NCERT Solutions For Class 12 History Chapter 8 Peasants, Zamindars and the State Agrarian Society and the Mughal Empire

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. What are the problems in using the Ain as a source for reconstructing agrarian history? How do historians deal with this situation?

Answer: (a) The Ain-i Akbari written by Abu’l Fazl in 1598 contains invaluable information for reconstructing the agrarian history of the Mughals. But it has its own limitations.
(b) Numerous errors in totalling have been detected. These are, however, minors and do not detract from the overall quantitative accuracy of the manuals.
(c) Another limitation is the skewed nature of the data. Data was not collected uniformly from all provinces. For example, Abu’l Fazl has not given any description regarding the caste composition of the zamindars of Bengal and Orissa (Odisha).
(d) The fiscal data collected from various sources is in detail yet some important parameters such as, wages and prices have not been incorporated properly.
(e) The detailed list of prices and wages found in the Ain-i Akbari have been acquired from data pertaining to the capital Agra and its surrounding regions. It is, therefore, of limited value for the rest of the empire.
(f) Historians have dealt with the situation by supplementing the account of the Ain by information got from the provinces. These include detailed seventeenth- eighteenth centuries revenue records from Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. These have been also supplemented by records of the East India Company.

Q2.To what extent is it possible to characterise agricultural production in the sixteenth- seventeeth centuries as subsistence agriculture? Give reasons for your answer.

Answer :(a) During Mughal, India was basically an agricultural country. In the Mughal state of India a different varieties of crops were produced. In Bengal two varieties of rices were produced. But the focus on the cultivation of basic crops does not mean that only subsistence agriculture existed in medieval India.
(b) The Mughal state encouraged peasants to cultivate varieties of crops which brought in revenue especially cotton and sugarcane.
(c) Cotton was mainly grown in vast area which was spread over central India and the deccan plateau, whereas in Bengal sugarcane was mainly produced.
(d) Many varieties of cash crops such as oilseeds including mustard and lentils.
(e) An average peasant of that time grew both commercial and subsistence crops.

Q3. Describe the role played by women in agricultural production.

Answer: (a) Women played an important role in agricultural production. They worked shoulder to shoulder with men in the fields. The men tilled and ploughed the lands whilethe women sowed, weeded and threshed the harvest. Agricultural production at the time was carried out with the labour and resources of the entire.
(b) The women performed important tasks such as spinning yarn, kneading clay for pottery and embroidery. Thus, the peasant women who were skilled artisans worked not only in the fields but even went to their employer’s houses and even to the markets, if necessary.
(c) Among the landed gentry class women had the right to inherit property. Women, including widows participated in the rural land market. Selling property which they had inherited especially in Punjab.
(d) Both Hindu and Muslim women inherited zamindaris. They were free to sell or mortgage their zamidari rights. In eighteenth century, Bengal had many women- zamindars. In fact, the Rajshah zamindari which was one of the most famous of the time was headed by a woman.

Q4.Discuss, with examples, the significance of monetary transactions during the period under consideration.

Answer :The significance of monetary transactions during the period (sixteenth and seventeenth centimes) was substantial because the Mughal Empire was among the greatest empires that had managed to consolidate its power and resources. There was stability in the Ming (China), Safavid (Iran) and Ottoman (Turkey) empires. This stability led to create vibrant networks of overland trade from China to the Mediterranean Sea. The discovery of New World resulted in massive expansion of trade of India with Europe.

With the expansion of trade the importance of monetary transactions increased. The expansion of trade brought huge amount of bullion and silver into India where there was no natural resource of silver. This led to remarkable stability in the availability of metal currency, particularly in silver rupya in India. This facilitated an unprecedented expansion of minting of coins and the circulation of money in the economy. At the same time, there was no exchange of goods or barter system during this period. The payments were made in gold or silver coins. According to Giovanni Careri, all the gold and silver which circulates throughout the world, ultimately, comes into India due to its overseas trade. Thus a large amounts of cash transactions took place in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Q5. Examine the evidence that suggests that land revenue was important for the Mughal fiscal system.

Answer: The following evidence suggests that land revenue was important for the Mughal fiscal system :

i)As the land revenue was the economic mainstay of the Mughal Empire, there was an administrative apparatus to ensure control over agricultural production, and to fix and collect revenue in the empire. There was diwan who was responsible for supervision of the fiscal system of the empire.

ii)Information about the agricultural lands and their production was collected before fixing the amount of taxes on people.

iii)The land revenue arrangements consisted of two stages – assessment and the collection.

iv)Amil-guzar or revenue collector was directed to give choice to cultivators to pay in cash or kind. The payment in cash was preferred.
While making assessment of land revenue, the state officials tried to maximise its claims.

v)The Ain compiled the aggregates of cultivated and cultivable lands. The classification of lands was made under Akbar and a different land revenue to be paid by each was fixed.

Q6.To what extent do you think caste was a factor in influencing social and economic relations in agrarian society ?

Answer:Agricultural production involved the intensive participation and initiative of the peasantry. There were different social groups, on the basis of caste and other factors, that were involved in agricultural expansion. This affected their social and economic relations in the agrarian society in the following ways :

i)Deep inequalities on the basis of caste and other caste like distinctions made the cultivators a highly heterogeneous group.

ii)Among those who tilled the land, there was a sizeable number who worked as menials or agricultural labourers (majur).

iii)There was abundance of cultivable land but inspite of this certain caste groups were assigned menial tasks and were relegated to poverty. Such groups comprised a large section of the village population. They had the least resources and were constrained by their position in the caste hierarchy like the Dalits of modem India.

iv)In Muslim communites too menials like halalkhoran (scavengers) were housed outside the boundaries of the village. The mallahzadas (sons of boatmen) in Bihar were comparable to slaves.

