bigha [Hindi बीघा]

1

In India, a variable unit of land area. In Mumbai (Bombay), about 2468 square meters. Also spelled "beeg,ha" (comma in original), beega, biggah, bheega and beegah1.

Applied to bighas the word kuchcha has its usual meaning of substandard or smaller, and a kuchcha bigha is a third or in other places a fourth of a full bigha.

1. Simmonds, (1892). See under “cottah.”

2. B. Rose. Appendix to the Rice Economy of Asia. Washington (DC): Resources for the Future, 1985.

 

Locale Equivalents sq. yds sq. meters Sources
Gujarat 20×20 gunthas   2312.5  
Rajasthan     1618.7  
West Bengal = 20 kottah, chart symbol  1600 1337.9  
Bengal   1660   2
Agra (Presidency) 60×60 ilahy guz 3025   1, 2
Benares by Reg. II, 1795 3136   1
Broach 20 wusa 3025   1
Delhi "average" 2500   1
Furukhabad 20 biswa 2756¼   1
Jungle Mehals, Bancoora 80×80 haths about 1600   1
Malwa 20 wusas nearly 2420 2023 1
Moradabad 18×18 guttas 2304   1
Patna 20×20 cuttahs or bamboos 3025   1
Tirhoot 20×20 lugees 4900   1
20×20 small lugees 3906¼   1

Sources for the table

1. James Prinsep, 1834, pages 91 and 92.

2. H. M. Elliot, 1845, pages 47 and 48

 

Sources

1

I can offer no revenue statistics of any value. There are some forty different bighas in use in various parts of the State, based on chains or rather ropes varying from 100 feet to 185 feet. The cultivator claimed that the cash rents were not liable to enhancement, and so instead of raising the rate per bigha, the size of the bigha was reduced by taking 17 gathas to the chain in place of 20 and of course, when the sanctity of the chain is tampered with, any result may be arrived at.

E. R. K. Blenkinsop, a British Settlement Commissioner writing in 1924, quoted in Ashim Kumar Roy, History of Jaipur City (New Delhi: Manohar, 1978), page 207, quoted in turn by Susan Gole, Size as a Measure of Importance in Indian Cartography, Imago Mundi, vol. 42, page 100 (1990).

2

In Goojerat the bheega, or veega it is sometimes pronounced, is equal to the square of 20 gunthas; the square of one guntha being termed a wuswassa. 22 wuswassa = 1 wassa; and 20 wassa = 1 bheega.

It may be observed here, that the terms wussa and wuswassa, so generally used in all measures in Goojerat, are corruptions of beeswa and beeswansa, meaning the twentieth part and twenty-twentieth.

On the western side of India the bheega is equal to the superficial contents of a square of 20 cathees; the square of one cathee is called a poluh. 20 poluh = 1 pand; 20 pands = 1 bheega; and 120 pands = 1 chaoor.

It is customary in the Konkan to reckon 23 pand equal to one bheega, and the mhars, whose office it is to measure the land, do not lay cathee or measuring rod on the ground, but raise the one end up, and pass it quickly over to the supposed place of the other end, which gives a much less quantity than the true superficial content—this last custom is also observed in Goojerat; but in the Deccan, land is measured with a rope, which gives the true contents.

The following is by the late Byram Rowles, Esq. of the Bombay Civil Service, from whose abilities in Revenue Matters, we may infer it to be very correct.

From Colonel Monier W[ill]iam's Memoir, &c.1

The proportions between the different land measures of this country and England, are illustrated as follow:

In an English statute acre, 4840 [square yards]

In a standard koombha of the Jumboosur, Amod, and Dehej Purgannas             4641 [square yards] 20 [square inches]

In a standard bheega of the Baroche, Unklesur, and Hausot Purgunnas, 2477 [sq. yds] 7 [sq. ft] 64 [sq. in]

In a standard bheega of the Admedabad, Kaira, and Surat collectorates, 9844 [sq. yds] 4 [sq. ft]

There are various modes of reckoning land in the Deccan, but they are all founded on the bheega, measuring in superficial contents 400 cathee or 5 cubits and 5 palms-breadth. In the Poona districts 10 bheega = 1 Rooka; 48 bheega = 1 tukka: a chandy contains from 20 to 35 bheegas; and a mun or maund of land is the twentieth part of a khandy. In Khandes and in many of the Admednuggar districts, 4 bheegas = 1 purtun, and 80 bheega = 1 dooree. In the Dharwar Zillah, a koorge is as much land as can be sown with a drill plough in one day, consequently varying from 2 to 8 bheega.

Robert Montgomery Martin.
History of the Colonies of the British Empire in the West Indies, South America, North America, Asia...
London: W. H. Allen & Co. and George Routledge, 1843.
Pages 145 & 146 of Appendix 4. According to the author, the material was drawn from the Bombay Almanack of 1836.

1. Probably Sir Monier Monier-Williams, Memoir on the Zilla of Baroche: being the result of a revenue, statistical, and topographical survey of that collectorate, executed by order of the Bombay Government, under the superintendent of Monier Williams. London: Printed by Cox and Baylis, 1825.

3

The Tenab

His majesty adopted Noorsheervan's measurement of sixty squares, which he made to consist of that number of the Ilahee guz. The tenab, formerly used in Hindostan, was made of rope, which, being subject to great variations from twisting, or from the dryness or moisture of the air, his majesty, in the nineteenth year of his reign, commanded that it should be made of bamboos, joined together by iron rings.

The Beegah, or Jereeb

Are names applied indifferently to the measure itself, as well as to such a quantity of land. It consists of 3600 square [Ilahee] guz. If a piece of ground be unequal in length and breadth, it is brought into square measure.

