extremely tense and unstable social environment. Within that atmosphere, the
zamindars failed to stand for improvement. Instead of becoming improving
landlords they turned out to be tyrannical and unproductive.
    In actual fact the Settlement was the result of a complex causation in
which ideas too played a role to the extent that these were relevant to
mundane interests and provided a decent appearance to them. Cornwallis not
only legitimised a heavy tribute in the form of rent; he also made its
collection rigid and harsh. His ideas represented British ruling classes’
immediate interests as well as their false view of Bengal’s social reality.
Viewed in its purely commercial and financial aspects, the Settlement
resulted in considerable loss of future revenues. As an administrative
measure, its completion required a stronger statutory base and more vigorous
executive management than were forthcoming. But looking at the measure
solely from a political point of view, it was the means of allaying
apprehensions and removing doubts amongst a class of Indians.
Ryotwari Settlement
Not long after Cornwallis introduced the Permanent Settlement in Bengal, the
question of extending it to other territories, acquired by the John Company
from time to time presented itself. The capture of Baramahal and Dindigul
from Tipu Sultan in the Third Mysore War, and the cession of the Northern
circars in 1794 as a jagir brought the issue to the fore. In 1799 Tanjore and
Coimbatore and in 1801 Malabar and the territory of the Nawab of Arcot had
been annexed to Madras Presidency. Among the first officials to be
associated with land revenue settlement in these areas were Alexander Read
and Lionel Place. Thomas Munro was one of Read’s assistants; in 1800 he
had been transferred from Kanara to the Deccan districts ceded by the Nizam
of Hyderabad.
    While these officials were busy sorting out the complex revenue affairs
under their charge, Lord Wellesley, the Governor General, issued a
peremptory order to the Madras Government to introduce the Bengal system
of Permanent Settlement in its newly acquired dominion. The directive was
not well received, for as Munro and his assistants gained in experience, they
became extremely critical of the Bengal system. More over they were able to