This, the head-quarter taluk of the zamindari of the same name, lies on the '2,000 feet plateau,' which is made up of this taluk and Naurangpur. It is bounded on the north by the Indrávati, west by the Koláb river and Bastar State, east by the ' 3,000 feet plateau,' and south by the drop down into Malkanagiri taluk. Along this descent, and also in the west round about Rámagiri, is much excellent sál forest, but the greater part of the taluk consists of a flat plain dotted with a few small hills and chiefly cultivated with paddy watered by the ample rainfall, which averages 75 inches and is the heaviest in the district. The people, over nine-tenths of whom speak Uriya, are more numerous to the square mile here than in any other part of the Agency.
The more interesting places in the taluk are the following: —
Guptésvara Cave : On the bank of the Koláb, about nine miles west of Rámagiri by a path which leads through wild sál jungle, is a cave near the top of a limestone hill about 500 feet higher than the surrounding country. It is approached by a modern flight of steps flanked with lines of trees and the entrance is about nine feet wide and eight high. Facing this, near the centre of a roughly circular chamber about ten feet high and forty feet square, is a natural boulder somewhat resembling a iingam, which is held very holy and is called Guptésvara, 'the hidden Siva,' because it was there for generations before any man knew of it. It is said to have been first discovered in the time of Vira Vikramti Deo, Rája of Jeypore from 1637 to 1669, who established the great feast in its honour which is still held every Sivarátri and is under the special patronage of his descendants. The place is now popularly declared to have been the scene of several of the episodes in the Rámáyana. Behind the lingam, the cave slopes downwards into the hill, and becomes very dark. Here are several stalactites, two of which form natural pillars while another is supposed to resemble the sacred cow Kámadhénu. From the udders of this latter water drips at long intervals, and pilgrims sit with their hands spread out beneath, waiting intently to catch a drop when it falls. There are several other caves in the limestone through which the Koláb winds its way at this point, but none so famous. Jeypore, 'the city of victory' the capital of the taluk and the zamindari and the place of residence of the Mahárája, is a union of 6,689 inhabitants and is most picturesquely situated close under the western slopes of the 3,000 feet plateau, at the bottom of an irregular amphitheatre formed of its wooded spurs. The place consists of one wide street — some 25 yards broad and running north and south, along which stand all the public offices and some good private residences — and a few lanes on the western side of this. At the northern end of the street are the bungalows of Dr. J. Marsh, tutor to the Mahárája's son, of the Forest Officer of the estate, and of the members of the Schleswig-Holstein Lutheran Mission while at the southern end stand the Mahárája's palace, a large temple to Rámachandrasvámi facing it, and, beyond, in an extensive rose-garden, the new palace which was built about 1895 while the estate was under management during the present Mahárája's minority, but is now considered an unlucky residence and is used only as a guest-house.
Immediately west of the town is a great tank a mile long and half a mile wide, which never dries up and is kept as a sanctuary for wildfowl, large Hocks of which swim fearlessly about it. West of this again are extensive groves of ancient mangoes and from the circular road through these is obtained the fairest view of Jeypore -in the foreground the tank, reflecting every tint of the sky above it; behind, the steep wooded line of the higher plateau; and in the middle distance the town itself, almost hidden amid its numerous trees, with the white tops of the main gate of the palace rising above the mass of foliage.
Both the town and the palace have been immensely improved in late years. In 1855 the former was described as being ' a most wretched place, there being scarcely half a dozen tiled houses, and those of the most inferior description. . . . There is not an artisan in the place, save one carpenter, and he a Telugu man and not a native of the country.' The palace was then 'a paltry collection of tiled buildings in bad repair in a court-yard surrounded by a mud wall.'
Since the opening of the Pottangi ghát road and the roads to Naurangpur and to Bastar through Borigummaand Kótapád (see pp. 139 and 141), the town has risen in importance, as nearly all the produce of the 2,000 feet plateau passes through it on the way to the coast. In the busy part of the export season hundreds of carts enter and leave it every day. A Musalman has opened a tannery in it and others of the same faith have started shops where all sorts of commodities can be obtained. The daily market under the palace walls is thronged with a collection of hill people from the surrounding villages selling fish, vegetables, bamboos and the like and wearing quaint dresses and ornaments which are in startling contrast to those of the Telugu immigrants from the low country who may be seen purchasing from them. The palace is surrounded no longer by a mud wall, but by a high masonry erection put up by the present Mahárája, which is entered by an imposing three-storeyed gateway known (like all other front entrances in the Jeypore country) as 'the Lion Gate,' Within, one block of masonry buildings has already been completed and an even larger one is in course of construction. But though it is advancing with the times, Jeypore still suffers from its remoteness from the outer world, and is a sleepy hollow where leisurely ways are the fashion.
