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Full text of "Akbar, The Emperor Of India"

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12                        AKBAR, EMPEROR OF INDIA.
formly exact survey of the land. , He introduced a standard
of measurement, replacing the hitherto customary land
measure (a leather strap which was easily lengthened or
shortened according to the need of the measuring officer)
by a new instrument of measurement in the form of a
bamboo staff, which was provided with iron rings at defi-
nite intervals. For purposes of assessment land was di-
vided into four classes according to the kind of cultivation
practiced upon it. The first class comprised arable land
with a constant rotation of crops; the second, that which
had to lie fallow for from one to two ye^rs in order to be
productive; the third from fhree to four years; tjie fourth1
that land which was uncultivated for five years and longer
or was not arable at all.x The first two classes of acreage
were taxed one-third of the crop, which according to our
present ideas seems an exorbitantly high rate, and it was
left to the one assessed whether he would pay the tax in
kind or in cash. Only in the case oP luxuries or. manu-
factured articles, that is to say, where the use of a circu-
lating medium could be assumed, was -cash payment re-
quired. Whoever cultivated unreclaimed land! was assisted
by the government by the grant of a free supply of seed
and by a considerable" reduction in his taxes for the first
four years.
Akbar also introduced a new uniform standard of coin-
age, but stipulated that the older coins which were still
current should be accepted from peasants for their full face
value. From all this the Indian peasants could see that
Emperor Akbar not only desired strict justice to rule but
also wished to further their interests, and the peasants had
always comprised the greatest part of the inhabitants,
(even according to the latest census in 1903, vol. I, p. 3, 50
to 84 percent of the inhabitants of India live by agricul-
ture). But Akbar succeeded best in winning the, hearts