Seminar: "Land Grabbing in Common Property Resorces: A Case Study of a Gujarat Village" by Dr. Farhat Naz
Land-grab in today’s contemporaneous scenario have become a crucial development issue in Africa, Asia and Latin America — with growing interest in farmlands as an economic asset. Having historical precedents in the eras of colonialism and imperialism, make land grabbing not a new phenomenon (Alden Wily, 2012), although the causes, magnitude and leap of the contemporary flow of land grabs are distinctive from previous epochs (Margulis et al. 2013). It has been observed in many countries of the global South, that land grabbing brings with it a situation — which creates a specific kind of property dynamics, explicit denial of land, water, forest and other common property resources; their concentration, privatisation and transaction as corporate property and which in turn transform agrarian regimes (White et al. 2012). In the case of rural India, it has been seen that common property resource lands are repeatedly grabbed by the powerful dominant caste — which often leads to the denial of common property resources to the marginalised groups such as the Adivasis and the Dalits. Land grabbing also brings with it extraction of other valuable resources such as water/grassland for livestock/human-agrarian-consumption which has severe longstanding concerns for the larger ecosystem, people’s livelihoods and agrarian relations (Mehta et al. 2012).
Hence, this paper through an ethnographic case study of a village in Gujarat, India makes an attempt to examine the common property resources denial by grabbing of the common village lands. It will go on to explain how village land grabs alter the agrarian structure. Changes in agrarian structure in the context to rural social/class/gender relations and differentiation take place with land grabbing — with the creation of new ‘middle farmer’ classes; expulsion of some and increase in land size for others; exceedingly gendered patterns of labour participation and social dislocation from the places where people have co-habited, historically.
Dr. Farhat Naz, is a development sociologist by academic training and had earned her PhD in Development Studies from Centre for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany. She has graduate degrees in Sociology and Public Policy from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India and, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Australia respectively. Farhat is currently post-doctoral researcher at Wageningen University, Netherlands. She has previously worked as a researcher with World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Kenya/Vietnam, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Sri Lanka; and has taught at Kamala Nehru College for Women, Delhi University and at the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics.