THIS is the third special number ofSocial Scientist which we are bringing out during Marx's Death Centenary year, now drawing to a close. The two preceding special numbers were published in March and September 1983. Like in the two preceding special numbers, the emphasis in the current number is not on the subtleties of interpretation of Marxism per se but on attempts at concrete analyses of our past and present from a Marxist perspective. This choice of emphasis springs from our conviction that debates about interpretation of theory, unless firmly anchored in debates about the reality which the theory purports to analyse, tend to degenerate into arid scholasticism. Three of the articles in the current number, accordingly, are concerned with concrete problems of Indian history and reality. They may be controversial, but in a productive sense of the term.
ģE M S Narnboodiripad's paper looks at the Indian agrarian relations starting from Marx's theory of ground-rent. Marx distinguishes between pre-capitalist and capitalist ground-rent. Capitalist ground-rent, whose payment assumes that workers are paid the value of labour power, and capital invested in agriculture the average rate of profit, presupposes that agriculture, like other spheres, is thrown open for the penetration of capita], and that inter alia land has become a salable commodity. The entire thrust of agrarian legislation in the colonial and post-colonial period may be interpreted therefore as promoting bourgeois relations in the countryside. But the formal existence of ground-rent in a situation of land having become a commodity, does not per se imply prevalence of capitalist relations. As Marx mentioned in the context of Ireland, the landlord may extract as gound-rent not merely a part of the tenant's profit, but a part of his normal wage as well, and even expropriate his small capital. Namboodiripad finds this an instructive example for studying the Indian situation, even though the