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

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Sowing Seeds for Red Revolution


After reading the EPW editorial “No Panacea for Agrarian Distress” (15 April 2017), I remembered Daniel Thorner, a leftist American economist who did research on India. In 1969, he had written an article in the EPW called “Capitalist Farming in India” (27 December) and had discussed the phrase Red Revolution coined by Ashok Rudra vis-à-vis the Green Revolution. One should read those articles in juxtaposition with the above-mentioned editorial in the EPW. We should also visit rural areas and see the existence of feudal (not capitalist) farmers living in juxtaposition with a large number of rural small and marginal farmers and landless poor. Glaring examples, not far from Mumbai, include the feudal wineries and sugar factories in drought-prone areas of Western Maharashtra existing side by side with thousands of small farmers.

Obviously, something has gone wrong in Indian agriculture for the past so many years. I remember the International Sociology Conference organised by the Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta in 1969 in which both Thorner and his wife Alice Thorner had participated. Irawati Karve had spoken on social issues. V M Dandekar of Gokhale Institute had given a passionate keynote address against the brain drain of India and had warned that the same would cause long-term damage. P C Mahalanobis and C R Rao both were on the dais with Dandekar. The time has now come to revisit that history and design policies for the present India based on what thinkers in those days were reflecting on, writing about and warning us of.

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Updated On : 28th Apr, 2017


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