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Subsistence Under Siege

Women's Labor and Resistance in Eastern India

Women on their way to harvest rice in the Rayagada district of Odisha. Photo by Debaranjan Sarangi.

Women on their way to harvest rice in the Rayagada district of Odisha. Photo by Debaranjan Sarangi.

Ranjana Padhi is a feminist activist and writer based in Bhubaneswar, and the author of Those Who Did Not Die: Impact of the Agrarian Crisis on Women in Punjab (Sage, 2012).

Written in 1945, Gopinath Mohanty’s novel Paraja vividly illustrates the economic transition ushered in by the modern Indian state through the story of an adivasi peasant, Sukru Jani, and his daughters Jili and Bili, and sons Mandia and Tikra.1 It is a poignant tale of the gradual destruction of a community and an entire way of life in a village in the undivided Koraput district, as seen through one family’s experience. To pay the fine for trespassing in a forest he believed belonged to him and his people, Sukru mortgages his land to a sahukar, a moneylender. He is compelled to abandon his content life as a subsistence farmer to become a goti, a bonded laborer, along with his younger son at the sahukar’s. Nevertheless, he is unable to redeem himself to repay his debts, and the novel narrates this journey with a tragic grandeur.

Events in recent years have made Mohanty’s book seem not only timeless, but prescient. Sukru’s story prefigures death and destruction that would besiege the area more than half a century later, when the Indian government leased out the same land that his family farmed to private firms for bauxite mining, provoking fierce resistance. The peasant communities of Paraja, who once watched from behind the bushes as alien forest guards in uniform stomped up and down the forest, found the courage to stand up to the paramilitary and army flag-marches in the area in December 2004 in Kashipur, in the Raygada district, formerly part of Koraput in the novel.

Mohanty foresaw other developments as well: today, walking among the torn-up mining tracts and looming company structures, one is likely to come across young girls carrying loads of soil on their heads and giggling amongst themselves, recalling the world of Paraja, where Jili and Bili work long hours as construction laborers on a highway. A reader of the novel might also recall the scene where a helpless Sukru appears in court, dejected and defeated, tricked by both his lawyer and the witnesses he had thought would testify in his favor—but who were all bought off by the evil sahukar. With all hope seemingly lost, Sukru turns to Dharmu, the god of justice.

Today we see the same sense of bewilderment among people struggling to comprehend why their spirited resistance to bauxite mining could not stop the companies from entering Kashipur. In their battle against this state-sponsored land grab, an oppressed people once again found themselves pitted against an array of forces far more powerful than their collective strength. Theirs had always been a hard existence, based on backbreaking labor, but a saving feature of that traditional life, the intimate relationship with the land, has today been badly ruptured. Worse, the ties of kinship and community that helped avert starvation and ease the daily grind of making a living have been irreparably fractured. In contemporary India as everywhere else, capitalism is not only profit; it is profit based on the destruction of anything that comes in its way, especially social relations.

Few areas of economic life in India have been so transformed by the last quarter-century of neoliberal policy as women’s labor. Economic restructuring and the promotion of corporate interests in the globalized economy are increasingly linking the eastern Indian state of Odisha to mining companies and steel conglomerates. With vast areas still underdeveloped, it is essential to understand the current predicament of people living within the subsistence economy in states like Odisha, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh, where both domestic and foreign corporate investors have found an eager ally in state governments. This onslaught by capital has heightened the struggles of women from adivasi, dalit, and Other Backward Castes communities, whose livelihood has come under severe threat. The lived experience of those who depend on the subsistence economy serves to expose official myths of “development,” and women have played a significant part in the sustained resistance to the neoliberal assault in Odisha.

Odisha in Transition

Odisha is largely a peasant society, and almost 60 percent of the population works in agriculture. According to the 2011 census, 22.8 percent belonged to scheduled tribes (STs) and 17.1 percent to scheduled castes (SCs)—that is, to marginalized groups designated for affirmative action by the Indian government—and in many districts, the combined proportion of SCs and STs totaled 70 percent. The state also contains some of the country’s richest mineral deposits, including almost 60 percent of its bauxite reserves, 98.4 percent of chromite, 91.8 percent of nickel, 32.9 percent of iron ore, and 24.8 percent of coal. Marginal and small properties constitute 72.2 percent and 19.7 percent of total landholdings, respectively, commanding 39.6 percent and 30.9 percent of the total operated area.2 The people of Odisha have been consigned to abject poverty—both before and after Independence. Adivasis, dalits, and small and marginal peasants thus form the backbone of any resistance against mining and industrial projects.

