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Malabar Manual Vol 1 CHAPTER IV. THE LAND
William Logan!
Sub-Section VI.—The Exceptional Nads,

The Exceptional Nads, viz. (1) Cannanore and Laccadives, (2) Wynad, (3) Cochin, (4) Tangacherry and Anjengo.

The exceptional Nads.

281. It only remains to consider the exceptional cases of :—

Nad XXIX.—Cannanore and the Laccadive Islands.

Nad XXX.—Wynad.

Nad XXXI.—The Dutch Settlement at Cochin.

Nad XXXII.—The Dutch and English Settlements at Tangacherry and Anjengo.

Nad XXIX.— Cannanore and The Laccadive Islands

Considered unnecessary to say much of Cannanore and the Laccadive Islands.

281a. Little need be said regarding these territories because any measures to be introduced for regulating the necessary the relations between Janmis and Ryots in Malabar would not, it is presumed, be extended to them. The Ali Rajas (Sea Rulers) hold only a small portion of territory on the mainland, comprising 31 Desams in and about the town and cantonment, of Cannanore in the modern Taluk of Chirakkal. They pay for their mainland territory a lump assessment of Rs. 3,801.

The Laccadive Islands now subject to the family are –

1. Agatti2. Kavaratti,3. Androth,4. Kalpeni,5. Minicoy

with several other uninhabited small islands attached. These islands are among the “Scheduled Districts” (Act No. XV of 1874). The original assessment on them and their trade was Rs. 11,200, but that sum has since been reduced by Rs. 5,250 owing to some misunderstanding at the time of the Kirar of 1796 regarding some other territory on the mainland, which the Bibi thought she was to be allowed to retain, but which was eventually restored to its rightful suzerain, the Kolattiri Raja.

281b. The islands numbered 1 to 4 yielded annually during the ten years 1865-66 to 1874-75, during which period the islanders had broken loose from the Raja’s control and exported their produce without any restriction, the following quantity of cocoanut produce, of which coir yarn alone is monopolised:-

These four islands, therefore, yield monopoly produce which may be valued—but prices vary greatly—at : Rs. 63,682, viz.:-

281c. The Island of Minicoy is administered on a different system. There is no monopoly of the coir yarn, cowries, and tortoise shell produce as in the four northern islands. The following is an estimate of the revenue derived from this island :

Cocoanuts (from Pandaram land), 550,000 number.

Coir Yarn (Poll Tax) 22 candies.

Sugar (Poll Tax) 900 adubahs (worth about Rs. 225 in Malabar).

Rice (Tax on large vessels trading with Bengal), 20 candies.

Maas fish (Tax on fishing boats), 350 fish.

Cowries—5 candies.

Maas fish (Hire of the Pandaram boat at 14 per cent. of the catch), 300 fish.

Money rents-—Rs. 900.

This revenue, valued in Malabar at ordinary prices prevailing there, averages about Rs. 7,000 per annum gross.

281d. The net revenue, after defraying all charges of collection, comes to Rs. 9,750—0—11 on the five islands and on the territory at Cannanore.


282. In paragraph 78 will be found as much of the political history of Wynad as it seems necessary here to refer to. Wynad consisted originally of the following modern amsams in the modern taluk of Wynad and in the Nilgiri Commission:-

No settlement till after the Pychy Raja's death, 30th November 1805.

283. The constant disturbances which agitated this Nad prevented any fixed settlement being made till after the death of the Palassi or Pychy Raja, which event took place, as already related, on 30th November 1805.

Mr. Baber, Sub- Collector, on 1st March 1806 reported that the pattam was equal to double the quantity of seed sown.

284. Mr. Baber, the Sub-Collector, on 1st March 1806 reported to the Principal Collector, Mr. Warden, that in consequence of the devastating wars which had prevailed, the pattam (rent) was at the rate of double' the quantity of seed sown, or on an average not more than one-fifth of the net produce, and that, to make such a pattam the basis of the revenue demand, as in the districts below the ghats, would be too low a standard.

