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Agrarian Policy of The Delhi Sultanate

Agrarian Policy of The Delhi Sultanate

The whole land belonged to the state on the condition of protection but individual rights over land holdings also existed.

The common cultivations were known as Karshak, hall, bataidar, ardhik, sirin etc. Initially, the pervious agrarian structure was allowed to continue in large measure.

  • With the coming of Alauddin Khalji changes were made. He reformed the land revenue system, the credit for which goes to his officer Shari Kayini. He adopted the masahat system (measurement of land) with biswa as the unit of measurement.  Agrarian Policy of The Delhi Sultanate
  • 1/3rd of the total produce was collected as tax on the Hindu called as Kharaj. Alauddin abolished the tax on cattle but some minor taxes such as ghari (house tax) and charai (pasturage tax) were also collected.
  • In western Uttar Pradesh, he imposed a tax of 50% of produce and it was collected in kind whereas elsewhere it was collected as cash.
  • He categorized the land into good, average, bad. He entrusted the duty of collection to his amils at the pargana level and increased their powers and benefits. Registers (bahi) were maintained at the village level by the Patwaris.
  • Alauddin curtailed the privileges of the Khuts, Muqaddams and Chaudhuris so as to reduce them to poverty so that they would not be able to bear arms, ride on horse back or put on fine clothes.
  • In the times of Ghiyasuddin Tughluq, the system of masahat (measurement of land) was given up and replaced with the system of rough assessment of produce (nashq) and batai or sharing system were adopted. He reduced the land tax in ganga-yamuna doab to 1/3rd of produce.
  • He also gave away concessions to Khuts, Muqaddamas and Chaudharis. Ghiyasuddin held that peasantry should not be lightly taxed but also they should not be heavily taxed. Mohammed-bin-Tughluq tried to extend the system of measurement of land to many parts of the empire.  Agrarian Policy of The Delhi Sultanate
  • He increased the land revenue upto 50% of total produce in the ganga-yamuna doab, but this policy backfired and many khuts, muqaddams and chaudharis goaded the peasants into rebellion against the state.
  • The Sultan pacified them by giving loans and decreasing the land revenue. Under Firoz shah Tughluq, agricultural development took place on a large scale due to enhancement of irrigation facilities which increased the area under cultivation.
  • Land measurement was given up and land revenue was reduced to 1/3rd of the produce. Under Sikandar Lodhi, Gaz-i-Sikandari of 32 digits was developed for. measuring the Khalisa lands (crown lands). Great agricultural development took place in his time also.  Agrarian Policy of The Delhi Sultanate

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Medieval History

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