Hirashasan: Governing diamonds in Central India
Hirashasan is the term used for governance of diamond mining and trade – with a small bureaucracy and an exclusive set of rules and regulations – by the district administration of Panna in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. Diamond mining in Panna encompasses diverse extractive practices that range from fully mechanised large-scale mining operations owned by the state, to small-scale and semi-mechanised mining carried out by farmers and landowners in groups, to individuals carrying out seasonal and part-time mining of diamonds in an artisanal manner. Based on an ethnographic study was undertaken from September 2016 to April 2017, we argue that Hirashasan has created an “extractive assemblage” that comprises four genres of mining and production systems: large-scale, small-scale, licensed artisanal and unlicensed artisanal. This assemblage is a product of historical, cultural and geographical contingencies as much as place-specificities, and does not lend itself to a single mode of governance. Mineral resource governance in a particular place, therefore, necessitates understanding and internalising the variegated and pluri-form extractive assemblages, such as that of the diamond economy in Panna.