The caste system in India has always been an instrument of exploitation and social discrimination for appropriating surpluses in the process of production and exchange. Though the policy makers in India proudly claim it as (one of) the biggest functioning democracies in the world and had declared untouchability as illegal immediately after Independence, yet, the caste system, which is essentially anti-democratic and violates human rights, continues to hold sway in India, particularly in the rural areas, where oppression has been sharpest. However, studies based on primary data at the village level have been relatively scarce.1 The book under review, in this context, plugs an important gap in the existing literature.
According to Ramachandran and Swaminathan (2002) the agrarian question incorporates three inter-related issues.2 First, it deals with the nature, extent and degree of capitalist development in the rural areas; the second aspect deals with the emergence of classes with the development of capitalist production relations and the third component is concerned with class struggle, alliances that must be mobilized for the resolution of the agrarian question.
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