Clash of Resource Use Regimes in Colonial Assam

Sanjib Baruah

in Durable Disorder

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780195690828
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081769 | DOI:
Clash of Resource Use Regimes in Colonial Assam

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During the latter part of the nineteenth century, there was an attempt by the British colonial government in Assam to change the land titles of Assamese peasants from annual leases to decennial leases. However, the peasants refused. Such resistance provides an important clue to understanding not only the impact of the colonial land settlement project in Assam but also the changes in the global geography of resource use. In an administrative memo issued in 1872, Colonel Henry Hopkinson argued that Assamese peasants were reluctant to accept long-term land titles due to the land abundance of Assam, which allowed them to find fresh soil with little difficulty. This chapter examines resource use regimes in colonial Assam. After discussing land use under the Ahom polity, it looks at the goals of the British land settlement policy and the allocation of vast tracts of land to tea plantations in Assam through ‘land grab’ interventions.

Keywords: Assam; peasants; land titles; land settlement; land use; resource use; Henry Hopkinson; Ahom; tea plantations; land grab

Chapter.  6481 words. 

Subjects: Indian Politics

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