Swat History

REVENUE SYSTEM OF SWAT STATE

In the early days of the State (Swat State), the sources of revenue were not dependable and most of the State expenditures were met you by the much heralded cash assistance by a very rich businessman, Haji Shamshi of Mingora. In addition to this huge amount at that time, Badshah Sahib’s personal income was also used for State needs. The Mianguls were one of the prosperous families at the standard prevailing at that time. In those days, a man’s standing in the society was judged on the number of retainers one kept. After elimination of their cousins, the two brothers, i.e., Miangul Abdul Wadud and Miangul Shirin Jan kept more retainers than any big Khan of the region.

With the passage of time, the State firmly established its source of Revenue, mainly on the tithe collected from every field, orchard, and herds of animals as per Islamic rules. Badshah Sahib’s property management was separated from the State resources. He kept his own custodian of lands who managed his personal income with the help of clerical staff and ‘Nazirs’. Some known persons who remained Badshah Sahib’s personal managers were Ghulam Haya of Saidu Sharif, Talimand Khan (B.A, L.L.B) of Malak Abad, Shamozai  and Aqal Mand Khan of Saidu Sharif. The last one was the Son of Ghulam Haya and this family remained loyal to Badshah Sahib till this day.

The State treasury was established at Saidu Sharif and all cash income from various tehsils and the octrois at the various entries of the State were deposited here. Probably the first treasury officer was Mohammad Zarin, elder brother of Hakim Mohammad Shirin who belonged to Amankot. He was assisted by a few clerks as well. Proper registers were maintained by recording the income and expenditure.

As already submitted, permanent sources of income were ‘Ushar’ or tithe, the import and export taxes collected at all entrances to the State. The collection of ‘Ushar’ was carried through Contractor called ‘Ijara Gar’.

All the State was divided into round about 34 tehsils. Each was considered a separate unit. The high bidder was authorized to collect ‘Ushr’ from the land owners of that tehsil. It was then stored in a store called ‘Ambar’. The state malatia was paid in kind from these Ambars. The surplus was sold and cash submitted to the State ‘Khazana’ or treasury. Then all the developmental works were carried out with this cash lying in the Vests of treasury building.

Most famous amongst the treasury officers was Mr. Sultan Muhammad Sahib. He was from Mingora and kept this high office till the merger of the State in 1969. Every day, early in the morning, he was present at the gate of Wali Sahib’s residence. He had a black box in which two registers were kept. Daily entries of each paisa of income and expenditure were recorded in it.

When the guard standing at the porch signaled, Mohtamim Sahib, i.e., the treasury officer, he put the box on his shoulder and entered the gate. One guard would take the box from him and put it before  Wali Sahib on the table. He checked every entry himself and signed it.

For maintenance of Revenue flow, a Wazir Maal was responsible to supervise all the procedures on behalf of the ruler and controlled all the sources of revenue.

Fazal Raziq Shahab belongs to the historic village of Aboha, Swat. His writings on Swat State provides very useful information to the general readers and researchers. He remained Swat State functionary and thus observed the happenings of the State very closely. He is the author of two books and his Columns has been a regular feature of Daily Azadi, Bakhabarswat.com and Lafzuna.com.
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Fazal Raziq Shahab belongs to the historic village of Aboha, Swat. His writings on Swat State provides very useful information to the general readers and researchers. He remained Swat State functionary and thus observed the happenings of the State very closely. He is the author of two books and his Columns has been a regular feature of Daily Azadi, Bakhabarswat.com and Lafzuna.com.
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