Mr. Warden, the Principal Collector, eventually sanctioned the following scheme.

285. Mr. Warden eventually decided to adopt the following scheme of assessment:


(a) Ascertain the number of Potis (30 seers) of seed sown on each holding.

(b) Adopt as the fixed outturn multiples of the seed sown in the lands in the following amsams the following figures :

(c) The number of Potis (30 seers) of seed x the respective outturn multiples = gross produce of the holding.

(d) Deduct from the gross produce, for expenses of cultivation, three Potis (90 seers) for each Poti (30 seers) of seed sown.

(e) Divide the balance thus left over of the gross produce in equal shares between-

1. The Government,

2. The Jamni and

3. The Ryot.

(f) Commute the Government share of the net produce into money at rates varying according to local circumstances.

A good deal was left to Mr. Baber's discretion, and he used a peculiar device for preserving the principles of the assessment in exceptional cases.

286. Mr. Warden, however, left it to Mr. Baber’s discretion to vary these rates in cases in which from local circumstances he thought that course necessary, discretion, and this discretion was apparently extensively utilised. Moreover, in recording these variations a peculiar device had to be resorted to, to preserve in the accounts the principles of the original assessment. For example, a land requiring 1½ or 2 Potis (45 to 60 seers) to sow it, might be so subject to the devastations of wild beasts, etc., that it could not bear the local rate of assessment.

In such a case, instead of showing in the accounts the actual quantity of seed required, a smaller quantity [say, 1 Poti (30 seers)] would be entered in the accounts, and the other calculations would be made as if that were the actual quantity of seed required for that land. Similar devices, it will be seen on reference to paragraphs 134 and 175, were favourite ones likewise with the Mysorean officials.

Mr. Warden's plan resolved itself into money rates assessed directly on the Poti of seed.

287. As soon as Mr. Warden’s scheme began to be worked, it was probably discovered that a much simpler plan would effect the same end, and this was to assess certain money-rates directly on the Potis (30 seers) seed sown on each land, instead of on the gross produce less deductions as in Mr. Warden’s plan. The explanation of this is very simple.

Explanation of the above.

In Mr. Warden’s scheme the outturn multiple and the share of Government are uniform within local areas. It may also be assumed that the rates for commuting produce into money would also be once for all fixed by Mr. Baber for local areas, as he had no instructions to alter these rates annually to suit the market prices.


Directly therefore the scheme began to be worked, it would be seen that it saved a lot of work and bother, if, instead of applying the uniform money commutation rate to the uniform Government share of the uniform net produce, the uniform resulting money-rate were applied at once and directly to the quantity of seed required to sow each holding, and this device would be followed within the local areas in which these uniform conditions held good. For example, take a land sowing 5 Potis of grain in the Ganapativattam amsam

The advantages of this plan when the land revenue had annually to be assessed.

Therefore, by applying directly a rate of Rs. 2-5-7 to the number of Potis of seed sown, all the advantages of this plan, where the quantity of land sown annually had annually to be ascertained, and the revenue assessment annually calculated thereon, are sufficiently manifest.

Mr. Graeme did not interfere with Wynad and instructed Mr. Vaughan to follow the plan of annual settlements, 20th May 1823. Similar determination of Government, 26th March 1862

288. Mr. Graeme decided not to interfere with the wet land assessments in Wynad, and instructed Mr. Vaughan, the Principal Collector, to adhere to the plan of “Annual Settlements" (paragraph 27 of his letter to Mr. Vaughan, dated 20th May 1823). And the Government, on a later occasion (G.O., Revenue Department, No. 662, dated 26th March 1862) came to a similar decision.

The money rates per Poti of seed have shifted somewhat since 1822.

289. It will be seen on reference to the subjoined table that the money rates per Poti of seed sown have shifted somewhat, since 1822. The figures are taken from Mr. Graeme‘s report and from a statement recently prepared in the Collector’s office:-

NOTEs: 1. The phrase “assessed seed “is correct, for the "assessed seed” was not always the actual quantity of seed sown (see paragraph 286, also paragraph 129). END OF NOTEs

NB.—Fractions of a pie have been omitted in converting those rates into modern currency.

