Role of Agrarian Culture in India Development

Categories: Deforestation

Paper in the background of rebellions incorporated new agrarian concepts. Unlike the peasant movements, the tribal movements developed a religious and political overtone. The failure of the first phase of movements had made the tribes look inward. They sought to restructure the entire social system; which became the beginning of revitalisation movements. The leadership of the movements emerged from the ranks of peasants and educated tribals was offered by those outsiders who had gained a footing among the tribes. Like other segments of the Indian society, it, too, was transformed by colonialism but in a far more profound sense than has been known so far.

The uneven impact of colonialism could be understood with reference to the specificities of the local situations and structures including the tribal (Singh 1978).
Political economy is the study of production and trade and their links with custom, government and law. It is the study and use of how economic theory and methods influence and develop different social and economic systems, such as capitalism, socialism and communism, and it also analyses how public policy has created and implemented (Robbins 1976).

The tribal population was considered as most deprived and vulnerable community which faces severe economic exclusion. In India, tribal community got neglected for long centuries until independence, after that they were considered into mainstream life through various government policies. Tribal development poses a challenge to policy makers, administrators and social workers. Living conditions of most of the tribes are more backward with compared to monetary and even in economic aspects such as earnings and income (Vidyarthi 1981).

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In India, government initiated various developmental policies for tribals as they are considered to be most backward community in the society. From historical point of view, tribals have been subjected to various forms of worst exploitation and isolation. In the contemporary India tribals have been facing high level of social injustice in distribution of common resources. In the colonial period of India, British were interested in isolation and exploitation of tribes. However, after independence in the name of development, most of tribal communities are affected with displacement and migration.
Political economy is the study of both political and economic mainly running between the economy and the political sociology via the society and social classes. The well-defined definition of political economy is “the study of the political factor in its interaction with the economic relations.”
Economic reforms are drawing a new dividing line in the society between small groups of beneficiaries and other vast sections of casualties. The political economy of reforms designed for and by affluent India which can only to be resisted with a political economy of radical transformation in favour of working people\'s welfare. The pro-reforms discourse in India no longer revolves around the dream theme of a growth miracle. The essence of globalisation lies in the imposition of global capital\'s complete authority to call the shots to pick and choose countries, regions and sectors of the economy across the globe and dictate the terms and levels of investment. Agrarian reforms initiated in the first few decades after independence however never aimed at sweeping away the vestiges of feudalism. Even though the ongoing economic reforms are yet to be fully extended to the agricultural sector, attempts to reverse and roll back as same as the earlier agrarian reforms which have already begun. Agriculture indebted peasants are being driven to suicides. In the urban economy, manufacturing is being increasingly marginalised by the rapid rise of the speculation of intensive service sector. Production is also being increasingly channelised through ancillaries and informal sector units. The disorganisation of the organised sector, especially the segment of it belonging to the public sector, and growing casualisation of labour are having a depressing impact on the working conditions and living standards of major sections of the working class. The political economy of radical transformation can also see where the economic sovereignty and self-reliance of the nation will reinforce and get rein- forced by a firm accent on the working people's welfare (Bhattacharya 1999).
Political economy is branch of social science which studies the interrelationship between political and economic aspects. To measure the relation between both the factors are not simple because they are not unidirectional, as to relate them only from political to economical. The reverse linkage was also very important. But it is very complex process. To know the reverse relation between both the factors, there is a need of understanding fundamentals of the relation between the societies including class structure. Especially into the Marxian ideology of class structure, which is also known as political sociology. The relation which start from economic to political via social classes is called as a theory of political economy. Both the factors in the branch of political economy were essential, either of two linkages is one sided game. But, both together will construct a theory of political economy. To understand the roots of the political economy, will only understood through class structure, where the concept will start from political to economic. The structure of the society is very much important to understand the roots of the political economy and branches which includes several other factors. Study of the political economy is divided into three branches which are social analysis, political analysis and economic analysis (Gupta 1992).
