Social Scientist. v 5, no. 57 (April 1977) p. 61.


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Review Article

Lenin on the Agrarian Question

Several theoretical and purely empirical approaches are discernible on the agrarian problem which is of paramount national priority in countries where most of the population lives in villages. A growing number of social scientists have either adopted or shown academic interest in the Marxist-Leninist stand, viewpoint and method on the subject. It has naturally given rise to sharp differences of opinion and interpretation, which can be squarely met only through scientific study. We publish below an annotated reading list of Lenin's writings on the agrarian question over a period exceeding three decades.

THE half-century intervening the abolition of serfdom in Russia (1861) and the Russian Revolution (1917) was animated by a great debate in socialist and democratic circles on the agrarian question in its theoretical, empirical and political aspects, not only in Russia but also on the continent. Lenin began his political career in the early 1890s as a serious student of this question and kept up his interest until his death. For, the conquest of power very much depended on a proper understanding of the question. His writings show that he kept himself abreast of whatever agricultural statistics were being currently published in different countries. He examined them critically, rearranged them if necessary, and tested his Marxist stand in the light of these findings. Lenin's method in handling these materials remains yet to be fully and critically analyzed. It is interesting to note that any questions which are coming up before political economists of India today are precisely those which were debated upon internationally at the close of the nineteenth century, particularly in Germany, eastern Europe and Russia. Lenin's ideas emerged from that controversy and in turn, profoundly influenced it and the related course of history as well.

To a large extent, our agricultural economists have remained unaffected by, even unconcerned with and ignorant of, these developments. Some of the relevant books by Lenin weie published in translation fiom



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