Here I will focus on the hardships of women who depend on subsistence agriculture or forest produce, while also engaging in some amount of commercial cultivation. These women interact with the market through the sale of forest produce and other small items, such as coconuts, bananas, or turmeric which in turn allows them to purchase oil, salt, clothes, and other necessities. In recent years the list has expanded to include other consumer goods. Yet subsistence farming remains the dominant mode of production and consumption in these communities, and their experience urges a reexamination of the conflict that arises when subsistence labor is pitted against an aggressively expanding global capitalism.

As such social and economic contradictions have deepened in recent years, the struggle against mining companies and steel plants has remained largely defensive, with the dalit or adivasi peasantry often demanding at best only to be left to fend for themselves, as they have done since long before the making of the modern Indian state.

Officially, over 40 percent of Odisha’s population lives below the poverty line, but the real poverty rates in these areas are even higher. Reports by the World Bank and the United Nations place Odisha in a contiguous zone of acute food insecurity, of which the districts of Kandhamal, Malkangiri, Gajapati, and Rayagada stand out. The proliferation of deaths from starvation in the Kalahandi district is well known. These regions—as rich in minerals as their people are mired in poverty and hunger—have become prime targets of trade deregulation and investment. International aid had already cleared the road under Rajiv Gandhi as the gospel of “development” was brought to the KBK (Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput) region. In the years since, state and capital have opened the way for large-scale mineral extraction in the garb of development.

Capital Accumulation and Patriarchy

Capitalist patriarchy would like to make us forget our true origins, and to replace them with money, capital, machines and investments. We must therefore remind ourselves of the simple truths that life comes from women and food comes from land.3

The current political economy poses three major challenges for women from communities traditionally engaged in subsistence labor. First, both state and capital are carrying out a sustained assault on existing ways of life, resulting in a bitter and coercive alienation of people from their productive resources and assets. These communities have always depended on a self-sustaining economy, and remained marginalized from the world of wage labor. Second, the massive plunder of natural resources and land, projected as development and industrialization, has found active allies in the state and its administrative machinery, along with an ambivalent judiciary. This development paradigm relies heavily on coercion and repression, with the state deploying paramilitary and security forces against its own people, and on the manipulation and manufacturing of consent through a range of non-state actors, including the media, development and funding agencies, “corporate social responsibility” initiatives, and sections of academia and the intelligentsia. Third, such processes of accumulation also entail an accentuation of divisions between communities, particularly inflaming adivasi-dalit conflicts and attacks on minority religious groups. Struggles over resources and entitlements among the underprivileged have further weakened their prospects for resistance.

Today, women in the subsistence economy are often at the forefront of that resistance, leading movements in societies that risk being obliterated by capital. Yet these movements hardly figure in feminist analyses of contemporary Indian society. Such studies should foreground women’s potential as leaders of anti-displacement movements, even as they struggle against patriarchal domination within their families and communities. Just as important is the urgent need to address the great disconnect between, on the one hand, the reality of women’s struggles to protect their subsistence and livelihood from capitalist advancement and on the other, the near-total absence of a critique of capitalism from the mainstream women’s movement in India, which has only served to tighten patriarchy’s stranglehold on those subject to class and caste domination. The following section is therefore not only an attempt to foreground these women’s hardships and challenges, but also to persuade those in more privileged circumstances to see and hear these women in struggle, through interviews and personal accounts of the struggle against displacement and exploitation. Since theirs are marginalized voices even within their own community, it becomes even more imperative to listen to them.

‘We Protect the Land for Our Grandchildren’

The village of Kucheipadar, in the Kashipur block of the Raygada district, was once the epicenter of the anti-mining movement. Two firms, Norsk Hydro and Alcan, withdrew from the joint alumina consortium due to community resistance in their own countries, Norway and Canada, respectively. In recent years, however, bauxite mining and refinery operations have resumed under the management of the Mumbai-based multinational Aditya Birla, and construction of the new plant has advanced. Despite these new incursions, the traditional routines of the village’s women appear unchanged. Like their mothers and grandmothers before them, they work long hours, leaving home around 4 a.m. and returning only by 2 p.m. With only the little bit of the mandia pejo (gruel) that they carry with them to eat, they labor all day in the hills, each fetching a year’s stock of firewood. They make a little money raising and selling pigs, with three or four pigs a year fetching around 1,000 to 1,200 rupees each.

