bísí

Bisi, Beesee.

1

 Hindi. () A unit of mass, ? – 19th century, = five Sers. Also called a Vis or Visi.

H. H. Wilson, page 90.

2

In Garwhal and Kumaon, India, ? – 19th century, a unit of dry capacity = 40 seers.

H. H. Wilson, page 90.

3

In Kumaon, India, ? – 19th century, a unit of land area, as much land as would be sown with 20 nálís of seed. Said to be 4800 square yards (about 4013.4 square meters). Wilson says¹ twenty nálís of seed is the amount that will fit in a sheep's saddle-bag. According to Traill², who was the Commissioner of Kumaon, the capacity of a sheep saddle-bag was a unit, a grain measure called the karbich, equal to 4 nalis. But another grain measure, the suyattor, a large karbich, was equal to 20 nalis

This nálí apparently differs from the Tamil nali (1/8 of a marahal).

1. H. H. Wilson, pages 365 and 572.

2. George William Traill.
Report on the Bhotea Mehals of Kumaon.
in
J. H. Batten, editor.
Official Reports of the Province of Kumaon.
Agra: Printed at the Secundra Orphan Press, 1851.
Page 87. This essay also appeared in Asiatic Researches, vol. XVII, but the page reference is to the book.

sources

1

The mode of calculation in use throughout the hills is, by the estimated quantity of grain which the land will require to sow it. The adoption of so uncertain a standard is doubtless to be ascribed to the nature of the arable lands, the actual measurement of which would have required greater perseverance and science than the natives of this province ever possessed. The denominations by which land is computed in Kumaon are extremely numerous, and vary in different parts, and it may therefore be presumed, that they were established at a remote period when the country was divided into several petty independent principalities. In calculating the extent of villages, only such lands as had been rendered capable of cuItivation by the operation already described, were taken into consideration. These have been gradually augmenting, and as no revised survey has recently been made, the existing records by no means correspond with the actual quantity of arable land in each village.

The most common denomination is the bísí, which has now been adopted as a general standard. The regular bísí ought, as its name implies, to contain land requiring twenty nalís of seed; its actual extent, therefore, varies according to the quality of soil, as the grain is sown much wider in poor lands near the summit, than in rich lands at the base of the mountains. With every allowance of this kind, villages are invariably found far to exceed their nominal rukba, when computed by this standard. It also varies in the same district, a portion of the land being calculated by one description and the remainder by another description of bísí, which incongruity arose from the practice of former Rajas, of doubling or otherwise augmenting the nominal rukba of rent-free land in the deed of grant. Such increased rukba became, from that time, permanently enrolled and fixed in the record. A further mode of calculation is, by the estimated produce of land in bilkas, or sheaves, the number of which ought to correspond with the number of nalís in each bísí.

It will now be sufficient to detail the different denominations in use in Kumaon, with their computed contents, without entering into further explanation.

Jhúla, various = 12, 9, 6 and 3 bísís.

Bhara, = 2½ bísís.

Alí, = 2½ bísís.

Bísa, = 4 bísís.

Ans, = 1 bísí.

Nalí, = ½ bísí.

Taka, = ½ bísí.

Masa, = ¾ bísí.

Ríni, = 1 bísí.

In the Bháwer, actual measurement is used, and the calculation is made either in bigahs or Hothas. The former corresponds to the bigah of the plains, the latter contains 1600 square paces.

Another mode of computation is by the plough of two yoke of bullocks, twenty being required for one bísí: a plough of land contains the quantity which can be turned in one day.

George William Traill.
Statistical Report of Kumaon.
in
J. H. Batten, editor.
Official Reports of the Province of Kumaon.
Agra: Printed at the Secundra Orphan Press, 1851.
Pages 34-36. This essay also appeared in Asiatic Researches, vol. XVI, but the page reference is to the book.

2

Beesee,

A term peculiar to Kumaon.

Mr Trail, the English Commissioner of the Province, reduced all the miscellaneous measures of quantity in land to nominal (not actually measured) Beesees. The Beesee is equal to 20 Pat,has of Gurhwal or 20 Nalees of Kumaon. The Pat,ha, or Nalee, represents a measure of seed with a capacity of about two seers, and the number of Pat,has in any area is estimated by the quantity of seed (generally wheat) required to sow it. The actual extent varies according to the quality and position of the land. The grain is sown much wider in the poor Oopuraon lands near the summit, than in the rich Tulaon lands near the base.

H. M. Elliot, 1845, page 50.

4

In Rangpur, India, a unit of land area = 16 dhans.

H. H. Wilson, page 90.

X

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