CBSE Class 8 Social Science History Revision Notes Chapter 3

Class 8 History Chapter 3 Notes

CBSE Class 8 History Chapter 3 Notes – Ruling the Countryside

Class 8 History Chapter 3 discusses the East India Company taking up the role of Diwan in Bengal. The Company emerged as the chief financial administrator of the region unilaterally controlled by it.

The Company had to systemise the administration of land and manage its revenue resources. It was vital to meet the growing expenses of the Company by generating enough income.

Students can refer to Class 8 History Chapter 3 Notes for an in-depth understanding of the concepts and thereby, score better in the examination. Extramarks provides these revision notes that are easily accessible from the website. These notes are written by subject matter experts and adhere to the revised NCERT guidelines and syllabus.

Ruling the Countryside – Class 8 Notes History Chapter 3 Note

Access Class 8 History Chapter 3 Notes – Ruling the Countryside 

The Company Becomes the Diwan

  • The Mughal Emperor named the Company the Diwan of Bengal on August 12th, 1765.
  • Following the declaration, the British assumed control of Bengal and became its primary financial administrator. They had to create efficient administrative rules for the management of land and revenue collection for the benefit of the Company.
  • The Company had to devise plans that could cover its growing expenses through the generation of revenues.
  • The East India Company had to carefully evaluate how it would rule the countryside. This included controlling revenue resources, producing the desired crops, and redefining the rights of the local people under its rule.

Revenue for the Company 

  • The East India Company was essentially a trading Company that put its economic success before the welfare of the people of the country.
  • The Company’s main goal was revolving around gathering as much income as possible from individuals and purchasing crude materials like fine silk and cotton at cheaper costs from the locale.
  • Initially, the East India Company had to trade gold and silver to buy raw materials from Britain. After being appointed as the Diwan of Bengal, the Company used the income gathered from Bengal to purchase and fare crude materials. This impaired the economy of Bengal.
  • The Company compelled the artisans to sell their goods at lower prices while their taxes kept on accumulating. Therefore, artisans’ economic viability became worse, and they were unable to pay their debts. As a consequence, they had to leave their villages.
  • Artisanal production started to fall as many artisans started leaving their villages. The agricultural industry was under pressure due to the economic strain of the state.
  • A disastrous famine that struck Bengal in 1770 claimed the lives of at least one-third of its people. The catastrophe claimed the lives of approximately 10 million individuals.

The Need for Improving Agriculture 

  • The Company found it challenging to collect as much revenue as it wanted due to the drastic fall in agriculture. It introduced several policies which would assure regular revenue income and would also compel the people to take charge of the land, therefore, improving the agricultural output.
  • The prominent systems are Permanent Settlement, Mahalwari System, and Munro System.
  • In 1793, the Company introduced a system called the Permanent Settlement to ensure that they secured revenue from the land.

Permanent Settlement System

  • The “zamindars” were usually “taluqdars” and “rajas”. The Company was compensated by the zamindars as they had to pay a specified amount of revenue for their authority over the land.
  • The rent from peasants was one of the forms of extricating revenue to be paid. As the revenue was fixed, the excess production collected was relished by the zamindars. This encouraged the zamindars to put money into agriculture.

The Problem with Permanent Settlement 

The Permanent Settlement system posed difficulties for the people involved.

  • The Company assumed that the new zamindars would be drawn in by the opportunity for better income and make an effort to cultivate the land. However, that did not happen. Due to the revenue being set so high, the majority of zamindars were forced to give up the rights to their property since they could not satisfy the demand. Others were forced to sell portions of their farms at auction in order to recover the cash.
  • By the early 19th century, agricultural output had increased and market prices had risen. Agriculture produced excess income, but the corporation was unable to take advantage of it because of the fixed revenue principle.
  • The zamindars were not that keen on improving the land. Few of them had to drop their rights, while others saw this resolution as a way to gain some extra money without investment. They recognised that they would not have to invest in the improvements of the land if they rented their land to peasants.
  • The farmers had to face the maximum worst effects as they were compelled to pay high rent. If they could not pay the rent, they were thrown out. This indirectly forced them to take loans from moneylenders. Even with paying high rents, the land did not belong to the peasants.

