Author Topic: Weights form Gondal, Rajkot, Morvi etc States in the Saurashtra area of Gujarat.  (Read 2483 times)

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Offline asm

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Gondal, a small princely state of Saurashtra in Gujarat, issued its own weights. The standard Seer or Ser was 40 Tolas just like the adjoining states.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 05:29:08 AM by asm »
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Offline EWC

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Re: Weights form Gondal State.
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2016, 12:53:21 PM »
Gondal, a small princely state of Saurashtra in Gujarat, issued its own weights. The standard Seer or Ser was 40 Tolas just like the adjoining states.

Interesting.  Do you have the actual weight of the seer weight?  I assume it is around 466g?  As I recall the moghul seer was much higher than this - this one looks much like an attempt to replicate the imperial pound (454g) within an Indian system.

By chance I was trying to figure out the changing standard weights of the British loaf this morning.  It seems to have been denominated in troy pounds (c. 497g) prior to 1822, then dropping to avoirdupois pounds 454g until WWII - when it dropped to 14oz avp. thus around 400g.  Traditionally the Seer was more than  double the weight of all the European and Persian pounds - perhaps because rice has a much lower calorific value than wheat or barley?

Rob

Offline asm

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Re: Weights form Gondal State.
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2016, 01:51:43 PM »
Interesting.  Do you have the actual weight of the seer weight?  I assume it is around 466g?
I have been going mad trying to get some idea. This is what I have:
While the standard Tola always weighed 11.664 g, the weight of the seer varied from state to state and some times in the state for commodity to commodity.
Just to give you an idea: A seer was 98 rupees (1 rupee = 1 Tola) in Bhopal while in Sironj it was 96 Rupees. In Mewar, a Pakka Seer was 80 Tolas while the Kachha Seer was 40 Tola.

Near Home, in Baroda, the weight of a seer was 42 babashahi rupees   or 41.186 Tola in the town but in the rural districts it was 41 Babashahi Rupees or 40.286 Tola. Ahmedabad which was under British control had a seer of 41.091 Tola but just 15 miles out Kadi (under Baroda) had three standards - it was 80 Ankushi rupees or 76.638 Tola; 95 Ankushi Rupees or 91.146 Tola & 100 Ankushi Rupees or 95.778 Tola.

Weights of some states in Saurashtra had the weight stamped in both Tola and Seer and almost all have a uniform 40 Tola to 1 seer. However, Kutch had a seer of 40 Dokda   or 26.464 Tola.

I am still listing out the details and will try to post it here as soon as I have finished. I will also post a few pictures of the seer weights of other states.

AMit
 

 
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Offline EWC

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Re: Weights form Gondal State.
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2016, 02:40:55 PM »
I am still listing out the details and will try to post it here as soon as I have finished. I will also post a few pictures of the seer weights of other states.

I look forward to it.  I never studied these bigger indian weights - and now quickly checking Princep I see I got Akbar's seer too high - its the more recent official standard that was higher............................

Rob

Offline asm

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Here is a set from Rajkot made by a company caller M L & R P Co.

These have the weight mentioned in two systems. 5 Ser & 200 Tolas id the biggest one. I will have one of them weighed so that we can ascertain if the Tola in question was in fact the imperial Tola of 11.664 g.

Amit
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Offline EWC

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I decided to invest a bit longer on this and got rather disturbing results.  Maybe I am missing something?

Princep Vol II UT p. 111 primarily follows Akbar's Ain. volume II page 137

There we have Akbar’s man as 40 sers of 30 dams of 5 tanks – and tanks ‘described elsewhere’ as 24 rattis - and he takes the masha to be 8 rattis and equal to 15.5 grains troy

He makes that 34.74 lbs av.   But I seem to make it 39.86 lbs av  - giving the seer I gave earlier (of about 452g)

But - further  – following Marie Martin – I now think Princep is mixing up banker's mashas with jeweller's rattis here - and the tank here should be 32 (bankers) rattis thus 4 mashas – so Akbar’s man should more likely be  53.14 lbs – and so Akbar’s seer on this calculation would be about 603g

If instead we follow Ain vol I pg 32-29 and we take the 'tak' there as being a 'tank' (and thus a dam weight being the same as the weight of a dam coin) I get a seer of about 626g.  (1 tola + 8 masha + 7 rattis per dam and 30 dams to the seer.)

