Essay on the Assessment Of Revenue on land holding during ancient times in India


The methods of the assessment of revenue was assessed on individual holdings of land. The granted fields and villages were marked accurately on all four sides. Some of the inscriptions of Gupta period from Bengal are no doubt sale deeds and refer to fields belonging to individuals. About a dozen inscriptions from the reign speak of individual holdings which could be the basis of revenue assessment.

This lead us to the problem of whether the area of the individual holdings was considered while land revenue was assessed. The literary sources did not refer any unit of measurement. Only in Pre- Gupta period the sources revealed the references to various units of measurement.

According to epigraphic evidence, we have references of measurement units such as – “Kulyavapa”, “dronavapa”, “adhavapa” and “Pataka” from Bengal, nivratana” and “bhumi” from Central India and “nivartana and “padavarta” from Western India.


In the Northern India, the reference to different units of measurement in different parts suggests that government officers must have adhered” to local standards of measurement.

Probably the land revenue was assessed on the basis of measurement of individual holdings which lead us to another important question of whether the share was taken on the profit of the peasants or on gross produce.

Kalidasa’s “Raghuvamsa” suggests that perhaps, tax was levied not on gross produce but on that portion of the produce which remained with the cultivator after he had kept some part of his produce for himself.

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