A autonomous or semiautonomous ruler of a province who held hereditary ownership of large areas of land and reserved the rights to collect taxes on the behalf of the royal courts. In Persian, the term literally means “land holder.” Formerly known as bhumipatis (kings), they were conferred the title and status of zamindar during Mughal rule, with the emperor Akbar giving them mansabs (military units) and deeming their land jagirs (feudal land). They were at the helm of the zamindari system of revenue collection, which was also established by Akbar. As a class, zamindars wielded enormous influence and power over the peasants and workers residing on their land, and played an important role in the regional histories of the Indian subcontinent. The zamindari system was abolished in India in 1951.