Peasants, Zamindars And The State Class 12th Themes In Indian History Part Ii CBSE Solution

Class 12th Themes In Indian History Part Ii CBSE Solution

Exercises
Question 1.

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


Answer:

Ain-i-Akbari was written by Abdul Fazl in1598 C.E. He had revised it five times to avoid any kind of errors. He collected and compiled all his information with an extra caution. He verified and Cross-checked all the oral testimonies before their inclusion in his book. In fact, he wanted to minimise the chances of transcriptional errors.

However many errors historians have found some problem in this book. First of all, they have found out many errors in totalling secondly, the quantitative data has not been uniformly collected from all the provinces. For examples, Abdul Fazl has not given the composition of Zamindars in Bengal and Orissa. Thirdly, he had not given any vital parameters in the determination of prices and wages. He based his assessment on the data that he got from Agra.


To get rid of these drawbacks, the historians use all documents that they found in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra in the 17th and 18th centuries. They have also come across many documents of East India Company which throw a light on the agriculture of Mughal times.



Question 2.

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


Answer:

It is possible to characterise agricultural production in the sixteenth-seventeenth centuries as subsistence agriculture:

1. Although the primary purpose of agriculture in Mughal India was to feed people, so basic staples such as rice, wheat or millers were the most frequently cultivated crops.


2. However, the focus on the cultivation of basic staples did not mean that agriculture in medieval India was only for subsistence.


3. We often come across the term Jins-i-Kamil literally, perfect crops in our sources which means that the Mughal state also encouraged peasants to cultivate commercial crops such as cotton and sugarcane.


4. Cotton was grown over a great swathe broad strip territory spread over Central India and the Deccan Plateau whereas Bengal was famous for its sugar.


5. Such cash crops would also include lentils this shows how subsistence and commercial production were closely intertwined in an average peasant’s holding.



Question 3.

Describe the role played by women in agricultural production.


Answer:

Role played by women in agriculture:

1. In the rural society women and men had to work shoulder to shoulder in the fields. Men tilled and ploughed while women sowed, weeded, threshed and winnowed harvest.


2. Artisanal tasks such as spinning yarn, sifting and kneading day for pottery and embroidery were among the many aspects of production on female labour.


3. In Medieval villages there was an imbalance in the sex ratio. The mortality among women was quite high. Therefore marriages in many rural communities required the payment of bride prise rather than dowry. Remarriage was considered legitimate both among divorced and widowed women.


4. The rural household was headed by a male and women were kept under strict control by the male members of the family and the community.


5. Amongst the men, women had the right to inherit. For e.g. Hindu and Muslim women inherited zamindari which they were free to sell or mortgage. Women Zamindars were known in 18th century Bengal.



Question 4.

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


Answer:

1. During the Mughal period, India witnessed a growth in trade via sea. It led to the start of an export various goods. Due to this export, there was a rapid inflow of silver in the market in Asia. Much part of this silver reached INDIA. It was a good thing for India as it lacked natural resources of silver. As a result, there was an economic stability due to silver currency. There was an unparalleled expansion in the minting of coins and monetary transactions. Besides, the Mughals found it easy to collect the revenue in cash.

Jovanni Karari, an Italian traveller, passed through India 1690 C.E. He has clearly written how silver reached India from all parts of the world. From his description we also come to know how there was an exchange of cash and goods in India in the 17th century.


2. The mutual exchange in villages was also in cash. As the villages had set up links in the urban markets, there was a considerable increase in monetary business. In the way, villages became an important part of the monetary market.


3. Due to the monetary transactions, it was pay daily wages to labourers in cash.



Question 5.

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


Answer:

Land revenue was the main source of income during the Mughal period. Therefore the state considered it vital to create an administrative apparatus to ensure control over agricultural production. The arrangement was fixed to collected revenue in the whole country. There was an office (dafter) of the Diwan who supervised the fiscal system of the Mughal Empire.

The collection of revenue had two important stages. First of all, the revenue was assessed secondly, it was collected. The first stage was called as the Jana and the second stage was referred to as the Hasil. According to a decree of Akbar, it was the duty of revenue collector (amil-guzar) to make cultivators pay in cash. However the option o making payment in kind was also kept open. Thus monetary transactions during the Mughal period were quite significant.



Question 6.

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


Answer:

Caste has greatly influenced social and economic relations of the people in an agrarian society. Because of caste-based inequalities or distinctions, we find many heterogeneous groups in the society. Many of those who tilled the land, worked as menials or agriculture labourers (majors) As they did menial jobs in society, they were relegated to poverty. They had the lowest position in the caste hierarchy as they lacked resources.

Such caste-based distinctions and inequalities were also found in the Muslim communities where people did scavenging. They lived outside the boundaries of the village. Thus, there was a direct co-relation between caste, poverty and social status at the lower level. But at the intermediate level, these co- relations were not so marked. In the 17th century, Marwar Rajputs were considered as important as the Jats, though these Jats had a lower status in the caste hierarchy. On the other hand, the Gauravas, who cultivated land near Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, sought Rajput status in the 17th century. Similarly Ahirs, Gujjars and Malis rose in the caste hierarchy because they earned huge profits. In the end, we can say that caste is a great determining factor in both social and economic relations.