It is malarious (partly, perhaps, because the only water-supply is from tainted tanks and wells) but in this respect also it has greatly improved. When British officers were first appointed in the Jeypore estate in 1863, this place was made their headquarters; but so greatly did they all suffer from malaria that it was reported in 1869 that 'no officer in the northern division will come up unless compelled to do so. Neither the Assistant Agent nor Superintendents of Police over stay a day longer than they are absolutely obliged to do, and the consequence is that work is carried on anyhow, and the only wonder is that it has been possible to keep matters going at all.' The native staff suffered every wit as much, and it was said that 'no decently qualified person will accept the post of sub-magistrate, which entails a broken constitution and enforced retirement at the end of six months.' In 1870, accordingly, the head-quarters of the European officers were transferred to Koraput and the sub-magistrate was stationed at Kótapád, where he remained until about 1882.
The great event of the year in Jeypore is the Dasara feast, which lasts for sixteen days and includes several ceremonies in honour of the goddess Kanaka ('golden') Durga whoso temple is within the palace walls. The image of this goddess (other names for whom are Káli and Tákuráni) is said in the Jeypore family chronicles to have been originally captured at the end of the fifteenth century from the great Purushóttama Déva of Orissa (see p. 28) when he was returning through the Jeypore country after his conquest of Conjeeveram. Human sacrifices used to be made to the goddess. The reports of the Meriah Agents say that in 1861 a kidnapped girl of about twelve years of age was offered up to her in the hope of staying an epidemic of cholera in the town. Nowadays sheep and goats take the place of human victims, but the flowers with which they are decked beforehand, which are brought specially from Nandapuram in Pottangi taluk, the old capital of the estate, are still known as meriah pushpa.
Sheep and goats are sacrificed on each of the first thirteen days of the Dasara and on the fourteenth some buffaloes as well. On that day, which is known in consequence as the Bodo Uppano ('great offerings') day, the Mahárája, dressed in white, himself visits the goddess' shrine and then holds, from a white throne, a darbar which is attended by the bollo loko (courtiers) and lampatas (servants) and others, while the senior Maháráni (called the Patta Mahádévi) does the same after him, receiving bhét (presents) from the ladies who attend. On the sixteenth, or Sanno Uppano ('little offerings'), day the Mahárája, who this time is dressed in scarlet, worships the goddess in the Darbar hall of the palace and holds, from a scarlet throne, a darbar at which bhéts are offered. Neither of these thrones are used except at the Dasara. It is customary for the Mahárája's feudal retainers to come into Jeypore with their followers to pay their respects at this second darbar, and many of the inams and mokhásas in the estate (see, for example, the account of Bissamkatak above) have been granted on the express condition that the grantees do this annual service.
On the eighteenth day, preceded by the goddess Kanaka Durga and a white flag which was captured long ago from the troops of Bastar in one of the many skirmishes which took place with that State, the Mahárája and his son, seated in ambáris on elephants and followed by the European and other officials of the place in howdahs on other elephants, go in procession to the Dasara poda in a mango grove to the north of the town. There worship is paid to the goddess by the Mahárája and afterwards the crowd proceed to shoot a brinjal off the top of a long bamboo. This custom is followed at Dasara all over the Northern Circars and the country west of them, and is supposed to symbolise the general rejoicings which took place when Durga succeeded in overcoming the buffalo-headed demon Mahishásura.