Adivasi’s and dalits were the most affected communities due to capitalism nature introduced within the globalisation policies. The mode of production through forced labour provided surplus production but also created underdevelopment as within this process most of the tribal communities delinkage with the outer world and became victims of labour. The capitalism created dependency theory for the tribals and dalits as they were the backward communities and their lands were grabbed in the name of modernisation policies. The market development was taken into consideration but the lands were taken off from the tribal communities which made them to work as labour in their own lands. This was all happened because of the introduction of capitalistic globalisation development policies. But according to Marx, land reforms will be one of the solution for development of tribes to include in the mainstream communities. The local gram panchayats controls the tribes to get documentation of land which they are using in their daily life. So, more framework should be done on the reduction of capitalistic hegemony. Policy framework should be implemented to overcome the capitalistic globalisation policies of implementation mainly in rural areas (Omvedt 2005).
After the colonial era, British government has rigorously fragmented the relation of tribes particularly with land and forest. Colonial capitalist and profit oriented economic and political forces uprooted the artisans and peasant tribes. Scheduled tribes have always been a geographically, socially isolated group and are economically marginal. Over centuries, they maintained their own law and order system. With the advent of British, various tribal regions were thrown open for development. In the name of development they were pushed into margins. Mainly in colonial rule, tribes has been isolated, segregated and exploited by selecting non-tribal as money lenders and contractors. Because of cultural backwardness of tribes, British government took this as advantage and segregated the tribes as tribes and non- tribes. These types of measures helped British rulers to exploit and free access to natural resources of forests. Mainly in British rule, they were practiced divide and rule policy. With the effect of that type of policies, tribes were not brought into mainstream society. Colonial administration never gave a space to a consistent policy towards the betterment of tribal communities. Tribes were considered as a category of caste along with the religion, language and region. The usage of word tribe was changed from colonial expansion because castes were regulated by hereditary division of labour, hierarchy and religious disabilities. Slowly, even tribals also have been accepted the ethos of caste structure and to have got absorbed within it which are raj-gonds, bhils, bhumijis, majhis and khasas. Transformation of tribes into castes is attributed to the process of sanskritisation which can be seen as processes whereby communities lower down the social ladder emulate the lifestyle of the dominant caste of a region. Tribes have been differentiated not only from castes but, also from the dominant community of the region. The dominant community represents a set of customs, a social organisation, language and a way of life. In tribal society there is a problem of social differentiation in such a ways of occupational differentiation, wealth, income, ideology, values, political orientation, etc., among the members of their community. Tribal society can be described as becoming caste society with the onset of changes in the features that constitute its specific through education, specialization, modern occupations, new technology, etc. (Xaxa 1999).
Earlier, British government introduced Land Acquisition Act 1894, in which the government have complete rights on any land to grab and to use it for any public purpose, even by acquiring it forcibly from the people. The government grabbed the land of the tribes which they are using from their ancestors by forming a law through Indian Forest Act 1927. The lands without documentation were taken into the hands of forest department. It’s became hell for the tribes as they live in forests and uses the forest resources as without any documentation of the lands they use them for their livelihood. This became more problem for tribal community than the zamindari system. After independence, government abolished zamindari system but still the law existed and the land acquisition was continued in the name of development projects. Industrial development after independence in India required a huge abstraction of natural resources which led to continue the rule of law. Later, the government of India formed the fifth schedule of the constitution for adivasi areas and also tried to stop the migration of tribal lands to non-tribals (Banerjee 2007).
Globalisation may be helpful the Indian economy to become open to other countries for imports and exports through the liberalisation policies. The development of industries through the entry of privatisation started decreasing forest land which helped the existence of tribal community livelihood. Most of the forest lands were destroyed in the name of development. In Orissa, the forest lands were destroyed for laying roads and water pipeline to the co-operate entities by state government. Number of protests were took place by the nearby villagers as they completely depend on the forests itself and the state formed environmental schemes for them like Joint Forest Management (JFM) to use the forest resources. But due to the company of fossil-fuel based, climate change is becoming a major problem. Villagers with the help of NGO’s developing sustainable livelihood by forming self-initiated community forest management (CFM) which took the initiatives of factors causing deforestation and other forest degradation policies. The high opposition to co-operate companies made government get involve and took back the subsidies and other facilities provided to the co-operate companies for violating environmental laws. But, government should also take initiatives to provide employment opportunities for tribals other than NREGA and also in aspects of health, education and other amenities. Also, if any other developmental projects were initiated the local gram panchayat members should get the information and after their acceptance, government should start the rest of process (Wani and Kothari 2008).
