Agricultural Production and Indian History.
Edited by David Ludden
Preface to second edition.
13 September 2004 (version sent to OUP)
Agricultural Production, South Asian History, and Development Studies
Contemporary trends have produced a distinctly new setting for the second edition of Agricultural Production and Indian History, which now merits a new title to highlight India’s South Asian context and the progressive merger of agrarian history and development studies. We can now see the twentieth century more clearly as history. The 1980s now appear as a watershed decade, dividing our present-day from earlier times.1 The age of national independence is now firmly ensconced in the history of modernity, where liberalization and globalization appear as recent trends propelled by market forces, interests, ideas, technologies, and conflicts that arrived in the nineteenth century, which we can embrace loosely but usefully by the term “capitalism.”2 Until the 1980s, national governments endeavored to lead economic development so as to fortify independence and sovereignty by guiding, constraining, and promoting capitalism in the national interest. Since then, however, most politicians have come to believe and most students have learned in school that nations can only develop successfully by letting markets lead the way and joining the world of free market competition.
In this new context, agricultural production is not the subject it was twenty years ago. Farm produce provides an ever-diminishing proportion of national income, reducing academic interest. Planners no longer aspire to organize production, and academic interest has turned away from production to study wealth and poverty.3 Nehru’s agenda has lost its former centrality, and so has influence the influence of national parties. Collections of regional parties now form Indian governments; and this, combined with the intellectual impact of liberalization and globalization, has dissolved the cohesiveness of national debates about economic development. The brains of global capitalism seem to have all the answers and national planning seems a passé modernist elite project. Progress appears endlessly fragmented among groups defined by gender, race, religion, region, caste, and ethnicity, which compete for national resources amidst a rapid decline in the state’s capacity to determine economic outcomes. Thus, agricultural production no longer seems the core of the nation’s political economy, as it did in Nehru’s day; indeed, the national economy seems to have no centre at all.
History is a capacious bridge among disciplines that necessarily change with the times. Agrarian history has found one new productive niche in environmental studies, where scholars have shifted research agendas toward the exploration of entanglements among ecology, states, markets, and social life.4 The social sciences of development increasingly use historical methods and research in agrarian history helps to reorient studies of development amidst changing times. In this light, we can now read the essays reprinted here as case studies in uneven development.5 They all consider how agriculture in South Asia came to include the spatial and social disparities that typify capitalism.
These essays also indicate how ideas that people use to explain economic disparities infest policies that provoked persistent disparities among regions, localities, and groups. Under British rule, policy makers and analysts embraced the idea that racial, ethnic, and cultural differences explain disparities in wealth and power. Such ideas became unacceptable under national regimes, which instead embraced the idea that the kind of capitalism introduced under British rule produced economic backwardness in South Asia. In response, national plans guided state investments in development; land reforms and other redistributive programs sought to ease disparities and stimulate progress. Such strategies became unacceptable under liberalization and globalization, which spread the idea that only markets generate prosperity. Today, economic disparities appear mostly in the guise of excess, extreme poverty, which appears to result from failures to foster economic growth sufficient to bring all people and places into the convergent upward trajectory of wealth promised by neo-classical economics.6
Six essays in this book (by Stokes, Kaiwar, Satyanarayana, Bose, Raghavan, and Bates) consider economic inequality as a spatial phenomenon. They help to explain uneven growth in its horizontal, spatial dimension. Patterns of uneven development discussed in these chapters persist today. The Indo-Gangetic pattern that Eric Stokes describes now spans international borders to include Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab in India and Pakistan in the relatively wealthy west, and Bihar, Orissa, Northeast India, and Bangladesh in the much poorer east. Rural regions filled only with farms remain “backward” compared to “advanced” regions filled with urbanism, factories, and services. In this respect, South India is today’s analogue of the nineteenth century western