You can Download Colonialism and the Countryside Questions and Answers, Notes, Plus Two History Chapter Wise Questions and Answers Kerala Chapter 10 help you to revise complete Syllabus and score more marks in your examinations.
Kerala Plus Two History Chapter Wise Questions and Answers Chapter 10 Colonialism and the Countryside (Exploring Official Archives)
Who introduced the Zamindari system?
Who are the jotedars?
The rich farmers
Who practised shifting agriculture?
Which revolt was led by Sindhu and Kanu?
Where did the Deccan revolt take place?
Explain the relevance of the Bardwan Auction. What was the trick in it?
In 1797 in Bardwan (today’s Bardaman in Bengal) there was an auction. It was a big public event. The Raja of Bardwan had a lot of estates and he sold them in auction. According to the permanent settlement, the zamindars were to give a fixed amount to the East India Company as land tax. The condition was that if the zamindars failed to pay the tax in time, their lands would be confiscated and sold in auction. The Raja of Bardwan had not paid the land taxes for his properties and there were huge unpaid amounts. It was in this condition that his estates were auctioned.
Many people took part in the auction. The estates were sold to the highest bidders. Soon the collector discovered a foul play in the auction. Most of the people who acquired the estates in the auction were
agents or servants of the Raja. They got these estates as his binamis. 95% of the sales in the action proved to be part of this foul play. Although the Raja sold his estates in public auction, he got back their control using his agents.
What were the reasons for bringing the Permanent Settlement? What changes did it bring in the villages?
After establishing their authority in Bengal, the British tried to bring about a series of land tax systems there. Their aim was to make maximum profit. But all the land tax systems the British brought were failures. The Company failed to get a permanent income. In these circumstances the officials of the Company began to think of a new tax system.
In the 1970s, the village economic condition was in a crisis. Agricultural products decreased fearfully. Villagers faced famine. To save the financial system in Bengal from utter min, the officials of the Company were forced to do something. At the same time they had to increase the revenues of the government. They thought that both these aims could be achieved by encouraging people to invest more in agriculture. With this in mind, they formulated the Permanent Settlement. They thought by this, a fixed amount would flow into treasury and the investors would make good profit from the land. This is how they thought: The land tax is fixed. It won’t increase in the future. The investment in agriculture would save the financial situation in Bengal.
They thought the Permanent Settlement would help the small scale farmers and also landowners. They thought the landowners would invest in the land and they would be loyal to the Company.
The Company faced a big challenge in implementing the Permanent Settlement. They wanted people who would increase the agricultural products and pay the tax regularly to the government. In other words, the Company Officials did not know with whom they should make the Permanent Settlement. After having long discussions with the officials, Lord Cornwallis solved the problems and in 1793 it was executed.
The Permanent Settlement was done with the Rajas and Talukdars in Bengal. They were considered as Zamindars. The Zamindars were to give a fixed amount as tax to the government each year. As per villages. The places from they collected taxes were called zamindaris, The Zamindar had the responsibility of giving taxes in lump sum.
The farmers in the estates became the vassals of the zamindars. Zamindars collected taxes from the villagers. After giving the tax to the government, they kept the rest of the money. This was their income. The Zamindar had to make regular payments. If anybody failed, his zamindaris would be taken away from him.
Why did the Zamindars fail to collect the taxes? Explain.
Firstly, the rate of the tax fixed by the Company was very high. Company had fixed the rates, thinking of the future losses. Since the company gets only a fixed amount, any profit made by the Zamindar will remain with him. These profits would come from increased production and increased prices. The Company argued that zamindars would make huge profits in the future and so the initial high tax should not prove difficult for them.
Secondly, the Company fixed these high taxes in the 1790s. It was a time of economic depression. The price of agricultural products came down drastically. Naturally the Zamindars could not pay taxes to the government, as they failed to get it from the farmers.
Thirdly, the Zamindars had to give a fixed amount to the Company. Whether the crops were good or bad, the amount had to be paid. There was the strict condition for this payment. If the payment was not received before sunset on the last day for payment, the zamindaris would be auctioned. This way many zamindars lost their zamindaris.
Fourthly, the Permanent Settlement reduced the authority of the Zamindars and controlled their autonomous state. Zamindars had to send their soldiers away. Zamindars were also denied the right to charge ‘customs’. Their ‘kacheris’ (courts) came under the authority of the Collector appointed by the Company. They also lost the power to maintain law and order in their areas. All this adversely affected them and their power to collect taxes from the farmers was reduced.
Zamindars made .some plans to save their zamindaris from being lost by auctions. Evaluate this statement.
Zamindars used a technique called ‘false sale’. It was a technique they used in the transfer and sale of the zamindaris. For example, a Raja in Bardwan, transferred some of his zamidaris to his mother. Zamindaris in the name of women were not to be confiscated for auction.
