|Source: Abu'l-Fazl 'Allami, A'IN-I AKBARI (3 vols.). Vol. 1 trans. H. Blochmann, 1927. Vol. 1, pp. 12-15. Ed. *ZDJ*|
Book 1, Chapter 2: The Imperial Treasuries
|Every man of sense and understanding
knows that the best way of worshipping God, consists in allaying the distress
of the times, and in improving the condition of man. This depends, however,
on the advancement of agriculture, on the order kept in the king's household,
on the readiness of the champions of the empire, and the discipline of
the army. All this is again connected with the exercise of proper care
on the part of the monarch, his love for the people, and with an intelligent
management of the revenues and the public expenditure. It is only when
cared for, that the inhabitants of the towns and those of the rural districts,
are able to satisfy their wants, and to enjoy prosperity. Hence it is incumbent
on just kings, to care for the former, and to protect the latter class
of men. If some say that to collect wealth, and to ask for more than is
absolutely necessary, is looked upon as contemptible by people given to
retirement and seclusion, whilst the opposite is the case with the inhabitants
of the towns, who live in a dependent position, I would answer that it
is after all only shortsighted men who make this assertion; for in reality
both classes of men try to obtain that which they think necessary. Poor
but abstemious people take a sufficient quantity of food and raiment, so
as to keep up the strength necessary for the pursuit of their enquiries,
and to protect them against the influence of the weather; whilst the other
class think to have just sufficient, when they fill their treasuries, gather
armies, and reflect on other means of increasing their power.
It was from such views, when lifting the veil and beginning to pay attention to these weighty concerns, that his Majesty entrusted his inmost secrets to the Khwaja-sara I'timad Khan, a name which his Majesty had bestowed upon him as a fitting title. On account of the experience of the Khwaja, the reflections of his Majesty took a practical turn, widened by degrees, and shone at last forth in excellent regulations. An enquiry regarding the income of the different kinds of land was set on foot, and successfully concluded by the wisdom of upright and experienced men. With a comprehensiveness which knew no difference between friends and strangers, the lands which paid rents into the imperial exchequer were separated from the Jagir lands; and zealous and upright men were put in charge of the revenues, each over one karor of dams. Incorruptible bitakchis were selected to assist them, and intelligent treasurers were appointed, one for each. And from kindness and care for the agricultural classes, it was commanded that the collectors should not insist upon the husbandman paying coin in full weight, but to give him a receipt for whatever species of money he might bring. This laudable regulation removed the rust of uncertainty from the minds of the collectors, and relieved the subjects from a variety of oppressions, whilst the income became larger, and the state flourished. The fountain of the revenues having thus been purified, a zealous and honest man was selected for the general treasurership, and a darogha and a clerk were appointed to assist him. Vigilance was established, and a standard laid down for this department.
Whenever a (provincial) treasurer had collected the sum of two lakhs of dams, he had to send it to the Treasurer General at the Court, together with a memorandum specifying the quality of the sum.
A separate treasurer was appointed for the peshkash (tributes) receipts, another for receiving heirless property, another for nazr receipts (from presents, vows, etc.), and another for the moneys expended in weighing the royal person, and for charitable donations. Proper regulations were also made for the disbursements; and honest superintendents, daroghas and clerks were appointed. The sums required for the annual expenditure, are paid at the General Treasury to each cashkeeper of the disbursements, and correct receipts granted for them. A proper system of accounts having thus been inaugurated, the empire began to flourish. In a short time the treasuries were full, the army was augmented, and refractory rebels led to the path of obedience.
In Iran and Turan, where only one treasurer is appointed, the accounts are in a confused state; but here in India, the amount of the revenues is so great, and the business so multifarious, that twelve treasurers are necessary for storing the money, nine for the different kinds of cash-payments, and three for precious stones, gold, and inlaid jewellery. The extent of the treasuries is too great to admit of my giving a proper description with other matters before me. From his knowledge of the work, and as a reward for labour, his Majesty very often expresses his satisfaction, or conveys reprimands; hence everything is in a flourishing condition.
Separate treasurers were also appointed for each of the Imperial workshops, the number of which is nearly one hundred. Daily, monthly, quarterly, and yearly accounts are kept of the receipts and disbursements, so that in this branch also the market-place of the world is in a flourishing condition.
Again by the order of his Majesty a person of known integrity keeps in the public audience hall, some gold and silver for the needy, who have their wants relieved without delay. Moreover, a karor of dams is kept in readiness within the palace, every thousand of which is kept in bags made of a coarse material. Such a bag is called in Hindi sahsah, and many of them, when put up in a heap, ganj. Besides, his Majesty entrusts to one of the nobility a large sum of money, part of which is carried in a purse. This is the reason, why such disbursements are called in the language of the country kharj-i bahlah (Hindi for purse).
All these benefits flow from the wonderful liberality of his Majesty, and from his unremitting care for the subjects of the empire. Would to God that he might live a thousand years!
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