Maund

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A one maund weighing stone of the Madras Presidency
The vast extent of the Bengal Presidency (shown here in 1858) facilitated the adoption of the standard of 100 Troy pounds for the maund throughout British India.

The maund /ˈmɔːnd/ is the anglicized name for a traditional unit of mass used in British India, and also in Afghanistan, Persia and Arabia:[1] the same unit in the Moghul Empire was sometimes written as mun in English, while the equivalent unit in the Ottoman Empire and Central Asia was called the batman. At different times, and in different South Asian localities, the mass of the maund has varied, from as low as 25 pounds (11 kg) to as high as 160 pounds (72½ kg): even greater variation is seen in Persia and Arabia.[2][3]

In British India, the maund was first standardized in the Bengal Presidency in 1833, where it was set equal to 100 Troy pounds (82.28 lbs. av.). This standard spread throughout the British Raj.[4] After the independence of India and Pakistan, the definition formed the basis for metrication, one maund becoming exactly 37.3242 kilograms.[5][6] A similar metric definition is used in Nepal.

The Old English, 'maund' may also be the origin of Maundy Thursday. As a verb, 'maund' to beg; as a noun, 'a maund'a small basket held out for alms.

Origins[edit]

Anglicized as "maund", the man as a unit of weight is thought to be of at least Chaldean origin,[7] with Sir Henry Yule attributing Akkadian origins to the word.[1] The Hebrew maneh (מנה) and the Ancient Greek mina (μνᾶ) are thought to be cognate.[1][8] It was originally equal to one-ninth of the weight of an artaba of water,[9] or approximately four to seven kilograms in modern units.

The modification of the vowel in the anglicized name is thought to be an indication that the word came into English via Portuguese. The Portuguese version was mão (pronounced: [ˈmɐ̃w̃], as in the word for "hand"), a regular [aːn][ɐ̃w̃] development in Portuguese.[1]

South Asia[edit]

British Indian
units of mass

Mughal Empire[edit]

Prinsep (1840) summarizes the evidence as to the weight of the mun (later "maund") during the reign (1556–1605) of Akbar the Great,[10] which comes from the Ain-i-Akbari written by the vizier Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak (anglicized as "Abul Fuzl"). The principal definition is that the mun is forty seers; and that each seer is thirty dams.

1 mun = 40 seers = 1200 dams

The problem arises in assigning the values of the smaller units.

The section of the Ain-i-Akbari that defines the mun also defines the dam as five tanks. A separate section defines the tank as twenty-four ruttees. However, by the 19th century, the tank was no longer a uniform unit across the former Mughal territories: Prinsep quotes values of 50 grains (3.24 g) in Darwar, 72 grains (4.67 g) in Bombay and 268 grains (17.37 g) in Ahmednugur.[10]

The jilály, a square silver rupee coin issued by Akbar, was said by the Ain-i-Akbari to be 11¼ mashas in weight: surviving jilály and other Mughal rupee coins weigh 170–175 Troy grains (11.02–11.34 g), so the masha, defined as eight ruttees, would be about 15½ grains (1 g). Masha weights sent back to London in 1819 agree with this value.[11] This basis gives a mun of 34¾ lb. av. (15¾ kg). One Koni was 4 muns.[12]

However, in yet another section of the Ain-i-Akbari, the dam is said to be "twenty mashas seven ruttees": using this definition would imply an Imperial mass of about 47 lb. av. (21⅓ kg) for the mun. Between these two values, the maund in Central India was often found to be around 40 lb. av. (18 kg) in the East India Company survey of 1821.

A Maund was 55.5 British pounds under Akbar.[13]

Nineteenth century[edit]

British India is shown in pink on this 1837 map. The Madras Presidency is in the southeast, the Bombay Presidency is in the west and the Bengal Presidency is in the northeast.

The maund of India may as a genus be divided into four different species:

  1. That of Bengal, containing 40 seers, and averaging about 80 lbs. avoir.
  2. That of Central India (Malwa, Ajmeer, &c.) generally equal to 40 lbs. avoir. and containing 20 seers (so that the seer of this large portion of the continent assimilates to that of Bengal.)
  3. The maund of Guzerat and Bombay, equal to ¼ cwt. or 28 pounds and divided into 40 seers of smaller grade.
  4. The maund of Southern India, fixed by the Madras government at 25 lbs. avoir.

There are, however many other varieties of maund, from 15 to 64 seers in weight; which it is unnecessary to particularize.

— Prinsep (1840), p. 77

Prinsep's values for the maund come from a survey organized by the East India Company in 1821. The Company's agents were asked to send back examples of the standard weights and measures used in the places they were stationed, and these were compared with the English standards in London by Patrick Kelly, the leading British metrologist of the time. The results were published as an appendix to the second edition of Kelly's Universal Cambist (1831), and later as a separate book entitled Oriental Metrology (1832).

