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Narratives of the dispossessed and casteless: politics of land and caste in Rajarhat, West Bengal

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Narratives of the dispossessed and casteless: politics of land and caste in Rajarhat, West Bengal. / Das, Ritanjan.

In: Journal of Contemporary Asia, 29.10.2019.

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@article{8b19ba6a41f740e1913815d8d51da7ef,
title = "Narratives of the dispossessed and casteless: politics of land and caste in Rajarhat, West Bengal",
abstract = "This article examines the political narrative around a two-decade old process of land acquisition and development in the {\textquoteleft}global city{\textquoteright} Rajarhat, a former rural settlement in the Indian state of West Bengal. The narrative – exploring the development politics in Rajarhat - is built against the backdrop of a neoliberal state in the Global South acting as a corporate facilitator, particularly in matters of {\textquoteleft}land{\textquoteright}, and the concomitant dispossession. The multifaceted politics of Rajarhat takes shape in contrast to the erstwhile communist regime in West Bengal, the dichotomy of a Left state engaged in forceful and violent land acquisition thus forming an interesting paradox. The paper also presents evidence against the long held political myth of caste-relations being irrelevant in Bengali politics, by examining the upper-caste dominated social relations in Rajarhat and the formation of low-level cartels or {\textquoteleft}syndicates{\textquoteright} in the area. In conclusion, the article points to the reinvention and redeployment of caste relations – even in increasingly urban spaces where {\textquoteleft}hierarchical{\textquoteright} caste practices are usually taken to be on the decline - rooted in the duality between land-struggles and development.",
keywords = "WNU, Rajarhat, West Bengal, CPIM, land acquisition, displacement, caste, embargoover12",
author = "Ritanjan Das",
year = "2019",
month = oct,
day = "29",
doi = "10.1080/00472336.2019.1679861",
language = "English",
journal = "Journal of Contemporary Asia",
issn = "0047-2336",
publisher = "Taylor & Francis",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Narratives of the dispossessed and casteless: politics of land and caste in Rajarhat, West Bengal

AU - Das, Ritanjan

PY - 2019/10/29

Y1 - 2019/10/29

N2 - This article examines the political narrative around a two-decade old process of land acquisition and development in the ‘global city’ Rajarhat, a former rural settlement in the Indian state of West Bengal. The narrative – exploring the development politics in Rajarhat - is built against the backdrop of a neoliberal state in the Global South acting as a corporate facilitator, particularly in matters of ‘land’, and the concomitant dispossession. The multifaceted politics of Rajarhat takes shape in contrast to the erstwhile communist regime in West Bengal, the dichotomy of a Left state engaged in forceful and violent land acquisition thus forming an interesting paradox. The paper also presents evidence against the long held political myth of caste-relations being irrelevant in Bengali politics, by examining the upper-caste dominated social relations in Rajarhat and the formation of low-level cartels or ‘syndicates’ in the area. In conclusion, the article points to the reinvention and redeployment of caste relations – even in increasingly urban spaces where ‘hierarchical’ caste practices are usually taken to be on the decline - rooted in the duality between land-struggles and development.

AB - This article examines the political narrative around a two-decade old process of land acquisition and development in the ‘global city’ Rajarhat, a former rural settlement in the Indian state of West Bengal. The narrative – exploring the development politics in Rajarhat - is built against the backdrop of a neoliberal state in the Global South acting as a corporate facilitator, particularly in matters of ‘land’, and the concomitant dispossession. The multifaceted politics of Rajarhat takes shape in contrast to the erstwhile communist regime in West Bengal, the dichotomy of a Left state engaged in forceful and violent land acquisition thus forming an interesting paradox. The paper also presents evidence against the long held political myth of caste-relations being irrelevant in Bengali politics, by examining the upper-caste dominated social relations in Rajarhat and the formation of low-level cartels or ‘syndicates’ in the area. In conclusion, the article points to the reinvention and redeployment of caste relations – even in increasingly urban spaces where ‘hierarchical’ caste practices are usually taken to be on the decline - rooted in the duality between land-struggles and development.

KW - WNU

KW - Rajarhat

KW - West Bengal

KW - CPIM

KW - land acquisition

KW - displacement

KW - caste

KW - embargoover12

U2 - 10.1080/00472336.2019.1679861

DO - 10.1080/00472336.2019.1679861

M3 - Article

JO - Journal of Contemporary Asia

JF - Journal of Contemporary Asia

SN - 0047-2336

ER -

ID: 10430348