ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Review of Rural AffairsSubscribe to Review of Rural Affairs

.

‘Do Only Girls Suffer? We Too!’

Research in India has been oriented towards understanding the causes and consequences of early marriage on girls, while ignoring the condition of “child grooms.” There are many “hotspots” in India, where early marriage of boys is an accepted norm. Using available evidence from national surveys and qualitative data collected from Shrawasti district of Uttar Pradesh, attempts are made to understand the reasons behind the early marriage of boys and the difficulties faced by these young men who are forced into marriage. In such regions, raising the age at marriage for boys will automatically raise the age at marriage for girls. If we have to address the problem of “child brides,” we can no longer ignore the presence of “child grooms.”

Making Smallholder Farming Climate-smart

Climate change is accompanied by increasing weather uncertainty. Farmers, especially smallholder farmers, need advance warning of emergent weather conditions at a local level. Mobile telecommunication systems are increasingly cost-effective and an efficient way of delivering weather-based agro-advisories to farmers at a large scale. Agrometeorological services facilitate flexible, weather-based agriculture planning and help build evidence and capacities of communities, technical and developmental agencies to plan and implement climate-adaptive responses. The relevance and innovativeness of multi-institutional collaboration lies in the institutional, technical and pedagogical strategy adopted which offers important lessons on how agrometeorological services can be organised to make smallholder farming climate-resilient on a larger scale.

Understanding Open Defecation in Rural India

India has far higher open defecation rates than other developing regions where people are poorer, literacy rates are lower, and water is relatively more scarce. In practice, government programmes in rural India have paid little attention in understanding why so many rural Indians defecate in the open rather than use affordable pit latrines. Drawing on new data, a study points out that widespread open defecation in rural India is on account of beliefs, values, and norms about purity, pollution, caste, and untouchability that cause people to reject affordable latrines. Future rural sanitation programmes must address villagers’ ideas about pollution, pit-emptying, and untouchability, and should do so in ways that accelerate progress towards social equality for Dalits rather than delay it.

Energy, Gender and Social Norms in Indigenous Rural Societies

Studying women’s work and energy use through field studies in Khasi communities in Meghalaya and Angami communities in Nagaland, the links between energy use and women’s work and leisure are explored. It is found that the choice of energy source is closely linked with women’s participation in the management of energy resources, their opportunities to earn incomes, and their ability to negotiate the cultural and social norms of their communities. Energy planning cannot stop with the provision of household access to electricity or liquefied petroleum gas. A new deal for women in the energy sector is delineated, which relates to overcoming sociocultural limits and increasing the opportunity cost of women’s labour and their right to assets.

Reconsidering Women’s Work in Rural India

The most recent data gathered by the National Sample Survey Office on work participation for women in India reveal a sharp decline, primarily due to the NSSO’s conventional measures not accounting for economic activities undertaken by women for the benefit of households. Alternative definitional approaches to the production boundary, such as the Indian System of National Accounts and the United Nations System of National Accounts, somewhat better account for unpaid work by women for households’ own consumption. An analysis of data from the part of the NSSO schedule on employment and unemployment (for 2004–05 and 2011–12) that enquires about various activities undertaken by individuals who report performing household activities as their principal activity, reveals a less dramatic decline than that presented by the more conventional measure of work participation. This finding contributes to a significant rethinking of how rural women’s contributions to economic activities for their own households can be better recognised through data.

Making Pulses Affordable Again

While outlining strategies to increase availability of pulses at affordable prices, it is argued that increasing domestic production of pulses is the only option. Access to one or two protective irrigation sources during the growing season can lead to sizeable increases in pulse production. The har khet ko paani initiative should give priority to pulse-producing areas. The minimum support price, without procurement, helps traders more than farmers because it acts as a focal point for tacit collusion among traders. Including subsidised pulses in the public distribution system has only a small effect on consumption of pulses. We suggest investing in research and extension, aggregating into farmer producer organisations, and paying growers or growing areas for the ecosystem services offered by pulses.

Transitions in Rice Seed Provisioning in Odisha

Rice farmers in India have traditionally kept a portion of their harvest as seeds for the next planting. In this traditional system, public sector production and marketing of seeds of improved varieties developed through public research and development played a critical role in promoting the green revolution. In recent years, the seed system of rice in India is undergoing a transition towards increasing involvement of the private sector, especially in production and marketing of seeds. Such transitions have been driven by a number of economic and institutional changes that have made private provision of rice seeds economically viable. At the same time, economic justifications of public sector involvement in subsidised seed production and marketing are weakening. Through a case study of Odisha, this paper highlights the nature of transition taking place in rice seed provisioning.

Land, Labour and Power

Based on the restudy in 2012-14 of Jamgod in Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh, which was first studied by Adrian C Mayer in the 1950s, an overview of changes in landownership and use, and the relations of labour and production are presented. Locating the analysis at the intersection of land and labour, the aim is to explore how local power structures and personal aspirations have transformed.

F G Bailey's Bisipara Revisited

F G Bailey, the renowned British social anthropologist, conducted fieldwork in Bisipara in the highlands of Orissa in the 1950s to examine the ways in which the state, democracy and new forms of economy were changing the traditional organisation and apprehension of power and status. At the time, and following the Temple Entry Act, the former untouchables of the village attempted to gain entry to the Shiva temple. On that occasion, and as Bailey recounts, they were unsuccessful. A new fieldwork conducted in 2013 in the same location presents an update of the continuing drama surrounding the Shiva temple, against a backdrop of the changing polity and economy of the village, and as a manifestation of contested postcolonial identity politics.

Revisiting the Rural in 21st Century India

The Review of Rural Affairs this time focuses largely on "restudies" of villages that were studied by social anthropologists and economists in the 1950s. The papers are not simply about documenting the unfolding evolutionary process of development, but bring new perspectives of social science understanding to the study of rural society, and also reflect on the enterprise of anthropology and fieldwork. Jamgod in Madhya Pradesh, Sundarana in Gujarat, Bisipara in Odisha, and Palanpur and Khanpur in Uttar Pradesh were restudied, while one paper presents the results of a fresh study of villages in Nagaland.

Agrarian Transformation and the New Rurality in Western Uttar Pradesh

Based on a multisite ethnographic restudy of villages in western Uttar Pradesh, a decade after the first study in 2004-05, the rise of rural non-farm economy, changing demographics, growing educational opportunities, and increasing mobility across castes and communities are mapped. Also, an analysis of how these changes redefine the nature and culture of rural life in the region is attempted.

Non-farm Diversification, Inequality and Mobility in Palanpur

Data from seven decades of survey in Palanpur provide insights into the changing nature of the village economy. Starting as a predominantly agrarian economy, Palanpur has seen non-farm employment emerge as a major driver of growth and distribution of income in the village economy, but accompanied by increasing inequality. There is evidence of greater mobility among the disadvantaged in Palanpur alongside falling inter-generational mobility. Preliminary analysis suggests that the nature of non-farm activities has become increasingly casual and informal, thereby more accessible to households at the bottom of the distribution, but still significantly influenced by access to networks and family ties, particularly for the more remunerative and stable non-farm jobs.

Pages

Back to Top