The Warden pattam.

290. It will be seen from the above that it is difficult to compare the Wynad wet land assessments with those of the low country, for here there is a fourth kind of pattam (rent) to be dealt with. Being different from the three others it may appropriately be called, after its author, the Warden pattam. It approximates the most to the Vilachhal meni pattam of Mr. Rickards (paragraphs 226, 226a, 226b and 227). For example:

Compared with the Vilachchal meni pattam.

Seed = 5 Potis ; Outturn multiple = 15, the rate in Kuppatod and Putati amsams.

It may also be noted in passing that the deduction for expanses in the Warden pattam, is the customary rate which is still prevalent in several of the heavy rich land amsams in the Ernad Taluk.

Comparison of commutation rates, assuming 60 percent of pattam as the share of Government.

291. Bearing in mind the peculiarities of the Warden pattam, which gives to the Government half or 50 per cent, of the shares of produce available as Pattam (rent) and adopting the latest Poti rates as shown in paragraph 289, it is possible to compare the assessments with those in the low-country taluks by adopting the same standard percentage of pattam (rent), viz., 60 per cent., and by converting the commutation rates per Poti1 into commutation rates per 1,000 Macleod seers, the standard adopted for the low-country. On those data the prevailing commutation rates at 60 per cent of the pattam (rent) in the various amsams come out as follows :-

N.B.—Fractions of a pie are omitted, and the Nilgiri Commission amsam rates are calculated on the basis of the Poti rates prevalent in 1822.

The market prices prevalent in Wynad since 1860 during the harvest months average Rs. 69-6-4 per 1,000 Macleod seers, so that the commutation rates on which the assessments were fixed are everywhere well within the prices the cultivators have of late been obtaining for their produce. Other changes, however, have affected the cultivators, some beneficially, others the reverse.

The good cartloads must have very materially tended to equalise prices throughout the Nad, and the food required for the large bodies of coolies employed on coffee-estates must also have tended in the same direction ; while, on the other hand, the greater cost of labour and the breaking down of the system of serfdom have tended to increase the original cost of the produce.

The Ganapativattam rate must have been prohibitive for some time after the troops, regular and irregular, stationed there were withdrawn.

The comparatively high rate in Ganapativattom was due to the demand there was for grain in 1806 to feed, the large body of regular and irregular troops stationed in that amsam at that time. It must have been a prohibitive rate after those troops were withdrawn and before the country was opened up by good roads, as indeed the large extent of waste paddy-fields in that neighbourhood still amply testifies.

The Nambolakotta rate, on the other hand, must have encouraged cultivation there as soon as a market was found.

On the other hand, the low rate in Nambolakotta must have held out strong inducements to extend wet cultivation there, as soon as a market for it could be found. Wynad, however, is an exceptional taluk, chiefly owing to its unhealthiness; and the breaking up of the system of serfdom since the assessments were fixed must have had a much greater influence on agriculture in Wynad than it had elsewhere, because in Wynad there was but a limited class to take the places of the slaves who chose to leave their ancient masters and work for hire on the European coffee-estates

Garden Lands

Coco, areca, and jack are unassessed.

292. Coco, areca, and jack gardens are unassessed in Wynad.


Rs. 2 per acre imposed from the third yoar, 16th May 1800.

This rate bore no proportion to gross or net produce.

Crop capricious, return uncertain.

The rate is hardly felt on a good estate, but in many, perhaps the majority, it is only so much added to the losses.

293. In 1860 coffee had become such an important industry in Wynad that Sir Charles Trevelyan proposed to assess coffee gardens at a uniform rate of Rs. 2 per acre, from the third1 year after planting (G.O., Revenue Department, dated 16th May 1860, No, 788).

