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

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Intersecting Journeys

Gail Omvedt widened the horizons of scholarship on caste, class, and gender by probing into hitherto unexplored areas and inspired fellow scholars and activists to pursue new inquiries. A fellow traveller on the path of transformative theory and praxis looks back on these intertwined journeys.

Acquiring Land in India

The Political Economy of Land Acquisition in India: How a Village Stops Being One by Dhanmanjiri Sathe, Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan (Imprint by Springer Nature), 2017; pp xvi + 204, price not indicated.

Extreme Flooding Events and Land Cover Change

Land use change through developmental activities and deforestation is widely regarded as the primary driver of extreme flood events. This perception is typical of a reading of disasters influenced by environmentalism. The alarm bells of large-scale environmental damage are rung after every extreme...

Dynamics of Caste and Landlessness

The effects of land acquisition processes and poor urban planning on Dalits and the marginalised landless population are analysed. How minor changes in laws and policymaking processes can change or prevent future policy issues by addressing landlessness-borne issues in consistency with sustainable development goals and social inclusion is examined. This study aims to understand the complexities and transitory socio-economic problems underlying urban development planning. It finds that poor and marginal landless village residents, who had little to no idea about the land acquired for a public purpose, undoubtedly faced the most unfavourable outcomes in the course of rural to urban development.

Regional Dynasties in Medieval Bihar

Mughal Administration and the Zamindars of Bihar by Tahir Hussain Ansari, New Delhi: Manohar, 2019; pp 299, ₹ 1,595.

Pa Ranjith’s ‘Kaala’ and the Dalit-Left Revolution to Come

Kaala embodies the confusion and contradictions of the contemporary subaltern politics. It is conscious of the need for solidarity between the Dalit–Bahujan and the left, yet it cannot imagine what form it will take.

Seeing Mumbai through Its Hinterland

The “money in the city, votes in the countryside” dynamic meant that in the past, agrarian propertied classes wielded enough power to draw capital and resources from cities into the rural hinterland. However, as cities cease to be mere sites of extraction, agrarian elites have sought new terms of inclusion in contemporary India’s market-oriented urban growth, most visible in the endeavour of the political class to facilitate the entry of the “sugar constituency” into Mumbai’s real estate markets.

Distortions in Land Markets and Their Implications for Credit Generation in India

Data shows that land is collateral in a large proportion of loans in India. Yet, the several structural, regulatory, and information-driven distortions that afflict Indian land markets force lenders to adopt conservative policies ex ante, affecting both the availability of credit and the collateralisation of land. The paper examines some of these distortions and highlights their significance to the current debate on reforming bankruptcy framework in India. The first part of the paper discusses structural, regulatory, and informational gaps that limit lenders’ ability to lend against land as well as recovery after default. In the second part, some opportunistic and structural reforms in the land markets that could effectively monetise land in credit markets have been proposed.

The Making of Poverty

Labour, State and Society in Rural India: A Class-relational Approach by Jonathan Pattenden; Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016; pp xiv + 2 00, £75 (hardbound).

Migration, Bachelorhood and Discontent among the Patidars

Juxtaposing data collected in the 1950s with data from 2013, this paper describes some of the consequences of a crisis of agriculture in India as a crisis of values and aspirations. Among a relatively prosperous Patidar community in western India, agriculture continues to be economically remunerative while farmers are considered poor. Instead, the ability to secure a job away from land, to move out of the village and possibly overseas have come to constitute new markers of status in a traditionally competitive society. The paper departs from common representations of the caste as an upwardly mobile and successful group, and focuses instead on the discontent and on those who try to achieve the new values of the caste, but fail. As a consequence of failure it shows how Patidars recur to what, from an outsider's point of view, may seem paradoxical: in order to "move up" and participate in the culture and economy of the caste, they have to "move down." In this respect, the paper also contributes to understanding the unevenness of India's growth and the contrary trends that work both to strengthen and weaken caste identity.

Importance of Landowning Non-cultivating Households

There is an increasing importance of landowning households that do not cultivate and a significant presence of urban households owning rural land, which constrains the growth of the agrarian economy, as such households have low incentives to invest in agriculture, and tend to use land for residential purposes, reducing the cropped area. Agricultural labour households tend to lease in land and become cultivators.

How Kerala is Destroying its Wetlands

The amendment to the Kerala Conservation of Paddy Land and Wetland Act 2008 is one in a series of environmentally detrimental decisions that the Kerala government has taken. The state urgently needs to factor in ecological rationale in decision-making and conserve paddy fields and weltlands for the long term health of the state.

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