Gangetic growth zone.7 In much of the south, growth linkages among farms, industry, village, town and city enable financiers to move among opportunities in various sectors.8 Intense agro-industrial linkages also characterize Gujarat.9 The poorest farm regions lack such linkages. The regional poverty that Vasant Kaiwar describes now spans the dry Deccan from Marathwada east across Telengana and south across Rayalaseema, where what he calls “agrarian crisis” has lasted over a century. In these regions, farmers burdened with huge debts and facing crop failure, foreclosure, and destitution have killed themselves in the hundreds since 1997, when booming tur dal prices crashed and drought, flood, and insect hordes followed. Suicidal farmers typically poison themselves with pesticide, symbolic of green revolution that left them behind.10
Spatial disparities in economic development leave some regions consistently worse off than others. We can use comparative historical methods to explore spatial divergence in economic trends that cause spatial disparities. Stokes and Kaiwar employ the most popular method, which treats areas independently. A less popular but important method treats each area contextually, inside a system of resource allocation. Independent and contextual comparisons yield explanatory problems that irritate but enrich one another. For instance, wealth disparities between the richest and poorest countries in the world increased over six-fold between 1870 and 1985, and are still increasing.11 Comparing countries independently indicates that rich countries succeed in generating more wealth for citizens; thus, differential rates of national development success become the explanatory problem. But contextual comparisons indicate that a global system of resource allocation has long benefited rich countries disproportionately; thus, the explanatory problem becomes how this system came into being and where it is heading. 12 Together, these two methods generate the interesting idea that increasing wealth also increases inequality. Recent research indicates that contemporary trends in economic growth and inequality began with the onset of nineteenth century industrial capitalism, which simultaneously enriched industrial economies and installed a modern system of global resource allocation.13
Spatial disparities in modern South Asia deserve much more attention. History indicates they have serious political impact. Today’s tendency in policy circles to give markets freer reign seems likely to aggravate spatial disparities, because markets tend to encourage investors to concentrate assets in places where dividends promise to be fulsome and secure.14 Capital eschews conditions of high risk that promise low returns, which typify poor places, where, as Kaiwar argues,15 local modes of using capital also undermine local accumulation. State policies and social decisions that follow market signals thus tend to encourage a clustering of capital accumulation around profitable sites where capital is already accumulating.16 Systems of resource allocation organized by states, business, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can thus effectively discriminate spatially, without anyone intending to do so, by simply following market signals, in a manner that parallels and often overlaps patterns of discrimination based on ethnicity, class, race, caste, and gender.
The history of Indo-Gangetic uneven development includes disparately endowed regions and also systemic spatial discrimination in recourse allocation. In the nineteenth century, Punjab became a major site for state investments in agriculture.17 Imperial investments in infrastructure clustered in west, and when planted in the east, favoured Calcutta and plantations. Private investment followed the same pattern. Investors discriminated systemically in favour of western provinces, Calcutta, and plantations, against the east, rural lowlands, and tribal mountains. The impact is still with us. It began to appear in 1905, when the fact that investors ignored the far east of British India became public knowledge in the Legislative Assembly of Eastern Bengal and Assam (1905-11), where political support for the province centred in Dhaka, facing opposition centred in Calcutta. In 1943-44, famine deaths in rural Bengal derived partly from public and private efforts to secure Calcutta.18 Between 1905 and 1944, private capital drained steadily from east to west Bengal, following bhadralok interests that moved wealth from eastern lowlands to Calcutta; while in the east, peasants used capital for basic needs, including rental payments to bhadralok landlords and interest payments to moneylenders to secure peasant property and family survival. The pursuit of security also led peasants out of eastern Bengal into Assam, where Bengali Muslims opened agricultural frontiers and entered Assam politics.19 In 1947, Pakistan yoked together extremes of Indo-Gangetic spatial inequality. Partition refugees in India met much better treatment in the west, where they became part of the mainstream, while in the east, they languished and radicalised the margins.20 By 1954, gross inequalities between East and West Pakistan effectively killed the “two nation theory.”21
