Broadly speaking, the subdivision is characteristic of Bengal, where revenue duties are in the background, and the tahsil of Madras, where the land settlement requires attention year by year.
There are six main divisions of the people: the Dravidian tribes, who formerly held the country; Hindi-speaking immigrants from the north and north-west into Saugor, Damoh, the Nerbudda valley and the open country of Mandla and Seoni; Rajasthani-speaking immigrants from Central India into Nimar, Betul and parts of Hoshangabad, Narsinghpur and Chhindwara; Marathi-speaking immigrants from Bombay into Berar, the Mahratta districts and the southern tahsil of Betul; the Telugu castes in the Sironcha and Chanda tahsil of Chanda and the south of Bastar; and the Hindu immigrants into Chhattisgarh, who are supposed to have arrived many centuries ago when the Haihaya dynasty of Ratanpur rose into power.
The Salt Range crosses the Indus in the Mianwali tahsil of the Punjab, and forms the boundary between Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan, merging eventually in the Waziri hills.
The system of partitioning, and also the nomenclature, vary in the different provinces; but generally it may be said that the subdivision or tahsil is the ultimate unit of administration.
The double name indicates the twofold principle of separation: the subdivision is properly the charge of an assistant magistrate or executive officer, the tahsil is the charge of a deputy-collector or fiscal officer; and these two offices may or may not be in the same hands.