Social Scientist. v 6, no. 70 (May 1978) p. 18.

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Transformation of the Agrarian Economy in Tondaimandalam: i^Co-igoo

THE PRESENT study is an attempt at reconstructing regional history with the help of Archival data combined with intensive field study. The region studied is the Tondaimandalam region of Tamilnadu. The ancient classification ofTamilnadu divided the Tamil country into five mandalams (regions): the Tondaimandalam, the Chola mandalam, the Pandya mandalam, the Chera mandalam and the Kongu mandalam. Tondaimandalam consisted of the modern districts of Madras., Chengal-pattu, North Arcot and the northern half of South Arcot. The basic focus of the paper is on the structure of the agrarian system based on specific production relations.

In the eighteenth century villages of Tondaimandalam, four categories of individuals derived their income from land (directly or 'indirectly)1: (1) Kaniyatchikarars or Swastiyamdars (owners of land);

(2) Payikaries (non-owning cultivators); (3) Agricultural servants known as Adimais and Pa^iyajs (bonded servants) and (4) village functionaries, traders and artisans.


The English East India Company Officials, such as Ellis and Place, who studied [the village system of To^aiman^alam in some detail., found that all the villages were dominated by persons .known as

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