The land as a property is a striking difference between Indian Feudalism and European Feudalism. Consider the following statements in this context:
1. In India, no private property in village land existed; while in Europe, land as a private property was major feature of feudalism
2. Villages and peasantries in India generally remained a passive subject of the conflict between rival powers
Which among the above observations is / are correct?
Indian feudalism was distinguished from European feudalism by the fact that, under it, no private property in land existed. “In ancient India, land belonged to the village community, and was never regarded as the property of the king.” The king of his intermediary claimed only a part of the produce of the land, a claim which was met by the village community as the representative of the village community.
The state had merely a right to a share always paid in kind. Under the Muslims, the existing tenures and tax system were adopted with some modifications. Since neither the king, nor the intermediaries (such as zemindars or tax-gatherers; jagirdars or nobles on whom the king, out of favour, conferred the right to collect revenue from a specified territory and retain a part or whole of it; or religious. charitable and educational institutions endowed by the prince with a similar right) were owners of the land, all conflicts which look place among rulers, or between them and the intermediaries or the village community; were only over the magnitude of the share of the village produce. Conforming to the traditional concept and practice, neither the king nor the intermediary expropriated the village community of the possession and control of the village land and established their property rights over it or concerned themselves with the methods of cultivation. In fact, “None of the major struggles in Indian history had for its object the exercise of rights within the village, but the exercise of rights over the village. They were conflicts between overloads of various
grades for the right or power to gel a payment from the peasant, not to seize his land.
European history, on the contrary, reveals a conflict between the peasantry and the manorial lords because the latter not only demanded a share of the produce, but desired to retain a particular method of cultivation-by forced labour-or to introduce new methods of cultivation (enclosure, large-scale fanning).
The Indian conflict was one between lords who were concerned not at all with methods of cultivation, but to draw an income from the peasantry. The issue was always between different claimants of the sword, the village and the peasantry remaining throughout the passive subject of conflict, the booty over which the rival powers fought each other.”)
Source: Social Background Of Indian Nationalism By A.R. Desai
This question is a part of GKToday's Integrated IAS General Studies Module