‘Policies of the ruling classes have only created a surplus labour force’

The primary interest of the Indian ruling classes on rural India has been only to focus on increasing foodgrain availability and not welfare of farmers, professor of economics in University of Hyderabad R.V. Ramana Murthy has said.

Speaking at a function organised here on Sunday by the Centre for Independent Research to launch a book by A.S. Vidyasagar on study of changes in villages in north Andhra — Pallenu Mingina Pettubadi — Prof. Ramana Murthy said policies of the ruling classes only created a free labour force in the rural areas.

A working class has emerged in rural India, he noted, citing the study undertaken by the author in 115 villages in North Andhra districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, and Visakhapatnam.

“Why is there a crisis only in agrarian sector and why is it not there in any other sector?” he asked, pointing out the anti-farmer policies of the ruling class.

“Unlike in the western countries, there is no scope to absorb the surplus labour from the farm sector,” he said.

Cautioning against believing in linear models of development, he said development of Capitalism was different in the U.S. from the path it took in the U.K. or France or Germany.

He termed the book a significant contribution to understand the changing political economy of rural India. He appreciated the author for highlighting the changes in the villages in the proper perspective.

Caste is a false consciousness. Caste is not homogenous unlike class, professor of Sociology in the University of Hyderabad Janardhan said. He cautioned against reference to caste as a grouping in the academic discourse. “Caste is apparent and class is real,” he noted.

Calling for consolidation of the Left parties, he said there was a need to provide a better alternative to Capitalism, which was the most progressive force in the country.

Presiding over the function, former professor of History in Andhra University K. Venkateswarlu appreciated the author, a government employee, for his commitment to the study. “The book notes the change in the mode of production in the villages,” he said.

Rubbishing the traditional view that villages were ideal places, he said, politicking was as prevalent in the villages as elsewhere. He called for a serious effort to decolonise the systems in our country.

The author acknowledged the contribution of his family, friends, and his office in allowing him to carry on with the research and bring out such a book.

The book has been published by Peacock Publishers, Vijayawada, which also set up an exhibition of its publications on the occasion.