Understanding the rise of farmers


Centre for Policy Research & Trivedi Centre for Political Data (Ashoka University) invite you to a discussion onThe Long March to 2019: Understanding the rise of farmers movements and its impact on the 2019 electionPanellists: Mekhala Krishnamurthy, Harish Damodaran and V M Singh

Friday, 28 September 2018, 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

Conference Hall, Centre for Policy Research


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The full talk will be streamed through Facebook live on CPR’s Facebook page.

As we approach the 2019 general elections, Rural and Agricultural distress is an issue which is likely to dominate the election discourse. Over the last few years, India has seen a significant increase in farmers movements, best exemplified by the ‘Kisan Long March’ which signified the emergence of a new moment in Indian agricultural politics. Election season is therefore likely to see many promises being made to farmers as a response to this new mobilization. In this session of the CPR-TCPD “Dialogues on Indian Politics” we bring together a distinguished panel of academics, journalists and activists to understand the nature of the current rural political economy and its likely impact on the elections next year. In particular this panel will seek to unpack the reason behind the emergence of these new farmers movements. Could this be the beginning of a new politics?

Mekhala Krishnamurthy is Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Ashoka University. She has spent the last decade studying the social, political and economic life of Indian agricultural markets, first through long-term ethnographic research in a mandi in Madhya Pradesh and is currently also engaged in field research on agricultural markets and commodity networks across seven districts in Bihar, Odisha and Punjab.

Harish Damodaran is National Editor (Rural Affairs and Agriculture) at The Indian Express. A journalist with over 27 years experience as a reporter and editorial analyst, he has previously worked with The Hindu Business Line (1994-2014) and the Press Trust of India (1991-94). Harish is also the author of India’s New Capitalists: Caste, Business and Industry in a Modern Nation, a book that looks at the ethnic origins and evolution of business communities in India. He is currently also working on a biography of a businessman, who headed India’s third largest industrial house at the time of Independence.

V M Singh is a Supreme Court lawyer and President of the Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Party, a political formation representing farmers’ interests in Uttar Pradesh and convenor of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), a federation of farmers’ organisations formed in June 2017 in the wake of the Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh farmers’ protests. He is a former MLA.

About the Series

The CPR-TCPD Dialogues on Indian Politics is a monthly event that brings together academicians, policy and political practitioners, and civil society actors to grapple with important social and political issues in India. It provides a forum for intellectually rigorous, non-partisan commentary to strengthen public discourse on politics in India. In these polarised times, debates on politics in India have tended to be increasingly noisy, blurring the lines between critical engagement and partisan endorsement. This dialogue series is an effort to carve out a space for critical, nuanced engagement to understand the changing dynamics of Indian political parties, the impact of new and emerging social movements and the use of new instruments of mobilisation in our polity.

The CPR-TCPD Dialogues is curated by the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) and the Trivedi Centre for Political Data (TCPD) at Ashoka University. Founded in 1973, CPR is one of India’s leading think tanks, providing rigorous policy research on a variety of issues. Founded in 2015, TCPD is among India’s most well-respected institutions working with political data, providing data-driven research, policy work and journalism on India’s political life by producing and disseminating in open access scientifically collected and treated political data. The CPR-TCPD Dialogues leverages the unique strengths of these two institutions to provide rigorous and innovative commentary on India’s social and political challenges.

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