Palanpur, the Economy of An Indian Village

By C. J. Bliss; N. H. Stern | Go to book overview

1 Introduction

§ 1.0 The Study

The analysis of rural markets and the behaviour of those involved in them should be at the centre of the study of the economies of poor countries. This book is about such markets and our main purpose is to examine and develop theories relating to them in the context of an Indian village. At the same time we wish to employ these theories and the experience of a particular village to analyse some of the many contradictory and grand assertions about the nature and consequences of the 'Green Revolution'.

Confining the study to a single village had several attractions. It allowed, through our residence in the village, a close involvement with the households which formed the village and with the village institutions; the detailed knowledge that flowed from this involvement will be repeatedly reflected in the analysis to follow. We also wished to be closely involved in the day-to-day collection of the data. It was indeed very helpful in the analysis of the numbers which emerged to know in detail how they were assembled. These advantages went with the pleasure which we hoped would come from settling in one place and getting to know the people well.

The major disadvantage of studying a single village is that it is not easy to know whether what one observes holds for other villages. We did what we could to form a judgement of the seriousness of this problem by visiting other villages and regions and by looking at other studies.

Given our decision to study one village, the two objectives which we have described led us to look for a certain kind of village. The criteria which needed satisfying were as follows. There should be a good survey of the village from the late 1950s or early 1960s to provide us with background information on the village as it had been in the past and to allow us to make inferences concerning trends and changes. The village should not be notably odd--there are villages characterized by some peculiar feature, such as the dominance of an unusual craft or crop, which sets them apart from other villages. On the other hand, there is no such thing as the representative U.P. village and we were not looking for it. The village should be large enough to encompass a certain amount of variety but not too large to permit a detailed study including all its households. The cropping pattern was important; since the development and application of the new varieties of seed in India is especially associated with wheat, we wanted wheat to be a major crop and to be produced both for the market and for home consumption. For our convenience (we were lecturing from time to time at the Indian Statistical Institute in Delhi) we wanted the village to be accessible from Delhi but at the same time not so close to the capital, or to any other major centres of population, as to have its economy importantly influenced by the city. We hoped that tenancy would be common since, as a topic of much theoretical investigation, that subject was one of our main interests. We had to be able to

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Palanpur, the Economy of An Indian Village
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Village 8
  • Appendix to Chapter 2 34
  • 3 - Theory and India 50
  • Appendix to Chapter 3 88
  • 4 - Markets in Palanpur 90
  • 5 - Tenancy 124
  • 6 - Output and Income 167
  • Appendix to Chapter 6 211
  • 7 - Wheat : The New Varieties and Practices in Palanpur 222
  • 8 - Wheat: Productivity and Expectations 251
  • 9 - Reflections on Economic Theory 299
  • 10 - A Revisit and Some Speculations on the Future 314
  • Glossary 327
  • References 331
  • Author Index 335
  • Subject Index 336
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