Colonialism and The Countryside Class 12 History Exam Questions

Exam Questions Class 12

Answer all the questions given below

Question. How much of the Zamindars changed lands after the introduction of permanent settlement of land?
Answer : Around 75% of the total Zamindaries.

Question. What was the sunset law?
Answer : If payment was not paid before the sunset of the fixed date, the land will be confiscated.

Question. When was the fifth report submitted to the British Parliament?
Answer : In 1813 A.D

Question.Why did the Jotedars were more powerful in villages than that of the Zamindars? Give two reasons.
Answer : The Zamindars lived in urban areas and Jotedars were located in villages with poor villagers. They had direct control over a large section of villagers.
Jordans were often amongst the purchasers in the case of auction of the Zamindaris.

Question.When was the Fifth Report submitted to the British Parliament? What was its objective?
Answer : The Fifth Report was submitted to the British Parliament in 1813. It was about the administration and activities of the East India Company in India and proved helpful in regulating and controlling their rule.

Question. When the Cotton Supply Association and the Manchester Cotton Company were founded in Britain? What was their objective? Cotton Supply Association in Britain, was founded in 1857 and Manchester Cotton Company was formed in 1859.
Answer : Their objective was to encourage the production of cotton in every part of the world so that their Company could grow.

Question.Which two factors helped the Zamindars to consolidate their power at the beginning of the 19th century?
Answer : At the beginning of the 19th century, the depression in prices remained no more and the prices of agricultural produce became high.
The government made rules of revenue payments flexible which helped the Zamindars to consolidate their power.

Question. Mention any two drawbacks of the Ryot Wari system of revenue introduced in the Bombay Deccan in 1920.
Answer : In many places, the amount of revenue was very high. Therefore, many peasants deserted their villages and migrated to new regions.
Many areas had poor soil and fluctuating rainfall. When the rains failed, the peasants had a bad crop due to which they found it impossible to pay the revenue.

Question. Write a short note on Bengal and the Zamindars
Answer : colonial rule was first established in Bengal. It is here that the earliest attempts were made to reorder rural society and establish a new rule for land rights and revenue system.

Question. How did the Company entrust the task of revenue collection to the rajas and taluqdars of Bengal under the Permanent Settlement?
Answer : The British officials hoped to resolve the problems they had been facing since the conquest of Bengal. By the 1770s, the rural economy in Bengal was in crisis, with regular famines and declining agricultural output. Officials felt that agriculture, trade and the revenue resources of the state could all be developed by encouraging investment in agriculture. This could be done by securing rights of property and permanently fixing the rates of revenue demand. If revenue demand of the state was permanently fixed, then the Company could look forward to a regular flow of revenue and the investors could feel sure of earning a profit from their investment. The British hoped that the farmers and rich landowners would improve agriculture with the capital and this class would also be loyal to the Company. After a prolonged debate amongst Company officials, the Permanent Settlement was made with the rajas and talukdars of Bengal. In terms of this definition, the zamindar was not a landowner in the village, but a revenue Collector of the state. Zamindars had several villages under them and the villages within one zamindari formed one the revenue estate. The Company fixed the total demand over the entire estate whose revenue the zamindar had to pay.
The zamindar collected rent from different villages, paid the revenue to the Company, and retained the difference as his income. He was expected to pay the Company regularly, failing which his estate could be auctioned.

Question. The East India Company had recognized the zamindars’ importance but wanted to control and regulate them. Explain the steps taken by them to subdue their authority in the 18th century. (Delhi 2016) or Explain how East India Company subdued the authority of zamindars in Bengal during the 18th century? (Delhi 2015)
Answer : East India Company recognized the importance and significance of zamindars but it also wanted to control, regulate and subdue their authority. To limit the authority of zamindars:
The Company disbanded the troops organized by zamindars, custom duties were abolished and ‘cutcherries’ or local courts organized by zamindars were brought under the supervision of the company.
The company appointed collectors and gave them the power to supervise these courts, over a period of time the collectorate emerged as a center of authority.
The power to organize local justice and the local police were also abolished.
The Permanent Settlement system has also limited the power to the zamindars to collect rent from ryot and to manage their zamindari.
So by these above steps, the influence of zamindar was reduced by the company.

