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Peasant Populism and Right Wing Politics: A Case Study From Gadwal, Telangana State of South India


· Jessy Philip Delhi Unviersity (New Delhi, Indonesia)


07/27 | 11:20-11:40 UTC+2/CEST


The contemporary expansion of right wing politics in India is often sought to be explained within the theoretical ambit of positions which lends conceptual primacy to the force of globalization. In contrast, based on ethnographic study of village and region of Gadwal district of Telangana state, this paper argues that the lurch towards the right -wing Hindutva by rural constituencies has to be located in the mediating structures of globalisation namely regional state, caste and provincial capital also. In order to illuminate political conditions favouring the growth of Hindu right wing, the paper focus on the political and economic relations between a repeasantizing group mostly belonging to backward castes beleaguered by globalisation of agriculture and a group of provincial capital from dominant castes. In order to gain access to non-commodified social provisions such subsidized fertilizer, seeds, credit which are important sources for repeasantization, peasants often enter into an alliance with provincial capital acting as gate keepers to the regional state. This alliance also enable peasants to keep down rural Dalit labour whose political subordination ensures some relief from rising input costs. This political alliance facilities a coming together of a discourse of agrarian populism and an ideology of religious sub-nationalism furthering the growth of right-wing politics. The paper tentatively points out that the recent turn to Hindu right-wing by farming communities in many states could be based on the religious and political connections forged between the peasants and provincial capital under neo-liberal economic and political conditions.