Yet despite these inherited hardships, the women are militantly opposed to the entry of mining companies. They know too well that they stand to lose everything, from their austere but stable livelihoods to their communal bonds and customs. Ambai, who has been at the head of the resistance to bauxite mining in Kashipur, lucidly expressed her views on the kind of economic development imposed on the region and its social repercussions: “We mothers have to work day and night,” she says. “If we do not work, we do not survive. We will die. There is nothing for us otherwise. The land is most important to us. As long as the land is there, our grandchildren and their children too will live. Now we are no longer so sure.” They are able to store enough grains and forest produce to last a little less than a year. When the rainy season begins, life comes to a grinding halt. In August and September, many families resort to eating mango kernels, wild roots, and animal carcasses. A fungus that grows in the kernels often causes food poisoning and death. In 2001, it resulted in the deaths of at least twenty-five people.4 In a subsistence economy, it is the daily work of food collection and preservation, preparing for periods of scarcity, and coping with crisis that makes mutual cooperation, kinship ties, and the relationship with land so essential.

With the arrival of the major mining firms, these generations-old relations of mutual dependency and reciprocity have come under attack. As some families succumbed to the coercive tactics and persuasion of company agents and middle men to sell their land for compensation offered by the company, rifts opened within families and the community, fomenting division and mutual suspicion. This was achieved by the company and administration through bribes, lies, and deceit. For example, the supply of alcohol and false promises of employment to male members to extract consent for land sales has become a common strategy. Similarly, fear of continuous police harassment has deterred many from carrying on in the andolan (movement).

Construction work, supervised by agents from the Central Reserve Police Force, is largely done by migrant laborers, as well as some local residents. Many contractors are outsiders. As Bhagaban Majhi, one of the leaders of the movement against bauxite mining, explained: “No one here has got work of any value or lasting nature. We fill in the gaps and that too when there is shortage of daily wage workers like in the rainy season. Since 2008, almost 100 people have not been paid wages for the work done under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act [MNREGA]. After sending numerous appeals to the authorities, these people gheraoed the BDO office and even appealed to the District Collector for payment of their wages but in vain.”5

Residents can see clearly that the companies are concerned only with their own plans and profits, and that the government’s development programs were always meant to dispossess them of that little they had, for nothing in return. Ambai expresses it coherently:

We keep wondering why the government has turned a blind eye to so much force, coercion, arrests, alcohol, money, lies, and deceit. This is how the company is getting established. Where are the tall promises of bringing development to the region? The little that we had is getting lost too. Life has become more difficult. There is disagreement and clash in every family. We have no idea whether our grandchildren can survive this.

…If the company has failed us, it is not a surprise. But what about so many people who were opposed to the company? Money destroys all. I am not saying that everyone cheats. There are some like us who did not want the money. But we are so few. The andolan was able stop the company in Chilika and in Gopalpur, then why not here? I was not fighting for my land or my family. The fight was for the entire of Kashipur. But when the company is here, we are all separated from each other. No one listens to anyone. There is unhappiness in each family. We were all together while opposing the company but now we are divided.6

From persecuting Maoist groups to engineering rifts within the community, the state administration and Aditya Birla played a sinister game throughout. Corporate strategies sought to divide people by preempting meetings, creating parallel committees, deploying Central Reserve Police, paying unequal wages, and even by conducting mock jan sunwais, or worker-organized public hearings. While the police and media label all participants in resistance groups as “Maoists,” the barriers and divisions described above are used to alienate villagers from each other and inhibit the formation of any unified front. Small bribes are paid to village informants to keep an eye on the activities of their neighbors, and the amount increases if they manage to disrupt public meetings or undermine collective decision-making. Even the informants are soon discarded by their corporate handlers, however, with monthly payments suspended as soon as village resistance appears to have been preempted.7

In their participation in both subsistence production and the struggle for recognition of their labor, the women of Odisha thus must contend with the lackeys of capitalism in the form of the police and the media; the administrative and bureaucratic apparatus of the state; and a broad range of divisive tactics, including lies, bribes, misinformation, and surveillance.

‘Even the Landless Get Enough to Eat Here’

After over a decade of delays, in 2017, a major project in Odisha planned by the South Korean steel multinational POSCO, which would have had a productive capacity of 12 million metric tons of steel per year and its own captive port and iron ore mines, was finally forced out after sustained popular resistance. The government’s decision to allocate 600 million metric tons of the highest-grade iron ore in the Khandadhar hills to a foreign firm, in what was reportedly the single largest foreign direct investment in India since 1991, was also opposed by many companies.8 After a series of mining scams that led to the amendment of the Mine and Minerals Development and Regulation Act in early 2015, POSCO was required to join a long queue of bidders for iron ore resources.

The site of the proposed plant and port is fertile, with a thriving agricultural economy; betel vine cultivation on small plots of land provides a steady income to both owner-cultivators and wage laborers, employing around 22,000 people. In addition, an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 people in fishing communities from neighboring gram panchayats, or village council districts, would also have lost their livelihood under the POSCO plan. Likewise, in the planned POSCO mining areas, residents of approximately thirty-two villages in Keonjhar and eighty-four villages in Sundergarh, mostly Scheduled Tribes, depend on the surrounding forests for small produce, both for consumption and sale. The Forest Rights Act, designed to protect such groups, has not been implemented in these villages, nor has any Resettlement and Rehabilitation program been announced. And even if they had been, the bulk of these struggling people are landless laborers, with no property to sell or compensation to demand.

People rely on their own hard labor and sustenance from the sea and forests. Subsistence farming is the main mode of production and consumption, involving even the landless. Those close to Kujanga and other small mofussil towns work as vendors, hawkers, and cooks. Others grow paddy, betel, cashews, and a variety of fruits, and collect forest produce year-round. Many also raise livestock, and the sale of goats and goat milk is common. Odisha’s rare combination of forest and the sea, along with its high water table, vital for betel vine production, makes possible the cultivation of much else, including papaya, drumsticks, pumpkins, ladies’ finger, bananas, kunduri (ivy gourds), and a variety of saag. Women in fishing communities sort, dry, and salt the fish after the catch comes in.

As one woman declared before POSCO’s withdrawal: “As long as we can eat pakhaal bhaat [fermented rice] and saag, we can continue the fight against POSCO. And betel vines bring us the money. No one is without work, even the landless get enough to eat here. They get to eat pakhaal bhaat and saag. If the government has made this area a jail, we are happy in this jail. At least our stomachs are full. But if the government brings in POSCO, we will starve and die.”9

Meanwhile, people from the Transit Camp in Badagabapur, who had already been displaced by the planned development, returned to their villages after almost ten years. While the mainstream media and state government touted them as pro-POSCO, the anti-POSCO movement actually embraced them as allies upon their return. Dependent on a government dole of just twenty rupees per day for a decade, these villagers received neither the promised compensation for the land, trees, and cattle they had left behind, nor any formal employment. They longed for their paddy fields and betel vine plots. After finally reconciling and returning to the village of Patana, they resumed betel vine production and other activities of their traditional livelihood. Over time, both the camp residents who returned and those opposed to POSCO realized that neither the company nor the government had anything to offer.

In all these communities, women are deeply involved in the production process, whether through agriculture, fishing, gathering forest produce, or even wage labor. These are ordinary women, otherwise largely invisible, trying to hold on to their livelihood and protect it for their children against the rapacity of both capital and the state. In the struggle against dispossession, in the continuing clash between capital and subsistence, these women see their political resistance, too, as hard labor, to defend their present and future survival.

‘Our Hearts Were Heavy as We Fled’

For all its slogans of development, modernity, and progress, neoliberalism in India has depended no less on the consolidation of regressive and fundamentalist forces—a phenomenon variously ignored or endorsed by the ruling classes, depending on their electoral interests and political alignment. In a vicious anti-Christian pogrom in the Kandhamal district of Odisha in 2008, more than 50,000 people were left homeless, 5,000 houses were burnt and destroyed, at least 400 churches, prayer halls, and other institutions were desecrated, demolished, or burnt down. Many women and girls were sexually assaulted, and thirty-eight people killed. The militant Hindu organization Bajrang Dal and its allies have been blamed for orchestrating the violence, but the state and local administration, themselves governed by Hindu chauvinist parties, have turned a blind eye.

This assault on adivasi and dalit Christians in Kandhamal has upended the life and livelihood of thousands of people. As part of a team that visited the area in March 2011, I talked to several women about their experiences.10 Almost all spoke of their diminished options for subsistence. Despite Kandhamal’s official image as a success story of MNREGA, most people replied negatively when asked about the law. A few described facing discrimination for being Christians, and many had not received MNREGA job cards and or Below Poverty Line (BPL) ration cards. And even when available, the employment offered through these job cards is maati work—digging, levelling, carrying head-loads of soil—for which they are untrained and unaccustomed.

