Change and Development in Rural Society

Change and Development in Rural Society


Why was the abolition of intermediaries, a major objective of the land reforms in India?


I. The Abolition of Intermediaries in India.

1. The British Government introduced three major forms of land settlements in our country. These were:

(a) Zamindari-through permanent settlement.

(b) Raiyatwari, and

(c) Mahalwari.

The sole aim of the British rulers to introduce the above all three systems of land revenue was to gain maximum revenue from land.

1. Zamindari System: Under this system the rights of property in land were given to the local rent gatherers. These persons were called Zamindars and belonged usually to the upper castes of the community.This new settlement turned the actual cultivators into tenants. This structural change in the land system created a class of intermediary between the state and the actual tillers of the soil.

2. Raiyatwari System: Under the Raiyatwari system, no intermediary owners were recognised. The actual tillers of the soil were given transferable rights in their lands. But under this system also influential Raiyats emerged as powerful land holders.

3. Mahalwari System: In the Mahalwari settlements, too a class of intermediaries had emerged.

II. Shortcomings of the pre-independent period land structures:

1. All intermediaries of the British regime had no interest in land management and

2. Morever, while the Zamindars were required to pay a fixed amount of revenue to the government, there was no limit on collections from the actual tillers.

3. Numerous illegal classes were improve upon the actual cultivators from time to time by the intermediaries.

4. The Zamindari system allowed a high level of absenteeism (Keep in mind the New Zamindars of the British rule generally lived in cities or big towns away from their lands to lead comfortable life).

5. In short, we can say that the Zamindari system was not only unjust but it was also characterised by acute economic exploitation and social oppression.

6. It was against this background that abolition of intermediary interests became the first target of land reforms during the early years of the Independence.

7. Abolition of intermediaries was under taken as an effective measure for land reforms, all over the country.

8. Essentially abolition of intermediaries sought removal of all middlemen like Zamindars, Jagirdars, Mirasdars and others. It brought cultivators into direct relationship with the State. In conferred permanent rights in land to actual cultivators.

9. Accordingly, by 1954-55 almost all states abolished intermediary tenures through several land reform legislations.

10. The abolition of intermediary tenures represents a remarkable transition to a modem agrarian structure.

More Chapters from Change and Development in Rural Society