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Ruling the Countryside

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Ncert Solutions for Class 8 History Chapter 3

The chapter “Ruling the Countryside” in your 8th-grade history book explores how the British East India Company, initially focused on trade, gradually gained control over the Indian countryside. Here’s a quick summary:

From Traders to Rulers:

  • The East India Company arrived in India for trade purposes, but their ambitions grew. They exploited the weaknesses of the Mughal Empire to gain privileges and territories.

Controlling Revenue:

  • The Company acquired the right to collect land revenue (Diwani) in Bengal in 1765. This provided them with a massive income source and strengthened their financial position.

New Systems:

  • The Company introduced new systems for revenue collection, often replacing traditional practices. This sometimes led to hardship for peasants who faced increased taxes and exploitation.

Impact on Rural Life:

  • The chapter explores the impact of British rule on the lives of ordinary people in the countryside. This includes changes in:
    • Farming practices: Focus on cash crops like indigo for export could harm food production.
    • Social structure: Traditional landownership patterns might have been disrupted.
    • Rebellions: Growing discontent with British policies sometimes led to peasant uprisings, like the Indigo Revolt.

Overall, the chapter highlights how the British East India Company’s quest for control transformed the Indian countryside, impacting the lives of millions of rural people.

Ncert Solutions for Class 8 History Chapter 3

Exercise

1.   Match the following:

Column IColumn II
ryotvillage
mahalpeasant
nijCultivation on ryot’s lands
ryotiCultivation on planter’s own land

Ans : 

.

Column IColumn II
ryotpeasant
villagemahal
nijCultivation on planter’s own land
ryotiCultivation on ryot’s lands

2. Fill in the blanks

(a) Growers of woad in Europe saw ______ as a crop which would provide competition to their earnings.

Ans : Indigo

(b) The demand for indigo increased in late eighteenth-century Britain because of ______.

Ans : the expansion of cotton production.

(c) The international demand for indigo was affected by the discovery of ______.

Ans : synthetic dyes.

(d) The Champaran movement was against______.

Ans : indigo planters.

3. Describe the main features of the permanent settlement.

Ans : The Permanent Settlement fixed land revenue paid by zamindars (landlords) to the British in perpetuity. It aimed for stability but had drawbacks:

  • Benefit for British: Stable income, but limited future growth.
  • Power to Zamindars: Hereditary land ownership, but led to exploitation of peasants with no protections.
  • Harm to Peasants: Increased taxes and exploitation, hindering agricultural development.

4. How was the mahalwari system different from the permanent settlement?

Ans : 

  • The Mahalwari system spread the responsibility of revenue collection to villages, while the Permanent Settlement placed it solely on zamindars.
  • The Mahalwari system allowed for adjustments in revenue based on harvest and land quality, whereas the Permanent Settlement offered no such flexibility.
  • Both systems lacked protections for peasants, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation.

5. Give two problems which arose with the new Munro system of fixing revenue.

Ans : Here are two problems that arose with the Munro system of fixing revenue:

  1. Unrealistic Revenue Demands: Revenue officials, eager to increase British income, often set excessively high revenue demands. Peasants struggled to meet these demands, leading to:
    • Indebtedness: Peasants were forced to borrow heavily to pay taxes, often falling into a cycle of debt.
    • Desertion: Unable to bear the burden, many peasants abandoned their lands and fled the countryside, causing a decline in agricultural production.
  2. Fluctuating Prices: Unlike the Permanent Settlement with fixed rates, the Munro system allowed revenue adjustments. However, these adjustments didn’t always reflect the realities faced by peasants.
    • Price Instability: If crop prices fell, even with a fixed revenue amount, peasants faced difficulty paying due to lower income.
    • Exploitation: The lack of fixed rates left room for corruption and manipulation by revenue officials, further burdening the peasants.

