Sunday, September 4, 2011

Land system in ancient India

Marx pointed out that the characteristic feature of the social system in India and of Asia was that no individual had ownership rights on land.On this basis, while distinguishing between various social formation, he has used the terms "Asiatic Society" in some places.Marx thought that during the ancient and medieval times, the land owned jointly by the community, was given for cultivation to individuals or families in India. He believed that this system continued till the consolidation of the British domination. This is what he has written evaluating situation in India. But recent discoveries (attached paper) revealed that  private ownership of land in India existed even before the advent of the British rule.Those evidence shows that in the Indian society which started initially in the form of Chaturvarnya and later in its extended form of castes and which absorbed at a still later stage the non-Hindus also, private ownership of land had already began to appear, slower in pace and smaller in extent as compared to the sectors of commerce and industry. Anyone who examines Marx's method of investigation would be convinced that had these documents and other materials come to his notice, he would not have been asserted that land in India was owned by the community in common. However the picture he has presented on Indian society in general and on the land ownership in particular was
correct. However, feudalism and capitalism as had been developed in Europe was not developed  in India. Which had been indicated by Marx as 'unchanging'.
Different methods such as wars, conquest and change in the administration, had been resorted to gradually reduce the share of the tiller of the soil and to enhance the shares of those occupying positions higher than him in the hierarchy. In this sense, class exploitation became intensified. However, even under the most intense class exploitation, the prescribed share of the occupant was as valuable and unassailable as those of sections above him.It can thus be seen that it is not irrelevant to say that in a system in which each one in the society had a right to fixed share, private ownership in land , as it is seen under modern capitalism, did not exist.    
It only confirms Marx's view that a revolution in the land ownership relations was an urgent need to facilitate the reconstruction and political unity.