Agrarian Policies of the British Questions & Answers

Hi Everyone!! This article will share Agrarian Policies of the British Questions & Answers.

In one of my previous posts, I have shared questions & answers of Traces of Modern Indian History, Beginning of Colonial Rule in India and The Great Uprising of 1857 so, you can check these posts as well.

Agrarian Policies of the British Questions & Answers

Question 1: What were the two systems of indigo cultivation?

Answer: The systems of indigo cultivation were – Nij cultivation and Ryoti cultivation.

Question 2: Why did Company stop importing gold and silver from Britain?

Answer: The Company stopped importing gold and silver from Britain as the revenue collected as Diwan of Bengal was enough to buy goods.

Question 3: What were the three land revenue settlements introduced by the British?

Answer: The three land revenue systems introduced by the British were:

i. The Permanent Settlement or the Zamindari System

ii. The Mahalwari Settlement

iii. The Ryotwari Settlement

Must Read : Agrarian Policies of the British Objective Type Questions & Answers

Question 4: What does Commercialisation of Agriculture means?

Answer: Commercialisation of agriculture means that agricultural crops and goods were produced for the market rather than for the domestic consumption.

Question 5: Name the two villagers who led the rebellion against the planters?

Answer: The two villagers who led the rebellion against the planters were Digambar Biswas and Bishnu Biswas.

Agrarian Policies of the British Questions & Answers

Question 6: How was the Ryoti system disadvantageous to the cultivators?

Answer: Under the Ryoti system, a contract or an agreement called satta was signed between the planters and the ryots or peasants. Those who signed the contract were given loans from planters and were forced to cultivate indigo on at least 25 percent of their land.

The ryots were provided seeds and drills by the planters and they had to cultivate the crops and harvest it. After the delivery of the crop, the cycle began all over again by granting a new loan to the ryot. The price paid to the ryots for the indigo was very minimal leading to a chain of the cycle of loans as they were unable to repay the loan. The planters forced the ryots to cultivate indigo on the best soil which exhausted the soil rapidly and left the land unusable to produce other food crops such as rice.

Question 7: Describe the Mahalwari settlement.

Answer: In 1822, Holt Mackenzie devised a new system to collect revenue that came to be known as Mahalwari Settlement. This was enacted in the Northwest provinces of the Bengal Presidency. He understood that village being an important social institution in the social setup of India, need to be preserved. Holt Mackenzie ordered the collectors to gather not only important information pertinent to lad but also about customs and rights practised by the village people. The revenue that each village (mahal) had to pay was fixed on the basis of these records. The land revenue was not collected by the zamindars but the village headmen was entrusted with the responsibility of collecting revenue and paying it to the Company. Just like Permanent Settlement, the revenue demand was not fixed permanently. According to the prevailing conditions, the revenue demand was to be revised periodically. This system came to be known as Mahalwari Settlement because a village was called a mahal.

Question 8: What were the important features of the Permanent settlement?

Answer: The important features of Permanent Settlement were:

  • The rajas and taluqdars were recognised as the proprietors of the land and known as zamindars. They worked as the representatives of the government.
  • As zamindars, they could collect rent from the cultivators and pay it as land revenue to the government.
  • The amount to be paid as land revenue was fixed permanently with no scope of revision in the future.
  • This was implemented to encourage the zamindars who would invest in improving the land and yet pay the same revenue to the Company. This would facilitate an increase in agricultural production and thereby would benefit the zamindars.

Agrarian Policies of the British Questions & Answers

Question 9: Why did the British introduce the new land revenue settlements?

Answer: The East India Company primarily being a trading company, its interest lay in trading. Attempts were made to increase revenue which could be used to purchase fine cotton and silk cloth as cheaply as possible. These goods were exported to European countries and sold at a high price. The value of goods purchased by the Company doubled in five years. The Company stopped importing gold and silver from Britain as the revenue collected as Diwan of Bengal was enough to buy goods. There were a lot of changes witnessed in Bengal after the Company established its foothold. The economy of Bengal suffered a deep crisis. Artisans deserted villages as the prices offered to their goods were very low. They were unable to meet the huge revenue demanded by the Company. This resulted in the decline of artisanal production and even agricultural production decreased. Further, a terrible famine in 1770 caused deaths of ten million people in Bengal. Large areas were depopulated and many cultivable lands were abandoned. The famine played havoc and the economy of Bengal suffered greatly. The Company was not able to acquire enough revenue. The Company officials contemplated to increase investment in land which consequently encouraged and increased agricultural production.

In the beginning, the Company continued with the traditional system of revenue collection through intermediaries such as zamindars, muqadams, etc. Soon the Company officials revised the need of a systematic assessment and collection of the land revenue. Various experiments were made by the British leading to the three different types of land revenue settlements in India.

Question 10: Why did indigo cultivation rapidly expand in Bengal?

Answer: Indigo was primarily used to dye cloth in many European countries such as Britain, Italy, and France. Due to the Industrial Revolution, cotton production increased which led to enormous demand of indigo. The decline in the supply of indigo from the West Indies and America forced the users to look for other ways to obtain it. The cloth dyers in Britain were in search of a new source for indigo supply and turned their attention towards Bengal. Thus, the indigo cultivation rapidly expanded in Bengal.

Question 11: What difficulties were faced by the Nij Cultivators?

Answer: The difficulties faced by the Nij Cultivators were –

  • Rent from zamindars and cultivate indigo by directly employing hired labourers.
  • To cultivate indigo in large plantations required large tracts of fertile land, many ploughs, bullocks, and a vast number of hired labourers.
  • The cultivators were only able to get small plots which were scattered over the area and also had difficulty in finding labourers for plantation.
  • Further investing on purchase and maintenance of these large quantities of ploughs and bullocks was a big problem.

Question 12: Discuss the nature of indigo revolt.

Answer: In March 1859, the indigo ryots in Bengal rose in revolt. Two villagers, Digambar Biswas and Bishnu Biswas, of Govindpur village in Nadia district led the rebellion against the planters and soon spread to all districts. The ryots refused to grow indigo and pay rent to the planters. Gomasthas (agents of planters) were assaulted, factories were attacked, and socially boycotted the ryots who worked for the planters. Women also joined the rebellion.

The local zamindars were unhappy with the growing power of the planters and angry for being pressurised to give them land on lease. They went to the villages and urged the ryots to resist the planters. The village headmen also supported the indigo ryots by not only mobilising the peasants but also fought with lathiyals (retainers). The Bengali intelligentsia also played a significant role and championed the cause of indigo cultivators.

So, these were Agrarian Policies of the British Questions & Answers.

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