This assessment was arbitrarily fixed without reference to either the gross or the net produce. The crop is so capricious and the return is so uncertain that an arbitrary rate had to be fixed. The rate is hardly felt on a good estate in a good year, but Mr. Macgregor pithily summed up (Board’s Proceedings, dated 16th September 1873, No. 1846) the other side of the question thus: "The existing tax of Rs. 2 an acre on coffee falls heavily on many estates that have been fairly successful, while in a large number of instances, perhaps in the majority, it is so much added to the losses.”

NOTEs: 1. A practice having sprung up of granting three years' remission at starting, the Government, ordered it to be discontinued. Tea and cinchona lands are to be similarly treated—G.O., R.D., 1118, of 2nd October 1885. END OF NOTEs

8 annas per acre more assessed on Government lands as Janmabhogam, 18th September 1860.

294. A few months later (G.O., 18th September 1860, No. 1634) an extra cess of 8 annas per acre was imposed on Government land only as Janmabhogam from date of occupation “for any purpose.” This rate is leviable on the entire holding under puttah, whereas the assessment is payable on the area actually cultivated only.

Rates per acre under Waste Land Sale Rule Rs. 2 for forest and Re. 1 for grass, afterwards reduced to 8 annas, 23rd December 1862.

295. The rules for the sale of Government waste lands were sanctioned in 1863 (G.O., dated 23rd December 1862. No. 2677), and Rs. 2 per acre for forest and Re. 11 per acre for grass-land, were the rates of assessment reserved at the sales. The lands were not necessarily, but as matter of fact they were without exception, taken up for coffee cultivation.

Cess remitted for an extra year, or three in all, from date of planting, 22nd September 1871.

296. In 1871 the coffee-cess was remitted for an extra year, making three in all from the date of planting (G.O., dated 22nd September 1871 No. 1656).2

NOTEs: 1. This rate on grass-land taken up under the Waste Land Rules was reduced to 8 annas per acre by G.O., 22nd September 1871, No. 1656.

2. This G.O. “must be held to apply to such land” (forest land) “when cultivated with Cinchona" i.e., Rs. 2 per acre.—Board of Revenue, No, 2001. 11th August 1882. END OF NOTEs

Miscellaneous Lands

Unassessed till 1862, when Rs. 2 per acre was first imposed.

Afterwards altered to 1-4-0 per acre on lands annually inspected and to 10 annas per acre if land taken up permanently, 11th August 1863, 15th August 1863, 15th December 1863.

These are the Wynad equivalents of the 12 annas per acre and 6 annas per acre cesses in the low-country.

The reason why they are so much heavier.

Neither the net produce nor the gross was considered.

297. Dry grain lands were unassessed till 1862, when the Board Revenue first recommended and Government approved (G.O., dated 26th March 1862, No. 660) an assessment of Rs. 2 per acre, the same as for imposed coffee, but on Mr. Ballard giving certain explanations, the Government and the Secretary of State finally sanctioned a rate of Rs. 1-4-0 per acre on cultivation annually inspected, and 10 annas per acre if the land were taken up and permanently assessed.

These rates were applied to private lands only (G.Os., Revenue 11th August 1863, No. 1483, and 15th December 1863. No, 2292). They were the Wynad equivalents of the 12 annas per acre and 6 annas per acre assessments in the low country taluks already referred to in paragraphs 278, 279, 280. The reason why they were made so much more heavy is that Government had already decided (see paragraph 295) to sell Government wastes subject to a cess of one rupee per acre for grass-lands, and it was thought that Government lands would be unfairly weighted if private lands were assessed at lower rates than those mentioned.

Neither the net produce nor the gross was therefore considered when fixing those rates, and in this respect it will be seen they are to some extent on the same footing as their equivalents in the low country taluks.

Nad XXXI—Dutch Settlement at Cochin.

Historical 298. On the 20th October 1795 the Dutch Settlement at Cochin was delivered up to Major Petrie, in command of a detachment of British troops. The settlement remained under the British flag till by the Convention of Paris in 1814 it was finally ceded to Great Britain.Limits299. The settlement consisted of the town and fort of Cochin and of the following gardens or pattams outside those limits :-

Nos. 5 and 16 are together known as Kallancheri.

