Bengal Tenancy Act (1885)
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The Bengal Tenancy Act 1885 was an enactment of the Bengal government that defined the rights of zamindars (lords) and their tenants in response to a widespread peasant revolt that threatened the stability of the British Colonial Government.
The Permanent settlement of 1793 gave absolute rights to the zamindars, who were hereditary landholders and ruled as such, but the rights of tenants were not defined. With time, in the nineteenth century, the land demand increased and the lords increased rents and land revenues. The Ryots (tenants) refused to accept the zamindari rent increase beyond the customary rates.
This time period also saw a rise in the lesser-landed nobility (Chowdhurys and Taluqdars), whose existence did not fall under the Permanent Settlement laws. The Madhyasvatvas, as they were called (literally Subinfeudation), received their rights by purchase, and not by inheritance like the lords. The government tried to accommodate this class by enacting the Rent Act in 1859. But the issues remained.