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Land reform and agrarian
change in India and Pakistan
since 1947: II
P. C. Joshi
a
a
Professor of Economic Sociology, Institute of
Economic Growth , University of Delhi ,
Published online: 05 Feb 2008.
To cite this article: P. C. Joshi (1974) Land reform and agrarian change in India and
Pakistan since 1947: II, The Journal of Peasant Studies, 1:3, 326-362
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03066157408437894
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Land Reform and Agrarian Change in India
and Pakistan since 1947: II
by
P. C. Joshi*
Analysing the actual processes and patterns of agrarian
change following land reforms in India and Pakistan the
author shows how radical land reform ideology without a
radical land-reform programme has dual consequences —
beneficial for the emerging dynamic landlord or intermediate
classes and agonising and unsettling for the rural poor. The
latter are deprived of the elements of paternalism and
security existing even within the old exploitative system
without the provision of a new framework of security.
These dual consquences have been reinforced further by
recent technological changes and the impetus to commer-
cialism from these changes. The forced shift from secure
to insecure, feudalistic to commercial, tenancy or the decline
of tenancy resulting from eviction of tenants and resort to
self-cultivation by landlords coupled with growing economic
differentiation between rich and poor peasants denote new
and more naked sources of social tension and conflict than
the old. They herald especially in India a new phase of
agrarian instability in which the discontent of the rural poor
may grow and cumulate and may even provide the impulse
for a radical agrarian programme in tune with a radical
agrarian ideology.†
Processes and Patterns of Agrarian Change: India
We have so far presented the main features of agrarian policy
in India and Pakistan, highlighting the features common to both
and their points of divergence. The main focus of inquiry was the
analysis of socio-political factors which influenced the content and
direction of agrarian policy. Some hypotheses were also presented
regarding the impact of these policies on the agrarian structure in
both countries. An attempt is made now to identify the main
processes and patterns of agrarian change in so far as they are
an outcome, whether direct or indirect, of land policy in general
and land reform programmes in particular.
Earlier a distinction was made between two aspects of land
reform policy, viz., land reform as ideology and land reform as
programme. The latter is a blue print for action and implementation,
while the former is an instrument of political exhortation or support-
mobilisation. It is wrong to assume that an agrarian programme
* Professor of Economic Sociology, Institute of Economic Growth. University of Delhi,
† The first half of this article appeared in the January issue of the Journal.
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LAND REFORM IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN 327
alone is a force of change. In fact, agrarian ideology in countries
like India and Pakistan has been far more radical than the agrarian
programme. From the point of view of the emerging class, radical-
ism of ideology serves up to a point to disguise the limited class
aims of its agrarian programme. But this very radicalism on the
one hand arouses vastly the expectations of the rural poor. On
the other hand, it provokes the threatened vested interests (viz.,
the big landlords, etc.) to take prompt precautionary and retal-
iatory measures so as to defeat the objective of the expected reform.
In other words, agrarian policy becomes a force of change not
only if and when it is implemented. On the contrary, the declaration
of general aims of policy may itself cause far-reaching disturbance
in the agrarian system or in the prevailing relationships among
classes connected with land. In fact, the knowledge, or even
anticipation of the intentions of the ruling elite prior to formulation
of policy, let alone its implementation, is itself a propellor of change.
This deserves special emphasis in any study of the social and
economic consequences of agrarian polices.
This point deserves consideration also because evaluation studies
of land reform have generally been concerned with results of
implementation or ineffective implementation of agrarian pro-
grammes. They have not shown much awareness of the serious
consequences flowing from the propagation of a radical land reform
ideology without a radical land reform programme. To quote
Myrdal [1968a]:
In any case it is the worst of both the worlds to have a radical ideology of
'land to the liUer' and a largely ineffective legislation conforming to that
ideology, which in spite of its lack of implementation nevertheless creates
uncertainty about what the future holds for those who now own the land.
Myrdal omits to mention, however, that such a policy spelled as
much if not greater insecurity and uncertainty for the small tenants
as for the landlords.
It would be appropriate to begin with an overall view of policy-
induced agrarian change in India and Pakistan. It can be hypothe-
sised that agrarian policy has been one of the factors accelerating
the distintegration of the traditional agrarian system in these coun-
tries but without yet substituting anything stable and viable in its
place. Agrarian reform itself has contributed both as ideology and
as programme towards accentuating social tensions and distur-
bances in old security arrangements. It should be remembered that
the old agrarian system was an integrated whole, ramifying into eco-
nomic, social, political and other spheres. It was not only a system
of exploitation of the landless by the landed class; it was also a
framework of interdependence of these social groups, providing
an organization of economic activity as well as an arrangement of
social and economic security [See Srinivas, 1955]. It also provided
a framework of authority. The most significant aspect of agrarian
change in India and Pakistan is that agrarian policy has violently
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328 THE JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES
disturbed this framework of interdependence without yet creating
a new framework of political authority, economic relations and
social security. At the same time, it merely modified but did not
curb the exploitation of the rural poor by the landed class.
In fact, agrarian policy has only contributed towards the restruc-
turing of the landed class, more specifically to the ousting of the
paternalistic, semi-feudal landed class by a more production-
oriented but aggressively acquisitive landed class. In its greed for
wealth and power, this new class is not restrained by any sense
of obligation to the larger community or to the weaker sections
of society. Thus, exploitation of the rural poor has only assumed
new forms and in fact been intensified, leading to widespread social
unrest in rural India and Pakistan. The middle-of-the-road policy
has thus served as the rationalization of the interests of the rising
intermediate classes and has tended to create greater uncertainty
for the rural poor. The rumblings in political stability in recent years
both in India and Pakistan are closely related to these uncertainties
of the agrarian situation created by the changing agrarian class
structure. Even though a sense of uncertainty has been created
for all the classes, insecurity has followed uncertainty specially for
the rural poor.
1
The dominant assumption of the ruling elite both in India and
Pakistan that a middle-of-the-road agrarian reform policy has less
social cost because it serves the general interest better than a
drastic reform policy, has thus not been justified by actual experi-
ence of the last two decades. In evaluating the middle-of-the-road
policy, therefore, its dual significance must be borne in mind. It is
simultaneously anti-big-landlord and anti-rural-poor, furthering the
limited class interests of the rising intermediate classes. It is note-
worthy that the most important characteristic of the middle-of-the-
road land policy was that it was most favourable to the interests
of the intermediate classes and least concerned with the interests
of the rural poor. In both India and Pakistan, the two objectives
of land reform, viz., the resolution of the landlord-tenant nexus,
and the reduction of land concentration were to be achieved in two
separate stages and time periods.
2
This was in marked contrast
to the radical agrarian reform in Taiwan and Japan where the two
objectives were achieved simultaneously. In fact, it was clearly
emphasized there that one could not be achieved without the other.
In India and Pakistan, a policy of tackling landlord-tenant cleavage
without a policy of simultaneously attacking land concentration
helped the rising class of superior tenants and medium landowners
to consolidate themselves in the new land system. At the same
time this policy was responsible for setting in motion vast changes
in the traditional relations between landlords on the one hand and
poor tenants and labourers on the other which resulted in greater
insecurity for the rural poor than before.
These dual consequences of land policy—beneficial for the upper
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LAND REFORM IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN 329
layer of the tenants and detrimental for the poor tenants and
labourers — were pronounced features of agrarian change in India.
Nothwithstanding important variations, agrarian change conformed
basically to the same pattern even in Pakistan.
Let us first deal with the situation in India for which much more
empirical material is readily available both from official and non-
official sources.
In India the ruling elite declared its intention to introduce land
reform immediately after independence and took the initiative in
propagating a radical land reform ideology. This created among the
tenants expectations of becoming owners of lands which were
already under their cultivating possession. At the same time land-
lords were quick to sense the danger ahead and to take prompt
measures in advance to bring as large land areas as possible under
their direct control and possession. Land legislation (in fact, the
very talk of it) was thus responsible for a change in traditional
attitudes of both landlords and tenants and for disturbing traditional
lease arrangements that had existed over a long period of time [See
Sharma, 1963]. This disturbance assumed varying forms depending
upon social, economic and political circumstances in different
regions. The direction of change common to almost all the regions,
however, was the breakdown of old tenancy arrangements between
landlords and tenants. What new arrangements took the place
of the old depended on several factors, one of the major ones being
the unquestioned economic, social and political power wielded by
landlords over their tenants in most parts of the country. As a
result, the landlords succeeded in evolving arrangements which
put the tenants, specially small tenants and tenants-at-will, at a
much greater disadvantage than before. Almost all evaluation
studies
3
on land reform have reported that land reform legislation
led to eviction of tenants by the landlords on a scale which was
without precedent in recent Indian history. In fact, land reform
which was introduced with a view to promoting security of tenure
for the vast masses of poor tenants was itself instrumental in
creating insecurity on a scale unheard of before. The insecurity to
which the tenants were exposed assumed a variety of forms. In
many cases the eviction of tenants by landlords was effected in
the process of resumption of land for 'self-cultivation', the logical
sequel of which was the overnight down-grading of the tenant-
cultivators into landless labourers and the 'metamorphosis' of the
landlords from rentiers into 'agriculturists'. In many other cases,
'the wrath of the landlord was directed not so much against the
tenant as against his protected status' [Khusro, 1962: 186]. Thus
the tenant continued to cultivate the same land without any official
record of his cultivating possession over the land. In such cases
there was also a change from long-period to short-period, from
annual to seasonal, from written to oral, and from formal to informal
lease arrangements. Where the law had specific provisions for-
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330 THE JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES
bidding leasing or sub-letting of land, open tenancy was often
replaced by concealed or underground tenancy.
In support of the trends of change indicated here, empirical evi-
dence is provided by both official and non-official studies and
reports. Extracts from selected reports and studies are reproduced
below for illustrative purpose.
A. M. Khusro's study relating to Hyderabad was one of the first
to reveal that land reform had led to a marked decline of tenancy
and increase in owner-cultivation [Khusro, 1958: 73-75]. Analysing
the results of his survey, Khusro also stated that
the diminution of the tenant-cultivated and i;ars/-cultivated area need not
be looked upon as a completely honest and welcome change as it was
achieved partly through desirable and partly through illegal and altogether
objectionable methods of naked or subtle evictions of tenants.
