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

OrissaSubscribe to Orissa

Identity, Hegemony, Resistance

The subject of religious conversion is rarely studied with reference to Hinduism. On the other hand, reports of adivasi 're-conversion' imply that their Hindu identity is taken for granted, justifying in turn the need for re-conversion. As a further contradiction, while Hinduisation involves their integration with the varna order, they are simultaneously regarded as outcastes - a process that involves hegemony and exploitation of the adivasis and outcastes. This paper, based on the questioning and interrogating the way conversion has been located, takes up the history of conversion in Orissa over the last 200 years

Adivasis of South Orissa

The recent starvation deaths may have focused the limelight once more on Orissa's adivasis and triggered off a spate of developmental schemes. But for the adivasis, deprivation and poverty have been their lot for decades, bereft as they are of even basic necessities like food, minimal education and electricity.

Primary Education : New Labels for Old

Teachers in Orissa’s Non-Formal Education (NFE) Programme are faced with the threat of losing their jobs. These teachers, numbering about 40,000, have been working on a meagre salary of Rs 200 per month since 1996, many of them in remote, inaccessible districts of the state. To draw attention to their plight, early this month seven of the teachers went so far as to set themselves on fire outside the residence of the speaker of the state assembly in Bhubaneswar.

Orissa : Ill-prepared, Again

Several districts, many of them along Orissa’s coast, have been submerged by flash floods following incessant rains. Areas most severely affected have been the once drought-prone districts of Kalahandi and Bolangir. Over 50,000 hectares of paddy field across the state have been submerged. But this latest disaster to hit Orissa is more than just a consequence of nature’s fury. The situation has been made worse by Chhattisgarh, Orissa’s northeastern neighbour, ordering the release of 2.3 lakh cusecs of water into the already swollen Mahanadi. This is more than double the normal amount of water released with no warning issued to the Orissa government. Unfortunately, as the Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi pointed out, four dams in the state were already overflowing and there was but little choice available. Worse, with the continuing rains, the Hirakud discharge has had to be increased severely affecting the districts of Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara along the coast, areas that had suffered severe ecological damage in the 1999 cyclone. Even more seriously, it is likely that the rising water level in the Hirakud dam will threaten the safety of the reservoir itself. A further complication to the draining of the river waters would be the full high tide in the Bay of Bengal on Friday blocking the discharge of water into the sea.

Orissa : Mining Bauxite, Maiming People

The bauxite rich Kashipur block of Orissa has long been a focus of some interest to major aluminium corporates. Its exploitation is now taking a sharp and ugly turn with the tribals fighting for their livelihood and homes and against the environmentally damaging industrial development being proposed and the state tacitly endorsing the development plans.

Whither Electricity Reforms?

Continued adherence to the so-called Orissa model of electricity reforms, which seven 'reforming' states including Orissa have adopted, is likely to promote monopolies, raise tariffs, deny consumer choice and constrain investment in the power sector. This essay proposes an alternative industry structure which will help introduce competition, improve efficiency, add capacity, rationalise tariffs and enhance consumer welfare.

Social Connectedness and Fragility of Social Capital

Social capital is in a way fundamentally about 'connectedness' or engagements - especially those that contribute in building trust among people, increase the predictability of their behaviour and promote collective action. The author seeks to explore the associations and interactions that give rise to such engagements - by locating his search in a small village in Orissa's Puri district. Here collective memory and its role in conflict resolution in the village is crucial in creating or destroying trust. Memory, among other things, holds the key for the continuation of social connectedness or engagements.


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