Checkout handpicked notes of NCERT Class 12 History theme 10notes – Colonialism and the Countryside notes (Exploring official archives) by Vibha Madam, and don’t forget to share your valuable comments in the comment below to motivate our author.
Colonialism and the Countryside notes
Bengal and the Zamindars
- In India British rule was first of all established in Bengal.
- Permanent Settlement of land revenue was adopted in Bengal in 1793 by lord Cornwallis.
- The economic measures adopted by the British government make India consumers of goods, manufactured in England.
- There was an auction held at Burdwan (Vardhaman) in 1797 which was a grand public event.
- Company fixed the revenue and each zamindar was supposed to pay.
- The zamindar who failed to pay the revenue, their estate was auctioned to recover the revenue.
- But sometimes it was found that the purchasers at auction were servants and agents of the zamindars himself e.g. auction in Burdwan.
- Over 95% of the sale at the auction was fictitious of that time.
The problem of unpaid revenue
- Over 75% of zamindars changed hands after the permanent settlement.
- Company officials felt that agriculture, trade and the revenue sources of the state could be developed by increasing investment in agriculture.
- Company felt if the revenue demand of the state was fixed, the company could get regular flow of revenue.
- After a prolonged debate amongst company officials, the permanent settlement was made with the rajas and taluqdars of Bengal.
- Zamindar had several, sometimes even 400 villages under them.
- Zamindars collected rent from the different villages, paid the revenue to the company and retained the difference as his income.
Failures of permanent settlement
- lnitial demands were very high.
- The prices of agricultural produce were depressed.
- Invariable revenue, imposed ‘sunset law‘
- Limited the power of zamindars
Limitation impose on Zamindars by Company
- Zamindars troops were disbanded .
- Custom duties abolished .
- Cutcherries (courts) brought under the supervision of ‘collector’, appointed by the company.
- Zamindar lost power from the local justice and local police.
- The rent collector of zamindars called Amlah.
Problems to collect revenue
- Bad harvests
- Low prices of produce of Ryots
- Sometimes they deliberately delayed
The rise of Jotedars
- Francis Buchanan described this class in his survey of Dinajpur district North-Bengal.
- They acquired a vast area of land.
- They controlled local traders, money lenders and poor farmers.
- Their land was cultivated by sharecroppers (adhiyars, bargadars) on 50-50 produce.
Position of Jotedars in the Countryside
- Jotedars were more powerful than that of zamindars .
- direct control over poor villages.
- They were often purchasers of the zamindars auctioned property .
- They fiercely resisted the increase of Jama(lagan).
- The jotedars of North Bengal were very powerful
- Other powerful groups in the countryside were rich peasants and village headmen. They were known as Holders, Gantidars or Mandals.
The Zamindar’s resist
- Fictitious sale
- Some parts of zamindar were transferred to their women .
- Manipulated the auction by his agents
- Deliberately hold the revenue with him
- When a part of the estate was auctioned, zamindars’ men brought the property in the auction but didn’t pay the purchase money.
- This process repeated endlessly.
- At last, the state was sold at a low price back to zamindar .
- Between 1793 to 1801 four big zamindars of Bengal made Benami- purchases.
- Outsider bidders attacked by Lathiyals of the former zamindars.
- Sometimes Ryots resisted the entry of outsiders, they were loyal to the former zamindars as his Praja (subjects)
- Thus, the Zamindar’s power was strengthened in a village by the beginning of the 19th century but during the Great depression of the 1930 they finally collapsed and the jotedars became powerful in the countryside.
The Fifth report
- The fifth report was submitted in British parliament in 1813 .
- It was a series of reports on the administration and activities of EIC.
- it contained 1002 pages, over 800 pages were written documents about petition of zamindars and ryots, reports of collectors from different district, statistical tables on revenue returns and notes on the revenue and judicial administration of Bengal and Madras (T.N)
- the East India company had Monopoly over trade with India and China
- There were many groups in Britain who wanted a revocation of the royal charter that gave the company this monopoly
- Company’s misrule and maladministration was hotly debated in British parliament.
- The British parliament passed a series of Acts in the late 19th century to regulate and control company rule in India .
- The company had to force a regular report on the administration .
- The fifth report was one such report which was produced by the Select Committee.
- The evidence contained in the fifth report is invaluable.
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