Social Scientist. v 27, no. 316-317 (Sept-Oct 1999) p. 1.


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Editorial Note

All except one of the essays published in the current number of Social Scientist were originally presented at a seminar in Thiruvananthapuram organised on the first death anniversary of Comrade E.M.S.Namboodiripad. The lone exception is Utsa Patnaik's paper on "EMS on the Agrarian Question", which was presented at a seminar held in Perinthalmana, close to EMS's birth place, a few months after his death. Each paper in the present volume therefore is meant as a tribute to the memory of EMS, and bringing them together is a means of Social Scientist's paying its own tribute to him. The current number of the journal is designed to be a posthumous homage to Comrade EMS.

Utsa Patnaik's paper analyses EMS's views on the agrarian question based on his application of the Marxist theory of ground-rent. His views were first set forth in his famous Minute of Dissent to the Malabar Tenancy Commission, which, together with the Bengal Provincial Kisan Sabha's Memorandum to the Floud Commission, constitutes one of the classics of communist writing on the Indian agrarian question. After nearly a half-century, he wrote a piece in one of the Marx Centenary volumes of Social Scientist (of which there were three), again looking at the agrarian question from the perspective of the theory of ground-rent, a piece which can also be seen as EMS's own contribution to the "Mode of Production" debate in India. Utsa Patnaik shows the remarkable consistency in EMS's views on the agrarian question over this half-century, and argues that this consistency in turn derives from the objective fact that, notwithstanding all the changes that have taken place in Indian agriculture, the basic democratic tasks on the agrarian front have not been accomplished.

All the other pieces deal, in one way or another, with the emergence of communal-fascism in our country: its implications, the distortions of history it resorts to in its attempt to legitimise itself, and its links with the current conjuncture. The articles are not of course exclusively devoted to this theme; they are quite wide-ranging. But this theme is one on which they all converge, and around it they make a set of points which are both insightful and instructive. Bipan Chandra's paper for instance categorically refutes the claim, which



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