Zamindar was the name of landlords in colonial India.
The Zamindari system was a way of collecting taxes from peasants. The zamindar was considered a lord, and would collect all taxes on his lands and then hand over the collected taxes to the British authorities (keeping a portion for himself). The similarities to medieval feudalism are evident.
Under the British, they resembled landed gentry (although they lived similarly privileged lives under the Mughals) and sometimes styled themselves as little kings, or rajas. Some new Zamindars were old Rajas. Many descended from eighteenth century revenue speculators and military adventurers. Several families are of very ancient lineage, like those claiming Gujjar ancestry and had always been independent rulers at earlier periods of Indian history. They frequently intermarried with the ruling families of the princely states. Their tenants numbered from dozens to many thousands, and under imperial law, had to pay rent to Zamindars to retain rights to their land.
Zamindari mansions were generally large, spacious homes built of stone and teak wood, with a wraparound porch and rooms leading off from a large central courtyard, although this varied with the region. The mansion was a part of a vast estate
By the Zamindari system all the public lands were brought under the Zamindar's control.
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