prof. gadde swarup's comments

professor gadde swarup, in an interesting comment on my previous post , says:
Caste questions and farmers' problems seem to be two different problems. The first may be solved in a few hundred years but it seems to me that the second may not be solvable. In any case, may be it is simpler to discuss the problems seperately.
please note two things:

1. my previous post was not about caste. it doesn't even mention caste, or any variant, or any term derived from caste. not even in the tags. am i being slotted away?

2. the scale applied, not consciously i am sure, to measure the problems (the caste problem and farmers' problem): i feel it is inappropriate. i think the act of measurement itself is wrong- caste is being slotted away.

(please also read prof. swarup's second comment explaining his first). moving on to the suggestion at the end: In any case, may be it is simpler to discuss the problems seperately. i hadn't discussed caste in my previous post, but i admit it was on my mind: the two issues can't be separated. ask p.sainath:
Typically, the forward caste will till at the head of the water, the middle caste will till in the middle water, and the tail water will be left to the lower caste and the Dalits. Now in Rajasthan this problem does not arise, since there is no water, no river in the border areas. So how is the positioning of the Dalit basti determined in Rajasthan? In all other parts of the country where the river water runs north to south, the Dalit basti will be in the south. Why is it on the east and northeast there? This happens because Dalits work on leather, which stinks and our sacred nostrils cannot be offended by this menial activity, so we place them outside, so the smell of carcasses and tanning does not enter the village.
that was an extract from an interview with sainath that i had quoted in this post. i'd also referred to other articles in that post to make my point that caste does play a role in the making of policy (and its implementation ) that impacts agriculture and rural india: the clear bias towards famers with larger holdings, easier access to irrigation, inputs, extension and market support and generally all other public goods/services (read: upper caste) is clearly evident, though couched in much egalitarian phraseology. i'd also written on how large irrigation projects benefit mostly a small section of rural india (around 10-20%) in one of my posts on otherindia (now dead?).

two: in my recent series of posts on agriculture (please check this post for links to other posts in the series) and elsewhere (check tags: agriculture, famers etc) i'd pointed out , directly and not so directly, how policy on agriculture is very narrowly framed in india. to sum up, roughly, it has two components: 1. food security. 2. through support to the productive category of famers i'd referred to in the previous paragraph. it doesn't support farmers, broadly, or rual india, broadly. policy is definitely not framed from a holistic point of view- the productive farmers are agriculture are rural india. i'd referred to this paternalistic attitude of policy makers in this post and also in the post on otherindia i'd referred to earlier (here's a link to a link to the post and here's the title of the post: 'bottled up in agriculture'.. i don't know whether it's cached somewhere. i didn't cross-post it here).

three: most of the farmers who have committed suicide are obcs and dalits. sainath had mentioned this somewhere, and other journalists have talked about it. but not explicitly or in depth. they wanted to keep things simpler, i guess.

p.s: on being slotted away, there is an interesting post on the issue on 'double consciousness' (thanks, jack)..


gaddeswarup said...

Thanks for the pointers. Googling 'economics of caste', I find that there is extensive literature on the topic and will try to go through some of the paapers. Regards,

deadmanoncampus said...

Sainath seems to be another power hungry guy,another Ellsworth Monkton Toohey.This is my blog post on Sainath relating to NREGA.


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