Social Scientist. v 19, no. 212-13 (Jan-Feb 1991) p. 96.

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methods of study... grounded in the need for expedience in data collection and analysis' (p. 41) and hence a * shortcut* (p. 43). An attempt to 'demonstrate* this is made by experiment which is paralleled in establishing the superiority of the measuring rod over the naked eye in ascertaining the height of the Qutab Minar! Clearly, when magnitudes are to be quantified what better option than quantifying them? The study itself establishes the need to locate quantification within an appreciation of the qualitative dynamics of the issues analysed.

In the following, we look at some of their major arguments and some of the problems underlying them. The chapter on ecology focusses on the contrast between the two ecotypes with regard to the natural preconditions (climate, soil), irrigation systems, land use and cropping patterns, technology and animal husbandry. The two ecotypes adapt differently to the water deficit for most of the year in this semi-arid region—the wet area with river canal irrigation and the dry with tank and/or well irrigation. They report the spread of mechanisation essentially in the dry area by way of pump sets, with fairly restricted tractorisation especially due to unsuitability of tractors in the wet ecotype. The differences in the cropping pattern can be explained to a large extent by the access to assured irrigation, as can be the spread of High Yield Variety and Local and Improved variety seeds of paddy.

HYV seeds, are dominant in the dry area but are chosen essentially by tailenders in the wet area. Hence, improved water management in the traditional paddy belts can lead to a rejection of HYV seeds on profitability considerations alone.

Despite reporting increased monetisation of inputs and area under cash crops, Athreya et al register surprise that the more productive wet area does not produce its subsistence foodgrain requirement, arid dismiss this finding as spurious. However, in an environ of commercialised farming where market participation is not restricted to a monetisation of the surplus, a net 'import* of foodgrains is far from unexpected.

In the chapter on Land Relations, the systems of land ownership and tenancy are viewed in the context of changing technology, land reform legislation and their impact in changing production relations. As far as the resident agricultural population is concerned, there is a picture of predominant peasant cultivation in the dry area, which displays low levels of landlessness, less skewed land distribution coupled with largely owner operated holdings.

The wet area presents a scenario of extreme polarisation, with high rates of landlessness and skewedness of land distribution. Half the operated area is under tenancy, 46% of which is regulated. Two findings need emphasis despite inadequate treatment by the authors.

In stark contrast to most village level and some macro studies, Athreya et al report a distribution of operated holdings which is less

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