This book is concerned with the study of an Indian village, particularly its agriculture, from the point of view of theories of economic development. Such a brief summary of its intent leaves much to be explained but it already indicates that we may expect a diverse audience and that some of our readers will know things which we shall have to explain for the benefit of others. With this in mind we have endeavoured to signpost the reader's way through the book so that he will know what to expect at each point. The chapters are divided into sections and at the start of a chapter a short introduction is provided in which is detailed what each section will contain. In Chapter 1 there is a plan of the book in which the subject matters of the various chapters are similarly described.
We shall not assume very much prior knowledge of India or of agriculture but we shall be assuming that our readers know something of economic theory. Generally, however, the demands on that knowledge will be moderate. The exceptions are to be found in Chapter 3, where some harder theory will be discussed and where we shall make use of mathematics. However, we doubt that the non-economist will be prohibited from understanding what we have to say by the difficulty of those passages. They may be skipped or scanned without losing hold of the argument, and the conclusions are readily intelligible whether or not the reader chooses to follow the argument in detail. A more continuous demand will be for an understanding of the basics of single-equation econometrics. As we make great use of that approach, it would be difficult to comprehend and assess our findings without a grasp of that method. We have taken care to help the reader with references to relevant readings on the economic theory and on some particular points concerning the econometrics. Despite there being some technical material in the volume, a large part of it will be readily comprehensible to any reader with a general interest in economics, including all of Chapters 1, 2, 4, and 10, and not a little of the other chapters.
Tables, figures, mathematical equations, and chapter sections are each numbered sequentially through a chapter. References to equations are within the chapter unless otherwise indicated. We shall sometimes refer to individual households by code numbers, for example 307. The first digit indicates the caste (see Table 2.1, p. 12) and the second two digits the serial number within the caste.
A Glossary gives the meaning of technical terms and abbreviations, including Hindi words. We have generally preferred English to Hindi but have not avoided the use of Hindi words where they are frequently employed in the literature or where translations are not straightforward. Thus, for example, we refer to the main crop seasons as the rabi and the kharif, as do most writers on Indian agriculture, although 'winter season' and 'summer season' would be adequate English renderings. It would be difficult, on the other hand, to find a short translation of zamindars which carried with it a sense of the particular features