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

Surinder S JodhkaSubscribe to Surinder S Jodhka

Non-farm Economy in Madhubani, Bihar

Based on a field study of two large settlements, the social dynamics of “rural” non-farm economy in the Madhubani district of Bihar are explored. Both these settlements—a census town and a gram panchayat— have a sizeable working population employed in a variety of non-farm occupations. The different types of non-farm activities in these locations are catalogued while examining the dynamics of caste, community and gender within the social organisation of the non-farm economy. The persistence of social hierarchies, differential incomes and discriminatory practices within the emergent non-farm economy are highlighted, even as the “traditional” jajmani-type social structure has nearly completely disintegrated.

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.

Open Letter to the President of India

We, the undersigned teachers and researchers of institutions of higher education in India and independent scholars, appeal to you to intervene with the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and the Government of India to ensure the constitutional right to life and liberty as well as the...

Cast(e) on the Hill

Caste has often been viewed as a system of hierarchy based on the religious ideology of the Hindus with a common structure across the subcontinent. Based on an extensive empirical study of Himachal Pradesh, this paper shows how caste actively articulates with the given realities of ecology, economy and the local histories of political regimes. Even though inequality and untouchability exist, their structures have specific regional forms. While it documents the everyday practices of faith and their local specificities, the ethnographic accounts presented in the paper also have implications for our understanding of Hinduism in the present-day context.

Emergent Ruralities

Based on a revisit to two villages of Haryana after a gap of 20 years (1988-89 and 2008-09), this paper provides a historical overview of the process of development and change in a micro setting. Locating the process of social and economic transformation witnessed in the two villages after the green revolution and later after the introduction of large-scale industrial projects in the area, the paper tries to explore the nature of changes taking place in the internal structure (caste and class relations) of the agrarian economy; the changing nature of relationships of villages with the neighbouring urban settlements in terms of employment and aspirations; and the emerging nature of power relations in local political institutions.

Changing Face of Rural India

India Rural Development Report 2012-13 by IDFC Rural Development Network (Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan), 2013; pp xxxv+280, price not indicated.

A Handbook on Contemporary India

India since 1950: Society, Politics, Economy and Culture edited by Christophe Jaffrelot (New Delhi: Yatra Books), 2012; pp xix+914, Rs 995.

Agrarian Changes in the Times of (Neo-liberal) 'Crises'

Over the last two decades or so the dominant mode of talking about Indian agriculture has been that of “crisis”. Commentators and scholars have tended to attribute this crisis of the agrarian economy to larger processes at work, particularly to globalisation and the new policies of economic reforms initiated by India during the early years of the 1990s. While there may be some truth in these explanations, the framing of the “agrarian”, “rural” question in this discourse presents the complex and diverse rural realities in simplistic and populist terms. Such a discourse also invokes a sectoral policy response, where agriculture as a sector is seen as needing state attention, and ignores the internal dynamics of changing caste and class relations on the ground. Based on a revisit to two villages of Haryana, this paper provides a brief account of the changing nature of class relations in a post-green revolution rural setting with a specific focus on the changing nature of attached and “unfree” labour.

Plural Societies and Imperatives of Change

Development has been an attractive and powerful idea. It has dominated the political landscape of countries in the South ever since their decolonisation, mostly after the second world war. Notwithstanding criticisms and condemnations it continues to be an important component of state policy in most...

Religions, Democracy and Governance

This paper examines the dynamics of religion and democratic politics by looking at political mobilisations of marginalised groups in Punjab and Maharashtra. It argues that even when religious identity remains the bedrock of social life and individual experience, democratic politics brings out new configurations and alignments, in which neat boundaries of religious difference are occasionally blurred or overwritten by other identities. The Indian experience also reveals that religious groups are not homogeneous. While political mobilisation tends to unite them as communities with common interests, development policies have invariably disaggregated them, reinforcing the internal divisions and diversities within religious communities.

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