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

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Dividing the Poor

Dividing the Poor?
M Kunhaman Divided Poor; Study of a Kerala Village by Saradamoni; Ajanta Publications, New, Delhi, 1981; pp 158, Rs 45.
SOCIAL CHANGE, to be real and meaningful, must be sparked off by changes in the economic system. A stratified society is a manifestation of a stratified economic order and the disappearance of the former is contingent upon the removal of the latter. Of course, some social change, without economic change, is possible through policy interventions. However, the equality sought to be achieved on the social plane will remain an illusion so Ions as the economic system with its underlying conflicts and contradictions is not changed. This has been proved by the experience of Kerala, by far the most progressive of the Indian states. In the traditional agrarian relations, based on a three-tier system of interest in. and control over land, the surplus was shared between the organisers of production (mainly the forward and middle caste people) and the owners of the means of production (predominantly Brahmins), leaving the 'tillers of the soil' (such as the pulayas) as agrestic slaves. They were, moreover, considered untouchables.

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