Change and Development in Rural Society

Change and Development in Rural Society

Question

What are the features of the middle class peasantry?

Answer

Features of the Middle Class Peasantry.

1. Middle class peasants generally belong to the middle caste groups. Though there is no all lndia  hierarchy of castes it is yet possible to locate certain layers that may characterised as middle class peasantry.

2. All those castes, which are below the upper castes but above the lower and SCs, constitute the category of middle castes.

3. Middle castes peasantry occupies a higher position in local caste hierarchy. No social disabilities such as untouchability and discrimination are imposed on them.

4. Most of the castes included in this category of the peasantry are traditionally peasant castes. They have been self-cultivating owners of medium size landholdings.

5. Unlike the upper castes, middle-caste peasantry has been directly involved in agricultural operations.

6. Populationwise middle class peasantry is predominant at the local level. In fact, the middle caste are like the dominant castes according to the formulation of M. N. Srinivas.

7. Most of the features of the middle-caste peasantry and the dominant castes of the society are similar but they are different in terms of their location in the caste hierarchy. While a dominant caste may belong either to the upper or the middle castes groups, it is not so in the case of a middle caste peasantry.

8. It is the middle castes, which have emerged as the dominant middle peasantry. They have derived the maximum advantage from the land reforms and the Green Revolution. At the time of abolition of intermediaries like Zamindari, the Jagidari, etc. large scale land transfer took place. The member of these castes purchased most of these lands. Secondly, when the upper caste village-dwellers began migrating to the urban areas in large numbers the members of the middle castes purchased their land.

9. New programme of agricultural development launched by government helped a lot of middle castes to improve their economic condition. Their present background provided them with an added advantage. Middle castes have, thus achieved economic affluence within a short time.

10. The growing economic prosperity of middle castes was also instrumental in extending their influence to the political domain. Here, again, their numerical strength contributed towards gaining political dominance. The phenomenal rise of castes such as the Yadav (Ahir) and the Kurmi in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Vokkaliga in Karnataka, Kamma and Reddy in Andhra Pradesh is a pointer to this trend. In short, we can say that the middle caste peasantry (especially domiant middle caste preasants) reflects the changing reality of the Indian countrywide.

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