Question. “The battle between the hoe and plough was a long one”. Substantiate the statement with reference to the Santhal and Paharias of RajMahal Hills during the 18th century. 
Answer : Santhal came to Bengal around 1780. Zamindars hired them to reclaim land and expand cultivation. The British invited Santhals to settle in the Jangal Mahal, when they failed to subdue Paharias. The Paharias refused to cut the forest, resisted touching the plough and continued to be turbulent. On the other hand, Santhal appeared to be ideal settlers, clearing the forest and ploughing the land with vigour. Santhal settlements and cultivation gradually expanded and Paharias were forced to withdraw deeper into hills and were confined to dry interior and to more barren and rocky upper hills. This severely affected their lives, impoverishing them in the long term. If paharia life was symbolized by the hoe, which they used for shifting cultivation, the Santhals life represented the power of the plough. The battle between the hoe and plough was really a long one.

Question. What was the Limitation Law? Why was this considered as a symbol of oppression against the ryot of the 19th century? Give three reasons. 
Answer : In 1859, the British passed the Limitation Law which stated that the loan bond signed between moneylenders and ryots would have validity for only three years. This law was meant to check the accumulation of interest over time. However, this law was considered as a symbol of oppression due to the following reasons:
Moneylenders forced the ryots to sign a new bond every three years and turned the law around.
When a new bond was signed, the unpaid balance, i.e., original loan and interest was entered as principal, and this principle interest was charged.
Moneylenders refused to give receipts when loans were repaid, entered fictitious figures in bonds, acquired the peasant’s harvest at a low price, and ultimately took over the property of peasants.
Moneylenders brought the new regime of bonds and deeds. Peasants were made to put a thumb impression and sign on the document without knowing the full details of the documents.

Question. What was the other name of ‘Bombay Deccan revenue system of the 1820s’. Mention the features of it. (All India 2015) or Which revenue system was introduced in the Bombay Deccan? What were its features?
Answer : Ryotwari Settlement was introduced in the Bombay Deccan by the British. It has the following features: Direct Settlement with the Ryots: The revenue was settled directly with the ryot. Calculation of Revenue: Unlike the Permanent Settlement, the revenue was estimated taking into consideration all types of soil, the average income of the harvest was estimated. It assessed how much revenue a ryot could pay. Share of State: The share of the state was fixed in proportion to the income of the ryot. Re-survey of Land: After every 30 years the lands were re-surveyed and the rates of revenue were increased accordingly. Temporary Demand: The demand for revenue was not permanent but temporary.

Question. Explain two strategies devised by zamindars of surviving the pressures of high revenue demands and possible auction of their lands. (All India 2009)
Answer : The two strategies were as follows:
The zamindars devised various ways to avoid the pressures of high revenue demand and possible auction of their estates. One such plan was the fictitious sale.
It comprised a chain of moves requiring skill and care.
The East India Company had decreed that the property of women could not be auctioned. Therefore, the Raja of Burdwan transferred some of his zamindaris to his mother’s name.
The agents of the Raja controlled the whole process of auction very cleverly. The zamindar’s agent used to buy the auctioneer’s property, outbidding other buyers. However, they refused to pay up the purchase amount, therefore, the estate had to be resold. This endless process of auctioning was repeated again and again and the state along with other auctions was forced to exhaust. Finally, the estate was sold at a low price back to the zamindar.

