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Shiqdar was the head of an administrative unit called Shiqq. The idea of dividing a province into districts was an inheritance from earlier Hindu and Turko-Afgan system. During sultanate period it was called Shiq. But shiqs were not uniformly organised. sher shah established a regular and uniform system at the district level, put sarkars under two principal officers, (i) Chief Shiqdar (Shiqdar-i-Shiqdran), in charge of executive administration and (ii) chief Munsif (Munsif-i-Munsifan). Later, Sher Shah's pargana administration was reformed and he created some new posts: (i) Shiqdar or military commander and police chief with limited powers, (ii) Amin or Munsif, (iii) Fotahdar or Treasurar and (iv) Karkuns or record keeper. During this time, Shiqdar and Amin were the responsible officers of military and revenue department in the Pargana. In Sher Shah's administrative unit, the pargana consisting of villages, the Shiqdar had to perform police duties also. Under the Mughal administration Emperor Akbar subdivided Sarkars or districts into several parganas or mahals and each pargana had five principal officers. Among them Shiqdar (or Chaukidar) was the executive head and magistrate, responsible for law and order and criminal justice, working under the district faujdar. He was to help the Amin (the district revenue officer or Amalguzar) in realising revenue with force if necessary. He was asked to take census of the land with names, occupations and address of people.

Shiqdar was mainly an officer responsible to collect the land revenue. Sometimes the name or the post considered as the provincial officer with the financial responsibilities. In case of emergency the Shiqdar could give the necessary sanction for disbursement, which was to be duly reported to the court. So this time the amil, the Karkun and the Shiqdar were jointly responsible for proper disbursement of the cash deposit in the Pargana treasury.

In the pre-Mughal Shiqdar was an officer of the pargana, and he held the military post and in the Mughal period it turned out to be responsible post of the revenue department. The term Shiqdar survived up to the 18th century. In modern time the office of Shiqdar no longer exists, but later in Bengal some people took Shiqdar as a family title. [Nasrin Akhter]

Bibliography JN Sarkar, Mughal Polity, Delhi, 2009; NA Siddiqi, Land Revenue Administration under the Mughal, Delhi, 1970.