By Angus Maddison
This ebook used to be first released in 1971.
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Extra resources for Asia: Class Structure and Economic Growth: India and Pakistan Since the Moghuls
Over most of the country there was a dominant caste elite, an intermediate group of cultivators and artisans and a bottom layer of landless untouchables, each group with differing levels of real income. 1 In every village the bottom layer were untouchables squeezed tight against the margin of subsistence. The extra-village exploitation was sanctioned by military force, intra-village exploitation by the caste system and its religious sanctions. Without the caste sanctions, village society would probably have been more egalitarian, and a more homogeneous peasantry might have been less willing to put up with such heavy fiscal levies from the warlord state.
There was some mobility in the system for castes if not for individuals. g. 2 In each village the dominant caste controlled the land, though their property rights were circumscribed. In general, land would not be transferred or sold to people outside the village, and tenants of the dominant caste could not be evicted. Most villagers belonged to cultivating castes, with each family tending customary but unequal shares of the land. Brahmins were not cultivators, but acted as a local priesthood or squirearchy in alliance with the locally dominant caste and used low caste or untouchable labourers to cultivate their land.
2 See Lord Beveridge's life of his parents, India Called Them, Allen and Unwin, London, 1957. Beveridge's father did not have a very successful career, but had 21 servants to start married life, 39 when he had three children, and 18 when living on his own. The 18 servants cost him less than 6 per cent of his salary. 3 The change in British attitudes in the early nineteenth century is noted in M. Edwardes, op. , p. 33. 'There were other factors which contributed to the growing estrangement between Indians and the British.
Asia: Class Structure and Economic Growth: India and Pakistan Since the Moghuls by Angus Maddison