Khusro was, however, not certain 'how much of the land re-
covered by landlords through any of these processes was eventually
retained by them and how much was leased out once again to
other tenants.' In his view
there are good grounds for believing that the animosity of the landlord
is directed not so much against the tenant as against his protected status
and it is most likely that once this protected status was destroyed, a
large part of the recovered lands were leased out once again to un-
protected (ordinary) tenants. All the same, many a landlord, once bitten
twice shy, thought it not wise to lease out again and kept the land
under his own management.
Khusro's enquiry also revealed that tenants not only lost their
protected status but that in this process landlords also ensured
that 'the better or wet land [i s] kept for self-cultivation while the
less productive or dry land is more easily and freely leased out.'
Another important fact brought out by Khusro's study is that
the small and the large tenants were affected differently by the
land legislation and its implementation. To quote:
A close study . . . reveals a rather significant and pointed conclusion,
viz., that the smaller tenant has received much less protection and has
suffered more than the bigger one. Those who remain on the land (23.80
per cent) are larger tenants accounting for 45.90 per cent of the total area
under protected tenancies. Those who have purchased the land are also
tenants having land much bigger than the average size, 2.12 per cent of
them accounting for 5.28 per cent of the acreage. At the same time
those who have been illegally evicted (51.80 per cent) are humbler occu-
pants accounting for as little as 17.17 per cent of the total protected area.
This fact about the weaker position of the small tenant as against that
of the large one can also be noted from the figures for the ex-jagir areas
as a whole [ibid.: 43-44].
That this pattern of change in the wake of land reform was
typical not only of Hyderabad (an ex-jagirdari area) but was repro-
duced in varying degrees in most of the regions both ex-zamindari
or ex-jagirdari and ex-raiyatwari, is confirmed by official and non-
official surveys for other parts of the country. Thus, the main facts
brought out by the study conducted by Dandekar and Khudanpur
for Bombay State (an ex-raiyatwari area) were:
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LAND REFORM IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN 331
Firstly, the extensive resumptions and changes of tenants that took
place even after the enforcing of the Act showing that the protection
given to the tenants could not be effective in practice; secondly, more
or less a normal market in land showing that the provision for promoting
the transfer of lands into the hands of tillers were not quite effective,
and thirdly, an almost complete absence of any signs of lowering the
share and cash rents or of any changes in tenancy practices [Dandekar
and Khudanpur. 1957: 187].
The authors conclude that 'for all practical purposes the Act did
not exist' [ibid.].
Doubtless the Act did not exist in so far as its provisions
remained unimplemented; at the same time it was instrumental in
upsetting old arrangements which resulted in greater insecurity for
tenants than before. Dandekar and Khudanpur also point out that,
underlying the failure to implement the provisions of the original
Act, lies the basic fact 'that a majority of the landlords possess
over their tenants an amount of social and political power, [ibid.:
192]. Further, 'that they are willing to exercise such power to
guard their economic interests is obvious from the large number
of voluntary resignations induced from the tenants since the pass-
ing of the original Act' [ibid.: 143].
Similarly, M. B. Desai and R. S. Mehta, while discussing the
emerging pattern after 'abolition of tenancy' in Gujarat, bring the
following facts to light:
As the data would reveal, the implementation of tenancy abolition
as to date gave ownership of land to some tenants but caused, in the
process, a new phenomenon of concealed tenancies or occupancies which
would very likely change hands every few years. Besides uncertainty of
tenure and extremely complicated and confused landlord-tenant relations,
they carry heavy rents which tend to eat into profits from farming and
farm wages. Thus a feeling is likely to gather [sic] that abolition of
tenancy cultivation has taken away what the earlier tenancy Act gave to
the tenants. The problem besides has shifted from the records to field
leaving no basis for future action to remedy the rising evil, (emphasis
added) [Desai and Mehta, 1962: 133-134; see also Desai, 1958].
B. K. Chowdhury makes the following observations on the trends
of change in West Bengal after the introduction of land reforms:
After the passage of the Act, great uncertainty prevailed between the
two parties—the landowners feeling uneasiness about the future security
of their land and the sharecroppers showing undue anxiety over the
availability of more land or even retaining the land already under their
control.
Further, though the data regarding the number of evictions after the
passing of these Acts are lacking, yet it is an admitted fact that there
have been more evictions since 1953 than those in the preceding years.
Such a large eviction appeared to be more a result of panic than [an]
honest attempt of the landowners to cultivate their land under their
personal care. As soon as the panic subsided and the atmosphere calmed
down the evicted land was restored in most cases 'to the original bar-
gadars. However, as a precaution against the vesting of ownership rights
of the shared land to the bargadar which may be claimed as a result
of tht! continuous cultivation of the same land for number of years, the
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332 THE JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES
landowners generally interchange the shared land among the different
bargadars and settlement is made on a year to year basis. Even when
the same land is allowed to be cultivated by the bargadar year after
year the settlement is made on a year to year basis so as to give it the
appearance of a new settlement [Chowdhury, 1962: 146].
Thus, ' . . . the bargadar's lot remains more or less the same as
before and whenever there is any change it has turned out to be
disadvantageous for the bargadar' [ibid.: 147].
Analyzing changes in Andhra Pradesh as a result of land legisla-
tion, Mrs. Krishnamurty observes that 'the situation of the tenant
appears to have worsened as he is now more uncertain of procuring
land for cultivation than before' [Khrishnamurty, 1962: 168]. The
difficulty experienced by tenants in procuring land on lease after
the introduction of land reform is a universal phenomenon to which
attention has been drawn by analysis of land reforms from different
parts of the country.
An official report on implementation of land reforms in Bihar
reveals that 'the tenancy provisions are completely ineffective in
practice' and that 'the tenants were frequently changed to prevent
them from acquiring rights in land' [Government of India, Planning
Commission, 1966: 4].
The evidence provided above is intended only to be illustrative
and not exhaustive. A careful study of the available material strongly
suggests that:
(1) in most regions old tenancy arrangements broke down, and
(2) landlords either resumed lands for self-cultivation, thus re-
ducing the tenants to landless labourers, or
they imposed new patterns of tenancy upon the tenants and these
patterns resulted in greater insecurity and/or rental burden for
the tenants than before; and that
(3) the reform affected differently the large and small tenants
as it did also the occupancy tenants and tenants-at-will. The
beneficiaries were the large occupancy tenants while the small
tenants and tenants-at-will were adversely effected.
To sum up, in the very first round of land reforms introduced
during the first decade or so after Indian independence, the overall
outcome was favourable for the erstwhile intermediate class of
large-sized occupancy or protected tenants and medium landlords.
As between the purely absentee landlords on the one hand and
the resident landlords on the other, the latter were able to preserve
their ownership and control over land to a much larger extent than
the former. Similarly, as between the statutory landlords of the
zamindari and jagirdari areas on the one hand and the non-
cultivating but non-statutory landlords of the raiyatwari areas on
the other, the latter were able to evade land laws and maintain
their position in the land structure to a much larger extent than the
former. Similarly, as between the protected or occupancy tenants
on the one hand and the tenants-at-will on the other, the more
resourceful tenants and those with relatively bigger-sized holdings
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LAND REFORM IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN 333
among the former strata were able to benefit from land laws to a
much larger extent than the latter. Similarly, tenants belonging to
high castes or dominant peasant castes were able to benefit more
than those belonging to low castes or to scheduled castes and
tribes.
4
Who exactly were the beneficiaries and who were the losers from
the first round of land reform after independence? This is a question
that has great economic, social and political significance. In our
view, evaluation studies on land reforms have not adequately identi-
fied the beneficiaries and the losers; and many economic and politi-
cal forecasts have gone wrong as a result of this deficiency in
analysis. The general tendency among scholars has been to empha-
size the gains to the landlords although the marginal gains to other
sections have also been noted. Consensus has generally veered
round the view graphically summed up in Warriner's statement
that 'generally the Zamindars came off best.' The fact of the matter,
however, is that this was only a partial picture of the major out-
come of land reform. The real beneficiaries were indeed the inter-
mediate classes. Replacing the parasitic landlord class which had
lost social support in the countryside, the new class was not only
more productive but also had deep roots in the social structure.
It emerged therefore not only as the engine of economic growth
but also as the dynamic force behind the new political regime.
The resilience and stability of the new regime for almost two
decades was possible precisely because a more dynamic class had
taken the place of the moribund landed class in the rural areas.
So far we have provided qualitative evidence to bring out the
contradictory character of agrarian change which proved beneficial
to the middle groups and detrimental to the rural poor. This can
be substantiated by quantitative analysis. Table I relating to India
as a whole shows a substantial decline in percentage of operated
area leased-in from 35.7 per cent in 1950-51 to 10.70 per cent in
1961-62. Table 2 presents data pertaining to changes in percentage
of operated area leased-in in different States of the country during
1953-54 and 1960-61. It is clear from the table that the decline in
the tenant-operated area is a phenomenon common to most of
the States for which comparable data are available. What is the
meaning of this decline in the tenant-cultivated area? Several land
reform studies conducted at State level have confirmed this trend
of decline; they have also suggested that this decline has occurred
much more as a result of resumption of land by landlords for the
ostensible purpose of 'self-cultivation'
5
than of acquisition of owner-
ship rights by former tenants. Another fact that has emerged from
some studies is that the main targets of the eviction offensive were
the small rather than the large tenants. In other words, the decline
of tenancy in aggregative terms disguises the contradictory trends
of agrarian change which can be broadly identified as follows:
1. The decline of the feudalistic, customary type of tenancy and
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334 THE JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES
its replacement by more exploitative and insecure lease arrange-
ments or by 'self cultivation' through wage labour.
2. The increasing importance of commercial tenancy based on
the rich and middle strata of the peasantry who are part-owners
and part-tenants and possess resources and enterprise for
dynamic agriculture.
3. The decline of feudal landlords and the rise of a class of
commercially-oriented landlords either functioning as owner-
farmers or utilizing the mode of a new, non-customary type of
tenancy for the pursuit of agriculture as a business proposition.
The operation of these tendencies leads to one type of tenancy
(feudal tenancy) declining while the weight of the other type of
tenancy (commercial tenancy) simultaneously increases; the in-
creasing importance of commercial tenancy accentuating class
differentiation among the tenants and shifting the distribution of
land in favour of the large rather than the small cultivators.
