ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Singur Agitation and the Contradictions of Agrarian Populism

People’s Car: Industrial India and the Riddles of Populism by Sarasij Majumder, Orient BlackSwan, 2019; pp xii + 198, Rs 695 hardcover.


This book provides an ethnogra­phic analysis of the agitation that accompanied the acquisition of 997 acres of land, fragmented among about 12,000 owners, by the Government of West Bengal in Singur, near ­Kolkata, during 2006–08. The government acquired the land to facilitate the construction of a factory by Tata Motors, intended to produce its Nano model, along with ancillary units. Soon after, a section of the local farmers, supported and mobilised by the opposition Trinamool Congress (TMC), various far-left groups, and urban acti­vists of diverse persuasions, began an agitation against land acquisition. This eventually led to the company relocating to Sanand in Gujarat, and contributed in no small measure to the defeat of the Left Front in the state assembly elections of 2011. Based on ext­ensive field visits over a decade, Sarasij Majumder offers an insightful diagnosis, and critique, of the many ambiguities, silences, misrepresentations and contradictions inherent in the articulations of the local participants in the anti-acquisition movement, as well as their urban activist supporters.

‘Incommensurability’ Cul-de-sac

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Updated On : 22nd Mar, 2021
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