Digitised Legal Documents from the Indo-Persian World


  • adhikari

    official, superintendancy, holding an office

  • Agarwala

    a merchant subcaste

  • ʿamali

    the revenue year, i.e. the fasli calendar

    likely derived from ʿamil or revenue official

  • ʿamil

    revenue official

  • amin

    revenue official

  • amir


  • ʿarz

    written representation, petition

  • ʿarzdasht


    used for any formal address from an inferior to a superior

  • babti

    any additional item of revenue

  • badi

    dark half of the lunar month

    when the moon is waning

  • badshah


    alternately, padshah

  • bahadur

    brave, valiant, courageous; an honorific

  • bahi

    a register or book

  • banjara

    itinerant grain and cattle merchant

  • berat

    a government order; in the Ottoman Empire, it referred to an order of grant or appointment from the Sultan, but in the Deccan, it often referred to an order enjoining the payment of a sum of money

  • bhai

    a term of respect

    literally, brother

  • Bhandari

    a Jain subcaste

    members of this community were prominent officials in the Rajput kingdom of Marwar

  • bigha

    a measure of land, corresponding to between 1600 and 3200 acres depending upon the region

  • biswa

    one-twentieth of a bigha; used to indicate a share or portion in the rights to a village

  • chakla

    territorial division comprising several parganas (districts)

  • chaudhr-giri

    the holding of the post of chaudhri or landlord

  • chaudhrai

    office of chaudhri or landlord

  • chaudhri


    similar to desai, deshmukh

  • chavar

    a measure of land equal to 120 square bighas

  • daftar


    particularly in the compound "daftar-khana," also refers to a record-keeping office and repository

  • dam

    copper coin

  • darogha


  • dastak


  • dastur


    also, a customary fee

  • dastur al-ʿamal

    record of revenue assessment

  • desai


    Similar to deshmukh

  • deshmukh


    similar to chaudhri, desai

  • deshmukhi

    the office of deshmukh or landlord

  • deshpande

    record keeper

    similar to qanungo

  • deshpande-giri

    the holding of the office of deshpande or record keeper

  • Dhangar

    a herder, a herder caste

  • dirʿa

    a unit of measurement

  • diwan

    Head of imperial or provincial revenue department, or manager of finances in a noble's household

  • diwan-i tan

    Head of a revenue department, specifically responsible for revenue assignments, in contradistinction to the diwan-i khalsa responsible for crown lands

    In practice, a single person could hold both the diwan-i tan and diwan-i khalsa posts. See Zahiruddin Malik, The Reign of Muhammad Shah (1719-1748), pg.293.

  • diwani

    revenue department

  • falaj

    a type of irrigation canal

  • farigh khatti

    no-claims deed

  • farman

    imperial order

  • farzand


  • Fasli

    Mughal solar calendar, established by Emperor Akbar

  • faujdar

    police-cum-military officer

  • ghalledar

    storekeeper of grain

    also spelled ghalladar

  • ghazi

    religious warrior; an honorific

  • girasiya

    outlaw warrior

    a marginal military group, possibly of mixed Rajput and Bhil ancestry

  • Gopal

    a Hindu deity

  • Govinddevji

    a Hindu deity

  • gumashta


  • hakim

    governor, official

  • hasal

    a type of tax

  • haveli


  • hon

    a type of widely circulating gold coin minted by the Vijayanagara kingdom

    see Phillip B. Wagoner, "Money Use in the Deccan, c. 1350-1687: The Role of Vijayanagara hons in the Bahmani Currency System"

  • hundi

    a bill of exchange used to transfer money

  • huzur

    (lit.) the presence; Lord

  • ijara


  • ijaradar

    a leaseholder of revenue rights or land

  • inʿam

    reward, grant of tax-free land

  • inʿamdar

    the holder of a grant of tax-free land

  • inʿami

    referring to tax-exempt village lands or revenues

    derived from inʿam

  • iqrar

    legal declaration

  • istamalat

    provisional settlement of annual revenue demand

    For more information on this revenue-specific usage of the term, which also means "encouragement" or "conciliation," see Richard Jenkins, Report on the Territories of the Rajah of Nagpore, pg. 159

  • jagir

    rights to collect taxes from a certain area as payment for imperial services and associated expenses

  • jagirdar

    holder of rights to collect taxes from a certain area as payment for his/her services and expenses

    usually also a mansabdar

  • jamadar

    commander of a body of troops

  • jamedari

    office of a jamadar

    may also correspond to dues paid to soldiers hired to protect crops from invading armies

  • jiu

    an honorific added to a name or title to show respect

  • Julahi

    a weaver, the weaver caste

  • kacheri

    district-level revenue office and magistracy

    An office in Rajput states and other north Indian kingdoms but not the Mughals. Also called kachahri and, in British colonial usage, kutcherry

  • kamavisdar

    head revenue collector at the district level

    Predominantly refers to said collectors in the eighteenth-century Maratha empire. See Gordon, "The Slow Conquest."

