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

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Cooperatives in Maharashtra

B S Baviskar’s article on cooperatives in Maharashtra (‘Cooperatives in Maharashtra: Challenges Ahead’, October 20, 2007) dwells extensively on the sugar cooperatives and their political links, but fails to underline the fundamental socioeconomic inequities which provided the foundation for the cooperative movement and which buttressed and in turn were buttressed by that movement.

As far back as 1977 Micahel Lipton in his book Why Poor People Stay Poor highlighted the driving force behind unequal associations as their susceptibility to capture. The cooperative movement of Maharashtra is a classic study of this phenomenon, whereby the Maratha Deshmukhs sought to use caste as a means to induct Maratha Kunbis (peasants) in their bid to capture and perpetuate power and pelf.

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