School of Livelihoods and Development

Grameen Talk Series (5th Talk)


Date and time: Oct. 8, 2020 3:30PM - 4:30PM

Venue: Join Zoom Meeting

Topic: Mapping the Agrarian Change in Rural Jharkhand: The Role of Intermediaries and Capturing Caste-Tribe Interface in Agriculture

Speaker: Dr. Avinash

Date: 8th October 2020

Abstract: Rural Jharkhand has invited lesser attention in the field of agrarian studies in India, despite the fact that more than eighty percent of its rural population are being directly dependent on agriculture as their primary source of livelihood. The former studies on agrarian Jharkhand have highlighted predominantly as ‘subsistence nature’ of agriculture and ‘low crop productivity’ region. Moreover, nature of the agrarian regime of the region has been understood as the “persistence of non-capitalist and non feudal relations of production”. I problematize these assumptions through this presentation by using an ethnographic method of inquiry on villages of district- Khunti, and Palamu. I explore the on-going agrarian change in rural Jharkhand and recognizes one of the important features of this change is that peasants are becoming consumers of the market for agricultural inputs. There is a gradual shift from traditional paddy to ‘high yielding variety’ paddy seeds enabling food sufficiency in the villages to a larger extent. The other kinds of agrarian change can be observed through commercial crops such as watermelon, marigold, and vegetable cultivations as recent additions. Thus, unlike the given arguments on agriculture in rural Jharkhand, I argue that agrarian change in the region is majorly influenced through the role of agricultural (old and new forms) intermediaries in the form of State, Market and NGOs with the influence on crop selection and cropping pattern. Another distinctive feature that I would be discussing is the caste-tribe agrarian relations existing in Jharkhand that embodies ‘plurality in agricultural production’ relations. These agricultural labour relations include; “communal system of labour exchange, household labour, land mortgage system, sharing cropping and daily wage labour relations. The caste-tribe relations are largely missing in dominant Indian agrarian scholarships.


Speaker’s Bio: Avinash has done graduation in English Literature and post-graduation in Social Work from University of Delhi. He recently completed his PhD degree in Sociology from IIT Bombay. His thesis is titled - “Caste-Tribe, Intermediaries and Regional Rurality: Agrarian Change in Rural Jharkhand”. His research interests are in rural and agrarian studies, indigenous politics and state insurgency conflicts. Presently he is doing independent research on the ‘Pathalgadi movement’ in  Jharkhand.