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Amil


Amil analogous to the amalguzar of the district, responsible for survey, smooth assessment and collection of revenue of the pargana. He was mainly concerned with revenue matters. Emperor Akbar divided the provinces into district or sarkars; duly surveyed for purposes of efficient general and fiscal administration and the amil or amalguzar was the revenue officer in the Mughal's new administrative system. He was the second most important officer after the faujdar. Appointed by the center, he was in charge of the entire revenue department in the local districts or the pargana. During the Mughal period, the local government was primarily based in the Pargana which was a collection of dehs or villages.

The multifarious duties of the amil covered t only assessment and collection of revenue but also punishing refractory and dishonest peasants, robbers, etc. Revenue was to be assessed after measuring the cultivated land, examining the nature of the soil and value of the crops. Also his duty was to see that all the procedures regarding the assessment and realization of the state dues were followed honestly and that the system ran smoothly and efficiently. The amil was to keep a strict watch over his staff to see that injustice was committed and only the dues prescribed by the state were realised from the cultivators. According to Ain-i-Akbari all cultivators were to have direct access to him to ensure fair dealing. During Akbar's reign the assessment also was the direct responsibility of the amil. Amil had to maintain general administration too.

The amil was responsible for collection of revenue with the assistance of the village headman, who was paid a commission of 2.5% of the collections of the full rental or according to the measure of his service, if the collection fell short. He had to send monthly reports of the daily receipts and expenditure and transmit cash collections amounting two (2) lakh dams (copper coins of emperor Akbar were kwn as dam, was the fortieth part of a silver rupee) to the imperial court.

The amil had to look after the jagir lands of the district, to inspect the suyurghal tenures and examine the title of the assignees. He was responsible to send to the imperial diwan an abstract of the survey and assessment in the district within fifteen days of its completion. He had also to send to the capital a monthly statement of the condition of the people, of the jagirdars, the neighbouring residents, the submission of the rebellious, the market prices, the current rents of tenements, the state of the destitute poor, of artificers and all other contingencies. The accounts of collections maintained by the office of the amil were duly audited. In case it was discovered that he had made any collections in excess of the assessed land-revenue and other sanctioned taxes, the total amount of such collections was calculated and it was realised from him. This practice was kwn as bar-amand or bar-amand-i-amilan. Such unauthorised collections were regarded as State dues and the amil was accountable for them. The practice can be traced back to the reign of Shahjahan (1628-1658 AD) and most probably it continued till the reign of Muhammad Shah (1719-1748 AD). Previously such realisations had been made from the amil. In the reign of Shahjahan some administrative changes took place and then the amil was left with police duties and the realisation of the state demand. From this time police duties gained more importance among the functions of the amil and he came to be called a faujdar as well. Thus there are extents a number of document in which faujdar of parganas have been mentioned. [Nasrin Akhter]

Bibliography NA Siddiqui, Land Revenue Administration Under the Mughals (1700-1750), Bombay, 1970; JN Sarkar, Mughal Polity, Delhi, 1984; IH Qureshi, The Administration of the Mughal Empire, Karachi, 1966.