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Feb 15th, 2000, 08:01 PM #1abdulghafoorkhan----
Draft for publication in the newspapers:
Land Reform a sine qua non To Boost Our Agrarian Economy
By Abdul Ghafoor Khan*
Introduction: It is universally recognized that feudalism in the developing countries is an obstacle to agricultural development; a root cause of socioeconomic inequities and a barrier to the working of a real democracy. The feudal lords by virtue of holding large estates and enormous wealth, exercise excessive power and influence disproportionate to their number; dominate the state apparatus and breed all sort of corruption in the society. No wonder the recent advent of military regime in Pakistan brought joy and relief to the masses fed up with feudocracy. To quote FM Ayyub’s Land Reforms Commission, 1958-59, “In many areas of West Pakistan the power is largely concentrated in the hands of a few landlords who hamper free exercise of vote by poor peasants”, thereby monopolize their hold on local, provincial and federal legislative and executive arms of the state. The purpose of writing this article is to revive the issue of land reform, lying dormant since 1977, in order to boost our dwindling agriculture and the collapsing economy and to rebuff the pressure to restore democracy in Pakistan. Because real democracy is possible only after liquidating feudalism. The article traces the history of past land reforms, attempts their appraisal and presents a proposal for a fresh land reform. I hope the views expressed in this article will stir up the conscience of journalists, economists, sociologists, politicians and human-rightists to highlight the evils of feudalism. The present military regime committed to rebuild the shattered nation, is in the best position to abolish the age-old feudalism and usher an era of agricultural revitalization, industrial revival, fast economic recovery and restoration of real democracy in the country.
2. History of Our Land Reforms: The dismal history of land reform efforts in this region began in 1930 with the agitation of the oppressed haris, when the Sindh Hari Committee joined the Indian peasant movement. The Indian Muslim League Council took up the issue in 1937 and passed a Resolution, “Radical land reforms are required to eliminate the existing socioeconomic inequities caused by feudalism …Its ideology was based on the just principles of Islam wherein there was no room for oppression, exploitation or enslavement of the poor peasants.” Congress Governments in some provinces introduced tenancy reforms in late 1930s. The League Government in Sindh too appointed a Tenancy Legislation Committee (TLC) in 1943. TLC in its Report submitted in 1945, decided to: (I) Grant conditional tenancy rights to haris; (ii) Protect waderas to retain their land; (iii) Replace batai by cash rent and (iv) Prohibit eviction of haris. G.M.Saiyed a member of TLC opposed these measures. In his Note of Dissent he proposed to (I) Grant unconditional tenancy rights to haris; (ii) Abolish batai and adopt state-run tenancy and (iii) Resume all big estates and distribute to haris. The Sindh Government controlled by waderas shelved the TLC Report. The desperate haris resorted to violent agitation, which coincided with the 1946 Indian General Elections. In the election campaign the Qaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his lieutenants were making loud promises to introduce ‘Islamic Shariat and Land Reforms’, soon after the creation of Pakistan. The League Government in Sindh, on advice of the Qaid-e-Azam, appointed a Hari Enquiry Committee (HEC) in March 1947. The HEC submitted its Report in January 1948 and advised to maintain status quo. M. Masud a member disagreed with HEC and wrote a Note of Dissent urging the government to abolish feudalism and to resume large estates. Alas! the Muslim League which had made loud promises for land reform disallowed the publication of this Note of Dissent in the HEC Report, 1948. Rather, some Ulema-e-Su hired by a wadera minister declared M.Masud a communist and his Note of Dissent as Un-Islamic. He sued the minister, but the case was withdrawn on the advice of the then Prime Minister. But the HEC Report, 1948, was quietly filed by the League Government, while the Qaid-e-Azam was Pakistan’s Head of State. Amazingly, a vast majority of the Muslim masses had voted the Muslim League to victory in the 1946 General Elections, which became the basis of creation of Pakistan.
