peasantry was annexed to the Brahmanical system through land grants,
  and they were called Sudras. Therefore Hiuen Tsang describes the Sudras
  as agriculturists, a fact corroborated by al-Beruni about four centuries
  later.
Causes of Subjugation of Peasants
The subjection of the Indian peasantry in late ancient and early medieval
times, especially in older settled regions, was a striking development
connected with the socio-economic dimensions of feudalism. It can be
explained by several factors, the most important of which was the increase in
the burden of taxation on the villagers. The grants mention as many as eleven
taxes in the villages; if all these were extracted by the state we doubt whether
the peasants were left with even a bare subsistence. In addition to the transfer
of these taxes in many cases the donees were given the right to fixed and
unfixed, proper and improper taxes. The list of taxes in many grants was not
exhaustive, and the grantees were authorised to collect taxes covered by the
term ‘et cetera’ (adi) and ‘all sources of income’ (sarv-aya-sameta or
samasta-pratyaya). All this implies that they could make new impositions.
What the peasants paid as revenues to the state was converted as a result of
grants into rents to the ben-eficiaries, many of whom, being priests or
religious institutions, did not have to pay any portion of their income as tax to
their donors.
     A second factor that undermined the position of the peasants was the
imposition of forced labour. In the Maurya period slaves and hired labourers
were subjected to such labour. But from the 2nd century AD the practice seems
to have been extended to all classes of subjects. Down to the 10th century the
grants of western and central India indicate the prevalence of visti.
Occasionally imposed by the ruling chiefs upon the villagers, impressed
labour was bound to prove oppressive when transferred to local beneficiaries
who had a direct interest in the exploitation of the rural resources.
     A third factor that worsened the condition of the peasants was the right of
subinfeudation. The donees were authorised to cultivate land and get it
cultivated. Some late ancient and early medieval lawbooks refer to as many
as four stages of landed interests   between the king and the actual tiller of the