would not be felt much under the direct jurisdiction of the royal
representatives who were mobile and not hereditary, but it could be rendered
oppressive by the beneficiaries who were men on the spot with a hereditary,
vested interest in the exploitation of the resources of the village. Moreover,
the judicial and administrative authority which the landholders enjoyed must
have added to their economic power over the inhabitants of the village.
    However, what mainly led to the servitude of the peasants was their
transfer to the beneficiaries. According to the inscriptions, the practice of
transferring peasants began in south India. A Pallava grant of the fourth
century AD informs us that four share-croppers remained attached to a plot of
land which was given away to the Brahmins, which implies that original
cultivators were required to work on the land even when it was made over to
the beneficiary. Gradually the practice came to embrace peasants, who seem
to have been given away to the beneficiaries in Karnataka. A grant of the
sixth century AD from the Bijapur district issued by an early Chalukya king of
Badami donates 25 nivartanas of land along with all its produce, garden-
cultivation, water and house (nivesa). Here the term nivesa is used not merely
in the sense of a house but also of peasants living there, as is still done in
popular parlance in the countryside. This conclusion is supported by a Ganga
grant of the same century from the Ganjam district. It states that six halas of
land (land that could be cultivated by six ploughs) along with four cottages
(chaturnivesana-sahita) were constituted into an agrahara and granted free
of taxes in perpetuity to god Narayana.
    From south India the practice of the transfer of individual peasants
probably spread to central India. A Vakataka grant of the fifth century AD
speaks of the gift of four houses meant for the use of cultivators (karsaka-
nivesanani), which implies the making over of cultivators to the beneficiary.
    In Orissa the practice of transferring all the cultivators of the village to
the beneficiary can be traced back to the sixth century AD. An inscription
from the Koraput district assignable to that century advises the inhabitants of
a village, cultivating land there and assured of their livelihood, to continue to
live in the village, which is made over to the Brahmins. This implies that the
cultivators are counselled to stick to the soil transferred to the recipient,
although the fact that the village is transferred along with its inhabitants is not
explicitly stated in the grant.