Peasants, Zamindars and the State


Examine the role played by zamindars in Mughal India.


The zamindars were the people who did not directly participate in the processes of agricultural production, but they enjoyed high status in the society.
(i)The zamindars considered their land as their property (milkiyat). They had control to sell, give and mortage their property.
(ii)They enjoyed many social and economic privileges because of their superior status in society.
(iii)The zamindars belonged to the upper caste which added to their exalted status in society.
(iv)The zamindars rendered certain services (khidmat) for the state. As a result of their service they received and attained higher position in the state.
(v)The zamindars had the right to collect revenue on behalf of the state and also received financial compensation for this work.
(vi)The zamindars had kept strict control over the military resources of the state. They kept a fortress and a well knit armed unit comprising cavalry, artillery and infantry.
(vii)The zamindars also played significant role in developing the agricultural land. They helped in the settlements of farmers by lending them money and agricultural instruments. It resulted in an increase in agricultural produce and the sale and purchase of land by the zamindars. There are also evidences that the zamindars held bazaars. The farmers came to these bazaars to sell their crops.
(viii)If we observe social relation of village of Mughal age as a pyramid then zamindars were at the top. They occupied the highest position in the society.
(ix)No doubt the zamindars exploited the people but their relations with the farmers depended on their mutual togetherness and hereditary part on age. So, they were able to get peasants in case of the revolt against the state.


Peasants, Zamindars and the State

Q 1.

Describe the role played by women in agricultural production.

Q 2.

Examine the role played by zamindars in Mughal India.

Q 3.

Describe the role played by women in agricultural production.

Q 4.

To what extent is it possible to characterise agricultural production in the sixteenth- seventeeth centuries as subsistence agriculture? Give reasons for your answer.

Q 5.

To what extent to do you think caste was a factor in influencing social and economic relations in agrarian society?

Q 6.

How were the lives of forest dwellers transformed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?(or)
Describe the lives of forest-dwellers in the 16-17th centuries.

Q 7.

On an outline map of world, mark the areas which had economic links with the Mughal Empire, and trace out possible routes of communication.

Q 8.

Discuss, with examples, the significance of monetary transactions during the period under consideration.

Q 9.

What are the problems in using the Ain as a source for reconstructing agrarian history? How do historians deal with this situation?

Q 10.

Examine the evidence that suggests that land revenue was important for the Mughal fiscal system.

Q 11.

Discuss the ways in which panchayat and village headmen regulated rural society.(or)
Explain the role of Panchayats in the Mughal rural Indian society during 16th-17th centuries.