ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Decentralised Governance Reforms in Primary Education

Can decentralisation reforms in education achieve the goal of universal elementary education without removing the barriers of hierarchical social structure in West Bengal? A study based on fieldwork in Kalipur village of Dhaniakhali block in Hooghly district elucidates that the village education committees which are meant to ensure the participation of the village community, including the socially disadvantaged groups, in the management of universal elementary education, have been reduced to mere formal bodies and seemed to have turned into another tool in the hands of the party leaders to extend their sphere of domination. This article discusses the existing administrative structure of primary education in West Bengal and situates the functioning of village education committees in the larger perspective of the politics of primary school governance in the state.

Whither the Subaltern Domain? - An Ethnographic Enquiry

Decentralisation of power and the institution of the panchayati raj system in West Bengal have been expected to aid the disappearance of subalternity (or a state of powerlessness) by way of caste, class and gender. On the contrary, an ethnographic investigation in a village panchayat reveals that divisions between the elite and the subaltern continue to exist in a complex form despite grassroots democracy in the state.

Politics at the Margin: A Tale of Two Villages

This paper makes a comparative study of political life with its attendant sociological attributes in two villages in West Bengal. In one, in Singur district, the proposed Tata Motors project has led to a violent agitation and to people turning away from the Left Front. In the other, in Hooghly district, even though the tribals and lower castes are disenchanted with the LF, they continue to support it because they find the alternative even more unacceptable. The paper asserts that the phenomenon of the Indian villager eager to "desert the fields for a future outside the mud halls of their homes" is more apparent than real.

Behind the Present Peasant Unrest in West Bengal

This article discusses the industrialisation policy of the Left Front government in West Bengal with respect to rural reforms and democracy, and comments on how these have been negated in the recent land acquisition drive.
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