Pargana

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A pargana is a former administrative unit of the Indian subcontinent, used primarily, but not exclusively, by the Muslim kingdoms.

Parganas were introduced by the Delhi Sultanate, and the word is of Persian origin. As a revenue unit, a pargana consists of several mouzas, which are the smallest revenue units, consisting of one or more villages and the surrounding countryside. Larger subdivisions of parganas were called tarafs (quarters, districts).

Under the reign of Sher Shah Suri, administration of parganas was strengthened by the addition of other officers, including a shiqdar (police chief), an amin or munsif (a civil arbitrator and revenue official who assessed and collected revenue) and a karkun (record keeper).

Mughal era

In the 16th century the Mughal emperor Akbar organised the empire into subahs, which were further subdivided into sarkars, roughly the equivalent of districts, which were themselves organised into parganas. In the Mughal system, parganas served as the local administrative units of a sarkar. The chief administrator of a pargana was a parganait or parganadar; other pargana officials were the shiqdar (magistrate), amil (assessor and collector of revenue), bitikchi (chief accountant and registrar), qanungo (keeper of revenue records), and the fotahdar or khazinadhar (treasurer). Individual parganas observed common customs regarding land rights and responsibilities, which were known as the pargana dastur, and each pargana had its own customs regarding...
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