NCERT Solutions For Class 12 History Chapter 10 Colonialism and the Countryside: Exploring Official Archives

Here you will find NCERT Solution Questions for Class 12 History with Answers PDF Free Download based on the important concepts and topics given in the textbook as per CBSE new exam pattern. This may assist you to understand and check your knowledge about the chapters. These Solution Questions Answers are selected supported by the newest exam pattern as announced by CBSE.


Q1. Why was jotedar a powerful figure in many areas of rural Bengal ?

Answer: Jotedars were rich peasants in Bengal. They owned big plots of land sometimes running into thousand of acres of land. They controlled local trade and commerce including the money lending business. They had great influence on the local village population. They were regarded more powerful than the Zamindars even. Following are the main reasons for the high status of Jotedars.

i)The Jotedars controlled trade and commerce including money lending business at the local level.

ii)In order to weaken the Zamindars, Jotedars would mobilise ryots not to pay or delay payment towards land revenue.

iii)The Jotedars opposed the moves of Zamindars to increase the Jama of a village.

iv)The Jotedars lived in villages only. Hence they were in a better position to interact with and influence the peasants.

v)Jotedars were rich and owned big areas of land under cultivation. Many a time they would buy estates of Zamindar. That would be auctioned due to failure to pay up land revenue.

Q2.How did Zamindars manage to retain control over their zamindaris?

Answer:When zamindars were in bad times, they often resorted to various tactics to maintain control over their zamindari. These were in fact their survival tactics. Following are the important ones.

i)Zamindars created fictitious sales during auction. Their own men would make highest bid and later refused to pay up. After repeating this exercise for couple of occasions, the government would be tired and sell it back to zamindar at lesser rate.

ii)A part of Estate was often transferred to female members of the family, and that part of property could not be taken by the government any more.

iii)Zamindars put hurdle in purchase and occupation of the estate by others by use of sheer muscle power.

iv)Sometimes even peasants under the influence of zamindars opposed auction of estate.

Q3. How did the Paharias respond to the coming of outsiders?

Answer: Paharias live in the hills of Rajmahal. The British people began to interact with them and later Santhals began to settle down there. The response of the Paharias was as follows:

i)Paharias resisted the settlement of Santhals initially but had to accommodate them in course of time.

ii)The Paharias shifted to deeper areas into the hills.

iii)They were confined to more barren and rocky areas of the hills in course of time.

iv)The paharias did shifting cultivation. Now shifting cultivation was becoming more and more difficult as proper and stable settlements.

iv)As forest began to be cleared, the paharis could not depend on it for livelihood. Thus, the lifestyle and living of Paharias underwent change due to coming of outsiders.

Q4. Why did the Santhals rebel against British rule ?

Answer :The British failed in their attempt to transform the Paharias into settled agriculturists. They, therefore, persuaded the Santhals to settle in the foothills of Rajmahal. They demarcated a large area of land as Damin-i-Koh so that the Santhals might become settled peasants. The Santhals were expected to clear and cultivate one-tenth of the area within the first ten years. Santhals settlements expanded rapidly from 40 villages in 1838 to 1473 villages in 1851. Their population too increased during the same period from 3000 to over 82,000. As a result of it, the revenue for the company increased. The Santhals, who were in search of a place to settle, ultimately got a place and settled in the Damin-i-Koh on the peripheries of the Rajmahal hills.

But they soon found this was not an ideal world for them and they rebelled against the British rule due to the following factors :

i)The state was levying heavy taxes on the land that they had cleared for cultivation;

ii)The moneylenders (dikus) were charging high rate of interest and taking over the land when debt remained unpaid;

iii)Zamindars were asserting control over Damin area.

Thus, they found that the land was slipping away from their hands. Therefore, to create an ideal world for themselves where they would rule, they rebelled against zamindars, moneylenders and the British. After the revolt (1855-56), the British created the Santhal pargana in the hope to conciliate them

Q5. What explains the anger of the Deccan ryots against the moneylenders?

Answer: During the civil war in USA, Indian merchants hoped to capture the world market in raw cotton, but that did not happen. On the other hand, the following events took place after the civil war:

i)Cotton production in America revived and the Indian cotton exports to British steadily declined.

ii)Export merchants and sahukars in Maharashtra refused to give long-term credit. They restricted the advances to peasants and demanded repayment of outstanding debts.

iii)At the same time as the term of first revenue settlement was over, the demand for revenue was increased from 50 to 100 per cent.

As a result of above, the ryots were not in position to pay the inflated demand because the prices were also falling. Thus, they had no option except to take a further loan from the moneylender who also refused to loans. This enraged the ryots. The moneylenders became insensitive to their plight. They were violating the customary norms of the countryside. For example, general norm was that the interest charged could not be more than the principal. They were not charging fair interest. In one of the cases, investigated by the Deccan Riots Commission, the moneylender charged over ? 2000 as interest on a loan of ? 100. There were complaints of injustice of such extractions and the violation of custom. A new law – Limitation Law – was passed in 1859 where validity of loan bonds was fixed for three years but the

moneylenders manipulated new systems to exploit the ryots. Under these circumstances, the ryots’ anger against the moneylenders increased.

