Here Charitable Individualism is the key!… nothing less.

Posts tagged ‘zamindari system’


In the FACEBOOK, one of my learned friends had written in sheer exasperation that the Administration in India should be out-sourced to the British. It had generated such a heated debate that i have decided to extend the heat into this wordpress domain too.

First and foremost, one has to understand that ADMINISTRATION cannot be a primary activity. Which means ADMINISTRATION by itself cannot generate any income in the absence of Land, Labour and Capital. Administration is a system established to organize either all the three or a combination of any two, and maximise the objectives of the system.

The British did not land in India with the objective of either building an equitable system on their Christian beliefs and rescue the natives from the Muslim rulers, or to enhance productivity and bring prosperity to the Indians. They came in as traders, got graduated to collecting Revenue from a grant received by them from the Mughal Emperor and then monopolized sourcing of materials from India. In view of these objectives, the East India Company gradually brought in the hand of the Emperor who was sufficiently enriched by the Company, through trade and taxes!

This entry of the British into India through trade, tax collection and subsequently creation of armies needed to be systematized. This attempt to systematize led to the formation of the ADMINISTRATIVE systems. Now that LAND was in their hands and the Labour force had to be induced to work, revenue generation systems were brought in to enhance CAPITAL.

The Revenue model of the British was through THE RYOTWARI SYSTEM, THE ZAMINDARI SYSTEM and THE MAHALWARI SYSTEM.

Each of the topics is a study in itself, but to state it briefly, in the RYOTWARI SYSTEM, the land revenue was assessed based on the putative productivity of the soil, and the person to whom the land was granted for tilling was taxed directly. This was in vogue in the Madras Presidency and later extended to the other presidencies.

In the ZAMINDARI SYSTEM, the highest bidder was granted the rights to the land and the person to whom such rights were granted was ZAMINDAR. He deployed tenants who in turn generated income from the produce for the Zamindar and he would settle the dues to the British, as bid by him. In this between the LAND and the LABOUR stood the Zamindar, who as an intermediary had gathered  a lot of benefit and his writ ran in the area granted to him. This helped the British to wash their hands clean from the excesses perpetrated by the Zamindars to maximize their profits and please their British grantors.

In the MAHALWARI SYSTEM, the village community was jointly responsible for the the taxes due on the land. This was started in the North Eastern states as the land for agricultural purposes changed according to the seasons and the village community allocated the land to families on a rotational basis and collected taxes on behalf of the British and handed it over to the British.

On the whole, the BRITISH had adopted these systems based on the principle – MAXIMIZE TAX COLLECTIONS. The docile and conscientious Madrasi was directly dealing with the Government and paying the TAXES, so no feudal lord was acting as an intermediary. In the North, the Zamindari system prevailed, where FEUDALISM was amenable to the local man’s temperament. In the North -East the mahalwari system was in vogue, as that was the best suited for the land-labour link.


The land was linked to the labour and the capital was flowing into the coffers of the British crown.

None would have complained if the system had been conscientious, but the land assessments made by the British were heartless. There was two thirds fixed as the taxes due to the Government till they were “Rationalized” to 50% of the assessed value. In India, to pay 30% as taxes we crib, imagine the time when the government took away 66.66% of the assessed value!! And during crises and opportunities (obviously for the British) they raised it to 100%- eg. when the American Civil War took place in the 1860’s, because of the shortage of cotton, in the cotton grown silt areas the assessed tax was 95-100%.

If we do not zealously guard our own liberty, systems would be imposed by persons who will exploit us without our own knowledge and skim our toil and labour, like the British did. To be nostalgic about their ADMINISTRATIVE instruments is the last that should occur to our self-respecting minds.

The freedom granted by God, should not be wished away vainly in such musings. At least let us feel happy that only a brother/ sister Indian is skimming the profits and could be recovered sometime through social legislation etc. etc. But the Buckingham palaces, Heathrow Airports,  the British Rail & the other conquered territories of the British, using the REVENUES generated by the British using the oppressive systems on the Indian natives, can NEVER EVER be repatriated or RECOVERED from those British hands.


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