Does not give a definitive result – so I put 30 Akbar dams on a scale and got -  620.7g.

Looks to me like the Ain vol I pg 32-29 definition is the correct one for the coins, because of the additional 7 rattis per dam allowance.  Whether that was figured in the seer weight is a different matter.

But if I have all this right there seem to be two big errors in Princep's working……….. ???

Rob

Offline asm

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Ser, commonly, but incorrectly, Seer, corruptly, Saer, H[indi]. &c. (, from the S[anskrit]. , Setaka) A measure of weight, varying in different parts of India, and for different articles, but generally reckoned in Bengal at eighty tolas, or Sicca weight, or as one-fortieth of a man or maund : as the fortieth of the former Bázár maund the standard Ser was = avoirdupois weight 2 lb. 0 oz. 13.863 dr. and of the Factory maund 1 lb. 13 oz. 13.860 dr. In 1833 a slight change was made in the value of the man, thence known as the Angrezi or English maund, by which the proportionate value of the Ser became, in avoirdupois weight, 2 lb. 0 oz. 14.592 dr. : the Tamil Sér ( ) is reckoned equal to eight palams, while a larger or pakká sér ( ) is equal to 24 palams. See Palam. On the west of India the Surat Ser is said to be equal to avoirdupois weight 1 lb. or 16 oz., and the Bombay Ser to 13 oz. only.

Locale                                          Equivalents                     mass in grams
Bengal                                          80 tolas of rice    
seer =                                           ą⁄₄₀th factory maund             846.69
seer =                                           ą⁄₄₀th bazaar maund             931.74
Angrezi seer (after 1833)          ą⁄₄₀th of 100 troy pounds     933.04
Southern India (cutcha seer)         mass of 24 current rupees     267.62
Madras (pukka seer)                  80 tolas                            933.10
                                                     2 pounds avoir.                     907.18
Juggerat                                         mass of 40 local rupees    
Mumbai (Bombay) and Gujerat      ą⁄₄₀th maund                     317.51

Similiarly the pukka seer is generally considered 2 lb., though its weight is usually intended to be 80 tolas, or 2.057193 lb.


...........and to add to the confusion:
Formerly in Hindustán, the sér weighed 18 and in some places 22 dám. In the beginning of His Majesty's reign [Akbar the Great took the throne in 1556-ed.] it was current at 28 and is now fixed at 30, each dám being 5 Táṇk. In the transactions in coral and camphor the dám was reckoned at 5˝ Táṇk, but the price of these articles having fallen, it is valued at five only. The weights in ordinary use are ⅛, Ľ, ˝ of a ser; 1, 2, 5, 10 sér; ˝, 1 man which consists of 40 sér.
Sources:
Abul Fazl 'Allami.
H.S. Jarrett, trans.
The Ain I Akbari.Vol II, Book 3.
Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press, 1891.

Amit
« Last Edit: December 31, 2016, 01:16:41 PM by asm »
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Offline EWC

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...........and to add to the confusion:

Well I take you point of course, but I think its important to try to figure out what is really going on. 

Recall that modern states have long employed trading standards officers to root out all sorts of commercial swindles, and confusing customers by varying standards is definitely on that list.  Thus its highly plausible that such went on in the more distant past- not least between the trade guilds of different states.