TABLE 1
Percentage of Leased-in Area (India)
Year and source of data
1950-1
Agricultural
1
Labour Enquiry
1953-54
8th Round,
National Sample Survey
2
1960-61
16th Round,
National Sample Survey
3
1961-62
17th Round,
National Sample Survey
4
Percentage of
holdings reporting
land leased-in
All-India

39.85
27.33
23.52
Percentage of
operated area
leased-in
All-India
35.7
20.34
12.53
10.70
1. Government of India, Ministry of Labour, New Delhi: Agricultural Labour.
How They Work and Live, Essential Statistics. All India Agricultural Labour
Enquiry, 1950-51, p. 72, Table II.
2. The National Sample Survey, Eighth Round: July 1954-April 1955, No. 30,
Report on Land Holdings, The Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India,
p. 21.
3. The National Sample Survey, No. 122, Land Holdings Enquiry (Rural),
Sixteenth Round, July 1960-June 1961, Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta,
p. 24 and p. 27.
4. The National Sample Survey, No. 146, Land Holdings Enquiry (Rural),
Seventeenth Round, September 1961-July 1962, Indian Statistical Institute,
Calcutta, p. 31 and p. 35.
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LAND REFORM IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN 335
TABLE 2
Percentage of Operated Area Leased-in, All-India and Statewise.
All Holdings: 1953-54 and 1961-62
S. No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
States
Uttar Pradesh
Bihar
Orissa
West Bengal
Assam
Madras
Mysore
Rajasthan
I Punjab
i PEPSU
Al l India
NSS
8th!Round
1953-54
11.38
12.39
12.58
25.43
43.54
27.53
16.37
20.92
40.42
37.71
20.34
(27.20)*
(36.21)
(34.10)
(41.49)
(59.08)
(54.47)
(40.89)
(32.17)
(53.40) I
(52.42) ,
(35.48)
NSS
17th Round
1961-62
8.06 (20.98) •
10.25 (25.59)
10.75 (29.80)
17.65 (29.00)
15.36 (30.72)
16.55 (32.35)
18.16 (31.10)
4.87 (9.76)
35.39 (47.69)
10.70 (23.52)
•Percentage holdings reporting leased-in area in parentheses.
Source: National Sample Survey, Land Holdings Enquiry (Rural), 8th Round:
July 1954-April 1955, No. 66, Cabinet Secretariat, Delhi.
National Sample Survey, Land Holdings Enquiry (Rural), 17th Round: Sep-
tember 1961 to July 1962, State-wise Tables, Indian Statistical Institute,
Calcutta.
Considering first the differentiation among the cultivators, data
presented in Tables 3 and 4 show that 64.22 per cent and 84.08 per
cent of operational holdings which reported leased-in area were in
the less than 5 acres and less than 10 acres size-groups respectively
but that the share of each of these groups in the total leased-in
area was only 26.78 per cent and 49.52 per cent respectively. At the
other end, the percentage of operational holdings in over 10 acres
size-group reporting leased-in area was only 15.92 per cent but the
share of this group in the total leased-in area was as high as 50.48
per cent.
In other words, cultivators were differentiated into big, middle
and small cultivators, the first group constituting a small propor-
tion of the total but having command over a much larger share of
the tenanted area while the latter two groups, though in a majority,
had a relatively lower proportion of the total tenanted area.
The 1961 census data on interest-group in land provides more
illuminating data on this process of differentiation of the cultivators
(Table 5). Considering first the pure tenants, the data show that,
while not all small cultivators were pure tenants, the overwhelming
proportion of pure tenants consisted of small cultivators. Con-
sidering mixed tenants (part-owners and part-tenants) on the other
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336 THE JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES
TABLE 3
All-India Percentage Distribution of Operational Holdings Reporting
Land Owned and Land Leased-in by Size-Class of Operational
Holdings
S. Size-class of
No. operational
holding (acres)
1 Up t o— .49
2 .50— .99
3 1.00— 2.49
4 2.50— 4.99
5 5.00— 7.49
6 7.50— 9.99
7 10.00—12.49
8 12.50—14.99
9 15.00—19.99
10 20.00—24.99
11 25.00—29.99
12 30.00—49.99
13 50.00—above
14 All sizes
Source: The National
Percentage
distribution of
all operational
holdings
8.55
8.58
21.94
22.62
12.84
6.96
5.05
2.90
3.75
2.29
1.31
2.18
1.03
100.00
Sample Survey, Land
Round. September 1961-July 1962, No. 146, i
Percentage distribution of oper-
ational holdings reporting area
under different categories
Owned Leased-in
7.99
8.42
22.03
22.85
13.05
7.04
4.99
2.94
3.76
2.31
1.34
2.22
1.06
100.00
7.73
9.46
22.85
24.18
13.17
6.69
4.66
2.51
3.17
1.83
1.16
1.73
0.86
100.00
Holdings Enquiry (Rural), 17th
3. 39, Indian Statistical Institute,
Calcutta.
TABLE 4
All-India Percentage Distribution of Land Owned and Land Leased-in
by Size-Class of Operational Holdings
S. Size-class of
No. operational
holding (acres)
1 Up t o— .49
2 .50— .99
3 1.00— 2.49
4 2.50— 4.99
5 5.00— 7.49
6 7.50— 9.99
7 10.00—12.49
8 12.50—14.99
9 15.00—19.99
10 20.00—24.99
11 25.00—29.99
12 30.00—49.99
13 50.00—above
14 All sizes
Source: The National
Percentage
distribution of
area operated
0.32
0.95
5.59
12.32
11.73
8.97
8.25
5.95
9.58
7.39
5.30
12.05
11.60
100.00
Sample Survey, Land
Round, September 1961-July 1962, No. 146, i
Percentage distribution of area
operated under different
categories
Owned
0.29
0.86
5.27
11.87
11.55
8.90
8.23
5.98
9.75
7.57
5.37
12.38
11.98
100.00
Holdings Enquiry
Leased-in
0.54
1.79
8.31
16.14
13.22
9.52
8.40
5.67
8.12
5.83
4.75
9.29
8.42
100.00
(Rural), 17th
p. 43, Indian Statistical Institute.
Calcutta.
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TABLE 5
Ownership Status of Cultivators of Different Categories According to Size*
(as Percentage to Total in each Group)
State
Those cultivating only owned
land or land held from
Government
Category Category Category
f II III
1 Andhra Pradesh 28.7 31.9 39.4
2 Assam 18.2 48.7 33.1
3 Bihar 16.5 33.2 50.3
4 Gujarat 48.9 33.0 18.1
5 Jammu & Kashmir 9.0 41.1 49.9
6 Kerala 1.8 12.2 86.0
7 Madhya Pradesh 44.7 36.5 18.8
8 Maharashtra 49.0 31.3 19.7
9 Mysore 36.9 41.1 22.0
10 Orissa 18.1 41.0 40.9
11 Punjab 56.5 27.6 15.9
12 Rajasthan 53.8 31.2 15.0
13 Tamil Nadu 15.0 37.9 47.1
14 Uttar Pradesh 20.1 41.5 38.4
15 West Bengal 13.7 35.3 51.0
All India (including
Union territories) 28.6 36.4 35.0
Those cultivating only
leased land
Those cultivating land partly
owned and partly leased
I
14.9
4.3
3.6
28.6
4.7
28.3
23.1
14.6
4.4
47.7
40.0
4.4
5.0
6.2
13.0
If
31.9
40.4
26.1
35.7
50.0
18.4
39.1
28.8
41.7
34.8
36.4
35.0
26.5
30.0
41.9
32.8
III
53.2
55.3
70.3
35.7
50.0
76.9
32.6
48.1
43.7
60.8
15.9
25.0
69.1
65.0
51.9
54.2
I
42.7
18.6
19.7
58.7
12.9
4.2
54.3
59.8
57.6
19.3
72.3
67.6
17.7
16.2
14.3
34.6
If
40.0
65.7
45.3
35.4
54.9
33.3
38.0
27.5
34.8
55.4
23.2
27.0
49.4
50.7
57.9
43.1
III
17.3
15.7
35.0
5.9
32.2
62.5
7.7
12.7
7.6
25.3
4.5
5.4
32.9
33.1
27.8
22.3
o
m
s
Category Category Category Category Category Category =
1
Category l=medium to large (7.50 acres above).
Category ll=small to medium (2.50 acres to 7.49 acres).
Category lll=very small to small (up to 2.49 acres).
* Based on 20% sample.
Source: Census of India, 1961. Vol. 1, Part III (i) and (i i ).
8
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338 THE JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES
hand, a much higher proportion of them was in the category of
middle and large cultivators.
A recent case study pertaining to Gujarat where leasing of land
is prohibited, has shown that in villages with dynamic, as contrasted
with backward, agriculture (i) not only is the magnitude of tenancy
in general relatively high but (ii) a larger proportion of leased-in
land is accounted for by bigger farmers, and further (Hi) the distrib-
ution of owned area as well as leased-in area is more skewed. This
study also shows that (iv) so far as the terms of tenancy are con-
cerned, the small tenants are worse off in the bargain and big
tenants are able to extract better advantages [Vyas, 1970].
The commercial type of tenancy which is the most prominent
feature of areas of dynamic agriculture like Punjab stands in marked
contrast to tenancy of the old type. The latter is still a marked
feature of areas like West Bengal which have relatively backward
agriculture and much greater pressure of population on land. This
contrast can be seen from the data presented in Tables 6 and 7
which show that small tenants cultivating less than 5 acres account
for about 58% of the total leased-in area in West Bengal and, at the
other end, big tenants cultivating above 10 acres account for only
12.85% of the total leased-in area. In Punjab, on the other hand,
small tenants operating less than 5 acres account for only 8.09%
of the total leased-in area while big tenants operating more than
10 acres account for about 71 % of the total leased-in area.
Data pertaining to the leasing out of land presented in Tables 8
and 9 for Punjab and West Bengal further reinforce the hypothesis
regarding the contrasting patterns of leasing in these to states. No
doubt, both in regard to the proportion of households leasing out
land and to the proportion of owned area leased out, the contribution
of households owning more than 15 acres is higher than that of the
lower size-classes in both states. In Punjab, however, the contribu-
tion of size-classes owning less than 10 acres is also significant
TABLE 6
Percentage Distribution of Number of Operational Holdings
Reporting Land Leased-in and also of Area Leased-in by
Size-classes of Operational Holdings
Size-classes
Less than 5 acres
5—10 acres
10—20 acres
20 acres and above
Punjab
Number
25.22
29.62
29.62
16.04
Area
8.09
22.14
37.21
33.56
West
Number
72.44
22.49
4.64
0.43
Bengal
Area
58.30
29.15
10.24
2.31
Source: National Sample Survey, Land Holding Enquiry (Rural), 17th Round,
1960-61 Statewise Tables, Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta.
