ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Locating 'Hyderabad for Feminism' in the Present Struggle against Violence

This paper explores the voice of the urban middle-class youth in the current struggle against patriarchy, focusing on Hyderabad. Within this broad topic, it focuses on the group 'Hyderabad for Feminism', and the kinds of questions, reactions and discussions that occur on its Facebook page.

Gathering Steam

From faint beginnings in scattered solitary actions in the 1990s, the activities of men's rights activists have emerged in India as a well-organised social movement. They denounce feminists with a broad brush, portend the impending doom of the institutions of marriage and family, and particularly attack the simultaneous use of civil and criminal laws relating to marriage and domestic violence for alleged harassment of husbands. This paper uses an ethnographic account of one Delhi group to examine their political strategies and techniques of shaping community and identity. There are lessons here for feminist organisations: from understanding the varied anxieties that bring people to such groups, to identifying the conflation between specific weak cases and general castigation of wives, to studying the specific tactics of an energetic grass-roots contemporary movement.

Protection of Women from Domestic Violence

After a prolonged campaign for criminal and civil laws to curb domestic violence, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 came into force. However, lasting solutions to the problem continue to be elusive, as the grim statistics of wife murders and suicides by married women record a steady rise. This article takes a close look at the manner in which this law is being implemented on the ground, and the many shortcomings, even as women continue to be blamed--earlier for "misusing" the law and now for not wanting to approach the courts because the justice delivery system is tardy. The crux of the issue is the support network that the victim of domestic violence needs and it is here that the implementation of the domestic violence law has failed most spectacularly.

Reporting Sexual Violence in India

The Delhi gang rape of 2012 is a milestone in the way in which Indian media covers the crime of rape. This paper examines how the mainstream Hindi and English print and broadcast media has handled such coverage since then. It looks at how the media deals with rapes committed by family members and sexual violence during communal riots and in insurgency-affected areas. It finds that economics plays an important role in what the media reports and the prominence it gives to reports of rape.

'One Kind of Democracy'

Even if we concede that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme is designed as a demand-driven programme, and that local residents desire to have work projects in their area, whether it translates into effective demand, and whether the work projects actually get initiated depends very much on the dominant voices in local power structures. As this study shows in the case of Maharashtra, however progressive the design of modern democratic institutions, traditional caste hierarchies will try to sabotage their working by using their standing clientelist structures, with class and caste coming together to make this possible.

Employment Outcomes along the Rural-Urban Gradation

In an economy that is transforming rapidly, both economically and spatially, the boundaries between rural and urban areas have become blurred. In practice, the rural-urban divide is more accurately characterised as a rural-urban gradation. Labour market outcomes vary along this gradation. Not integrating the gradation in our data and analysis leads to important loss of granularity and can yield misleading conclusions, a point we illustrate with the decline in female labour force participation.

Livelihoods of Marginal Mining and Quarrying Households in India

Presenting an exploratory approach by which quantitative data from the National Sample Survey can be analysed to throw light on the most marginal households whose primary occupation is recorded as mining and quarrying, this paper finds that a large portion of mining and quarrying is carried out informally by marginal households from disadvantaged social groups. The majority of them are concentrated in stone and marble quarries, living on the edge of poverty, earning irregular incomes, and with poor access to services and utilities. Considering the likely numbers involved and their vulnerability, the paper suggests that mining and quarrying households should receive better policy attention.

Managing Water Management Research

An analysis of 40 years of water management research and outreach in India using data from 34 centres and 5,000 field trials across 23 states shows that of the 502 technologies released, only 110 technologies (22%) have been transferred successfully to farmers. The returns to water management technologies range from 15% to 25% (average 21%) at the research station level, compared to 9% to 14% at the farm level (average 10.8%). Given the current rate of adoption and rate of return, the success rate of the water management technologies is only about 12%. There is therefore an urgent need to address the gaps in technology transfer and performance.

Debt Bondage and the Tricks of Capital

Migrant labourers, free from rural bondage, are now bonded to other sources of debt, contracted from the agro-industry or construction sectors. The flows of migration in the brick-making and sugar cane sectors in Tamil Nadu, where bondage coexists with many public welfare schemes, illustrate the persistence and renewal of this phenomenon. The welfare schemes play the role of a safety net, but also contribute to low wages, and impunity on the part of employers. Alliances between capital and the state, through the politicisation of employers, are instrumental in the continuation of all forms of labour exploitation. When workers resist, employers tighten working conditions and start recruiting migrants from North India. And even if these forms of labour management obey a capitalist logic, they are inseparable from the caste hierarchy.

Forced Migration of Labourers to Brick Kilns in Uttar Pradesh

Seasonal employment in the rural economy at a wage rate below subsistence level forces underprivileged labourers to migrate for survival. Brick kilns in India are a major destination for migrant labourers, who are tied to them for the production season after accepting advance wages from agents. Based on the livelihood conditions of the migrant labourers and their indebtedness, this paper points out these migrations have to be seen as forced. The labourers remain in inter-kiln circulation, but are prevented from moving on because of their limited skills and social networks. They return home to repay a never-ending debt and again receive advance wages for the next season--renewing a cycle of debt and migration for survival.

Surveying Slums

With an increased policy emphasis on slum surveys, the story of such surveys in Delhi assumes importance, including the "power to survey" vested in the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board. There is a need to closely analyse the way in which such surveys are carried out, the data that are collected, and the purposes for which they might be used. A review of the legal frameworks on slum surveying and the case of Delhi reveal that there is much variation in the process of data collection. Surveys that determine the mode of rehabilitation of a slum have life-changing implications for residents, and survey processes have to be accurate and participative.

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