Irrigation In India – PMKSY, AIBP, Watershed Management, Neeranchan, etc.

Karez System of Irrigation


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Karez/ Qanat

Mains level: Not Much

The Taliban are set to seize Kabul, but some expert believes they will spare the age-old Karez system of underground aqueducts in the country given its importance.

What is a Qanat / Karez?

  • This system of underground vertical shafts in a gently sloping tunnel that is built from an upland aquifer to ground level.
  • Some historians and archaeologists have attributed people in the southeast Arabian Peninsula as the first developers. Others, however, ascribe it to the ancient Persians.
  • The Qanat / Karez system, wherever it was developed, soon spread to many Persian, Arab and Turkic lands.
  • It even came to the Indian Subcontinent during the 800-year-old Islamic Period.

Karez in India

  • The system was brought in the Indian Subcontinent during the Bahamani Sultanate, founded by Alaudin Bahman Shah.
  • It later broke into five other Sultantates: Bijapur, Golconda, Ahmadnagar, Bidar and Berar.
  • The Bahamani Sultanate was Persianate in nature and encouraged many things Persian, among them, the Karez.
  • They was built in the city of Bidar during the reign of Bahamani Sultan Ahmad Shah Wali (1422-1436), who shifted the capital from Gulbarga to Bidar.
  • By the 15th century, Bijapur city had a network of pipelines. Everyone got 24×7 supply of water.
  • It also worked as confidence-building measure between the Sultan and his subjects since the Karez was built the state.

Try answering this PYQ:

With reference to the economic history of medieval India, the term Araghatta’ refers to:

(CSP 2016)

(a) bonded labour

(b) land grants made to military officers

(c) waterwheel used in the irrigation of land

(d) wastel and converted to cultivated land


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2 years ago
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c persian wheel

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