Chowdhury (variously spelt) a Sanskrit and Hindi term literally meaning 'a holder of four', the explanation of which is obscure. In other parts of India, a Chowdhury was a headman of a village or headman of a profession or trade in town. In Cuttack, Chowdhury was a revenue officer of a district. In Bengal, Chowdhury is found in the medieval literature as a landholder and sometimes a revenue officer. Under Alauddin Khalji, a Chowdhury was a revenue officer next to muqaddam. During Mughal times there were three superior classes of landholders: Chowdhury, zamindar and taluqdar. Chowdhury in late Mughal times was taken as next to zamindar in rank though socially a Chowdhary was considered superior to a zamindar. [Sirajul Islam]