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

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Agricultural Revival and Reaping the Youth Dividend

In recent years, “youth” has emerged as a distinct category of population to be governed in India. Policy efforts to realise the “demographic dividend” amidst an agrarian crisis have however not met with success as suggested by reports of jobless growth on the one hand and poor quality of employment generated outside agriculture on the other. What are the prospects of improving youth livelihoods within agriculture? Can the youth revive the prospects of agriculture? Improving incomes within agriculture while also paying sufficient attention to caste and gender relations that shape labour hierarchies, access to land, youth preferences and mobility aspirations is critical to imagining a future that sustains agriculture and youth livelihoods.

Making Climate Information Communication Gender Sensitive

Increasing variability in weather and climate is a major production risk for farming, especially among smallholders and, in particular, women farmers. Advances in forecast development at finer spatial and time scales as well as communication modes offer greater scope to reduce such risks in farming. The practical experiences in understanding farmers’ perspectives on local weather and climate, and on communicating climate information and advisories with gender sensitivity are shared. The processes involved in creating trust, understanding gendered needs within existing communication networks, and strengthening the social contract between climate experts and farmers in communicating climate information are discussed.

Energy Use and Women’s Work in Agriculture

Changes in women’s use of energy in agriculture, in the spheres of crop production and social reproduction, can bring about a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Two technological changes—the shift from household cooking with carbon-emitting solid biomass fuels to liquified petroleum gas as a clean cooking fuel; and the shift from methane-emitting flooded rice cultivation to the System of Rice Intensification with electricity-based alternate wetting and drying—have been considered in this regard. The changes in women’s roles and energy use accompanying these technological interventions have been examined.

Household Drought Coping, Food Insecurity and Women in Odisha

In recent years, many parts of India have experienced increasingly frequent droughts, which have pushed the poor, women, and other weaker sections into vulnerable conditions. As the capacity of households to cope with droughts and other weather-based risks varies widely across groups and regions, the impact of droughts on households can be different, depending on local socio-economic conditions, geographic settings, and other factors.

Adapting to Climate Change–induced Migration

Vulnerable groups, especially women, bear the disproportionate burden of the impact of natural disasters induced by climate change. In the wake of the destruction wreaked by cyclone Aila in 2009, about half the men from the most affected blocks of the Indian Sundarbans, a region extremely vulnerable to climate change, migrated to other parts of the country in search of livelihood. The women were left alone to shoulder the entire burden of running the household and deal with the disastrous effects of the cyclone. The impact of male migration on the women of this region and the role of women’s self-help groups in helping them cope with the socio-economic distress caused by the cyclone are examined.

Male Migrants and Women Farmers in Gorakhpur

Research on gender and climate change mostly focuses on the negative impacts on women and children, where men are portrayed as somewhat irresponsible, migrating to the cities and leaving behind helpless women to face multiple adversities. Based on data from the peri-urban Gorakhpur city in Uttar Pradesh, a nuanced approach is argued for instead, distinguishing between adaptation strategies of the landed and landless households, investigating the compulsions and decision-making processes behind male migration, and the coping strategies of the women left behind. Male migration, coupled with the women farming and dealing with markets directly, has changed gender relations in the region. New forms of patriarchy and resistance to the same are emerging even as men face crises of masculinity.

Gendered Vulnerabilities in Diaras

People living in d iara villages within the embankments of the River Gandak in Bihar face high levels of vulnerability due to frequent flooding and droughts. Using anthropological surveys, gendered vulnerabilities in four diara villages in West Champaran are explored. Such vulnerability, in the context of a changing climate, combines social, political, and economic dimensions: the patriarchal creation of gender norms and biases; unequal access to water, sanitation, credit, and public distribution services; and limited employment opportunities. These elements influence the livelihood options of women and men differently, determining their capability in responding to risks posed by climatic and socio-economic stressors.

Wells and Well-being in South India

​ Groundwater has played a pivotal role in transforming the rural agrarian landscape, augmenting rural livelihoods and improving household well-being. What role does the growing prevalence and importance of groundwater play in intra-household relations, particularly the gendered divisions of labour and use of assets? The impacts of failed borewells on gendered vulnerabilities, identities and well-being have been explored. Research indicates that groundwater usage in semi-arid regions has increased the short-term resilience of communities in the region, but has simultaneously increased gendered risks, especially for smallholders, by promoting unsustainable livelihood trends and risky coping strategies to groundwater shortages.

Partitioned Urbanity

The partition of British India precipitated a set of instruments of governance that shaped occupations, land-use patterns, and forms of citizenship in urban hinterlands. This process is explored through an ethnographic and archival study of a village in Kolkata’s urban periphery, populated by an oppressed caste community called Namasudras, who had suffered repeated displacements. Namasudra refugee labour was crucial in the making of Kolkata’s suburban infrastructure, prompted by a process of state-led “deagrarianisation” and inter-community politico–economic competition that also displaced the local Muslim peasantry.

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