INDIA: End of the Zammdars

Some 12 million Indians last week celebrated an independence day of their own with laughter and tears, street parades, community sings and free candy for the kids. In the state of Uttar Pradesh it was Deliverance Day, the day that marked the end of zamindari, a system of tax collecting which has held most of India's plain people in thrall since the Middle Ages.

Originally, the Indian zamindar (land agent) was a creature of the Turks, who ruled India in the 13th century. His function was simply to skim off a fat slice...

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