Andre Beteille

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Andre Beteille

Andre Beteille is India’s leading sociologist and anthropologist, he worked on the caste system of South India. He was born in Chandan Nagar and studied at St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta, he did his undergraduate and post graduate studies in Anthropology from the University of Calcutta. Received a doctorate from Delhi University. After that he worked as a researcher in the Indian Statistical Department. Worked as Professor in the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics. During his teaching time, he taught at notable places such as Oxford, Cambridge and the University of Chicago. Presently, he is serving as the President of the Center for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta and the Indian Council of Social Science Research. In the year 2005, the Prime Minister was nominated as a member of the National Knowledge Commission, but left the commission due to the politics of casteism. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2005. Studied at St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta.


published books


(1) Social Inequality – Selected Readings – 1960 Social Inequality – Selected Readings – 1960

(2) Caste class and power : changing patterns of stratification in Tanjore village. Cast Class and Power! Chasing Pattern of Stratification in Tanjore Village (

 ( 3 ) The Back Ward classes in Contemporary India – 1992 The Backward Classes in Contemporary India – 1992

 (4) The idea of ​​indigenous people – 1998 The idea of ​​indigenous people – 1998

 (5) Society and Politics in India Essays in a Comparative Perspective

( 6) chronics of our time – 2000

( 7) The idea of ​​Natural Inequality and Other Essays – 2003 The Idea of ​​Natural Inequality and Other Essays – 2003 15


     Andre Beteillehas studied the various social humiliations of Indian society through comparative method on the basis of comparative method. Tanjore district of South India not only studied the caste system through study, but also studied the form of power and power in rural society, the pattern of stratification, etc. The above study is considered to be a milestone in sociological studies, its internal as well. Contributions are pioneering. Many of his articles have been published in the ‘Hindu’ magazine published from South India, which are also related to social issues and in these, the depth of understanding the Indian society is also clearly visible, its details are as follows: Secularism Secularism Re-Examin. examined): Betai has expressed his views on secularism in this article. He is of the opinion that the ideology of secularism is not new in India. Multiple divinity in Hindu society is in itself a reflection of the spirit of secularism. This is different from the notion of secularism in Western society.

 It can be understood only in the Indian context. India is a country of diversity and the value of equality is essential. Betai attaches great importance to the diversity of India in all his works. This is the greatest feature of this country. Caste and Species – ‘Cart Endres’: In an article published in Hindu, Betai says that species can never be caste. Species reveal the physical features which are found all over the world, caste has to be understood separately in the Indian context.

It is not only based on birth, but it is related to the spirit of dharma and karma. To understand caste on the basis of race is a political manipulation. In the field of modern education – (Teaching and Research): Teaching and Research: In this article published in Hindu, he has revealed the following facts –

 (1) There has been tremendous growth in the field of education in Indian society. Free education has spread education at a very fast pace.

 (2) There is a competition among the Indian public to be educated.

 (3) The interest of the youth towards research work in the field of higher education is less. Research in universities is decreasing. That’s why the government is also now giving this money to NGOs for research. (N.G.O.S.) to solve their problems

(4) In the context of backward classes – the government is trying for the upliftment of the tribal society. Non-government organizations are also playing their role in this work, but the basic culture of these societies is disappearing, they are becoming the vote bank of political parties, they are being exploited in every way, social culture, economic and political.


 Problems of India: Two problems are major before a developing country like India –

 Economic development and social justice.


Priority has been given to rural reconstruction through five year plans, green revolution, mechanization of agriculture and through land reforms the condition of tenants, share croppers and landless laborers. Attempts have also been made to improve With the availability of new varieties of seeds, chemical fertilizers, new agricultural methods and irrigation facilities etc., agricultural production has increased and there is no shortage of raw materials.

The main problem is not production or economic development, but the distribution of the goods produced in a equitable manner among different sections of the society, so that the benefits of development are not only for the people with quantity and power.

Meet and common people can also take advantage of it. Poverty should be removed and the standard of living of the people should be raised.


 Concept of Farmer and Farmer Society


Andre Beteille in his book Six Essays in Comparative Sociology has highlighted three characteristics of the farmer:


 (1) The farmer is attached to the land, he not only lives on the land but also makes it fruitful by his labour. From the legal point of view, he can be the owner of the land, cultivator on rent or a laborer without the right of land owner.


(2) It is believed that in most of the societies, the peasants have a lower status. Those who admire the farmer for being hard-working, simple and frugal, admit that he would have had a higher real prestige in the society. It is often assumed for the peasantry that it has the opposite characteristics of the elite class. The farmers are also considered to be unsophisticated, uncivilized or uneducated. For them it is understood that they are unfamiliar with the ways of civilized life.


 (3) Agriculturists are considered to be the counterparts or complements of the workers. By accepting this, it is clear that the farmers are exploited by different classes. On one side comes the exploited farming class and on the other side their exploiters.


Keeping in mind the above three meanings of the word ‘agriculturist’, it becomes clear that the use of the term ‘agricultural society’ is inappropriate for the entire Indian civilization. Meaning of Peasant Society: In the context of farming society, André Betai has pointed out that the division between low-level farmers and high-level non-agriculturists does not express the distinction between a village or a town or a town, but the penetration within the village itself. tells. It is clear that there are relations of farmers with A-farmers, but these A-agriculturists are residents of town or city. This is the reality at least in India.