After 1947, the spatial history of British India22 generated novel national territories that obscured long-term, interconnected trends in spatial disparity. Uneven development in the Indo-Gangetic basin dropped out of sight when its extremities fell into Pakistan and Bangladesh. Inside each new nation of South Asia, places remote from the heartland faced continuing spatial discrimination, above all, mountain regions. Northeast India and Chittagong Hill Tracts -- like mountain regions in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Burma23 -- still pose political problems for national integration. Alienation, separatism, rebellion, and meagre state investments in development still characterize mountain ranges and valleys formerly in the far east of British India.24 By contrast, big cities from Rangoon to Karachi and Kabul represent urban histories of spatial privilege.25 Urban-rural economic disparities are still increasing, now in fact more rapidly than ever,26 and they seem to be separating urban and rural economic interests so as to reinforce opposing political preferences for globalisation and free-market liberalization in big cities and for state investment, subsidies, and safety nets in the countryside. India’s 2004 Lok Sabha elections indicate this kind of urban-rural division sharpened in Andhra Pradesh under Chandra Babu Naidu, who became a golden boy of globalisation and then lost power to the force of rural discontent. Reflecting the policy impact of the 2004 rural political upsurge, the new Karnataka state budget has allocated much more funding for agrarian debt relief and crop insurance.27 A very different kind of rural upsurge is now responding to extreme spatial disparities in Nepal, where Maoists are in part waging a mountain war against the concentration of national wealth and power in Kathmandu.28
Big investments in the physical infrastructure of development have dramatic spatial affects. Calculating net benefits has long preoccupied scholars, who typically use cost-benefit analysis to hold investors accountable to standards of market efficiency, utilitarian benefit, and social justice. Today, the costs of major state water works, road projects, and such are more politically charged than ever, and popular movements routinely rally in opposition.29 Ian Stone lays out a cost-benefit account that vindicates one big nineteenth century irrigation project, and Stone concludes that these canals brought uneven development, “unequal gains, rather than gains and losses.”(p.143) Other scholars have found similar patterns of unequal yet overall positive gains at the local level in short-term before-and-after studies of new irrigation30 and in aggregate longitudinal studies of economic development in India since Independence.31 That economic development always delivers mixed results now seems standard wisdom.
Yet we might conceptualise – though we cannot calibrate precisely – an empirical scale of “unequal gains.” It might indicate, at the low end, benign discrimination that merely follows existing lines of inequality,32 and at the high end, extreme additional inequity. Development programs seem in general to follow existing inequality, but they can exaggerate, distort, or ameliorate established patterns, and some investors in development have clearly delivered severe losses to poor, politically weak groups in marginal places and huge benefits to richer, more powerful groups in privileged places. Union Carbide’s Bhopal disaster is the worst case of severe “unequal gains” imposed by the private sector.33 Big dams would certainly dominate the list of public sector entries at the punitive end of our inequality scale. Nevertheless, corporations rarely provide compensation for their actions, and cost-benefit analysts can still mount compelling arguments for huge hydraulic projects, which remain popular in the highest echelons.34
A long-term view of agrarian history shows why big dams are increasingly inequitable and persistently popular with government. Since the early days of farming in South Asia, most additional farm output has derived from agricultural expansion, that is, from the creation of new farmland, which brings new land under the plough or crops land more often. Increasing net farm productivity per acre became a major source of new output only after 1960. Building dams, canals, and related transport and energy infrastructure has preoccupied states in South Asia for so long because irrigation increases farm acreage and productivity, while dams can also produce electricity. Since 1880, acreage and cash value productivity has increased rapidly where big irrigation projects have opened dry land to new cultivation, in Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Sind, Gujarat, and Karnataka. All this strengthens the argument for big irrigation and hydropower projects, which have become more massive, productive, unwieldy, expensive, debatable, and fraught with punitive impact on mountain habitats.
