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The State as Landlord in Pakistani Punjab - Okara Military Farms

The State as Landlord in Pakistani Punjab - Okara Military Farms

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Published by shahidsaeed
okara farms, pakistan army, landlord, peasant, pakistan, peasant rights, peasant movement
okara farms, pakistan army, landlord, peasant, pakistan, peasant rights, peasant movement

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Published by: shahidsaeed on Oct 16, 2010
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This article was downloaded by:
[University of Illinois] 
2 July 2010 
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Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
Journal of Peasant Studies
Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t713673200
The state as landlord in Pakistani Punjab: Peasant struggles on the Okaramilitary farms
Aasim Sajjad Akhtar
To cite this Article
Akhtar, Aasim Sajjad(2006) 'The state as landlord in Pakistani Punjab: Peasant struggles on the Okaramilitary farms', Journal of Peasant Studies, 33: 3, 479 — 501
To link to this Article: DOI:
Full terms and conditions of use:http://www.informaworld.com/terms-and-conditions-of-access.pdfThis article may be used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Any substantial orsystematic reproduction, re-distribution, re-selling, loan or sub-licensing, systematic supply ordistribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contentswill be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae and drug dosesshould be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss,actions, claims, proceedings, demand or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directlyor indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.
The State as Landlord in Pakistani Punjab:Peasant Struggles on the Okara MilitaryFarms
 Marxist theories of peasant revolt have identified different stratawithin the peasantry that adopt widely varying roles in ruraconflict. However, a complex interplay of class and primordia factors has been identified in studies of Pakistani Punjab, where in aunique revolt beginning in 2000, peasants cultivating not private but  public land have engaged in a widespread civil disobediencecampaign against the state. This group of tenant farmers is sociologically distinct from the poor peasantry of most Marxis studies, and it is argued here that the revolt can be better understood as a grassroots mobilisation that was an effect of tenure relationscombined with notions of community.
The wave of peasant studies that proliferated through the 1970s threw upmany debates that remain unconcluded and demand further investigation.Among the reasons for this was that such debates simply went out of academic fashion [
, 1989].
It can also be argued that after the collapseof existing communism in 1989, radical scholarship generally and leftist political analysis in particular experienced a distinct decline, one thatundermined peasant studies as well as many other traditions of criticalinquiry. A decade and a half after the end of the cold war, radical critiques of capitalist modernity [
, 1992;
Petras and Veltmeyer 
, 2001; 2003]and its effects on the peasantry are as relevant as they ever have been.
Aasim Sajjad Akhtar. E-mail: aasim@lums.edu.pk. Lahore University of Management Sciences/People’s Rights Movement. The author has been closely associated with the movement discussedhere. He would like to thank Asha Amirali for comments on an earlier draft, and AyeshaKariapper for invaluable research assistance. Thanks are also extended to Tom Brass forextensive comments on and suggestions for improving the present version.The Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol.33, No.3, July 2006, pp.479–501ISSN 0306-6150 print/1743-9361 onlineDOI: 10.1080/03066150601063058
2006 Taylor & Francis
 D o w nl o ad ed  B y : [ U ni v e r si t y  of  Illi n oi s]  A t : 20 :22 2  J ul y 2010
Indeed, farmers still comprise over half of humanity, and in one form oranother remain the central component of mass protest movements – not justin so-called Third World nations [
, 1995;
, 2001;
,2007] but also in metropolitan capitalist countries [
 Bove´and Dufour 
, 2001].Since the 1980s there has been a dearth of empirical studies that seek tounderstand the nature of agrarian uprisings in terms of why certain segmentsof the peasantry may or may not spearhead (or at least participate in)rebellions. Marxist scholarship that has retained an interest in the study of the peasantry and peasant societies – including agrarian revolts – has for the most part retained the well-tried paradigm which conceptualises a peasantryinternally differentiated by class, on the basis of social relations of production.Building on the seminal Marxist framework – elaborated initially by Lenin[1964], and subsequently by Mao [1954: 82ff.] – examining the revolutionary potential of different peasant strata, a number of later theoreticalanalyses havelooked at the characteristics, the presence and the political role in agrarianmovements of rich, middle and poor peasants in a variety of contexts [
, 1973, 1975;
, 1968;
, 1977].
Although there is no universally accepted typology of characteristics thatdefine class differentiation within the peasantry, the Marxist literature onthe subject tends to be consistent in its identification of some broadcategories. At the top of the hierarchy are the propertied classes that own/control substantial means of production especially land and share political power at the national level. Whilst arguably there are importantdifferences between the categories of capitalist farmer, rich peasant andlandlord, the characteristics they have in common are far more significant.In particular, each owns the means of production (land, capital), andexploits the labour-power of others (whether sharecroppers or agriculturalworkers).
At this end of the hierarchy rural property being vastly in excessof subsistence needs means that its owner frequently has to lease holdingsin order for cultivation to occur.The second category is that of the middle peasant, who also owns land buttypically does not exploit the labour-power of others. In the case of this particular peasant stratum, provision of basic family subsistence requirementsis effected by means of family labour itself. Leaving aside the vexed questionof whether the employment of non-waged family labour or paid workers whoare also family members is so different from the employment of hiredworkers from outside the domestic or kinship group, middle peasants aremore likely to be the exploited (by landlords, rich peasants, or merchants)than the exploiters (of their own family workers).
In good years they survive,to continue as petty commodity producers in the following agricultural cycle.In bad years, by contrast, when crops suffer damage or drought strikes,middle peasants join the ranks of the landless.480
 D o w nl o ad ed  B y : [ U ni v e r si t y  of  Illi n oi s]  A t : 20 :22 2  J ul y 2010

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