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icon  Irrigation During Medieval India

In the medieval India, rapid advances also took place in the construction of inundation canals. Water was blocked by constructing bunds across steams. This raised the water level and canals were constructed to take water to the fields. These bunds were built by both the state and private sources. Ghiyasuddin Tughluq (1220-1250 is credited to be the first ruler who encouraged digging canals. However, it is Fruz Tughlug (1351-86) who, inspired from central Asian experience, is considered to be the greatest canal builder before the nineteenth century. Irrigation is said to be one of the major reasons for the growth and expansion of the Vijayanagar empire in southern India in the fifteenth century. It may be noted that, but for exceptional cases, most of the canal irrigation prior to the arrival of the British was of the diversionary nature. The state, through the promotion of irrigation, had sought to enhance revenue and provide patronage through rewards of fertile land and other rights to different classes. Irrigation had also increased employment opportunities and helped in the generation of surplus for the maintenance of the army and the bureaucracy. As agricultural development was the pillar of the economy, irrigation systems were paid special attention.  This is demonstrated by the fact that all the large, powerful and stable empires paid attention to irrigation development. 


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