Mountain regions are old agrarian frontiers whose inhabitants have long faced severely inequitable incorporation into dominant lowland states, societies, and economies, as Crispin Bates indicates in his essay in this volume.35 Modern development regimes have tended broadly to disadvantage native peoples in the mountains, where rapid agricultural expansion has come along with increasing settler immigration from the lowlands. From 1880 to 1980, the highest rates of increase in the proportion of farmland to total area in India appeared in Tripura (903%), Sikkim (698%), Nagaland (405%), Assam (333%), Rajasthan (326%), Mizoram (288%), Arunachal Pradesh (271%), and Orissa (206%).36 During this period, the native tribal population in Tripura shrank from over 50% to under 30%.37 Population density in the Chittagong Hill Tracts increased from 4 to 388 persons per square kilometre; and then, in the early 1960s the Karnaphuli Multipurpose Project raised the Kaptai Lake behind the Karnaphuli Dam -- now a tourist site generating substantial electricity for urban Bangladesh – which submerged 400 square miles and 54,000 acres of farms in the mountains, forcing 100,000 Chakmas off their land. 38 Likewise, today, the Government of India’s Sardar Sarovar Project pursues national benefits by punishing mountain peoples in Madhya Pradesh, forcing thousands off ancestral land above the Narmada River, destroying homes, towns, livelihoods, and heritage, to benefit lowland farmers and urbanites in Gujarat.39 Under contemporary conditions, it seems impossible to execute large dam projects without aggravating spatial inequity.
Canals that Stone considers came into being during the age of infrastructure investment that laid the physical frame for modern economies in South Asia, between 1857 and 1914. New technologies, controlling the mobility of water, labour, capital, people, ideas, information, and products -- on a scale never known before -- launched the modern age of agrarian globalisation by incorporating villagers across South Asia into the world market economy. During the early adolescence of industrialism, the expansive acceleration of the time/space of capitalism began to cover the globe with commodity production. B.B.Chaudhuri and A Satyanarayana track this process in two regions of British India. Agrarian commodities had travelled far and wide for centuries, but in the steam age, commodity crops came to define rural space, as a new transport system produced new urban spaces and sites of industry and mining. Spatial specialization multiplied interactively across the globe, as commercialism permeated farm life. This was a once-and-for-all process: there is turning back. It was, moreover, a global process: the time/space of capitalism made South Asia a new kind of region in a new kind of world.
Uneven development in the space/time of capitalism changed the spatial identity of agrarian environments; but spaces defined by commodities were not themselves inventions of the steam age. In eighteenth century Bengal, coins had marked commercial geographies for East India Company observers. In 1787, the Rupees in Rangpur were mostly French Arcots from Pondichery and Cooch Behar, because Rangpur did heavy trade with Chandranagore and Cooch Behar. English Arcot Rupees prevailed in Mymensingh, because Mymensingh merchants sold loads of rice in Calcutta. Specific coins also attached to individual commodities in specific places: in Dinajpur, merchants used Sonaut Rupees to buy rice and other grains, but they used French and English Arcots to buy ghee and oil, and they used only French Arcots to buy hemp and gunny. Long-distance connections were part of local economies in Bengal, where metal coins came mostly from Arcot and Pondichery,40 and cowry shells that provided the cheapest coins everywhere and the only coins in Sylhet came from the Maldives.41
The composition of agrarian space changed in the steam age when commodity chains gave a large number of local products geographically expansive identities. Opium, jute, and indigo are prime examples of nineteenth century Bengal farm products generated by world markets where the ups and downs of prices impinged sharply on local experience in some locales but not others. Such uneven spatial and temporal effects indicate that narrating a general history of commodity production or analyzing the general effect of commercialization ignores spatial specialization and crop-specific price movements across seasons and years that constitute the real space/time of capitalism. By 1900, commodity production defined South Asia as a region of the world economy, defined regions in South Asia, and defined localities in regions. Ceylon, Malaysia, Assam, Fiji and Mauritius were for plantations. Ceylon first produced coffee; then tea, rubber, cocoanut, and cinchona. Assam was tea country. Ceylon and Assam replaced China as top suppliers of English tea. Fiji and Mauritius meant sugar plantations. Labour supplies posed the major constraint for plantation capitalists who found the solution in eventually permanent indentured labour migration from labour export specialty areas in Bihar, Bengal, and southern Tamil districts.
