Sarkar is the administrative unit in the Mughal Empire of India. Emperor Akbar divided his empire into 105 sarkars in his fortieth regnal year (1594). These sarkars were subdivided into 2037 parganas or mahals. Akbar consolidated all these divisions and subdivisions into twelve Subahs. After the Mughal subdued Bengal, Raja Todarmal got the charge of revenue settlement of the Bengal Subah. He completed the task in 1582 after settling the revenues of the Jagirs and khalisa (Khalsa) and for making the revenue collection easier, Todarmal organised the whole of Bengal into 19 fiscal units denoted as Sarkar. Each sarkar was put in charge under three main officers, the shiqdar-i-shiqdaran was in charge of administration, finance and the army, the munsif-i-munsifan being in charge of the collection of revenue and the qazi as the chief of the judiciary.

No. Sarkar Mahal
1. Udambar (Rajmahal, Murshidabad and North Birbhum; commonly known as Tanda) 52
2. Jannatabad or Lakhnauti (mainly Malda) 66
3. Fathabad (Faridpur, South Bakarganj) 31
4. Mahmudabad (North Nadia, North Jessore and West Faridpur) 88
5. Khalifatabad (South Jessore and West Bakarganj) 35
6. Purniyah 9
7. Tajpur (West Dinajpur) 29
8. Ghoraghat (South Rangpur, South-East Dinajpur and North Bogra) 84
9. Pinjarah (Dinajpur, part of Rangpur and Rajshahi) 21
10. Barbakabad (mainly Rajshahi, South-west Bogra and South-east Malda) 38
11. Bazuha (Partly Rajshahi, Bogra, Pabna and Dhaka) 32
12. Sonargaon (West Tripura and Noakhali) 52
13. Sylhet (Srihatta) 8
14. Chittagong (Chatgaon) 7
15. Sharifatabad (Mostly Burdwan) 26
16. Sulaimanabad (North Hughli, part of Nadia and East Burdwan) 31
17. Satgaon (24 Parganas, West Nadia and Hawrah) 53
18. Mandaran (Bankura, Vishnupur, South-east Burdwan) 16
19 Bakla (North and West Bakarganj and South-west Dhaka) 4

Sarkars of Orissa

No Sarkar Mahal
1. Jaleswar 28
2. Bhadrak 7
3. Cuttack (Kotok) 21
4. Kaling Dandpat 27
5. Raj Mahendrih 16

Sarkar was sub-divided into 682 Mahals or parganahs. In 1656, Subadar Shah Shuja reorganised the sarkars of Bengal and he added Orissa with the Bengal subah. Thus the subah of Bengal consisted of 24 sarkars and 781 mahals. The revenue of 24 sarkars was 59, 84, 59,319 dams (Rs 1,49,61,482-15-7 while the 5 sarkars of Orissa with 99 mahals had a total revenue of 12,57,32,638 dams.

Mushid Quli Khan reorganised the land revenue settlement in Bengal and at the same time the land survey was carried out. After completion of the survey by the Amin, new revenue was set up. The Nawab demised the existing system and he redistributed Bengal administrative areas into some greater divisions, which denoted as Chakla. 13 new such divisions or Chakla was created under this system. The number of parganas then increased into 1660. [Nasrin Akhter]