18.104.22.168 Landless Labourers
For this very heterogenous group, the implications of the
Green Revolution vary according to the category of workers.
The picture also differs from region to region. The general
upswing in trade and business and the increased purchasing
power in the countryHad a positive effect on the rural service
occupations. There was an increased demand for their services,
especially in the small towns. Since there was only a limited
supply of these skilled workers, the village craftsmen broke
off their old working relations with the farmers and exercised
these professions in the towns for cash payment. The sep-
jajmani relationship was partly maintained without observing
the former obligation to be present in the village at all
times. They worked in the village in the evenings and on holidays.
The economic situation was considerably improved by combining
the traditional employment relationship with gainful occupations
in the rural towns. Some of them established small industries.
It was not possible for all of them to use their technical
knowledge- even if it was limited- in handicrafts and to achieve,
thus, a higher Income. Technological development sometimes
made specific handicrafts superfluous. In such cases, the
people concerned had to look for employment in another occupation.
This change did not take place in favour of similar occupations.
Instead, the available resources constituted the basis for
a new occupation. Thus, the potters became unemployed because
the pots and pitchers manufactured in the factories were cheaper
and more attractive than their products. The donkeys they
owned, which they had used to transport their goods, became
the basis upon which they entered the rural transport business.
As far as the permanent agricultural labourers were concerned,
they fairly often rose into higher qualified occupations.
The long standing ties to a farm and the resulting close relationship
and trust were the reason why these workers were entrusted
with tasks related to the new agrarian technology, i.e., they
were trained as pump attendants or tractor drivers. These
occupations not only meant greater responsibility, but were
also better paid.
The effect of the technological change on the rural casual
labourers is of a complex nature. Firstly, their number not
only increased because of the growing population, but also
because tenants were evicted. The attempt of a few landowners
to put a stop to their dependence on these workers during
harvest time by purchasing combine harvesters constituted
a grave danger for this group. Since the high piece wages
paid for harvest work-as alsready described-guaranteed the
existence of the casual labourers there was the danger that
a large number of workers would sink into misery and squalor.
But, recognizing the danger of this situation, the governments
of the two countries promptly prohibited the importation of
Quite a few of the casual labourers keep buffalo cows for
milk production and find therein, just as the tenants, a basis
for their existence. In Pakistan alone, more than one million
households which do not cultivate land keep cows or buffaloes.
Farmers experienced that supplying fodder was a greater incentive
for work than the usual wages. Furthermore, the Green Revolution
created more job opportunities for this group than was often
assumed. The higher incomes opened up many prospects, especially
in trade. Neither the income from, nor the productivity of
many such activities is high, but since they are often combined
with the earnings of other family members and the income from
dairy cattle keeping, a certain improvement in the living
standard can be ascertained. The result is an astonishingly
high supply price for labour. Farmers no longer find workers
at any wage. Moreover, this group has become more mobile and
actively looks for work in other localities as well.
While the group as a whole endured the change quite well,
the differentiation within the group itself became more pronounced.
Not everyone was in a position to adjust to the changed circumstances.
Only those who were economically better off could keep buffaloes.
Only those who were still quite young and in good health were
mobile enough to look for work in other localities too. It
is particularly disadvantageous for the weaker that the landlords
changed their feudal patriarchal work relationships for commercially
orientated contacts and no longer felt obliged to be concerned
about the weak as they did formerly. The living conditions
of the weakest among the agricultural casual workers thus
In other words, only a small percentage of the rural workers
succeeded in improving their situation within the framework
of the Green Revolution. The mass had no share in it. In spite
of this, the living conditions often did not deteriorate in
this case either, since the mass could adjust itself to the
changed conditions. However, within the group, there are considerable
differences due to age, activity, and family status. The living
conditions of the weakest have worsened even more; for others,
the gap between them and the wealthy has become wider; and
the rest dropped only relatively in comparison to the other
groups of poor people in the rural areas such as village craftsmen
and small tradesmen.