The family chronicles, a résumé of which has been kindly furnished by the Mahárája, ascribe a very ancient origin to the line of the Jeypore zamindars. Beginning with Kanakaséna of the solar race, a general and feudatory of the king of Kashmir, they trace the pedigree through thirty-two generations down to Vínáyaka Deo, a younger son who left Kashmir rather than hold a subordinate position, went to Benares, did penance to Kási Visvésvarasvámi there, and was told by the god in a dream to go to the kingdom of Nandapuram belonging to the Silavamsam line, of which he would become king. Vínáyaka Deo, continue the legends, proceeded thither, married the king's daughter, succeeded in 1443 A.D. to the famous throne of 32 steps there, and founded the family of Jeypore.1 His dates and those of his descendants (all of whom bore the title of Deo) may be quoted here at once for reference: —
|His son Vijaya Chandrakhya||1476-1510|
|His son Bhairava||1510-27|
|His son Visvanádha||1527-71|
|His son Balaráma I||1571-97|
|His son Yesvanta||1597-1637|
|His son Vira Vikrama||1637-69|
|His son Krishna||1669-72|
|His son Visvambara I||1672-76|
|His brother Mallakimardhana Krishna||1676-81|
|His brother Hari||1681-84|
|His brother Balaráma II||1684-86|
|His adopted son Raghunátha Krishna||1686-1708|
|His son Rámachandra I||1708-11|
|His brother Balaráma III||1711-13|
|His brother Visvambara II||1713-52|
|His step-brother Lála Krishna||1752-58|
|His brother Vikrama I||1758-81|
|His son Rámachandra II||1781-1825|
|His son Vikrama I||1825-60|
|His son Rámachandra III||1860-89|
|His son Vikrama III||1889|
Not long after his accession, some of his subjects rose against him, but he recovered his position with the help of a leader of Brinjáris; and ever since then, in grateful recognition, his descendants have appended to their signatures a wavy line (called valatradu) which represents the rope with which Brinjáris tether their cattle.
Vináyaka Deo and his six successors, say the family papers, had each only one son; and the sixth of them, Víra Vikrama (1637-69) accordingly resolved to remove his residence elsewhere. The astrologers and wise men reported that the present Jeypore was 'a place of the Kshatriya class' and it was accordingly made the capital and named after the famous Jeypore of the north. Víra Vikrama's possessions at this time included not only the ountry now comprised in the Jeypore zamindari but also the strip of land which lies at the base of the Gháts, and even, it is averred, places as far east of them as Potnúru and Bhógapuram. He paid a tribute of Rs. 24,000 to the king of Golconda. In 1664 one of that king's family invaded the Jeypore hills on some pretext, but the affair ended happily, Víra Vikrama being given by the king in the following year a sword, ensigns and standards, and likewise a copper grant (which is still preserved in the Jeypore palace) conferring upon him certain titles, among them that of Mahárája.
Visvambara Deo I (1672-76)) was the originator of the feudal system of which traces still survive in Jeypore. He divided his possessions into a series of estates in charge of each of which he placed some faithful retainer (often conferring on him at the same time some high-sounding title) who was made responsible for its peace and order and required to acknowledge his suzerain's authority by appearing, when called upon, with a certain armed force. Several of the existing zamindars, as will be seen later on in this chapter, trace their origin to the feudal lordlings then appointed, but the only one of them from whom any similar service is still required by Jeypore is the Tát Rája of Bissamkatak.
In the time of Mallakimardhana Krishna Deo (1676-81), the chronicles relate, the French attacked Jeypore but were beaten off with the loss of a number of cannon. Fourteen cannon, said to be those captured on this occasion, are still in the palace at Jeypore, but they contain no marks by which they can be identified as French.
Rámachandra Deo I (1708-11) quarrelled with his younger brother, the Balaráma Deo III who eventually succeeded him, and the latter established an independent principality with its capital at Náráyanapatnam, to the west of Párvatípur, and continued to reside in that village when he came into the estate. Some of the outlying portions of his possessions passed to the Rájas of Vizianagram, who were fast rising to great power in the low country. His brother Visvambara Deo II, who succeeded him in 1713. was also a weak ruler. He likewise lived at Náráyanapatnam and is said to have dug tanks and wells there, dammed the Janjhávati to supply them with water, and made a big seraglio for his numerous wives and mistresses. The spot where the latter committed sati at his death is still pointed out and is known, as sati garbha. It lies within the ruins of the old fort, and not far off is a curious old cannon, of great length and made by shrinking successive rings of iron on to a central iron core.
In 1752 Lála Krishna Deo came into the estate, but the succession was soon afterwards claimed by his brother Vikrama Deo. Viziaráma Rázu, Rája of Vizianagram, sided with the latter; drove out Lála Krishna, who retired to Kalyána Singapur; 1 but obtained as the price of his assistance the fiefs of Mádgole, Kásipuram, Andra, Sálúr, Páchipenta, Chemudu, Belgám, Sangamvalasa, Kurupám and Mérangi, all of which were then held by rassah of Jeypore.
