Raja Todar Mal who is thought of as one of the first statisticians in India by the historians, was the finance minister of Mughal emperor Akbar. He is best known for introduction of land measurements, dahasala system and karori / crori system in revenue administration of Akbar.
The Mughal revenue administration, for the sake of convenience, was divided into subas or provinces which, in turn, were divided into sarkars or districts and further divided into parganas or sub‐ districts. A pargana or sub‐district was made up of a large number of villages .The genesis of Akbar’s revenue system can be traced to Sher Shah Suri ‘s. Sher Shah Suri established per bigha yield system popularly known as rai for lands which had been under continuous cultivation (called polaj), or those land which had rarely been allowed to lie fallow (called parauti).
Sher Shah’rai system was based on three rates based on good yields rates, middle yields rates and low yields rates. One third of the sum of these yields was appropriated as land revenue. Akbar’s adopted Sher Shah's rai system .Till 1566 which was 10th year of Akbar’s reign no change was made in Akbar policy of crop rate (ray) that he inherited from Sher Shah Suri. Subsequently Akbar adopted a system of annual assessment.
In 1573, system of annual assessment was stopped and karori or crori system was officially put in place .Under this system the office of karori or crori was created and karoris were appointed all over North India to collect a crore of dams as revenue. Accordingly the entire jagir was converted into khalisan on the basis of the information provided by the karoris regarding the actual produce, local prices and productivity of crops vis-à-vis land.
Under karori experiment, measurement of land in all provinces was undertaken. Bamboo rods with iron rings called tanab were used instead of hempen ropes to measure the land. On the basis of productivity and prices prevailing in different regions these lands were divided into dasturs or circles for the convenience of revenue collection. The rates of assessment in cash for each crop in every dastur or circle were declared, and the demand was fixed accordingly. As Per the Karori / Crori System all the Parganas or sub‐ districts and fiscal unions of the kingdom were measured and the piece of land that produced revenue worth 1 crore tankas was put under the supervision and control of an officer who by virtue of the revenue generated to the tune of worth one crore tankas was called crori.
These karoris were also known as amiIs or amalguzars. The karoris were placed in charge of lands which could yield a crore of tankas.Thus, the measurement of the lands in towns, hills deserts, jungles, rivers, reservoirs began .The measurement of land first started from Fatahpur and first Crori officer was named Adampur.
The karori assisted by a treasurer, a surveyor and others was to measure the land of a village and to assess the area under cultivation. Under the crori system, another measuring rod called jarib consisting of bamboos joined by iron rings was introduced for the measurement of land. This karori experiment was introduced in the settled provinces, from Lahore to Allahabad. Besides, the crori officer was also entrusted with the task of authenticating the facts and figures with regard to the actual produce, state of cultivation, local prices and tallying them with information provided by the qanungos.
The karori was officially appointed by the diwan of the province. He was supposed to seriously look after the interests and take care of the peasantry. There was a system of auditing the accounts of the actual collection of the karoris and their agents with the the aid of the village patwari's papers. On karoris’duties, Abul Fazl informs us that he was in -charge of both assessment and collection of the revenue.
A significant change occurred during Shah Jahan's reign - Akbar’s son and immediate successor. Under his administration amins were appointed in every palace with the responsibility of assessment. With this change the task of karori was cut short who (karori or amil) now became mainly concerned with jobs of collection of revenue as the assessment -work had to be performed by the amin.
The Karori / Crori System was a significant measure under taken by Akbar on the front of revenue administration with a view point to make it efficient and result oriented. But unfortunately the result that was intended through this system did not come out as per the emperor’s expectationas as the large parts of precious lands were wasted. The historians lay blame on the greed and rapacity of the crori officers for the failure of carori system because it was the dishonesty of officers in charge that compelled the peasants to sell their wives and children due to unnecessary burden and pressure.
Shortcomings of Karori system
The king could not keep a watch on the croris and the rules laid down were not strictly monitored. The croris took the undue advantage of the lack of vigil on the part of the emperor. The consequences were so bad that so many people had to lose their precious lives due to torture and harassment they faced in the hands of croris.
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