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EFORM IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN
TABLE 7
339
Percentage Distribution of Operational Holdings Reporting Owned
Land and also of Area Owned by Size-classes of Operational
Holdings
Size-classes
Less than 5 acres
5—10 acres
10—20 acres
20 acres and above
Punjab
Number
35.87
25.12
24.80
14.21
Area
7.81
16.26
30.99
44.94
West
Number
74.07
18.61
6.07
1.25
Bengal
Area
38.29
32.74
20.87
8.10
Source: National Sample Survey, Land Holdings Enquiry (Rural), 17th Round,
1960-61 Statewise Tables, Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta.
-both in regard to the proportion of households leasing out land and
the proportion of owned area leased out. In West Bengal, on the
other hand, it is the households belonging to size-classes over 15
acres which stand out prominently both in terms of percentage of
households leasing out land and the percentage of owned area
leased out. Compared to the large size-classes, the contribution of
the lower size-classes is much less significant. In other words,
•while in West Bengal leasing out by the big to the small owners
continues to be the dominant tendency, in Punjab leasing out by
the small to the higher size groups is an important feature of the
pattern of agricultural tenancy.
That the dominance of the old type of tenancy has begun to be
eroded by a pronounced shift towards commercialism among the
landed classes even in relatively less dynamic regions of West
Bengal and South India is revealed by many case studies. A study
of village Shahjapur in the Birbhum district of West Bengal reports
that, as a sequel to land reforms (which have created fear among
landlords of loss of lands to tenants) and to the introduction of
canal irrigation (which has reduced weather-risks and enhanced
prospects of gain from agriculture), landowners who used to have
their lands cultivated through the krishani system (a system of
contract labour approximating to the barga system) are now trying
to change over to the mahindari /ore and for this purpose are
bringing pressure to bear on the krishans to become their mahindars
(annual farm servants) [Bhattacharya, et. al., 1958: 56]. Similarly,
a study of four villages in four districts of Bengal reports that 'the
availability of water, by raising the productivity and profitability of
agriculture on the basis of new technologies, induces land-owners
to take to self-cultivation by terminating the share-cropping arrange-
ments' [Bengal Chamber of Commerce, 1971: 197], Further, 'a new
phenomenon in West Bengal is the emergence of a very thin
stratum of gentleman farmers, some of whom have taken up culti-
vation as the sole interest and occupation'.
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340
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TABLE 8
Percentage of Households Leasing Out Land and Percentage of *
v
Leased Out to Area Owned by Size-class of Ownership Holdiny
in Punjab
s.
No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
Size-class of
ownership
holding (acres)
Up t o— .49
.50— .99
1.00— 2.49
2.50— 4.99
5.00— 7.49
7.50— 9.99
10.00—12.49
12.50—14.99
15.00—19.99
20.00—24.99
25.00—29.99
30.00—49.99
50.00 and above
All sizes
Percentage of
households
leasing out land
0.98
5.05
15.53
23.48
19.90
20.00
16.67
16.67
30.39
28.85
25.00
31.37
40.00
11.83
Percentage of area
leased out to
area owned
4.08
4.05
16.47
18.96
14.41
12.69
7.35
7.76
20.09
12.48
19.16
9.02
15.03
13.68
Source: National Sample Survey, Land Holding Enquiry (Rural), 17th Round,
September 1961-July 1962, No. 140, p. 46, Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta.
TABLE 9
Percentage of Households Leasing Out Land and Percentage of Area
Leased Out to Area Owned by Size-class of Ownership Holding
in West Bengal
s.
No.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
Size-class of
ownership
holding (acres)
Up to— .49
.50— .99
1.00— 2.49
2.50— 4.99
5.00— 7.49
7.50— 9.99
10.00—12.49
12.50—14.99
15.00—19.99
20.00—24.99
25.00—29.99
30.00—49.99
50.00 and above
All sizes
Percentage of
households
leasing out land
1.12
7.63
10.11
12.95
6.65
11.76
7.23
13.33
25.00
25.93
37.50
50.00
0.00
7.33
Percentage of area
leased out to
area owned
2.15
5.67
7.26
9.75
3.73
4.89
2.86
5.02
13.54
10.31
15.12
10.00
51.72
7.22
Source: National Sample Survey, Land Holding Enquiry (Rural), 17th Round,
September 1961-July 1962, No. 140, p. 49, Indian Statistical Institute. Calcutta.
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LAND REFORM IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN 341
Another study by M. R. Haswell dealing with changing conditions
in South Indian villages reports that: 'Near centres of commercial
activity, absentee landlordism has taken on a new guise with lead-
ing landlords performing the function of proprietor-investor-trader
in the town, whilst leaving permanent labourers or "servants" to
cultivate their holdings in the village' [Haswell, 1967: 90].
Broadly speaking, the emerging agrarian pattern in India is a
curious blend of four different types:
I. The first is a variant of the classical English type characterized
by the rise of an enterprising peasant, part-owner and part-
tenant, pursuing agriculture and other allied activities more and
more as a business.
II. The second is a variant of the classical Prussian type character-
ized by the emergence of a class of commercially motivated and
managerial type of landlords now engaged in large scale
farming.
III. The third is the Asian type of landlord-tenant nexus adapted to
the changed circumstances following the land reform legislation
and the introduction of new agricultural technology. The
adaptation here takes the form of greater commercial orienta-
tion of the landlords and the replacement of more stable,
personalized and customary types of tenancy by more insecure,
impersonalized and contractual tenancy arrangements. These
are imposed by the landlords on the vast mass of small peasants
who have no alternative means of livelihood and no adequate
protection from political institutions.
IV. The fourth type pertains to the rise of self-employed peasants,
part-owner and part-tenants, as a new category and has limited
resemblance to the Japanese and Taiwanese type to the extent
that ownership of land by small peasants has increased at the
expense of landlord ownership. What is striking, however, is
the wide divergence of the emerging Indian pattern as a whole
from the Japanese and Taiwanese type of agrarian change in
which the small peasant was the major beneficiary of agrarian
reform and small and middle-peasant ownership emerged as
the dominant agrarian pattern.
Even though all these types may be present in varying magni-
tudes in almost all regions, still, broadly speaking, in ex-jagirdari
and ex-zamindari areas Type II and Type III are more predominant
while in ex-raiyatwari regions. Types I and IV assume a much
greater significance.
It has already been indicated that during the first decade after
independence one of the major impulses for agrarian change was
provided by land reform. In the subsequent period, specially since
the latter half of the sixties, technological forces emerged as the
most powerful propeller of changes in the agrarian structure.
Recent accounts of economic change relating to areas of the
country newly exposed to the impact of new technology (e.g.,
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342 THE JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES
Bihar) provide ample confirmation of the power of technological
forces to subvert established agrarian patterns. Available empirical
evidence tends to suggest that technological forces have not only
reinforced but also accelerated the dual tendencies of agrarian
change (viz., economic impetus for the big peasants and economic
insecurity for the small peasants) which followed the introduction
of land reforms. The major facts of change revealed by recent
studies (e.g., by Wolf Ladejinsky [1969 and 1970] for Punjab
and Bihar, and by Francine Frankel [1969]
7
for five districts of
Intensive Agricultural Development Project lend support to the
following:
(1) A new wind of commercialism is blowing in the areas exposed
to new technology compelling a readaptation of traditional
agrarian relations.
(2) The erosion of the position of the small tenantry and the
class differentiation among tenants in particular and cultivators
in general which had occurred as a consequence of land
reforms has been further accentuated. Even where the poor
tenantry has not been deprived of land through direct resump-
tion by landlords, it has to carry a heavier burden of rentals
and more insecure lease arrangements than before. Where
landlords succeed in evicting the tenants, the latter are
reduced to landlessness and, wi th the threat of mechanization
of large farms, are also faced with the menace of reduced
prospects of employment.
(3) While traditional tenancy is either losing its importance or
getting readapted to the new situation, commercial tenancy
based on leasing-in of land from the small by the big peasants
is gaining in importance. Thus, partly through commercial
leasing and partly through direct resumption wherever it has
occurred, the overall control of land, far from becoming more
diffused, has tended to get more concentrated than before.
(4) Since the pattern of credit distribution, in the main, follows
the same pattern as that of distribution of land, the overall
land and credit situation has resulted in a worsening of
economic prospects for the rural poor.
Processes and Patterns of Agrarian Change:
Pakistan
An attempt is made in this section to present a broad assessment
of agrarian change in Pakistan and also to indicate the points of
similarity as well as of contrast between India and Pakistan.
8
Below we will broadly discuss the agrarian history of Pakistan
since independence identifying five important features.
(1) The direct or indirect role of land reform in promoting
changes in the traditional agrarian system in the interests of the
rural poor was of even less significance in the case of Pakistan
than in India. This was also true of the role of land reform in
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LAND REFORM IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN 343
promoting the intermediate classes to a position of dominance in
the land and power structure. As between East and West Pakistan,
however, land reform was more significant as a promoter of agrarian
change in the former than in the latter.
(2) The agrarian situation in Pakistan was in certain aspects
marked by a much greater continuity of old agrarian relations than
in India. It is important to note, however, that this continuity
pertains to the continuing importance of the old landed class in
the agrarian as well as the power structure. So far as the rural
poor were concerned, there were many factors, including the
uncertainty and tension created by the extremely moderate land
reform laws and regulations which eroded the elements of security
and protection that had existed for them as part of the paternalism
of the old system.
(3) In the recent period, however, technological forces have
appeared, especially in West Pakistan, as a much more powerful
agent of agrarian change than land reform, contributing to a re-
adaptation of agrarian relations in areas exposed to them. In other
words, technological change marks a watershed in rural Pakistan
even from the point of view of agrarian change. In areas of tech-
nological change, the incipient trends of transformation of feudal-
istic into commercial landlords have been accelerated. New
technology has also accentuated the economic differentiation of the
peasantry into prosperous peasants on the one hand and the mass
of the poor peasants on the other.
The relative continuity of the old agrarian relations is, therefore,
much more marked in regions (specially in Eastern Pakistan) less
exposed to the impact of technological change.