Sites of commodity production demanded more commodities. Circuits of moving commodities linked commodity producers and consumers to one another in spaces that surpass the spatial imagination of national history. Modern Indian history has circulated in the space/time of capitalism, in the manner of globalization today, for over a century. Far-flung plantations in Malaysia, Fiji, Mauritius and the West Indies, as well as cities and farms in Burma and Africa developed circuits of commodity production and capital accumulation anchored in India. Tamil Chettiyars became local financiers on the rice frontier in Burma’s Irrawaddy River delta, which generated huge exports of rice for world consumers, including Indian cities that needed Burma rice so much that when Japan’s conquest of Burma cut rice exports, it precipitated the 1943-4 Bengal famine. In 1930, Indians composed almost half Rangoon’s population. In East and South Africa, Gujarati merchants and workers arriving from Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras provided labour and capital for railways and import-export dependent urbanism. The Indian diaspora was well underway a century ago: between 1896 and 1928, seventy-five percent of emigrants from Indian ports went to Ceylon and Malaya; ten percent, to Africa; nine percent, to the Caribbean; and the remaining six percent, to Fiji and Mauritius.
By 1914, most goods arriving by train in South Asia port cities -- the most economically privileged places in British India -- left the ports by ship. Though coal, coke, and ores came from mines, and tea came from plantations, most goods -- cotton, wheat, rice, oilseeds, jute, gunny bags, hides and skins, and wool -- came from farms near the railway lines that defined the spatial architecture of commodity space in South Asia. Most cotton came to Bombay from Maharashtra. All tea came to Calcutta and Colombo from British-owned plantations in Assam, Darjeeling, and hills around Kandy. Most export rice came to Rangoon. Wheat came primarily from fields under state irrigation in Punjab (60%) and western Uttar Pradesh (26%). Oilseeds came to Bombay from Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra. Coal, coke, and ores came from mines around Jharkhand into Calcutta and Bombay, where they stoked local industry. Eastern Bengal gave the world jute, which went mostly to Scotland, at first, but then to Calcutta, where jute cloth output had surpassed Dundee by 1908.
By 1914, industry had taken off in British India and manufactured goods comprised twenty percent of Indian exports, valued at ten percent of national income, figures never since surpassed. In 1914, India was the world's fourth largest cotton textile producer. Cotton mills numbered 271 and employed 260,000 people, 42% in Bombay city, 26% elsewhere in Bombay Presidency (mostly Nagpur), and 32% elsewhere in British India -- all at major railway junctures. Coal, iron, steel, jute and other industries likewise produced specialized regional concentrations of heavy industry, around Bombay, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Kanpur, Calcutta, Jamshedpur, and Madras. Between 1854 and 1914, jute mills around Calcutta multiplied from 1 to 64; the number of looms and scale of employment increased twice as fast.
Early in the twentieth century -- a hundred years ago -- two sets of historical processes that continue to animate economic development in South Asia today were well entrenched in the agrarian countryside. They seem to contradict one another, but do not: they are two faces of uneven development in the time/space of capitalism. On the one hand, spatial differentiation and integration produced a diverse, unified national economy, physically, institutionally, and ideologically, the geographical basis for national identity, national interest, and national politics. On the other hand, a profusion of commodity chains, flows, circuits, specializations, and interdependencies merged into the global economy as a collection of self-interested regional and local domains. A.Satyanarayana shows how these two processes interacted in Andhra Pradesh, where nature’s geography and state investments in irrigation articulated the space/time of capitalism quite differently in the interior and on the coast. He indicates how India’s internal and external markets sank different kinds of local roots amidst India’s advancing industrialization.