3. Soon after the death of the Quaid-e-Azam, in September 1948, violent agitation erupted in the country. The press and a pro-reform lobby of politicians pressed the League Government to redeem its promises on land reforms. The Muslim League Council in its meeting held in February 1949 passed a Resolution, “This Council is of the opinion that the present land-tenure system in Pakistan is antiquated and harmful and requires drastic changes”. An Agrarian Committee (AC) was appointed in April 1949. The AC submitted its Report in July 1949, stating, “Our first concern must be to emancipate our economy from the oppressive shackles of feudalism… and to restore freedom, dignity and prosperity to the tiller of the soil…”. It recommended short-term and long-term measures. The short-term measures were to: (I) Abolish all jagirs without compensation; (ii) Replace batai by cash rent and levy tax on farm income at par with non-farm income and (iii). Fix wages, working hours, grant unemployment and health insurance and pension to farm workers. The long-term measures were to: (I) Resume lands above the ceiling of 150/300/450 acres irrigated/semi-irrigated/barani land and distribute it to needy peasants; and (ii) Prohibit zamindars to possess land above the prescribed ceiling by purchase, gift, or inheritance. A Team of Experts was proposed to devise measures to distribute the resumed lands. The Committee aptly warned, “The statesmanship, the integrity and the vision of the Muslim League’s leadership is on test. Unless a clear and precise plan is formulated and implemented…it is not possible, nor would be there any justification for sustaining amongst the people any confidence in the Muslim League any longer”. Alas! the League Government did not act to abolish feudalism in West Pakistan until 1958. The East Pakistan Government had abolished it in early 1951, replacing the landed gentry in the legislature by middle class farmers. This change created panic amongst the feudal lords in West Pakistan. The then Planning Board in its first FiveYear Plan, 1955-1960 stressed urgent need of land reforms in West Pakistan as India had done it right after partition and East Pakistan in 1951. The Board observed, “Feudalism is incompatible with the aspirations of a modern nation and must be liquidated. The poor peasants must have a sense of ownership in the land they till, if the economy is to develop for the benefit of the people” and warned the rulers, “Land reforms can only be delayed but can’t be denied”.
4. The land reforms were looming large when General Ayyub Khan took over the reins of the State in October 1958. As he was convinced that feudalism was the root cause of multiple malaise of the people, he soon appointed a Land Reforms Commission. The Commission submitted its Report in January 1959. It was not unanimous on fixing the ceiling on land. It recommended to: (I) Abolish jagirdaris without and zamindaris with compensation; (ii) Resume lands in excess of prescribed ceiling for distribution to needy tillers; and (iii) Prohibit abwab, haboob and begar. It fixed the ceiling at 500/1000 acres irrigated/un-irrigated land plus orchards for each landlord, with permission to gift land to his family members and friends. It, however, made some conflicting statements in its Report, such as, “It did not aim at breaking the power of the ruling oligarchy with its roots in big estates? It hoped that its recommendations would lead to the creation of a strong middle class!” Ghulam Ishaq Khan, a member of the Commission, opposed the liberal measures proposed by it. Such measures would only shift the concentration of land from the individual landlords to their families and friends. He suggested the adoption of the ceilings set by the Agrarian Committee, 1949, at 150/300/450 acres irrigated/semi-irrigated/barani lands. The orchards being highly profitable ventures should be included in the prescribed ceiling, he said. The President, however, accepted the Majority Report. In all 2.5 million acres of land was resumed and 2.3 million acres distributed to 1.8 Lac peasants. However, the abolition of the revenue-free jagirs did not make any difference. The erstwhile jagirdars instead of surrendering their lands started paying land revenue to the state. These reforms were, however, hailed as a first step by a military regime towards abolition of feudalism, whereas the Muslim League’s so called democratic regimes failed. After the sad debacle of East Pakistan in December 1971, Z.A.Bhutto took over the reins of the truncated Pakistan. He declared,“Breaking up of the large estates to destroy the power of the feudal lords is a national necessity.” He decreed land reform in 1972, fixing the ceiling at150/300 acres irrigated/un-irrigated land and resuming excess land without compensation. Only 1.3 million acres of land was resumed and merely 0.9 million acres was distributed. He decreed second land reform in January 1977, reducing the ceiling to 100/200 acres irrigated/unirrigated land and resuming excess land with compensation. He also levied income tax on big farmers. But General Zia-ul-Haq took over the reins of the State in July 1977. He halted the implementation of the Bhutto reforms and annulled the tax law on farm incomes. Thus General Zia brought the process of land reforms at stand still for the time being.