Prior to the violence, many of these women owned and cultivated small plots of land, and supplemented their income with other work, often as hired farm laborers. One woman said she used to earn up to 100,000 rupees each season growing turmeric, and another reported that they had formerly cultivated and sold up to 70,000 rupees worth of vegetables per year. On top of this, they had goats, hens, and a lot of paddy.

The village is also home to a small trader community selling gutka (a popular chewing powder with a mild stimulant effect), dried fish, and salt. Before the attacks, some used to make leaf plates to sell; others grew vegetables, cultivated land, collected forest produce, and worked in stone crushing. While fear and trauma prevented some from looking for work, many said they were simply not called for work. Women earn about 80 rupees per day and men about 110 rupees in wage work in nearby towns. On average, women find only about a week’s worth of daily wage work each month.

An NGO employee informed our team how thirteen women had lost agricultural land. Because they could not provide an original patta, or legal land title, dating back more than seventy-five years, their land was seized by the government and given to tribal members under the Forest Right Act. Those who lost their job and BPL cards in the violence received replacements, but only if their names appeared on government rolls. The Antodaya card, part of a government food subsidy program, entitles them to 35 kilograms of rice at 2 rupees per kilo. Meanwhile, the government had promised jobs to all women whose husbands were killed in the violence, but nothing had materialized.11

There were also twenty-seven state-sponsored Self Help Groups (SHGs), of which twenty-one had received loans of 50,000 rupees each, and an additional 5,000 rupees per group for “good” performance. Such SHGs are linked to banks for the delivery of micro-credit. The disruption caused by the communally charged situation made it impossible for many women to repay the loans. The State Bank of India closed their accounts and adjusted their savings and the 5,000-rupee government grant against the loan repayment.

Most men and young boys have left the area for Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, and elsewhere in search of work. Entire families have migrated, too, although there is no available estimate of their number. In particular, dalit and adivasi peasants with small land holdings have abandoned Kandhamal en masse. As one dalit peasant who had survived the violence and was in hospital said: “Our hearts were heavy as we had to flee leaving our crops behind. They have never been deserted by us. We have tended to the land and the crops with so much care since years and years. When we were sowing in that season, we never knew we would leave the crops forever. We could not sleep for days remembering this. They took over our crops too.”12

It is not difficult to trace the role of corporate interest in the Kandhamal persecution and the subsequent exodus of subsistence workers. This potent combination of religious right-wing upsurge and the neoliberal offensive of appropriation and expansion provides an ideal means of exacerbating differences and weakening organized resistance among the marginalized and underprivileged majority, in Odisha and beyond.13 The enlistment of poor women through SHGs by the Hindutva forces in attacking Christian households implies the active role of the government in misusing resources meant for women’s empowerment to spread communal violence and hatred.14 This deadly dual ascendancy of corporate power and right-wing reaction—not only in Odisha, but throughout India and the world—has accelerated the dispossession of peasant and working-class communities.

As Silvia Federici had written, primitive or primary accumulation was not simply an accumulation of exploitable workers and capital; it was also an accumulation of differences and divisions within the working class, whereby hierarchies of gender, as well as race and age, became constitutive of class rule and the formation of the modern proletariat.15

Toward a New Framework

Similar to the labor of the adivasis, who have preserved the mountains and forests, or to that of peasants—the food producers—who struggle to find their place in a modern market economy, women’s labor in these regions poses questions that are as old as women’s oppression itself. They are food-producers, nurturers, and caregivers, yet there continues to be a palpable lack of frameworks, tools, and political imagination regarding women’s relationship to land and natural resources, based on their productive labor in subsistence economies.

Even as the project of capitalist modernity in India has wiped out whole communities of people engaged in subsistence, the issue has largely faded from view within Indian labor studies and gender studies. In countries abroad as well as in India, the move toward market liberalization in the early 1990s gradually saw women’s studies curricula shifting their focus away from women engaged in agriculture and peasant labor, who had previously been conceived as a key to understanding rural women’s situation in developing countries. These trends have accelerated over the last decade and a half, as Indian feminist scholars foregrounded women (and gender) without making either analytical or political connections to the exploitation of dalits and adivasis. At the same time, dalit and Marxist radical scholarship here continued to consign patriarchy as a category of social and economic analysis to a lower tier in systems of oppression.

