[CSH Lecture Series #3] The Accused Accursed: Farmers And The Evolution Of Indian Agriculture

[CSH Lecture Series #3] The Accused Accursed: Farmers And The Evolution Of Indian Agriculture

Event Details

  • Date:

Rajeswari S. Raina

Shiv Nadar University

The Accused Accursed: Farmers And The Evolution Of Indian Agriculture


Abstract: Pictures capturing air pollution through poor visibility of a major monument and people wearing masks, figure in all the national dailies around October-November every year. Farmers burning rice straw in Punjab and Haryana stand accused. As people queue up for drinking water in villages in Maharashtra, farmers are accused of merciless groundwater extraction and cultivation of water-intensive crops like sugarcane. A few lakhs of them also end up taking their own accursed lives! An analysis of the evolution of Indian agriculture, as changing relationships between the state and agriculture—the economic activity that farmers perform—reveals the increasing centralization and consolidation of policy-making, knowledge and production services, in conjunction with a shrinking space for the voice and agency of farmers in production decisions. Acclaiming the successful green revolution also implies the broader celebration of economic transformations and accompanying scientific and technological changes. In this lecture, we will explore how these transformations, amply abetted by the state, created an economic system which gives few options to farmers. What is the economics of well-intentioned actions that create un-intended consequences (at least in part)? How would this economics change if farmers were not just producers but also stewards of the ecosystem? This presentation revisits and questions some accepted theories that shaped India’s agricultural plans—especially about getting prices right, labour productivity, structural transformation, and induced innovation. This brings up questions about the real biophysical economy and the material and energy flows in agriculture, which suggest the need for multiple meanings of agriculture and farmer.

Speaker: Dr. Rajeswari S. Raina is a Professor with the Department of International Relations and Governance Studies, Shiv Nadar University, Uttar Pradesh. Her research goal is to understand the interface between development and environment. This leads her to question the institutions, construction and politics of knowledge, issues in the translation of development concerns into scientific research as well as the application of scientific research results for development. Well published, her work spans research, teaching, and advisory /public engagement roles within academic, governmental, and civil society organizations and networks.

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More info:
julien  {dot}  levesque  {at}  csh-delhi  {dot}  com

For registration:

RSVP mentioning your full name to be sent (before Monday, 16 December, 12 p.m.) to: neeru  {dot}  gohar  {at}  csh-delhi  {dot}  com

(!) Due to security protocols, we request you to please pre-register over email and kindly carry an ID proof to be granted access to the venue.

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