5. Appraisal of Land Reforms: The reformers always kept in view the interests of the landlords. Being always in power they managed to keep their lands in tact by resorting to illegal means in league with corrupt revenue officials. The main cause of the failure of the reforms was the liberal ceiling and the generous gifting of land by the landlords. As per Mahmood H.Khan’s 1981 study the landlords illegally re-accumulated 2,000-3000 acres of land, in excess of the ceiling of 500 acres fixed in FM Ayyub’s 1959 land reform. Thus actually 1.6% of farmland was covered by the reforms and not 4.5-5.0% as reported by the Land Commission. Only 50% of the resumed land was distributed as the owners surrendered mostly wastelands. He estimated that 40% of the distributed land was given to only 2% of country’s poor peasants. The rest was auctioned to rich farmers. So also in the Bhutto’s 1972 and 1977 reforms, the landlords raised their lands up to 930-1120 acres by illegal means from the fixed ceiling of 150 acres. As such, only 0.6 million acres of land was resumed and not 1.3 million acres as reported by the Land Commission. Moreover, if the suggestion of Ghulam Ishaq Khan (Paragraph 4 above) been accepted in 1959, 8.0 million acres (6.0 m/acres from zamindars plus 2.0 m/acres from jagirdars) of more land would have become available. About 8 Lac instead of only 1.8 Lac peasants could have benefited from this vast area.
6. According to Agriculture Census data for 1959, 1972 and 1980, land concentration, as measured by Gini Coefficient has remained practically unchanged over the years. The reform efforts have not succeeded in changing significantly the status quo in the countryside. Rehman Sobhan’s global study, 1993, has assessed the impact of land reforms in 36 developing countries. He divided the reforms in 3 categories: (I) Egalitarian with social transition; (ii) Inegilitarian with social transition and (iii) Inegalitarian without social transition. I have picked up 2 countries from each category, (I) China&Japan distributed 50%&41% of land to 65%& 71% of landless farmers; (ii) Mexico&Egypt distributed 43%&15% land to 66%&10% landless farmers and (iii) India&Pakistan distributed only 1.5%&3% land to 2. %&2% landless farmers respectively. It may be noted that China, Japan, Mexico and Egypt distributed relatively more land, so more landless farmers did benefit as compared to India and Pakistan where much less land was distributed, so much lesser landless farmers did benefit. Sobhan aptly observed, “To trace the impact of land reform, look into its contribution… in raising farm productivity, employment opportunity and living standard of the poor peasant…in the generation of savings in the farm sector and its investment in industrial and other sectors”. All this did not happen and the unfinished agenda of land reforms is still looming large over Pakistan.
