A talukhdar or talukdar or talukder or thalukdhar or taluqdar (Urdu: تعلقدار, Hindi: तालुक़दार) (from Arabic ta'al-luk, "district" + dar "holding"), is a term used for Indian land holders in Mughal and British times, responsible for collecting taxes from a district. It may convey somewhat different meanings in different parts of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The historical equivalent in Britain might similar to a member of the landed aristocracy, or perhaps a Lord of the Manor (depending on the region of India).
(2) An official in Hyderabad State during the British colonial era, equivalent to a magistrate and tax collector.
(3) A landholder with peculiar tenures in various parts of British India.
According to the Punjab settlement report of 1862, great land holders were appointed Taluqdars over a number of villages during the Mughal era. That Taluqa or district usually comprised over 84 villages and a central town. The Talukdar was required to collect taxes, maintain law & order, and provide military supplies/manpower to the provincial government (similar to the role of feudal lords in Europe). In most cases the Talukdars were entitled to keep one tenth of the collected revenue. However, some privileged Talukdars were entitled to one quarter and hence were called Chaudhry, which literally means owner of the fourth part.
In Rajastan and Bengal, a talukdar was next only to a Raja in extent of land control and social status; but in Punjab and the United Provinces talukdars were much more powerful and were directly under the provincial governor. The late Mughal era saw the rise of powerful talukdars in Oudh, northern India who seldom paid any collected revenue to the central government and became virtual rulers of their districts. Similarly, in northern Punjab the talukdars of Dhanni, Gheb and Kot were extremely powerful.
Eighteenth century Bengal witnessed the rise of great territorial land holders at the expense of smaller landholders who were reduced to the status of dependent taluqdars, required to pay their revenue to the government through the intermediary of the great landlords called rajas and maharajas. However many old taluqdars paid revenues to government directly and were as powerful as the Rajas.
During the Rule of the Nizams in Hyderabad the top of the administrator / tax revenue collector hierarchy was the Subedar who had responsibility for the largest divisions of the country i.e. (the Princely State of Hyderabad) and below him the rank or official title of the lower division post holder was Tehsildar and below that rank of Taluqdar, so in effect it could be equated to the three tier ranking from province administrator to county administrator to district administrator in size from the largest to smallest. These are further divided into villages, under a Village officer.
Today, the names Talukdar and Choudhry (with variations in spelling) are common in India and in Indians settled overseas amongst the descendents of those who held this rank or role in times past.
- Rai Rajeshwar Bali - 13th Taluqdar of Rampur-Daryabad Estate (Uttar Pradesh)
- Nabakrishna Deb
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