    From the structural point of view, there is a lot of difference in Indian villages. By using the term farming community for all the farms, we will not be able to understand the important difference between the different types of agricultural structure of rural India. Many social anthropologists working in India went ahead with the belief that rural India is the physical place of agrarian society. The same is evident from the works of the followers of Robert Redfield working in India and abroad.

Andre Beteille has written that, “Although it may be useful to characterize some societies as peasant societies, it is doubtful that one would accept this for traditional India, where on the one hand there is a system of macro-caste stratification.” Then there is the second more complex agrarian stratification.” Indian society can be classified as a number of societies. We can divide our society into rural society, urban society, tribal society, and farming society etc. First of all, Indian society is divided into urban and rural blocks, then the rural section into tribal, and non-tribal divisions. The agricultural segment of the Indian society is made up of non-tribal villages. In the teaching of social anthropology in many universities, students are taught about urban India and tribal India and for the rest of India it is assumed that it is a society of farmers. By doing this, people are not familiar with the traditional agricultural version of India which is found in many parts of the country today.

Apart from this, some of the village studies done in India are actually studies of tribal communities and not of farmers. These studies are not able to portray the farming society in the true sense. Andre Betai believes that many tribal villages in India are actually farmers’ communities. If we leave out the small, nomadic hunter-gatherers and fruit-gathering tribes, we will find that many large tribes who live in one place and cultivate and are organized into communities, are like a farming class. Andre Betai has even said that if you want to see the farming communities in India, then the best place to start is in the Santhali, Auraon and Munda people, from the above statement we should not understand that for the tribal society The term farmer society should be used and some other name should be found for the rest of the rural society. This clearly means that we should examine the concept called peasant society very carefully. Its goal should be to properly understand the nature of real relations found between rural communities in India. For this, attention has to be paid on the distribution of land, agricultural relations, caste structure and organization of work in rural India, only then we will be able to know something in depth about the various rural communities. It is clear that the agricultural structure of rural India cannot be understood in the true sense only by the use of words like ‘agricultural society’ and ‘tribal society’.


 The ethnographic perspective of Andre Beteille


According to André Betai, the establishment of anthropology as a physical subject in India can be considered about 50 years ago. At this time every anthropologist was trained in the study of material culture, social organization and religious beliefs and practices. In other words, ethnographers have extended themselves to the study of primitive, uneducated and tribal communities.

But today ethnographers have engaged themselves in the study of many communities, which they probably would not have studied 20 years ago. The study of primitive societies has now become a matter of interest only to young ethnographers and sociologists. In this context, according to André Betai, there have been mainly two types of activities in India, in which social and cultural anthropologists have engaged themselves in the third and fourth decades of the present century. they are

(i) He tried to find cultural history which was mainly concerned with collecting and comparing the customs of Indian and foreign primitive societies.

(ii) From the very beginning, the overall structural study of a particular primitive community has been the subject of interest of anthropologists, in which they pay special attention to the study of their physical, cultural, social organization and religious beliefs and beliefs etc. André Betai has discussed several ethnographic studies such as S. C . Rai’s study was done in Chota Nagpur, Prof. Of . P . Study of Chattopadhyay (K.P.Chattopadhyay) etc. Many monographs on specific primitive tribes have been prepared by Indian ethnographers from the very beginning. It will not be irrational to discuss the main features of the approach used by Majumdar, because the anthropologists of this time and the present anthropologists also used this approach extensively. Majumdar has described how the division of labor is done on the basis of gender in different generations and different specialized unions ranging from the type of food consumed by the Ho tribe to the approach of food and the annual cycle of work. Two other features of Mazumdar’s approach can also be seen here. First, economic organization is not the goal of social organization but something is different and secondly, the small concept of social organization is mainly related to the division of tribe, sub-gotra etc.

Andre Beteille says that the analysis of social organization and institutions like totemism, cousin-brother-marriage, and mother-in-law avoidance, etc., is more simple than the analysis of day-to-day activities in the farm and market. Today anthropologists have broken new areas of study, but even today the study of economic activities in these new areas is almost negligible. Ethnographic studies will remain one-sided until we accept the broader concept of social organization, in which we must also accept economic organizations as an important aspect. In the second round of ethnographic studies in India, studies related to the caste system were started. This time was mainly around 1950. In this way two major theoretical problems emerged prominently as the ethnographers moved from tribe to caste.

First, tribal communities were small, isolated, self-sufficient and autonomous, whereas castes, in contrast, were considered to be isolated, self-sufficient, and not autonomous. Rather, it can be studied on a village, district, or regional basis as a complex system of interconnectedness. Second, in its ideal form, tribal communities were found to be homogenous and undifferentiated, while the study of stratification became a central subject among ethnographers engaged in the study of the caste system in India. Thus we see that according to André Betai an area of ​​research which is undoubtedly of great importance and on which very few studies have been presented by sociologists and ethnographers in India is that of the ‘agricultural stage’. According to Andre Betai, the study of agricultural systems is related to the problem of land and its use for production purposes. The study of Agrarian systems has special importance in the social and economic system based on land. That is why we have no hesitation in saying that so far the anthropologists and sociologists have paid very little attention to this.

