Revisiting Wittfogel: “Hydraulic society” in colonial India and its post-colonial legacies in hydropower management
The chapter aims to apply Karl Wittfogel’s concept of “hydraulic society” as a heuristic device to colonial India water management scenario and understand its post-colonial legacies. The British colonial intervention in the domain of water endeavored to establish something akin to “hydraulic society,” on a pan-Indian scale. In colonial India, water control and irrigation played an important role, if not the central role in state-building. The centralisation of water happened somewhat inadvertently, as the reconstruction of the hydraulic landscape was largely disaster-induced. The British wanted to control the recurrent floods and famines that affected the Indian landscape. Later in the first quarter of the 20th-century power generation became a lucrative business and during the Second World War, hydropower dams were constructed for the production of electricity. These legacies of water management institutions, discourses and practices continued in post-colonial India, as cash crop-based agriculture and green revolution further put an impetus in the same direction. It ultimately led to a saturation point when problems and conflicts started emerging.
The edited volume is an attempt to unravel the dialectics of development theory, policy, and practice as experienced by people surrounding the development discourses. The book is an endeavor to understand how theory translates into policy, and policy translates into practice during implementation in the South Asian context. The essays are related to the grand narrative of ‘development’ which critically engages itself with the three major themes as suggested in the title, i.e. theory, policy, and practice. The essays look at the theoretical foundations of a policy, e.g. universal basic education, then look at the policy developed at the national level and discuss field realities of implementation. The book shows how many of the development challenges of the region spring from problems of translation from theory to policy to practice.
In India, anti-corruption mass protests began in April 2011 against various aspects of corruption such as kleptocracy, electoral fraud and black money. The protestors demanded the enactment of a strong legislation and enforcement against perceived political corruption. The protestors used non-violent repertoires of civil disobedience such as hunger strikes, marches, and rallies. They used social media to organise, communicate, and spread their message. Initially non-partisan to politics, the mobilisations fought for the Jan Lokpal Bill (introduced in parliament in 2011). Later, the core activist group split into two and one group formed a political party called Aam Aadmi Party (common man’s party). It won the Delhi legislative assembly polls and formed the government. The Lokpal and Lokayukt Act (or the Lokpal Act) was enacted in 2013. This was a major success of the mobilisations. Bangladesh won independence from Pakistan through a bloody war in 1971. During the war, the Pakistan army violated human rights and conducted genocide on a large scale. In 2009, the ruling Awami League government formed an International Crime Tribunal to put alleged war criminals to trial. In 2010, the Tribunal delivered its first indictment against groups considered enemy ‘collaborators’ and ‘traitors’ (Razakars, Al Badr, and Al Sham). But the indictments divided the country into seculars (who embraced the Bangladeshi identity, demanded capital punishment for war criminals, and found the indictments too lenient) and Islamic hardliners (who nursed their severed links with Pakistan and tried to save the war criminals). In February 2013, massive public protests started in the Shahbag public square to demand capital punishment for war crime convict Abdul Quader Mollah and a ban against the radical Islamist group Jamat-e-Islami. Secular activists used non-violent repertoires and mobilised people through social media and blogs. Though the hardliners murdered many activists, the secular protests were successful to some extent, as many of the convicted were given capital punishment. In both cases, a ‘protest public’ emerged. Though not organised through any civil society organisation or social movement, they successfully brought about sociopolitical transformations, policy shifts, and legal transformation. These protest 2 participants were mostly youth, and used only non-violent repertoires, even though the opposition used massive violence (mainly in case of Shahbag). These South Asian protests were influenced by Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring, but were located between the local and global. They were influenced by global protest cycles, but raised national identity, consciousness, and conscience as a public issue, and demanded direct participation in national policy formulations. There were divergences also. In India, protests led to a party being formed (the party formed a government), and changes in the law, after which the movement petered out. In Bangladesh, the Shahbag protests started a spiral of counter-violence, radicalisation, and ‘terrorist’ attacks that engulfed society. This paper will analyse the ‘protest public’ in these two cases using an analytical framework derived from the theory of public (Habermas 1989; Fraser 1990) and link it to the notions of postcolonial society and private/public difference in South Asia (Chatterjee 1993 and Chakrabarty 1999).
Energy security has become a central concern for all the countries in the Asian region and the search for sufficient sources of energy to fuel economic growth has drastically influenced relations among the South Asian countries as well as their respective relations with their neighbours China, Myanmar, Iran, and Afghanistan. The recent nuclear deal between India and the US is also indicative of how energy and power politics are linked and how these new inter-linkages underlie relations between states. This book aims to give a South Asian perspective on the geopolitics of energy, with a central focus on India. The chapters address show India's global and regional foreign policy making has changed in light of India's search for energy and how this is affecting the relationship on a global level between India and the US, as well as on a regional level between India and the other Asian countries. The book also offers views from Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as how this shifting reality is affecting relations between India and Southeast Asia. © 2009 Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore. All rights reserved.
The article presents the data of long-term (1988-2008) sociological research on the socio-economic and environmental problems of the indigenous Evenk municipal district, arising from the possible implementation of a hydro-electric project on the Nizhnyaya Tunguska river.
Postcolonial societies are a unique event in world history. Their emergence in the mid-twentieth century did not result from centuries-old internal social processes, but was directly determined by the formation and short-lived (by historical standards) existence and disintegration of the European colonial empires. The colonial borders reflected primarily the balance of forces between the metropolitan powers in this or that region, but not the preceding course of the region's own political, social, economic, and cultural history. With rare exceptions, many different peoples were forcibly united within a colony. Not only kinship but also cultural affinity among those peoples was often absent. At the same time, the colonial borders would divide one people or break the historically established regional systems of economic and cultural ties not less infrequently. Likewise, the colonialists would forcibly unite peoples that had never formed regional political and economic systems; moreover, had different levels of sociocultural complexity, and sometimes did not even know about each other or were historical enemies. At the same time, the colonial borders would often separate historically and economically connected peoples and societies. These features were supplemented by stadial and civilizational heterogeneity of the colonial societies. The elements of capitalism, implanted by the Europeans in different spheres, did not synthesize with a set of pre-capitalist features of the local societies. There was also a little intersection between the autochthonous and new sectors of public life, in which essentially different value systems dominated.
This chapter of the book 'Indo-Pacific Region: Political and Strategic Prospects' is devoted to the russian view on the economic situation in the Indo-Pacific region and especially on the Indian economic growth and its global prospects
Russia's European South as a macroregion formed in the late imperial and Soviet periods. It that time Russia's Caucasus was shaped as its integral part. The whole region is often regarded a backward and closed borderland that opposed to all modernization processes reaching it late. In this article the author argues that this stereotypic narrative was uncritically borrowed by some politicians and scholars from the Russian colonial literature of the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. It should be rethought basing on first-hand sources from region. In reality, Russia's Caucasus quickly answered to all challenges that reached it from the imperial core. After the end of the Caucasus war a long series of reforms started in the region. They ended already under the Soviet rule and resulted in making Caucasus as integral part of the Russian polity for more than half a century.
Globalization is a process of not unification but rapprochement of cultures, formation of a global civilization as a «federation» of local civilizations. In connection with transformations of the phenomenon of nation in the post-colonial period, its tendency to transform from a «supraethnic» into «interethnic» phenomenon, a global transnational culture is forming. With respect to this process, it makes sense to speak about not degradation, but a change in the place of ethnic cultures and even an increase in their role in the time of intensive globalization.