4 SOCIAL SCIENTIST
New relationships were evolved by the interaction of the old with the new; but what occurred was a change without social revolution. Consequently, the new social basis of agriculture was not more conducive either to economic development or to economic welfare. The point here is not whether the new structure was better or worse, nor that the old society disintegrated: but what came in its place was, if not more regressive, much of a straitjacket on the development of agriculture. The new structure or relationships or forms of surplus extraction and utilization (a) did not provide incentives or opportunities to any class or stratum engaged in agriculture in any position to make modern improvements and (b) led to the siphoning-off of resources from agriculture and the agriculturist.
Broadly speaking, these changes came as a result of the introduction of new land systems, heavy land-revenue demand, legal and political changes, destruction of indigenous industries, disintegration of the age-old union between agriculture and industry, integration with the world capitalist economy in a subordinate position, and above all the fact that the Indian economy and agriculture underwent a commercial revolution which was unaccompanied by an industrial revolution. More specifically, Indian agriculture was commercialized without any change occuring in its technical base or productive organization.
AGRARIAN CLASS STRUCTURE IN COLONIAL PERIOD
One major consequence of the colonialization of Indian economy and agriculture was stagnation in agricultural output, decline in productivity, fall in per capita availability of food, and in general the increasing impoverishment of the cultivator. However, here we are not in the main interested in the poverty and misery of the peasant but changes in the agrarian class structure in the recent colonial and then the post-colonial period.
We have discussed these changes in very broad outlines, often ignoring regional differences. It is rather awkward to generalize about the entire country when wide differences in pattern came into being because of the varied and prolonged colonial historical process. But we have done so because the general elements of colonial agriculture and class structure came to be similar all over the country. At the same time, often statistical data and other evidence from particular parts of the country have been given because of the paucity of much data and evidence for all parts, or at least of their ready and easy availability for reference purposes.
At the top of the agrarian class structure came the zamindars and landlords who owned and controlled most of the land. By the 1920s, landlordism had become the main feature in both the zamindari and ryotwari tenure areas. Moreover, through sub-infeudations, the number