On the basis of the available facts, it can be said that different technological stages related to land use are found in India. Here many ecological differences are also seen in the field of agriculture. In some areas, there is a lot of rain and in some it is difficult to get a little rain. Adequate irrigation facilities are available here in some areas, and in some it is negligible. Differences are also found in different regions in terms of temperature, humidity and sunlight. All these have an impact on the different varieties of crops and the technology used for them. To get proper information about agricultural systems, it is necessary to understand the importance of technology used in agriculture. And other factors can also have an effect on them, which is very important to be aware of which is as follows –

The nature of gender-farming operations is actually quite complex. The organization of agricultural operations depends on which technology is available for agriculture in which community. But here we should also not forget that the division of agricultural work is not based on technology but on social organization.

The culture of a particular society determines what will be the role of men in agricultural work and that of women. It is known from the census data that the relative number of women is more among agricultural laborers in West Bengal than in Punjab. This is also confirmed by study. that in some parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the number of women in agricultural labor is greater than that of men. Stratification Andre Betai has pointed out that in the field of Indian agriculture, one important thing will be seen that there is a balance between the stage of stratification and the division of work. There is also a significant difference in the division of work between wheat cultivation and rice cultivation areas. Census data shows that in Punjab and Haryana, where wheat is cultivated exclusively, the proportion of agricultural labor in the entire agricultural population is relatively low, whereas in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, where wet paddy is cultivated. Cultivation), this ratio is high. Here the practice of farming in sharecropping is also more. Organizers and policy makers believe that thali farming done by own family labor may be of a more advanced type, rather than the cultivation which is done by hired labour.

But in relation to how we will explain the regional differences in the methods of producer organizations, sociologists believe that caste structure is the formula for this explanation, self-cultivation is common in areas where peasant castes are dominant. While the use of sharecroppers and salaried laborers is common in areas where land is owned by non-agricultural castes. According to the economists, the reason for the above difference is the pressure of population on the land, availability of additional labor and the difference in salary structure. Nature of work – According to André Betai, another reason for this is the nature of the work itself. Such division of a community where some people work for themselves and others work for, partly depending on the nature of the work. This is the reason that in Punjab and Haryana, ten or fifteen acres of land is cultivated by the farming family itself, while in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, people get farming done by others on five acres of land. The work related to the cultivation of wheat in Punjab and Haryana is not so hard and tiring as the work related to the cultivation of wet paddy in the South. The rural community cannot be divided into two groups, one consisting of those who do agricultural work and the other those who do not do agricultural work. Most of the people living in rural areas are involved in some form of agriculture.

Must do some related work. At the same time, some people do not work on the farm themselves by plowing land on rent, but look after the agricultural work done by other people. Large landowners do farming with the help of landless labourers. A stratification is also found in the manual works in the field of agriculture. The most labor-intensive work has to be done by the people and women of the lowest castes or levels. Which work will be assigned to whom in the agriculture sector, it depends on how different tasks are evaluated in a particular society. In the division of works, special importance is given to who has how much land and how much control over other material resources Andre Betai has told on the basis of his studies that it is generally pleasing to see that hard and hard work – Endable tasks are assigned to those who are landless and those who are at the lowest level of stratification and large landowners do not do the work themselves because they are capable of getting others to do the work for themselves because of their wealth of resources. Production and Social Organization When we consider the social organization of production, we see that time follows a specific pattern not only of work but also of property rights.


Three major patterns of production organization can be seen –

(1) The first model is based on family labour.

(2) The second is based on hired labor and

 (3) The third is based on the cultivators of the land on rent.


 Many differences of each of these models are visible and in many places a mixed pattern of these three models is seen. Where production is based on family labour, different functions are assigned to different members of the family. Gender discrimination is a major factor in the division of work. Where all the members of the family work on their own farm, at the same time they also have to take the help of outsiders as per the requirement from time to time. This cooperation can also be in the form of cash payment or the land of another is cultivated on rent for a fixed period or farming is done in shareholding, while the relationship between two families flourishes. In these, one family belongs to the landowner and the other to the tenant or sharecropper. People falling under these two categories are bound to each other in terms of rights, duties and responsibilities. Certain types of relationships are also found between the landlord family and the salaried workers. There is considerable variation in these relations in different regions. human

It is the duty of women of scholars to find out what are the rights and obligations of the people involved in these different types of relations towards each other in principle or in terms of law and what is their form in practice. ? and society 165

Some people also say that caste represents the real division of rural society and not class, but this should not convince us that people themselves do not feel the division based on land ownership, control and use. Andre Betai has pointed out that if we take rural West Bengal, we will find that there people divide their community only on the basis of caste. They do not consider themselves divided, but consider themselves divided in the form of landlord, jotdar, square, mahindar etc. This second order of classification is very close to the classes. It is clear that the importance of caste is not only found as the basis of social stratification in Indian villages but also of classes. On the basis of the organization of production in the rural agriculture sector, it is also divided into different categories.


 Study Interests and Ideas


Andre Beteille has discussed in detail the concepts and problems present in the study of social stratification in rural India. According to André Betai, the problems of Indian rural society have been motivated more by two major concepts. Out of this, one belongs to the caste and the other belongs to the class. Social anthropologists and sociologists have used caste very openly in their studies. André Betai, while presenting his objection on their literal basis, writes that both the concepts of caste and class represent different types of facts, so the concept of social stratification cannot be applied meaningfully to either of them.