(4) On the whole, the emerging agrarian pattern in both types
of region is, however, characterized by much greater impetus for
the intermediate classes and uncertainty and insecurity for the
rural masses. In other words, land reform in Pakistan as in India
played a dual role of promoting the interests of the intermediate
classes and of creating greater insecurity for the lower classes.
9
In East Pakistan, land reform abolished only the upper tiers of
zamindari rights and granted permanent, hereditary and transfer-
able rights to certain specified classes but not to all classes of
tenants. In particular, 'it did not provide any protection for the
class of cultivators called the bar gad ar, those sharecroppers who
were not recognised as tenants' [Khan, 1966: 130]. The East
Bengal Tenancy Act of 1950 even defined a cultivator as a person
who cultivated with the help of a bargadar [Andrus and Mohammed,
1958: 120]. According to one estimate, 'the bargadars cultivated
from 10 to 20 per cent of the agricultural land of East Pakistan'
[Khan. 1966: 130].
Similarly, in West Pakistan, land reform, which followed much
later, was heavily biased in favour of the occupancy-tenants and
against the much larger section of tenants-at-will [Myrdal, 1968,
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344 THE JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES
Vol. II: 1325-29]. As a result, in both areas only the top layer of
the tenantry comprising tenants-in-chief and occupancy tenants
gained security of tenure and proprietary rights.
The land distribution programme also had a limited impact, both
in East and West Pakistan, mainly because of the upward revision
of the level of ceilings. In East Pakistan the level of the ceiling
was raised from 33 acres to 125 acres [Kahnert et. a/., 7970: 58]
and in West Pakistan it was fixed at 500 acres of irrigated and
1,000 acres of unirrigated land [West Pakistan Land Reforms
Commission, 1959: 28]. Thus, as pointed out by Ladejinsky, 'even
if West Pakistan had implemented this part of the programme,
only an estimated 7.5 per cent of the country's 2,000,000 tenants
might have obtained land' [Ladejinsky. 1964: 451]. Some other
scholars have estimated that 'only a very small amount of agri-
cultural land (probably less than 5 per cent) actually changed
hands and most of that was of poor quality' [Hirashima, 1968
quoted in Stern and Falcon, 1970: 41].
While the land reform programme did not succeed in promoting
change in the desired direction, it destroyed certain elements of
security for the peasants which existed in the old system. Thus,
the abolition of intermediary tenures in East Pakistan placed a large
section of erstwhile tenants in direct relationship with the State.
But, as pointed out by Bredo, the peasant discovered that the
government is also an absentee landlord perhaps even worse than
a private absentee landlord since the latter is much easier to com-
municate wi th. Also, in the cases where the landlord was a source
of management advice or credit, the previous system had advan-
tages over the present arrangement [Bredo, 1961: 263]™.
A study of an East Pakistan village by Quadir records the follow-
ing statement from the peasants regarding their hardships after
zamindari abolition:
The majority said that before the abolition of zamindari they could leave
their rent in arrears for three to four years, for which the Zamindar would
seldom take any harsh measure. But now rent has to be paid up promptly
every year with an additional development tax. In default the government
loses no time to institute a case under certificate procedure for attach-
ment of the land for which rent has fallen in arrears. [Quadir, 1960: 112]
M. H. Khan also reports how land reform attempts prior to 1959,
'instead of providing security to the mass of insecure tenants, only
succeeded in creating an atmosphere of uncertainty among the
tenants and an almost unmasked animosity between them and the
landlords' [Khan, 1965: 132]. Consequently, 'it was usually the
tenant, especially the hari in the former province of Sind who had
to depend so much on the benevolence of the landlord that, in the
absence of an honest, well integrated approach on the part of the
government, he just could not afford to incur his obvious dis-
pleasure' [ibid.].
It is certain that these conditions have persisted even after 1959.
Spate and Learmouth have reported that though 'a certain amount
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LAND REFORM IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN 345
of relief was given to haris in Sind, it was officially admitted that
this led to more tensions than it allayed' [1967: 279].
The First Five Year Plan Report of Pakistan reveals that the
Punjab Tenancy Reform Laws 'did not produce the desired results'.
They were, on the contrary, instrumental in creating tensions
between the landlords and the tenants [Government of Pakistan,
1957: 317]. According to the report:
The tenant felt that he was the virtual owner and begrudged the land-
lord even the rent legitimately payable to him. The landlord on the other
hand felt that he had been practically dispossessed of his property rights
in land. Each thus manoeuvred for position against the other and the
result depended on whether the landlord was big or small, [ibid.]
Similarly, the provisions of land reform which allowed landlords
to eject tenants from areas required for self-cultivation had a pro-
foundly disturbing effect on the security enjoyed by the tenants.
Thus, as the West Pakistan Land Reforms Commission Report
admits, this provision 'created a regular upheaval as it was impos-
sible to find alternative lands or other means of employment for
the rehabilitation of the tenants threatened with displacement from
the areas which the landlords intended to resume for self-cultivation
purpose' [West Pakistan Land Reforms Commissions, 1959: 60].
Implementation of this provision was stayed by the government
but it is not known whether the damage to security already done
was repaired or whether the threat of eviction was utilized by the
landlords to impose even more unfavourable terms of lease on the
tenants who had neither alternative sources of livelihood nor poli-
tical protection to extract better terms of lease from the landlords.
The situation created by half-hearted reform was almost similar
to the one that obtained in India and the consequences for the
tenants were probably not dissimilar to those experienced by the
Indian tenantry.
The Pakistani situation was, however, different in one important
respect from the Indian situation. Several States in India introduced
legislative enactments prohibiting leasing out of land altogether save
in exceptional cases of minors, disabled persons, widows, etc. No
such provisions were included in West Pakistan. There did not
exist in West Pakistan, therefore, the pressure for evasion of these
provisions of tenancy reform as in India nor did any compelling
factors exist giving rise to the phenomenon of 'concealed' or 'under-
ground' tenancy. Tenancy remained very much open and undis-
guised. In fact, the government of West Pakistan was inclined
later to aim not at reducing tenancy but at 'normalising the relations
between landlords and tenants' with a view to creating a favourable
condition for agricultural development programmes.
11
In East
Pakistan, however, the government announced its intention to
declare sub-letting illegal and, consequently, cultivation by share-
croppers disguised as agricultural labourers is reported to have
become quite widespread [Andrus and Mohammed, 1958: 130].
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346 THE JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES
In this background it is not surprising that in Pakistan, as a whole,
the landlord-tenant nexus continued to be an extremely important
characteristic of the agrarian structure even after independence. In
other words, the marked decline in tenancy which was a character-
istic of the Indian agrarian situation did not apply to the emerging
agrarian situation in Pakistan. A comparison of the agrarian situation
before and after land reform is not easy in the absence of com-
parable quantitative data for the two periods, but the available
data tend to suggest that even though some decline in tenancy
occurred, it was not substantial.
It is generally agreed that at the time of independence over 50
per cent of the cultivated land was held in tenancy in West Pakistan
(50 per cent in the former North West Frontier Province, 56 per cent
in the former Punjab Province and 80 in the former Sind Province
by tenants who had no permanent rights whatsoever in land). From
the data provided by the Report on the 1960 World Census of Agri-
culture (see Table 10) it can be seen that area rented from others
TABLE 10
Percentage Distribution of Area of Holdings by Tenure:
W. Pakistan (1959-60)
Tenure Percentage
All Holdings 100.0
(a) Area owned by the holder or in owner-like possession 51.0
(b) Area rented from others (total) 49.0
(i ) For a fixed amount of money or produce 4.0
(ii) For a share of the produce 43.5
(iii) Rent free 1.5
Source: Report on the 1960 World Census of Agriculture, Vol. I, Part A. FAO,
Rome, 1966, p. 152.
TABLE 11
Percentage Distribution of Area of Holdings by Tenure:
East Pakistan (1959-60)
Tenure Percentage
All Holdings 100.0
(a) Area owned by the holder or in ownership-like
possession 81.8
(b) Area rented from others (total) 18.2
(i ) For a fixed amount of money or produce 2.0
(ii) For a share of the produce 16.2
(iii) Rent free 0.0
Ccurce: Report on the 1960 World Census of Agriculture, Vol. I, Part A, FAO,
Rome, 1966, p. 149.
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LAND REFORM IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN 347
constituted about 49 per cent of the total area of operational hold-
ings in West Pakistan during 1959-60. It is evident that the tenancy
situation in Pakistan remained by and large unaffected by land
reforms.
No estimate of tenancy for East Pakistan for the early years of
independence is available. According to the data from the 1960
World Census of Agriculture (Table 11), however, area rented
from others constituted 18.2 per cent of the area of all operational
holdings in East Pakistan
12
. It is quite possible that 'disguised' or
'concealed' tenancy is an important feature of the agrarian situation
in East Pakistan in view of the official disapproval of sub-letting of
land. Some village studies by social scientists have also reported
that, in spite of the State Acquisition and Tenancy Act of 1951,
the 'condition of the cultivators has not changed significantly' and
that 'a vast majority of cultivators still today remain landless' and
that 'their main source of livelihood is sharecropping [Afsaruddin.
1964: 9]. There is no doubt that powerful factors like pressure of
population on land and lack of alternative avenues of employment
would make for a high incidence of tenancy in East Pakistan.
Nevertheless, the diminution of absentee landownership and in-
creased security of tenure for the occupancy tenants may have
contributed towards some decline in the tenanted area.
It is important to note that area rented from others constituted
39.5 per cent of the total area of operational holdings for the whole
of Pakistan (Table 12). This high incidence of tenancy is in marked
contrast to the relatively lower incidence for India as a whole (area
leased-in being only 10.70 per cent for India).
The data available from the 1960 World Census of Agriculture
for Pakistan also bring out the contrasting character of agricultural
tenancy in West and East Pakistan.
TABLE 12
Percentage Distribution of Area of Holdings by Tenure:
Pakistan (1959-60)
Tenure Percentage
All Holdings 100.0
(a) Area owned by the holder or in owner-like possession 60.5
(b) Areas rented from others (total) 39.5
(i) For a fixed amount of money or produce 3.3
(ii) For a share of the produce 35.1
(iii) Rent free 1.1
Source: Report on the 1960 World Census of Agriculture, Vol. I, Part A, FAO,
Rome, 1966. p. 147
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348 THE JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES
Table 13 shows that in West Pakistan cultivators of operational
holdings of less than 12.5 acres accounted for only 34.6 per cent
of the total area rented from others while cultivators with opera-
tional holdings of more than 12.5 acres accounted for as much as
65.4 per cent of the area rented from others. In fact, cultivators
in the 25-acres-and-over size-group alone accounted for 35.3 per
cent of the area rented from others. In other words, in West
Pakistan the major part of the total area rented from others was
leased-in by the large cultivators for whom tenancy was a means
of bringing about an enlargement of the size of the operational unit.
