Bernier, François, Travels in the Mogul Empire A.D. 1656-1668

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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Increases and decreases may then be accounted for, broadly
as follows :—

I, 2. Increases due to gradual consolidation of Akbar's
conquered Provinces.

3.   Decrease accounted for by the effects of the Rebellion,
the richest Province, Bengal, in partial revolt for several years.

4,   5. Returning prosperity, and conquests in the Deccan,
adding new Provinces to the Empire.

6. The Mogul rule waning, the Marathas increasing in
power, and incessantly harrying many of the Mogul Provinces,
'levying chauth^ and sardesmukhi"^ with the alternative of fire
and sword : cutting otif the sources of revenue, and wearying out
the disorganised armies of the Empire.' A. C. Lyall, Berar
Gazetteer, Bombay, 1870, p. 122.

^ A payment equal to one-fourth, hence the name, of the actual
revenue collections of the State, demanded as the price for forbearing to
ravage, blackmail in fact. In Robert Mabon's Sketches Illustrative of
Oriental Manners and Customs, Calcutta, 1797, will be found (plate vi.)
a very graphic illustration of the levying oi chauth, entitled ' Mahratta
Pendairees returning to camp after a plundering Excursion.'

^ The proportion of ten per cent, exacted from the revenues of the
Muhammadan territories of the Deccan, in addition to the chauth. It
was originally claimed by Sivaji as head Desmukh (a hereditary native
officer who exercised the chief police and revenue authority over a
district), whence the name.
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