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Lineages of the Developmentalist State: Transnationality and Village India, 1900–1965

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 January 2008

Subir Sinha
Affiliation:
Department of Development Studies, SOAS, University of London

Extract

On 2 October 1952, marking Gandhi's fourth birth anniversary after his assassination in 1948, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of postcolonial India, launched the Community Development (CD) Programs. Dedicating the programs to Gandhi's memory allowed Nehru to claim symbolic legitimacy for them. At the same time, this centerpiece of Nehruvian policy in the Indian countryside was heavily interventionist, billed as “the method ... through which the [state] seeks to bring about social and economic transformation in India's villages” (Government of India 1952). In its heyday, CD preoccupied the Planning Commission, was linked to the office of the Prime Minister, had a ministry dedicated to it, and formed part of the domain of action of the rapidly proliferating state and other development agencies. Fifteen pilot projects, each covering 300 villages, were launched in all the major states. Planning documents of the day register high enthusiasm and optimism for these programs. However, by the mid-1960s, barely a decade after the fanfare of its launch, the tone of planners toward CD turned first despairing and then oppositional. They called for abandonment of its ambitious aim of the total development of Indian villages in favor of more focused interventions to achieve a rapid increase in food-grain production.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Comparative Studies in Society and History 2008

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