Khud-kashta And Pahi-kashta Peasants
Khud-kashta and Pahi-kashta peasants in India were a form of landholding system that existed during the British colonial period in India. The terms “Khud-kashta” and “Pahi-kashta” refer to the two different types of landholding systems that existed during this time.
Khud-kashta was a system of landholding in which the landowner, known as the “Khud-kashtadar,” cultivated the land themselves. This system was typically found in areas with fertile land, such as the Ganges valley, where the landowner had access to sufficient resources to cultivate the land. Khud-kashtadars were typically small or medium-sized landowners, and their landholdings were typically less than 100 acres.
On the other hand, Pahi-kashta was a system of landholding in which the landowner, known as the “Pahi-kashtadar,” did not cultivate the land themselves. Instead, they leased the land to tenant farmers, known as “Raiyats,” who cultivated the land in exchange for a share of the crop. This system was typically found in areas with less fertile land, such as the Deccan plateau, where the landowner did not have sufficient resources to cultivate the land themselves. Pahi-kashtadars were typically large landowners, and their landholdings were typically larger than 100 acres.
Both Khud-kashta and Pahi-kashta systems had their own set of advantages and disadvantages. In the Khud-kashta system, the landowner had control over the land and the crop, but also bore the risk of crop failure. In the Pahi-kashta system, the landowner did not bear the risk of crop failure but also had less control over the land and the crop.
The British colonial government in India implemented various policies aimed at transforming the landholding system in India. They introduced the Permanent Settlement of Bengal in 1793, which aimed to create a class of “Zamindars” (landowners) who would be responsible for collecting revenue from the land and paying it to the British government. This system resulted in the consolidation of landholdings and the displacement of many small and medium-sized landowners.
In addition, the British government also introduced the Ryotwari system in areas where the Khud-kashta system was prevalent. Under this system, the government directly collected revenue from the cultivators, rather than through intermediaries. This system resulted in the further displacement of small and medium-sized landowners and the strengthening of the British government’s control over the land.
The Khud-kashta and Pahi-kashta peasants in India were affected by these policies in various ways. Many small and medium-sized landowners were displaced and became tenant farmers or landless laborers. The large landowners, on the other hand, were able to consolidate their landholdings and increase their power and wealth.
The landholding system in India during the British colonial period was characterized by a high degree of inequality and the displacement of many small and medium-sized landowners. The British government’s policies aimed at transforming the landholding system in India had a significant impact on the lives and livelihoods of the Khud-kashta and Pahi-kashta peasants in India, resulting in the further marginalization of these groups.
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