Social Scientist. v 5, no. 56 (March 1977) p. 51.

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Class Differentiation of the Peasantry: Results of Rural Surveys in Andhra Pradesh

P Sundarayya


TO IDENTIFY the class differentiation taking place among the peasantry after nearly three decades of independence, and to clarify our understanding of the agrarian question., an inquiry was undertaken in certain villages of Andhra Pradesh, based on a Marxist-Leninist theoretical approach. The results of the study of two villages, Ananta-varam and Gaza, conducted in the first quarter of 1974, are given below.

Statistical Methodology

A detailed questionnaire was used to collect the required information. The enumerator approached every household in the village and took down detailed answers. From these responses the data were retabulated in the required form.

The basic unit of study is the single family. A single family is defined as one male adult, wife and dependants—children and others. Every male who is a major (over 18 years) who has a legal right of equal share is considered a single family, even if he has not yet married. Families where woman is the head, with no adult male living, are also taken as separate single families with her children and dependants. In cases where there are more single families than one in a household, to each is assigned an equal share of items like total assets and incomes.

The extent of land owned bv each household—wet, dry, very fertile, ordinary or poor—is converted into a common average wet. The conversion rate is based on the incomes derived on one acre wet or dry-taking the average yields based on fertility and other factors over a number of years, and accepted by the peasants as the norm in the village at that time. These conversion rates are taken for each household separately, as the character of the land and level of yield vary from one individual case to another. Where the average for the whole village in terms of soil fertility, crop pattern and other factors is more or less the same, the conversion rate may be the same for all the households The preliminary form of tabulation is shown in the notes at the end of this report, and is based on the sizp of family holding, measured in acres of converted wetland.1

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