Q6.Why were many zamindaris auctioned after the Permanent Settlement?

Answer :Under the Permanent Settlement of Bengal 1793, the East India Company had fixed the land revenue that each zamindar had to pay. At the same time, it was stated that the estates of those who failed to pay would be auctioned to recover the revenue. The company fixed the total demand over the entire estate whose revenue the zamindar contracted to pay. The zamindar collected the rent from different villages, paid the revenue to the Company and retained the difference as his income. He was expected to pay the Company regularly. However in practice in the early decades after the Permanent Settlement, zamindars regularly failed to pay the revenue demand and unpaid balances accumulated due to the following reasons :

i)The initial demands were very high because it was felt that under Permanent Settlement, the Company would never be able to claim higher share in case of rise in prices and expansion of cultivation. So in anticipation of such loss high revenue was fixed. It was argued that the burden on zamindar would gradually decline as agricultural production expanded and prices rose.

ii)At the time of the settlement, the prices of agricultural produce were low. It made it difficult for the ryots to pay their dues to the zamindar who in return could not pay revenue to the company.

iii)The revenue, regardless of the harvest, had to be paid punctually under the Sunset Law.

iv)The Permanent Settlement limited the power of the zamindar to collect rent from the ryot and manage his zamindari. The Company had disbanded their troops. Their courts (catcheries) were brought under the supervision of a collector.

v)Rent collection was a perennial problem due to bad harvests and low prices. Some times ryots deliberately delayed payments.

Under the above circumstances, the zamindars could not make payment punctually, and under the Sunset Law, if payments did not come in by sunset of the specified date, the zamindari was liable to be auctioned. This led to auction of many zamindaris after the Permanent Settlement in Bengal.

Q7. In what way was the livelihood of Paharias different from that of Santhals?

Answer: Paharias were living in the foothills of Rajmahal. They lived a life that was different from Santhals. Most of the information on their lives is based on the report of Buchanan, the physician of the East India Company who wandered into the terrain of Rajmahal Hills.

i)The paharias were nomads. They lived a wandering life. They, however, sometimes did shifting cultivation.

ii)Their another important source of livelihood of forest resources and animals.

iii)They extracted mahua and used it. Colonialism and the countryside: Exploring official archives

iv)Paharias used to look at outsiders with suspicion and even were hostile with them.

v)The Santhals were different from them on many counts.

vi)The Santhals took to agriculture fast and soon got into settled life.

vii)They had better relation with the outsiders including the East India Company.

Q8. How did the American Civil War affect the lives of ryots in India?

Answer: The American Civil War affected the lives of ryots in India in the following ways :

i)In the beginning, as a result of civil war, the imports of cotton from America fell from over 2,000,000 bales in 1861 to 55,000 bales in 1862. The Britain looked towards to fill the gap. Thus, export merchants in Bombay were keen to avail this opportunity to earn maximum. The advances to urban sahukars, moneylenders and ultimately to the ryots were provided. This led to increase in cotton production. The ryots were given ? 100 as advance for every acre they planted with cotton. The cotton export to Britain increased but this did not bring prosperity for all. Some rich peasants gained but for the majority of cotton producers including the ryots, cotton expansion led to heavier debt.

ii)The end of war again affected the ryots badly because with the revival of cotton production in America, the Indian exports declined. The sahukars were no longer interested in extending long-term loans. The demand for cotton had reduced, cotton prices slided downwards. It hit the ryots badly.

iii)At the same time, under the new settlement for revenue, the demand was increased from 50 to 100 per cent. Under the conditions of falling prices and reduction in the growth of cotton in the absences of loans, it was not possible for the ryots to make payment of the inflated demand. Once again they had no option except to take loan from the moneylender but they refused to extend loans. This made the condition of ryots miserable and ultimately led to riots

Q9. What are the problems of using the official sources in writing about the history of peasants.

Answer: Official sources of the Company Raj are not regarded as reliable source of history when it came to the lot of Ryots.
Following are the main problems associated with official source of history.

  1. The official records reflect only the Company raj perspective. They did not look at events from different angles. For example when the Deccan Riot Commission was instituted, it was required to find out if the land revenue was just or not. Other issues of Ryots were not taken into account.
  2. The British people looked down upon the local people, their culture and tradition as lowly. They ended up giving a lowly picture of peasants even if without intention of the same.
  3. The record of the Company Raj was created by the officials in such a manner that it suits their masters. Thus, evidences were tempered with. For example the Deccan Ryot Commission concluded that Ryots were angered not by the high land revenue but by moneylenders.
  4. Thus, official sources are to be read alongwith other sources and need to be weighed before we take them to our stride.

Q10. On an outline map of the subcontinent, mark out the areas described in this chapter. Find out whether there were other areas where the Permanent Settlement and the ryotwari system were prevalent and plot these on the map as well.

Answer: In the chapter the following areas have been mentioned of the subcontinent.
(a) Bengal. (Bangladesh along with certain area of Bihar, Orissa and hilly areas of Assam).
(b) Bombay Presidency and
(c) Madras Presidency,
(d) The Britishers introduced Mahalwari system of land revenue in eastern part of Punjab
(e) Surat
(f) Rajmahal hills (occupied by Paharias and Santhals).

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NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History

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