Zamindari Pikemen (ETW Infantry)
The zamindars, or landholders, recruit troops from among the peasantry farming the lands they manage. A life in the ranks is a little better than one toiling in the fields, and offers the chance of loot and excitement.
At first sight, the zamindar system has much in common with the medieval “feudal” idea, and this was how many Europeans saw the system. A zamindar would be given land to run as a tax farm, squeezing the peasants for all the revenue he could get. At the same time, the zamindari would have a place in a formal hierarchy, and were expected to contribute a contingent of troops to the army. This sounds like the feudal idea of providing men to an overlord, but it was based on financial, not fealty, principles. There were even landholders who were expected to supply elephant troops rather than cavalry and footmen. When the European trading companies took over tax collection, they often left the local landholders to collect taxes, after weeding out the most glaringly corrupt.
While Zamindari Pikemen may be cheap they should be not be used as the bulk of your army. Zamindari Pikemen are most useful when placed in their spear wall ability which, provides an impenetrable wall of spears against cavalry. Thus, they are most effective against cavalry and can help ward off cavalry. At the early stages of one's campaign, they may be quite useful, especially as melee troops, but should be slowly taken out of your armies as your campaign progresses.