234. The fixed basis upon which the shifting chaos of
weights and measures in Berar rests is
the tola, an almost unvarying and easily ascertainable weight. It is the equivalent of one Government rupee or 180 grains troy weight. The scale of weights is:—
80 tolas = 1 seer
2½ seers = 1 dhada
40 seers = 1 maund (man)
20 maunds = 1 khandi
Of these the seer alone is unvarying. Sale by weight is only the custom for sugar, cotton, ghi, flour, tobacco, turmeric and a few similar groceries, and even in these the
variations of weights are almost numberless. Thus a common term is pasri which signifies too tolas of groceries or 120 tolas of raw sugar or 115 tolas of tobacco. If applied to cotton it may mean anything from 150 to 180 tolas, or in Daryapur 135 tolas. Similarly the dhada has variations from 200 tolas to 360 tolas according to the article purchased and the maund of 40 seers is rivalled throughout the District by a maund of 10 seers which becomes in Amraoti taluk the commoner of the two. Goldsmiths subdivide the tola into 12 mashas, each being the equivalent of 4 wells or 8 gunjas, the last named being the seed of Abrusprecatorius. In the cotton industry kapas or raw cotton and ginned cotton are dealt with according to the following scales.:—
1 lb. avoirdupois.
1 khandi (local)
1 lb. avoirdupois.
But cotton pressed and ready for export is dealt with by the Bombay khandi
of 784 lbs., which is taken to be roughly the equivalent of 10 Bengal maunds
slightly exceeding 82 lbs. each.
235. The seer however, though constant as a symbol of
weight, is much more commonly the
term for a measure of capacity. In 1862 the officiating Commissioner, Captain Cadell, issued orders that the seer measure should contain 100 tolas by weight of water, these 100 tolas being taken as approximately the equivalent of 80 tolas of the following most common kinds of grain mixed in equal proportions: juari, gram, lakh, rice, masur, urad and mung. For milk and ghi separate measures were prescribed, each being based on the 80 tolas weight of the article in question. The scale of measurement is:
1 kuro or maund
though in this scale there is the inevitable confusion, a paili being sometimes 4 seers, and numberless other variations being introduced by local fancy. Up to 1906 in the price current returns to the Government of India the measured seer was quoted, but since that date conversions have been made to the seer by weight in common use elsewhere according to the following table:—
236. The English scales are in use for measures both of
length and of surface: but a few native terms also survive. The depth
of a well or a tank is measured by purush (a man), a length of
about one fathom; cloth is sold by the hath of 18 inches,
called also a gaz; this is subdivided into 8 girhas and two gaz make a yard or war, For long distances the commonest
figure is a kos of two miles. For survey purposes the
English acre is divided into 40 gunthas, each of which is a
square chain of 33 feet. The chain is further subdivided
into 16 annas. In old papers, a bigha of 25 gunthas will be
found referred to; and in daily speech the Kunbi measures
land by a tiffan of 4 acres.
237. In this District the Saka era and calendar are
generally used. This era commenced
in 78 A.D. and is believed to have been founded by a Scythian King, Salivahan, of the Yueh-Chi tribe, who reigned in Kathiawar. The year 1909 is 1830—31 of the Saka era and 1965—66 of the Vikrama calendar, The
Saka calendar differs from the Vikrama in common use in the Central Provinces and very often used by the Marwaris in this District, in the fact that each month begins a fortnight later. Thus Chaitra, the first day of which month begins the new year, corresponds to the second half of the Vikrama Chait and the first half of Vaishakh. The Saka months begin with the new moon and the Vikrama months with the full moon. The first of Chaitra may fall as early as the middle of March, but more commonly comes in the last week of March or the first week of April. Consequently Chaitra may be taken roughly as corresponding to April. The names of the Saka months are practically the same as those of the Vikrama months, but they retain the correct Sanskrit form, whereas the Vikrama names are Hindi corruptions. But the Vikrama month Kunwar is called Ashvin in the Saka calendar and the month Aghan is called Margashir. Both eras are luni-solar and the year consists of about 355 days, but is made to correspond very nearly with the Gregorian year by the interposition of triennial intercalary months. The Fasli era observed in Berar is that of the Deccan which is ahead of the Hindustani Fasli by two years. It begins about the 5th of June every year and corresponds roughly with the Berar agricultural year commencing on the first of April. The Fasli year 1319 commenced from the 7th of June 1909.