Maund

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British Indian
units of mass
 
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A one maund weighing stone of the Madras Presidency
The vast extent of the Bengal Presidency (shown here in 1858) facilitated the adoption of the standard of 100 Troy pounds for the maund throughout British India.

The maund /ˈmɔːnd/ is the anglicized name for a traditional unit of mass used in British India, and also in Afghanistan, Persia and Arabia:[1] the same unit in the Moghul Empire was sometimes written as mun in English, while the equivalent unit in the Ottoman Empire and Central Asia was called the batman. At different times, and in different South Asian localities, the mass of the maund has varied, from as low as 25 pounds (11 kg) to as high as 160 pounds (72½ kg): even greater variation is seen in Persia and Arabia.[2][3]

In British India, the maund was first standardized in the Bengal Presidency in 1833, where it was set equal to 100 Troy pounds (82.28 lbs. av.). This standard spread throughout the British Raj.[4] After the independence of India and Pakistan, the definition formed the basis for metrication, one maund becoming exactly 37.3242 kilograms.[5][6] A similar metric definition is used in Nepal.

The Old English, 'maund' may also be the origin of Maundy Thursday. As a verb, 'maund' to beg; as a noun, 'a maund'a small basket held out for alms.

Origins[edit]

Anglicized as "maund", the man as a unit of weight is thought to be of at least Chaldean origin,[7] with Sir Henry Yule attributing Akkadian origins to the word.[1] The Hebrew maneh (מנה) and the Ancient Greek mina (μνᾶ) are thought to be cognate.[1][8] It was originally equal to one-ninth of the weight of an artaba of water,[9] or approximately four to seven kilograms in modern units.

The modification of the vowel in the anglicized name is thought to be an indication that the word came into English via Portuguese. The Portuguese version was mão (pronounced: [ˈmɐ̃w̃], as in the word for "hand"), a regular [aːn][ɐ̃w̃] development in Portuguese.[1]

South Asia[edit]

British Indian
units of mass

Mughal Empire[edit]

Prinsep (1840) summarizes the evidence as to the weight of the mun (later "maund") during the reign (1556–1605) of Akbar the Great,[10] which comes from the Ain-i-Akbari written by the vizier Abu'l-Fazl ibn Mubarak (anglicized as "Abul Fuzl"). The principal definition is that the mun is forty seers; and that each seer is thirty dams.

1 mun = 40 seers = 1200 dams

The problem arises in assigning the values of the smaller units.

The section of the Ain-i-Akbari that defines the mun also defines the dam as five tanks. A separate section defines the tank as twenty-four ruttees. However, by the 19th century, the tank was no longer a uniform unit across the former Mughal territories: Prinsep quotes values of 50 grains (3.24 g) in Darwar, 72 grains (4.67 g) in Bombay and 268 grains (17.37 g) in Ahmednugur.[10]

The jilály, a square silver rupee coin issued by Akbar, was said by the Ain-i-Akbari to be 11¼ mashas in weight: surviving jilály and other Mughal rupee coins weigh 170–175 Troy grains (11.02–11.34 g), so the masha, defined as eight ruttees, would be about 15½ grains (1 g). Masha weights sent back to London in 1819 agree with this value.[11] This basis gives a mun of 34¾ lb. av. (15¾ kg). One Koni was 4 muns.[12]

However, in yet another section of the Ain-i-Akbari, the dam is said to be "twenty mashas seven ruttees": using this definition would imply an Imperial mass of about 47 lb. av. (21⅓ kg) for the mun. Between these two values, the maund in Central India was often found to be around 40 lb. av. (18 kg) in the East India Company survey of 1821.

A Maund was 55.5 British pounds under Akbar.[13]

Nineteenth century[edit]

British India is shown in pink on this 1837 map. The Madras Presidency is in the southeast, the Bombay Presidency is in the west and the Bengal Presidency is in the northeast.

The maund of India may as a genus be divided into four different species:

  1. That of Bengal, containing 40 seers, and averaging about 80 lbs. avoir.
  2. That of Central India (Malwa, Ajmeer, &c.) generally equal to 40 lbs. avoir. and containing 20 seers (so that the seer of this large portion of the continent assimilates to that of Bengal.)
  3. The maund of Guzerat and Bombay, equal to ¼ cwt. or 28 pounds and divided into 40 seers of smaller grade.
  4. The maund of Southern India, fixed by the Madras government at 25 lbs. avoir.

