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Malabar Manual Vol 2
William Logan

By V. Chappu Menon, B.A.

Anjarakandi or Ancharahandi (literally 5½ sections or desams) is an interesting amsam belonging to the Chirakkal taluk, and situated about 8 miles north north-east of Tellicherry, and is administered in a peculiar manner. It has no paid adhikari or other village officers, and is held by the family of Mr. Murdoch Brown on a lease of 99 years granted by the Honourable Company on the 30th April 1817. The lease consequently falls in on the 29th April 1916. The circumstances which led to the grant of this lease were as follows:

In 1797 the Honourable East India Company opened out at this place, then known as Randattara, a plantation of about 1,000 acres for the cultivation of special products, such as coffee, pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, cassia, cotton, sugarcane and sandalwood plants, and appointed Mr. Murdoch Brown, who had originated the scheme, to be the overseer and manager of the estate. Mr. Brown was a merchant at Mahe, who, on the fall of that Settlement in 1793, had entered the Company’s service. The terms of agreement were that -

(1) The plantation was to be undertaken and carried on solely and entirely on behalf of the Honourable Company.

(2) Any special products suggested by the Company’s agents were to be planted in the manner desired, full accounts of receipts and expenditure being furnished.

(3) If the scheme sketched out for the carrying on and management of the plantation were disapproved by the Court of Directors, then the concern was to be undertaken by Mr. Brown on his own account, the Company being reimbursed within three calendar months after such intention shall have been announced, the principal and interest of money expended on the plantation provided, however, that the possession of the ground occupied by the plantation be secured to him and to those concerned with him at a reasonable rent to be rated according to the custom of the

(4) In the event of the contingency referred to in clause (3) occurring, that is, if the plantation be carried on by Mr. Brown on his own private account, the whole produce of pepper, coffee and cotton, and all such articles as shall be produced thereon, shall be wholly and exclusively tendered in sale to the Honourable Company’s agents, the Honourable Company paying for the same, viz., pepper at Rs. 50 per candy of 640 lb., coffee at Rs. 8 per bale of 20 lb. and other articles at such prices as Government may deem their qualities and species entitled to. This agreement was signed by Mr. Murdoch Brown on the 31st December 1797.

In 1799, the Court of Directors, who disapproved of the project, ordered the transfer of the plantation to Mr. Brown in accordance with the terms of his agreement ; but there was some difficulty in arranging the transfer which was effected by the Principal Collector, Major William MacLeod, only in the year 1802. In 1803, the plantation was almost wholly destroyed by the Palassi (Pychy) rebels, and this again complicated matters. After some years of correspondence, it was settled in 1817 that a lease of the estate for 99 years should be granted to Mr. Brown, and this was accordingly done subject to the following terms :

(1) Mr. Murdoch Brown binds himself, his heirs and assigns to the payment of an annual revenue amounting to Rs. 2,257-2-0 by such kists or instalments as the Collector might from time to time direct.

2) When a new survey of the land revenue of Malabar shall take place, Mr. Brown or his representatives shall pay the new revenue on the estate at the same rates as the same species of land and productions of the district shall be assessed.

(3) It shall be lawful for Mr. Brown to purchase, with the consent of the inhabitants who occupy and pay revenue on the 918 acres of land included within the plantation estimated to comprise 2,000 acres of arable arable land, all or any part of the said 918 acres, the purchases being duly registered in the Collector’s office or in the Zilla Court.

(4) It shall be lawful for the Honourable Company to prohibit Mr. Brown from purchasing occupied lands from the said inhabitants, but in that case he will be granted an equal extent of unoccupied land (not exceeding 918 acres) in the vicinity at the time of such prohibition being signified to him.

(5) At the expiration of the lease it shall remain, at the option of Government, to resume the lands thus leased on repaying to the lawful owner the sums paid to the natives for their janmam kudimanir rights and the products on them, when purchased.

(6) Whereas Mr. Brown did in 1802 offer and agree to pay for the purchase of the said plantation the amount expended on it until then by the Company with certain deductions agreed to by Government : and whereas the destruction of the buildings and nearly all the productive vines and coffee trees in 1803 by the rebels from Cotiote put it out of his power to fulfil his agreement and necessitated a reference to the Court of Directors for their final decision as to the amount of remission to be granted to him, it is further declared that Mr. Brown, who has already paid two instalments of Rs. 10,000 each, does bind himself, his heirs, executors and assigns to pay such further sum in final discharge of his debt as the Court of Directors may determine, deducting therefrom the value of the goods delivered to the Company’s Commercial Resident in Mahe agreeably to the account furnished to the Principal Collector in 1802.

(7) Mr. Brown shall at all times conform to all lawful orders issued to him under the authority of Government or its officers-

Agreeably to the above provision, clause (2) a survey took place in 1820-25 by the Commissioner, Mr. Graeme, and the Collector, Mr. Vaughan, and this was followed in 1833 by another under the Collector, Mr. Clementson. The assessment for Fasli 1294 (1884-85) was as follows :

The estate of Anjarakandi consists of five tarras or desams of —

1. Muringeri, 4. Anjarakandi,

2. Mamba, 5. Paleri,

3. Kamavatt,

together with a strip of land situated on the opposite side of the Anjarakandi river in Kottayam taluk bounded by the dyke of ten feet in height constructed in the year 1800 for the defence of the plantation and containing about 40 acres of land. The total area of the amsam is 3,382 acres, or a little more than 5¼ square miles, and it has a population of 4,155 souls, of whom 2,064 are males and the rest females. The Hindus number 3,609, Muhammadans 518, and Christians 28. The number of houses occupied is 711 and unoccupied 93.

The collection of revenue is made by Mr. Brown, who also exercises petty judicial powers usually inherent in the village head. The late Mr. F. C. Brown was appointed by Government to be an Honorary Magistrate of the First Class, and the High Court was also moved to issue in his name a Commission of the Peace. (Vide G.O. No. 1315, dated 14th September 1865.)

Mr. Murdoch Brown, son of Mr. F. C. Brown, was appointed by Government, in 1869, to be an Honorary Magistrate in the Chirakkal taluk with the powers of a Subordinate Magistrate of the Second Class (G.O. No. 52, dated 12th January 1869). The only paid public establishment at Anjarakandi is that of the Sub-Registrar of Assurances at that station.

Commentary                MMVol 1               MMVol 2

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