Perhaps the greatest setback came as middle- and upper-class feminists foreclosed any cross-class unity with working-class and peasant struggles by endorsing neoliberal “entrepreneurship” initiatives, whereby women were expected to volunteer themselves out of poverty with the aid of state and international funding agencies. Such projects as the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh have done little to alleviate the country’s desperate levels of poverty and inequality, instead serving only to further embed poor women in the circuits of global capital, as workers and consumers. Recent years have thus been marked by the eerie absence of any critique of capitalist development in the mainstream women’s movement in India; the political horizon has apparently shrunk to the level of NGO “projects” on hunger and poverty.

Issues of women’s reproductive labor, sexual division of labor, and caste-based labor, which potentially have so much to contribute to both Marxian and feminist analyses of India’s marginalized groups, have instead remained largely outside their purview, in favor of esoteric theorizations of “subaltern” identities. New research is needed to place the relationship of land, labor practices, in a broader matrix, encompassing not only political economy but also cultural, religious, and social forces.

A crucial part of this project will be to question the validity of existing means of assessing the work of women in subsistence economies. Rauna Kuokkanen has argued that dismissing subsistence economies as “backward” or “primitive” only serves to facilitate their exploitation and erasure in the process of capital accumulation.16 A deeper recognition of women engaged in subsistence production will require a shift in the way we look at agriculture itself. A study of land grabs in the states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand, for example, would bring the experiences of the women discussed in this article to the fore. It would reveal the vast exodus of women and children from Chhattisgarh since the mid-2000s, and the emigration of dalit and adivasi families from Kandhamal in Odisha to Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and other states.

Feminist scholars in India, as elsewhere, have both criticized and enriched Marxist theory by foregrounding women’s labor in the family, community, and society. But the lives and struggles of women in subsistence societies still await such study. Households in these societies are the unit of both production and consumption, thus dissolving the already thin line dividing productive labor and household labor that characterizes industrial economies. Likewise, a vast gulf separates these women from most others in the cash economy, who are able to “purchase” some degree of economic freedom, including domestic labor. These and other distinguishing features of women’s experience in subsistence economies call for a new, dedicated body of research and political advocacy.

Notes

  1. This article is adapted from a paper presented at the Women and Labor Conference at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, February 21–22, 2014.
  2. Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Odisha, Agricultural Census 2010–11, http://desorissa.nic.in.
  3. Veronika Benholdt-Thomsen and Maria Mies,The Subsistence Perspective(London: Zed, 1999), 80. Mies first developed many ideas around women’s role in subsistence economies inPatriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale (London: Zed, 1986).
  4. Four Die of Mango Kernel Poisoning in Orissa,”Indo-Asian News Service, September 18, 2002, http://infochangeindia.org.
  5. Bhagaban Majhi, interview with the author, November 20, 2012.
  6. Ambai, interview with the author, November 22, 2012.
  7. Debaranjan Sarangi, interview with the author, November 20, 2012. These practices continued from 2008 to almost a year after this interview, stopping only once construction was nearly complete.
  8. Worth approximately $12 billion, the POSCO-India project represented the largest single foreign direct investment in India to date, covering over 12,000 acres of land. International Human Rights Clinic, ESCR-Net, The Price of Steel: Human Rights and Forced Evictions in the POSCO-India Project (New York: NYU School of Law, 2013), 1, available at http://escr-net.org.
  9. Jemma Kotokia, interview with the author, November 7, 2011. I was there as part of a team from Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression.
  10. I was there from March 25–29, 2011, as part of a team of three women’s organizations: Forum against Oppression of Women and Aawaaz-e-Niswaan, from Mumbai, and the National Alliance of Women Organization, based in Bhubaneswar.
  11. Interview with team, March 26, 2011.
  12. Interview with the author, October 10, 2008. The landless have also migrated, as threats and intimidation from the Hindu right continue unabated.
  13. See Anand Teltumbde,Khairlanji: A Strange and Bitter Crop (New Delhi: Navayana 2008).
  14. According to a local NGO, anti-Christian sentiment was spread through SHGs formed on the basis of caste and religion. Before the violence in Kandhamal, SHGs were also mobilized for Durga Vahini, a Hindu right-wing women’s front.
  15. Marx’s classic analysis of primitive accumulation overlooks the state-sponsored terror campaigns of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Europe, which became central to the defeat of the European peasantry, as manifested in the great witch hunts of that era. See Sylvia Federici,Caliban and the Witch (New York: Autonomedia, 2009), 65–66.
  16. Rauna Kuokkanen, “Indigenous Economies, Theories of Subsistence, and Women: Exploring the Social Economy Model for Indigenous Governance,”American Indian Quarterly 35, no. 2 (2011): 215–40.

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