Landlord and Peasant in Persia: A Study of Land Tenure and Land Revenue Administration

Landlord and Peasant in Persia: A Study of Land Tenure and Land Revenue Administration

Landlord and Peasant in Persia: A Study of Land Tenure and Land Revenue Administration

Landlord and Peasant in Persia: A Study of Land Tenure and Land Revenue Administration

Excerpt

The object of the present work is to examine in broad outline the position of landlord and peasant in contemporary Persia and the historical factors out of which the existing situation has developed. The work thus falls into two parts: in Part I an attempt has been made to outline the history of land tenure and land revenue administration in Persia in Islamic times down to the grant of the Constitution in 1906. In Part II the situation during the period subsequent to that date is described.

The continuity of practice in many respects has been striking. Certain problems tend to recur, and there has been a similarity in the attitude of the governments of the day towards these problems, and towards the land-holding classes and the peasantry. Further, the attitude of the landlords towards the peasants, although modified by the conditions of the twentieth century, resembles in many respects that of the landlords of earlier times. In the field of husbandry also there has been little change. Much study still remains to be done in these various fields. Nevertheless, a useful purpose may be served by putting forward, even at this stage, the material which has been collected.

Part II consists of a description of the general position of the landlord and peasant in Persia primarily in its social and political aspects. It does not aim at a comprehensive examination of the economic position of the landlord and peasant. Reliable statistics upon which to base such an examination are lacking. In this part of the study I have confined myself to describing those areas of which I have personal knowledge. Although certain broad principles can be inferred from the evidence, it is not sufficient to form a basis for widespread generalizations.

Since this work is intended to be an introduction to the subject, although attention has been drawn to some of the difficulties with which the rural population is faced at the present day in Persia, no attempt has been made to suggest in detail the lines along which they might be solved.

The material for Part II was collected in Persia mainly between July 1948 and September 1949. I had, however, begun to study the problems concerned during earlier visits to Persia in 1936-7 and 1939-45. On all three occasions I travelled widely.

It remains for me to express my gratitude to the Royal Institute of International Affairs and to the Leverhulme Research Fellowship Committee who made grants towards the cost of my journey in 1948-9, and to the Governing Body of the School of Oriental . . .

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