Checkout handpicked notes of NCERT Class 12 History theme 10 Topic 2 – The Hoe and the Plough notes – Colonialism and the Countryside by Vibha Madam, and don’t forget to share your valuable comments in the comment below to motivate our author.
The Hoe and the Plough
Pastoral areas of Bengal
With gradual passes of time settle cultivation expanded and reach to the area of shifting cultivation and diminished the pasture and forest. Shifting cultivation was done with the help of hoe while settled cultivation done through plough.
In The hills of Rajmahal
- In the drier zone, shifting cultivation was practiced .
- Buchanan travelled through the Rajmahal hills in the early 19th century.
- From his description, the hills signified danger where few travellers ventured.
- People who lived in hills were hostile and apprehensive of officials.
Who were hill folks (Paharias)
- Hill folks were known as Paharias.
- They lived around the Rajmahal hills.
- Subsisting on forest produce and practising shifting cultivation .
- They grew pulses and millets for consumption.
- They collected mahua flowers for food ,silk cocoons and resins for sale and wool for charcoal production.
The Life of Paharias
- As hunters, shifting cultivators, food gatherers, charcoal producers, silkworm rearers were intimately connected to the forest.
- They intrusion of outsiders.
- Their chiefs maintained unity of the group and settled disputes.
Why Paharias regularly raided the Plains
- For their survival at the time of scarcity
- Asserting their power over settled communities
- Negotiating political relation with outsiders
- Zamindars gave regular tribute to hill chief
- Traders also paid a small amount to the paharia chief as road tax and for protection from plundering.
- This negotiated peace broke down in the last decade of the 18th century by settled agriculture in the Eastern India.
Necessity of settled agriculture
- Associated forest with wildness, forest had to be cleared
- For enlarge the sources of land revenue
- Produce crops for export
- Settled ordered and civilised society
- To make forest people tamed civilized and persuaded to give up hunting.
Result of settled agriculture
- Clearance of forests
- Pasture land contracted
- Conflict between Hill folks and Settled cultivators
- Increased plundering of food grains and cattles
- Repressive treatment to hill folks by company officials.
Brutal policy of extermination
- Augustus Cleveland, the collector of Bhagalpur, proposed a policy of pacification.
- Annual allowance given to Paharias chief by company for maintaining order and discipline in their community.
- Many paharias chiefs refused the allowances ,
- Those who accepted most often lost authority within community and perceived as subordinate employees or Stipendiary chiefs.
- 1810-11, Buchanan travelled this reason, paharias viewed him with suspicion and distrust.
New intimations of danger
- Arrival of santhals
- Clearing forest, cutting down timbers, ploughing land and growing rice and cotton,they took over the lower hills .
- The paharias receded deeper into the Rajmahal hills .
- Paharias’ life was symbolised by the hoe and the santhals represent the power of the plough,the battle between the hoe and the plough was along over.
The Santhals became settlers
- The end of the 1810, Buchanan arrived in Ganjaria pahar (part of the Rajmahal range)
- He wrote, “Ganjuria is just significantly cultivated “.
- Buchanan saw finer tobacco and mustard grown by Santhals.
- Santhals came into the Rajmahal range around 1780.
- They cleared land and ploughed land .
- In the last decade of 18th century, British encouraged forest clearance
- Zamindars and jotedars also started to turn uncultivated land into rice fields .
- Zamindars and Britishers after having failed to subdue the paharias and transform them into a settled cultivator turned to Santhals.
- Santhals appeared to be ideal settlers ,cleared the forest and ploughed land.
Damin -i- koh
- The Santhals were given land and persuaded to settle in the foothills of Rajmahal
- By 1832, a large area of land was demarcated as’ Damin -i- koh ‘declared to be the land of the santhals the land granted to the Santhal stipulated that at least one-tenth of the area was to be cleared and cultivated within the first 10 years .
- As the cultivation expanded, the land revenue flow also increased.
- When the Santhal was settling ,the Paharias resisted but were ultimately forced to withdraw deeper into hills.
Santhals Revolt 1855-1856
- Santhals now lived a settled life
- Cultivated the range of commercial crop for market
- Dealt with traders and money- lenders
- But the state was taxing heavily, moneylenders( Diku) were charging a high interest rate and taking over their land when debts remain unpaid.
- Zamindars were asserting control over their land later due to these problems, Santhal revolted in 1855 -1856 and to pacify them .
- Britishers carved out new areas for the santhals (Bhagalpur and Birbhum) and imposed some special laws within it.
The account of Buchanan
- He was an employee of the British East India company .
- The costs of the travels were borne by EIC since it needed the information that Buchanan was expected to collect.
- He was perceived as an agent of the company.
- Buchanan was an extraordinary observer.
- In his survey he obsessively observed the stones and rocks and the different strata and layer of soil .
- He searched for minerals and commercially valuable stones.
- He recorded all signs of iron-ore and mica, granite and saltpetre.
- He carefully observed the local practices of salt- making and iron -ore -mining
- His assessment was shaped by the commercial concerned of the company.
- He was inevitably critical of the lifestyles of forest dwellers and favoured in the settled agriculture.
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