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Wajib-ul Arz and Sajra-Nasib: A Study of 19th Century Village Documents in Himachal Pradesh

Author Affiliations

  • 1VPO Ambota, Tehsil Amb, District Una, Himachal Pradesh-177205, India

Int. Res. J. Social Sci., Volume 5, Issue (9), Pages 18-23, September,14 (2016)


In the present paper I want to analyze the Wajib-ul-arz and Sajra Nasib. Wajib-ul-arz and Sajra- Nasib are important for the study of village records of Himachal Pradesh in the colonial period. Since records prior to colonial period do not survive we are in the dark conveying the exact nature of village documents except that Mughals have great emphasizes in maintaining the village records for revenue purpose which were largely maintained in Persian. Wajib-ul arz is the authentic record of the villages having details of the villages inhabitant along with the details of their castes composition. The style of writing the Wajib-ul-arz differs from area to area. They were considered the most authentic village level documents, not only in colonial period but the practice of maintaining these records in the forms of wajib-ul arz and sajra nasib still prevailed in Himachal Pradesh with the difference that earlier it were maintained in Urdu, but now the language used is Hindi. When Britishers occupied the Punjab Hills they tried to learn the customs of the area. Besides for fixing revenue when the settlement reports were prepared at first at village level wajib-ul-arz were prepared. Wajib-ul arz provides detailed information of land, nature of village and the customs related to the appropriation of the common village grazing, begar to be furnished by the different castes of the village. The documents also contain account of the duties or the nature of works performed by various castes of the village like Lohar, Gujjar, Rajputs and the Brahmin. Documents also contains information pertaining to the sannads granted by the Britishers to the Rajas of the Hill States elaborated there powers and position. These Wajib-ul-arz were infect prepared by the Britishers, but under the supremacy of the Raja of the area. For example the Wajib-ul arz of the Bilaspur area were written under the Raja of the Kehloor. Another important village level document in Himachal Pradesh is Sajra Nasib. Sajra nasib provides detailed accounts of the information pertaining to the establishment of the village, its inhabitants, its population etc. It provides a descriptive list of the persons and of their families along with the division of land among the family members along with their names.


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