There are, however many other varieties of maund, from 15 to 64 seers in weight; which it is unnecessary to particularize.

— Prinsep (1840), p. 77

Prinsep's values for the maund come from a survey organized by the East India Company in 1821. The Company's agents were asked to send back examples of the standard weights and measures used in the places they were stationed, and these were compared with the English standards in London by Patrick Kelly, the leading British metrologist of the time. The results were published as an appendix to the second edition of Kelly's Universal Cambist (1831), and later as a separate book entitled Oriental Metrology (1832).

It will be seen from Kelly's results below that Prinsep's generalizations are only partially correct. The Gujarat maund is more closely related to the Central Indian maund than to the standardized Bombay maund, except in the town of Anjar, except that it is divided into 40 seers instead of 20 as was found in Malwa.

Central India and Gujarat[edit]

Locations of the towns where the maund was found to be approximately 40 lb. av. (18 kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Ahmadābād
Baroda
Broach
Calicut
Indore
Kota
Masulipatam
Mundissor
Oujein
Surat
Tellicherry
Vizagapatam
The towns where the maund was found to be approximately 40 lb. av. (18 kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Locations of the towns where the maund was found to be more than 130 lb. av. (59 kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Chanadore
Dewas
Dindoor
Jamkhair
The towns where the maund was found to be more than 130 lb. av. (59 kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Place[note 1]Sub-
division
ImperialMetric
kg
lb.oz.dr.
Ahmadābād, in Gujarat40 seers4241319.817
Amod, in Broach40 seers40812
Anjar, in Cutch40 seers2738
Bairseah, in Malwa40 seers77112
Bārdoli, in Surat39¾ seers, 2 pice374
Broach, in Gujarat40 seers40812
Baroda, in Gujarat42 seers44910
Cambay, in Gujarat40 seers3780
Chanadore, Central Provinces64 seers149120
Dewas, in Malwa64 seers13782
Doongurpoor, in Rajputana40 seers50114
Hānsot, in Broach40 seers, "market"3899
42 seers, for oil4086
40 pergunna seers39310
Indore, in Malwa20 seers, for grain4086
40 seers, for opium81012
Jambusar, in Broach40 seers, "market"4064
42 seers, for cotton4269
Kota, in Rajputana40 seers3000
Kumbharia, in Surat40 seers 8 pice371310
Kurod, in Surat40 seers 15 pice3715
Malwa20 seers4078
Mundissor, in Malwa15 seers344
Okalesur, in Broach40 seers38813
40 seers, "pergunna"40613
Omutwara, in Malwa28 seers54108
Oujein, in Malwa16⅞ seers33513
Pertabgurh, in Ajmer20 seers38814
Rutlam, in Malwa20 seers4078
Surat, in Gujarat40 seers3780
Source: Kelly's Oriental Metrology (1832)[2]

Bombay Presidency[edit]

Locations of the towns where the maund was found to be approximately 28 lb. av. (12¾ kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Anjar
Belgaum
Bombay
Cochin
Mangalore
Poona
Quilon
The towns where the maund was found to be approximately 28 lb. av. (12¾ kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Place[note 1]Sub-
division
ImperialMetric
kg
lb.oz.dr.
Ahmadnagar40 seers781512
Aurangabad40 seers741010
Belgaum44 seers26315
Bombay40 seers2800
Carwar, in Kanara42 seers2600
Dindoor64 seers1571010
Dukhun Poona12½ seers, for ghee, etc.24104⅓
14 seers, for metals2799⅔
48 seers, for grain9498
Goa (Portuguese)24120
Jamkhair, in Ahmednagar64 seers147100
Jaulnah, in Hyderabad40 seers8028
Onore, in Kanara40–44 seers2500
Poona12½ seers, for ghee, etc.24104⅓
14 seers, for metals2799⅔
48 seers, for grain9498
Roombharee, in Ahmednagar64 seers160138
Source: Kelly's Oriental Metrology (1832)[2]

Madras Presidency[edit]

