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Deshmukh or desmukh (}) Desmookh the tenth handful. In Marathi Des or Desh means a country and Mookh means mouth, hence a spokesman of a district. It was the title given to a person who was granted a territory of land, in certain regions of India, specifically Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The granted territory is usually referred to as the deshmukhi. The deshmukh was in effect the ruler of the territory, as he was entitled to the collected taxes. It was also his duty to maintain the basic services in the territory, such as police and judicial duties. It was typically a hereditary system. The title of Deshmukh provided the titled family with revenues from the area and the responsibility to keep the order. For this reason, Deshmukh is loosely translated as 'patriot' and the name still commands respect today. The title is most equivalent of a duke or a count within the European aristocratic system.

The deshmukh system was mostly abolished after the Independence of India in 1947 when the government confiscated most of the land of the Deshmukh's. Some families however maintain their status as real estate barons, most notably in Mumbai, with holdover properties that were not taken away.

It was similar in many respects to the zamindar and jagir systems in India, and can be considered as a feudal system. Typically taxes collected were to be distributed fairly and occasionally deshmukhs participated...
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