Social Scientist. v 1, no. 12 (July 1973) p. 47.


Graphics file for this page
Report on Famine, 1972-73

Drought in Maharashtra

Sulabha Brahme

PETTY-BOURGEOIS vision seldom stands the test of history. One such vision, the characterisation of the State of Maharashtra as a relatively progressive state in India, has been exploded by the recurring famine situation in the State. Maharashtra gives the clearest evidence of how big bourgeoisie in alliance with landlords deny the people even a semblance of development.

Maharashtra is considered the most advanced state in india. Industrially it is highly developed, a third of the state income being contributed by the secondary sector. It is the leading Indian state in terms of per capita industrial production, electricity consumption, bank credit disbursement, number of motor vehicles, and such other indices of development. The per capita income of the State is among the highest in India. Commercial crops like cotton, oilseeds and sugarcane are extensively grown. Rich farmers are considered to be a dominant force and the so-called co-operative movement is strong. The State is known for its efficient bureaucracy and stable government. All these together project an image of a progressive state. Actually the progressive image is being built up primarily because of the continuous growth of industry in the metropolitan city of Bombay which holds a near-monopoly position in industrial assets and employment. The overall economic position of the State appears satisfactory under the umbrella of Bombay city. However, the havoc wrought by the scarcity conditions this, year calls for a close look at the character of the ruling classes in Maharashtra.

Maharashtra is chronically deficit in foodgrains and the shortfall was getting worse during the sixties. Production of foodgrains has remained stagnant since 1957-58. In fact there has been considerable decline in production of foodgrains during the last three years. Nearly 40 per cent of the population has normally to be satisfied with less than the minimum needed quantity of foodgrains. These shortages are experienced in thousands of villages all over the State. For those in authority, the prevalence of distress and local shortages of foodgrains does not, however, constitute 'a problem9. Scarcity gets official recognition only when the



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