Social Scientist. v 2, no. 15 (Oct 1973) p. 30.


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PRAKASH KARAT

Agrarian Relations in Malabar—iQ2^ig48

PART Two

DIFFERENTIATION AMONGST THE PEASANTRY

IN the first part of this article {Social Scientist^ September 1973) we had studied the tenurial patterns, nature of landlordism and the type of rent that existed. In this part we analyse the factors that contributed to differentiation amongst the peasantry—alienation of land, usury, commercial agriculture and so on—in order to understand the nature of agrarian relations in Malabar under imperialism. Such a study would provide the necessary groundwork for analysing the sociopolitical changes that affected the Malabar peasantry in the third and fourth decades of the twentieth century.

The- process of disintegration and its impact on the peasantry can be assessed by studying the alienation of land from the peasantry, the role of usury and the growth of commercial agriculture and the marketing system.

The alienation of land from the peasants was accelerated dramatically with the onset of the world depression in 1929. An estimate for the period, 1924 to 1928 showed that on an average only 42.98 acres of land were sold per year in Malabar for recovery of revenue arrears, thus suggesting that the collection of revenue posed no problems in the district.29 But in the thirties, the situation changed drastically, as will be evident from the figures given below. The annual statistics



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