Agrarian Change in India
Surinder S. Jodhka
153 x 234 mm
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Despite its steady growth during the post-Independence period, agriculture in India has been progressively shrinking in terms of its contribution to the national income. However, it continues to provide a source of livelihood and employment to a large proportion of Indians. Its social worth even in 21st-century India remains far greater than its economic value. Given its demographic and social weight, it remains crucial for policy makers.

Further, in countries like India and the larger universe of the Global South, agrarian economies function within a variety of complex relational structures, shaped by local histories and the broader processes of their political economies. Thus, the question of agrarian change is as much about social transformation as it is about economic growth. India presents a fascinating example of such a process. Despite a common political history, trajectories of agrarian change vary widely across regions of the country. Social science scholarship on the subject has also been extremely rich and varied.

Changes in India’s economic paradigm in the early 1990s shifted the state’s focus away from agriculture, leaving it largely to the vagaries of the market. This posed a huge challenge for the agricultural sector, particularly for those with small and marginal holdings. The accelerated integration of agriculture with the national and global markets, prompted by the introduction of newer technologies, has also been the source of a social and cultural fragmentation of rural life, a weakening of kinship ties, and produced a general crisis of its economy.

This volume is a selection of seminal readings, published in the Economic and Political Weekly by some of the leading scholars of the field. They present extensive and in-depth research on agrarian economy, its social structures and their transformations over the past century. The book is an invaluable resource for students, teachers, researchers and policy actors, as also readers who wish to understand the fascinating and complex dynamics of the Indian agrarian scene and its contemporary history.

Surinder S. Jodhka is Professor of Sociology at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. A recipient of the ICSSR-Amartya Sen Award for Distinguished Social Scientists, some of his recent publications include India’s Villages in the 21st Century (edited with Edward Simpson, 2019); and A Handbook of Rural India (2018).

List of Tables and Figures
List of Abbreviations

Surinder S. Jodhka
I. Conceptual Frames

1. A Post-Marxian Theory of Peasant Economy: The School of A. V. Chayanov
Daniel Thorner

2. The Agrarian Question in the Twenty-first Century
Sam Moyo, Praveen Jha and Paris Yeros

3. Gandhi and Agrarian Classes
Abha Pandya

II. Holding Size and Land Reforms

4. Trends in Land Relations: A Note
Pranab Bardhan

5. Abolition of Landlordism in Kerala: A Redistribution of Privilege
Ronald J. Herring

6. Changing Land Relations in Punjab and Implications for Land Reforms
Sucha Singh Gill

7. Ownership Holdings of Land in Rural India: Putting the Record Straight
Vikas Rawal

III. The Green Revolution and Market Edifice

8. India’s Green Revolution and Beyond: Visioning Agrarian Futures on Selective Readings of Agrarian Pasts
Richa Kumar

9. Development Policies and Agricultural Markets
Ramesh Chand

10. States of Wheat: The Changing Dynamics of Public Procurement in Madhya Pradesh
Mekhala Krishnamurthy

IV. Relational Structures and Transitions

11. Relations of Production in Pre-colonial India
Sumita Chatterjee and Ashok Rudra

12. Semi-feudalism or Capitalism?: Contemporary Debate on Classes and Modes of Production in India
Alice Thorner

13. New Relations of Production in Haryana Agriculture
Sheila Bhalla

14. Agricultural Labourers, the State and Agrarian Transition in Uttar Pradesh
Jens Lerche

15. De-feminisation of Agricultural Wage Labour in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal
Loes Schenk-Sandbergen

16. Land Distribution among Scheduled Castes and Tribes
B. B. Mohanty

17. Social Profile of Agricultural Entrepreneurs: Economic Behaviour and Lifestyle of Middle-Large Farmers in Central Gujarat
Mario Rutten

18. The Farmer-capitalists of Coastal Andhra Pradesh
Carol Boyack Upadhya

19. Inclusive Development?: Migration, Governance and Social Change in Rural Bihar
Gerry Rogers and Janine Rogers

V. Emergent Agrarians

20. Agrarian Distress in Bidar: Market, State and Suicides
A. R. Vasavi

21. Farmers’ Suicides and Response of Public Policy: Evidence, Diagnosis and Alternatives from Punjab
Anita Gill and Lakhwinder Singh

22. Resurrecting Scholarship on Agrarian Transformations
Alpa Shah and Barbara Harriss-White

23. Agrarian Changes in the Times of (Neoliberal) ‘Crises’: Revisiting Attached Labour in Haryana
Surinder S. Jodhka

Notes on the Authors

1. Book review | Published in The International Journal of Community and Social Development, 25 June 2023.
2. Exploring the agrarian crisis | The Tribune, 24 May 2022.
3. Book notice | The Hindu, Chennai, 3 April 2022.
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