‘He who tills has the right to eat': Development’ and the Politics of Agrarian Reform in late 1940s and early 1950s Sindh

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In post-Independence South Asia, the spotlight often fell on land reform, such as the zamindari abolition that took place in parts of India after 1947. In Pakistan, the issue of land redistribution also surfaced periodically in the decades following Independence. But, as the case of Sindh in the late 1940 and early 1950s reveals, the focus was on how to ‘modernize’ tenancy arrangements rather than achieving more equitable land reallocation, since—for some contemporaries—left unchanged these represented a major impediment to increasing agricultural productivity, and hence Pakistan's overall development. This article explores the context in which Sindh’s 1947-48 Hari Committee of Enquiry was set up and its various recommendations that proved controversial, together with responses to the legislation (1950 Sind Tenancy Act) that followed, highlighting the role of officials and peasant representatives, and shedding light on this important but largely overlooked episode of development-related policy-making in Pakistan’s early years.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages43
JournalCritical Pakistan Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Apr 2024


  • Sindh
  • hari
  • zamindar
  • agrarian reform
  • development

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