European sociologists have presented their studies by considering class and level and some social class and social stratification as completely separate. André Betai has pointed out that the peasant societies of South Asia are known on the basis of inequality of wealth, power and status. Some writers have related this inequality with the poverty of these nations. The basis of the most prominent inequality in these societies is the division of land. It is not possible to present reliable data of land distribution and ownership in India here, yet it has to be accepted that the study of caste is very important for the Indian society. André Betai says that there is a great need for a sociological study of peasant societies and land should be of central importance in the study of any such farming society. They insist that land ownership, control and use etc. can provide proper subject material to any study. 



Social Scope and Responsibilities


Andre Beteille has found a special relationship between agriculture and social organization. From the point of view of economic activities, special importance of social periphery is found. In these economic activities, there is an ongoing interaction between different people and in these the rights and responsibilities of the individuals are also socially defined. For example, agricultural activities can be organized in different ways. The landowner can plow his own land and get it plowed by the salaried laborers, apart from this, he can give his land to others to cultivate for a fixed period, and gets a certain part of the production in exchange for the land.

Apart from this, the social periphery of agriculture is also related to other aspects of the social system such as participation, caste and location. That is why the mutual relations found in different groups and categories differ in different societies . , Apart from this, according to André Betai, the values ​​and organization of every society are related to each other and both of them play an important role in any change. But in this regard, we have to keep in mind that there are often more barriers to value change than organizations. At present, social equality has been accepted as a very important value in Asian countries. Keeping this value in mind, India has set before itself the goal of creating a casteless and classless society. There is no doubt that although traditional values ​​are present in Asian societies even today, the ideal has been kept to build an egalitarian society, but in these societies and especially in India, the importance of stratification values ​​remains even today.


  Class Structure


Andre Beteille says that if we try to look closely at the rural society of West Bengal, we will find that the people there are not only divided on the basis of caste category, they are also divided on the basis of some economic categories. Such as Zamindar, Talukdar, Jotedar, Adyar, Mahindar and Munshi etc. Betai says that the analysis of each of these categories and the study of the interrelationships found between them will be very useful for us in understanding the structure of the farming class. André Betai has made a detailed study of the agrarian social structure, class structure found in the peasant society, peasant relations, peasant dissatisfaction and peasant movements.

According to them the following classes are found in the rural farming structure –

(1) Land owner cultivator:

( ii ) Land owner cultivator cultivator

(ii) a tenant or sharecropper farmer; And

(iv) Agricultural labor


The above various categories and their interrelationships constitute the agricultural stratification system, which is a very important feature of the Indian rural social system. The art of harmony or dissatisfaction found in this social system depends on the mutual social relations of these categories.


Power and Power Structure


 Traditionally the main bases of power structure in Indian villages were as follows:

(i) ruling class based on dynasty or later on zamindari or talukdari,

(i) The higher castes on the basis of rites in the caste hierarchy, in which the status was obtained on the basis of birth,

 (iii) The post of Chaudhari in the Jati Panchayat was also hereditary, and

(iv) In the village panchayat too, the head was usually on hereditary basis.


Thus, power and structure manifest the form of a closed system where it is almost impossible to move from one order to another in the power hierarchy. Apart from this, the status of Status Summation is also visible i.e. the upper caste is the upper class and they also hold the highest positions of power. But with the introduction of Panchayati Raj, universal adult franchise and other development programs, this traditional power structure has begun to break down.


 Inequality and Poverty

An important feature of agrarian societies is their poverty and their relatively irreversible nature. When these societies are compared with industrial societies, a clear difference is seen that where poverty is found in agrarian societies, there is agglomeration in industrial societies. The main reason for the poverty found in agrarian societies is the high pressure of population on the land and the use of traditional type of agricultural technology. When we consider the especially rural part of Indian society, we find that not only this poverty and its irreversible nature is found, but also high degree of inequality is seen in social, economic and political spheres. These inequalities are more severe and pronounced in agricultural societies than in industrial societies. Comparing the agricultural and industrial societies, the Middle Ages has summed up that ‘Land produces castes, machines create classes. Inequality in agrarian societies has two sides. According to Andre Betai, its first aspect is related to distribution, which is expressed in the form of distribution of wealth, income, literacy, education etc. Apart from this, inequality also occupies a fundamental place in their value systems. Traditional Indian society has advanced a lot in this matter, which has made social 

Inequality justified ideologically. It is here that the predominance of stratagem values ​​is found, whose effect is clearly visible on different types of organizations. When new organizations are formed with a view to the all-round development of the country, they too are generally influenced by these traditional values. In India, the hierarchical system is clearly visible in cooperatives, block and district development societies and school management boards. Here on the one hand such persons are found who are privileged and prosperous, while on the other hand such people who are deprived of various means, facilities and abilities. In this country, the feeling of respect for the affluent or the privileged is found at all levels of the social system.

As a result, stratification flourishes even in organizations that are formed with the aim of eliminating social inequality. In such a situation, the benefits of new development or social reform programs are especially available to those people who are at the top of the graduating system, who are considered high or respected. André Betai has pointed out that the success of development programs becomes doubtful only when both the privileged and the disadvantaged believe that human beings are born unequal and where the rights created by law can be exercised. Often the existing system of relations is challenged. This is the reason that in rural society, the benefits of community programs are available only to those few people who were already wealthy and powerful. Generally, the ownership and control of land is the main source of economic power in agrarian societies. There are some people in India who have abundant land, while there are some who are completely deprived of it. Here the income of the landowners is found to be much higher than that of the landless.

