Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Dahsala System (Zabti System) Introduced by Raja Todarmal Under Akbar Reign

The Dahsala or Zabti System was introduced under the reign of Akbar in the year 1580-82 in order to put a check on the problems that were arising due to fixing prices each year and revenue settlement of the last year.

This system was basically developed by Raja Todarmal who was the finance minister at that time during Mugal Empire in India.

Under the Dahsala or Zabti System, there was no ten years settlement on the crops.

In fact the settlement was based on the average prices and produces during the last ten years.

1/3rd share of the average crop production was apportioned to the state.

This system was basically in practice during Shershah Suri but was honed perfectly during Akbar’s reign.

The system prevailed from Allahabad to Lahore and in the provinces of Gujrat and Malwa.

It is to be noted that the system of land revenue became very popular and continued for a very long time.

The crops yields and the prices for a continuous period of 10 years was comprehended and analyzed properly.

A comprehensive survey was undertaken and on the basis of which a fixed amount of tax was levied on each crop all in cash money.

Provinces were sub divided into dastur or revenue circles with own revenue rates.

Only those areas where the Mughals are able to survey the land were kept under this new revenue system and places like Bengal and Gujarat were kept out of this new system.

The Dahsala System was an improvement of the Zabti System and the agricultural land was classified into 4 different categories namely:

Banjar: It is the land where no cultivation has been done for 5 or more years
Chachar: It is the land that has been left follow for 3-4 years.
Parauti: It is the land left aside to become fertile again
Polaj: It is a fertile land where cultivation is done every year and  not left fallow

The Parauti and Chachar lands were further divided into 3 sub categories namely bad, middling and good.

The average production of all these 3 categories were sum totaled as the normal production of one bigha.

Parauti land offered the same amount of revenue like Polaj land when cultivated properly.

For the past 10 years, i.e., from the period 1570 to 1580, the area cultivated, price and yield of every single agricultural land of each locality was inspected.

On that basis, the demand of the state was fixed in terms of rupees per bigha.

Since the Dahsala Zabti System was associated with Raja Todarmal, it is also called Todarmal's Bandobust settlement system.

It is to be noted that this revenue system was extended on a larger scale during the reign of Shah Jahan .

Whereas it was introduced by Murshid Quli Khan in Deccan.

The Zabti or Dahsala System of Raja Todarmal has been described by the historians under the following headings below:

The total revenue was collected in the form of cash money

The agricultural land has to be properly measured under this system

Dastur commonly known as fixed cash revenue rates were fixed for each crop

From the administrative point of view, the Zabti or Dahsala System had a number of merits and the same is discussed below:

As permanent or fixed dastur systems were in place, there was no scope for fluctuation or uncertainties in levying of land revenue.

One can easily recheck or re-ascertain the measurement.

Because of the fixed dasturs, the local officers did not have any discretion or power to misuse their position and the corruption came to a minimum level.

However, there were some limitations or demerits of the Zabti or Dahsala System of Raja Todarmal that has been listed below:

Most of the times, the farmers did not have the strength to bear the Zabti and as a result of which the local officials captured one third of the crops as revenue.

If there was no proper yield from the crops, the farmers were at loss because they were at the firing end of bearing the loss or risk.

There were instances when the agricultural land was fraudulently recorded by the local officers and in this way the local authority misused this system.

This method was quite expensive because a cess called zabitana or one dam per bigha was spared in order to bear the entire cost in the maintenance of the measurement of party.

The Dahsala or Zabti System of Raja Todermal did in fact simplify the revenue system.

The peasants paid on the basis of local prices and local produces and there was no ten year or permanent land settlement system in use.

The system was adopted in the major provinces of Mughal Empire namely Agra, Awadh, Delhi and Multan.


  1. Replies
    1. Because this system was very complex and also successful k/n as zabti and dahsala system. This system was successful only mughal period that was well successful in Akbar period

  2. why did the system come to an end. i believe it could still prevail

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