The same table shows the very opposite picture for East Pakistan
where subsistence-lease was the dominant element in the overall
tenancy situation, even though commercial lease was non-existent.
Thus, of the total area rented from others, 71.6 per cent was leased-
in by cultivators having operational holdings of less than 7.5 acres,
26.3 per cent by cultivators in the 7.5 to under 25 acres size-group
and 2.1 per cent by cultivators in the 25 acres and above size-group.
The existence of a commercially motivated class of large culti-
vators constitutes one of the dominant features of the emerging
agrarian structure in West Pakistan, a feature which differentiates
the agrarian situation in West Pakistan from that obtaining in East
Pakistan.
Within West Pakistan itself two distinct agrarian patterns can be
identified, one characterized by the growing dominance of the large
peasant cultivator, part-owner and part-tenant, and the other
characterized by the continuing dominance of the big landlords
in control of vast tracts of land and getting these cultivated either
through hired labour and/or through lease arrangements of various
types.
A study of three Pakistani villages by John H. Honigmann (1958)
presents a vivid picture of these two different agrarian types.
The first village in Sind is characterized by 'the contrast between
widespread land poverty and large scale land ownership by a few'
and also by 'the extensive power wielded by a landlord over his
tenants.' As described by the author, 'broadly speaking, there are
two social classes, the upper class gentry and the common people.'
Further, 'economically the gentry are landholders wi th annual
incomes of around Rs. 30,000' and they live 'as a truly leisure
class, assisted in making a living by tenant farmers and servants.'
The 'common people' on the other hand, include 'the artisans,
cultivators, field labourers,' etc.
The second village in the North West Frontier Province is also
characterized by a 'sharp contrast between a leisure class of
wealthy landowners and the mass of cultivating farmers.' The
second village differs from the first in so far as 'distinctions in
behaviour and material wealth are not as extreme as in the first
village.' Partly for this reason and partly because 'the social class
differences . . . are dominated by common tribal links,' class dis-
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TABLE 13
Area in Holdings by Tenure: Percentage Distribution by Size of Holdings in West Pakistan and East Pakistan
Al l sizes Under 1.0 and 2.5 and 5.0 and 7.5 and 12.5 and 25 acres
Tenure of 1.0 under under under under under and
holdings acres 2.5 acres 5.0 acres 7.5 acres 12.5 acres 25 acres over
WEST PAKISTAN
(a) Areas owned by the holder or
in owner-like possession 100.0
(b) Area rented from others 100.0
0.8
0.5
2.9
2.5
5.9
28.7
6.1
6.5
8.0
12.6
17.5
21.4
30.1
34.6
49.9
35.3
>
a
3J
m
Tl
O
31
a
>
2
w
>
z
(a) Area owned by the holder or
in owner-like possession 100.0
EAST PAKISTAN
3.5 12.8 24.8 18.7
(b) Area rented from others 100.0 1.9 13.8
59.8
33.8
22.1
71.6
19.6 15.2 5.4
34L8
17.2 9.1 2.1
26!
Source: Report on the 1960 World Census of Agriculture, Vol . I, Part A. FAO, Rome, 1966.
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350 THE JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES
tinctions are moderated by the continuing traditions of tribal soli-
darity and cohesiveness.
The third village in the Punjab province is characterized by the
absence of 'a system of social relations involving a gentry and a
lower class.' Thus, there is 'no landlord class existing in the village
whose idleness may symbolize its overwhelmingly superior rank.'
In the village 'the occupational stratification is accompanied by
a differential distribution of prestige between cultivators and
menials.' There are also 'rich men' among the cultivators but they
do not exist as a separate social category.
In short, the first and second villages exhibit two types of land-
lord-tenant relations while the third village exhibits a distinct type
characterized by peasant dominance, wi th some degree of class
differentiation within the peasantry and conflict between peasant
landowners and low-caste landless labourers.
Land reforms initiated in 1959 in West Pakistan are likely to have
brought about some weakening of the economic and political power
of big landlords in the first two types of villages. They are also
likely to have created conditions for the emergence of the inter-
mediate classes as an important, though not still dominant force.
Nevertheless, the old cleavage between the upper class gentry and
the common people in the first type of village and the economic
distance between the landlords and the poor tenants in the second
type are quite significant. The findings of a resurvey of a sample
of Punjabi villages by the Social Sciences Research Centre of the
University of the Punjab in 1959-60 provide some evidence on the
increased importance of the middle groups and the continuing sub-
servience of the rural poor to the landed class. The study shows
that on account of the dependence of the tenants on the landlords,
the ignorance of the tenants of the rights granted to them and
the close tie-up between the landlord and government servants,
land reform failed to make its full impact. In fact, 'even those
tenants who became landowners in their own right still behaved
like the domestic servants of the landlords.' There were 'no signs
of class consciousness among the landless labourers' [Social
Science Research Centre, University of the Punjab, 1960].
Recently, however, a more powerful agent of agrarian change
seems to have appeared on the rural scene in the shape of new
technological forces in West Pakistan. Specially noteworthy is the
introduction of the new seed varieties which have proved capable
of doubling yields when used with other inputs. One of the crucial
inputs was irrigation water which increased during the 1960s as
a result mainly of the tube-well programme [Stern and Falcon, 1970:
76J. Technological change in West Pakistan has thus created con-
ditions for pushing the old landed gentry, which had existed mainly
as a rentier, 'leisure class', into the background. It has favoured
the emergence of an acquisitive landed class seeking to maximise
profits from farming.
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LAND REFORM IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN 351
In the context of static technology, leasing out of land on a
customary basis was generally preferred by landlords to direct
management. With technological change there is a shift from absen-
tee landed property to self-cultivation or direct personal super-
vision and management. While savings in the past were channelled
mainly into purchase of land or construction of houses, these are
now increasingly diverted into investment in tube-wells and modern
inputs with a view to maximizing the productivity of land and the
returns from agriculture. Even when the landlords continue to lease
out lands to tenants, the lease arrangements are more contractual
than customary and the landlord, far from being a mere receiver
of rent without any role in management, is now actively involved
in overall management and supervision and in improving the infra-
structure for development.
Among the peasants also, technological change promotes a shift
from subsistence to commercialism. It pushes into prominence a
class of peasants who are keen to enlarge their operational units
and to raise the technological level of the farms to maximize their
incomes.
Technological change under given conditions favours those who
have more rather than less land, and who have political connexions
and social privilege. Not all the potentially enterprising elements
gain from new technology; only those who combine social privileges
with dynamism and intelligence [Hunter, 1969: 95]. It is no accident
therefore that the 'new class' of entrepreneurs is drawn mainly
from the bigger peasants and the landlords rather than from the
other sections of cultivators. A study by Ghulam Mohammad on
private tube-well development in W. Punjab reveals that 23 per
cent of the tube-wells were installed by farmers who had less than
25 acres each, 55 per cent were installed by farmers with less than
50 acres each, while the remaining 45 per cent were installed by
farmers with more than 50 acres each [Mohammad. 1965: 20]"
13
.
Thus, it is farmers who had more than 25 acres and specially those
with more than 50 acres who were the principal beneficiaries of the
tube-well programme. Not all those who installed tube-wells were
'self-cultivators'; among the tube-well owners were also landlords
who leased out lands to tenants and imposed new terms and
conditions on tenants after the installation of tube-wells. Ghulam
Mohammad observes:
When land was occupied by tenants, the usual practice in the canal-
irrigated areas was to share the produce on a fifty-fifty basis between
the landlord and the tenant. When the landlord had installed a tube-well
in a canal irrigated area he typically got 60 per cent of the produce and
tenant got 40 per cent. The additional 20 per cent by the landlord was
assumed as the cost of operation of the tube-well. Where no canal water
was available the landlord installing the tube-well got two-thirds of the
produce and the tenant got one-third [ibid.: 19].
Tube-well development also threw up a class of 'waterlords' who
sold water to those who had no tube-wells of their own. Thus in
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352 THE JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES
Gujranwala and Sialkot districts, 'the value of water sold was
realised in the form of a share of the crop produce.' For rice, 'the
usual practice was to charge one-third of the gross produce' while
for all other crops, 'one-fourth of the gross produce was charged'
[ibid.: 18-19].
Ghulam Mohammad's study also shows that the tube well
farmers were distinguished from others by their new 'outlook on
agriculture as a business' [ibid.: 24]. They grew more valuable
crops, applied fertilizers and other modem inputs to increase their
income. Thus, as a result of the tube-well programme, 'the less
enterprising farmers of the past are now becoming more enterpris-
ing and a revolution in agriculture is taking place' [ibid.: 45].
It should not be overlooked that even within West Pakistan the
effects of technology on the agrarian structure are likely to be more
pronounced in Punjab which has experienced the concentrated
impact of the tube-well development programme than in the other
regions [Mohammad, 1965: 6-7]. At the same time, the emergence
of 'enterprising men' recruited from various spheres of life—former
landlords, rich peasants, retired army and government officials, etc.
—has been noted by many scholars even in other parts of West
Pakistan. To quote Guy Hunter [1969: 45] :
In Pakistan, Punjab and down towards Sind there were plenty of these
bigger, enterprising men, owning from 40 acres to 500 or more with
a manager in the bigger units. The Government added to them by giving
large blocks of land to senior officers as a retirement pension.
Not all these 'new men' are agricultural entrepreneurs managing
a new type of agricultural enterprise. In fact, 'some prefer to keep
their tenants farming in the old ways, to draw their rents and
interests on their loans and to concern themselves with other things
—perhaps merchanting or a small business or politics. Some still
fill the picture of a rapacious landlord' [ibid.: 46]. Many members
of the old landed class are therefore a curious mixture of the old
landed gentry and a commercially oriented, new class. Techno-
logical change has made it possible for 'new men' to be drawn
also from intermediate classes. Thus, as Honigmann reports, in
the Sind village characterized by a traditional two class division
into the 'landed gentry and the common people', there was a
weakening of the two-class system 'when the Sukkur Barrage
enhanced the productivity of the district and increased the number
of people who could own land [Honigman, 1958: 15]. The creation
of a new 'middle class' was thus a new development resulting from
technological change even in the stronghold of the old type of
landed gentry.