7. A number of global studies show that productivity is inversely related to farm size in labor-intensive cultivation. The land is more intensively used in smaller farms where land/labour ratios are matched more closely to ensure fuller use of these factors of production efficiently. Large estates are more difficult to develop than small holdings in a capital-scarce economy. As such breaking up of large estates in small holdings would be conducive to increase farm output. Of late some progressive landlords have started cultivating sizeable chunks of their land with their capital and hired labour and evolving into capitalist farmers. This happy co-existence of small and medium size farmers with big capitalist farmers, is a new phenomenon in Pakistan. Quoting from Gunnar Myrdal’s Asian Drama, 1971, “The development of a genuine capitalist farming does not imply the retention of absentee-landlords and their tenants… The parasite-absentee-landlords simply sap the surplus of the farm sector and contribute nothing to the national economy.” He advised, “To make a deliberate policy in favour of gradual capitalistic farming to encourage the progressive farmers to reap full reward of their enterprise”. However, hasty adoption of such a policy and jumping to corporatization of agriculture on a large-scale at this stage can be disastrous. It shall create massive rural unemployment and spur rural to urban migration. This policy is good enough for sparsely populated, labour-scarce and capital-abundant countries like Canada, Australia, USA and so on. Of course to begin with, orchards, cotton and sugar-cane fields and livestock farms may be run on corporate lines.
8. Before and sometime after partition press/journalists were in the forefront in writing on the need and urgency of genuine land reforms. Now only a few are touching on the matter. The Jang Group, of course, has been holding Jang Forums on such burning issues. So also political parties used to include land reforms in their election manifestos. Now they give only lip service to the peasants’ cause just to bag their votes. If the non-feudal parties are sincere enough they should enter the countryside to see the rural poor groaning under the yoke of feudalism. But the feudal lords shall resist such entry tooth and nail for preserving their privileged position enjoying since 1947 as the sole successors of the colonial rulers. It is a formidable bloc of old and new landlords- the latter include numerous senior civil and military personnel and urban rich. Most of them are closely related by inter-marriages to safeguard one another’s interests. They monopolize the state power and frustrate land reform efforts. Decades back, the economists/agricultural economists and sociologists used to consider agrarian reforms in their meetings and publish articles in their journals and newspapers. Alas, most of their societies are lying defunct. Can’t they revive their societies to hold meetings and publish articles on land reforms to generate intellectual debate and to create public awareness. Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) is indeed active on the atrocities and digging out the ‘Private Jails and Torture Cells’ of the landlords. Luckily the press, police and judiciary are currently co-operating well with HRCP in recovering and setting free the bonded rural workers from begar camps and private jails of the landlords.
9. Proposal for A Fresh Land Reform: The facts and figures stated above, amply substantiate the evils of feudalism and causes of failure of our land reforms. As such a fresh land reform has become a dire national necessity. The rationale for a land reform is based on three key factors namely, (a) Economic- productivity increase, employment creation, better income distribution and surplus farm output; (b) Social- breaking up the antiquated class structure, promoting education, health and other services in the rural areas and (c) Political- establishing (free) citizenship of the rural (enslaved) masses and their integration into national mainstream. All advanced and advancing countries carried out land reforms to so as to head towards industrialization. Quoting from Jonathan Petrikan’s “Third World, 1995” and “Collier’s Encyclopedia, 1983”, “There is of course the example of Japan that has made transition from a feudal society and a rural economy to be among the leading advanced nations…it started to industrialize after the Meiji revolution, 1868…and stepped into the modern world in 1877 when the daimyos and samurais (feudals) lost their hereditary rights to rule, after a collective decision of the Japanese. This change involved lot of opposition as there were several revolts, which were suppressed by force.” Pakistan’s daimyos and samurais may be seen in A.R.Shibli’s book, “ Pakistan ke Daihee Khuda, 1994”.
10. Let us look into the ethical aspect of land reform. Hazrat Saiyed Qutub RA in his study, “Al Adl Al Ijtimaiya Fil-Islam (Arabic)/ Islam men Adle Ijtimaee, (Urdu), 1969, discussing Islamic economic policy in light of Holy Quran and Sunnah, noted that,“The real owner of all wealth is Allah swt who entrusted it to the Umma. The right of private property is a conditional and restricted trust in the hands of those who possess it. Some form of wealth is considered as a common public property and none has the right to possess bulk of it. Islam gives right of ownership of private property, but sets out conditions, imposes restrictions and fixes limits on its possession, uses and benefits…Let me narrate the period of caliph Hazrat Umar bin Abdul Aziz RA. He began his reign by decreeing all the landlords to return all lands to their rightful owners. He destroyed all their lease deeds, beginning with his own”. Such an exemplary act calls for sacrifices from our landlords to surrender their lands in excess of a moderate ceiling of land. They would thus repay the debt of the poor peasants who have been making all sorts of sacrifices for them since long. To set example this act may begin with the ruling junta and its civilian associates, so that all others follow suit.
