RYOT, or RAY AT (from the Arabic ra'a, "to pasture"), properly a subject, then a tenant of the soil. The word is used throughout India for the general body of cultivators; but it has a special meaning in different provinces. The ryotwari tenure is one of the two main revenue systems in India. Where the land revenue is imposed on an individual or community owning an estate, and occupying a position analogous to that of a landlord, the assessment is known as zamindari; and where the land revenue is imposed on individuals who are the actual occupants, the assessment is known as ryotwari. Under zamindari tenure the land is held as independent property; while under ryotwari tenure it is held of the crown in a right of occupancy, which is under British rule both heritable and transferable. The former system prevails in northern and central India, and the latter in Bombay, Madras, Assam and Burma.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)