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

Articles By Mihir Shah

Social and Spiritual Transformation

A long and unbroken chain of social and political activists, including M K Gandhi, B R Ambedkar, Paulo Freire, Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu, Thich Nhat Hanh and bell hooks, centred their attempts at social transformation around a spiritual understanding of the world. They brought to bear reconstructed spiritual resources to address what they saw as the key challenges of their own time and context. Their work shows that without the inner transformation proposed by the ancient science of spirituality, it would prove impossible to build a society based on liberty, equality and fraternity. I would go further and argue that the insights we can draw from this science are critically essential for the very survival of humanity, indeed of all life on earth, in this era of the Anthropocene.

‘Towards a More Prosperous and Plentiful Kerala’

The central proposition of this paper is that the Kerala economy must grow on a path that leverages the strengths of its ecosystem, both natural and social, in a way that engenders growth that is widely inclusive and inherently sustainable. The central concern must be whether and how far the various economic activities find a harmonious alignment with the differentia specifica of Kerala’s unique ecological wealth and social circumstances.

Argumentation by Misrepresentation

In this response to Chris J Perry and M Dinesh Kumar’s critique of the authors’ co-authored paper, “Water and Agricultural Transformation in India: A Symbiotic Relationship —I” by Mihir Shah, P S Vijayshankar and Francesca Harris (EPW, 17 July 2021), the authors seek to respond to a distortion of their views as well as what they claim is a ridiculing of powerful solutions to India’s water and agrarian crises.

 

Water and Agricultural Transformation in India

An argument for twin propositions is presented in this two-part paper: (i) that solving India’s water problem requires a paradigm shift in agriculture (Part I), and (ii) that the crisis in Indian agriculture cannot be resolved without a paradigm shift in water management and governance (Part II). The second part describes the paradigm shift needed in water, which includes rejuvenation of catchment areas of rivers, a shift towards participatory approaches to water management, focus on green water and protective irrigation, and widespread adoption of water-saving seeds and technologies, while building transdisciplinarity and overcoming hydro-schizophrenia in water governance.

 

Water and Agricultural Transformation in India

An argument for twin propositions is presented in this two-part paper: (i) that solving India’s water problem requires a paradigm shift in agriculture (Part I), and (ii) that the crisis in Indian agriculture cannot be resolved without a paradigm shift in water management and governance (Part II). If farming takes up 90% of India’s water and just three water-intensive crops continue to use 80% of agricultural water, the basic water needs of millions of people, for drinking water or protective irrigation, cannot be met. This first part argues that the paradigm shift in agriculture requires a shift in cropping patterns suited to each agroecological region, a movement from monoculture to polycultural crop biodiversity, a decisive move towards agroecological farming, and greater emphasis on soil rejuvenation.

Reading K N Raj in the Age of Free Market Fundamentalism

This article tries to assess how K N Raj would have weighed in on some of the major contemporary issues like the trade policy, farm crisis and reprivatisation of public sector banks on the basis of his many writings. It also highlights his views on the fundamental orientation that an academic discipline like economics needs to have for contemporary social relevance.

 

Resistance to Reforms in Water Governance

This article provides a response to the critique of the Report Submitted by the Committee on Restructuring the CWC and CGWB, by M Dinesh Kumar et al (“New ‘Water Management Paradigm’: Outdated Concepts?” EPW, 9 December 2017). Their critique misrepresents what the report says, and is part of an ongoing attempt to thwart reforms in the governance of India’s water sector, which, in crucial respects, has remained unreformed for the last 70 years. Without these reforms, however, India’s water crisis will only deepen by the day.