1st Edition

Industrialising Rural India Land, policy and resistance

Edited By Kenneth Nielsen, Patrik Oskarsson Copyright 2017
    200 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    212 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Rapid industrialisation is promoted by many as the most feasible way of rejuvenating the Indian economy, and as a way of generating employment on a large scale. At the same time, the transfer of land from rural communities and indigenous groups for industrial parks, mining, or Special Economic Zones has emerged as perhaps the most explosive issue in India over the past decade. Industrialising Rural India sheds light on crucial political and social dynamics that unfold today as India seeks to accelerate industrial growth. The volume examines key aspects that are implicated in current processes of industrialisation in rural India, including the evolution of industrial and related policies; the contested role of land transfers, dispossession, and the destruction of the natural resource base more generally; and the popular resistance against industrial projects, extractive industries and Special Economic Zones.

    Combining the work of scholars long established in their respective fields with the refreshing approach of younger scholars, Industrialising Rural India seeks to chart new ways in the study of contemporary industrialisation and its associated challenges in India. This cutting-edge interdisciplinary work will be of interest to scholars working on industrial development and land questions in India and South Asia alongside those with an interest in sociology , political science and development research.

    Part 1: Introduction

    1. Industrialising Rural India

    Patrik Oskarsson and Kenneth Bo Nielsen

    Part 2: Policy Evolution

    2. ‘The Dog that didn’t Bark’ (Very Loud) – Large-scale Development Projects with Little Protests in Nehru’s India

    Jørgen Dige Pedersen

    3. From State-led Development to Embedded Neo-liberalism: India’s Industrial and Social Policies in Comparative Perspective

    Stein Sundstøl Eriksen

    4. ‘Should the Son of a Farmer always remain a Farmer?’ The Ambivalence of Industrialisation and Resistance in West Bengal

    Sarasij Majumder and Kenneth Bo Nielsen

    Part 4: Governing Nature and Society

    5. Coal as National Development in India: Transforming Landscapes and Social Relations in the Quest for Energy Security

    Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt

    6. A Different Story of Coal: The Power of Power in Northeast India

    Bengt G. Karlsson

    7. The Nature of Bauxite Mining and Adivasi Livelihoods in the Industrialisation of Eastern India

    Patrik Oskarsson

    8. Resource Extraction in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum: The Continuing Marginalisation of Adivasi Livelihoods Despite Decentralisation

    Siddharth Sareen

    Part 4: The Ambiguity of Resistance

    9. Rural Industry, the Forest Rights Act, and the Performance(s) of Proof

    Prakruti Ramesh

    10. ‘We will need a Passport to Enter the Site’: Envisioning Land, Industrialisation, and the State in Goa

    Heather Plumridge Bedi


    Kenneth Bo Nielsen is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Sociology at the University of Bergen, Norway.

    Patrik Oskarsson is a Researcher at the Department of Rural and Urban Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden. 



    This crisply edited volume addresses compelling questions concerning the transformation of India’s economy: Why does development-induced displacement generate differing levels – and types – of political resistance? To what extent have so-called "tribal" communities been able to realize new rights accorded to them? How have India’s grassroots democratic institutions, and its diverse array of social movements, responded to the challenges posed by "extractive" industries, particularly mining? Some chapters address contemporary cases and confine themselves to a single region; others are broader in scope, temporally or geographically. Though diverse in their perspectives and preoccupations, the authors share one indispensible trait: they probe ambiguities, rather than wishing them away.

    Rob Jenkins, City University of New York (CUNY)

    The fast growing economy in India is somewhat of a paradox. The growth is in the service sector and in the building industry, not in manufacture, not in mineral production. Conscious of this, the Indian State and Corporate Capital now try to exploit every possible natural resource for their industrial production and exports.

    For long the need for state land expropriation was beyond questioning. Now it is increasingly contested by people threatened by loss of land and forest. With education and political practicing of citizens’ democratic rights, and with laws to protect forest people, people now increasingly fight back with all possible means, legal, political, non-violent or even violent. India’s democracy is deepening and broadening bit by bit but not without many obstacles.

    This book gives a balanced account of ground realities in many concrete case studies. It helps us to grasp the odds of a sustainable development and not just devastating destruction of human lives and of nature.

    Staffan Lindberg, Lund University

    India’s quest to industrialize has been a fraught one. This collection of essays by a new generation of scholarship ably captures the complicated plots and troubling narratives about popular resistance, dispossession, displacement, Special Economic Zones and the consequences of extractive industries. Industrialization, however, as the editors are keen to remind us, also announces new beginnings and debates for democracy, livelihoods and alternative imaginations over what constitutes meaningful development. Critiques and challenges are not without hope. This is a very significant contribution, refreshing, seminal, empirically rich and tells us, above all else, that environmental politics and the everyday worlds of the disempowered give us a full ring side view into how neo-liberal economic growth uncurls on the ground.

    Rohan D’Souza, Kyoto University