Social Scientist. v 2, no. 22 (May 1974) p. 21.


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ROLE OF THE MAHAJANS IN RURAL ECONOMY 2 1

Pattern of Investment: Usury

The documents throw ample light on the pattern of investment in the rural sector by the mahajans. The peasants borrowed money on a number of accounts,5 a major factor was the need for subsistence at the time of natural calamities such as famine, drought, etc.6 Not only in abnormal years but also in normal years the peasants looked to the support of the m<2/i^7z for their agricultural requirements.7 Even the agricultural loans known as tagai, advanced by the state to the ryot were borrowed from the mahajanSy and the state stood surety for the payment of these loans with interest to the mahajans.8

For instance in the year of VS 1817/1760 AD we find the darbar borrowing Rs 4,000 from the bohra and advancing it to the ryots of pargana Bahutri in order to rehabilitate old deserted villages of the pargana. The Amil was instructed to realize this amount from the ryots with interest at tte tisae oi haniv^t wA paiy k IQ ike. w&k^-m-.9 lim ^rotlw w^i w^ fe^d ^h

These loans were availed of by different classes of the rural society for multifarious purposes. The ^amindars and patels required these loans for the settlement of new villages or to provide necessary facilities for rehabilitating old, ruined and deserted villages, for the expansion and improvement of agriculture, for digging wells and for construction of ponds.18 The peasants utilized tagai to extend their holdings, to replace or purchase cattle and to buy manure, seeds and ploughs.14

The peasants5 need for agricultural loans was fulfilled by two agencies, the state and the mahajan. As mentioned before, even the state while advancing the tagai to the peasants often borrowed the money from the mahajans^ Out of 13 instances of advancing tagai to the ryot, in 11 cases the state borrowed money from the bohra. In the following instances of advancing tagai to the ryot the money was borrowed from the bohra by the amils, pargana Bahutri in the year of VS 1817/1760 AD, pargana Lalsot in the year ofVS 1811/1754 AD, and VS 1815/1758 AD, pargana Chatsu in the year of VS 1812/1755 AD, VS 1814/1757 AD and VS 1815/ 1759 AD, pargana Swai Jaipur, Khohri, Gaji ka Thana, Narnaul, Gaori, Tonk, Toda and Bhim, in the year of VS 1817/1760 AD, pargana Malarana



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