ACCORDING to the census returns, in 1872 the district of Sholapur had 8477 persons in positions implying the possession of capital. Of these 673 were bankers moneychangers and shopkeepers, 5681 were merchants and traders, and 2123 were supported by incomes derived from funded property shares annuities and the like. The available income tax returns show that in 1870-71 of a total of 2100 persons assessed, 1550 or 73.8 per cent were taxed on yearly incomes of less than £100 (Rs. 1000), 386 or 18.3 per cent on incomes of £100 to £200 (Rs. 1000 - Rs. 2000), 159 or 7.5 per cent on incomes of £200 to £1000 (Rs.2000-Rs. 10,000), and five or 0.2 per cent on income of £1000 to £10,000 (Rs. 10,000-Rs. 1,00,000) Under the head capitalists and traders, the 1878 license-tax assessment papers showed 9131 persons assessed on yearly incomes of more than £10 (Rs. 100). Of these 3529 had from £10 to £15 (Rs. 100 - Rs. 150), 1795 from £15 to £25 (Rs. 150 - Rs. 250), 1515 from £25 to £35 (Rs. 250 - Rs. 350), 492 from £35 to £50 (Rs. 350 -Rs. 500), 657 from £50 to £75 (Rs. 500 - Rs. 750), 267 from £75 to £100 (Rs. 750 - Rs. 1000). 242 from £100 to £125 (Rs. 1000-Rs. 1250), 135 from £125 to £150 (Rs. 1250-Rs. 1500), £141 from 150 to £200 (Rs. 1500-Rs. 2000), 132 from £200 to £300 (Rs. 2000-Rs. 3000), 88 from £300 to £400 (Rs. 3000 - Rs. 4000), 36 from £400 to £500 (Rs.40O0-Rs.5000), 62 from £500 to £750 (Rs. 5000-Rs. 7500). 25 from £750 to £1000 (Rs. 7500- Rs. 10,000), and 15 over £1000 (Rs. 10,000). Since 1879 incomes under £50 (Rs. 500) have been exempted from the License Tax. In 1881-82, of 1386 persons assessed on yearly incomes of £50 (Rs. 500) and over, 611 had from £50 to £75 (Rs.500-Rs. 750), 219 from £75 to £100 (Rs. 750-Rs. 1000), 175 from £100 to £125 (Rs. 1000-Rs. 1250), 64 from £125 to £150 (Rs. 1250 - Rs. 1500), 98 from £150 to £200 (Rs, 1500 - Rs. 2000). 106 from £200 to £300 (Rs. 2000 - Rs. 3000), 58 from £300 to £400 (Rs. 3000 - Rs. 4000), 19 from £400 to £500 (Rs. 4000 - Rs. 5000), 25 from £500 to £750 (Rs. 5000 - Rs. 7500), 3 from £750 to £1000 (Rs. 7500-Rs. 10,000), and 8 over £1000 (Rs. 10-000). There are no local insurance offices.
Few houses confine themselves to strict banking business, and
granting and cashing bills of exchange. In most cases money-lending and sometimes trade are joined with banking. Banking houses are found only in the largest towns, Sholapur, Barsi
Pandharpur, and perhaps Karmala. At Barsi out of fifteen bankers or shroffs only three confine themselves to banking, the others being also engaged in moneylending and general business. A branch of the Bank of Bombay was established at Sholapur in 1861-62, and was open about three years. It had a favourable influence on trade as it lent money at lower rates of interest than had been customary, and issued and accepted bills payable at sight, or at a fixed period. Ninety per cent of its transactions were with natives. Except in the case of some European servants of Government it was not resorted to by the public for deposit. The Sholapur branch was closed early in 1867. A branch of the New Bank of Bombay was opened in 1868-69, but was soon closed from want of business.
Exchange bills are of two kinds, payable at sight or darshani and
payable within a given time or mudati. The leading traders
and moneylenders, who are chiefly Gujarat Marwar and Lingayat
Vanis, Bhatias, Khetris, Komtis, and Brahmans, grant bills up to
£1000 (Rs. 10,000) on Bombay, Poona, Ahmadnagar, Madras, and
Amba Salur and Haidarabad in the Nizam's territory. The rates
of bills vary according to the demand for cash. Generally for a
bill payable at sight a premium of ⅛ per cent is charged and for
a bill payable within a given time a discount of one-half per cent is
Most classes can, and probably the majority of individuals do,
save money. With most all and perhaps more than all they have
saved is spent in a day of feasting, a marriage, a funeral, or some other religious occasion or holiday. The higher paid Government servants, pleaders, and moneylenders, especially Gujars and Marwaris, save most.