11. What should be the moderate ceiling of land is a moot point. In my modest opinion the ceiling may be fixed in the range of 25-50 acres of land for consideration. For example, Egypt initially set the ceiling at 200 acres in 1952. It reduced to 100 acres in 1961 and 50 acres in 1969. None may be allowed to own land in excess of the fixed ceiling, by inheritance, gift or purchase. No land may be leased to non-cultivators, even as grant/reward. The orchards may be auctioned to the highest bidders and run on corporate lines. The shikargahs may be given to the Forest & Wild Life Department. For smooth running of capitalist farming, protection may be provided to farm labour- by fixing wages, working hours, granting health and unemployment insurance and pension. The landless peasant-allottees from the resumed lands may be initially provided financial and technical assistance. The proposed land reform would be far better than the earlier ones devoid of social, economic or political impact. This reform if properly implemented under military surveillance is bound to bring about desired change. Above all it shall boost our agriculture, as all farmers- small, medium and big shall equally participate in maximizing farm output. It will help achieve domestic self-sufficiency as well as enough exportable surplus farm products to earn foreign exchange. That will facilitate repayment of external debt and import of capital goods for rapid industrialization.
12. CONCLUSION: Given Pakistan’s historical and geopolitical scenario vis-à-vis India, it has become imperative to abolish feudalism. Because the feudal lords influence the political processes and shape the economic and foreign policies in their own interests that go against the aspirations of the nation. As such the proposed land reform deserves serious consideration by the policy-makers as an effective instrument to revitalize agriculture, revive industry and boost our economy. Although our successful nuclear test has placed Pakistan in the rank of atomic powers, yet this is not enough guarantee to our lasting security. We must have a sound economic base, with progressive agriculture, modern industry, and high standard of education in science and technology. It’s my firm conviction that Pakistan as an atomic power with a strong economy, can play a strategic role among Muslim countries as well as in the ‘Comity Of Nations’. This is the right time to abolish the age-old feudalism, which is the “CRUX” of all our national ailments. Any delay or hesitation to act in time would nullify all other good deeds of this regime by the feudal lords who will reemerge in the next elections.
13. John Galbraith in his 1951article, “Conditions for Economic Change…” observed, “Land reform in fact is a revolutionary step. It passes property, power and status from one group in a community to another.” Only an authoritative regime committed to revolutionary approach can carry out such a reform. US President Franklin Roosevelt remarked in 1937 on oppressive farm tenancy in the US, “We have to deal with abuses that have been developing for two centuries. We cannot correct overnight. But we can begin.” Let me conclude with the sagacious words of Johann WV Goethe the great German philosopher-poet, “Seize the moment. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has tremendous amount of genius, power and magic in it” The military junta is earnestly urged to fulfill its commitment to rebuild this shattered nation by taking drastic measures without fear or favour. They can earn a place in history as the architects of a prosperous modern Pakistan by their courageous act of liquidating feudalism, a relic of the past. Quoting President Abraham Lincoln, we may then have a truly representative “Government of the people, by the people, for the people”.
* The writer is the Ex-Economic Adviser to the Ministry of Finance & Economic Affairs, K.S.A., Riyadh and a former Director of Statistics Sindh, Pakistan. Presently visiting a son in USA and other in Canada. E-mail address: <email@example.com>
 Pakistan Government, Report of the Land Reforms Commission for West Pakistan, 1959.
