Industrialization, Peasant Mobilization and the Conflict Over Land Acquisition in India: The Case of the Nano Car
Allison Berland Kaul
University of Maryland
APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper
In 2003, Ratan Tata, Chairman of the Tata Group, had an idea: to create a “people’s car,” with a starting price of 100,000 rupees (US $2,200), for India’s emerging middle class. “There was a father driving a scooter, his young kid standing in front of him, his wife seated behind him holding a baby… It led me to wonder whether one could conceive of a safe, affordable, all-weather form of transport for such a family,” he said. While the Nano itself has been hailed as a new breed of automobile, symbolizing a rapidly industrializing country, with a population who aspires to own a car, the problems of finding land to manufacture the car reveals a larger context of development-related conflict taking place across India, pitting farmers against factories in the process of industrialization.
This paper presents a case study of a conflict between farmers and industry over land in India, where a majority rural population is experiencing rapid industrialization head-on. Using a case study method and process tracing approach, and covering the time frame between May 2006 and October 2008, this paper provides an in-depth examination of the conflict between farmers and industry over the acquisition of farmland in Singur, West Bengal, to build a factory to manufacture the Nano car. The primary goal of this paper is to examine what factors helped or hindered farmers in mobilizing for their interests and achieving their desired outcome in the conflict over the acquisition of land to build the Nano, and to generate new hypotheses and questions for further research about the role of peasants and peasant mobilization in development related conflicts in the context of rapid industrialization.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15working papers series
Date posted: July 19, 2010 ; Last revised: September 14, 2010
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