Mahalwari System 

After realising the shortcomings of the Permanent Settlement System, the officials of the Company developed a new system of revenue collecting known as the Mahalwari System. In the year 1822, Holt Mackenzie developed it. This approach was mostly implemented in the Bengal Presidency’s North-Western Provinces.

  • The system acknowledged villages as significant social institutions. The revenue collectors accordingly dealt directly with the village via representatives.
  • Following the collector’s inspection of the village, the available land, the quality of the land, and numerous other characteristics were used to determine the amount of revenue to be paid for each plot in the village. The calculation helped to determine the required revenue each town or “mahal” had to pay.
  • The head of the village was in charge of collecting the revenue and paying it to the Company.
  • In this system, the income to be paid was not variable and could be examined randomly.

The Ryotwari System 

  • Alexander Read was the first to develop a new method of collecting taxes in the south of the nation; Thomas Munro later improved and popularised this technique, which he termed Ryotwari.
  • The Company had to coordinate with the farmers by themselves in the south due to the non-availability of any traditional zamindars. The land was carefully evaluated, and then the Company fixed the revenue to be paid by the cultivators.
  • The poor living conditions of the native population were overwhelming. The workers were forced to flee their property due to excessive profits. The income from land decreased as a result. Due to the small number of peasants who were willing to labour, agriculture also suffered.

Munro System 

  • In this system, the government collects taxes directly from farmers. The farmers or cultivators were regarded as the owners of the land. They could sell, mortgage, or give away land.

Growing Indigo in India 

  • Indigo is a plant that grows in temperate climates and is prized for its dyeing properties and deep colour. In European nations, it was much sought after for dyeing.
  • The East India Company recognised the demand for the crop and forced the farmers in India to grow indigo in large numbers. This was followed through by two elaborate systems, named the Nij System and the Ryoti System.
  • As per the Nij system, the farmer’s land was solely used to cultivate indigo. It was burdensome for the farmers to make a profit due to the scarcity of land and the high labour force for cultivation.
  • In the Ryoti system, the landowners were given development credit for the advancement of land.
  • Despite providing the farmers with land for cultivation, the system was inefficient on many levels. The loss of land owing to indigo production, low selling price for indigo, and a vicious loan system were some of the many evident problems they encountered. The cultivating farmers were dissatisfied with this system.

The Blue Rebellion and After-Effects 

  • In March 1895, the cultivators in Bengal began to revolt against the specialists protesting against the unjust nature of this arrangement. The community of zamindars and town headmen joined the mobs.
  • The producers were ostracised, and indigo production was discontinued. The cultivators waged war to fight against the structure.
  • The Lieutenant Governor, who visited Bengal noticed the discontent among the cultivators that year. In fear of revolt, the lead representative communicated that cultivators need not produce indigo anymore.
  • The educated people from Calcutta allied the battle through their writing as the revolt broke out.
  • Eventually, a commission was created to look into the matter. The farmers were found to be responsible for the disobedience and they were considered answerable to the commission.
  • Furthermore, it reasoned that the development was not beneficial for Ryotis, and they could decline to promote indigo, gathering to end the existing agreement.

Important Questions and Answers

Q1) What were the problems faced in indigo cultivation? 

Ans. Indigo production encountered numerous problems, they were:

  • Indigo cultivation required a lot of manpower which meant that it was burdensome to grow it.
  • A large area of fertile land was crucial for the cultivation of indigo which was not available. The cultivators were compelled to use the land for rice cultivation.
  • The deep roots of the crops damaged the fertility of the soil rapidly, making the soil infertile. This in turn caused the loss of fertile land for farmers.
  • Farmers were forced to sell the indigo crops at cheaper prices which tormented them.

Q2) Write a brief note on the Blue Rebellion.