Sometimes zamindars used their agents when their zamindaris were auctioned. When their zamindaris were auctioned because of non-payment of taxes in time, the agents of the zamindar took part in the auction and offered the highest bids winning the zamindaris. But they would not pay. Again the zamindaris would be offered for auction. The Zamindars would again send their agents and this way the process would go on endlessly. The government and the others taking part in the auction would be tired at the end, and the government will be forced to give the lands back to the original zamindar for a small price. Such false auctions were rampant.
Zamindars also used force to prevent the transfer of their lands. If outsiders tried to get into the zamindaris, the zamindars would use goondas to prevent them from occupying the land. Sometimes farmers themselves prevented outsiders from entering their land. There were many farmers who were loyal to their zamindars. They considered themselves as the loyal subjects of the zamindar. The sale of the land by auction would wound their self-respect and so they tried to prevent outsiders from coming there by using all kinds of means.
What are the reasons for the rise of Jotedars? What was their approach to the zamindars?
At the end of the 18th century, the zamindars faced a lot of crises. But at this time the jotedars (a group of rich peasantry) were improving their situation. Francis Buchanan made a survey in the Dinajpur district of North Bengal. In his report, he gives a good description of these jotedars. In different places they were called by different names like howladar and mandal. Soon they became important people in the villages of Bengal.
By the start of the 19th century, jotedars became owners of extensive lands. Thousands of acres of land were occupied by them.
Local trade, giving money on interest, etc. were controlled by jotedars. Thus they were able to exercise control over the poor village peasants.
In the lands of jotedars, share cropping was the practice. Those who did the cultivation in these lands were called ‘adhiyar’. Jotedars often took more than
half of the total harvest as their share.
What is known as the 5th report? Explain its contents and importance.
In 1813, a report about the administration and working of the East India Company was submitted to the British Parliament. This is called the 5th Report. Before this, 4 such reports were submitted to the Parliament. The 5th report had 1000 pages. More than 800 pages were appendixes. The report contained the following:
- Complaints of the farmers and zamindars.
- Reports of the district collectors.
- Statements of tax income.
- Reports by officials about the revenue and judicial affairs in Bengal and Madras.
The fight between Pahariyas and Santhals is called the fight between hoe and plough. Why?
In the colonial period agricultural areas often exceeded their traditional boundaries. They spread into grazing lands and Rajmahal hills and forests. The spread of the agricultural area caused different types of conflicts. The most important of them was between Pahariyas and Santhals – hoes and ploughs. Hoes represent the Pahariyas as they used hoes for their shifting cultivation. Ploughs represent the Santhals.
Who was Francis Buchanan? What did he feel about the Rajmahal hills?
At the beginning of the 19th century, Francis Buchanan travelled through the hills of Rajmahal. He realized that it was difficult to penetrate them. Only very few travellers dared to travel through those dangerous areas. Wherever he went, the people treated him in a hostile manner. They were suspicious of the officials of the government.
Who were Pahariyas? What is special about their cultivation style?
In official documents, people who inhabited the highlands are called pahariyas. The journal of Buchanan gives some interesting accounts of the Pahariyas. His journal is in the form of a diary. The places he saw, the people he met, their customs, etc. are recorded in his journal. But he has not written about their origin or history. Therefore to recreate the history of Pahariyas, historians had to rely on the revenue records of the 18th century. They give much information about Pahariyas.
Pahariyas lived on the Rajmahal hills. For their livelihood they depended on the forest. They got their food from the forest. They also did shifting cultivation. They cleared small tracts in the forest and dug the ground with their hoes, planting pulses and com. After using the tracts for some time they left them fallow to restore their fertility and moved to another place.
For food, the Pahariyas collected a kind of flowers called ‘mahua’ from forests. They also collected cocoons of silkworms and resin for sale. They collected wood to make charcoal. They grazed their animals in the grasslands of the forests. Thus they did many things connected with the forest.
They lived in huts made among tamarind groves. They rested in the shade of trees. They considered the entire area their own. Their being and life depended on these forests.
Pahariyas strongly objected to the trespassing of their areas by others. Justify this statement.
Pahariyas strongly objected to the trespassing of their areas by others. They were led by “Moopans”. Moopans controlled them and settled their quarrels. It was the Moopans that led the fights against other tribal people and the inhabitants of the plains. During famine, Pahariyas trespassed into the plains. It was in the plains that the regular farmers lived. Pahariyas attacked the people in the plain not only to get food but also to establish their supremacy over them. To be spared of attacks by Pahariyas, zamindars paid regular tributes (money) to the Moopans. Similarly, traders also paid some money to the Pahariya Moopans to get permission to travel through the tunnels in areas in their control. The Moopans gave the traders protection in return. The Moopans ensured that the goods of the traders were not looted by anyone.