6. Why were ryots reluctant to grow indigo?

Ans : Ryots disliked indigo because it offered:

  • Low profits
  • Ruined soil (bad for future crops)
  • Less food production land due to forced cash crop planting
  • Debt from high-interest company loans
  • Extra work with minimal gain

7. What were the circumstances which led to the eventual collapse of indigo production in Bengal? 

Ans : Indigo production in Bengal crumbled due to a squeeze between exploitation and innovation:

  • Ryot Misery: Forced cultivation on low wages and harsh loan systems impoverished ryots (peasants), who rebelled against the system (Indigo Revolt of 1859).
  • Synthetic Threat: The invention of cheaper, synthetic dyes in the late 19th century offered a superior alternative, crushing demand for natural indigo.

This brutal treatment of ryots coupled with the rise of synthetic dyes led to the downfall of indigo production in Bengal.

8. Find out more about the Champaran movement and Mahatma Gandhi’s role in it.

Ans : The Champaran movement of 1917 marked a crucial turning point in India’s fight for independence. In response to the exploitation of tenant farmers forced to grow indigo for meager wages, Mahatma Gandhi arrived in Champaran. Employing his philosophy of Satyagraha (non-violent resistance), he documented the farmers’ plight and organized peaceful protests. This pressured the British authorities to appoint a commission, leading to reforms that improved compensation for farmers and reduced the land dedicated to indigo cultivation. Gandhi’s success in Champaran not only alleviated the immediate suffering of the farmers but also demonstrated the effectiveness of Satyagraha. This established him as a prominent national leader and instilled confidence in the Indian people to challenge British rule through peaceful means.

9. Look into the history of either tea or coffee plantations in India. See how the life of workers in these plantations was similar to or different from that of workers in indigo plantations.

Ans : 

Toil and Tea: A Different Brew

While both indigo and tea/coffee plantations relied on a cheap and often exploited workforce, there were key differences in the lives of the laborers:

Similarities:

  • Low Wages: Workers in all these plantations received meager wages, barely sufficient for basic necessities.
  • Debt Burden: Advance systems prevalent in indigo and some early tea/coffee plantations trapped workers in debt cycles.
  • Limited Freedom: Restricted movement within the plantation boundaries and control over basic necessities limited their freedom.

Differences:

  • Nature of Work: Indigo cultivation was labor-intensive and seasonal, while tea/coffee required year-round maintenance but offered some skill development in processing.
  • Workforce Composition: Indigo plantations primarily relied on local peasants, while tea/coffee estates often recruited tribal people from distant regions, disrupting their traditional way of life.
  • Living Conditions: Housing in tea/coffee plantations, though basic, might have been slightly better than those in indigo fields due to a more permanent workforce.
  • Regulation: As awareness of exploitation grew, tea/coffee plantations faced some government regulations to improve working conditions, unlike the largely unregulated indigo system.

Ncert Solutions for Class 8 History Chapter 3

FAQ’s

What is the main focus of NCERT Solutions for Class 8 History Chapter 3?

The main focus of NCERT Solutions for Class 8 History Chapter 3 is on British agrarian policies, revenue systems, and their impact on rural India as discussed in “Ruling the Countryside.”

What were the major revenue systems introduced by the British, according to NCERT Solutions for Class 8 History Chapter 3?

The major revenue systems introduced by the British were the Permanent Settlement, the Ryotwari System, and the Mahalwari System, all of which are detailed in NCERT Solutions for Class 8 History Chapter 3.

How did the Permanent Settlement affect Indian farmers, as described in NCERT Solutions for Class 8 History Chapter 3?

The Permanent Settlement fixed the land revenue that zamindars had to pay to the British, which often led to high demands on farmers and subsequent hardships, as explained in “Ruling the Countryside.”

What was the Ryotwari System, according to NCERT Solutions for Class 8 History Chapter 3?

The Ryotwari System was a revenue system where the British collected taxes directly from the farmers (ryots), bypassing landlords, and is thoroughly discussed in NCERT Solutions for Class 8 History Chapter 3.

How did the Mahalwari System differ from other revenue systems, based on NCERT Solutions for Class 8 History Chapter 3?

The Mahalwari System involved revenue collection from a group of villages or ‘mahal’ collectively, differing from individual-based systems, and is highlighted in “Ruling the Countryside.”

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