Social Scientist. v 11, no. 122 (July 1983) p. 1.


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Editorial Note

THE FOCUS of the current number of Social Scientist is upon the agrarian question in India. This is a matter of great satisfaction for us. This question has been at the centre of debate not only among political activists but also within academic circles in the country. Sometimes the debate is directly and consciously about the nature of agrarian relations; but even when the debate is about some immediate practical question like the attitude to the peasants' agitation for higher farm-product prices, implicitly underlying the different positions is a difference in assessment of the nature of agrarian relations. Thus consciously or unconsciously the debate is about agrarian relations.

At the risk of oversimplification, two broad positions in this debate can be indentified as follows: on the one side is the view that post-independence land reforms, even though improving the status of -a chunk of the erstwhile rich tenants, have left the basic question of land concentration unresolved; that, allowing for regional variations, what has subsequently emerged is essentially a sort of "semi-feudal capitalism" (to use Lenin's words) whose sweep is necessarily limited;

that the struggle against landlordism continues to be the basic question on the agenda; and that* the broadest possible class alliance against imperialism, against monopoly capital, and against landlordism, should not only be attempted, but can also be achieved if correct tactics are adopted. On the other side is the view that there has been a qualitative shift in the agrarian structure since independence owing to the several bouts of land reforms, whereby the land question has receded into the background. What has emerged instead as the central issue is the question of wages. The anti-landlord thrust of the kisan movement is therefore fundamentally misconceived; the nature of



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