In 1768, three years after the English had obtained the Northern Circars, Viziaráma Rázu wrote 2 to the Government of Madras stating that in 1752 Salábat Jang, Subadar of the Deccan, had granted him the Jeypore country as-a jaghir on an annual payment of Rs. 24,000, and asking that the grant might be renewed. He produced an English translation of the sanad, and this set out that the villages of Casseypatnam (Kásipuram), Nandapore (Nandapuram), Maulgal (Mádgole), etc., amounting to 24,000 Rupees 'were' assigned by way of Jaggeer to Rajah Viziaramraz Manna Sultan.' Manna Sultan may mean 'Lord of the hills,' but Mr. Grant (in his Political Survey of the Northern Circars appended to the Fifth Report on the affairs of the E. I. Co.) translates it 'King of the Jungles' and says it was conferred on Viziaráma, in derision, but at the request of Bussy, by Salábat Jang. In. September 1768 3 the Madras Government, in consideration of the past services of the Rája to them, decided to 'confirm him in the possession of the Jagueer he has requested, so long as he continues obedient to the Company's Authority and exerts himself in promoting their influence in the Circar,' but the cowle issued accordingly in March 1769 merely granted and confirmed to him and his heirs 'the said revenue of Rs. '24,000 issuing out of the said Districts of Casseypatnam, Nandaporam and Maulgal.'
In 1775,4 while disturbances were occurring in Kimedi, Vikrama Deo of Jeypore assembled a force in the Ráyagada valley and threatened to support the malcontents, so Captain Richard Mathews, commanding the Northern Circars, accompanied by some of the sibbandis of the Vizianagram Rája, marched to Jeypore. His report states that Vikrama Deo ' came and agreed to surrender the Fort and quit all pretensions to the several passes leading into the Circar, requesting that he might be suffered to keep the Country to the Westward of them; I took possession of the Fort on the 11th March. It is a square of about one Thousand yards built of Mud. The wall 20 feet high, the Bastions very good, the Rampart tolerable, and a ditch 20 feet wide and as many deep; I have ordered it to be destroyed.' The ruins of it may still be seen to the east of Jeypore village in what is known as 'old Jeypore.' The demolition was carried out by the sibbandis from Vizianagram, who were afterwards put in charge of all the passes.
Mr. Oram's report of 1784 and the report of the same year of the Committee of Circuit, of which he was one of the members, state that the frequent revolts and disturbances of the Jeyporeans soon afterwards decided the Vizianagram Rája to hand back the whole country to Vikrama Deo for an annual sum of Rs. 40,000, of which no more than three-fourths was ever paid. This restoration was apparently effected before 1777, as in that year (see p. 274) we find the Jeypore Rája assisting the Bastar chief to regain his throne.
The Committee said that the Rája of Vizianagram none the less claimed before them that the Jeypore country was his jaghir, producing as evidence of his assertion the cowle of 1769 above mentioned. 'After an attentive perusal and investigation of his pretensions,' they wrote, 'we observe that the cowle, which is to be regarded as the only substantial authority, does not assign to him the whole District in possession, but only admits the payment of Rs. 24,000 therefrom, as an inheritance during the Zamindar's. good conduct and obedience to the Company.' The Committee accordingly proposed to constitute Jeypore into a separate zamindari with a peshkash of Rs. 35,000, arguing 'that these lands being so entirely dependent on Vizianagram is not only in appearance derogatory and detrimental to the Company's interest and authority, but actually dangerous from the retreat it affords the guilty in cases of insurrection, from the command of troops and the only accessible passes that it leaves in the hands of that Zamindar.'
The suggestion was not adopted, and the position remained unchanged until Viziaráma Rázu was killed by the Company's troops at Padmanábham (see p. 53) in 1794. To reward the Jeypore family for holding aloof from the Vizianagram party in the disturbances which followed, Lord Hobart gave the then Rája, Rámachandra Deo II, a permanent sanad of the usual kind granting the estate to him and his heirs in perpetuity on payment of a peshkash of Rs. 25,000. When the permanent settlement was introduced in 1803, this sum was reduced to Rs. 16,000. 1 In addition, Rs. 3,000 is paid for the pargana of Kótapád referred to below.
From 1803 to 1848 Jeypore remained an almost unknown country to the officers of the district. Once, when the Rája was behindhand with his peshkash and a military expedition seemed to be the only way of making him pay up, 'the Government proposed to transfer the zamindari to the Nagpur State, but the offer was declined.'2 In 1848 great complaints reached Vizagapatam of the feebleness of the Rája, Vikrama Deo II, and the tyranny and misrule of his managers. Large bodies of ryots found their way to the coast and represented the country to be the scene of plunder, murder and rapine. At last the Rája's officials were driven out of the Gunupur taluk and disturbances of some importance immediately arose. The faction opposed to Vikrama Deo (whose avowed object was to remove him) was headed by his eldest son (a youth of thirteen who was afterwards Rámachandra Deo III) and the latter's mother, the Patta Mahádévi; and their following comprised the most influential muttadars of the country.
