Sunday, April 7, 2013

[Proceedings] HM Conference, NSI Panel on Rural Impoverishment, Displacement and Political Responses

Proceedings (video) of  New Socialist Initiative (NSI) Panel discussion on Rural Impoverishment, Displacement and Political Responses in Historical Materialism Conference 2013, Delhi. Chair: Anil Choudhary; Speakers: Jaya Mehta (Research Coordinator, Joshi-Adhikari Institute of Social Studies) on 'The Feminine Face of Indian Agriculture'; Sudha Vasan (Associate Professor, Dept. of sociology, Delhi School of Economics) on 'Chained to Development's Cross: Livelihood Crisis and displacement in India'; Prof. Manoranjan Mohanty (Council for Social Development) on 'Resistance in Contemporary India: Insights from Land Struggle'.
Concept Note

Forced takeover of agricultural and forested land for industries, mining, and infrastructure is leading to intense political struggles in many parts of India. Displacement of impoverished communities has brought the predatory nature of the current capitalist development to the fore. Besides registering this aspect of capitalism, a Historical Materialist understanding of the Indian society demands answers to a number of questions rarely discussed and debated in discourses on land and livelihoods. What actually is changing in Indian agriculture beneath visible signs of distress like the economic unviability of agriculture, displacement and peasant suicides? This question is important, because except at sites of existential threat via forced displacement, little popular political mobilisation has taken place around other reasons of agrarian distress. How are the ownership and tenure patterns of land, and market dependence of rural society changed in the past few decades? Is the Indian agriculture still dominated by a class of landlords and rich peasantry? What changes the evolution of agrarian economy has brought to the nature of class coalition ruling the country? Can the agriculture still be considered a relatively autonomous sector of Indian economy, having its unique class and caste based production relations? Is the programme of land reforms, integral to the Agrarian Programmes of so many communist revolutionaries, still a viable programme for radical transformation of Indian society? State in India has recently taken some steps like the Rural Employement Guarantee Scheme, and is planning to bring out new Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Act, Food Security Act, etc. to address land and livelihood related distress. What do these steps tells about the altered political economy of land from rulers' perspective? How can struggles for land and livelihood be taken beyond the welfare of liberal governance? 

This panel on Rural Impoverishment, Displacement and Political Responses will discuss changes in land relations and rural livelihoods in India in a class framework, treating development of capitalism as an objective process of structural change.
Jaya Mehta on 'The Feminine Face of Indian Agriculture'


Sudha Vasan on 'Chained to Development's Cross: Livelihood Crisis and displacement in India'

Prof. Manoranjan Mohanty on 'Resistance in Contemporary India: Insights from Land Struggle'

Discussions and Debates



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