There are traditional bonds of dominance and dependence between the landowners and the landless, which enable the first type of people to control the landless in many ways. It is here that there are considerable differences in the relationship between landowners, tenant cultivators, sharecroppers and landless agricultural labourers. Under the land reform scheme in different parts of the country, efforts have been made to make the conditions related to tenancy and shareholding equal and convenient from the point of view of tenant and sharecropper, but still there is a lot of difference between the land owner and the landless labor. Andre Betai has told that some

In rural areas, especially in the eastern and southern regions, sharecropping is not uncommon even after land reforms, and sometimes the landless labor class constitutes up to one-third of the rural population. It is also known from the observations that the traditional relations of tenants, sharecroppers and landless laborers with their land owners are found in many areas even today. These people show respect to their owners and

Have respect. Even today, social distance is found among these different categories of people, especially in relation to the land owner. The caste-system contributed to increasing the social distance between the landowners and the landless because generally the landowners belonged to the upper castes and the landless to the lower castes. Landlords belonging to the upper castes often do not do manual work on their own farms. The labor-intensive work related to agriculture like digging the land, ploughing and sowing the soil etc. is done by the people of the lowest or untouchable castes. The result of unequal distribution of land is that the more land he has, the higher his income. In this way, due to unequal ownership of land, income inequality is also seen to a great extent here.

The sharecroppers and landless laborers usually find it difficult to earn enough income to meet their needs. At present, the use of new technology in the agricultural sector and the type of commercial variety of crops has contributed to increase the income of even small farmers. Gone, more wages have started getting. Nevertheless, it can be said that whether the income in rural areas is more or less depends mainly on the amount of land owned or controlled by the person. An important feature of the rural social structure is the differences in the style of life. In Indian villages, big landowners, Jagirdars and Jindars live in pucca houses and kothis. Shareholders and agricultural laborers live in kutcha houses or even in huts. On the one hand, there are great differences in the dress, language of speech, manner and tenacity of life of the landowners and sharecroppers and agricultural laborers on the other.

Differences are also found in terms of literacy among different levels of people in the agriculture sector. Here education is still considered as a privilege of some upper classes and castes. Even today, many such villages will be found in the country where hardly any person among the agricultural laborers is educated. André Betai has pointed out that the spread of literacy and education among the peasantry was an important factor behind the success of land reforms in Japan, whereas in India, where the downtrodden or oppressed people who are also illiterate, landowners were more successful in depriving them of their rights. are. In rural areas inequalities are found not only in terms of wealth and status, but also in terms of power and authority. Although democratic institutions have been started in the villages and in principle equal facilities are available to all classes and castes in terms of gaining power, but in practice it is not so. There the sharecropper and agricultural labor is at the lowest level in the system of power stratification. The main reason for this is the traditional inequalities. It is seen in the villages that there

Right, property and power are concentrated in one person and socially position – Dalit people are deprived of various means and facilities not only from economic point of view but also from political point of view. Due to the special emphasis on this genetic principle, social differences increase even more. In such a situation, many problems have to be faced in building the society on an egalitarian basis. In such a situation, it is difficult for the people engaged in development and reforms to reach out to the groups at the top of the stratification system, for whose benefit the plans have been made. As a result, the benefits of development programs and any new scheme are generally available to those people who have already given social, economic and political point of view. found to be related. Generally, the agricultural landowner castes have the highest status, below them come the castes doing agricultural and handicraft work and the castes of agricultural laborers at the bottom. At the village level, the position of the dominant land-owning group was not at the top in the system of caste hierarchy but in the middle. The new political system in India has increased the importance of these dominant agricultural castes even more. Adult franchise has given a special contribution in increasing their power. The lower level of the agricultural stratification consists of sharecroppers and landless agricultural laborers who generally belong to the lower or untouchable castes. Indicating the changes taking place in the agricultural sector, Andre Betai has pointed out that with the establishment of adult franchise and village panchayats, only land ownership and traditional status in the village have not been the basis of power. The power of organized numbers is now more important than ever before. Even after this, the power with the landless people has been greatly reduced, no matter how large their number.

 It has generally happened that the agricultural land owners, medium and large, have got some benefit in terms of getting power at the cost of the non-agricultural landowners. There has been no significant change in the condition of the people from this point of view. In Land Reform, we try to see that in agricultural areas, where on the one hand some people have a lot of land, on the other hand many people are completely deprived of it. The result was that the inequality gap between the jiandars on the one hand and the tenants who tilled the land on the other and the landless laborers on the other had widened. Immediately after the independence of the country, the attention of the people turned towards these opposite ends of inequality. As a result, such a constitution was implemented in independent India which

There was restriction for casteless and classless society. It was thought that social and economic inequalities could be eliminated or reduced through land reforms. In India, the zamindari system was first abolished from the point of view of land reform. It was thought that by doing this the interests of the intermediaries would be eliminated and direct relations could be established with the state of the peasants, but the abolition of zamindari could not create such a homogeneous class of peasantry which is almost in all parts of the country. Plow the fields of equal size with the help of your own family members. The reason for this was that here under the farmer, on the one hand, those small landowners who cultivate with the help of their families, and on the other hand also those big landowners who give the land on rent to the cultivators. The abolition of zamindari did not end the practice of cultivating the sharecroppers and cultivating different types of land on rent. At the same time, it did not bring any improvement in the condition of a very large section of the landless labourers.


