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

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Suresh Tendulkar: An Economist's Life

An outstanding academician with an enviable publication record and a public servant of enormous personal integrity, Suresh D Tendulkar (1939-2011) was also a warm friend, an excellent colleague, and, above all, a great human being. A record of his life and work, and tributes by his friends, colleagues and students.

A Teacher, a Colleague, and a Friend

 Away from the public domain, Suresh formed deep and enduring friendships which extended to friends

A Mentor beyond D-School

 talk about market failure and so forth. He answered all my questions patiently, but we remained on opposite sides of the divide. However, he had a deep commitment to empirical rigour and to a careful, minute scrutiny of data, and thus, would not accept an argument simply because of its laissez-faire stance. I noticed this on several occasions, but recall a recent incident vividly. Early this year, there was a conference in Delhi with extremely high-profile participants. Tendulkar was the discussant for a paper on India

Suresh Tendulkar and His Delhi School Family

 who are now in academia and the government tell me that they benefited a lot from his lectures at D-school. He used to tell me,

The Board and the Bank: Changing Policies towards Slums in Chennai

Arguing that the initial years of the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board were dominated by the priorities of the then ruling party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, whose government created it in 1971, this paper points out that shelter policies in the state had a formal orientation away from eviction and resettlement and towards in situ tenement construction, alongside an informal tendency to protect and reward those groups of the urban poor that the party was trying to court for votes. This arrangement was affected by the World Bank's entry into the domain of urban-sector funding in 1975, which, despite stiff resistance from the implementing agencies, eventually managed to change the focus of local policies and to a great extent delink the TNSCB from political influence. The effects of this can be seen in the TNSCB's current housing policies.

Bypassing the Squalor: New Towns, Immaterial Labour and Exclusion in Post-colonial Urbanisation

India's "bypass" approach to urbanisation seeks to decongest its post-colonial metropolises by building new towns for a new economy of knowledge-based activities and businesses driven by global capital on their fringes. The globalised economy, hegemonised by immaterial labour, creates conditions for these new towns to culturally secede from their national or regional location and align themselves with the global cities. However, the condition of post-coloniality, characterised by capital and its wasteland, manifests itself in the new towns as the slow but inevitable encroachment of the excluded population on these new zones of exclusivity

Urban Development and Metro Governance

While the outcomes of the Lok Sabha and the state assembly elections have been well documented and analysed, little is known about the electoral geography in urban areas. In discussing the conflicting interests of local politics and urban development, this article places the definition and understanding of what is "urban" in the context of the 74th constitutional amendment, and also looks at the expectations from and the progress on the reforms agenda of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. Further, the article addresses the high economic stakes and challenges involved in metro governance, while arguing that these cannot be dealt with under the general rubric of Union-State-Municipality. International experience is relevant in this regard not for the structural models followed, but because unlike in India, the subject of urban governance in most cities around the world has been a matter of serious debate and action.

Translating Marx: Mavali, Dalit and the Makin of Mumbai's Working Class, 1928-1935

Examining the Marathi translation of The Communist Manifesto published in 1931 and situating it in the socio-historical context of workers' movements in Mumbai in the 1920s and 1930s, this paper argues that the so-called subordinated classes engaged with it and created a workers' public that was in conversation with the elite public sphere. But it holds that the vernacular version had to navigate the structures of language and a social structure in which caste was an important feature to make itself comprehensible to other intellectuals, trade union leaders and workers. It was in this process that its strategy of obscuring caste subjectivities and creating a new identity of class found its greatest success and also its ultimate failure.

Farm Size and Productivity: Understanding the Strengths of Smallholder and Improving Their Livelihoods

During the 1960s and 1970s there was an intense debate on the observed inverse relationship between farm size and per hectare agricultural productivity in India. It was subsequently argued that the higher productivity of smallholdings would disappear with the adoption of superior technology, modernisation and growth in general. However, close to half a century later, National Sample Survey data from the initial years of the 21st century show that smallholdings in Indian agriculture still exhibit a higher productivity than large holdings. These smallholdings however show lower per capita productivity and the incidence of poverty is widespread. Strategies for Indian agriculture and smallholding households should include reducing the inequality in land distribution and promoting off-farm work in the rural areas itself. The strategy of improving the crop land-man ratio by facilitating migration from rural India has not worked and will not work. The lives of smallholding families can be improved only by building on their higher per acre agricultural productivity and by promoting off-farm rural employment.

Water Harvesting Traditions and the Social Milieu in India: A Second Look

India has a variety of local community traditions of water harvesting. There are a number of scholars and activists who tend to valorise premodern wisdoms without critically evaluating their sociocultural context and realising how deeply they were embedded in the social hierarchy of their times. There has been, of course, a great deal of stress lately on a kind of "eco-golden age". This is clearly a case of an "anachronistic projection of modern phenomenon on to the screen of tradition". Seen from such a perspective, all pre-industrial societies would exhibit a kind of harmony with nature. However, most of the times, it was the demographic and technological factors that made these societies less harmful to the environment. It was not that they wished to protect the whole canopy of nature. This reappraisal demonstrates how precepts and rites, culture and customary practices and state policy interact to lay the bases of water harvesting traditions. Social customs are the necessary conditions for sustaining these traditions, while local autonomy in resource management is the critical sufficient condition but it never results in equitable access for all.

Farmers' Suicides in Punjab: A Census Survey of the Two Most Affected Districts

This is a report on the first-ever census survey conducted on suicides by farmers in the two most affected districts of Punjab, Sangrur and Bhatinda. It tries to arrive at the number of farmer suicides, the reasons (whether they were caused by economic distress alone or they were due to the interplay of the forces of economic distress, social conflict, cultural backwardness and lack of community/state support) and also the present economic status of the families of the victims.

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