Ryotwari and Mahalwari System in British India

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Ryotwari and Mahalwari System in British India

Ryotwari and Mahalwari System

The Ryotwari and Mahalwari Systems were the tow major means of collecting reveneus from agricultural lands. They were introduced in some parts of British India.

Ryotwari System

The revenue settlement in which the peasants were recognized as the owners of land was called the Ryotwari system.

The Zamindars pressed by high revenue demands survived by imposing high rent on the peasants. While revenue was the share of the state, the rent was payable by tenant cultivators to the legal owners of land. In other parts of India with the exception of Benaras and northern part of Madras where settlements with the Zamindars were made, legal ownership was given to peasant cultivators.

Under the Ryotwari system the peasant, as owners of land paid revenue directly to the state officials. There was no one who stood between them to claim rent. Yet revenue demand in the Ryotwari areas tended to be very high. Unlike Bengal it was never permanently fixed to leave the room open for periodic increases in the revenue burden. The Ryotwari system was first introduced in Madras. In the late eighteenth century and was later extended to the Bombay presidency following the annexation of Maharashtra within the company’s empire.

Mahalwari System

There was yet another kind of Ryotwari, known as the Mahalwari system.

The Mahalwari system became the dominant practice in much of north India beyond Benaras and Awadh. By this arrangement the ownership rights of the peasants were recognized; the responsibility of revenue collection was entrusted with the village headmen and the village leaders who also had performed similar functions before the advent of the British Rule.

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