Zamindars were a tributary subject or feudatory vassal of the British empire in India. In every description of that form of government, notwithstanding accidental variations, there were two associations expressed or understood; one for internal security, the other for external defense. The King or Nawab, conferred protection on the feudatory baron as tributary prince, on condition of an annual revenue in the time of peace, and of military service, partly commutable for money, in the time of war.
Though the office usually descended to the posterity of the Zamindar, under the ceremony of fine and investiture, a material decrease in the cultivation, or decline in the population of the district, was sometimes been considered as a ground to dispossess him. When Zamindars failed in their engagements to the state, supervisors were often sent into the Zamindaries, who had farmed the lands, and exercised authority under the Dewanee laws, independent of the Zamindar. These circumstances strongly mark that they were strongly dependent on the Nawab.