Amani : The person appointed by the government in the south to collect land revenue was called Amani.
Bigha : Bigha was a unit of measurement of land prior to British rule in India. It was not uniform. Two ploughs were required to cultivate one bigha. Britishers standardised the measurement in the province of Bengal.
Commercial Crops : Crops which are cultivated for sale in the market.
Countryside : It refers to rural areas.
Diwan : Person related to the department of revenue during medieval and early British period. He was the head of the revenue department.
Gomasthas : Indians who worked as agents for the Indigo planters.
Indigo : A plant which produces rich blue colour.
Lathiyals : The strongmen wielding lathis, kept by the planters.|
Mahal : In British records of revenue, mahal denotes a revenue estate which may be a village or a group of villages.
Mahalwari System : This was a system under which the rates of land revenue were not fixed, rather they were revised periodically.
Mortgage: It was an agreement signed between the money-lenders and the peasants whereby the land of the peasants would remain with the money lenders as a security till the peasants returned the money he had borrowed.
Permanent Settlement : Land revenue settlement imposed by Lord Cornwallis in Bengal province, wherein the land revenue was settled permanently and taluqdars and rajas were regarded as the owners of the land and were held responsible for the collection of land revenue.
Plantation : A large farm operated by a planter employing various forms of forced labour. It is associated with the production of tea, coffee , tobacco and cotton.
Ryotwari : Land revenue settlement in which peasants were held responsible for the deposition of land revenue in the treasury. Peasants were declared as the landowners of the land.
Ryot : The cultivator.
Slave : A person who is owned by another person. A slave has to work as per the discretion of his master and has no freedom of his own.
Satta : An agreement or a contract.
Vat : A storage or fermenting vessel.
Woad : A plant which produces blue and violet dyes.
Zamindars : They were the tax collectors under the Mughal and they owned land under the Britishers.
12th August 1765 : The Mughal Emperor appointed EIC as the Diwan of Bengal.
1770 : A terrible famine struck Bengal.
1786-1793 : Lord Cornwallis was the Governor General of India.
1792-1827 : Ryotwari System (Ryot System) introduced in the presidencies of Madras and Bombay.
1793 : Lord Cornwallis introduced “Permanent Settlement”.
1819-1826 : Thomas Munro was the Governor General of Madras.
1822 : Mahalwari System was introduced.
1859 : Revolt of the indigo cultivators.
Difference between Mahalwari System and Ryotwari System
(a) The Permanent Settlement was introduced in Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and Banaras, while the Mahalwari System was introduced in western parts of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Delhi.
(b) The collection of land revenue was fixed in the Permanent Settlement, but under the Mahalwari System, the collection of land revenue was revised periodically.
(c) The zamindars were responsible for collecting the land revenue from the cultivators in the Permanent Settlement Act, whereas, in Mahalwari System, the right to collect the land revenues was given to the village head.
Cultivation of Indigo
There were two main systems for cultivation of indigo : (a) Nij (b) Ryoti.
(a) Under Nij cultivation, the planter produced indigo on the land that he directly controlled. He either bought the land or rented it from other zamindars and produced indigo by directly employing hired labourers.
The planters found it difficult to expand the area under Nij cultivation. Indigo could be cultivated only on fertile lands, and they all were already densely populated. Planters needed large areas in compact blocks to cultivate indigo in plantations. Labour was not easy to mobilise. A large plantation required a vast number of hands to operate and labour was needed precisely at a time when peasants were usually busy with their rice cultivation.
(b) Under Ryoti plantation of indigo, the indigo planters forced the ryots to sign an agreement (satta).
The position of Indigo in the 18th century in the international markets
(i) By 18th century, the demand for indigo grew further along with industrialization of cotton textiles.(ii) As the demand increased, the existing supplies from West Indies and America collapsed due to various reasons.(iii) Between 1783 and 1789, the production of indigo in the world fell by half and Britain looked forward to Indian cultivators for indigo plantation and supplies.
Great demand for Indian indigo in foreign market
(i) The European cloth manufacturers used indigo to dye the clothes.(ii) It produced a rich blue colour which was used for the purpose of dyeing.(iii) Indigo plant grows only in the tropical regions and it was impossible to grow indigo in temperate climate of Europe.
The events that led to the collapse of indigo plantation in the Caribbean Islands
(i) The first major revolt broke out in Bengal led by Sanyasis, soon after the British conquest of Bengal.
(ii) This revolt soon spread in many areas of the eastern India.
(iii) The peasants formed a very strong army. The troop sent by Company to suppress them were met with defeat. It took about 30 years to put an end to this revolt.
(iv) The Chuar Revolt of Bihar and Bengal broke out in 1796 and continued till 1816.
(v) The Moplah peasants of Malabar organised 22 rebellions within the period of 18 years (from 1836 to 1854).
The British introduced different land settlement policies in different regions. Even two neighbouring districts or villages had different revenue systems, which was known as Land Tenure Policy of Britishers.
They introduced different tenure policies in India :
(1) Permanent settlement
(2) Ryotwari system
(3) Mahalwari system
Permanent Settlement of Bengal
The Permanent Settlement of Bengal was introduced by the company officials to ensure a regular flow of income into the Company’s treasury. It was also assumed that the zamindars would invest in the improvement of the land. However, the zamindars did not invest any money in the improvement of the land, even after benefit from the increased production of the land. The revenue fixed was very high and some zamindars found it difficult to pay the revenue and lost their zamindari rights.
Zamindars were either sold or auctioned off by the company officials. Zamindars gave out land to tenants and extracted rent from them at any cost. Tenants were undoubtedly at the receiving end of the settlement.
The East India Company introduced the Permanent Settlement in 1793 to increase the flow of its revenue.
According to the terms of the Permanent Settlement :
(i) The rajas and taluqdars were recognized as Zamindars.
(ii) Zamindars collected revenue from the peasants.
(iii) The revenue amount to be paid to the Company was fixed.
(iv) The revenue amount was not to be increased in the future.
(v) Zamindars were to invest in improving the land.