Before proceeding to trace the trend of agrarian change in East
Pakistan, the peculiarities of the agrarian structure in that region
may first be highlighted.
It is important first to note that large landholders of the West
Pakistan type are no longer a dominant force in East Pakistan,
though they are not absent. The old landed gentry has yielded
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LAND REFORM IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN 353
place to middle-level landlords recruited only partly from the mem-
bers of the old gentry, now dwarfed in size and importance. More
importantly, it is recruited from the old tenants-in-chief or under-
propnetors now established as independent proprietors or as 'new
men' from retired government and army officials who are more
directly involved in land management though not in actual cultiva-
tion. Tenancy—share-cropping tenancy—remains the most wide-
spread mode of cultivation of these Khas lands belonging to land-
lords.
Secondly, below these landowners are the small peasant owners-
cum-tenants who constitute numerically the largest group. Even
though these are self-employed peasants, use of outside labour
is not unknown even in this group partly because of the nature of
the work
14
associated with rice cultivation, and partly because of
the nature of the social structure which associates low status with
manual labour in the fields.
Thirdly, at the bottom of the agrarian hierarchy are the vast
numbers of share-croppers-cum-labourers, who combine cultivation
of unowned lands with agricultural and non-agricultural labour of
various kinds.
An important characteristic of East Pakistan's agrarian structure
is that the predominant section, both among owner-operators and
tenants, consists of those who cultivate small holdings of less
than 2.5 acres. According to M. H. Khan, 'for the owner and tenant
farms in East Pakistan, the percentages of the small-size farms
(of under 2.5 acres) were 62 and 61 respectively' [1966: 85].
In East Pakistan various factors have combined to retard the pro-
nounced shift towards commercialism which was noted as the
main trend of development in West Pakistan. The social and econ-
omic legacy of the old zamindari system continues in the form of
the persistence of the landlord-tenant nexus, the ambivalence of
the landowners towards an active role in land management and
the apathy and resourcelessness of an over-exploited tenantry. This
legacy of the zamindari system is perpetuated by the pressure
of population on land which is unrelieved by economic opportunities
outside agriculture. Under these circumstances tenancy and small
units of cultivation have become chronic features of the East
Pakistan agrarian situation. These features are further reinforced
by the low technological level of monsoon-based agriculture which
makes it profitable for landlords to continue leasing out their lands
to land-hungry tenants rather than engage in self-cultivation or
more active land management.
15
It is important to note that in East Pakistan a technological break-
through comparable to that of West Pakistan has not yet occurred
either in terms of control of floods, or increased availability of
water through new irrigation schemes, or the discovery of an
appropriate seed technology. Since the role of technology in push-
ing up the traditionally low returns from agriculture has so far been
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354 THE JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES
insignificant, it is not surprising that technological factors have not
yet played any positive role in influencing the pattern of agrarian
change [Stern and Falcon, 1970: 44-45]. In future, however, this
situation may undergo change as a result of the contemplated
schemes
16
for promoting quick-yielding tube-well and low-lift-pump
investments which may lead to the greater use of fertilizers and
new varieties of seeds. The enhanced profitability of agriculture
may thus bring about a shift towards commercialism among the
landlords as well as peasants operating relatively bigger holdings.
These techno-economic forces may no doubt reduce to some
extent the hiatus between the ownership and management of land.
But without a formidable dent into the problems of overpressure on
land any significant decline in subsistence-oriented tenancy or
small-sized agriculture is not in sight in the foreseeable future; or,
if such a decline occurs, it may create an explosive situation in
the rural areas.
Conclusions
We now sum up the main trends of agrarian change following land
reform in India and Pakistan.
1. Land reform, specially in India, has been characterized at the
ideological level by agrarian radicalism, giving rise to great expec-
tations on the part of the rural poor. At the programmatic level,
however, land reform has only tended to promote and consolidate
the interests of the intermediate class of big peasants and medium
landowners.
2. The land reform programme thus has had a dual impact.
Benefiting mainly the intermediate classes, it has left unsatisfied
the vast expectations of the rural poor. The former have been
upgraded and pushed into prominence in the land and power
structure. The latter have, in contrast, lost even the limited security
which they enjoyed under the old system without yet a tangible
gain in any other form.
3. In India the dislodging of the old landed gentry from the land
and power structure and the rise of the intermediate classes to
a dominant position has been much more pronounced than in
Pakistan. The conflict of interests between the two groups has
yet to be decisively resolved in Pakistan.
Land reform programmes in both countries, nevertheless, belong
to the same type (Type I). Under this type of reform, the conflict
between the rising intermediate class and the old landed gentry
provides the main impulse as well as the limits of land reform.
Reform of Type I can be distinguished from another type of reform
(Type II) under which the discontent of the rural poor supplies
the main thrust of the reform and a large-scale transfer of land
from the rich to the poor constitutes the hard core of the pro-
gramme.
7
A question having great relevance for both countries is whether
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LAND REFORM IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN 355
these two types of reforms are alternatives or only two stages of
reform. In other words, does Type I constitute the first stage,
paving the way for Type II which is to be regarded as the second
stage of the land reform programme?
Land reform scholars in both countries have generally taken a
pessimistic view of any prospect of further land reform, specially
of Type II, materializing in the near future. Doreen Warriner has
expressed the opinion that 'at present reform does not lie within
the bounds of political possibility [1969: 217]. Similarly, Gunnar
Myrdal has suggested that
as neither the political will nor the administrative resources for a radical,
or for that matter, any fairly effective land reform are present, it may be-
preferable to make a deliberate policy choice in favour of capitalist farming
by allowing and encouraging the progressive cultivator to reap the full
rewards of his enterprise and labour, while approaching the fundamental
issues of equality and institutional reform from a different angle and by
different policy means [1968b: 1380].
R. P. Dore has also advocated the search for 'the second best'
in view of the absence of the political feasibility of reforms of a
radical type. This alternative to land reform is said to lie 'in promot-
ing the process of collective bargaining in agriculture: of labourer's
unions with capitalist employers, of tenant unions with landlords
and of water users' unions wi th owners of expensive tube-wells
or others with monopoly access to irrigation water' [1969].
The views of Myrdal, Dore and Warriner can be said to typify
the recent trend of opinion among social scientists as well as policy-
makers both in India and Pakistan. This trend is based on an appre-
ciation of the class structure and the power balance now obtaining
in the countryside. The target of attack of any radical reform is
no longer the economically unproductive and politically discredited
landed gentry; it is now the big farmer class which exercises direct
control over the economic system and wields enormous political
power from the village to the top levels of the power structure. In
view of the fact that the big farmer class now constitutes the
social base of the power-elites, the prospect of Type II of land
reform in the foreseeable future appears bleak to many scholars.
In any assessment of future trends, due weight must be given
to these changes of the class structure and the power balance in
the countryside. At the same time one should not overlook certain
fundamental aspects of the present situation which tend to make
the new agrarian system based on the dominance of the big farmer
class much more unstable than the old system dominated by the
landed gentry.
In the old agrarian system the dominance of the landed gentry
over the landless was less vulnerable in so far as the relation be-
tween the two was not generally perceived as a naked economic
relation of the exploiter and the exploited. Several factors contri-
buted towards disguising the facts of exploitation and towards
blunting the edge of class conflict.
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356 THE JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES
Firstly, the landlord-tenant system formed part of a wider social
system which assigned the landlord a paternalistic and protective
role in relation to the landless classes. The landlord was idealised
as a patron of the landless class which were viewed as his subjects
(or parjan). This conception of the landlord as a protector not only
set limits to his acquisitiveness but also compelled him to fulfil
certain positive obligations towards the weaker sections of society
18
.
Secondly, the force of paternalism not only kept economic exploi-
tation within limits in normal times; it also prevented the fact of
exploitation being perceived as exploitation.
Thirdly, another factor obscuring the perception of economic
relations in class categories was the overall ideology of the tradi-
tional society. It is important to note that the concepts of equality
and of rights were under-emphasized in the traditional ideology.
The very conception of organizing and agitating for rights, of assert-
ing the urge of equality was also relegated into the background.
More importantly, inequality and poverty had also an other-worldly
sanction in terms of the law of Karma. To question the richness
of the rich or the poverty of the poor was to rise against the divine
scheme of things. It was both immoral and futile.
In other words, the old agrarian system was more stable partly
because of the in-built security within it for the rural poor and partly
because poverty and inequality, far from being a deviation from
the dominant moral principle of the traditional society, in fact
represented the very affirmation of that principle.
In contrast, the new agrarian system is vulnerable from its very
inception. The very process by which the new landed class has
risen to dominance has simultaneously destroyed the conditions
which made the dominance of the old landed gentry more stable.
The new dominant class is committed to naked commercialism,
thus throwing overboard the paternalistic ethic and the limited
protective role towards the poor which were associated with the
old landed gentry. Wi th the unfettered assertion of acquisitiveness
by the new class, the traditional relations between the rich and
the poor are turned topsy-turvy.
Commercialism has also another dimension, viz., the assertion of
the principle of competition which stands in marked contrast to
the cooperative principle characterizing the traditional system. The
principle of acquisition together with that of competition which
constitute the motive power of the new system destroy the ele-
ments of material security existing for the poor within the old
system. They thus create a new material environment in which
the rich do not act any more as the patrons or the protectors of
the poor even to the limited extent they did within the old system.
The rich assert more and more aggressively their own self-interest.
As a result, the poor now have to compete with the rich for access
to economic resources. They are thus drawn by the very logic of
the new system towards recognizing their identity as a separate
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LAND REFORM IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN 357
economic class and towards organising themselves for their econ-
omic interests.
This change in the objective situation has created conditions
for a corresponding change in the subjective situation. It is no more
possible for the poor to look upon the rich either as patrons or
as protectors. Certain sections of the rural society consisting of
the small tenants and the agricultural labourers now perceive the
relations of the rich and the poor much more clearly as a relation
of exploiters and exploited. Even other sections consisting of small
peasant proprietors which do not come under the direct exploita-
tion of the new dominant class no longer consider the dominance
of this class as favourable to their sectional interest or even to
the general interest of the community as a whole. Moreover, the
moral basis of this dominance has simultaneously been under-
mined by the new doctrine of equality. From the point of view of
this doctrine, inequality in all spheres, including the economic
sphere, constitutes a violation of a fundamental human right. In
the context of this change in the total situation, the dominance of
the new class is associated with the break-up of the rural com-
munity into separate interest groups and with conflict increasingly
taking the place of interdependence.