It will be seen from Kelly's results below that Prinsep's generalizations are only partially correct. The Gujarat maund is more closely related to the Central Indian maund than to the standardized Bombay maund, except in the town of Anjar, except that it is divided into 40 seers instead of 20 as was found in Malwa.

Central India and Gujarat[edit]

Locations of the towns where the maund was found to be approximately 40 lb. av. (18 kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Ahmadābād
Ahmadābād
Maund
Maund
Baroda
Baroda
Broach
Broach
Calicut
Calicut
Maund
Maund
Maund
Indore
Indore
Maund
Kota
Kota
Maund
Masulipatam
Masulipatam
Mundissor
Mundissor
Maund
Oujein
Oujein
Maund
Maund
Surat
Surat
Tellicherry
Tellicherry
Vizagapatam
Vizagapatam
The towns where the maund was found to be approximately 40 lb. av. (18 kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Locations of the towns where the maund was found to be more than 130 lb. av. (59 kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Chanadore
Chanadore
Dewas
Dewas
Dindoor
Dindoor
Jamkhair
Jamkhair
The towns where the maund was found to be more than 130 lb. av. (59 kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Place[note 1] Sub-
division
Imperial Metric
kg
lb. oz. dr.
Ahmadābād, in Gujarat 40 seers 42 4 13 19.817
Amod, in Broach 40 seers 40 8 12
Anjar, in Cutch 40 seers 27 3 8
Bairseah, in Malwa 40 seers 77 1 12
Bārdoli, in Surat 39¾ seers, 2 pice 37 4
Broach, in Gujarat 40 seers 40 8 12
Baroda, in Gujarat 42 seers 44 9 10
Cambay, in Gujarat 40 seers 37 8 0
Chanadore, Central Provinces 64 seers 149 12 0
Dewas, in Malwa 64 seers 137 8 2
Doongurpoor, in Rajputana 40 seers 50 1 14
Hānsot, in Broach 40 seers, "market" 38 9 9
42 seers, for oil 40 8 6
40 pergunna seers 39 3 10
Indore, in Malwa 20 seers, for grain 40 8 6
40 seers, for opium 81 0 12
Jambusar, in Broach 40 seers, "market" 40 6 4
42 seers, for cotton 42 6 9
Kota, in Rajputana 40 seers 30 0 0
Kumbharia, in Surat 40 seers 8 pice 37 13 10
Kurod, in Surat 40 seers 15 pice 37 15
Malwa 20 seers 40 7 8
Mundissor, in Malwa 15 seers 34 4
Okalesur, in Broach 40 seers 38 8 13
40 seers, "pergunna" 40 6 13
Omutwara, in Malwa 28 seers 54 10 8
Oujein, in Malwa 16⅞ seers 33 5 13
Pertabgurh, in Ajmer 20 seers 38 8 14
Rutlam, in Malwa 20 seers 40 7 8
Surat, in Gujarat 40 seers 37 8 0
Source: Kelly's Oriental Metrology (1832)[2]

Bombay Presidency[edit]

Locations of the towns where the maund was found to be approximately 28 lb. av. (12¾ kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Anjar
Anjar
Belgaum
Belgaum
Bombay
Bombay
Cochin
Cochin
Mangalore
Mangalore
Poona
Poona
Quilon
Quilon
The towns where the maund was found to be approximately 28 lb. av. (12¾ kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Place[note 1] Sub-
division
Imperial Metric
kg
lb. oz. dr.
Ahmadnagar 40 seers 78 15 12
Aurangabad 40 seers 74 10 10
Belgaum 44 seers 26 3 15
Bombay 40 seers 28 0 0
Carwar, in Kanara 42 seers 26 0 0
Dindoor 64 seers 157 10 10
Dukhun Poona 12½ seers, for ghee, etc. 24 10 4⅓
14 seers, for metals 27 9 9⅔
48 seers, for grain 94 9 8
Goa (Portuguese) 24 12 0
Jamkhair, in Ahmednagar 64 seers 147 10 0
Jaulnah, in Hyderabad 40 seers 80 2 8
Onore, in Kanara 40–44 seers 25 0 0
Poona 12½ seers, for ghee, etc. 24 10 4⅓
14 seers, for metals 27 9 9⅔
48 seers, for grain 94 9 8
Roombharee, in Ahmednagar 64 seers 160 13 8
Source: Kelly's Oriental Metrology (1832)[2]

Madras Presidency[edit]

