ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Christians and Marxists

to narrow the extent of the market facilities to their own borders by rigging tariffs, regulating imports and exports, allowing roads to decay, and attempting to attain internal self- sufficiency in food rather than moving their states into a wider exchange economy." The princes were afraid that if they became linked economically to the outside world, 'they were likely to become subservient politically. The commercial class was cramped also by the fact that the peasants had no ownership rights in land and could not mortgage their lands for loans. Moneylenders were unable to exploit the peasantry in the manner their fellows did in British India. This state of affairs created considerable discontent amongst the commercial classes of Saurashtra. Many migrated from the region, going particularly to Bombay where the opportunities were far better. This merely fanned the discontent, for after 1917 the Gujarati trading classes of British India became staunch Gandhians, and the movement inevitably flowed back to relatives and fellow merchants in Saurashtra. In their struggle with the princes between 1917 and 1948, the commercial classes tried to win the peasantry to their side, but the rulers stopped them from going to the villages to agitate. As a result, when the bourgeoisie gained power in Saurashtra in 1948, it was not because they had brought the princes to their knees through mass agitation, but because of the replacement of the British by Congress at the all- India level After Independence the Vanias and Brahmans who gained power in Saurashtra set about winning the support of the Patidar peasantry through tenancy legislation. Between 1948 and 1955, the landlord classes lost considerable amounts of land to rich and middle peasants who before had been their tenants. An attempt of armed revolt by the princes was crushed with ease. The rural population was brought into the market economy by the substitution of land revenue in cash for the old system of rent in kind. Additional cesses and systems of corvee labour were abolished. Tenancy abolition in Saurashtra was far more successful than in many other areas of India, partly because the princes lacked the power to resist (as happened in Rajasthan), and partly because the low density of population meant that there was land for all. The result was a rise in agricultural productivity and a shift to cash crops Between 1949 and 1964, the total area under food crops fell, the area under cotton remained steady, while the area under groundnuts rose to 41 per cent of the total cultivated area of Saurashtra, The cities also grew considerably. Industrial development was particularly notable in the processing of raw agricultural materials, such as cotton and groundnuts. Communications, and particularly the road system, were developed. After Independence the rural areas kept pace with the urban areas to such an extent that the commercial classes who had become the rulers in 1948 began to be challenged politically by the formerly weak Patidar peasantry.

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