Workers and Peasants: Growth and Stagnation
Simon Commander
Zamindars, Mines And Pea¬sants: Studies In The History Of An Indian Coalfield And Its Rural Hinterland by D. Rothermund, D.C. Wadhwa Manohar Publications, New Delhi , 1978, 236 pp., 0.00
Urban Growth And Rural Stagnation by D. Rothermund, E. Kropp & G. Dienemann Manohar Publications, New Delhi , 1980, 492 pp., 150.00
Jan-Feb 1981, volume 5, No 1/2

While research on the Indian economy, both at the present time, as also in the colonial period, has tended to con­centrate on the agrarian sector, relatively little work has been done on the relation­ship between the rural and urban worlds. The two volumes now under review offer a welcome change from this one-sided focus. They seek to analyse the interaction of a substantial industrial and urban com­plex – that of the Jharia/Dhanbad coal­field and its allied industries—with the surrounding rural hinterland. Although the conclusions that can be derived from these studies cannot be feasibly extended to other regions, regional analysis of this nature provides considerable qualification to the conclusions reached by economists working at a national level. In particular, the study of the town-countryside relation­ship offers one way of approaching the question· of the terms of trade bet­ween the two dominant sectors of the economy. Whereas recent work on this subject has tended to focus almost ex­clusively on the somewhat narrow index provided by relative price ratios between agricultural and manufactured commod­ities, the wider, and to my mind, more significant matter of the respective con­ditions of production and subsequent exchange between the sectors is more amenable to analysis through regional studies of this variety.

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