Ans. Consequences of the economic crisis that gripped Bengal
i. Artisans were deserting villages since they were being forced to sell their goods to the Company at low prices.
ii. Peasants were unable to pay the dues that were being demanded from them.
iii. Artisanal production was in decline, and agricultural cultivation showed signs of collapse.
iv. Then in 1770 a terrible famine killed ten million people in Bengal. About one-third of the population was wiped out.
Ans. In March 1859 thousands of ryots in Bengal refused to grow indigo. This was known as the 'Blue rebellion'. As the rebellion spread, ryots refused to pay rents to the planters, and attacked indigo factories armed with swords and spears, bows and arrows. Women turned up to fight with pots, pans and kitchen implements. Those who worked for the planters were socially boycotted, and the gomasthas – agents of planters – who came to collect rent were beaten up. Ryots swore they would no longer take advances to sow indigo nor be bullied by the planters’ lathiyals.
1. Mahalwari system, devised by Holt Mackenzie came into effect in 1822, in the North Western Provinces of the Bengal Presidency.
1. Lord Cornwallis introduced the Permanent Settlement in 1793.
2. The amount to be paid was to be revised periodically, not permanently fixed.
2. The amount to be paid was fixed permanently, that is, it was not to be increased ever in future.
3. The charge of collecting the revenue and paying it to the Company was given to the village headman.
3. The charge of collecting the revenue and paying it to the Company was given to the zamindar.
Ans. The new system that was devised came to be known as the ryotwar (or ryotwari). It was tried on a small scale by Captain Alexander Read in some of the areas that were taken over by the Company after the wars with Tipu Sultan. Subsequently developed by Thomas Munro, this system was gradually extended all over south India. Read and Munro felt that in the south there were no traditional zamindars. The settlement, they argued, had to be made directly with the cultivators (ryots) who had tilled the land for generations. Their fields had to be carefully and separately surveyed before the revenue assessment was made.
Ans. Under the ryoti system, the planters forced the ryots to sign a contract, an agreement (satta). At times they pressurised the village headmen to sign the contract on behalf of the ryots. Those who signed the contract got cash advances from the planters at low rates of interest to produce indigo. But the loan committed the ryot to cultivating indigo on at least 25 per cent of the area under his holding. The planter provided the seed and the drill, while the cultivators prepared the soil, sowed the seed and looked after the crop. When the crop was delivered to the planter after the harvest, a new loan was given to the ryot, and the cycle started all over again.
Ans. In the North Western Provinces of the Bengal Presidency, an Englishman called Holt Mackenzie devised the new system which came into effect in 1822. He felt that the village was an important social institution in north Indian society and needed to be preserved. Under his directions, collectors went from village to village, inspecting the land, measuring the fields, and recording the customs and rights of different groups. The estimated revenue of each plot within a village was added up to calculate the revenue that each village (mahal) had to pay. This demand was to be revised periodically, not permanently fixed. The charge of collecting the revenue and paying it to the Company was given to the village headman. This system came to be known as the mahalwari settlement.
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