This article examines the political narrative around a two-decade old process of land acquisition and development in Rajarhat, a former rural settlement in the Indian state of West Bengal. The narrative is built against the backdrop of a neo-liberal state in the global South acting as a corporate facilitator, particularly in matters of land, the concomitant dispossession, and the transformation of the villages and rural livelihoods. The paper tries to trace the nature of this transformation by mapping the socio-economic changes on the one hand, and the reinvention of traditional caste-based social hierarchies brought about by such changes on the other. Such developments, the paper argues, symbolise a qualitative shift in rural social relations, brought about by rapid urbanisation in neoliberal India.
- West Bengal