Jagirdari System: Origin, Features, Impact and More 

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Jagirdari system

The Jagirdari System was a land revenue system prevalent during the medieval period in India. This form of land tenancy was introduced by the Delhi Sultanate and later adopted by the Mughal Empire and the British East India Company. Under this system, the Mughal Empire granted Jagirs (land grants) to nobles or military officers in exchange for their services such as military support. The jagirdars, also popularly known as mansabdars, were appointed as administrators of the jagirs. They were assigned the task of collecting revenue from their respective lands.

Origin and development of the Jagirdari System

The origins of the Jagirdari System can be traced back to the 13th century. The Delhi Sultanate faced difficulties in maintaining a vast empire and thus, needed an effective revenue collection system. To address this and other problems, it came with the Iqta system which subsequently evolved into the Jagirdari system. 

  • Under the Iqta system, land assignments were given to military commanders, known as Iqtadars. 
  • In return, the Iqtadars were required to provide military services. Moreover, they were also authorized to collect revenue from the assigned territories.
  • During the reign of the Mughal Empire, the system underwent further development and became an integral part of society.
  • Under the Mughal rulers, jagirs were given to prominent members of the society.
  • These jagirdars were responsible for collecting revenue, maintaining law and order, and providing military support. 
  • Moreover, they were also required to keep a part of the collected revenue as their income. 
  • To ensure smooth and efficient functioning, the Mughal rulers implemented certain regulations such as periodic assessments. This helped them prevent the accumulation of power and wealth with one person only. 

Also Read: Ryotwari System: About India’s Agricultural Past

What are the Main Features of the Jagirdari System?

The term was a portmanteau of two Persian words, jāgīr (“holding land”) and dār (“official”). The primary features of the Jagirdari system include:

  • Jagirs could be allotted conditional or unconditional.
  • The conditional jagirs required some form of reciprocity to ensure mutual benefits.
  • The total money collected was called Hasil. Sometimes the revenue officers used the phrase Paibaqi as well. 
  • The predicted revenue was called Jama. It was calculated in Dam, a small copper coin of about 1/40th the size of a silver Rupya.
  • Interestingly, other taxes such as Sair Jihat were also included in the Jama.
  • The Jama of the Khalisa in certain provinces such as Allahabad, Delhi, and Awadh represented less than 5% of the total revenue during the 31st year of Akbar’s rule over the region.
  • While the taxes collected by Jagirs paid their salaries, the rest went to the treasury. 
  • A few Mansabdars who received a cash salary were called Naqdi.
  • Mansabdars were given different positions according to their social status in the society.   
  • The Jagirs were also transferable on account of administrative purposes. 

Types of Jagirs

There were multiple types of jagirs including:

  • Tankha Jagirs: These were given instead of salaries.
  • Mashrut Jagirs: These were provided on certain conditions.
  • Watan Jagirs: Watan Jagirs were assigned to Zamindars or rajas and were nontransferable.
  • Altamgha Jagirs: They were handed over to Muslim nobles.

Also Read: What was thе Pеrmanеnt Sеttlеmеnt or Zamindari Systеm?

What was the Impact of the Jagirdari System?

The Jagirdari system had both positive and negative impacts on the society. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Centralized power: The Jagirdari system helped the empire in centralizing power in one place by granting jagirs to loyal military officers and nobles. 
  • Effective revenue collection: It also resulted in effective revenue collection from the peasants and farmers. 
  • Military support: Since the jagirdars were often military commanders or nobles, this helped in maintaining a strong military force.
  • Effective administration: Another important impact of the system was that it resulted in effective land administration and provided a better option for management. 
  • Economic exploitation: The Jagirdari system resulted in the economic exploitation of poor peasants and farmers as the Jagirdars had full authority to collect taxes and revenue from their assigned land. 

Also Read: Mahalwari System of Land Revenue: History, Features, Impacts

What is the Difference Between Zamindar and Jagirdari?

Although the terms jagirdari and zamindari might look the same, there are significant differences between the two. 

Jagirdar Zamindar 
A jagir is given to the jagirdar in return for certain duties from them, especially military assistance. A zamindar is actually the owner of the land. 
Jagirdars collected taxes from the ruling authority or the estate.Zamindars collected taxes from peasants who worked on their land.
Taxes and other revenue collected by the jagirdar becomes his ultimate salary.Ownership over the revenue belongs to and was payable to the zamindar. 
It somehow weakened the central government by establishing small-scale independent individuals. Since the exclusive rights over the land ownership and its ownership remained in the hands of the zamindar, the system did more good than bad.


What do you mean by the Jagirdari system?

In simple words, the Jagirdari system was a feudal land grant system that originated in India during the early 13th century. In this system, the powers to collect taxes from a particular region and govern it accordingly were granted to an appointed person, known as Jagirdar or Zamindar. The jagirdar was not only responsible for collecting taxes from the tenants but also extended a portion of the collected revenue to the state in this way.

Who introduced the Jagirdari system?

The Jagirdari System was introduced by Akbar which helped him in strengthening the overall administration of his empire. 

Who abolished the Jagirdari system?

During the reign of the Delhi Sultanate, jagir was known as iqta and the jagirdar was known as iqtdar. Despite its popularity, the system was eventually abolished by Sultan Alauddin Khilji and later revived by Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq.

C.R. Formula Government of India Act 1858
Cabinet Mission of 1946Pitt’s India Act
Regulating Act of 1773August Offer 1940

That’s all about the Jagirdari system! If you want to read more articles like this, you can get Study notes on the Modern History of India here. Also, you can visit our general knowledge page on Indian History!

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