Wykład otwarty w IEiAK UJ

Praveen Verma​ (Delhi University)​
Shifting Spaces, Challenging Dominance: Jats and the Politics of Dominance North India

20 czerwca 2017, godzin​a 13:00, IEiAK UJ, ul. św. Anny 6, sala 23

An increasingly globalized world that is seeing changes not only in the economic and political sphere, but also involves social and cultural changes as a result of, among others, rapid information flows that contribute to greater exposure of different cultures and societies, has provoked significant changes in the realm of community norms and traditional practices and coinciding systems of social regulation, to produce contradictory processes and powerful conflicts.

In this paper I take up the case of a dominant landowning agrarian caste, the Jats in the north India in order to study the challenges to their dominant position vis-a-vis the source of conflicts that are closely related to the changes brought about by the processes of globalisation. This paper will look at the complex interaction between the capitalist transformation of this age and challenges posed to Jat dominance and the way it has been restructured, redrawn or reinvented despite the recent challenges. The paper will elaborate on the inherent culture of violence within the politics of dominant claim making of Jats. In recent years this violence is perpetuated not only on Dalits and backward castes, but on women from their own community as well.

Historically the Jats have been mostly an agrarian community and ownership over land has played a significant role in producing and maintaining their dominance. Due to the processes of globalisation the material basis of the community, land, has been shifting drastically for the last couple of years with the boom in the real estate industry and putting them into tremendous changes where large numbers of Jats are selling their land voluntarily to get the maximum profit. This has had a major impact on the everyday lives of Jats while also posing a challenge to the entire community. These challenges are breaking the ‘cohesion’ of their caste and inviting some of the brutal responses from the Jats.

While, the paper is based on detailed ethnographic work for last four years, which includes interviews, participant observation, semi-formal conversations with the community members and various other actors, it also include archival research. The paper interrogates the significance of the spatial capitalist development in post-1990’s era and the complexities of asserting dominance and challenges to it.