The Sources of Agrarian Radicalism: A Study of Thanjavur District, South India

Bouton, Marshall M.

     This study "takes up these questions by examining the sources of agrarian radicalism in an area of South India, with particular reference to the period, 1960-1972": "First, what kind of agrarian social structure, or what changes in agrarian social structure, are conducive to radical political mobilization? Secondly, what forces produce such types of agrarian structure or changes in agrarian structure?" The study first presents "the methods to be followed and data to be analyzed in this study," before a chapter that serves to "introduce Thanjavur District and discuss District-wise ecological, agro-economic and political characteristics." Next comes an examination of "the dimensions of ecological and agro-economic variability in Thanjavur" and a delineation of "five 'agro-economic zones.'" The four following chapters "examine the relationship between agrarian radicalism and agrarian structure, tenancy and technological change respectively in the context of the zonal variations defined" previously. The study then reviews "the mobilization of agrarian radicalism in Thanjavur" and discusses "the political impetus to and constraints on it."
     My findings make clear that the emergence of a radical potential and the course of radical mobilization in Thanjavur District are closely related to agrarian structural conditions and change, and thus lend support to those theories of agrarian radicalism which locate its sources at least as much within agrarian society as without. The case of agrarian radicalism in Thanjavur is further evidence against the classical Marxian view that class formation within the peasantry is not possible except as an extension of urban-industrial class conflict.