Thus salesmanship and scholarship might seem clash over this metrological matter, and I judge to admit defeat would favour salesmanship over scholarship

Rob

Offline Figleaf

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Different length and weight standards are a feature of European cities also. I once saw a large series of different length standards mounted on an outer wall (but in a gate or gallery) somewhere in Switzerland (Bern?) Obviously, in Switzerland nearby towns can effectively be separated by mountains. Isolation could well explain differences in standards: each town would have some kind of "mother" length and weight. The mothers would slowly change by being replaced or the standards would be adjusted to those of a nearby town. Only as transport technology developed could national standards be imposed, backed up by national "mothers" that could be accurately copied and sent to the towns.

As for the checking of weights and measures, I presume that they were ferociously checked and upheld by tax collectors. One indication for this is the municipal weighing station (Waag) you could find all over the Netherlands. Some are preserved. The one in Amsterdam is big enough to house a restaurant today. Regulation demanded that all goods offered on the local market be passed there. A Waag also checked lengths (e.g. of textiles). Lead tokens and seals were used to keep track of which goods had been paid taxes on.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline EWC

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Since nobody reported errors in my calculations of Akbar's seer earlier, I have cleaned up and extended the presentation:

Princep Vol II UT p. 111 primarily follows Akbar's Ain. volume II page 137

There we have Akbar’s man as 40 sers of 30 dams of 5 tanks – and tanks ‘described elsewhere’ as 24 rattis - and he takes the masha to be 8 rattis and equal to 15.5 grains troy

He makes that 34.74 lbs av.   But that seems to be an error of calculation - I make it 39.86 lbs av

But - further  – following Marie Martin – Princep is mixing up banker's mashas with jeweller's rattis here - and the tank here should be 32 (bankers) rattis thus 4 mashas – so Akbar’s man should more likely be  53.14 lbs – and so Akbar’s seer on this calculation would be about 603g.

However I think Martin also gives us a slightly better fix on the masha at very close to 1g so Akbar’s seer seems most likely to have been c. 600g which is 30 of Akbar’s dam weights, or 50 of his tola weights

If now we look at Ain vol I pg 32-29 and we get a slightly higher weight for the coin dam – 1 tola + 8 masha + 7 rattis

On Martin’s figures that comes out at 20g + (7/8 x 1g) = 20.875g.    Thus a “coin seer” of  626.25g

So next I put 30 Akbar dams on a scale and got -  620.7g.  Thus an average weight of  20.69g

This is very odd – since very exactly we find 29 coin dams weights exactly 30 weight dams, on these calculations.  Has anyone noticed this before?

Another odd thing to note is that if we figure a tola weight of silver as being worth 40 dams in value, and we take the theoretical coin dam weight 20.875g then we get 835g weight of copper dams, which is just 5 grams away from 70 tolas by Akbar’s tola weight

It seem possible to me therefore these odd figures are an attempt to simplify two different matters at the same time – coin weight and coin value…………………

Rob

Offline EWC

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Isolation could well explain differences in standards: each town would have some kind of "mother" length and weight. The mothers would slowly change by being replaced or the standards would be adjusted to those of a nearby town. Only as transport technology developed could national standards be imposed, backed up by national "mothers" that could be accurately copied and sent to the towns.

Interesting.  This looks exactly like the idea put up by Lorenz Rahmstorf (concerning the early bronze age ) here:

http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521119900

(Note the big name editor is that controversial guy Lord Renfrew)

Since nobody seemed to object at the associated conference, maybe this view could be called the standard view of modern archaeology?

I corresponded with Dr Rahmstorf but got no answer to my criticism of this idea.  I wanted to know if there is any evidence for it, and if not – where does it come from?

It seems to me it is connected to 1960’s fashions in archaeology theory – rejecting diffusion in favour of localism.

All the evidence I have seen suggests to me it gets things back to front.  I seem to find that, like language, weight standards tend to start the same but diverge over time – the diversity derives from the sort of mercantilist political attitudes rejected in the enlightenment

Rob

Offline Figleaf

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Mmm, that's actually what I meant to say. Standards diverge over time because of isolation.

