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Somashree Das


I am, currently, enrolled as a PhD student at Centre for the Study of Regional Development in Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. The title of my topic is “Gender Dimensions in Agrarian Distress in India with Special Focus on Rural North-west India”. I have interests in understanding rural agrarian transition, its regional social structure and political economic relation with special focus from gender perspective. From my research, I try to understand the gender differences in the impact of agrarian crisis, the differential risks; differential responses and strategies to adopt based on North-west region in India.




Gendered Implications of Agrarian Crisis: A Study Based on Rural North-West India

Following the empirical evidence from North-western part in India, this paper tries to explore the gendered impacts of agrarian crisis along the complexities of power asymmetries of class and caste lines in rural India. The study is based on 34 in-depth interviews from both men and women conducted at the protest sites surrounding the borders of Delhi where the farmers have been gathering and protesting since November 2020 in demand of repealing of three farm-laws passed by the Government of India fearing that it would empower the corporate players at the detriment of farmers’ livelihoods. The huge gathering of farmers across different classes for this prolonged time-period is an indicative of the current crisis in Indian agriculture under the process of neo-liberalism. The changing agrarian relation by formal and informal institutional setup of state, market and communities also shapes and is shaped by the gender relation in multiple ways in the region. The narratives collected from both men and women across different agrarian classes foreground the explanations of the crisis and their differential coping strategies, fallback positions exercising their agencies, their negotiations etc. that adversely impact on women in terms of intra-household resource allocations, control and access to resources due to asymmetries of power relation in patriarchal structure. Nonetheless, this depends on class position and sometimes, women from the marginalised agrarian classes lack agencies to fall back. The study presumes rising practices of performative agencies among women from their growing participation in the movement and also suggests policy recommendations.

Affiliation: Jawaharlal Nehru University, India