The Legacy of Malthus

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The Legacy of Malthus

This movie looks into the issue of poverty prevalent in rural India. Deepa Dhanraj takes us from one corner of rural India where poverty persists to the Scottish highs which witnessed highland clearances in the 19th century. Scottish high landlords had legal claim over the common land on which shared croppers survived. Landlords rented the land to tenants who further let it to sub tenants. At the end of 18th century, volume sheep farming for wool and meat became immensely profitable than renting it to shared croppers in Scottish highs. The landlords claimed that due to increased unchecked population growth the produce from the land was insufficient to sustain the population. Shared croppers were legally and forcefully evicted from the land. There was misery, starvation and cycle of poverty amongst the evicted people by the more powerful who had law and authorities on their side. Many died, thousands migrated outside England, and some were allotted land along the shores which was uncultivable while others were displaced internally to big cities in England as cheap labor.

Per Malthus,
Malthus further claimed that the strain that the increased numbers place on a country's resources also makes life more difficult for members of the middle class and the upper classes and threatens to drag them into the pool of suffering that rightly belongs to the lot of the poor.

Deepa Dhanraj rebuts this perception that overpopulation lies at the root of poverty problem. She draws a parallel of misery inflicted on the poor people of Scottish high to the poor in the Indian scenario.

She is right in claiming so since the poorer section of Indian society who does not have its own cultivable land are forced to live life of poverty and misery. Conditions of people belonging to lower caste are much worse because of the caste system. For centuries, caste hierarchy in Indian society made sure that millions were deprived of access to basic resources in...
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