Of investments for savings and capital, the chief are trade, house
property, the purchase and improvement of land and farm stock, hoarding whether of cash or of ornaments, state saving banks and government securities, shares in joint stock companies, and money-lending. Traders invest most of their savings in extending and improving their business; cultivators in improving and adding to their holdings and in buying bullocks and carts. Carts are a favourite investment, where, as on lines of road and near large towns, the carrying trade offers employment when field work is slack. Thus in the Sholapur sub-division, in the thirty years ending 1870-71, the number of carts rose from 219 to 1167 or 433 per cent, in the Barsi sub-division from 705 in 1840-41 to 1794 in 1871-72 or 154 per cent, and in the Madha sub-division from 435 in 1839-40 to 1323 in 1868-69 or 204 per cent. [Bom. Gov. Sel, New Series. CL. 9,11, 163, 307, 310.] The 1882 returns show a further rise in carts to 1339 in Sholapur, to 3081 in Barsi, and to 1769 in Madha. The trading and moneylending classes do not invest their money in land, except when, having advanced money on the land and being forced to sell their debtor's property, their only means of recovering the debt is to buy the
land at the auction. With pleaders and other moneyed men with some English education the purchase and improvement of land is a favourite investment. This class is also given to house building, a form of investment which is also popular with well-to-do villagers. All classes lock up their savings in ornaments, but, it is said, not to so large an extent as in other parts of the country. Ornaments are a specially favourite form of investment among small traders and craftsmen.
During the thirteen years ending 1882 the yearly payment of interest to holders of Government securities rose from £108 (Rs. 1080) in 1870-71 to £172 (Rs. 1720) in 1882. The deposits in the district Savings Bank which in 1870-71 were £1250 (Rs. 12,500) had in 1877-78 risen to £3299 (Rs. 32,990) of which latter sum £1703 (Rs. 17,030) belonged to 204 Hindus, 988 (Rs. 9880) to seventy-five Christians, £595 (Rs. 5950) to forty-two Parsis, and £12 (Rs. 120) to two Musalmans. In 1882 the deposits showed a further rise to £6729 (Rs. 67290). [The details of deposits for the thirteen years ending 1882 are: £1250 in 1870, £2169 in 1871, £2636 in 1872, £3764 in 1873, £2891 in 1874, £3791 in 1875, £4532 in 1876, £3299 in 1877, £2937 in 1878, £4124 in 1879, £6640 in 1880, £5940 in 1881, and £6729 in 1882. The chief causes of the rise and fall in deposits are given in the Dharwar Statistical Account. The details of interest during the same thirteen years are: £108 in 1870, £94 in 1871, none drawn in 1872, £49 in 1873, £31 in 1874, £216 in 1875, £25 in 1876, £431 in 1877. £182 in 1878, £136 in 1879, £163 in 1880, £38 in 1881, and £172 in 1882.] As a rule, only Government servants and others of the higher classes invest their savings in Government securities and in savings banks.
Few men live solely by lending. Almost all lenders draw part of their income from trade, from husbandry, or from a profession. Moneylenders are of two kinds, professional and non-professional. The professional again belong to two classes, local and foreign. Among non-professional moneylenders are men of all classes, almost all whose calling has yielded them a little money will lend it at interest. The foreign or immigrant moneylenders are Gujarat Shravaks locally known as Gujars, and Marwar Vanis known as Marwaris. Brahmans and Lingayat Vanis form the chief classes of local moneylenders, who have to a very great extent been ousted by the intruding Gujar or Marwari. Besides lending money the Gujars are chiefly cloth-dealers, and the Marwaris deal in grain, groceries, and oil. The Brahman lender is generally a land proprietor, a pensioned Government servant, or a pleader. He is generally found in towns and seldom lends except to the better class of landholders. The Lingayat Vanis are chiefly ironmongers and grocers and are seldom moneylenders. Besides these classes the Maratha or Kunbi moneylender is found in villages and towns; he is a husbandman, and, as a rule, does not lend except to people who belong to his village or with whom he is connected.
