One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In India: a hereditary owner, especially of land; (specifically in South India) an owner of inherited land prohibited by law from being sold, and leased instead to tenants for a nominal fee in return for its cultivation.
Late 18th century; earliest use found in Minutes Consultation, Board of Revenue, Madras. From Urdu mīrās̱dār hereditary landowner, co-proprietor from Persian mīrās̱dār inheritor from mīrās̱ inheritance, estate (from Arabic mīrāṯ inheritance, estate from wariṯa to be heir, to inherit) + -dār.
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