Social Scientist. v 20, no. 232-33 (Sept-Oct 1992) p. 77.

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Agrarian Structure, Contradiction and Mobilization: A Framework for the Analysis of Emerging Rural Power

Agrarian mobilizations are a persistent phenomena of the Indian rural social system being manifested in different parts of the country over a long period of time (Gough 1974; lyer and Maharaj 1977; Mukherji 1978;

Desai 1979; Hardiman 1981; Sen 1982; Balgopal 1982; Das 1982;

Sengupta 1982; Gill and Singhal 1984; Dhanagare 1983; Guha 1983;

Sahasrabudhey 1986). The portrayal of Indian peasantry as fatalistic, docile, unresisting, superstitious and passive (Barrington Moore Jr., 1966) has been proved to be without much foundation (Desai, 1979;

Gough, 1979). During the British period, the Indian rural scene bristled with large scale protests, revolts and militant struggles by the peasantry involving several hundreds of villages and lasting for years together. Peasants conducted a relentless struggle against feudal oppression and played a significant role in the freedom movement (Kumar 1979; Bhalla 1983; Mehta 1984 etc.). Large scale agrarian mobilizations continue to surface at present times and have acquired varied organisational identities. Political parties, Sabhas, Sanghas, Sanganthanas and Unions have become the organisational expressions of the contemporary agrarian unrests and mobilizations. What do these organisations and parties project? To our mind, they serve a twofold purpose:

(i) they identify the existing structure(s) of power towards which their conflict is directed; and (ii) they project a new loci of power (pressure groups) in the regional and/or national political scene.

In this paper we note that the agrarian mobilisations and movements taking place are of different kinds. These can then be related to the changes taking place in the agrarian system. A conceptualisation of the feudalistic and capitalistic agrarian system, proposing a framework for the analysis of agrarian change is undertaken. We argue that the major agrarian mobilisations taking

Professor of Sociology, Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi Centre w Faculty, LS.L, Delhi Centre, 7, S.J.S. Sansanwal Marg, New Delhi 110 016

Social Scientist, Vol. 20, Nos. 9-10, September-October 1992

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