Gujars, most of them Shravak Vanis of Gujarat, are said to have
settled in the district within the last hundred years. They are now
spread over the whole district, and are said to be more than three times
as numerous as the local Hindu moneylenders. Most of them are Jains or Shravaks by religion. They usually bring their families
and settle in the district and do not leave it except when they have to make pilgrimages to Shetrunja near Palitana in Kathiawar, or some other Jain sacred place. In moneymaking, unlike Marwar Vanis, Gujar Vanis do not start from beggary. The Gujar starts with some small capital which he invests in a miscellaneous petty trader's shop. When he has made a handsome sum by shopkeeping, he calls himself a banker or shahukar, and enters widely on moneylending. The Gujars are reputed to be less hardhearted and more polite, obliging, and friendly than their Marwar rivals, and in consequence more attractive and popular. In Sholapur and other large towns, they have formed no relations with the cultivating classes, but confine themselves to lending money on mortgage of landed and house property, and as pawnbrokers, on pledges at interest of not more than two per cent a month. The village moneylending Gujar is a cultivators' and villagers' moneylender, keeping a general shop, and supplying the villagers with all they require in the way of advances either of cash or of grain. All Gujars and particularly village Gujars by long residence are apt to become assimilated in manners and dress to the people among whom they live. They even come to fold their turbans after the Sholapur fashion. Their other dress, though showy, is economical, for though very fond of ornaments when they wear gold ornaments, they are usually hollow, while the women's practice of showing the left arm only, and not like Maratha Hindus of showing both arms, considerably lessens the expense of ornaments. Like the local Lingayat Jangams, they take their food from a dish placed on a tripod of iron. Caste dinners are not uncommon and at least one caste dinner must be given after a death. On marriage and other religions festivities they spend large sums, intermarrying among themselves only without distinction of rich or poor. The destitute of their own class are so few that they make no special provision for them. To general charity they devote large sums, and are particularly known for their care of animals. Where they are numerous, they have their own temples, as at Sholapur where there are two temples of Parasnath. Gujars have been known to build rest-houses and wells for the public use. Their religious teachers enjoy incomes which enable them to entertain large bodies of followers and dependents.
Marwaris are said to have appeared in this district about fifty years
ago. They usually come from Malwa or Marwar, but instances of their settling in Sholapur from neighbouring districts are not rare. They are perhaps not so widely spread over the district as the Gujars, nor do they show so marked a tendency to assimilate to the people of the country. They brine their own language and customs, sometimes mixing Marwari with Marathi, an unpleasant and unserviceable jargon. A Marwari is easily known by his long hair and scanty turban, barely thirty yards long, usually of two shades of red with
gold ends, coat and jacket of the ordinary type, a red-fringed loincloth or dhoti, and red shoes with turned-up toes. A Marwari often begins life as a beggar, his whole estate consisting of a few rupees, probably borrowed, a drinking and two or three cooking pots, and barely enough clothes to cover him. He begins as a seller of parched. grain, and saves a little besides paying off his borrowed capital. With the savings of a year or two he opens a small shop, often in partnership with a countryman. In other cases the newly arrived Marwari binds himself in some capacity as servant to a settled Marwari, and works with him till he is fit to open a petty shop on his own account. This he will often do on capital borrowed from his late master, or from other merchants who give him credit at low interest. If his shop succeeds he gains a share in some cloth-dealing concern, and, at the same time, starts as a moneylender or pawnbroker, and rapidly increases his wealth. At this stage in his career he sends for his family and some of his distant relations. A Marwari who has begun to make a fortune rarely returns to settle in his native place. If his family is not with him, marriages and other religious ceremonies sometimes require his presence at home, and he may have to go home to seek a bride. Once he has settled permanently, he begins to acquire landed property and seldom or never breaks up his establishment, or goes away not to return. During any temporary absence, his business is managed by his confidential clerk or munim in default of a partner, or by one of his relatives. Marwaris are reputed as they grow in wealth and years, to grow fonder of money, harder hearted, and less inclined to show leniency to their debtors. Their thrifty habits they never lose. Of all moneylenders the Marwari has the worst name. He shows neither shame nor pity in his treatment of his debtor. He will press a debtor when pressure means bankruptcy. He shows no feeling. The saying runs that he will attach and sell his debtor's cooking and drinking vessels even when the family are in the midst of a meal. They marry in their own caste only, but without distinction of rich or poor. Though thrifty and averse from pomp and show, they are expected to spend large sums on marriage and other religious ceremonies, and it is usual for them on such occasions to entertain their whole caste. They have their own temples, and they are understood to contribute for the support of their own poor. No instance is known of a Marwari having built a well or a rest-house for the use of the village where he is settled.