Another factor may be what I call the "governance cycle". The Chinese theory that an emperor comes from the wild and unites the country. He is cruel and decisive. His son is just cruel and re-organises the country's governance. His grandson is more refined but attached to his roots, a great ruler who promotes science. His successor is cultured and a promotor of arts and architecture. This goes on until the emperor is completely estranged from reality, eunuchs rule, court protocol trumps action, taxes are widely avoided, there are rebellions on the borders, the mandate of heaven lost and a new emperor comes from the wild.

In the beginning of the cycle, standards are set, as the cycle progresses, standards diverge. This is an abstraction, of course, but it is fun to see how/where it works.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline EWC

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Another factor may be what I call the "governance cycle". The Chinese theory that an emperor comes from the wild and unites the country. He is cruel and decisive. His son is just cruel and re-organises the country's governance. His grandson is more refined but attached to his roots, a great ruler who promotes science. His successor is cultured and a promotor of arts and architecture. This goes on until the emperor is completely estranged from reality, eunuchs rule, court protocol trumps action, taxes are widely avoided, there are rebellions on the borders, the mandate of heaven lost and a new emperor comes from the wild.

Do you have a source for this? Islamic and Indian sources I have come across say similar things, but again, seem to turn the idea on its head, in some ways

Here for instance is Ibn Khaldun (written in 1377 AD)

" We have stated  that the duration of the life of a dynasty does not as a rule extend beyond three generations. The first generation retains the desert qualities, desert toughness, and desert savagery. (Its members are used to) privation and to sharing their glory (with each other); they are brave and rapacious. Therefore, the strength of group feeling continues to be preserved among them. They are sharp and greatly feared. People submit to them.

Under the influence of royal authority and a life of ease, the second generation changes from the desert attitude to sedentary culture, from privation to luxury and plenty, from a state in which everybody shared in the glory to one in which one man claims all the glory for himself while the others are too lazy to strive for (glory), and from proud superiority to humble subservience. Thus, the vigor of group feeling is broken to some extent. People become used to lowliness and obedience. But many of (the old virtues) remain in them, because they had had direct personal contact with the first generation and its conditions, and had observed with their own eyes its prowess and striving for glory and its intention to protect and defend (itself). They cannot give all of it up at once, although a good deal of it may go. They live in hope that the conditions that existed in the first generation may come back, or they live under the illusion that those conditions still exist.

The third generation, then, has (completely) forgotten the period of desert life and toughness, as if it had never existed. They have lost (the taste for) the sweetness of fame and (for) group feeling, because they are dominated by force. Luxury reaches its peak among them, because they are so much given to a life of prosperity and ease. They become dependent on the dynasty and are like women and children who need to be defended (by someone else). Group feeling disappears completely. People forget to protect and defend themselves and to press their claims. With their emblems, apparel, horseback riding, and (fighting) skill,79 they deceive people and give them the wrong impression. For the most part, they are more cowardly than women upon their backs. When someone comes and demands something from them, they cannot repel him. The ruler, then, has need of other, brave people for his support. He takes many clients and followers. They help the dynasty to some degree, until God permits it to be destroyed, and it goes with everything it stands for.

As one can see, we have there three generations. In the course of these three generations, the dynasty grows senile and is worn out. Therefore, it is in the fourth generation that (ancestral) prestige is destroyed. This was stated before in connection with (the subject) that glory and (ancestral) prestige are restricted to four generations.80 We have proved it with natural and evident arguments based on premises that we established before. The reader should consider that. As an impartial person, he should not disregard the truth.

Offline Figleaf

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My sources are a Chinese diplomat stationed in The Hague who has since been recalled. I lost contact with him. I got the same story from an American civil servant speaking good conversational Chinese, stationed in Paris who has since died. Try out the cycle on the Yuan dynasty. It fits so well that it may have inspired the idea.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.