Locations of the towns where the maund was found to be approximately 25 lb. av. (11⅓ kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Bellary
Coimbatoor
Goa
Hyderabad
Madras
Madura
Mangalore
Negapatam
Onore
Pondicherry
Poona
The towns where the maund was found to be approximately 25 lb. av. (11⅓ kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Place[note 1]Sub-
division
ImperialMetric
kg
lb.oz.dr.
Anjengo, in Travancore2800
Bangalore, in Mysore40 seers2500
Bellary, in Madras48 seers2560
Calicut, in Malabar68 seers341111
Cochin, in Malabar42½ seers27211
Coimbatoor, in Mysore40 seers2410
Colachy, in Travancore125 pollums181213
Hyderabad, in Madras12 seers, "kucha"23130
40 seers, "pucka"7960
Madras40 seers, or 8 vis2500
Madura, in Carnatic39.244 seers2500
Mangalore46 seers, "market"2824
46 seers, "Company's"28813
40 seers, for sugar2478
Masulipatam, in Madras"kucha"35100
"pucka"8000
Negapatam, in Carnatic41.558 seers2500
Pondicherry8 vis2514
Quilon, in Travancore25 old Dutch pounds2758
Sankeridroog, in Carnatic41.256 seers2500
Seringapatam40 seers, "kucha"2448
Tellicherry, in Malabar64 seers32110
Tranquebar, in Coromandel68 Danish pounds74129.6
Travancore, in Madras250
Trichinopoly, in Carnatic13.114 seers2500
Vizagapatam, in Madras"kucha"35100
"pucka"8000
Source: Kelly's Oriental Metrology (1832)[2]

Bengal[edit]

Locations of the towns where the maund was found to be approximately 80 lb. av. (36 kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Ahmednugur
Aurungabunder
Bairseah
Calcutta
Indore
Jaulnah
Luckipoor
Masulipatam
Poona
Tranquebar
Vizagapatam
The towns where the maund was found to be approximately 80 lb. av. (36 kg) in the 1821 East India Company survey, superimposed onto a map of modern India.
Place[note 1]Sub-
division
ImperialMetric
kg
lb.oz.dr.
Calcutta40 seers8249 17
Luckipoor, in Bengalas Calcutta8249 17
Source: Kelly's Oriental Metrology (1832)[2]

Notes and references[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Kelly's transliterations of place names have been retained, but the transliterations of names of districts have been updated where possible.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "maund", A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles 6B, 1908, p. 250 .
  2. ^ a b c d e Prinsep, James (1840), Useful tables, forming an appendix to the Journal of the Asiatic Society: part the first, Coins, weights, and measures of British India (2nd ed.), Calcutta: Bishop's College Press, pp. 84–90 .
  3. ^ Doursther, Horace (1840), Dictionnaire universel des poids et mesures anciens et modernes, Brussels: Hayez, pp. 259–63 .
  4. ^ "Introductory notes", The Imperial Gazetteer of India 1, 1909, p. xi .
  5. ^ maund, Sizes.com, retrieved 2010-02-12 .
  6. ^ Schedule 1 to the Standard Weights and Measures Act (No. 89 of 1956).
  7. ^ Hayyim, Sulayman (1934–1936), New Persian-English dictionary, complete and modern, designed to give the English meanings of over 50,000 words, terms, idioms, and proverbs in the Persian language, as well as the transliteration of the words in English characters. Together with a sufficient treatment of all the grammatical features of the Persian Language 2, Teheran: Librairie-imprimerie Beroukhim, p. 988  .
  8. ^ Prinsep, James (1840), Useful tables, forming an appendix to the Journal of the Asiatic Society: part the first, Coins, weights, and measures of British India (2nd ed.), Calcutta: Bishop's College Press, p. 80 .
  9. ^ Doursther, Horace (1840), Dictionnaire universel des poids et mesures anciens et modernes, Brussels: Hayez, pp. 51–52 .
  10. ^ a b Prinsep, James (1840), Useful tables, forming an appendix to the Journal of the Asiatic Society: part the first, Coins, weights, and measures of British India (2nd ed.), Calcutta: Bishop's College Press, p. 81 .
  11. ^ Prinsep, James (1840), Useful tables, forming an appendix to the Journal of the Asiatic Society: part the first, Coins, weights, and measures of British India (2nd ed.), Calcutta: Bishop's College Press, pp. 17–18 .
  12. ^ Kashmir Under Maharaja Ranjit Singh
  13. ^ Narang, Kirpal Singh; Gupta, Hari Ram (1969). History of the Pubnab, 1500-1858 (2nd. ed.). Delhi: U.C. Kapur. p. 181. 

External links[edit]