Both parties agreed to abide by the decision of the Agent regarding the dispute, and in April 1849 Mr. Smollett accordingly set out for Párvatípur. He was met there by the son, who travelled with great pomp of elephants, palanquins and horses and a guard of 1,000 matchlock men, , while the Rája was represented by some of his officers. A compromise suggested by the Agent was accepted by neither party, and, to prevent further anarchy, Mr. Smollett attached the four tánas of Gunupur, Ráyagada, Náráyanapatnam and Alamanda.
Not long afterwards he arranged to meet both father and son together; and after wearisome and protracted negotiations a reconciliation was effected and the attachment withdrawn. A breach, however, soon ensued, and on the 16th September 1849 the son seized his father and the latter's chief servants and confined them all in the fort at Ráyagada. They were released by a company of sibbandis under Captain Haly, but the old man's authority was completely gone and the villagers would not even bring him any food. A second reconciliation was afterwards effected and it was agreed that Gunupur should be attached and that the revenues thereof should be devoted to paying off the Rája's debts and liquidating the arrears of peshkash. The Rája appears to have lost all self-control at this point, and to have sunk into the deepest abasement. He did not return to his capital, but allowed his son to proceed thither and administer all his affairs. He himself remained on at Náráyanapatnam, deserted by his servants, given up to the most besotted sensuality, and subsisting on the charity of the villagers, 'who were heartily tired of his residence among them.'
In 1855 Jeypore affairs again attracted attention, the existence in the zamindari of the practice of sati being brought to notice. Mr. Smollett reported that cases were frequent; that moreover, owing to Vikrama Deo's incapacity, the country was in a state of complete anarchy; that the Rája's younger son had seized Gunupur; and that the only means of ensuring security to life and property was to post a European officer to Jeypore. Vikrama Deo was sounded regarding this suggestion and in reply wrote a long letter promising to stop all crime in the country, asserting his competence to rule, and earnestly deprecating the interference of Government. Meanwhile, however, the retainers of his two sons had come to blows over the seizure of Gunupur and a severe fight had occurred. In July 1855 Government authorized the Agent to assume 'the control, both police and revenue, of the tracts above the ghats, the taluks below being managed by the agency direct.' Lord Dalhousie, however, was then at Ootacamund and objected, considering that the step was likely to 'involve the British Government in a protracted jungle and hill war, such as that of Gúmsur.' Mr. Smollett protested that the two cases were in no way parallel, but no further action was taken until Vikrama Deo's death in 1860.
The Agent, Mr. Fane, then revived Mr. Smollett's proposal; this was ultimately sanctioned; and in January 1863 Lieutenant Smith was located at Jeypore as Assistant Agent and Captain Galbraith as Assistant Superintendent of Police. Some hostility was evinced at first to the arrangement, and it was necessary to deport, under agency warrants, two leading malcontents, both ex-díwáns of the estate. Nor was this astonishing. 'Truth to say,' as Mr. Carmichael, then Agent, wrote in 1864, 'we are working out in Jeypore an experiment which has never been tried before. Eighty years of independent native misrule have been succeeded at once, without compromise and without any exhibition of military or semi-military force, by an administration which aims at the same completeness as prevails in our oldest provinces.'
Vikrama Deo's son RámaChandra Deo III held the estate until his death on 27th August 1889. • He was a man of much character and considerable ability, and though his property was incredibly mismanaged in some respects, in others he showed prudence and foresight. Had his education and training been such as to allow of his going into details, he would probably have administered his estate admirably. He was immensely popular with his people, with whom he mixed very freely and to whom his great liberality justly endeared him.' His son, the present Mahárája, Vikrama Deo III, was born in 1875 and so was a minor at the time of his father's death, and the estate was taken under the management of Government under the agency rules. The taluks above the gháts were put in charge of Mr. H. D. Taylor, I.C.S. (who held the post until the property was eventually handed back) and the others were managed by a Deputy Collector. The minor was educated under the care of Dr. J. Marsh, who had already been his tutor for some time, and in February 1893 married the eldest daughter of the Rája of Udaipur, a native state in Chota Nagpur. A son, Rámachandra, was born to him on the last day of the same year and is now being educated at Jeypore by Dr. Marsh.
