Rethinking Revolutions: Soya bean, Chou pals, and the Changing Countryside in Central India
The countryside in India is changing. But not necessarily in ways in which we urban dwellers are tuned to imagine. Our understanding is often facilitated by mass media representations, accentuated through attention seeking headlines, of two strikingly contrasting imaginaries put forth through government programs and political and civil society campaigns. Through these popular imaginaries, we either soak into the green revolution festivities of technology-led development, progress, and empowerment of the rural populace; or the greys and blues of farmers’ suicide and agrarian distress. Despite their strikingly contrasting characters in the Indian context, both these imaginaries are generally invoked concurrently, almost in a cyclic fashion by relevant groups to justify their programmers and initiatives. By limiting the horizons of our thinking by these two extremes, there is often no space left for the alternative, new ways of thinking and imagining the gradual transformations in the countryside.
In this meticulously researched, well-argued and comprehensively written book, Richa Kumar has made a strong case for abandoning such neatly drawn, politically motivated, and extreme imaginations of rural transformations, for a more deeper, multi-layered, and historically and culturally contingent understanding of these changes. Read more. . .