Causes for the rise of moneylenders and transfer of land were:
The new revenue policy.
The new legal system.
Frequent occurrence of famines and scarcity of food.
The growing commercialisation of agriculture.
Due to the impoverishment of the large section of peasant proprietors, the
class of land labourers rapidly grew. The condition of even the poor-peasant
owners who still owned their lands, or sub-tenants, was so bad that there was
no appreciable difference between them and the land labourers. The class of
agricultural labourers combined with the large mass of poor peasants formed
the large majority of the agricultural population. Their number increased
enormously due to a process of steady impoverishment of the upper peasantry
and expropriation of their land.
Thus, on the one hand, the lands of the unprotected proprietors began to
be concentrated in the hands of a few moneylenders. And on the other hand,
the large masses of the peasantry began to roll down the social ladder first as
tenants-at-will and then as agricultural labourers. In this process the political
influence and the power of the British government played a major role, as the
protagonists of the moneylenders.
The proportion of agricultural labourers to agricultural population was the
highest in the ryotwari areas and lowest in the joint or mahalwari areas. This
was so, because in the ryotwari areas it was easier for the moneylenders to
usurp the lands of the cultivators or force them to become agricultural
labourers due to the easiness in the transfer of land in these areas. But this
was more difficult in the mahalwari areas because the ‘joint village’ was the
owner of the whole estate, and the co-shares cannot get rid of the
responsibility which is the condition of ownership.
The industries which were worst affected by the policies of the British were
the cotton weaving and spinning industries, silk and woollen industries,
pottery, glass, paper, metals,