Khatiyan a document of rights in land. The bengal tenancy act, 1885 had recognized rights over land held by various interests, such as, landholders, tenure holders and raiyats. Internally, each of these interests constituted composite groups of sub-interests, each of whom had some rights in land. In the absence of definite records about these rights and sub-rights, courts of justice were in confusion as to who owned what and how. There was no recorded and legally recognized code and record of rights before the Bengal Land Tenancy Act of 1885. Legally, politically, and socially such a situation was a real obstacle to good governance. To remove the confusion, the Bengal Tenancy Act of 1885 defined the rights and obligation of all interests in land and provided for a thorough survey of land rights in the country so as to prepare a series of permanent land records called Record of Rights for the holders of land on the one hand and government and the courts of justice on the other.
The survey and settlement operations of Bengal districts began successively from 1886 with Pargana Roushanabad (part of Comilla) and Pargana Dakhin Shahbazpur (Bhola). The main objective of the survey was to prepare a plot-to-plot survey and settlement on direct identification of the holder of the plot. The document is commonly known as a khatiyan or details of right. The khatiyan gives the plot (chak) holder's name and his father's name, nature of right, nature of the tenancy, area of the plot and amount of rent. A map was prepared for every Mouza. Such a map contained all the plots marked with individual numbers. Every khatiyan has a number. All the khatiyans of a Mouza are kept according to serial number in a bound volume that is preserved in the Collectorate Record Room and Judge Record Room and also in the Tahsil (rent collection office) for reference. The holder of each plot has a right to get a certified copy of the khatiyan. [Sirajul Islam]