 Naqvi, SNH; Khan, MH, & Chaudhry, MG., Land Reforms in Pakistan, A Historical Perspective, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad, Pakistan, 1987.
 Khaddarposh, M. Masud, Hari Report, Kal-aur-Aaj (In Urdu), Jang Publishers Press, Lahore, Pakistan, 1991
 Pakistan Government, First Five Year Plan, 1955-1960, National Planning Board, 1957.
 Khan, Mahmood H, Underdevelopment and Agrarian Structure in Pakistan, Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado, USA, 1981
 Sobhan, R, Agrarian Reforms & Social Transformation, -Precondition for Development, 1993, University Press Dacca, Bangladesh.
 Berry, RA. &Cline, WR. Agrarian Structure and Productivity in Developing Countries, Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Md., USA, 1979.
 Naqvi, SNH; Khan, MH, & Chaudhry, MG, Structural Changes in Pakistan Agriculture, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad, Pakistan, 1989.
 Myrdal, Gunnar, Asian Drama- An Inquiry into the Poverty of Nations, 1968, condensed by King, SS, 1971, Pantheon Books, Random House, Newyork, NY, USA.
 Dorner, Peter, Land Reforms & Economic Development, 1972,Penguin Books Inc. Baltimore, Md, USA.
 Petrikin, JS, The Third World, Greenhaven Press Inc. Santiago, CA, USA.1995
 Macmillan’s Publishing Inc, Newyork, Collier’s Encyclopedia, Vol. 13,1983.
 Shibli, AR, Pakistan-ke-Daihee Khuda (In Urdu), Aatish Fishan Publications Lahore, 1994, Pakistan.
 Qutub, Saiyed, Al-Adl Al-Ijtimaiya Fil Islam, /Islam men Adl-e-Ijtimaee, 1969, (Translated in Urdu by Dr. Nijatullah Siddiqi), Islamic Publications Ltd., Shah Alam Market, Lahore, Pakistan
 Galbraith, JK, Conditions for Economic Change in Under-developed Countries, Journal of Farm Economics, 1951, Volume, 33.
 US Government, Report of the President’s Committee on Farm Tenancy, 1937.
Feb 15th, 2000, 08:17 PM #2----
Land reforms would have helped Pak like anything. Agricultural production improves when people produce for themselves. Indian Punjab and Haryana produce wheat for entire India. pakistani Punjab, bigger in size, can not feed itself. Despite all chaos, Indian Kashmir is better of than Bihar. It is due to land reforms by sheikh abdulla. People have a piece of land to live on. It will create much needed middle class and more egalitarian society. There was an article saying how per capita in karachi and Islamabad is one of highest in Asia. This shows how bad the distribution of wealth is in Pak. Land reforms are must. but who will bell the cat?
Feb 17th, 2000, 08:55 AM #3----
ah.. no response... talk of wars and there are 35 responses, at least verbal.. have no idea if any of these blokes shouting hoarse have ever engaged in a fight. all verbal jihadis and jahannatis among the youth in Pak. nobody bothers about people who are toiling on land without anything in return, even verbally.
Feb 17th, 2000, 09:46 AM #4----
Even thought your way of provoking for responses is lame, but still I have to agree with you that real topics are not so hot, and this is not just a problem we Pakistanis have, look around and you’ll find Indian youth spreading hatred every were.
Now back to the topic, I’ve only read the start of this post, and printed it so I could read it when I got more time. As for agriculture of Pakistan it is on Pak’s agenda and we are improving like never before. Lekin as they say some times things take time.
Rest when I read the post.
Feb 17th, 2000, 09:55 AM #5----
donno if it is lame.. but reading this newsgroup would give an impression that an average pakistani sleeps eats and drinks kashmir. i dont think average pakistani has time to think of india more thna average indians think of pakistan, and that is very little time. there are of course, issues, and political ones, beyond it. i do not see them here.
perhaps, it is the rich class which has access to internet and issues like land reforms are not close to their heart.
