Social Scientist. v 15, no. 157 (June 1986) p. 1.


Graphics file for this page
Editorial Note

THE ARGUMENT that pre-capitalist land relations impose a fetter upon capitalist development in the country has been advanced by many. Where they differ from one another is with regard to their differing perceptions of how this fetter actually operates $ these in turn spring from differing perceptions of the precise nature of the pre-capitalist relations, the precise transmutations that have occurred in these relations on account of the pursuit of the capitalist path of development, and the precise contours of the macro-economic dynamics of Indian capitalism. Pradhan Harisha&kar Prasad's lead article in the current number of Social Scientist is of interest because he clearly takes a particular position on all these questions:

characterising the agrarian relations in large tracts of the country as semi-feudal, he holds that the land-owners have no interest in developing the productive forces in agriculture, and instead deploy much of their surplus, as well as such public funds as they can grab, for maintaing inter alia, private armies of hired goons, in addition to the repressive organs of the state which at the local level work hand-in glove with them. Such agricultural growth as has occurred in the country in ' recent years has been confined to areas where semi-feudal relations were weak or absent, which accounts for the regional divergence in agricultural performance. Clearly however the scope for continued growth of this kind is limited ; and the way out of the regime of stagnation and terror lies in the implementation of wide-ranging land reforms. While this position in the specificity is arguable, and in any case needs a good deal of further substantiation, it is worth taking note of by students of contemporary Indian society.

The historical genesis in the colonial period of the agrarian relations which emerged in two different regions of the country is discussed in the other two articles, one dealing with parts of what constituted the Madras Presidency and the other dealing with tribal Maharashtra. The precise differences between the British and the pre-British revenue systems, the essentially pecuniary considerations that motivated the British adoption of different revenue settlements at different time-periods, the divergence between the actual outcomes of the settlements and the theoretical pro-gnastications that were used to justify their introduction, are all quite



Back to Social Scientist | Back to the DSAL Page