Patterns of Social Stratification


 Andre Beteille has discussed in detail the Agrarian Ralations found in the Tanjore district of Madras in southern India. Of course, we discuss social stratification on the basis of geology, that is, just as the earth is a composite form of many layers lying on top of each other, in the same way society is also a system of different levels located on each other. Andre Betai has discussed the problem of stratification mainly on the basis of ownership, control and use of land. But he writes that this should not be taken to mean that this is a final analysis of the peasant class structure, but the biggest reason for analyzing it on this basis is that the leadership and sociologists working in rural India generally have supported this aspect. laid aside . Therefore, unless we come to know closely this aspect of how land ownership, control and use represents the pattern of inequality, our understanding of caste will also remain incomplete. Andre Betai says that now we must first look at the hierarchical side of these categories, as we have found here in the Tanjore district. One can easily see the three types of inequality found in these


(a) Inequality found between the landlord and the lessees.

 (b) Inequality found between the owner of the land and the workers.

 (c) Inequality found between large, medium and small owners. Of these inequalities, the inequalities found in the first two classes are clearly based on contradictory divisions, although in the third class only class differences are found.

The nature of social stratification has differed here from village to village. Another basis for looking at social stratification comparatively is to try to account for the social distance between the topmost and bottommost classes in the hierarchical stage. Betai believes that the nature of these categories and the interrelationship between them cannot be clearly understood until we understand it in the context of caste. However, in doing so we have to be very careful.


According to André Betai, two types of relationship can be seen between caste and peasant class structure.

1) Surface Relationship means the belief that the landowners are upper caste and the landless are generally lower caste persons.

 (2) Deeper Relationship i.e. the hierarchical value of caste to the land caste. The unequal relations between the tenants and the agricultural laborers are visible and recognized. Some people also accept that there is a hierarchical system in caste but it is not so in class. But in reality this cannot be considered true. This hierarchical system in the form of owners, land owners, tenants and agricultural laborers can be seen with knowledge. In the peasant hierarchical system, a clear distinction can be made between the topmost and the lowest descendants. Many and clear differences can be seen in the way of living of the big landowners and the landless laborers. Firstly, they differ only in their function. Big landowners are not engaged in any kind of physical labor. These Jantars are found among the landowners and the landless, especially women, who work in the rice fields in Tanjore district.

One can see, and feel, that these people occupy a low position not only in the caste structure but also in the agrarian hierarchical system. Andre Betai writes that even in the Tanjore district, the difference between landowners and tenants is not as great as it was seen earlier. The reason for this was that after 1950, there has been a lot of change among the tenants as a class. According to André Betai, the basic problem of the farming system is still that of the relationship between the landowners and the landless labourers. Now this problem is taking some new shape and to understand them we have to understand the political forces of the district.


Agriculturist and Tribal Society:


Due to social dissatisfaction, it is clear from the study of Indian agricultural structure that there are many differences in the ownership of land, control income and ways of life among different categories found in the field of agriculture.

Due to the social inequalities prevailing in the farming sector and increasing awareness about them, farmer dissatisfaction is increasing in the present time. In rural areas, there are many shortages in the life of small farmers, tenant farmers and tenant cultivators and landless laborers. The conditions of their existence are deplorable and they are also generally deprived of the normal comforts of life. In such a situation, it is natural to find dissatisfaction among them. Although in political movements, these felt played a special role in creating awareness about the conditions of their existence. Peasant dissatisfaction is generally related to the material conditions of the people, as the material conditions of the weaker sections of the society decline, the social dissatisfaction also increases.

With the improvement in material conditions, the dissatisfaction found in the weaker sections is reduced and cooperation among them is enhanced. It is also true that at present the situation has improved somewhat due to the Green Revolution in rural areas. The production of food grains has also increased and people have started adopting new technology, equipments, chemical fertilizers, improved seeds etc. Along with this, there is also the experience of the people that at present the income of the common person, their salary, wages and allowances have increased, but from this we should not understand that due to the improvement in these material conditions, social dissatisfaction often ends. . The reality is somewhat opposite to this. Even today, some landless forcibly tries to make an attempt on the land, then somewhere the land owner is engaged in evicting his tenant from the land, in many places voices are raised against the land owners, and in some places the land ownership Tenants and landless laborers are seen exploiting. In some places, incidents like beatings over land, shooting and burning alive are also commonly heard. Those who believe that there has been an increase in conflict and violence in rural areas, they believe that although the green revolution has transformed the villages, but its benefit has mostly been to the small farmers, small farmers, tenant farmers. And there has been no significant improvement in the condition of the landless laborers and especially the rising prices have had an adverse effect on their physical conditions.



Relevant and Harmonious Arrangements


 Prof. Andre Beteillehas mentioned two types of social systems. One of which is called Harmonic System and the other is called as Disharmonic System. According to André Betai, a coherent social system is one in which harmony is found between the existential system and the normative or normative system, with inequalities not only actually found but considered valid or justified. A maladaptive social condition is one in which the normative system is in disharmony with the existential system.

inequalities are actually found but are no longer considered valid or appropriate. It is not proved on the basis of experience that poverty and inequality are the main forces behind social dissatisfaction and conflict. Poverty and inequality have been found to a great extent in traditional societies but they have been tolerant of them. In these societies, instead of dissatisfaction and conflict, there is peace and order.