Locations of the towns where the maund was found to be approximately 25 lb. av. (11⅓ kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Maund
Bellary
Bellary
Coimbatoor
Coimbatoor
Goa
Goa
Hyderabad
Hyderabad
Madras
Madras
Madura
Madura
Mangalore
Mangalore
Negapatam
Negapatam
Onore
Onore
Pondicherry
Pondicherry
Poona
Poona
Maund
Maund
The towns where the maund was found to be approximately 25 lb. av. (11⅓ kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Place[note 1] Sub-
division
Imperial Metric
kg
lb. oz. dr.
Anjengo, in Travancore 28 0 0
Bangalore, in Mysore 40 seers 25 0 0
Bellary, in Madras 48 seers 25 6 0
Calicut, in Malabar 68 seers 34 11 11
Cochin, in Malabar 42½ seers 27 2 11
Coimbatoor, in Mysore 40 seers 24 1 0
Colachy, in Travancore 125 pollums 18 12 13
Hyderabad, in Madras 12 seers, "kucha" 23 13 0
40 seers, "pucka" 79 6 0
Madras 40 seers, or 8 vis 25 0 0
Madura, in Carnatic 39.244 seers 25 0 0
Mangalore 46 seers, "market" 28 2 4
46 seers, "Company's" 28 8 13
40 seers, for sugar 24 7 8
Masulipatam, in Madras "kucha" 35 10 0
"pucka" 80 0 0
Negapatam, in Carnatic 41.558 seers 25 0 0
Pondicherry 8 vis 25 14
Quilon, in Travancore 25 old Dutch pounds 27 5 8
Sankeridroog, in Carnatic 41.256 seers 25 0 0
Seringapatam 40 seers, "kucha" 24 4 8
Tellicherry, in Malabar 64 seers 32 11 0
Tranquebar, in Coromandel 68 Danish pounds 74 12 9.6
Travancore, in Madras 25 0
Trichinopoly, in Carnatic 13.114 seers 25 0 0
Vizagapatam, in Madras "kucha" 35 10 0
"pucka" 80 0 0
Source: Kelly's Oriental Metrology (1832)[2]

Bengal[edit]

Locations of the towns where the maund was found to be approximately 80 lb. av. (36 kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Ahmednugur
Ahmednugur
Aurungabunder
Aurungabunder
Bairseah
Bairseah
Calcutta
Calcutta
Maund
Indore
Indore
Jaulnah
Jaulnah
Luckipoor
Luckipoor
Masulipatam
Masulipatam
Poona
Poona
Tranquebar
Tranquebar
Vizagapatam
Vizagapatam
The towns where the maund was found to be approximately 80 lb. av. (36 kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Place[note 1] Sub-
division
Imperial Metric
kg
lb. oz. dr.
Calcutta 40 seers 82 4 9 17
Luckipoor, in Bengal as Calcutta 82 4 9 17
Source: Kelly's Oriental Metrology (1832)[2]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Kelly's transliterations of place names have been retained, but the transliterations of names of districts have been updated where possible.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "maund", A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles 6B, 1908, p. 250 .
  2. ^ a b c d e Prinsep, James (1840), Useful tables, forming an appendix to the Journal of the Asiatic Society: part the first, Coins, weights, and measures of British India (2nd ed.), Calcutta: Bishop's College Press, pp. 84–90 .
  3. ^ Doursther, Horace (1840), Dictionnaire universel des poids et mesures anciens et modernes, Brussels: Hayez, pp. 259–63 .
  4. ^ "Introductory notes", The Imperial Gazetteer of India 1, 1909, p. xi .
  5. ^ maund, Sizes.com, retrieved 2010-02-12 .
  6. ^ Schedule 1 to the Standard Weights and Measures Act (No. 89 of 1956).
  7. ^ Hayyim, Sulayman (1934–1936), New Persian-English dictionary, complete and modern, designed to give the English meanings of over 50,000 words, terms, idioms, and proverbs in the Persian language, as well as the transliteration of the words in English characters. Together with a sufficient treatment of all the grammatical features of the Persian Language 2, Teheran: Librairie-imprimerie Beroukhim, p. 988 .
  8. ^ Prinsep, James (1840), Useful tables, forming an appendix to the Journal of the Asiatic Society: part the first, Coins, weights, and measures of British India (2nd ed.), Calcutta: Bishop's College Press, p. 80 .
  9. ^ Doursther, Horace (1840), Dictionnaire universel des poids et mesures anciens et modernes, Brussels: Hayez, pp. 51–52 .
  10. ^ a b Prinsep, James (1840), Useful tables, forming an appendix to the Journal of the Asiatic Society: part the first, Coins, weights, and measures of British India (2nd ed.), Calcutta: Bishop's College Press, p. 81 .
  11. ^ Prinsep, James (1840), Useful tables, forming an appendix to the Journal of the Asiatic Society: part the first, Coins, weights, and measures of British India (2nd ed.), Calcutta: Bishop's College Press, pp. 17–18 .
  12. ^ Kashmir Under Maharaja Ranjit Singh
  13. ^ Narang, Kirpal Singh; Gupta, Hari Ram (1969). History of the Pubnab, 1500-1858 (2nd. ed.). Delhi: U.C. Kapur. p. 181. 

External links[edit]