20 Unswanseh make one Pitwanseh;
20 Pitwanseh make one Tiswanseh;
20 Tiswanseh make one Biswanseh;
20 Biswanseh make one Biswah;
20 Biswah make one Beegah.

All the divisions below the tiswanseh are imaginary.

No revenue is required from nine biswanseh; but ten biswansehs are accounted one biswah.

Abū al-Fazl ibn Mubārak
Francis Gladwin, translator.
Ayeen Akbery, or the Institutes of the Emperor Akber. Vol. 1.
London: Printed by G. Auld for J. Sewell, Vernor and Hood, &c., 1800.

The author, who wrote in Farsi around the end of the 16th century, was Vizier in the administration of the greatest of the Moghul emperors, Akbar the Great. Akbar carried out major weights and measures reforms.

4

Please see the latter part of source note 4, definition 2, under guz.

5

Bíghá, Beegha, corruptly, Beega, Beegah, Begah, &c., H. () Bighá, Mar. () A measure of land, varying in extent in different parts of India. The standard Bíghá of the revenue surveys of the north-west provinces is equal to 3025 square yards, or 5/8ths of an acre. In Bengal, the Bíghá contained only 1600 square yards, or little less than 1/3rd of an acre. In Benares it was, at the time of the settlement, determined at 3136 square yards. In other parganas it was equal to 2025, to 3600, or to 3925 square yards. A Kachha (an immature or crude) Bíghá is in some places a third, in others only a fourth of a full or standard Bíghá. Akbar's Bíghá contained 3600 Ilahi-gaz, which have been considered as equal to the 3025 square yards of the Bíghá of Hindustan. Mr. Elliot specifies the following as some of the variations found in the Upper Provinces:

    Bíghás Biswas Kattas
Farakhabad 100 acres = 175 12 0
East and South Gorakhpur " 192 19 7
Allahabad & part of Azimgerh " 177 5 6
Part of Azimgerh & Ghazipur " 154 6 8
Bijnur " 187 19 15
In the Upper Doab (Kachha) " 582 3 0

In Cuttack the Bíghá is now considered to be an English acre. The Maratha Bíghá is called twenty Páṇḍs, or 400 square Káthis or rods, each five cubits and five hand-breadths : as the rod varies, so does the Bíghá under the Âadil Shahi dynasty it was equal to 4383 square yards, or only 457 square yards less than an English acre. The Guzerat Bíghá contains only 284 2/9 square yards.

H. H. Wilson, 1855, page 85. Almost all is a paraphrase of Elliot.

6

In the Upper Doab it was found that the average measurement of the side of a Beeg,ha, deduced from the paces of 148 Zumindars, who were accustomed to practice this kind of mensuration, amounted to 28 834/1000 English yards; making the local (kuchcha) beeg,ha equal to 831 4/10; and 100 statute acres equal to 582 kuchcha beeg,has, 3 biswas.

It is needless to continue the comparisons; but see for further information “Prinsep's Useful Tables,” p. 89.

H. M. Elliot, 1845, page 48. A short selection reproduced to give the romanization and flavor of Elliot, most of his bigha entry being reproduced by Wilson.

2

 बिघ In Nepal, ? – 21st century, a unit of land area used in the Terai, approximately 6771.41 square meters1 (approximately 1.6732 acres). chart symbol Other sources say 1.48 hectares.

Foreigners opening shops in state-operated markets were restricted to a maximum area of 2 bighas.

Another system of land area units is used in the hills of Nepal; it is based on the ropani.

1. United Nations, 1966.  This figure closely agrees with one calculated from bigha-hectare equivalents given in a Nepalese Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology report of 2007.

source

1

The Biggah is used in the measurement of plantations by the Purbutties only, by which appellation the occupiers of the hilly regions in general surrounding the valley of Nepaul are distinguished from the Newars, or proper inhabitants of the latter, though the term seems most appropriate to those of the western Chaster. The subdivisions of the Biggah are as follows:

2 Hauts or cubits square [=] 1 Renoo.

9 Renoos [=] 1 Dhoor (of Bengal)

18¼ Dhoors [=] 1 Moori.

4 Moories (or 75 Dhoors) [=] 3¼ Cottahs.

21 1/3 Moories nearly (or 20 Cottahs) [=] 1 Biggah.

Colonel Kirkpatrick.
An Account of the Kingdom of Nepaul,
London: Printed for William Miller, 1811.
Pages 95-96.

2

1 bigha = 0.67 ha (Terai)

Rice Almanac 2002.

3

In Bangladesh, a unit of land area, generally taken as = 20 katha = 1600 square yards, but varying with locality.  3 bigha-satak = 1 acre.

Locale Equivalents Value
(sq. m)
Mymensingh = 5 katha = 33 decimal  1335.4
Faridpur = 52 decimal 2104.4
Dhaka = 3 pakhi = 78 decimal 3156.6
Bogra = 20 katha= 33 decimal 1335.4
Pabna = 33 decimal 1335.4
Rajshahi = 33 decimal 1335.4
Tangail = 30 decimal = 1 pakhi 1214.1
Kushtia = 33 decimal 1335.4
Khulna = 66 decimal 2670.9
Gaibandha = 33 decimal 1335.4
Rangpur = 2.5 doan = 60 decimal 2428.1
Dinajpur = 48 decimal 1942.5

4

In Fiji, ? – 20th century, in the Fiji-Hindi language, 1 bigha = 1 acre.

Fiji-Hindi – English Dictionary, at www.geocities.com/fijihindi/FijiHindiEnglishDict.htm Accessed 19 September 2008.

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