Question. The travels and surveys of Buchanan were the basis of development and progress for the British East India Company. Justify this statement by giving suitable examples.
Answer : Francis Buchanan came to India in 1794. He was a physician and served in the Bengal Medical Service till 1815. He also served as a surgeon to Lord Wellesley, the Governor-General of India for a few years.
But at the request of the Bengal Government, he undertook detailed surveys of the areas under the control of East India Company. He had become an employee of the East India Company.
1. Buchanan was always inspired by the love of the landscape. He had a keen desire to discover the unknown. So he went everywhere accompanied by draughtsman, surveyors, palanquin bearers, and coolies. The expenses of his travel were met by the East India Company. On his part, Buchanan provided the Company with all the requisite information. He accomplished his work to the satisfaction of the Company. However, many people considered him as an agent of the government.
2. Buchanan was a keen observer of things. Wherever he went, he saw stones and rocks. He also observed the different strata and layers of soil. He searched for minerals and invaluable stones. He also recorded the sites where iron-ore, mica, granite, and saltpeter were available. He carefully noted the local practices of salt-making and iron-ore mining.
3. Buchanan was a man of vision and always thought about how the land could be made more productive. He thought of the crops which could be cultivated in a particular soil. He was a perfectionist who cared for which trees to cut down and which ones to be grown. His priorities were always different from the local inhabitants. He always served the commercial concerns of the East India Company and stood for progress and development. He did not like forest dwellers who were primitive and savage. He wanted forests to be turned into agricultural lands.

Question. Critically examine main aspects of the policy of Permanent Settlement introduced by Lord Cornwallis. What was its impact on the condition of peasants?
Answer : Lord Charles Cornwallis was the commander of the British forces during the American War of Independence. Later on, he became the Governor-General of Bengal. In 1793, he introduced the policy of Permanent Settlement. Under this arrangement, the revenue to be paid by a Zamindar was already fixed in perpetuity. It was a kind of contract to pay the fixed revenue to the State. In fact, the Zamindars did not own the land and collected revenue from the taluqdars and paid it to the State.
The Permanent Settlement yielded the following good results:
1. It permanently fixed the rates of revenue.
2. It ensured a regular flow of income to the State.
3. It enabled entrepreneurs to earn a profit.
4. It led to the emergence of a new class of yeomen farmers and rich landowners.
5. It brought an improvement in agriculture. By encouraging investment in agriculture, it developed, not only agriculture but also trade and revenue resources.
6. Several villages were put under the control of the Zamindars who collected rent from these villages and paid this revenue to the East India Company.
7. It ensured a sense of security in the Zamindars.
8. Sometimes the ryots found it difficult to pay their dues to the Zamindars.
9. The revenue was invariable.
10. The Sunset Law was not appreciated by the Zamindars. Under it, if a Zamindar did not make payment by sunset of the specified date, his land was auctioned.
11. It limited the power of the Zamindars to collect rent from the ryots .

Question. What were the reasons for tension between relations of moneylenders and ryots after the decline of Maharashtra’s cotton export?
With the decline of cotton export, money-lenders and export merchants of Maharashtra were no longer keen on providing long-term loans.
Answer : The Ryot community became very angry as they were denied loans by the moneylenders. They were not infuriated because they came under great debt, but because moneylenders were insensitive to their miserable condition. Moneylenders were also disobeying the traditional customs and rules of rural areas.
The deviousness of Moneylenders: The process of money lending was definitely widespread even before colonial rule. Moneylenders were generally very powerful individuals. A number of customary norms were there between the relations of moneylenders and ryots and these norms even regulated their relations. One of the general norms was that the interest charged must not be more than the principal amount. This norm was made to limit the exactions of moneylenders and to define the term ‘fair interest’. But this norm was generally violated by the moneylenders during colonial rule. In one of the cases investigated by the Deccan Riots Commission, the moneylender charged more than Rs 2000 of interest on the principal of Rs 100. Ryots gave a number of petitions or complaints about the injustice of such exactions and the violation of this traditional custom
Peasants came to see the moneylenders as deceitful and devious. They complained that moneylenders were manipulating the laws and were forging the accounts. The British passed a Limitation Law in 1859 which stated that the bond of loan signed between moneylender and ryots would be valid only for three years. The main objective of this law was to stop the accumulation of loans for a long time.
But moneylenders turned the law around in their own favour. They forced the ryots to sign a new bond after every three years. The new bond included the original loan and accumulated interest and a new set of interest was charged on some of them both. The petitions submitted by ryots to Deccan Riots Commission described that law of this process worked and how different methods were used by moneylenders and these were:
Ryots were not given any receipt in case of payment of loans.
Moneylenders entered fictitious figures in the bonds.
Moneylenders used to buy peasant harvest at low prices and finally took over their property.