In the history of Indian society, tribals were remained as aboriginals lives in the forest area and had minimal contact with the rest of population, no Hindu society was tried to join in there system. Tribals in India characterized by generally various following features such isolated group, low density population, primitive technological and political groups. In various branches of established areas, there was no script for their language. They were treated as strong and dangerous because of their forest living conditions. Tribes were geographically, economically and socially isolated sections of Indian society. Gandhi never used term as Girijans, he always uses the term called cultural and economic marginal. In the period of Moghul, most of the tribes were forcefully converted to Islam. In the name of extension of centralised administration, British government was forced many tribals as their slaves and encroachment on their traditional habits. The tribals could not tolerate any oppression on them. They clearly showed their resistance and intolerance on any encroachment on their traditional habitats, which were resulted into armed revolts. British government regularly use the armed force on tribes, but they realised soon and declared tribal area as non- regulatory area and traditional system of government. But, British government frequently forced tribal people to convert into Christianity by messaging them love and humanity. Various forms of exploited groups such as zamindari system, contractors, middle man, revenue and police officials were exploited tribals in different forms. Due to various exploited practices most of the tribals were remained as land less labourers, agricultural workers, in the same land where their fore fathers owned. There are different type of problems which were forced many tribes into the high darkness in their life such as indebtedness, land alienation, shifting cultivation, lack of education, migration, urbanisation, unemployment, agricultural labourers, impact of urbanisation and industrialisation, deforestation, de-population, and regionalism. There are different Gandhian principles clearly says that first understand the world of tribals and react peacefully with love and humanity but not in violent manner, every villager have right of republic tribals should give their traditional rights. Whatever the development it should not take at the cost of tribals lives. Voluntary organisations should take up the responsibility of backwards sections of society in the form of providing education and giving appropriate technological adaptations (Preet 1994).
The tribals are stratified mainly in terms of control over their resources. From colonial period to present, there are many changes in their lives. The tribes were seen separately in terms of their language, culture, and low-level of literacy. In recognition of basic proposition of tribes is the most disadvantaged in respect to land, which largely accounts for their perpetual poverty and makes them vulnerable to injustice and exploitation. Land is not only a tangible asset but is the mainstay of most of the rural folks as they are dependent on agriculture and allied activities. The tribal economy is also primarily agro-based and they have emotional attachment to land. But, with the opening of the tribal areas, the tribal land is being alienated to the non-tribals. Consequently, a large number of tribal cultivators have been rendered landless labourers. Decrease in the number of cultivators and increase in the number of landless labourers indicates the disturbing trend of land alienation. Shifting cultivation as the earliest form of agriculture continues to be predominantly practiced by the tribals. Though it has its own merits and demerits, it has become a way of life with them.
Tribal people in India can be classified on the basis of their economic pursuits in the following way: foragers, pastoral, handicraft makers, agriculturists, shifting hill cultivators, labourers and business pursuits. All of these occupations involve direct or indirect dependency on land. As per Marx, in a Capitalist society an alienated man lives in an alienated nature and he performs estranged labour and the product of his labour becomes alien to him. Alienation as a concept is used by many social scientists in India, merely as a sociological phenomenon (Basha 2017). Since land alienation is the crux of the depeasantisation of the tribals, the concept assumes utmost importance in the analysis of tribal rights as a part of human rights discourse. The problem of land alienation is a much deeply connected phenomenon with full of contradictions related to the existing socio-economic order. The separation of land from the tribal communities can be understood in a more scientific way with the assistance of the theoretical formulations of the concept of alienation (Balagopal 2007).
The tribal areas remained outside the land management system for a long time because of their inaccessibility. They developed their own traditional system of land management. The land ownership among the tribals broadly fell under three categories namely, (i) community land, (ii) land belonging to clans and (iii) individual holdings. Some of the tribal areas were also covered by the British system of land revenues and some of them were parts of Indian princely states. These states had no uniform land tenure system. Thus, due to the absence of a regular land settlement system or up to date record of land rights, the tribals were at the mercy of the petty revenue officers, forest departments and the landlords (Conway 1991).
The incidence of land alienation varies from state to state. Laws have been enacted in all the states to deal with the problem of land alienation to the tribals. In the past, an average tribal family had a fair size of land-holding which supported it even with primitive methods of cultivation. The increasing pressure of population on land particularly from the advanced section of society has forced the tribals to leave their land. Land as a prime resource has been a source of problem in tribal life because of two related reasons, first, dependency, i.e. tribal dependency on land and second, improper planning from government agencies (Balagopal 2007).

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Role of Agrarian Culture in India Development. (2021, Oct 31). Retrieved from

Role of Agrarian Culture in India Development
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