- Has Indian agriculture transcended towards capitalist mode of production? 10
- Agrarian poverty in India has its roots in the oppressive colonial land regimes. Explain. 20
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Q1. Has Indian agriculture transcended towards capitalist mode of production? 10
- Capitalist mode of production: Private ownership of means of production and profit maximization
- Heterogeneity in modes of production based on geography
- Multiple modes of production by Gail Omvedt: Feudalistic mode of production, Semi-feudalistic mode of production (Eastern India, North-Eastern India), Low intensive capitalist mode of production (South India), Highly intensive capitalist mode of production (Punjab, Haryana)
- Caste-class nexus predominantly realized in agriculture. Also results in dominant caste politics
- Land reforms to bring equity in agricultural production. But, Benami transfers affect redistribution.
- Rudolph and Rudolph Bullock Capitalists- Intensive agriculture in Punjab, Haryana has improved class position of land holding castes
- Staple crops, horticulture crops → capitalist mode of production
- According to Jan Breman, the relationship between landlords and agricultural workers has been shifted from Patronage to exploitation.
- However, capitalisation of agriculture is not uniform
- According to Utsa Patnaik, it largely depends upon factors like size of landholding, the intensity of use of hired labours, net production form land and profitability
- Kathleen Gough in her study of Kumbapetti village (TN) found that, there is simultaneous existence of big bourgeoise rich farmers, petty bourgeoise farmers, semi proletariat and pure proletariat farmers. Thus the capitalist MoP in India has not fully developed
Q2. Agrarian poverty in India has its roots in the oppressive colonial land regimes. Explain. 20
- The colonial impact of British rule on Indian agrarian social structure was one of degradation.
- The introduction of new land revenue systems, commercialisation of agriculture, diversion of raw materials to Britain and replacement of food crops by cash crops proved to be the dominant factors.
- The diversion of raw materials from rural areas to Britain severed the link between rural and urban areas. This led to the alienation of the peasants from others. The new land revenue systems and commercialisation of agriculture made land as private property. This broke down the reciprocal relationship between castes in the jajmani system. The capitalist mode of production created class as a basis of stratification apart from the existing caste system. Cash replaced the barter system of exchange. Thus the processes of depeasantization, proletarianisation of peasants and landlessness resulted in agrarian poverty and famine.
- Land tenure systems and impact on agrarian structure:
- PERMANENT SETTLEMENT: It was introduced in Bengal and Bihar and created a new social class of zamindars who collected revenue for the British. The Zamindari class paid a fixed amount to the British based on a contract. In return, zamindar's right over land became inheritable. As a consequence, farmers became tenants without any rights over their land. They became alienated and exploited.
- RYOTWARI SYSTEM: Introduced in the Madras region, this system allowed direct interaction between the State/Company and farmers. Farmers could use, sell, mortgage and lease the land as long as they paid their taxes. They were evicted if they did not pay the taxes. Regular revision of taxes and no respite during droughts or famines left the peasants pauperised.
- MAHALWARI SYSTEM: In this system, the unit of assessment was the village. The village community had to distribute tax collection targets among the cultivators, each farmer contributed his share in the revenue. Farmers had the right to sell or mortgage their property. This system also pushed farmers to grow cash crops, as revenue was to be paid in cash only. It led to the problem of fragmentation of land, as it came to be divided among the people due to inheritance.
- Overall impact of the land tenure system on the agrarian structure:
- There was widespread exploitation and alienation of the vast majority of peasants. Due to a lack of opportunities elsewhere, there was overcrowding in agriculture leading to polarisation.
- Class-based inequalities added to the existing caste-based social inequalities.
- Large sections of people were subjected to poverty.
- Exploitative systems led to perpetual indebtedness among the tenants, leading to bondedlabour and impoverishment.
- It led to the stagnation of agriculture in India both in terms of production and productivity.
- Thus, the colonial land tenure systems degraded the Indian agrarian social structure by breaking down the interdependent relations between farmers and labourers and those between the rural and urban areas. After independence, land reforms were introduced which continue to treat land as private property while ensuring reduction of dysfunctional impacts on the agrarian structure through MSP, government procurement and such other facilities.