Ans. The Blue Rebellion or Indigo Rebellion was an uprising against the growing of indigo that was begun in 1859 by tens of thousands of farmers. Peasants attacked the indigo plantation and factory with spears, arrows, and swords. The government established an Indigo Committee to investigate the problem further and dispatched troops to protect the plantation owners. After the Blue Rebellion, Bangladesh’s indigo production ceased, and indigo growers relocated to Bihar. Gandhiji went to Bihar in 1917 and was touched by the suffering of the indigo farmers which made him start a campaign against them.

Revenue for the Company

The East India Company planned to raise revenue to acquire fine cotton and silk cloth as low-priced as possible. Within five years, the Company’s Bengal purchases saw a sharp increase in value. Before 1865, the Company purchased goods in India by moving gold and silver from Britain to India but eventually it was funded by the revenue they accumulated in Bengal. Artisanal production was declining, and agricultural cultivation collapsed. A horrific famine wiped out a population of about ten million people in Bengal in 1770.

The Need to Improve Agriculture

In 1793, the Permanent Settlement agreement was established by the Company. By the agreement, the “taluqdars” and “rajas” were zamindars, who were urged to increase the rent collected from peasants and pay the rent collected as revenue to the Company. The repayment sum was predetermined. This agreement secured a continuous flow of income and assisted the zamindars to fund the development of the land.

The Problem

The Permanent Settlement caused many hindrances. The British officials found out that due to high fixed revenue, the zamindars were not investing in the growth of the land. The situation completely changed by the early nineteenth century. The prices in the market increased, and cultivation slowly developed. Despite that, the zamindars were not keen on funding for developing the land.

The cultivators observed that the system was unexpectedly desolate in the village. The rent paid by farmers to the zamindars was extremely high, which forced them to take a loan from the moneylender. If they were unable to pay the rent, they were thrown out from the land.

Crops for Europe 

The Company attempted to extend the cultivation of indigo and opium by the early eighteenth century. The cultivators in different parts of India were compelled by the Company to produce various crops:

  • Jute in Bengal
  • Tea in Assam
  • Sugarcane in the United Provinces
  • Wheat in Punjab
  • Cotton in Punjab and Maharashtra
  • Rice in Madras

Demand for Indian Indigo 

Indigo plants specifically grew in the tropical region of the country. Cloth manufacturers especially in countries such as Italy, France, and Britain used Indian Indigo to dye clothes. The prices of Indian indigo were inflated when it was delivered to the European market. As a consequence of this, the European cloth producers had to make blue and violet dyes from a different plant named ‘woad’. Indigo produced a rich blue colour, whereas the dye from the woad was blanched. Before the end of the eighteenth century, the demand for Indian Indigo grew exponentially. When the demand for indigo increased, its existing quantities from the West Indies and America failed for varied reasons.

Britain Turns to India 

Due to the strong demand for indigo in Europe, the Company in India looked for ways to increase the area under indigo cultivation. Company officials started subsidising indigo production as the indigo trade, and the commercial agencies were flourishing gradually. The East India Company officials turned to India to become indigo planters as they were captivated by the prospect of high profits.

Cultivation of Indigo 

Nij and Ryoti are the two different systems in which Indigo cultivation was done. In the Nij cultivation system, the land was either rented or purchased from other zamindars and indigo was grown by hiring labourers. In the Ryoti system, the planters were directly asked to sign a contract or an agreement named “Satta”. Those zamindars who approved the deal were paid money in advance by the farmers at low rates of interest for the production of Indigo.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What was the name of the plant European cloth producers used to make blue and violet dyes?

‘Woad’ is the plant used as an alternative by European cloth producers to make blue and violet dyes.

2. Why did Britain turn to India?

The demand for Indigo in European countries was very high. Company officials started subsidising indigo production as the indigo trade, and the commercial agencies were flourishing gradually. The East India Company officials turned to India to become indigo planters as they were captivated by the prospect of high profits.