A Century of Change: Caste and Irrigated Lands in Tamilnadu 1860s-1970s

Author:

Haruka Yanagisawa

Publisher:

MANOHAR PUBLISHERS AND DISTRIBUTORS

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Publisher

MANOHAR PUBLISHERS AND DISTRIBUTORS

Publication Year 2020
ISBN-13

9788173041594

ISBN-10 8173041598
Binding

Hardcover

Edition FIRST
Number of Pages 335 Pages
Language (English)
Dimensions (Cms) 22x14x2.5
Weight (grms) 492

This volume explores more than a century of agrarian change in the irrigated areas of Tamilnadu since the 1860s. The author presents a systematic analysis of Settlement Registers for 26 villages compiled at 30-year intervals between 1865 and 1925. The computer-processed data enables the author to trace micro-changes in caste-wise and size-wise distribution of landholdings of each village.


Based on these data the author challenges the recent arguments that tend to deny structural changes in rural society in terms of landholdings under British rule. He identifies two different trends at work. The first was the gradual deterioration of the pattern of landownership characterised by the dominance of higher-caste landowners. This reflected a change in agriculture towards smaller farms, a tendency more or less held in common with agrarian developments in East Asia. The second trend witnessed was the growing stratification of the non-Brahman population as a result of the colonial transformation of Indian society.


The intensification of agricultural practices, emigration, and the com­mercialisation of agriculture are identified as the main factors leading to this transformation. Special attention is paid to the increasing emancipation of lower-caste labourers and the acquisition of small plots of land by some of them. Changes observed between the 1950s and 1970s are recon­sidered in this historical context.

Haruka Yanagisawa

Haruka Yanagisawa was Professor of Indian Economic History at the Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo. His publications include Studies in the Socio-Economic History of South India (in Japanese), Socio-Economic Changes in a Village in the Paddy Cultivating Area in South India, and papers in various journals. He has edited with P. Robb and K. Sugihara Local Agrarian Societies in Colonial India. He passed away in April 2015.
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