Feudalism in India

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 28, 2022, 6:07

Feudalism was the dominant social system of the Middle Ages. In Feudalism in India system, the aristocrats owned the land of the crown in exchange for military service, the vassals were the aristocratic peasants, and the peasants lived in the land of the lord and were obliged to pay him respect, work, and part. They were supposed to give them a share of their products in exchange for military protection.

Origin of Feudalism in India

Feudalism in India originations the era of post-Mauryan especially after the Gupta dynasty. Certain political and administrative developments resulted in the feudal state institutions. Some of these were:

The practice of giving land to Brahmin and Buddhist monks and later to civil servants for military and administrative services. These financial offers meant the transfer of all sources of income and the establishment of police and administrative functions, creating feudalism.

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Characteristics of Post-Mauryan Feudalism in India

  1. Vassalage – This was the relationship of personal dependence and loyalty between the Lord and his vassals.
  2. Hierarchy of feudal lords: Various titles represent the position and power within the rank of feudal lords.
  3. Hereditary administrative status: Weak and unstable power enforcement led to the restoration of independence, and some high administrative status became Hereditary.
  4. Decentralisation: Samanthas were given land instead of salary, and they continued to own the territory, calling themselves vassals of the ruler.
  5. Regressive taxation system: The working class was exploited by collecting proper and improper taxes, fixed and non-fixed taxes along pensions.
  6. Wealth was not shared equally: It was assumed that wealth was not shared equally, as some were destined to land and others were destined to enjoy the fruits of production.
  7. Fragmentation of social composition: Caste has been divided into several other castes and subcastes.
  8. Manorial System: The landowner grants land to an individual who performs a variety of services, including working on the lord's land, in exchange for the land.

Impact of Feudalism in India

The main impacts of Feudalism in India in the early Middle Ages were:

  1. Political decentralisation: The seeds of decentralisation sown in the form of land grants were vibrantly decentralised, consisting of semi-autonomous rulers, Samanthas, Mahasamantas, and Rajpurushas.
  2. The establishment of new land brokers: The emergence of land brokers, the dominant social group that owns the land and did not exist in the early historical era, is associated with land grant practices that began in Saatavahana.
  3. Changes in farming relations: Free Vaishya peasants dominated the farming structure of the early historic Indian and Shudra labour services. However, since the 6th century AD, farmers have retained the land assigned to beneficiaries because they were told not to leave the villages assigned to them or move to duty-free villages. This has led to population immobility and isolation from other parts of the world. The effect was very profound, including the development of local customs, languages, and rituals.

India's Feudal System was characterised primarily by the land-owning class and the conquered peasant class living in the agricultural economy. Feudalism in India is characterised by a decline in trade and urbanisation and a significant decline in currencies. Currently, no such system is found in India.

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FAQs on Feudalism in India

Q.1. What is the overview of Feudalism in India?

Similar to the culture in Europe, feudalism was the concept introduced in India of a landed gentleman owning land in the name of a king/queen and forming an army during the war. The aristocratic land was cared for and cultivated by tenants who shared the product with the aristocrats in return for military protection. The origin of Feudalism in India is thought to be the post-Mauryan era in the Gupta and Kushan empires.

Q.2. What is the hierarchy/class of Feudalism in India?

There are four classes in the Feudalism in India system, including monarchs, lords/queens (nobles), knights, and peasants/serfs.

Q.3. Does Feudalism in India still exist?

No. Foreign rulers were forced to leave the country in 1947. In the 1960s, land reform and the abolition of private wallets ended the feudal system. Now is the time for politicians, and businessmen.

Q.4. Name some classes that were introduced during the time of Feudalism in India?

Feudalism in India is generally associated with:

  1. Taluqdar
  2. Zamindar
  3. Jagirdar
  4. Sardar
  5. Deshmukh
  6. Chaudary
  7. Ghatwals