The jotedars were "wealthy peasants" who comprised one layer of social strata in agrarian Bengal during Company rule in India. Jotedars owned relatively extensive tracts of land; their land tenure status stood in contrast to those of under-ryots and bargadars (sharecroppers), who were landless or land-poor. Many jotedars were bhadralok (upper caste members) who adopted the de jure status of ryot (peasant) solely for the financial benefits that the Bengal Tenancy Act of 1885 afforded to ryots.
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