RAKHI SYSTEM, the arrangement whereby the Dal Khalsa during the middecades of the eighteenth century established their sway over territories not under their direct occupation. Rakhi, lit. `protection` or `vigilance,` referred to the cess levied by the Dal Khalsa upon villages which sought their protection against aggression or molestation in those disturbed times. The establishment of Dal Khalsa in 1748 coincided with the first of a series of invasions by Ahmad Shah Durrani which further weakened the already crumbling administration of the Mughals.
The result was an utter chaos and the populace was at the mercy of the roving bands of plunderers of various descriptions. Sikhs were then the only organized people who also followed high moral standards, but they were not yet in a position to establish their direct authority. They introduced a plan offering protection of the Dal Khalsa to a village or a group of villages on payment of rdkhior protection money. The rate varied from one eighth to one half, but usually it was one fifth of the government revenue payable in two instalments corresponding to the two main harvests.
The system gained currency, villages singly and in clusters opting for it. This ensured peace for the people and brought regular revenue to the Dal Khalsa without antagonizing the local population. In the Punjab the system lasted until 176465 after which the Sikh misis began occupying territories over which they established their regular rule under what is known as the mislddn system. But rdkhi continued to be collected from territories in the Gangetic Doah and the country between Delhi and PanTpal right up to 1803 when the British East India Company established its power in that region.
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