Condition of Peasantry during 13th to 17th Century C.E.

There were many changes in agricultural relations during these five centuries (13th To 17th Century C.E.), but the overall stratified structure of the farmer, where, tillers faced the maximum rent burden, as well as many caste divisions and the relative insulation of the rural farmer continued.

Improvement in the land revenue system and state loans, new irrigation systems, the introduction of new crops, and expansion of farming under concessional pattas were the major interventions during this period.

These steps definitely improved the income of the peasantry. But, agriculture was highly stratified, from the cultivator via primary and intermediary Zamindars, Rajas up to the King.

Elite acquired most of this increased income. Foreign travelers talk about the abject inequality. Peasants enjoyed the ownership of land and there existed a hierarchy of rights on only the land- revenue. The villages had landless laborers and resident cultivators; who were sub-divided into privileged owner cultivators- these often formed the rural elite class, owner cultivators, and tenant.

These divisions aligned with caste divisions in society. The pai-kashts were concessional resettlers from outside the village. The movement of pahis in search of improved socio-economic status was quite common. The state remained aloof to the village matters as long as revenue was paid regularly. Village governance was in the hand of now romanticized village panchayats.

It can be broadly concluded that during this period, the Indian peasantry was not an indifferent mass of embroidered peasants as during the British period. Therefore, during this phase, the condition of the farmer remained more or less the same, which later became worse.

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