Day 36 – Q 3. How did British land policies affect the India’s rural landscape? Discuss.
3. How did British land policies affect the India’s rural landscape? Discuss.
ब्रिटिश भूमि की नीतियों ने भारत के ग्रामीण परिदृश्य को कैसे प्रभावित किया? चर्चा करें।
British introduced various land policies like Permanent settlement, Ryotwari and Mahalwari systems and many other modifications that transformed the rural way of living from social systems to economy related areas.
British policies and how they impacted rural landscape:
- High land revenue- Extraction of high revenue under all three systems led to growth of poverty and deterioration of agriculture.
- Debt burden- Inability of peasants to pay high land revenue drove the peasant to borrow money at high rates of interest from the moneylender and got the peasant deeper and deeper into debt till he parted with his land
- Commercialization of agriculture- The commercial non-food crops substituted the food grains that led to famines. Also, inequalities grew in the rural society as only rich farmers got benefits.
- Regional specialization- Commercialization led to regional specialization of crops based upon climatic conditions instead of food sustenance in every part of the country. Bombay presidency grew cotton, Bengal grew jute and Indigo, Bihar grew opium, Assam grew tea, Punjab grew wheat.
- New class of zamindars- Landed property of old zamindars was transferred to merchants and other moneyed classes that led to rack-renting and ejectment of peasants.
- Overcrowding in agriculture- Ruin of traditional industries and avenues of artisans overly crowded the agriculture.
- Changed land use- With increased need of infrastructure development, agriculture and forest lands were cleared.
- Increased subinfeudation- Absentee landlords whose main aim was to extract revenue without being responsible sublet the lands to others, increasing burden on peasants.
The land policies adopted by British were for their own profit maximization and not for the benefit of Indian society. These policies later became a major factor in most of the revolts against British and played a major role in instigating the fight for independence.
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