Tho estate was handed back on the 27th November 1895 with a balance of some 7½ lakhs in Government paper and another lakh in cash, besides Rs. 1,05,000 which had been lent to the Sálúr estate and Rs. 3,53,500 secured by the mortgage of half of Mádgole. The accounts had been systematized, the forest revenue increased, saw mills put up at Mattupáda near Rámagiri, granaries built to receive the large amount of rent which is paid in kind, nearly a lakh spent on improving communications, the 'new Mahál' in the palace completed, the other palace above referred to practically finished, the tána establishments reorganized, and the former guards replaced by a small body of well-drilled and well-armed men. The minor's mother's eyesight was also restored by a successful operation on the cataract from which she was suffering. The title of Mahárája was conferred on the Rája as a personal distinction in 1896.
The Jeypore zamindari is scheduled as impartible and inalienable in Act II of 1904 and is divided for purposes of administration into the upper (or Jeypore) and the lower (or Gunupur) divisions, which are each administered by a manager (stationed at Jeypore and Párvatípur respectively) subordinate to the díwán. The upper division consists of the tánas of Jeypore, Koraput, Nandapuram, Rámagiri, Malkanagiri, Kótapád, Umarkót, Bhairava Singapur and Naurangpur; and the lower of those of Ganupur. Gudári, Ráyagada, Kalyána Singapur and Náráyanapatnam. In addition there are certain scattered villages in other parts of the district, and half of the Mádgole estate (68 villages) has been mortgaged (see p. 322) to Jeypore. The net income from all sources is some seven lakhs per annum. The land revenue is highest in Gunupur, Kótapád and Ráyagada, and lowest in Rámagiri and Malkanagiri. Each tána is divided into vaguely defined muttas and is in charge of an ámin (also styled a nigamán) under whom are revenue inspectors, sometimes called samntdars. The village establishments consist of the headman, or naik, and certain menials called bárikes, chelláns or gondas, and they are remunerated by the profits of cultivating certain land set aside in each village for them, and called 'the naik's land,' or by grain fees from the villagers. In Khond villages the headman is called the majji or sámanto and in Savara villages the gomángo. These people also have a kind of spokesman called the péshini, who arranges matters with officials. Round about Naurangpur, headmen of big villages are sometimes called báranaiks, which literally means head of twelve villages.
The land revenue is administered on methods which are without a parallel in other Madras districts and are interesting from the survival of the ancient feudal spirit which they exhibit. No survey or settlement has ever been carried out; and though in the lower division a good deal of the land is held on ryotwari tenure most of that above the Gháts is administered under a village-rent system called mustájari. The mustájars, or renters of the villages, are very usually the naiks. They are yearly tenants and receive pattas (locally known as cowles) from, and give muchilikas (kadapás) to, the Mahárája; but the amounts they pay vary but little from year to year and often the same mustájar holds his village for a long term. They send in no accounts. In theory they are merely agents for the collection of the revenue, being remunerated by being allowed to cultivate, rent free, a certain definite piece of land ear-marked for the purpose) by immemorial custom. They are supposed to have no power to eject ryots or enhance their sists, though they may profit by the sist of any land newly brought under cultivation during their lease. In practice, however, it is admittedly difficult to prevent them from oppressing their ryots and levying forced labour for the cultivation of their own lands; while the fact that the villagers have no occupancy right in their fields renders the latter unwilling to sink money in permanent improvements. The uncertainty of their tenure, however, confers the advantage that they lose little by emigrating elsewhere, and emigration is the time-honoured remedy for over-assessment. In this sparsely-peopled country the land-owner wants every ryot he can get, and is careful not to provoke any of them into betaking themselves to a rival estate.
The sist is paid either in cash or kind, cash rents being commoner on the 3,000 feet plateau (where the crops are mostly dry) and in the lower division than on the 2,000 feet plateau of Jeypore itself, where so much paddy is raised. The grain received as rent is stored in huge granaries at Jeypore, Kótapád, Naurangpur and other places and held up until prices are high and then sold to traders from the plains. It would fetch better prices if the sample were not so mixed. The assessment is generally a certain sum on each plough and hoe used. This usually varies from Rs. 6 to Rs. 2 per plough and from as. 4 to as 8 per hoe, according to the quality of the soil and the accessibility of the village. There is a vague understanding as to the amount of wet land covered by the assessment for a plough, but on dry land a ryot may cultivate as much as he likes when he has paid his assessment for his implement. The ámins have power to vary the rates and they also fix the amounts to be paid for the hill-cultivation called kondapódu (see p. 111). In the old days the assessments used to include a number of miscellaneous items, such as stated quantities of oil, ghee, skins, arrowroot and so on; but when the estate was under Government management these were very generally commuted into money payments. The only important item of this kind which survives is the grass sist in certain tánas of the upper division The ryots there are required to pay part of their assessments in thatching-grass, which is difficult to get and is necessary for the annual repair of the estate buildings.
