The Jajmani system is an economic system followed in Indian villages, where lower castes received grain and in return performed various functions for upper castes.
Under the Jajmani system goods and services are exchanged between the
landowning higher castes and landless service castes. The service castes were leather workers, blacksmiths, weavers, barbers, washer men, goldsmiths, and a
group of artisans serving the community. The patron of landed higher castes was referred to as the Jajman and the kamin were the service castes. It was the link
between the landowning high castes and occupational castes as it was based on the agricultural system of production and distribution of goods and services.
In a village, every caste groups is traditionally bound to give certain
standardized services to the families of other castes. It is based on the barter system, the landowners or high caste families receive services from lower castes and in return, members of the lower castes receive food grains.
William Wiser introduced ‘Jajmani’ as a term into Indian social anthropology and sociology. His study was based on a village in Uttar Pradesh and he described the production and exchange of goods and services here and how different castes interacted with one another in that community. This economic system has existed since centuries throughout the country in different forms.
Aspects of the Jajmani system:
• Permanent relationships.
• Hereditary relations.
• Castes received grains in exchange for services rendered.
• Barter system.