NCERT Class 8 History Chapter 3 - Ruling the Countryside

Chapter 3 - Ruling the Countryside

Question and Answers
Question 1: Describe the main features of the Permanent Settlement.
Answer:
The main features of Permanent Settlement are as follows:
• The Permanent Settlement was introduced in 1793 by Lord Cornwallis.
• The rajas and taluqdars were recognized as zamindars.
• Zamindars were asked to collect rent from the peasants and pay revenue to the Company.
• The amount to be paid by the zamindars was fixed permanently, i.e. it was not to be increased ever in the future.
• As the rate of revenue was fixed, the zamindar would benefit from the increased production of the land.

Question 2: How was the Mahalwari System different from the Permanent Settlement?
Answer:

• Mahalwari Settlement
→ The Mahalwari system was devised by Holt Mackenzie in 1822.
→ In Mahalwari Settlement it was decided that the rate of revenue would be revised periodically and not permanently fixed.
→ Under the Mahalwari system, the village headman had to collect the revenue and pay it to the Company.

• Permanent Settlement
→ The permanent Settlement was introduced by Lord Cornwallis in 1793.
→ Under the Permanent Settlement, the rates of revenue were fixed permanently. It was not increased even in the future.
→ In Permanent Settlement, the zamindars collected the revenue from the peasants and pay it to the Company.

Question 3: Give two problems which arose with the new Munro system of fixing revenue.
Answer:
The two problems which arose with the new Munro system of fixing revenue were:
• Revenue officials fixed a very high revenue demand and peasants were unable to pay it.
• Ryots fled the countryside and villages became deserted in many regions.

Question 4: What were the circumstances which led to the eventual collapse of indigo production in Bengal?
Answer:

• In March 1859, thousands of ryots in Bengal refused to grow indigo.
• They became dissent and refused to pay rents to the planters and attacked indigo factories armed with swords and spears, bows and arrows.
• In 1859, the indigo ryots felt that they also had the support of the local zamindars and village headmen in their rebellion against the planters.
• Some zamindars were unhappy with the increasing power of the planters and angry at being forced by planters to give them land on long leases.
• This worried the government and resulted in setting up the indigo commission to enquire into the system of indigo cultivation and military to protect the planters from assault.
• The commission held the planters guilty and it declared that indigo production was not profitable for ryots.
• Therefore, they could refuse to produce indigo in the future.
• As a result indigo production collapsed in Bengal.

Question 5: Find out more about the Champaran Movement and Mahatma Gandhi's role in it.
Answer:

• When the indigo production collapsed in Bengal, the European planters of indigo shifted their operations to Bihar.
• When Mahatma Gandhi returned from South Africa, a peasant from Bihar persuaded him to visit Champaran and see the plight of the indigo cultivators there.

Role of Mahatma Gandhi:
• Mahatma Gandhi's visit in 1917 marked the beginning of the Champaran movement against the indigo planters.
• The European planters oppressed the peasants. Gandhiji reached Champaran in 1917 to Witness the miserable conditions of the peasants.
• The district officials ordered him to leave Champaran but he refused to comply with the orders and started the Satyagraha.

Question 6: Why did the indigo cultivators decide to rebel?
Answer:
The condition under which the indigo cultivators had to work was intensely oppressive. Finally, they decided not to grow indigo. They became united and rebelled.

Question 7: How did the indigo cultivators show their anger?
Answer:
The indigo cultivators showed their anger in the following ways:
• They refused to pay rents to the planters and attacked indigo factories armed with swords and spears and bows and arrows.
• Women turned up to fight with pots, pans and kitchen equipment.
• The Gomasthas, agents of planters, were beaten up, when they came to collect rent.

Question 8: What was Nij cultivation?
Answer:

• Under Nij cultivation, the planter produced indigo in lands that he directly controlled.
• He either bought the land or rented it from other zamindars.
• He produced indigo by directly employing hired labourers.

Question 9: Why were the ryots reluctant to grow indigo?
Answer:
The ryots were reluctant to grow indigo because:
• The planters paid a very low price for indigo.
• The ryots were not in a position to even recover their cost.
• The land could not be used for sowing rice as the indigo plants had deep roots and it exhausted the soil rapidly. So, the ryots were reluctant to grow indigo.

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