Feb 17th, 2000, 10:46 AM #6----
Dear Mr. Khan,
Too much history and too little economic analysis.
The only place in your long boring paper you touch a little about why it might be economically unfeasible to own large tracts of land is in paragraph 7. Other than that your paper is full of hot air, as many other have been written before on the topic.
I am totally opposed to feudalism and many of the problems in our nation are a result of feudal rule, but land reform is not the reason for lack of our progress, it may be one of (a very minor in fact) many issues confronting our nation. Technocrats like you get on this wagon of looking for excuses to have something to write about.
In reality, and I will give you references (a lot sexier than your Bibliography) that show that the reason for lack of progress are (a) rural-urban migration; (b) the inequity of wages in Rural Agricultural and Urban Industrial sector. Basically an ISLM model, where Marginal Productivity of Labor in Agricultural Sector is way below that in the Industrial Sector, and if you draw a bi-polar diagram it shows the hyperbolic curve and shows you a huge gap (i.e., unemployment) that is caused by not paying attention to Ag sector.
Enjoy your visit to the US and Canada.
Feb 18th, 2000, 12:36 PM #7----
land reforms help to have better social indicators like literacy and health. all the indian states where land reform have not taken place, e.g. bihar, telangana, have bad social indicators,
Feb 18th, 2000, 01:03 PM #8----
Please explain why that might be the reason.
In Central and South America there are Haciendas twice the size of AP, and over 90 % of the land is owned by less than 2% of the population (of which over 50% owned by Multinational and other foreign interests) the literacy rate on average there is twice that of India.
There is no correlation between land reform and improved development indicators.
In fact, to the contrary, an unemployed Indian laborer living on streets in New Delhi gets better medical care than a rich Landowner living in a rural area. Same goes for education.
The only result of land reform might be a greater disposable income for some, but not necessarily an improvement in education or healthcare. These issues are more ubiquitous and require different approaches and are not a result of land re-distribution.
Please note that I am not opposed to land re-distribution, but I do have questions about how doing so would improve things. In Pakistan, at least, this has been talked about for as long as I can remember. The more cardinal approach should be “let’s see what can be done given the current situation”.
Feb 23rd, 2000, 07:36 AM #9----
central america is not aright comparison. africa would be right comparison. right now, land is owned by whites in Zimbabwe and South Afica by whites still. do u think blacks will raise in the social ladder unless they get the land. in unindustrialized socities which most of India is, land is only wealth producing stuff and there is little hope without its proper distribution. improved indicators will need improved finances and i believe they will percolate below only with reforms.
Feb 24th, 2000, 07:58 AM #10----
ZZ is right. Our society is basically an agricultural society and more or less based on that only. So is our economy. Very few countries have such a wide agricultural base as India and Pakistan, because of their sheer size and a dealyed industrialization. India, of course has started industrialisation and has developed a lot of other industries, but still basically our people live on agriculture. Quoting othe countries from American continent or Europe may not be the right way to see things.
Feb 24th, 2000, 12:19 PM #11----
OK ZZ, fine. Then give Kashmiris the land that belongs to them (only kidding!!).
But purely from economics point of view, Schools improve Education, more Hospital Beds per capita improve healthcare, More telephones per 1000 indicate an improvement in communication. Breaking up land in smaller pieces does not mean anything. It might look like that on the onset, but the reasons for progress and development are not what the land ownership structure in a nation might be. Here in USA, small farmers stand no chance. Not to say that it is any parallelism to the Indian case, but where would small farmers get the capital to make any use of the economies of scale? Ag is my favorite areas of interests, and all the studies that I have read all seem to suggest that owning of Land in our culture is not “necessarily” for increasing one’s wealth but it is more of a “pride of possession” phenomenon than it is yield per hector.