Who were Santhals? What made them turn to agriculture?
Santhals were in fact wandering tribal groups. They reached Bengal in the 1780s. The Zamindars of Bengal used their services to clear the forests and expand agriculture. British officials also used Santhals. The British tried to tame the Pahariyas and make them settled farmers. When they failed in their efforts, they sought the help of Santhals to tame the Pahariyas. The British invited the Santhals to live on the Rajmahal hills. Santhals were not like. Pahariyas, who were not ready to cut down trees and use the plough. But Santhals cleared forests and zealously ploughed the land.
The British gave a lot of land to the Santhals in the valleys of Rajmahal hills. They encouraged them to settle there. By 1832, this area began to-be called ‘Damin-o-koh’ and it was declared as the region of Santhals. The British asked them to settle there and take up farming using ploughs.
The British had asked the Santhals to cultivate at least in 10% of the land given to them. The region was surveyed, maps were prepared, boundaries were set and poles were fixed. This way the Santhal region was separated from the settled farmers of the plains and the Pahariyas of the hills.
What were the reasons for the Santhal Revolt? Who were their leaders? What were the outcomes of the Revolt?
By 1850, the exploitation by outsiders became unbearable to the Santhals. They decided to fight against the Zamindars, the moneylenders and the government. They wanted to make an ideal world of their own with autonomy. In the beginning their protests were limited to robbing the homes of Zamindars and money lenders. But when the government tried to suppress the Santhals. the protests became violent. The rebels attacked “the Police and zamindars. They made their own army units and fought against their persecutors using guerrilla tactics. The leaders of the Santhal Revolt were two brothers – Sindhu and Kanu. The Revolt lasted 6 months. Finally the government put down the Revolt.
After suppressing the Revolt, the Government gave the Santhals a new area. It was called Santhal Pargana. It was some distance away from the Bhagalpur and Birdam districts. Government also made some reforms for the welfare of the Santhals. All these things were done with the intention of pacifying the Santhals.
The Permanent Settlement was not extended beyond Bengal, Justify this statement.
The British rule in India started in Bengal. From there the British rule extended to the other parts of India. But the British were not interested in extending the Permanent Settlement into other parts of India. In the regions outside. Bengal new land tax systems called Ryotwari and Mahalwari were implemented.
The American Civil War and the Deccan Revolt have some connection. Do you agree with this statement?
When the American Civil War started in 1861, there was great anxiety in the cloth manufacturing centres of England. Following the War, the import of raw cotton was drastically reduced. Only 3% of the normal import was got at this time. British government started sending urgent messages to India asking the Indian officials to send more cotton to England. The cotton mill owners of England came to Bombay see the situation in person and to encourage cotton cultivation here. The price of cotton skyrocketed.
The exporters of Bombay used this opportunity to make maximum profit. The British tried all they could to get more cotton from India. To encourage cotton cultivation, they gave advances to the ‘sahukars’ (moneylenders) of Bombay. The Sahukars gave money to the village moneylenders who gave this money to the farmers on high interest rates. It was easy for the farmers to get loans from these money lenders. The moneylenders were confident that they would get their money back. These developments helped the cotton farmers of Deccan to expand their cultivation.
What were the features of the Permanent Settlement? Was this system beneficial to the British?
The Permanent Settlement was done with the Rajas and Talukdars in Bengal. They were considered as Zamindars. The Zamindars were to give a fixed amount as tax to the government each year. As per the Permanent Settlement, the Zamindars were not owners of the land. They had the status of tax collectors for the government. There were many villages under each zamindar. Some had up to 400 villages.
This system brought changes in the life of the farmers and zamindars of Bengal, the Pahariyas in the Rajamahal Hills and the Santhals. In the villages of Bombay Deccan also there were changes.
Throughout the 19^jj century, there were many agricultural revolts against money lenders and grain merchants. Some such important uprisings were the Deccan revolts of 1875. Revolts started in Pune and Ahmednagar districts. They were mainly against the moneylenders. But actually they were the results of the Permanent Settlement. The system was not beneficial to the British.
What were the features of the Ryotwari system? Was it beneficial to the British?
The British realized that the Permanent Settlement they tried in Bengal was a failure. So in the Bombay Deccan area they tried a new system called the Ryotwari system. These are its features:
- It was an agreement done directly with the farmer. There were no middlemen between the farmers and the government. Farmers gave tax directly to the government.
- The income from different types of land was assessed and the ability of the farmer to give tax was also considered.
- A part of the income was decided as the tax payable to the government.
- A survey would be done every 30 years and then the rate might be increased. In that sense the Ryotwari was not a permanent system. It was renewed from time to time. On the whole it was beneficial to the British but not good for the farmers.