History stands still under the leaky roof of a single-storey building at Anjarakkandy, where the apprehensions of a British planter culminated in the country’s land registration system.
The tiled building, as such, is not part of history, though it has been enjoying a spot in history as the first sub-registrar office in India, opened in 1865.
Though the building now can’t boast of providing better shelter from the elements of nature, the registration department is planning to celebrate the office’s sesquicentennial anniversary.
“The department has decided to organize a gala function to commemorate the 150th year of the first land registration in the country, which led to the setting up of a separate department for the purpose,” O A Satheesh, district registrar in Kannur, said. Minister for registration and civil supplies Anoop Jacob would inaugurate the function on Friday.
The land registration was the culmination of the process of demarcating boundaries of lands of local residents by Murdoch Brown, remembers K Narayanan Nambiar, a land document writer.
“His act of demarcating boundaries led to the setting up of a department for land registration not only in India, but also in the whole of Asia,” he recollected his predecessors’ words.
Brown’s decision to demarcate land also has an interesting story.
When he bought land, he felt that if not clearly demarcated, there would be confusion over the ownership. He opened an office in his bungalow and started signing and giveing title-deeds to the owners of each plot.
The Englishman soon found that some landowners were manipulative and to avoid malpractices, he started keeping a copy of title-deeds in his office, thus beginning the formal registration of land.
Later on January 1, 1865, the British government, through an order dated December 5, 1864, approved the sub-registry office, which operated out of his bungalow, with Brown as deputy registrar. The office was shifted to the present building on March 11, 1877, in the land provided by Brown.
The present condition of the building has been pathetic as no effort was made to maintain the original architecture and old records.
A day after the inauguration of the sesquicentennial celebrations, Kerala might receive the first monsoon shower. The staff, as usual, would rush for plastic sheets to cover and protect shelves from water leaking through the roof.
source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> City> Kozhikode / TNN / May 27th, 2015