When facing difficulties, zamindars employed a variety of strategies to retain control over their estates:
1. Fictitious Auction Sales: Zamindars often orchestrated sham auctions. They would have their associates place the highest bids during these auctions, only for these bidders to later default on payment. After this charade was repeated several times, the frustrated government would often sell the property back to the zamindar at a reduced price.
2. Transferring Property to Female Family Members: A portion of the estate was frequently transferred to the female members of the zamindar’s family. This part of the property was then safeguarded from government seizure, as the laws or policies often didn’t allow for the confiscation of property owned by women.
3. Using Muscle Power to Deter Buyers: Zamindars resorted to intimidation tactics to obstruct others from purchasing or occupying their estates. By leveraging their influence and power, they created obstacles for potential buyers, often through the use of force or threats.
4. Mobilizing Peasants Against Auctions: In some instances, zamindars influenced their tenants to oppose the auction of their estates. They could rally the peasants under their control to protest against such auctions, thereby creating additional hurdles for the sale of the estate.
These tactics demonstrate the lengths to which zamindars went to preserve their control over their land and authority in challenging times.