Other moneylenders whether professional or unprofessional, whether foreign or local, may be divided, though the divisions often overlap, into dwellers in towns and dwellers in villages, and again into those who keep regular accounts and those who keep only rough accounts or none at all, basing all their dealings on bonds or rokhs. Pawnbroking also forms a distinct branch of moneylending, though in practice it is usually combined with one of the other branches. As a rule the town lender who keeps regular accounts, the daybook or kird, the ledger or khatavani, and the rough memorandum book of daily transactions from which the others are written up, does not seek exorbitant interest, deals only with the higher classes, on mortgage of houses or other
immovable property, or on pledge in the way of pawnbroking, and keeps aloof from poor husbandmen and other embarrassed borrowers. These houses generally do a large business. The smaller men deal with the poor classes who agree to pay higher interest. They keep no accounts, depend entirely on bonds, or at best keep what are called patani accounts, that is a mere daybook which is allowed to run for years without a balance being struck. Many non-professional moneylenders come under this head, and in this way the successful tailor or weaver often finds a favourable employment for his savings. The professional lender of this class is usually a Marwari, exacting both a pledge and an exorbitant rate of interest, and looking to making his money not so much by repayment as by his debtor's failure to redeem his pledge which consequently falls to the lender.
The profesional village moneylender is usually, unless he is in a very large way of business, also a shopkeeper, dealing in grain, chillies, salt, pepper, oil, clarified butter, and such other petty chandlery as the village requires. His shop is held in the front veranda of his house, which is also his storeroom and is generally the sole difference between his house and those of his neighbours. He is usually a Gujar or Marwari, but sometimes a Lingayat Vani. The non-professional village moneylender is usually a cultivator, a Maratha, probably of the family of the village headman or patil, or a Brahman of the village accountant or kulkarni, and village priest or joshi family. These have a better name for leniency and indulgence towards debtors than professional lenders. Others say that from their cleverness and knowledge of the land, they do a better business than any other lenders in the way of mortgages on land.
Most classes of the community are at times forced to borrow
Petty traders and shopkeepers usually start on borrowed capital, and afterwards often require advances to buy their year's stock. Of other dwellers in towns craftsmen and labourers cannot meet the expenses they are compelled to incur at marriage and funeral feasts and caste dinners without running into debt. Weavers dyers and other craftsmen who require about £1 10s. (Rs. 15) to buy their materials, usually have to borrow if they are not, as is perhaps more usual, wholly in the hands of a capitalist who advances them the material, and pays them day wages for working it. Of the village population few without borrowing can obtain the large sums they spend on feasts and entertainments, and the poorer peasantry have to borrow money to pay their rent, to meet the cost of tillage, and, in many cases, to buy grain for seed and food. Villagers are said to be apter to incur debt than townspeople because their receipts come in a lump sum, once or at most twice a year. This they thoughtlessly spend, and have to borrow for a bare subsistence eleven months out of the twelve. Apparently no sharp line can be drawn between moneylenders who deal exclusively with townspeople and well-to-do landholders, and those who lend only to the poorer classes. As a rule, the fairly well-to-do traders, shopkeepers of credit and large landholders can get
advances from houses of capital, who keep regular accounts. People of less credit have to resort to the smaller moneylender, professional or unprofessional, who keeps no accounts except the bond ha invariably takes from the debtor. In particular the Marwari moneylender is credited with insisting both on a pawn in pledge and on a high rate of interest. Labourers can hardly get an advance without pledging as security their hut, plot of land, ornaments or brass vessels, or their service. Where an ornament or other article is pledged the yearly interest for craftsmen of fair credit varies from seven to eighteen per cent. Though no class of moneylenders deal solely with villagers, in practice only well-to-do landholders are allowed to borrow on account from the large town banking houses which keep regular accounts and as a rule do not take a bond from borrowers. Small landholders have to resort to the moneylender of their own or of a neighbouring village for such advances as they require. In all cases the credit of a would-be borrower is not gauged by his calling but by his personal Credit and the security he can offer. Thus where a well-to-do landholder will get an advance for petty field purposes on his personal security at twelve to twenty-four per cent, a poor landholder will have to pay at least twenty-four, and not improbably thirty-six per cent, and even higher. Advances with a lien on standing crops are charged much the same rates as on personal credit, for moneylenders are shy of standing crops because they find it difficult to establish their lien without going to the civil courts. When houses or land are mortgaged the rates vary from six to twenty per cent. The poorer landholders very often seek from the moneylender advances of grain both for food and for seed. These are repaid at harvest, usually at the rate called vadhididhi that is one and a half times the quantity advanced, or sometimes a little more or less. As a rule grain advances are repaid before the crop leaves the field. A bond is usually passed for the value owing in money at such terms as the creditor chooses. Sometimes such advances amount to a virtual sale in advance of the crop, the full produce of the field beng estimated, and an advance of about twenty-five per cent less being made.