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By Sugata Bose

In addition to being a great contribution to Indian fiscal and social historical past, this ebook attracts very important conclusions approximately peasant politics commonly and concerning the results of overseas financial fluctuations on basic generating international locations. Dr Bose develops a normal typology of structures of agrarian creation in Bengal to teach how those replied to varieties of strain from the realm economic climate, and treats intimately the results of the area melancholy on Bengal. Separate chapters are dedicated to the subjects of agrarian clash and spiritual strife in east Bengal, the agrarian size of mass nationalism in west Bengal and sharecroppers agitations within the frontier areas. the realization makes an attempt a synthesis of the typology of agrarian social constitution and the periodisation of peasant politics, putting this within the wider context of agrarian societies and protest in different elements of India and in South-east Asia.

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In such circumstances, does the peasantry constitute a distinctive moral and political economy largely retaining its 'nonmaximising subsistence ethic', or can it be seen as a body of 'rational economic decision-makers' responding to 'market opportunity'? Recent historiography of the peasantry in contemporary South-East Asia has predictably produced antithetical views on a question posed in such antithetical terms. 1 From a different angle, the relative strength of the impact of demographic and market forces on agrarian economy and society is a question that continues to divide historians of pre-industrial Europe.

In an attempt to escape the scourge, wholesale desertions of villages often took place. 13 As the Kaibartta, Sadgop and Aguri caste peasants retreated in the face of successive attacks of the epidemics, aboriginal labour provided by the Bauris and immigrant tribal people became crucial for the continuance of agriculture on the fallow land being encroached upon by new jungle. It was in these conditions of labour scarcity that the necessary, though unequal, collaboration between the smallholding caste peasant and the low-caste agricultural labourer was forged in west Bengal.

It is not just that the meanings of these indigenous terms varied over time and space or that the features of the agrarian structure remained unchanged. Instead of the 'master-servant relationship' between jotedar and adhiar in Dinajpur, in the Bengal heartland the roles of jotedar and bargadar overlapped and were even interchangeable. The existence of the sharecropping arrangement is too readily seen to indicate relations of dependency bordering on semi-feudalism. No doubt sharecropping and sharecroppers existed all over Bengal.

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