkhera, Banaiwal, Puniyan, Bharangi, Barwala, Bhatu, Bhatner Tohana, Tosham, Jind, Jamalpur, Hissar (2), Dhatarat, Sirsa, Seoran, Sidhmukh,’ Bhewani, Shahzadpur, Fatehabad, Gohana, Khanda, Mahim and Hansi etc. The agricultural land was 31, A, 497 bighas having an annual revenue of 5, 25, 54, 905 dams and Suyurghal land amounted to 14, 06, 519 dams per year. The cavalry and infantry stationed at various places were 6, 875 and 60, 800 respectively. The holders of land belonged to various castes— Rajput, Jat, Gujjar, Bakkal, Afghan and Saiyyid.


The Sarhind Sarkar comprised 33 parganas of which the following were included in Haryana: Ambala, Binnor, Pal, Bhandar, Pundri, Thanesar, Chahar, Chafakh, Khizrabad, Dorala, Dola, Devrana, Sadhora, Sultanpur, Badha, Shahbad, Fatehpur and Kaithal. Its agricultural land was 77, 29, 466 bighas and 7 biswas having an annual revenue of 160, 790, 549 and Suyurghal land amounting to 11, 698, 330 dam per year. The cavalry and infantry were respectively 9225 and 55700. The land holders were Rajputs, Jats and Ranghads.


The Narnaul Sarkar comprised of four parganas: Kanod, Kanti, Khudana and Narnaul. Its agricultural land was 383731 bighas with annual revenue of 13798647 dams and Suyurghal land amounting to 340738. The cavalry and infantry forces were 2520 and 11700 respectively. The landholding castes were Rajputs, Jats, and Ahirs. The pargana of Hodal, included in the Suhar (hilly) sarkar of the Subah Agra had 78500 bighas of cultivated land with annual revenue of 462710 dams and Suyurghal land amounting to 33140 dams per year. The cavalry and infantry were 10 and 2000 respectively. The land holders were Jats and others.


Akbar’s administrative system continued under his successors. However, Shahjahan introduced a new administrative unit CAafc/a comprised of an amalgamation of few parganas (equal to a modern sub-division) which was introduced for the first time in the Hisar Sarkar, where one Kripa Ram Gaur was appointed Hakim of the Chakla (Hisar). The Sarkars of Tijara and Narnaul which were included in Agra Subah were now given to Delhi SubaK indeed a very wise step because the inhabitants of these places had affinities with those settled in the Subah of Delhi. The Shiqdar was the executive officer responsible for the general administration of the pargana, sometimes also acting as magistrate but with limited powers. Under him were several Amirs entrusted with the same duties as were performed by a Karori in respect of Sarkar. Fotahdar (just like the Khazandar in a Sarkar) was the treasurer of the pargana. The Qanungo was the information officer keeping complete records of the pargana, revenue receipts and rates, area and necessary details of the social customs and beliefs. These details were supplied to the Amir on which were depended the fixation of revenue rates. The administration of the Qasbahas, whose number cannot be given, was managed by Kotwals, the police-officers ‘in-charge of the watch and ward of the town, control of markets, care and legitimate disposal of heirless property, care of the people’s conduct and prevention of crime and social abuses such as Sati, regulation of the cemeteries, burials and slaughter houses. He could even try criminal cases and inflict punishment but not capital. Villages, the last administrative units were managed by the village panchayat. The Muqaddams were the officers in charge of the revenue collection of the villages allotted to them and were paid remuneration out of the total revenue they deposited. The keeping of the village record was the duty of Patwaris, The villages were practically autonomous administrative units having very little governmental interference.


To facilitate the revenue collection Haryana was divided into eighteen circles:

Panipat, Jhajjar, Rohtak, Palwal, Hisar-i-Firuzah, Gohana, Sirsa, Mahim, Rewari, Taoru, Sohna, Gharaunda, Thanesar, Sonipat, Ambala-Kaithal(in Sirhind Circle), Barodah, Chal-Kalanal and Kanodah. The zabti system (assessment by measurement) of revenue collection which Akbar inherited continued till 12th year of his reign. In his 13th year the nasaq system was introduced in khalsa lands. It was replaced by the Qanungo assessments in the 15th year and the latter by the Dastur or Jama-i-Dahsala a sort of uniform revenue system introduced throughout the empire both for the Khalsa as well as Jagirdari areas. According to this dastur one year revenue of a particular area was fixed on the basis of the average of the last ten years actual hasil (collection) i.e. the total mahsul of 10 previous years divided by 10 was taken as mahsul of one year. The medium of payment was generally in cash for there seems to be no provision for the commutation of cash into kind. Even if the revenue was realised in kind through crop-sharing or grain appraisement, it could be scld immediately in the market. From the land granted as madad Umaash (charitable endowments) no revenue was charged, the grantees were entitled to its full enjoyment.


The account of Ain-i-Akbari thus shows the amount of prosperity enjoyed by the people of Haryana under the revenue administration of Akbar. The climate was temperate, rains plentiful and at some places harvests thrice a year (Bohudhanyaka), It was known for fruits and flowers. The revenue figures suggest the soundness of the system. It was well supervised and mostly free from corruption and oppression of the people.

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