Social Scientist. v 5, no. 56 (March 1977) p. 19.

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To be more precise the aims of the Permanent Settlement were to ensure the security of government revenue and to encourage the new class of rich men in the city, who had money in their hands, to invest in the purchase of zamindari or any other intermediary right. The ruling circles hoped that this diversion of money capital to the agricultural channel would serve a two-fold purpose: (a) ^It will keep India an agricultural country, a raw material appendage to British industry and a market for Britain's industrial goods"; (b) it would induce the landholder to improve his estate and thereby solve the agricultural crisis.;2 Further, it would create a new class of landholders attached to the British rule ^from motives of self-interest5' and who would have ^no motive for wishing for a change."3 It was recognized by the ruling circles that '4t was absolutely necessary to establish a social basis for their power through the creation of a new class whose interests, through receiving a subsidiary share in the spoils (one-eleventh, in the original intention) would be bound up with the maintenance of English rule."4


No doubt the purpose of the Permanent Settlement was to act ^as a bulwark against revolution". This was clearly explained by Lord William Bentinck, Governor-General of India:

If security was wanting against extensive popular tumult or revolution, I should say that the Permanent Settlement, though a failure in many other respects and in most important essentials, has this great advantage at least, of having created a vast body of rich landed proprietors deeply interested in the continuance of the British dominion and having complete command over the mass of the people.5

The subsequent events of Bengal proved that the proponents of the Permanent Settlement, on the whole, made a correct assessment of the situation.

As a result of the alliance of British rule with landlordism a new ^social basis9 was created in Bengal. Within a few years of its introduction the Permanent Settlement had stimulated sub-infeudation. It became a marked feature in the land system of Bengal by 1806-1807.6 One of the objectives of the Permanent Settlement was stated to be the creation of the Bengali middle class. By 1930 its existence became distinctly visible as a social force. The number of big zamindars and tenure-holders was small. There was, however, a very large class of small zamindars and tenure-holders who formed a middle class. An encouragement was given to the growth of intermediate tenure-holders. In despatch no. 14 of 9 July 1862 the secretary of state clearly stated that ^it is most desirable that facilities should be given for the gradual growth of a middle class connected with the land, without dispossessing the peasant proprietors and occupiers...The proprietors, the tenure-holders, and other

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