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A tehsil or tahsil/tahasil (Urdu: تحصیل, Punjabi: ਤਹਿਸੀਲ, Hindi: तहसील, Telugu: తహశీల్), also known as taluka (or taluq/taluk) or mandal, is an administrative division of some countries of South Asia. Gradually under the British Raj these terms replaced the earlier terms pargana, pergunnah and thannah.
A tehsil consists of an area of land with a city or town that serves as its headquarters, with possible additional towns, and usually a number of villages. As an entity of local government, the tehsil office (Panchayat samiti) exercises certain fiscal and administrative power over the villages and municipalities within its jurisdiction. It is the ultimate executive agency for land records and related administrative matters. Its chief official is called the tehsildar or less officially the talukdar or taluka muktiarkar. In some instances, tehsils are called "blocks" (Panchayat union blocks),1 and although they may on occasion share the same area with a subdivision of a revenue divisions, known as revenue blocks, the two are distinct. For example, Raipur district in Chhattisgarh state is administratively divided into 13 tehsils and 15 revenue blocks.2 Nevertheless, the two are often conflated.
Tehsil and taluka and their variants are used as English words without further translation. Since these terms are unfamiliar to English speakers outside of the subcontinent, the word county has sometimes been provided as a gloss, on the basis that a tehsil, like a county, is an administrative unit hierarchically above the local city, town, or village, but subordinate to a larger state or province. However, India and Pakistan have two (or more, at least in parts of India) intermediate levels of hierarchy – the district and the tehsil, both of which are sometimes glossed as county. In neither case is the analogy very precise in specific details.
In Pakistan, the term tehsil is generally used except in Sindh where the term taluko (Sindhi: تعلقو) predominates, e.g., Larkana Taluko.3 The tehsil is the second-lowest tier of local government in Pakistan; each tehsil is part of a larger District (zila/zillah (Urdu: ضلع)). Each tehsil is subdivided into a number of union councils.
In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, tehsil has the same meaning as explained above except in Malakand Division, where a district (zila/zillah) has two or more subdivisions and a subdivision has two or more tehsils. The subdivisions in Malakand Division are about the same as tehsils in the rest of the country.
Throughout India there is a three tier local body/Panchayath Raj system within the state. Tehsil/taluka/mandal is second layer of this system. Above them are the districts/zilla and below them are the gram panchayats/villages.
In India, the term tehsil is used to some extent in all states, but in some, such as Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra, taluka is more common. The word mandal is used predominately in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh instead of tehsil. In Andhra Pradesh the "Mandal Parishad" is the elected governing body of the mandal and the tehsildar is chief of executive of the mandal. In Tamil Nadu, the name vattam (வட்டம்) is used to denote the subdivision of a district.
However during the Rule of the Nizams in Hyderabad the top of the administrator / tax revenue collector hierarchy was Subedar which had responsibility for the largest divisions of the country i.e. (the Princely State of Hyderabad) and below him the rank or official title of lower division post holder was Tehsildar and below that rank the Taluqdar, so in effect it could be equated to the three tier ranking from province administrator to county administrator to district administrator in size from the largest to smallest. These are further divided into villages, under a Village officer.
- The main purpose of the census is to provide data on size and composition of population of India and its geographic divisions, i.e., population of different states and union territories, districts, blocks and villages. Sharma, A. K. (2012). Population and Society. New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company. p. 53. ISBN 978-81-8069-818-7.
- Rahman, Syed Amanur, ed. (2006). The Beautiful India: Chhatisgarh. New Delhi: Reference Press. p. 34]. ISBN 978-81-8405-017-2.
- Taluka Municipal Administration Larkana - Government of Sindh
- 2001 maps provides maps of social, economic and demographic data of India in 2001