This book, first published in 1992, examines the attitudes of local elites – the hinge between Indian state and rural society – towards protest and participation in development, illuminating arguments about the nature of the state as well as the development process. It looks at the role of local elites in India both as the representatives of the state and of the rest of rural society, and explains their importance in the country’s development. The book deals with the elites’ contribution to the credibility of the state and examines the strategies through which they manipulate the allocation of resources and influence the pace and direction of social change. It contrasts the rural elites in two areas, one more economically advanced than the other. The elites in the first area were shown to be capable of combining institutional participation with radical protest, whilst in the other they tended to rely on state channels to achieve reform. The author concludes that despite the different settings, both groups were informed, active and responsive to political conditions. This contrasts with the conventional view that local elites of the dominant castes oppress the lower ones by obstructing reforms, for reasons of self-interest.
Table of Contents
1. Local Elites and the Politics of Rural Development 2. The Regional Context: the Social and Economic Background of Rural Development 3. The Elements of Design 4. Setting the Local Agenda: the Problems, Progress and Agency of Rural Development 5. The Social Construction of Local Conflict: Unequal Benefits, Radical Protest and Social Cohesion 6. Institutional Participation and Radical Protest: the State, Society and Room for Manoeuvre in the Middle 7. Conclusion: the Two Faces of Development: Protest and Participation in India
Subrata K. Mitra