 Traditional Patterns and Changes


 (1) Changes in the traditional agricultural stratification – Andre Betai has pointed out that there is no doubt that the importance of the uppermost part of the traditional agricultural stratification system in India has been reduced and the form has also changed. It would not be fair to say that land reform is the only reason for this, but it has certainly played a major role in this. In the last fifteen years many large zamindars, talukdars and jagirdars have declined and with them not only a distinctive form of land ownership, but also many elements of the ‘feudal type’ way of life.


(2) Dominance of the landowners – One of the effects of land reforms was that the large jagirdars, who had a dominant position in economic, political and cultural affairs in different parts of the country such as rural Bengal, Rajasthan and many other states, That was no longer the case. The people at the top of the traditional agrarian structure, though held a considerable amount of land, but their actual

That there was negligible relation with agricultural work. They used to give land to others on rent or shareholding: the ratio has decreased compared to earlier. Now the opportunities for economic benefits have increased through agriculture. Inspired by this some erstwhile Jagirdars and Jindars have started to participate more directly in agricultural work. Nowadays many landlords themselves have become ‘Capitalist Farmers’. Now they have started doing nothing else but maintenance work on their farms. Although his income is substantial even today, he no longer enjoys the respect or prestige that he once had as a vassal. Presently in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh the importance of ‘economic type of landowner’ has increased instead of ‘feudal type of landowner’.


 (3) The rise of new types of landowners – It is also necessary to note that the emergence of this new type of landowner who is moving towards farming with the help of scientific equipment, the tendency of centralization of land in the hands of few people. To what extent has been changed, there is no doubt that the large estates whose area extended to hundreds of miles or many villages, have often been lost, but even today the farms or farms of 100 to 200 acres are with many people. These people raised the ceiling of the land

In order to avoid the related laws, the division of land must be given in the name of different persons. But in reality only one family has the right over the entire farm.


(4) Importance of the posts acquired – In place of the posts given based on birth, the importance of the posts acquired is increasing. Andre Betai has told in his study that elections in Panchayat are now done on the basis of votes. The village is dominated by people who have good relations with government offices or politicians and are in a position to get someone’s work done. The family members whose members reach high government positions also become more important in the rural society. Zamindari system has been abolished. With the introduction of money-based income system, the importance of those families in the village also increases, which have become money-rich. Surely that traditional relationship between the patron and the servant is breaking down.


 (5) Inequality related to land distribution – André Betai has pointed out that some people own or control farms of appropriate size, while most of the farming families own small farms. The data given by the National Sample Survey in 1953-54, 1959-60 and 1960-61 do not show any change in the distribution of different sizes of holdings. In 1953-54, 60 per cent of the holdings were less than 5 acres, while for 1959-60 and 1960-61 these figures were 62.96 and 61.69 per cent, respectively. The area covered by holdings of this size was 15.44 per cent in 1953-54, 18.88 in 1959-60 and 19.18 per cent in 1960-61. On the other hand in 1953-54 – holdings above 30 acres were 4.27 per cent of the total and they covered 30.81 per cent of the area . In 1960-61, these farms constituted 3.21 percent of the total farmland and covered 23.65 percent of the total area. It is known from these figures that there is a lot of inequality in land distribution in India.

In 1976-77, where the total number of working holdings in the country was 8.15 crore, it increased to 8.94 crore in 1980-81 and 10.53 crore in 1990-91. Out of these, the number of marginal and small holdings has increased to about 75 percent of the total holdings. Till 4 hectares are considered as I-medium cultivars, 4 to 10 hectares are considered as medium cultivators and 10 hectares or more are considered as large holdings. Although today the non-agricultural landowners or absentee types of landowners who are engaged in non-agricultural activities tend to sell their land, but this should not imply that the land is being distributed among more people. The situation is that big economic landowners want to increase the size of their farms by buying more land in order to take economic advantage of the rapid rise in prices of farm produce. Here it is also necessary to consider from this point of view that in the arrangement of new types of productive arrangements, different persons

The relations found between them are more or less hierarchical than in the old productive system.

It can be said that the new productive system is helpful in reducing the importance of the traditional model of stratification. The economic landowner himself also works on the farm in some form or the other.

Sometimes he drives a tractor in the field, sometimes does some other work and sometimes as an observer, he supervises the work done by other people.


(4) As a result of land reform programs, the exploitation of the tenants by the Jindars has come to an end, so they cannot take forced labor from them.

(5) The production has also increased in the land reform programs because now the farmers have started working diligently. (6) With the abolition of zamindari, direct relationship of farmers with the government has been established, which has made it easier for them to get government assistance.

 (7) Feudalism has ended with land reform laws, now farmers can participate in democracy and socialism.

 (8) These laws have improved the condition of the farmers and their progress has been made. Landless farmers have got land.


 By these laws, the income of Panchayats and

There has been an increase because they have got the right to manage barren and pasture land. They can use this income for the development of the village.

 (10) Rural employment has increased due to land reform programs.

 (11) These Acts have reduced the unequal distribution of land.


(12) These Acts have encouraged cooperative agriculture.

 (13) Due to these, class struggle has been stopped in the villages.

