h1

Zamindars and the Zamidari System in the Sea of Stars (A to Z)

30 April, 2021

Zamindari everywhereWhile the dragons rule the Sea of Stars they usual do so at some remove, it is the rare dragon who is interested in the minutia of actually governing, most enjoy the pomp and splendor of their occasional visits and the tax revenue and that is quite as much as they wish to be involved.  To call most dragons claws off rulers would be the best description.

But some seek a greater degree of control working more closely with the states they rule.  Some appoint Satraps, governors, to oversee the way their lands are ruled.  Other take a more direct hand and appoint the ruler directly, these are the Zamindar, their power comes directly from their appointment with the implicit backing of draconic power if they are not obeyed.  Usually, the Zamindar are free to rule their land as they see fit as long as the proper taxes are paid to their draconic patron and the Imperium, and some rule as tyrants, others try to work with the local systems and a few go native.  The record of success depends on how much support the new Zamindar can count on and how much they are willing to accommodate the wishes of their new subjects . . . needless to say, it can be a very short career but a very profitable one to those who survive.

Succession is theoretically at the whim of the dragon, but a successful Zamindar can usually angle for a successor of their choice, often someone in their family, a spouse, child or even more distant relative.  For the dragon, success is what usually matters, if someone wants to build an empire, that is fine as long as the tribute keeps rolling in.  Some dragons fear that successful Zamindar will build rival power base to that of the dragon ruler, move them around and find replacements for those who have died from distant lands, all to ensure they are not being plotted against.  This general this sort of maneuvering causes so much political and social disruption that plots against the dragon are almost inevitable but the disruption makes it difficult for such groups to organize (especially as dragons are notoriously difficult to kill) and the constant changes make the place poorer and so they have less resources with which to rebel.  Perhaps there is some method to such rule but it is not kind nor efficient to the ruled.

Many dragons prefer the felling the control that come from directly appointing someone to rule and it give them someone to blame if things go wrong.  Though once the dragon makes the appointment, most do not pay much attention to their Zamindar as long as the taxes and tribute continues to roll in.  More than once, perfidy and corruption on behalf of a Zamindar was only revealed by an Imperial Auditor, who claimed the money owned to the Empress and Imperial Treasury, leaving any punishment of the official to be executed by the dragonic patron.

The Empress does not use Zamindar, preferring to assign Satraps to act as a link between Empire and local administrations in her limited land holdings.

Notes:  I am so  very happy to find a Z word that referred to a type of person that fits so well into the Sea of Stars, it is also such a nifty word and position it makes me doubly happy to find it.  The historical Zamindars were first appointees of the Mughal Empire who were in turn co-opted by the East India Company and then the British Raj who made it into a more efficient system (at least for their purposes).

Image Mehtab Chand (1820-79) (zamindar of the Burdwan Raj) as a young man, c. 1840-45 AD, by an unknown artist, found on Wikimedia Commons and is in the Public Domain.

2 comments

  1. Actually, zamindars were a mix of landowners and chieftains who already held land on their own, plus appointees to a land holding (more properly called jagirdars, holders of a jagir or fief), or specifically under the Mughals, mansabdars (holders of a rank, each mansabdar being responsible for maintaining a number of soldiers according to the size of his jagir.). So you have even more titles and roles to play with. 🙂

    Zamindar is the person, the system of land holding, taxation and military obligation was called zamindari.


    • Corrected, thank you. Having to write an entire article on a tight schedule leads to some oversights.

      Indian history is one of the (many) subjects I need to learn more about.



Please share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: