Rent-free Tenures—Right of Government to Resume such Grants.
ON the 27th we went on fifteen miles to Begamabad, over a sandy and level country. All the peasantry along the roads were busy watering their fields; and the singing of the man who stood at the well to tell the other who guides the bullocks when to pull, after the leather bucket had been filled at the bottom, and when to stop as it reached the top, was extremely pleasing. It is said that Tansen of Delhi, the most celebrated singer they have ever had in India, used to spend a great part of his time in these fields, listening to the simple melodies of these water-drawers, which he learned to imitate and apply to his more finished vocal music. Popular belief ascribes to Tansen the power of stopping the river Jumna in its course. His contemporary and rival, Birju Baula, who, according to popular belief, could split a rock with a single note, is said to have learned his bass from the noise of the stone mills which the women use in grinding the corn for their families. Tansen was a Brahman from Patna, who entered the service of the Emperor Akbar, became a Musalman, and after the service of twenty-seven years, during which he was much beloved by the Emperor and all his court, he died at Gwalior in the thirty-fourth year of the Emperor’s reign. His tomb is still to be seen at Gwalior. All his descendants are said to have a talent for music, and they have all Sen added to their names.
While Madhoji Sindhia, the Gwalior chief, was prime minister, he made the emperor assign to his daughter the Bala Bai in jagir, or rent-free tenure, ninety-five villages, rated in the imperial ‘sanads’ [deeds of grant] at three lakhs of rupees a year. When the Emperor had been released from the ‘durance vile’ in which he was kept by Daulat Rao Sindhia, the adopted son of this chief, by Lord Lake in 1803, and the countries, in which these villages were situated, taken possession of, she was permitted to retain them on condition that they were to escheat to us on her death. She died in 1834, and we took possession of the villages, which now yield, it is said, four lakhs of rupees a year. Begamabad was one of them. It paid to the Bala Bai only six hundred rupees a year, but it pays now to us six