In spaces of uneven development, social inequality maps unequal economic opportunities and dividends; and the vertical hierarchy of social inequality takes a particular local and regional form inside each horizontally differentiated geographical space. The last four chapters in this book consider overlapping elements that generate uneven development in social space. Crispin Bates and Sugata Bose explicitly map spatial differences, respectively in Central India and British Bengal. Bates considers the incorporation of mountain people in Madhya Pradesh into lowland agrarian power structures described by T.C.A. Raghavan. Shahid Amin considers sugar production -- which variously occupied agrarian space in the Americas, South Asia, and Southeast Asia -- in the specific context of Gorakhpur, in eastern UP, near Bihar. These chapters indicate how spatial forms of social power particularize uneven development geographically.
If any South Asian country consisted of only one kind of society, it would be much easier to understand the agrarian history of economic development. If policy-makers did not have to cope with spatially specific patterns of inequality -- which now constitute electoral constituencies -- policy could more easily apply theories of efficiency and justice. But the reality of South Asia is that localities and regions have their own ways of working. Places have their own histories of incorporation into states, empires, and the nation. The nation’s myriad local legacies of social authority and legal rights have always made their impact on political systems, but now more than ever, through elections. Whether we think it accurate to call elections “democratic,” in fact, depends largely on how we interpret the meaning of votes cast in constituencies imbued with histories of local power like those described in our last four chapters.
These chapters all consider regions where the British instituted landlord property, which made the verticality of uneven development especially deep and complex, in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bangladesh, and Madhya Pradesh. Adding Bihar would fill out the list of regions where land rights have been most contentious.42 Scholars, policy-makers, and politicians have long considered South Asian landlordism and its attendant institutions and attitudes as obstacles to development.43 These chapters turn our mind, however, to the intricacy of agrarian inequality, which includes property rights; but also includes social power in markets for produce, land, labour, and credit; includes direct political influence, like that of sugar capitalists and landlords; and includes culturally embedded discrimination by caste, ethnicity, and gender. Landlordism is a visible instrument of power that by virtue of its British legal constitution became amenable to nationalist critique and legal reform. By the 1980s, however, land reform had run its course,44 and by then, scholars had focused research on other instruments of power, which underlay, survived, and blunted land reforms, and which organized production in regions where the British instituted Ryotwari peasant property. The resulting academic debates (which Sugata Bose refers to in his chapter) have hinged on precise descriptions of everyday social controls over the means of agricultural production in specific areas.45 Interlinked markets46 imbued with social power and cultural meaning thus entered the study of agrarian political economy; they appears prominently in chapters by Shahid Amin, Sugata Bose, and Crispin Bates.
Since the 1980s, digging beneath formalities of property rights into deeper constituents of inequality has preoccupied historians.47 Gender has emerged as a fundamental axis of uneven development.48 A gender lens reveals intractable structures of inequality. Extreme discrimination against females -- depicted vividly by excess female child mortality -- distinguishes the lowlands of northern South Asia, including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.49 In South Asia and also internationally, spatial differences in the Gender Development Index do not follow patterns of wealth and poverty. Gender disparities are in fact most severe in some of South Asia’s richer states, while gender equity is relatively high in some very poor northeast mountain states. Economic growth thus does not by itself reduce gender inequity.50 Property rights seem to be the best guarantor of female benefits during economic development. Where women have more secure property rights, other measures of gender equity generally improve. 51 Gender-insensitive policies of social asset redistribution -- such as land reform -- may actually aggravate gender inequity, even in Kerala,52 the Indian state most famous for equitable economic development, where all “achievements were possible because of mass literacy and because traditional patterns of gender, caste, and class dominance were transformed.”53
Other intractable vertical inequalities that seldom attract attention also lurk inside spatial disparities in South Asia. For example, monsoons discriminate against some regions, and against people in the vulnerable locations, typically poor, low status, and politically marginal people. Monsoons in 2004 showed that drought and flood can simultaneously savage regions of perennial water scarcity and excess, disadvantaged by monsoons even in normal years. Manipulating nature to benefit one place can also make matters worse in others. In Bangladesh, the Buriganga River is now washing away one village near Dhaka because a private brick kiln built across the river, encroaching on the riverbed, has forced the river to tear at the opposite shore, destroying villagers’ ancestral property. On a vastly larger scale, the Government of India now plans a massive river link project to channel water from northeast regions of water-excess to dry Deccan regions of water-scarcity, which would deprive people in Bangladesh of water they need to survive. Upstream advantage is a literally vertical relation of power built into territorial systems of control over nature.