Question 7.

How were the lives of forest dwellers transformed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?


Answer:

The lives of forest dwellers transformed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in different ways:

1. Mughal Empire also covered forests other than agricultural land. The forest dwellers were called Jungli and practiced hunting, gathering and shifting agriculture. These activities were performed according to a specific reason in the various regions. For example, the Bhils who fished in summer and collected forest produce in spring. Such activates enabled the forest tribes to be mobile which was a characteristic feature of their life.


2. The Mughal rulers considered forest to be a place of refuge for criminals and decided to bring it under their control. They levied a tax called ‘peshkash’ and took elephants from the tribal people as peshkash which they needed for their army.


3. The spread of commercial agriculture adversely affected the lives of the forest people. Outsider’s stanted making inroads into the forests o to collect honey, bee wax, lac were in huge demand and started exporting them in large numbers overseas and earned valuable foreign exchange.


4. Gradually the tribal chiefs also began to organise themselves and they started building up an army. They recruited people from their lineage and very soon commanded big armies comprising even 6000 cavalries and 7,000 infantry.


5. Gradually there was a transition and these tribal chiefs became kings and carved out a forest kingdom for themselves.


6. Social factors were also responsible for transforming the lives of the forest-dwellers. Many tribal chefs became zamindars and some even became king. They recruit people from their own tribes for the army. For example in Assam, the Ahom kings deepened on people who rendered military services in exchange of land.


7. By the 16th century, the transition from a tribal to a monarchical system had taken place. New cultural influences also entered in the forests area.



Question 8.

Examine the role played by zamindars in Mughal India.


Answer:

The Zamindars were the people who did not directly participate in the processes of agricultural production, but they enjoyed high status in the society.

1. Zamindars were landed proprietors who held extensive personal lands also called “Milkiyat” which they got cultivated with the help of hired labour.


2. They derived their power from the fact that they often collected revenue on behalf of the state, a service for which they were compensated financially.


3. Zamindars also had control over military resources. Most zamindars had fortresses (qilachas) as well as armed contingent comprising units of cavalry, artillery and infantry.


4. Zamindar in all probability was ones powerful military chieftains who had acquired property by:


a. Disposition of weaker people


b. Colonisation of lands


c. Transfer of right


d. Order of state


e. By purchase


5. They Spearheaded the Colonisation of agriculture land and helped in setting cultivators by providing them with the means of cultivation including cash loans.


6. They also started the process of monetisation of village economy.


7. Zamindars soled the surplus produce from the milkiyat lands and also established markets (haats) where other formers could also sell their produce.


8. Although they were an exploitative class, their relationship with the peasantry had an element of reciprocity, paternalism and patronage.


9. They enjoyed many social and economic privileges because of their superior status in society. The Zamindars belonged to an upper caste which added to their glorious status in the society.


10. Zamindars had the right to collect the revenue on behalf of the state and also received financial compensation for the work.


11. They also played a role in keeping strict control over the military resources of the state. They kept fortress and a well knit armed unit comprising, cavalry, artillery and infantry.


12. Social relation of village of Mughal age as a pyramid then the Zamindars were at the top. They occupied the highest position in the village.



Question 9.

Discuss the ways in which panchayats and village headmen regulated rural society.


Answer:

Ways in which panchayats and village headmen regulated rural society:

1. The village Panchayat was a body of elders of a village and they elected a “Muqaddam” also called the “Mandal”, who supervised the activities in a village. His function was to prepare village account with the help of the patwari.


2. In the mixed caste village, the panchayats were a heterogeneous body. The Panchayat represented different caste and communities in the village.


3. They collected funds from the villagers towards a common financial pool and it was spend on:


a. Defraying the costs of entertaining revenue officials who visited the village from time to time.


b. Community calamities were also met from these funds.


c. These funds were also deployed in construction of a bund or digging a canal.


4. It also had the authority to levy fines and taxes. It can also give punishment like expulsion from the community.


5. Another important function of the Panchayat was to ensure the caste boundaries among the various communities inhabiting the village were upheld. The Panchayat also had the authority to levy fines and inflict more serious forms of punishment like expulsion from the community, if the caste norms were broken.


6. In addition to the village Panchayat each caste or jati in the village had its own Jati Panchayat. Jati Panchayat arbitrated civil disputes and decided whether marriages were performed according to the norms Laid down by a particular caste group.


7. The village panchayat also decided cases ‘Appeal’. The Panchayat often decided cases of conflict between lower caste peasants and zamindars. The cases were often related to excessive revenue demands and the Panchayat often suggested compromise.


8. In case of excessive revenue demands, the Panchayat often suggested a compromise. If this failed, the peasants took recourse to more drastic forms of punishment such as deserting the village.


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