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

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Misguidance on Rural Development

Misguidance on Rural Development Terry Cannon FRANDA views his book as; a modest attempt by an American deeply concerned with India to understand the broad contours of Indian rural development and to assess the myriad options open to the Indian leadership (p ix). But it is a book which fails to live up to its title in two ways. The range of rural development alternatives is unbalanced, and it is not really an assessment. He provides only a vague indication of the criteria for such an assessment. In any case, he never actually states which of the alternatives (if any) are in his view necessary and possible. Perhaps he has a different view of what it means to assess something. If we redefine it as an exploration (description?) of the record of Indian politicians during the past 30 years in promoting rural development programmes (and) the new initiatives of the Janata government and their likely outcome (p x). we might still have a useful book. And it is true that because of the study's emphasis on the Janata Government (1977-1980) Franda has provided a survey of some value in understanding that sorry party's rise. However, even this does not absolve him; for an examination of the past record or new initiatives cannot be done without a clear thesis and basic criteria by which to judge them. Such a framework is lacking, and we have instead the author's eclectic approach and ill-defined analysis of the classes in Indian society and their relationship to the State. The nearest he appears to get to some sort of thesis is in the penultimate chapter, which begins:

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