Proprietary right in soil vested in Government.300. The proprietary right in the soil of the settlement was vested in the Government, but the Dutch and Christian residents were exempt from ground-rent taxation.Land hold on leases of 20 years. This system continued after the territory passed into British hands.301. The land beyond the fort was held on leases running for periods of twenty years, “on the expiry of which the land with all improvements reverted absolutely to the Government, no tenant right or compensation being admitted.”Leases put up to auction.302. “This system was continued after the territory passed into the possession of the British Government, but with the disadvantageous change of selling the leases as they fell in by auction.”Mr. Conolly revised the arrangements in 1847 and settled the pattams with the ryots in accordance with the district usage.

Assessment liable to revision every twenty years.303. Mr. Conolly saw the objectionable character of the system and applied a remedy in 1847 when a number of the leases expired. He had these estates surveyed and assessed in conformity with the usage of the district according to their condition, and made over to the actual resident ryots (who as sub-tenants of the former renters enjoyed a moiety of their produce, but lost their improvements and rights with each renewal of the lease to the former renters or to strangers, according as circumstances rendered it expedient. The assessment is subject to revision every twenty years, but as the agreements contain no resumption conditions, the tenure is virtually1 permanent, the holder having the option of retaining the land at its revised assessment in preference to others if so inclined. The same system has since continued, and three estates only remain unsettled in this manner.”Board's Proceedings, 1st July 1858, No. 2279304. The above extracts are from Revenue Board’s Proceedings, dated 1st July 1858, No. 2279.

NOTEs: 1. This is not quite correct The puttahs contain a condition that the lands are resumable "at the pleasure of Government.”—G.O., Revenue Department, No 706 dated 5th June 1884, pp. 21, 23, or “should the Government require it.”—Ibid p. 20 END OF NOTEs

Wet Lands

Details of the settlement of wet lands.305. The principles on which the wet land assessments have been framed as related above are as follows :

(a) The number of seers required to sow 100 Perukkams in each holding is first ascertained. A “perukkam” is 6 feet x 6 feet, so, 1,210 Perukkams go to an acre. The number of seers so required ranges from 4 to 4½, 5 and 6.

(b) The outturn multiple of the holding is simultaneously fixed. The outturn multiples range from three to eighteen times the seed.

(c) Then extent in hundreds of Perukkams X seed X outturn multiple = gross produce of the holding.

(d) Deduct the seed and a similar quantity for cultivation expenses and find the net produce.

(e)Reserve one-third of the net produce for the cultivator, and the remainder is the pattam.

(f) The whole of the remainder goes to Government, although in the accounts a distinction is drawn between the Government share (65 per cent, of it) and the Jamni’s share (35 per cent of it).

(g) Both shares are commuted into a money assessment at Rs. 25 per 1,000 Macleod seers.

Mr. Conolly followed the general plan adopted by Mr. Sheffield for assessing Modan, and Mr. Clementson's plan for distributing the produce.

The Cochin plan of produce distribution distinguished from Vilachchal meni pattam and the Warden pattam.

306. Mr. Conolly, it will be seen from the above, followed the general plan adopted by Mr. Sheffield for assessing Modan lands (paragraph 274), and in the precise distribution of the produce he followed the scheme adopted by Mr. Clementson (paragraph 272 a) for assessing land freshly taken up for cultivation. This fifth method of distributing the produce differs from the others already described, but it is very closely allied to the method adopted in distributing the Vilachchal meni pattam of Mr. Rickards and to that adopted for distributing the Warden pattam in Wynad.

