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Colonizing Agriculture: The Myth of Punjab Exceptionalism

-By Mridula Mukherjee

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Book Summary

In this study of the agrarian economy of Punjab in India's colonial period, the author takes the economic aspects of the lives of Punjab's peasants as a starting point for understanding the politics of this group from the 1920s to 1947. A comparison is made between Punjab and other regions of colonial India, especially Eastern India.

This book is the first comprehensive study of the impact of colonialism on the agriculture of this very important region which, apart from the Pakistani and Indian provinces of Punjab, included the present day Indian provinces of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Making extensive use of data culled from government archives and private papers in India and Britain, as well as from village surveys, farm accounts and family budgets, the author argues that Punjab was by no means an idyllic land of prosperous peasant proprietors. She maintains that it was also the land of big feudal landlords, rack-rented tenants, and struggling small-holders, who were forced to enlist in the army or migrate to enable their families to pay government taxes and to repay debts. Comparing Punjab with its supposed polar-opposite, the eastern region of Bengal and Bihar, Mridula Mukherjee demonstrates that Punjab too had begun to exhibit features typical of colonial under-development, such as stagnation of productive forces, intensification of semi-feudal relations, forced commercialisation and lack of capital investment in agriculture. The green revolution therefore was not the result of a continuity but actually because of a break with the colonial past. short..

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Book Details
ISBN-13 9780761934042
Publisher SAGE Publications Inc
Imprint SAGE Publications Inc
Number of Pages 212
Publication Date 01112005
Binding Hardback

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