The new system is thus unstable from the very beginning not
only because of the breakdown of the old security mechanisms
for the masses but also because of the erosion of the unifying frame
of reference between different rural groups. The fundamental weak-
ness of the new class is that its dominance is perceived by the
remaining groups in the rural society more and more as a threat
to their own security
19
. Further, following the norms set by the
dominant group, each group is governed by its narrow sectional
interest without any consciousness of the general social interest.
Such naked assertion of sectional interests is more favourable to
conflict rather than convergence of interests; and without such
convergence no viable social order can ever be established.
With the above background, the case for Type II land reform
gains strength not only because more equitable distribution of
land would bring about greater material security for the rural poor
and therefore provide the basis for a viable economic order. Indeed,
Type II land reform assumes much greater importance as the means
of promoting equality and thus cieating the material as well as
the moral basis for a stable social order.
In fact, in a society caught between the unfettered acquisitiveness
of the rich and the insecurity of the rural poor, land reform of
Type II may serve as the most effective means of re-establishing
order and authority which constitute the most important pre-
conditions for uninterrupted economic development
20
.
A thrust forward from reform of Type I which only benefited
the intermediate classes to reform of Type II which benefits the
rural poor cannot be ruled out both in India and Pakistan in the
coming years.
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358 THE JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES
NOTES
1. On agrarian unrest in India and its underlying causes, see: Government of
India, Ministry of Home Affairs. Research and Policy Division [1969], and
P. C. Joshi [1970].
2. See Doreen Warriner [1969]. 'What now appears to have been the chief
mistake in the general reform policy was the failure to enforce redistri-
bution of ownership in connection with the abolition of Zamindari and
the tenancy legislation. Had it been possible to set a limit to the areas
which landowners could retain or resume in personal cultivation, the
eviction of tenants could have been prevented' (p. 170).
3. For a list as well as findings of land reform evaluation studies see
Government of India, Socio-economic Research Division. Planning Com-
mission [1966].
4. These observations have been made on the basis of a study of available
land reform evaluation surveys and case studies of villages. Some of these
are Singh and Misra [1964], B. Singh [1961], Rawat [1951], Y. Singh
[1961], Mayer [1952], Ladejinsky [1965], Government of India, Planning
Commission [1963], Warriner [1969], Sharma [1963], Thorner [1956].
5. For an analysis of the declining magnitude of agricultural tenancy, see
Narain and Joshi [1969]. For illustrative date on increase of owner-
cultivation resulting from eviction of tenants and the resumption of land
for 'self-cultivation' by landlords, see Khusro [1958: 64-66], Desai [1958]
and Dandekar and Khundanpur [1957: chapter iv, 28-30].
6. The following passage from the second article sums up the trends of
change in Punjab and Bihar: 'In areas where the agricultural transformation
is a potent force—Punjab and the Purnea district of Bihar—the accom-
plishments are marred by its adverse effects on the already troublesome
tenurial conditions. Where the new farm practices are already in vogue,
land values have risen three, four or five fold and unrestricted land control
has never been more prized. As a consequence not only have rents
risen from the traditional (though illegal under the reforms) 50/50 to
as high as 70 per cent of the crop but security of tenure and other rights
in land a tenant might claim have also been perceptibly weakened. Now
that green revolution land is practically invaluable, the owners would like
to get rid of tenants altogether and resume the land for self-cultivation,
making use of plentiful supply of hired labour which has no claim on the
land whatsoever. There are too many tenants or share-croppers to deal
with them summarily without courting a good deal of trouble but the
old squeeze whereby tenants are reduced to share-croppers and eventu-
ally to landless workers is being accentuated as more of the bigger
owners become involved with new technology. The basic provisions of
tenancy reforms are less attainable than before the advent of the green
revolution' [Ladejinsky, 1970: 764].
7. Frankel's study confirms Ladejinsky's findings and provides further evi-
dence about distress leasing by the small to big cultivators: 'There is
little doubt that the position of tenants has become more difficult as a
result of the green revolution. With profits from direct cultivation rising,
there are now more farmers who want to lease-in land than lease-out.
Moreover, large farmers now find a positive advantage in larger units
of management, with new possibilities for more efficient agriculture with
mechanization. Those large farmers who still give out some land on
lease usually demand a premium in higher rents. Compared to five years
ago. cash rents on lease-in land have increased from about Rs. 300-350
to Rs. 500 per acre. More commonly share-cropping arrangements are
made. In some cases the traditional rate of 50/50 division of gross output
between the owner and tenant is maintained; and the owner may also
P3y half the cost of fertiliser and diesel for irrigation. But in many
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LAND REFORM IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN 359
instances, tenants are not so fortunate, landowners may ask for 70 per
cent of the crop as their share, arguing that with new methods, the
tenant still receives a larger absolute portion from 30 per cent of e
higher output than 50 per cent of a lower outturn. But since most small
owner-cum-tenant cultivators cannot afford to invest in optimum pro-
duction facilities, they find the new rentals uneconomic, and gradually
are forced to give up as a cultivator'.
In other words, the green revolution creates conditions for the squeezing
out of small cultivators from agriculture altogether. To quote Frankel
again: 'One solution has been to "rent" out small holdings of two to four
acres and take 50 per cent of the crop as their share. Some small owners
have also decided to take advantage of rising land values and sell their
small holdings, either to liquidate debts or to start a new enterprise
such as poultry farming. Pure tenants, those with no land or bullocks
to sell or "rent" are in the worst position. They may be taken on as a
share-cropper by a larger farmer who supplies at! the inputs, and pays the
tenant 20 per cent of the crop as his share.'
8. It is necessary to draw attention to the limited availability of empirical
studies as well as factual information on land reforms and agrarian rela-
tions in Pakistan. We have presented, therefore, a general view rather
than a detailed analysis of agrarian change which is based on information
available from official publications of the Government of Pakistan and
economic development studies by scholars. For quantitative data, main
reliance has been placed on the FAO Report on the 1960 World Census
of Agriculture, Vol. I, Part A, which provides census results for many
countries including Pakistan.
9. Some references on land reform in Pakistan have been given earlier. Some
more are Government of Pakistan [1957 and 7960 and 1965], West
Pakistan Land Reforms Commission [1959], Stern and Falcon [1970],
Khan [1966], Papanek [1967], Kahnert, Stier and Thomopoulos [1970],
Government of Pakistan, Economic Adviser to [1968], Spate and Lear-
mouth [1967], Hirashima [1968], Myrdal [1968b]. -
10. In East Pakistan the credit situation also became serious because of the
disappearance of Hindu banias or money-lenders. The only recourse of
small cultivators was sale or mortgage, a factor contributing to the
increases in the number of bargadars. (See Spate and Learmouth, 1967:
279].
11. The West Pakistan Land Reforms Commission in its report, in fact,
expressed the view in unambiguous terms as is shown by the following
statement: 'Land . . . is held in high value by the rural society. As a
corollary, there is a great demand for the ownership of land. An ideal
situation in our country would have been if the entire agricultural land
could be operated through owner-farmers or peasant proprietors. Ideals
are, however, seldom attainable and tenancy would continue to be a
dominant feature of the tenurial structure, despite the present attempt
at the distribution of ownership of land and of making access to the
land more free. A recognition of the important role which the tenant
plays as a factor in production and a cognizance of the conditions in
which he works must, therefore, form an integral part of any land reforms
programme' [1959: 58].
This view had been expressed much earlier even in the Report of the
First Five Year Plan. To quote: 'We consider that the uncertainties
in the situation should be removed and that tenants and landowners should
be allowed to make arrangements between themselves on a free basis.
We hope that in course of time their relations will approximate to those
prevailing in industrially advanced countries, with reasonable recognition
of each other's rights [1957: 320].
127 This (1960-61) estimate of tenanted area for East Pakistan (i.e., 18 per
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360 THE JOURNAL OF PEASANT STUDIES
cent) is very close to the (1961-62) estimate of tenanted area for West
Bengal (i.e., 17.65 per cent).
13. According to this study, up to the time of survey (1964), 25,000 tube-
wells had been installed in the whole of Pakistan of which 24,000 were
in the Northern Zone of West Pakistan, (p. 8).
14. For an account of the influence exercised by the nature of work associated
with rice cultivation on agrarian relations, see Beteille [1970: 16-18].
15. Quadir's study of village Dhaneshwar in East Pakistan reports that the
definite choice before any family having some surplus is to invest it for
buying land. There is no consideration whether the family is able to
cultivate the new land by itself. Renting the land out on cash or share-
cropping is a sure and profitable means of income [1960: 120].
16. On agricultural development schemes in East Pakistan see Kanhert, Stier
and Thomopoulos [1970].
17. On the classification of reform into Stage I and Stage II, see Dore [1965:
487-497].
18. Guy Hunter very aptly described this role of the landlord: ' . . . for the
landlord is a patron, a source of credit, a market, perhaps also a source
of support in law suits and even a local police force for the small man.
Land reform is not simply a change in land tenure. It can sweep away a
whole system of social relationship and social security, bad as it may
be: something must be put in its place' [1969: 151].
How a member of the landed gentry himself visualized his role is presented
very well in Sinha [1965].
19. Guy Hunter brings out very sharply this feature of the new landed class
when he raises the question: 'Is the rich and enterprising farmer a develop-
ment hero or a social menace?' [1969: 18].
20. Will Type II land reform not entail sacrifice of productivity for the sake
of equity? This question has not been raised and discussed in this paper.
Attention has only been drawn to some of the social and political prob-
lems arising from the replacement of the landed gentry by the big culti-
vator as the dominant class in rural India and Pakistan. No doubt the
new class is more productive than the ertswhile landed-gentry. But
economic growth spearheaded by this class tends to accentuate inter-
group conflicts by aggravating economic disparity and economic in-
security. It is quite possible that these conflicts exceed the tolerance
limit of the political system. In that case a new growth strategy based
on the mass of small producers rather than a small minority of big
cultivators may become inescapable.
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