 (14) Termination of pomegranate between landowner and tenant –


Andre Beteille has pointed out in this regard that in the earlier productive system there was an inverse relationship between the ownership of land and hand work. When the landowner himself works on the farm in some form or the other, an important barrier between him and the workers working on his farm is removed, no matter the size of the landowner’s holdings and the wages of the workers. No matter how little. It is clear that the new conditions have contributed to making production relations a little less stratification than before, and large landowners are also trying to increase the size of their farms by renting out nearby farms. In such a situation – today there are many landowners as well as tenants and in such a situation many differences found between landlord and tenant are now gradually decreasing, but not ending. but even today

The reality is that there are many inequalities in the distribution of land in Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh and many parts of the country. The question arises that why could not get rid of all the intermediaries in the agriculture sector even after the passage of various Acts related to land reforms and why exploitation of tenants and landless laborers could not be stopped? In the agrarian social structure itself, there are certain characteristics due to which the desired changes cannot be brought about.


First of all we find that in the definition of ‘cultivator’ in the law itself, those people who do not do farming themselves, but who are landowners. This was a compromise with the existing social system, as the upper castes like Brahmins and Rajputs are landowners, but mostly do not cultivate themselves. Such people were also taken under the definition of agriculturist. Daniel Thorner has pointed out that it was in fact a relaxation of the stratigraphic values ​​of traditional Indian society. The superiority of the landowners has been acknowledged by the authorities not only in the making of laws but also in the selection of their actions.

One of the main reasons for the failure of land reform efforts has been the inefficiency of the administration or the neglect of the officers towards the weaker sections. The result has been that the tenants and landless laborers going on rent to the land of others for whose benefit various Acts have been passed from time to time, could not be benefited. Here complete elimination of the practice of plowing land on rent is difficult in practice. Due to the heavy burden of population on the land, both the landlord and the tenant make their living from a small piece of land. Tenants also prefer to work as landless laborers for reasons of status or prestige rather than for economic reasons, rather than cultivating others’ land on rent or share-cropping. For example, agricultural castes like Jats, etc., prefer to work as tenants or sharecroppers rather than laborers, even if it is not economically profitable. Today the status of tenants who won land on rent or shareholding cultivators is quite ambiguous even though many laws are in their favor.

First the landowners consider farming in shareholding as a good stage. But today, by evicting such sharecroppers or tenant cultivators who cultivate the land on rent, they consider it beneficial to cultivate that land themselves or get it plowed under personal supervision by agricultural laborers. This at least frees them from the fear that due to the enactment of new laws, their land may not be entitled to tenancy, or they may become the owner of the land. Therefore, the position of the tenant tenant is precarious and insecure in the sense that the powerful landlord has to evict him from the land and take the land to be cultivated by him on his own.

is successful in taking under direct control, but where a tenant who wins by rent becomes successful in establishing his legal right over the land, he does not have to depend on the grace of his landlord as before. The economic condition of such a tenant is also more likely to improve. Although there has been some improvement in the tenancy situation in some areas, but from the point of view of the whole country, it can be said that even after the laws are in favor of the tenants, their actual condition is not only uncertain but at the same time unsafe. It must be known from the facts that where the tenants and landless laborers have the support of organized political forces, their condition has improved socially and economically.



 Views of Andre Beteille related to Land Reform Programs


Evaluating land reforms, André Betai has said that on the basis of a close observation of the facts, it can be said that land reforms in India eliminate the fundamental inequalities prevailing in the agrarian social structure.

have failed to reduce it. Land reforms have definitely reduced the area of ​​land to be cultivated on rent and the rights of higher arbitrators have also been abolished. But this has not reduced the concentration of land ownership, nor has it improved the condition of small tenants who cultivate land on rent only on the basis of verbally prescribed conditions or who cultivate as sharecroppers. In this regard G. P . Mishra has written on the basis of his study that the basic structure of land relations remains the same as expressed by the agricultural structure of the landowner cultivator, the tenant cultivator of the land on rent and the landless agricultural labour. Big landowners have got special benefit of Green Revolution in the field of agriculture and it has not reduced inequality and poverty. The basic reason for this is that in the Five Year Plans, special emphasis was laid on increasing agricultural production by employing new agricultural technology, but less on the proper distribution of the produced goods and social justice.

Therefore, the process of change in the agricultural structure was neither successful in reducing the number of people belonging to the weaker section nor in improving their economic condition. The irony is also that the policies of an agricultural country like India are anti-farmer and the policies of industrial-oriented countries like America, European countries and Japan are pro-farmer. There is one more thing, the whole structure of administration of revenue in India is a product of British Raj and reminds us of slavery and even today we do not want to free Indian farmers from the irony of slavery. Change the agrarian structure of production and its related land relations in such a way that equitable distribution of the goods produced in the agricultural sector depends on firm political determination or determination and not on planning. This is proved by the land reform efforts so far, to bring about a change in the agricultural structure of land relations.

It is necessary that the land should be distributed more and more among the weaker sections and necessary facilities should be provided to them for agriculture. By doing this an egalitarian agricultural system will emerge and the benefits of the goods produced in the agricultural sector will be available not only to some big landowners or economic farmers, but also to the tenants, sharecroppers and agricultural laborers.


For the success of land reform programs it is necessary that

 (i) A new record of land should be prepared in which the development of ownership ends, (ii) an efficient administrative machinery should be established,


(ii) Unions of agricultural laborers should be formed and their representatives should be included in the land reform programmes,

 (iv) Publicity should be given to the land reform laws.


 (v) Simple methods of enforcement of laws should be adopted,


 (vi) Financial resources should be arranged for the new farmers.


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