I am a PhD student in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India. My research project explores “Corporate Security in the Insurgent Space of Jharkhand, India.” Before joining PhD, I worked as a development professional with PRADAN, an NGO, for two years among the adivasi (indigenous) communities of Jharkhand. Currently, I am serving as a member of the governing board of Bindrai Institute for Research, Study and Action (BIRSA), a civil society organization engaged in advocacy of rights and livelihood of the mining affected communities in Jharkhand and Odisha.
Development as Dependency: Bauxite Mining in Jharkhand
This study seeks to examine the practical significance of “development as ideology” in the mineral-bearing regions and how it gets shaped by intra- and inter-class relations. Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork in a bauxite-rich, flat-topped plateau of Gumla district of Jharkhand state in India, this paper illuminates the evolution of relationship between a mining company and local adivasi communities and accompanying negotiations over the last three decades. It illustrates that development in the mining region is operationalized through the use of compensation which meets a dual need: it makes financial resources available to landowners, which, in turn, provides private capital access to natural resources. Compensation, thus, forms the unity of the opposite interests of capital and labor. Both the forces strive to maximize their share in the wealth generated by bauxite production. United by the class interests, the landowners-turned-miners rely on their associational power and deploy the labor-centered discourse of development to secure benefits and wrest entitlements. On the other hand, to reduce costs and thereby increase the margins of profit, private capital forges multiple alliances with local and extra-local elites, including the mighty state, forming the architecture of control and oppression which sets the limit of working class politics. The paper argues that the constant struggle between capital and labor ensures the continuity of development which essentially manifests itself in the form of an ever-increasing dependency of the local population on the market alongside the architecture of control and oppression.
Affiliation: Indian Institute of Technology, India