  • karori

    Revenue head of the Mughal Imperial household domains

    possibly also a noble's diwan, see N.A. Siddiqi, Land Revenue Administration under the Mughals

  • kasht-kamati

    cultivation by hired labour or servants

  • katba

    legally binding declaration

  • khalifa

    a deputy, Caliph

    used as a respectful title

  • khalisa

    in Mughal parlance, crown land that was directly managed by the central government

    also khalsa in Rajasthani and Hindi usage

  • khanazad

    (lit.) born in the (imperial) household; a high-ranking noble

  • khandani


  • khandi

    a measure of weight

    typically equal to either twenty or eight maunds

  • kharif


  • kharita

    a high-status letter

    Also can refer to the pouch or silk bag used to hold such letters. Alternate Rajasthani spelling: khalita.

  • khasgi

    officer of the royal household

  • khatib

    Muslim preacher

  • Krishna

    a Hindu deity

  • kulkarni

    village record-keeper

  • kunwar

    an unmarried boy or prince

  • mahajan

    wealthy merchant, moneylender

  • mahal

    a revenue district or set of villages

  • mahanad

    judicial assembly

    similar to gota, majalis

  • mahar

    a village watchman, messenger or guide

  • Maharawat

    an honorific for a Rajput chief or noble

  • mahzar

    testimony, record, people present

  • mahzar nama

    an affidavit

    also sometimes called a mahzar-patra

  • mal

    land revenue

  • mamlatdar

    district-level revenue collector

  • man

    a measure of weight

    The size of the measure varied by region and period; in the documents here it was likely equal to 25–35 pounds. Also called a maund.

  • mandloi


    similar to chaudhri, desai, deshmukh

  • mansab

    Mughal imperial office and rank

  • mansabdar

    holder of a mansab or imperial rank, a noble

    usually also a jagirdar

  • Maria Theresa dollar (MTD)

    A silver coin widely used in Africa and the Middle East until the middle of the twentieth century.

    Also called Maria Theresa thaler (MTT), this coin was first minted in Austria in the 1740s.

  • masur

    a type of legume

  • matha

    monastic order

  • mauzaʿ


    Mughal fiscal-administrative division

  • mirza

    title for a prince; gentleman

    occasionally, a scholar, writer

  • mokasadar

    revenue assignee

    similar to jagirdar; derives from Bijapur administrative practice carried over into the Maratha empire

  • muaʿmala

    district, especially in Bijapur administrative nomenclature

  • muchalka

    a bond or agreement, esp. to perform some action for the government

  • mufti

    a magistrate

    typically a scholar of Islamic law who provides legal opinions

  • muhalla

    a neighbourhood

  • mung

    a type of legume

  • muqaddam

    village headman

  • muqaddami

    office of muqaddam (village headman)

  • murid


    a term derived from Sufi or Muslim mystic tradition

  • mushrif


  • mutasaddi

    local revenue official

    As a state post, often in charge of trade and the collection of customs in a city or port. Can also refer to a clerk or accountant.

  • muwazana dahsala

    tax records for a decade

  • naib


  • nankar

    tax-free land held by the chaudhri

  • nawab

    title of a high-ranking noble or governor

  • nishan

    princely order

  • pahar

    a unit of approximately three hours

    a day and a night consisted of four pahars each

  • paimayish


  • panchayat

    judicial assembly

    Today, it refers more generally to a local governing body.

  • pandit

    a scholar or learned person, usually a man of Brahman caste

  • Panduranga

    a Hindu deity, also called Vithobha

  • pargana


  • parvana


  • patil

    village headman

  • patra

    letter or document

  • patta

    deed of land rights

    This can be a deed of lease or a deed of gift. It is also sometimes used for deeds for official posts.

  • pattayat

    landlord or one who holds a patta

    Most widely used in Rajasthan, especially Mewar, where pattayats were similar to jagirdars.

