Takavi is an advance made to a raiyat by his superior tenureholder or landholder to enable him to take necessary measures to recover the agricultural losses caused by natural calamities or other factors beyond his control. The term takavi is the combination of sanskrit 'taka' (money) and Arabic 'kavi', which means strength or strengthening. The Mughals and subsequently, the Company government used the term takavi for repayable cash advance made to reinforce the cultivating strength of the raiyats in distress. The term lost its currency from the early twentieth century when institutional agricultural credit was introduced by various cooperative societies, banks and other institutions. Because takavi as a concept was associated with zamindari credit, what the modern institutions term as krishi rin or agricultural loan.
Takavi was an important agricultural institution during Mughal times. When agriculture was affected by any natural calamities such as flood, drought, and epidemics the Mughal government used to suspend or minimise revenue collections and furthermore, made takavi advance towards reviving the farming capabilities of the peasantry. Its distributing agents were the zamindars and talukdars who were advised to lend takavi to raiyats and make its necessary adjustment on account of public revenue. The takavi advanced during the seasons of distress was collected during seasons of affluence. Such loan was always free from any surcharge like modern interest.
The takavi system of agricultural credit was abolished by the colonial government. The Regulations II and XV of 1793 made it clear that takavi was henceforth looked at as a burden to be borne by the zamindars and other landholders alone and they could not claim any concession in the name of takavi advanced to their raiyats. Zamindars, however, had to continue the takavi system of agricultural loan, because they were aware that without takavi support, the affected raiyats would desert. Therefore, in their own interests, zamindars advanced takavi loans to their raiyats at times of their distress. But with the growth of population and consequent competition for land, zamindars are seen to have increasingly withdrawn the takavi system from the early twentieth century. [Sirajul Islam]