Reading #4: Srinivas, “The Universe of Agriculture”
Just from the title of the reading we know that it’s all about agriculture. In fact the opening
paragraph essentially says that in India all of life revolves around agriculture. Even trading, services, and
artisan castes are interrelated to agriculture. Agriculture is simply considered the most important job.
Even more important than bureaucratic jobs (that are primarily dominated by Brahmins). That said, the
reading mentions those who could get out of the hard work of agriculture did if and when they could.
A reoccurring theme throughout the readings and in class is water and rain. This reading, like
many before it mentions the importance of rain and how it’s celebrated. And just as previous readings
and in class discussions mentioned the importance of rain; it mentions how water and the rain can also
The Jatres (festivals) mentioned here remind me of the festivals held in Egypt in the book In an
A big part of agriculture is land, which is constantly being fought over. The desire to own land is
“nearly universal”. It’s not limited to any castes or religions. Acquiring land is seen as a virtue done by
saving money. Whereas losing land is associated with a non-virtuous life involving gambling, drinking,
women, or marijuana. Land ownership is associated with wealth, status, and power over people. This is
quite clear in that a wealthy man wants more land to