Colonialism and the Countryside: Exploring Official Archives – CBSE Notes for Class 12 History

• In India British rule was first of all established in Bengal.
• Permanent settlement of land revenue was adopted in Bengal in 1793.
• The economic measure adopted by the British government made India a consumer of goods manufactured in England.
• By the end of the 18th century when zamindars were facing a crisis, A group of such peasants, on other hand, was consolidating their position in the villages.
• With the emergence of the power of zamindars had considerably diminished. They did not surrender easily. So they devised many ways to withstand the pressure and keep their central focus on their zamindaris.
• At the end of 18th century, the most adverse effect of the colonial rule fell on the economic condition of the peasants.
• As a result of the British occupation of India the Indian economy faced disastrous consequences. To fulfil their vested interests, they shattered their tradition and structure of Indian economy.
• Because of the decline of Indian industry, Indian weavers and craftswoman were completely made jobless. The industries in Surat, Dhaka, Murshidaabad, etc which were once flourishing were destroyed.
• Historians like Percival Spear, P.E. Robat and R.C. Dutt have praised permanent settlement of land revenue, because
—> Government Income became stable
—> Administration became efficient
—> British rule got stable.
• Permanent settlement of Revenue was also criticised on the basis of—
—> It did not proved beneficial for Zamindars.
—> It ingrained the interest of cultivators.
—> Burden of taxes fell on other classes.
• Mahalwari system of land revenue was implemented in Punjab. The group of villages were called ‘Mahal’. So the system was known as Mahalwari system.
• The objective of the Fifth Report was to restrain and control the activities of East India company in India.
1. Mahals: Estates owned by big zamindars who were called Raja locally.
2. Raja: It is the term for Monarch but often refers to the big Zamindars in their respective local areas.
3. Taluqdars: The owners of Taluq, taluq stood for piece of land or territorial unit.
4. Ryots: Ryots means peasants.
5. Jotedars: Rich peasants often owning large farmlands. They often controlled moneylending and trade at local levels. Sometimes village headman was also called Jotedar.
6. Zamindar: The chain between farmer and the company in the system called permanent settlement. Zaminadars were responsible for collection of land revenue and depositing the same to the Company. They lived life of comfort and luxury.
7. Amla: Official of Zamindar who would maintain record and collect revenue from villages.
8. Benami: the literal meaning is anonymous. The term was to denote transactions wherein real person was hidden behind insignificant name or person.
9. Lathy at: The musclemen of Zamindars.
10. Sahukar: Trader who was also in money lending business.
11. Rentier: A person who lived on rental income.
12. Dewani: The Revenue department of state.
13. Permanent Settlement: Land revenue system introduced by Cornwallis in 1793 in Bengal. Under this system, the land revenue was collected by Zamindars. Zamindari rights passed on father to son.
14. Ryotwari System: The land revenue system introduced in Madras and Bombay Presidencies. Under the system, settlement was made directly with cultivators.
Time line:
1. 1765  East India Company got diwani right for the province of Bengal, in the wake of Battle of Buxar.
2. 1773  Regulating act enacted by the British Parliament aimed at controlling the East India Company.
3. 1800s  Santhals began to settle in the hills of Rajmahal.
4. 1818  First land revenue settlement done in the Bombay Presidency.
5. 1820s  Prices of agriculture produce decline.
6. 1855-56  Santhals rebel in Rajmahal.
7. 1861  Cotton boom for the Indian cultivators, in the wake of American civil war
8. 1875  Ryots in Deccan villages rebel.

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