It was in fact the Vilachchal meni pattam with 65 percent reserved for Government instead of 60 percent. The explanation of this change of percentage.In short it is the Vilachchal meni pattam of Mr. Rickards, with however 65 per cent, of the pattam (in place of 60 per cent) reserved for the Government share. It was Mr. Graeme who proposed to take as the Government share 65 per cent, of the pattam, but then the pattam he referred to was the Verumpattam or actual rent, not the Vilachchal meni pattam. Mr. Graeme’s reason for proposing a departure from Mr. Rickards’ scheme fixing the Government share at 60 per cent, was that in his time it took 65 per cent, of the Verumpattam to make up 60 per cent, of the Vilachchal meni pattam ; the Verumpattamm being in his time pro tanto lower than the Vilachchal meni pattam (see paragraph 254). It was a departure from the agreement arrived at in 1803.It was a clear departure from the agreement with the principal Janmis in 1803 (paragraph 247) to calculate the pattam on the Vilachchal meni principles and then to take 65 per cent, of the remainder instead of the 60 per cent, agreed to. This was evidently not looked into when Mr. Clementson was authorised to adopt his plan for assessing land freshly taken up for cultivation (paragraph 272 a).The Government takes 100 per cent of the pattam in Cochin. This at first sight looks like too large a proportion of produce for Government to take, bu the commutation rate is extremely moderate, and represents a rate of Rs. 41-10-8 per Macleod seers at the standard percentage of pattam. The price of paddy in Cochin in the harvest months since 1860 has averaged Rs. 57-15-0 per Macleod seers, so that the Cochin Ryots are better off than these in many other places.307. It did not, however, matter much in Cochin, because there the Government was also the Janmi, and in its double capacity, it took 100 per cent, of the pattam in the shape of assessment and Janma-bhogam from the Ryots. This at first sight would seem to be too large a proportion of the produce for the Government to swallow up, but the fact is that the extreme moderation of the commutation rate assumed in converting produce into money, has left to the Ryots in Cochin a much larger share of produce than at first sight appears.

Bearing in mind that in this instance it is the Vilachchal meni pattam which is being distributed, and that the Government share is 100 per cent, of it, the commutation rate (viz., Rs. 25 per 1,000 Macleod seers) at the standard percentage adopted in the tables at paragraphs 231, 291 (viz., 60 percent, of the pattam) comes out at Rs. 41-10-8 per 1,000 Macleod seers. Now, on the other hand, since 1860 the market prices obtainable at Cochin for Paddy in the harvest months have averaged no less than Rs. 57-15-0 per 1,000 Macleod seers.

Even therefore though the ryots have been paying to Government the whole of the Vilachchal meni pattam, they have been better off than the Ryots in many of the Nads, for which the figures will be found in the tables at paragraphs 231 and 291, who, in addition to meeting a commutation rate quite as high, and, in some instances a good deal higher, have still above and beyond this to find a rent for the Janmi.

Garden Lands

Mr. Graeme's plan followed by Mr. Connolly.308. Mr. Conolly assessed the coco, areca and jack trees on the plan adopted in the rest of the district (paragraph 263).

Miscellaneous Lands

No cultivation, but some money rates have been applied under Mr. Ballard’s Circular of 2nd September 1802.309. Modan, Punam, and Ellu cultivation (paragraphs 33, 34, 35) is not practised in Cochin, but Mr. Ballard’s order of 2nd September 1862 (see paragraph 280a) has been put in operation in Cochin to a small extent.

Nad. XXXII—The Dutch Settlement at Tangacherry and the English Settlement at Anjengo.

Land revenues framed by the Travancore Government.310. Very little requires to be said about those settlements, because the land revenues of both are, with the other sources of revenue, rented out at lump sums the Travancore State at Rs. 2,447 per annum for Tangacherry and Rs. 1,450 per annum for Anjengo.The Travancore State collects the share due to Government on Government lands. Janmam lands are exempt.311. The land belongs partly to Government and partly to Jamnis. The lands of the latter class are exempt from all assessments, and as regards the former the Travancore State collects only the share (pattam) due to Government. This state of things proves, if additional proof were necessary, that the position taken up in Section (A) of this Chapter is correct, viz., that the pattam really the ancient land revenue assessment of the coast—(Conf. p. 601.)

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