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Urban-Rural Relations, Demand Politics and the 'New Agrarianism' in Northwest India: The Bharatiya Kisan Union

Jim Bentall and Stuart Corbridge
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Vol. 21, No. 1 (1996), pp. 27-48
DOI: 10.2307/622922
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/622922
Page Count: 22
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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.
Urban-Rural Relations, Demand Politics and the 'New Agrarianism' in Northwest India: The Bharatiya Kisan Union
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Abstract

The green revolution in India is focusing peasant attention on the prices of farm inputs and outputs. According to the Rudolphs, a class of 'bullock capitalists', newly hegemonic in the Indian countryside, is mobilizing support for a new agrarian politics that pits rural India (Bharat) against an exploitative urban India. These claims are examined with reference to the organization, tactics and appeal of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) in northwest India. Evidence is drawn from fieldwork in two villages and from interviews with local political leaders. Support is offered for the Rudolphs' thesis that economic factors are important in explaining levels of active support for the new agrarian politics. But patterns of support for the BKU are also crucially affected by caste and community considerations, and by the construction of the BKU's leader, Mahendra Singh Tikait, as a political leader in the Gandhian tradition. The conclusion considers the dynamics of peasant social movements in south Asia.

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