EAP 314 Collection 4
Location of the Original Documents:
Number of digital images:
858 digital images in TIFF format
Extent and Format of the original documents:
277 handwritten and printed paper documents, 1 notebook.
Date range of the original documents:
Scope and content of the collection:
This large collection belongs to a lineage headmen of the Servai (Agamudayar) caste. The documents were handed down to him by his father, who held them from his own father’s father and grandfather’s father. These documents cover different issues such as that of dispute settlement handled by the family men in their capacity both as traditional village headmen (Ur Nattanmai) and as officially appointed presidents of the Village Panchayat Court (VPC). These documents shed light on the interaction and negotiation between village level judiciary practices and state intervention. A number of documents deal specifically with disputes between local theatrical companies and the parents of their young recruits. Another set of documents deal with financial and agrarian transactions.
System of arrangement of the collection:
The collection is arranged in series: (1) Drama company disputes, (2) Government communication and (3) Land transactions, (4) Village panchayat court, (5) Temple management.
(1) Drama company disputes
This series (1932-1936) contains documents related to contracts and disputes between individuals and local drama companies. Parents would send their child off to work for a drama company, for a period of two or three years. A contract was drawn up between the parents and the company fixing the advance paid to the parents and the time period the child should work. These disputes were settled by the document holder’s great-grandfather as village panchayat president.
(2) Government communication
This series (1874-1948) contains various types of notifications and communications to and by the British administration to village officials.
(3) Land transactions
This series (1870-1959) contains documents releted to various land management such as sale deeds, leases, agreements of the share of harvest, plot measurements as well as mortgage deeds involving dry land, wet land and a few houses. It is noteworthy that many documents contain the caste origin of the lenders and the borrowers. The amounts vary from Rs10 to Rs 6000.
(4) Village panchayat court
This series (1869-1953) contains documents relating the « village panchayat court » as well as other dispute settlement documents. The « village panchayat court » (VPC) were legal bodies recognised by the British administration. The VPC handled disputes at the village level and had to answer back to the District Magistrate Court. The traditional headman often used to hold the function of VPC president, as is the case here.
(5) Temple management
This series (1862-1947) contains documents relating to temple accounts and management. One is a notebook for the four temples of Adhalai which contains lists of the vessels owned by a temple as well as contruction accounts. The rest are loose documents covering various temple managment issues.