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|Number of Pages||274 Pages|
This seminal study of late medieval Punjab under Sikh rule proceeds from certain assumptions. In addition to produce from land and revenues, Agrarian System covers the social strata connected with agricultural production, collection of revenues and control of land. The institutionalized landed relations having a life of their own cut across conventional periodization. This interplay between land and people is comprehended more meaningfully in a regional context viewed in a larger perspective. Ideology too has a bearing on acquisition and exercise of power. Thus, emergence of over three scores of new centres of power created by the Sikhs in the late eighteenth century, and their unification under Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the early-nineteenth, reflects broad continuities in the area that remained under Sikh rule for the longest period.
After a brief exposition of the political process and its ideological underpinnings, the book focuses on the changing position of the vassal chiefs, the jagirdars, the pattidars (petty Sikh conquerors), the dharmarth or madad-i-ma’ash grantees, and the proprietors and tenants in the context of land revenue, its administration and landed rights. Significantly, women figure in some of these situations. This study concludes with reference to continuities and changes since the Mughal times.