P. Sundarayya and The Land Question
ON MAY 19, 1985, the revolutionary movement in India, lost one of its greatest heroes, in- the death of Puchalapalli Sundarayya. P.S. had all the qualities of head and heart, which make a revolutionary leader and which led him to become the first general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), a post that he held for several years. Anyone coming in contact with him was immediately struck by his unfailing modesty and sincerity of purpose. His many-sided life and activities, particularly his role in organising the Telangana people's armed struggle, arc all too familiar. In this brief tribute, his contribution to the understanding of the agraian situation, in particular, the land question, is recalled.
The pamphlet. The Land Question, appeared in 197$, but there was a prelude to it in his Explanatory Note to the Central Committee Resolution on Certain Agrarian Issues, appearing in 1973. Both these documents have gone a long way in providing a correct and complete understanding of the agrarian situation in India.
The Explanatory Note brought clarity to the understanding of the agrarian situation in India. The situation as it exists is not classical feudalism, nor is it developed capitalism, but it is both feudal and semi-feudal, meaning thereby that capitalist exploitation is super-imposed on the old feudal system. The anti-feudal revolution has to be directed not only against feudal landlordism but against capitalist landlordism as well, which has got enmeshed with the former.
About 5% of the rural households, constituting the landlords, have each holdings over 20 acres, and together own about 40% °f the total operational holdings. P.S. calculated that if only the land above the ceiling were taken from them for distribution, then 5 crore acres of land would be available for distribution; but if all the land, including that below the ceiling, were taken for distribution, then an additional 6.32 crore acres would become available as surplus. If all the land of the landlords, including that below the ceiling, were confiscated and distributed among the agricultural workers and poor peasants, then each of these households would receive one to one and a half acres mpre of land, than what would have been available to them if only the land above the ceiling were distributed; and this would ensure a minimum landholding of 2i acres (in some states even 5 acres) per household. What however needs to be noted is that even after this measure, full employment and a ttuni-