Thus, there was a direct correlation between caste, poverty and social status at the lower level of society. It was, however, not so at the intermediate levels. For example, in Marwar, Rajputs were considered peasants like Jats who were accorded a lower status in the caste hierarchy. The Gauravas, who cultivated land around Vrindavan sought Rajput status in the seventeenth century. Ahirs, Gujars and Malis rose in the hierarchy due to the profitability of cattle rearing and horticulture.

Q7. How were the lives of forest dwellers transformed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries?(or)
Describe the lives of forest-dwellers in the 16-17th centuries.

Answer: Transformation in the lives of forest-dwellers (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries):
(i) Huge areas were covered with forests in the various parts of India in the 16th and 17th country. Forest-dwellers were called Jangli. The term ‘Jungli’ was used to describe those whose occupations included activities such as hunting, gathering of forest produce, and shifting cultivation. These activities were performed according to a specific reason in the various regions. Consider the example of the Bhils who fished in summer and collected forest produce in spring. Such activities enabled the forest tribes to be mobile which was a characteristic feature of their life.
(ii) As the state required elephants for the consolidation of mighty army, the peskesh levied on the forest people to supply of elephants.
(iii) The lives of the forest-dwellers led to the spread of commercial agriculture. Forest products like honey, beeswax, gum and lac were in huge demand. Gum and lac became major items of overseas exports in the seventeenth century and earned valuable foreign exchange.
(iv) Elephants were also captured and sold.
(v) Tribes like the Punjab Lohanis engaged in overland trade with Afghanistan and internal trade in Punjab as well.
(vi) Social factors were also responsible for transforming the lives of the forest- dwellers.
(vii) Many tribal chiefs became zamindars, some even became kings. They recruit people from their own tribes in their army For example in Assam, the Ahom Kings depended on people who rendered military services in exchange of land.
(viii) By the sixteenth century, the transition from a tribal to a monarchial system had taken place. In Ain-i Akbari description has been mentioned about the existence of tribal kingdoms in north-eastern India. Description is also made regarding the kings who fought and conquered a number of tribes. New cultural influences also entered in the forested areas. Probably sufi saints played a remarkable role in spreading Islam in these areas.

Q8.Examine the role played by zamindars in Mughal India.

Answer:Zamindars played a significant role in Mughal India as mentioned below :

i)The zamindars had landed properties and enjoyed certain social and economic privileges due to their superior status in the society and due performance of certain services (khidmat) for the state.

ii)They had milkiyat lands which were cultivated for the private use of zamindars with the help of hired or servile labour. The zamindars could sell, bequeath or mortgage these lands at will.

iii)The zamindars collected revenue on behalf of the state. They were compensated for this financially.

iv)They had military resources such as armed contingent and fortresses (qilachas).

v)In the social hierarchy, the zamindars constituted its very narrow apex.

vi)Contemporary documents give an impression that conquest may have been source of the origin of some zamindaris. A powerful military chieftain often dispossessed weaker people and expanded his zamindari.

vii)Zamindars spearheaded the colonisation of agricultural land. They helped in settling cultivators by providing them with the means of cultivation, including cash loans. The buying and selling of zamindaris accelerated the process of monetisation in the countryside. Zamindars sold the produce from their milkiyat lands and established markets (haats) where peasants came to sell their produce too.

viii)Although the zamindars were considered as an exploitative class but their relationship with the peasants were based on reciprocity, paternalism and patronage because the bhakti saints did not portray them as exploiters or oppressors of peasantry. Not only this, in a large ‘ number of agrarian uprisings in north India in the seventeenth century, zamindars often received the support of the peasantry in their struggle against the state.

Q9. Discuss the ways in which panchayat and village headmen regulated rural society.(or)
Explain the role of Panchayats in the Mughal rural Indian society during 16th-17th centuries.

Answer: Regulation of rural society by panchayats and headmen:
(i) Meaning of panchayat: The village panchayat consisted of an assembly of elders, they represent different castes and communities except the menial class. Usually important were people of the village with hereditary right over their property.
(ii) General composition and function: In the mixed caste village, the panchayat was usually a heterogeneous body. The panchayet represented different castes and communities in the village.
The village panchayat was headed by Muqaddam also known as mandal. He was elected with consensus of the village elders and remained in the office till he enjoyed the confidence of village elders. His function was to prepare village account with the help of patwari.
(i) The main function of panchayat was to ensure that caste boundaries among the various communities inhabiting the village were upheld.
(ii) It had also the authority to levy fines and taxes.
(iii) It can also give punishment like expulsion from the community.
(iv) Each Jati in the village had its own Jati panchayat. Jati Panchayat wielded considerable power in the society. In Rajasthan, the Jati panchayats arbitrated civil disputes between members of the different castes. It also mediated in disputes claims on land, decided whether marriages had been performed according to that castes norm, etc. In most cases, the state respected the decisions taken by the Jati Panchayat.
(v) The panchayats were also regarded as the court of appeal, that would ensure that the state carried out its moral responsibilities.
(vi) For justice petitions were often made to the panchayat collectively by a group of caste or a community protesting against what they considered to be morally illegitimate demands on the part of elites.
(vii) In cases of excessive revenue demands, the panchayat often suggested a compromise. If this failed, the peasants took recourse to more drastic forms of punishment such as deserting the village.

We hope the given NCERT Solution Questions Answers for Class 12 History PDF Free Download solution will definitely help you to achieve perfect score. If you have any queries related to CBSE Class 12 History books, drop your questions below and will get back to you Soon.

NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top