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Sources of agrarian history of India, includes chronicles and documents of Mughal court, including Ain-i-Akbari, written by Abul Fazl. It showed social harmony provided by a strong ruling class. Other sources, like those of East India Company, showed conflict between peasants, zamindars and states. Amount of land owned by peasants, who were known by various terms, varied across different regions. With expansion of agriculture, many crops were cultivated and many irrigation systems were developed. Crops were cultivated mainly during kharif and rabi seasons. Large numbers of village artisans, who especially existed in Western India, did various crafts. Zamindars earned through agriculture without participating directly. They also had a paternal but often exploitative attitude towards peasants, who supported them during agrarian uprisings of seventeenth century.

Revenue was collected in the empire through cash and kind, for both cultivable and cultivated lands. A village community comprised cultivators, panchayats and village headman, known as Muqaddam or Mandal. Cultivators were a highly heterogeneous group, including those who worked as menials. Panchayat upheld social order in village, and was regarded as court of appeal granting justice. Women in villages worked with men in fields or worked as artisanal women. They were strictly controlled by male members. Forest people, called jangli, gathered forest produce, and practiced fishing and shifting cultivation. Forest products were a major item of overseas export from India. Cash nexus developed through trade between towns and villages.

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