The Jeypore ryots are undoubtedly far more lightly assessed than their brethren in the zamindaris on the plains, but they are casual in their methods of cultivation Except in the Singapur tána and the Wondragedda mutta, there is no irrigation; and the latter is the only place in the upper division where two crops are raised. In the Koraput and Nandapuram taluks the ryots are often, also, deeply in debt to the Sondi liquor-sellers and bound down to them under the góti system referred to on p. 109 above.
Besides the ordinary, or jeráyati, land, the estate includes certain dévadáyam, or temple, property which is managed by the Mahárája direct. There are likewise numerous inams and mokhásas held on favourable rates, in which the grantees deal directly and independently with their ryots. These are apparently of three main kinds; namely, gift (dáno) or agraháram, mokhása and service; but the last two terms are often used as interchangeable. The local customs regarding their devolution and liability to resumption are said to be unusual, but have never been authoritatively set out. Dáno grants are made to one man only, agrahárams to a set of people in fixed shares. Both usually pass to the next heir, whether direct or not. The payment due to the Mahárája is called tonki. Mokhásas were usually granted in favour of the Rájas' relations or other persons of rank and generally lapse on failure of direct heirs. The payment due on them is called kattubadi but on 'sarva mokhásas ' nothing is due. Service inams are mostly hereditary and can only, except as a matter of grace, be held by direct male descendants in the eldest line of the original grantee. The payments made for them are known as kattubadi or talapu díwáni and the services required are very various. Besides the common condition already mentioned, requiring the grantee to appear with a certain number of retainers at the Dasara darbar, they sometimes include such minor duties as doing worship to certain deities, supplying the Mahárája with household necessaries and performing domestic service in the palace. The Uriya pátros (pátro is a title conferred by former Rájas) were service inamdars, and some of them (such as he of Sirdarpur) pay their dues to the Maharaja direct, while others (like the pátros of Jagdalpur and Ambadála under the Tát Rája of Bissamkatak) pay it to their immediate feudal superior.
None of these inams were dealt with at the time of the Inam Settlement. While the estate was under management title-deeds were called for and checked, but in the majority of cases the inamdars were unable to produce any deeds at all. It was decided that in the case of inams granted subsequent to the permanent settlement the desirability of resumption was a matter which,except in very clear cases, was best left to the decision of the Mahárája when he came of age.
Besides his income from land and forests and the tribute from Bissamkatak (see p. 233) the Mahárája receives a certain revenue from bhéts. These Were originally Dasara offerings, and now include sums paid on the formal grant of titles (such as Visvása Rai, Bakshi Bahádur and many others) and the bestowal of special privileges such as the right to travel in a palanquin, ride on a horse or wear a sacred thread.) Kótapád: Twenty-five miles in a straight line north-west of Jeypore; population 3,154. Is the residence of an ámín of the Jeypore estate and a station of the Schleswig-Holstein Lutheran Mission, and was formerly the head-quarters of the sub-magistrate of Jeypore taluk. It lies on the important main road (through Borigumma) from Jeypore to Jagdalpur, the capital of Bastar, in a wonderful level expanse of rich rain-fed paddy-fields,diversified by topes and bounded on the east by a low line of scattered hills, which extend for miles and form the most important granary in all Jeypore. The village itself is well drained and stands in open ground on laterite soil, and so is a healthy spot. To the west of it is the great Damayanti tank, a picturesque sheet of water.
The place gives its name to the Kótapád pargana, a portion of the Jeypore zamindari which was long held on different terms from the rest of the estate and has an interesting history. It consists of the five garhs or forts of Kótapád, Churuchúnda, Poragarh, Umarkót and Raigarh, the country subject to which runs along the Bastar frontier from about ten miles north of Jeypore town for 80 miles northwards, and has an average breadth of 30 miles and an area of some 2,500 square miles.