India’s 2004 Lok Sabha elections indicate the public is today more insistent that policy-makers take seriously everyday economic problems. Historical research can play a constructive role toward this end by explaining present-day reality as a process embedded in temporal and spatial dynamics of change. This volume indicates that dynamics of change all around us today have long historical trajectories. History is thus vital in development studies.54 Bridging conceptual and empirical gaps that separate times and spaces of British rule from those of national Independence provides a better understanding of our present. Yet we are afflicted by the idea that the past is a different world; and in addition, historians’ professional preference for description over prescription tends to alienate history from development studies. In thus seems apt to conclude by indicating some prescriptive implications of the history in this volume.
Markets energize economic growth and deliver aggregate benefits. Markets also abide inequality; they often raise incomes disproportionately for privileged groups; and they often concentrate wealth and opportunity in privileged places. When visible hands of policy obey the market’s invisible hand, the resulting harmony makes it appear natural to favour people and places where investments pay secure dividends. Intentionally equitable development can thus seem odd and impractical. In such settings, pursuing equity is fraught with disquiet, disharmony, and even disrespect for established norms and respected traditions. Pursuing equity cuts against strong currents of mainstream wisdom; it would seem to require the mobilization of people in places disadvantaged by uneven development. Pursuing equitable systems of property rights remains a viable goal, and land reform, a useful policy option.55 Histories of land reform in Kerala,56 Uttar Pradesh,57 West Bengal and Bangladesh58 indicate land reform’s positive potential, which is far from exhausted.59 Mores modestly, we might address inequalities by establishing entitlements to protect people against unacceptable “uneven gains,” for example, against falling into poverty amidst market-driven economic growth.60 Such efforts need local, state, and national attention, but also international organization, as India-Bangladesh water issues indicate. Productive cooperation among South Asian countries will benefit from a richer appreciation of their shared history,61 quite visible in this volume. I hope this new edition and additional bibliography will be useful for students and scholars who strive to improve our future.
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Chowdhry, Prem. 1994. Veiled women: shifting gender equations in rural Haryana, 1880-1990. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Clark, Alice W. Editor. 1994. Gender and Political Economy: Explorations of South Asian Systems. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Clark, Dana, Jonathan Fox, and Kay Treakle. Editors. 2003. Demanding accountability: civil-society claims and the World Bank Inspection Panel. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.
Datta, Rajat. 2000. Society, Economy, and the Market: Commercialization in Rural Bengal, circa 1760-1800. Delhi: Manohar.
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Ghimere, Krishna B. Editor. 2001 Whose Land? Civil Society Perspectives on Land Reform and Rural Poverty Reduction. Regional Experiences from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Geneva: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.
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———.1993. “Family Structures, Property Relations and the Agrarian Economy of the Bombay Presidency: A Comment on Kaiwar,” Journal of Peasant Studies 20, 3: 515-520
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Hardiman, David 1995. “Community, Patriarchy, and Honour: Raghu Bhanagre's Revolt,” Journal of Peasant Studies 23, 1: 88-130.
———.1996. Feeding the Baniya: peasants and usurers in Western India . Delhi and New York: Oxford University Press.
Hashmi, Taj ul Islam. 1994. Pakistan as a Peasant Utopia: The Communalization of Class Politics in East Bengal, 1920-1947. Dhaka: University Press Limited.
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