This book traces the entire trajectory of the farmers’ movement in Western India, especially Maharashtra, from the 1980s to the present day. It reveals the fundamental contradictions between populism as an ideology and as political power within the democratic state structure. The volume highlights the ideologies of the movement; its emergence in the wake of a perceived agrarian crisis; how it conflates economics and populism; the role of leadership; stages of development from grassroots agitations rooted in civil society to the attempts to create space within structures of democratic politics; the eventual formation of a separate political party and consequent implications. It maps the linkages between populist ideology and mass participation, and their contested successes and failures in the domain of electoral politics. Further, the author underlines the effectiveness of the movement in addressing class and gender equations in the region.
Rich in primary archival sources and informed field studies, this book will interest scholars and researchers of agrarian economy, rural sociology, and politics, particularly those concerned with social movements in India.
List of Tables. List of Figures. List of Abbreviations. Preface. Acknowledgements. 1. Understanding the Farmers’ Movement in Maharashtra: Towards An Analytical Framework 2. The Farmers’ Movement in Maharashtra: Background and Ideology 3. The Class Character of the Farmers’ Movement: 1980-2011 4. An Apoliticist Populism 5. Selective Appropriation of Gender Ideology: Mahila Aghadi of the Farmers’ Movement- 1986-2004 6. The Farmers’ Movement: Its Response to New Economic Reforms 7. Negative Returns of Ambivalence: Electoral Politics of the Farmers’ Movement, 1980-2014 8. Conclusions: Decline of the Movement Glossary. Index.