In 1777 1 the Chief of Bastar was driven out of his dominions by his brother and took refuge in Jeypore. The Rája of that place assisted him to recover his territories and in return, on 6th April 1778, the Bastar Chief ceded to Jeypore these five garhs, free of rent and on certain conditions, among which was the stipulation that Bastar should be entitled to collect in the pargana a tax, called mahádán, of Es. 25 on every 100 bullock-loads of merchandise imported or exported. In 1782 hostilities broke out between Bastar and Jeypore in consequence of the latter having neglected to fulfil certain of these conditions, and the Bastar forces recaptured three of the garhs. The Bastar Chief, however, was in arrear with his tribute to his suzerains, the Maráthas, and their troops came and sequestered all five of the garhs. It is alleged that in 1811 the Marátha deputy, Rámchanda Wágh, granted all five to the Rája of Jeypore under a new sanad, on certain conditions. However this may be, they have since remained in the possession of his descendants. Bastar was by no means pleased, and the quarrels and mutual raids and reprisals between the two chiefs kept that part of the country in a perpetual state of anarchy for years, and obliged Jeypore to maintain garrisons of Uriya paiks at each of the five forts. Correspondence regarding the right to the pargana also occurred at intervals throughout the first half of the last century between the Madras Government and the authorities at Nagpur, and the question was not finally set at rest until in 1862 the Government of India ruled that it should be left to the management of Jeypore in the same manner as the rest of that zamindari, and ordered (in 1863 1 that the Jeypore Rája should pay Rs. 3,000 per annum for it, being compensation to Bastar for the cessation of the right to collect mahádán. 'After this adjudication everything promised fair: the rabble of spearmen kept up by Jeypore at Kótapád and other frontier villages was dispersed; the ryot ploughed the land and got in his harvests without molestation; in short, the land had peace for the first time, perhaps since 1777.' But this fair promise was belied on several subsequent occasions.
The Rs. 3,000 was for many years paid with the rest of the Jeypore peshkash and remitted by the Vizagapatam officers to the Government of the Central Provinces, and the latter paid Rs. 2,000 of it to the Bastar Chief and kept the other Rs. 1,000 because in 1819 a remission of Bastar tribute to this amount had been made in consideration of the alienation of the pargana.
The pargana was not included in the sanad granted to the Rája of Jeypore at the permanent settlement in 1803 and the Rs. 3,000 was not in any sense peshkash, Jeypore thus held the Kótapád pargana free of any peshkash at all.
This fact was brought to notice in 1888; the Rs. 3,000 was ordered to be credited to Madras, and not Central Provinces revenues; and the question as to the amount of peshkash which should be levied was raised. After considerable correspondence a provisional sanad was granted to the Mahárája in 1897 which treated the pargana as an estate held in perpetuity upon a quit-rent liable to revision from time to time, and provided for his paying for twenty years an annual quit-rent, liable to subsequent revision and in addition to the Rs. 3,000 already being paid, of Rs. 13,666, or one-fifth of the total revenue demand, gradually decreasing deductions being provided for in the first ten years on account of the cost of certain semi-military paiks which had been maintained in the pargana and were to be gradually done away with.
The Mahárája appealed against this decision on the grounds that the pargana was a feudatory state, and not part of British India, and so could not be assessed to quit-rent; and that the arrangement of 1863 was permanent. In 1899 the Government of India overruled both pleas but directed that the quit-rent should be inclusive of, and not in addition to, the Rs. 3,000. A revised sanad was accordingly granted in 1900. The Mahárája, however, appealed to the Secretary of State, who, while holding that Kótapád was part of British India, ordered that the arrangement of 1863 should be adhered to. Thus only Rs. 3,000 is now paid for the pargana.
- 1 Mr. Oram's report of 1784 on the estate says that the family is descended from a Rája who was a favourite of an ancient king of Jagannáth and sovereign of the Northern Circars, and was given his daughter in marriage and this tributary principality as her dower.
- 1 Family papers. Mr. Oram's report of 1784 says he fled to the Marathaa.
- 2 Madras records, Military, Country Correspondence, Vol. XVI, 228.
- 3 Minutes of Consultation of 30th September 1768.
- 4 Extract from Military Consultations for that year.
- 1 Government's letter to the Board, dated 22nd October 1803, para. 20.
- 2 Mr. Russell's report of 18th November 1834, para. 70.
- 1 Government of India's letter in G.O., No. 2075, Judicial, dated 20th December 1862, which contains a history of the case up to then.
- 1 Government of India's letter in G.O., No. 1697, Judicial, dated 5th October 1863.