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Nirgunty (plural Nirgunties)

  1. (Indian feudal history) A low-ranking official responsible for the regulation of irrigation and the distribution of water.
    • 1807, Francis Buchanan, A Journey from Madras Through the Countries of Mysore, Canara, and Malabar[1], page 269:
      The Nirgunty is generally a Whallia; but sometimes a Súdra holds the office, which is hereditary.
    • 1811, John Pinkerton, A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in All Parts of the World[2], volume 8, page 658:
      The proper buſineſs of the diviſion of Whalliaru, called Moraſu, is the cultivation of the ground, in which both men and women are very induſtrious; but they do not appear to have ever formed a part of the native militia, like the Súdra cultivators, nor to have ever been entruſted with arms, until they began to enter into the Company’s ſervice. From among them ſeveral families hold, by hereditary right, the low village offices of Toti and Nirgunty, or of watchmen and conductors of water.
    • 1826, The History of British India, volume 1, page 265
      When these allowances are withdrawn the heap is measured; and for every candaca which it contains, a measure equal to 5 1/10 Winchester bushels, there is again deducted half a seer to the village watchmen, two and a half seers to the accomptant, as much to the chief of the village; and the bottom of the heap, about an inch thick, mixed with the cow-dung which in order to purify it had been spread on the ground, is given to the Nirgunty, or conductor of water.

See also[edit]


  • People’s March (September–October 1999): Commemorating 200 years of Tipu Sultan’s Martyrdom
    The kingdom was said to have more than 39,000 tanks. Water for irrigation of the lands below the tanks was conducted by the Nirgunty, drawn invariably from a Dalit caste. The Nirgunty was, as a rule, awarded with land in the command area of the tank, in addition to an annual payment for his labours as the regulator of water.