An Insight into the Agrarian Distress in the Tamil Country during Vijayanagar Rule by Gleaning through Inscriptions

The majority of the mediaeval Tamil epigraphs deal with land transactions and wealth gained from land. This clearly demonstrates that the land played a crucial role in the mediaeval States’ economy. Land revenue was a significant source of money for any state, both before and during the mediaeval period in Tamil Nadu. After paying all taxes, peasants in Tamil Country were left with one-half or even less of the harvest during the Vijayanagar era. The central government may have been taxed the legitimate one-sixth as claimed in a few inscriptions, but the land tax payers were burdened by the successive additions of levies imposed by local agencies. Distress and unrest were caused by the greater rate of land tax, the burden of such a higher land tax, the lack of exemption and remission of taxes during natural calamities, and the oppressive techniques used by authorities in tax collection on the agrarian class. The agrarian class’s economic misery found an expression in migration. In order to pay the need for land dues, they were also obliged to sell their holdings. The agrarian class did show some resistance at times, but it was only modest and successful to a certain extent.

Author(S) Details

M. Kavitha
Department of History, The Standard Fireworks Rajaratnam College for Women, Sivakasi, Virudhunagar District, Tamil Nadu, India.

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