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Class Character of Rural Energy Crisis: Case of Karnataka

M. R. Bhagavan and S. Giriappa
Economic and Political Weekly
Vol. 22, No. 26 (Jun. 27, 1987), pp. A57-A69
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4377146
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Class Character of Rural Energy Crisis: Case of Karnataka
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Abstract

This paper proposes and develops a new method of analysis of the ruling energy crisis in India, and applies it to the state of Karnataka. It argues that in the context of rural India, a proper understanding of the production, consumption and reproduction of energy requires the extension of the concept of energy beyond fuels to include food, fodder and fertiliser. Using labour, land, physical and monetary assets, indebtedness and caste as the principal tools of analysis, and on the basis of the field surveys conducted by the authors in 1986, this theoretical and empirical study examines how the energy situation-defined now to comprise fuel, food, fodder and fertiliser-has evolved and is evolving among the rural middle class, the small peasant class and the wage labour class (defined to include marginal peasants). These three broad rural social classes account respectively for twenty, thirty-five and forty-five per cent of the rural population. The study reveals that while there is no energy crisis for the rural middle class, and the small peasant class is constantly balancing itself on the edge of the energy crisis, the wage labour class finds itself deep in a chronic and unremitting state of energy crisis. The details of the energy situations of these three classes are presented, and both the exploitative and non-exploitative relations between them are explored.

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