  • patwari

    village accountant

    similar to a kulkarni

  • peth


  • pir

    an elder; often refers to the head of a Sufi religious order

  • pirzada

    a descendant of a Muslim holy man, often an officiant or attendant at a Sufi shrine

  • pishgi-giri

    taking money paid in advance, rent

  • pishkash


  • pradhan


    "Mukhya pradhan" along with "pant pradhan" and "peshwa" were titles routinely assumed by the chief minister of the Maratha empire.

  • prant


  • qabala

    a deed of sale

  • qabuliyat

    written agreement, contract

  • qabz al-wasul

    receipt of deposit

  • qanungo


    similar to deshpande

  • qanungoi

    the office of record-keeper

  • qarar

    an agreement or contract

  • qasba

    town, small city

  • qaul

    tax contract or deed of assurance

    alternately known as qaul-nama, qaul-qarar

  • qaum

    people, tribe, kin-group

  • qazi

    Islamic judge

  • qirsh (pl. qurush)

    a silver coin, equivalent to a Maria Theresa Dollar

  • rabi


  • raj

    king, ruler, realm or kingdom, government, rule

  • rajashri

    an honorific of royal dignity routinely applied in Marathi documents to any person deserving of courtesy and respect

    occasionally used in Rajasthani documents

  • Rajput

    a Hindu warrior caste

  • Ram

    a Hindu deity

  • Rawat

    an honorific title for a Rajput noble, chief or prince

  • ruka

    small unit of currency

    measure of currency corresponding to twelfth part of an anna; measure of land corresponding to five or more bighas

  • sahib

    lord or master

    also a generic honourific conveying the respect and authority due to the addressee; sometimes spelled saheb

  • sahukar


  • sal

    a species of tree

    corresponds to the scientific name shorea robusta; source of timber

  • salami


  • sanad

    generically, a document

  • sarih

    manumitted slave

    Formerly enslaved persons in Zanzibar used this term together with the name of their former master in legal deeds.

  • sarkar

    territorial division, larger than district; generic term for a sovereign or government

    Mughal term

  • sarup

    the earring worn by the nath yogis

    sometimes used as an invocative or honorific word

  • sethi

    merchant, banker

  • sethi-giri

    holding the office of sethiya

  • sethiya

    head of a body of merchants and superintendent of a marketplace

  • shahna

    representative or servant of the tax collector

  • shariʿa

    Islamic law

  • sheesham

    a type of tree, North Indian rosewood

    species D. Sissoo, a cultivated tree used for furniture-making and fuel

  • sheikh

    Muslim religious leader, saint

  • sher

    a measure of weight

    also refers to deductions made by revenue officials from grain paid as tax-in-kind to government

  • shiqdar

    revenue officer

  • Shri Huzur

    honoured lord

    used to refer to a ruler and to his court or establishment

  • shrimant

    lord, the illustrious

  • Shrinathji

    a form of the Hindu deity Krishna

    Shrinathji is closely associated with the ruling family of Mewar.

  • Shuhur

    Southern Indian solar calendar

  • sih-bandi

    revenue allocation for maintaining soldiers

  • siyaha huzur

    a register of daily proceedings of a royal court

  • siyaq

    a Perso-Arabic accounting shorthand that uses cryptic symbols to represent numbers

  • suba


    Mughal term

  • subadar

    provincial governor

  • sudi

    light half of the lunar month

    when the moon is waxing

  • takrir

    statement or narrative of a case

  • tali

    a fee paid to the village accountant (patwari) from the tax due

    For full definition, see Wilson's Revenue and Judicial Glossary. Wilson indicates that this definition is speculative.

  • tamassuk

    bond or record of debt

  • taujih

    revenue assessment

  • thakur

    an honorific title, often referring to a Rajput landlord or chief

    also used to honour Hindu deities in Rajasthan

  • thakurani

    an honorific, female equivalent of thakur

  • toor

    a type of lentil

  • tughra

    calligraphic signature, ultimately deriving from the practice of the eastern Turkish tribes of Central Asia

    For more information, and an example from a Safavid decree, see Bhalloo and Rezai, "Inscribing Authority," pp. 837-840

  • tumar

    rent rolls

  • ʿurf


    Islamic legal term

  • waraqa

    document, especially financial deeds and contracts

  • watan

    homeland, held as special non-transferable revenue assignment

    Mughal fiscal-administrative term

  • watandar

    landlord holding a special non-transferable revenue assignment

  • Wazir

    chief imperial noble, adviser to the emperor

  • yadi


  • zamin


  • zaminan


  • zamindar


  • zamindari

    the post of landlord

  • zimn

    verso of the document

    This is where the details of a grant were often entered.