The emergence of new social classes in India was the direct consequences of the establishment a new social economy, a new type of state system and state administrative machinery and the spread of new education during the British rule.
The new social classes involved in the Indian society during the British rule were: in agrarian area, they were: (1) zamindars created by the British Government, (2) absentee landlords, (3) tenant under zamindars and absentee landlords, (4) the class of peasant proprietors, (5) agricultural labourers, (6) the modern class of merchants and (7) the modern class of money lenders. In urban areas, they were: (1) modern class of capitalist, industrial, commercial and financial; (2) the modern working class engaged in industrial, transport, mining and such other enterprises, (3) the class of pretty traders and shopkeepers, (4) the professional classes such as technicians, doctors, lawyers, professors, journalists, managers, clerks and others, comprising the intelligentsia and the educated middle class.
The introduction of private property in land in the form of Zamindari and Ryotwari by the British government brought into being the new classes of large estate owners, the zamindars, and peasant proprietors. Further, the creation of the right to lease land brought into being such as tenants and sub-tenants; the creation of to purchase and sell land together with the right to hire and employ labour on land, created conditions for the growth of the class of absentee landlords and that of the agricultural proletariat.
In the agrarian area, a group of modern money lenders and merchants who were unknown in pre-British Indian society, developed on an increasing scale. They are intermediaries between the peasants and the market, and absentee landlords.
In the rural area, the classes of money lenders and merchants existed in pre-British India. But the role was transformed when the new land system was introduced. So, the class of modern money lenders and merchants might be described as new social classes linked up with the new capitalist economy and performing functions quite different from pre-British Indian society.
Under the British rule, the internal and external trade expanded which resulted in the emergence of a class of commercial bourgeoisie, who engaged in extensive internal and foreign trade. These new merchant classes traded in all production, rural and urban, agriculture and industrial in the country.
The professional classes comprising modern lawyers, doctors, teachers, professors, managers, clerks, engineers, chemists, technologies, journalists and others, formed another new social group, which evolved in Indian society during the British period. These social groups linked up with modern industry, agriculture, commerce, finance, administration, press and other sections of the new social life, were unknown to pre-British Indian society since such a social, economic, and class system did not then exist.
In addition to the new classes enumerated above, there existed in the urban area, in every town and city, a big class of petty traders and shopkeepers which had dev with the growth of modern cities and towns.