Difference Between Jagirdar and Zamindar

During the Mughal era in the Indian subcontinent, many Hindus were converted into Muslims and termed nawabs. These nawabs were appointed as a representative of the emperor to rule and collect money from the land assigned to them. Jagirdar and Zamindar were the converted populations who would hold the owners of the areas and collect money and give the share to the Emperor. Though the duties of both these designations were similar, there were many other differences between these two.

Jagirdar v/s Zamindar

The main difference between Jagirdar and Zamindar is that: a jagirdar is a person appointed the Emperor or a King as their representative to rule some areas or village or state. On the other hand, a zamindar is the owner of land who collects tax from the farmers and gives the share to the king or emperor.

Jagirdar v s Zamindar

A jagirdar was: a person appointed by the Mughals to collect tax from their peasants. The jagirdars family: would be provided with certain provinces, and after the death of the jagirdar: the land would be back to the Mughal Empire. Their source of income was to collect tax in place of the Mughal Emperor, pay their salary with the collected money, and send the rest to the Emperor.

A zamindar was also a person who collected taxes for the Emperor; or the king. Originally the zamindars were called the bhumipatis, but during the Mughal era, these tax collectors were converted: into Muslim zamindars. Other than collecting money, these people also served for military and judicial duties, and unlike jagirdars, the lands from which they collected tax were their own.

Comparison Table Between Jagirdar and Zamindar

Parameters of Comparison Jagirdar Zamindar 
Developed Early 13th century 1793
FounderAkbarLord Cornwallis
Land assignmentsThey did not have hereditary rights.They have hereditary rights.
Holders ofLand assignments.Revenue rights
System abolishment 19511950

What is Jagirdar?

A jagirdar was a person who collected taxes from villagers as a form of their revenue. This system was developed: in the 13th century during the Mughal era in the Indian subcontinent. During this time, a person would be: given the power to rule and collect taxes from; fellow villagers’ estate.

The people during that time: were considered to be enslaved by the jagirdar. There were two types of jagir developed: conditional jagir and unconditional jagir. The conditional jagir required the family in charge to look after the armed forces and offer their services to the state or the country when; they were asked for it. The land granted to the family was called Iqta, usually, till the holder was alive, and it was sent back to the state when the holder or the jagirdar died.

The Delhi Sultanate introduced: the jagirdar system, which continued with slight changes during the Mughal Empire. During the Mughal era, a jagirdar would only have the task of collecting taxes, which would pay his salary; and the rest of the work would be completed: by others. Some Hindu jagirdars were converted: into Muslim vassals such as nawabs. The jagirdar system collapsed with the Mughal Empire; and was retained by the Rajputs, Marathas, Sikhs kingdom, and later into a body by the British East India Company.

What is Zamindar?

A zamindar is a person in the Indian subcontinent who rules an area or province and was initially known as bhumipatis. These bhumipatis accepted the dominance and control of the Emperor of India and were converted into zamindars by the Mughals and later by the British. The term zamindar is a Persian term that means landowner.

Zamindars have hereditary ownership of land; they also have control over the peasants. Zamindars collect taxes from the peasants for military purposes and imperial courts. During the Mughal era, zamindars belonged to the upper, privileged class; and they created the ruling class. Akbar was the Emperor at that time: who granted them military units while their ancestral lands: were titled their jagirs. Mughals also converted the Hindu zamindars into Muslims.

The zamindars who supported the British: were rewarded as the title of princes by them. In the colonial era, the permanent settlement combined; and became the zamindari system. This system played a crucial role in the regional history of the Indian subcontinent. For example: In the 16th century, according to the Jesuits and Ralph Fitch, twelve zamindars United together and repelled the invasions of Mughals through naval conflicts. This confederation was led by: Isa Khan: a Muslim Rajput Zamindar; and it included both religions.

Main Differences Between Jagirdar and Zamindar

  1. In the early 13th century, the jagirdari system was developed. On the other hand, the zamindari system was developed in 1793.
  2. In the Indian subcontinent, Akbar the Emperor established the jagirdari system. On the other hand, Lord Cornwallis established the zamindari system.
  3. Both these designations had the ownership of provinces, but jagirdars did not have hereditary rights, whereas zamindars had hereditary rights over the land.
  4. A jagirdar was the holder of land instead of performing judicial duties. On the other hand, a zamindar was the holder of revenue rights; and also performed judicial and military duties.
  5. The jagirdari system was abolished: in the year 1951. On the other hand, the zamindari system was abolished in the year 1950.


In conclusion, a jagirdar and a zamindar are both the designations provided to some local families by the Emperor or the King. The main task of a jagirdar and a zamindar is: to collect money from the villagers in name of tax and this money would pay their salary and the rest was given to the empire.

The main difference between these two designations was that the jagirdari system was started: by Akbar for just collecting taxes from the peasants as his representative. The zamindari system was developed by: Lord Cornwallis, and unlike the jagirdari system, the zamindars had ownership of the land. The zamindars also performed other duties such as military and police other than collecting taxes from the farmers.


  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/44144755
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/001946467701400204
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