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

Manjit SinghSubscribe to Manjit Singh

Punjab's Doaban Migration-Development Nexus

Drawing upon longitudinal, ethnographic research within the United Kingdom and India between 2004 and 2011, this article discusses the migration-development nexus within the Doaba region of east Punjab. It points out that Doaban transnationalism is shaped by, and shapes, the social structure of the region. It focuses upon the relationship between contemporary Doaban transnationalism and caste and argues that multifaceted Doaban transnationalism is not only shifting the dynamic caste relations of Doaba but is also deepening the established patterns of caste domination and inequality. This can inhibit, rather than promote, regional development, given that a development process should be inclusive of the entire regional population.

Preference for Migrant Agricultural Labour in Punjab

In Punjab, during the pre-green revolution period, the relations between landowning Jats and landless dalit agricultural labourers were not as exclusionary as in other parts of north India. The commercialisation of agriculture since the late 1960s has not only squeezed labour demand but has also limited it to peak periods of short duration. With local rural labour mostly employed in the non-agricultural sector, agricultural labour in Punjab will continue to be dependent on migrants, despite all the well-known problems.

Cartoons, Caste and Politics

The controversy over the Ambedkar cartoon in school textbooks is more a refl ection of the hurt sentiments of the political class rather than of the dalits. It seems that an artifi cial hurt has been created through a misreading of an innocuous cartoon from six decades ago. In a context where the social justice agenda is often neglected, such emotional issues provide political players with an opportunity to maintain their popular support.

A Re-Election in Punjab and the Continuing Crisis

A more thoroughgoing management of the message of governance, the media and electoral strategies helped the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal- Bharatiya Janata Party alliance buck the anti-incumbency trend in Punjab and win assembly elections rather emphatically. The Congress' failure to connect to the people through mass movements and the continuing decline of the left parties only helped the ruling alliance even further. Despite this victory, the election manifesto of the ruling alliance suggests that it has few ideas to tackle the crisis Punjab faces today.

Surgical Instruments Industry at Jalandhar

The surgical instruments industry concentrated in Punjab's Jalandhar district remains rooted in obsolete production processes and dominated by the unorganised labour sector. However, the industry needs sustained interventions, spearheaded by the state and industry associations to withstand the threat it now faces from liberalisation.

Bonded Migrant Labour in Punjab Agriculture

Though the modus operandi of recruiting cheap, coerced, migrant labour from Bihar for agricultural operations in Punjab has changed over time, it continues to underline the need of impoverished hinterlands for growth of capitalist enclaves.

Sociology of Rural Credit

Sociology of Rural Credit Manjit Singh Debt, Dependence and Agrarian Change by Surinder Jodhka; Rawat Publications, MONEY has always played an important role in the civilisational process but its effect on social structure was never so far-reaching as it is now in its present form. Money is no more 'wealth of nations' to be used to cement social bonds. Just the opposite. Money in modern society, the real equivalent of potential and actual value of social labour power and represented by paper tokens, penetrates deep into the seams of the social structure and, like cancer, transforms it beyond recognition. It is in the latter sense that Jodhka's work on rural Haryana becomes seminal.

Capitalist Agriculture and Freedom of Labour

Capitalist Agriculture and Freedom of Labour Manjit Singh S S JODHKA's article, 'Agrarian Changes and Attached Labour: Emerging Patterns in Haryana Agriculture' (EPW, September 24, 1994), and rejoinder to Jodhka by Tom Brass,' Unfree Labour and Agrarian Change: A Different View', (EPW, April 1, 1995) throw up interesting issues regarding the capitalist penetration of agriculture in the green revolution belt of north-west India. The contention between them is not as much on substantive issues as on the theoretical implications derived out of them. Jodhka (1994) tries to explain, on the basis of his field study in Haryana, that commercialisation of agriculture has unleashed new productive forces which has corresponding effect on the relations of production. The traditional ideology of patronage, argues Jodhka (1994), has been eroded along with the 'bindings' of labour to particular employer. The overall captalist development has qualitatively transformed the social relations between the landlord' and the labourer. The progressive casualisation of labour has taken place at the cost of attached labour and a new balance of class forces has been established in rural Haryana, The problem between Jodhka (1994) and Brass (1995) arises, for instance, on the interpretation of the nature of 'attachment' of attached labour. While Jodhka (1994) emphasises the 'freedom' of attachment (in spite of the economic compulsions of labour) through labour mortgage system', Brass (1995) insists on any form of conditional debt binding (whether for attached or casual labour) as an instance of proletarianisation'. The contending arguments, at the face of it, seem innocuous. However, as both of them arc commenting upon the agrarian political economy from the Marxist perspective, the above arguments may have serious repercussions on theory if not put to their appropriate place. In the following pages attempt has been made to situate the above discussion in the broader context of the debate in India and point out its methodological as also theoretical implications. To begin with, methodological issues.
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