Alf G. Nilsen: Resisting Dispossession in the Narmada Valley, India
The full title of the article is "Against the Current, From Below: Resisting Dispossession in the Narmada Valley, India" and it is published in the latest volume of Journal of Poverty (Volume 17, Issue 4, 2013)
This article presents a comprehensive analysis of popular resistance to dam building in the Narmada Valley, India. Like Indian dam projects more generally, the Narmada projects are characterized by a distributional bias in favor of India's “dominant proprietary classes” and, it is argued, must be understood in terms of the political economy of postcolonial capitalism in India. The article then traces the emergence of popular resistance to dispossession in the form of “militant particularisms” struggling for resettlement and rehabilitation in the dam-affected communities in the riparian state, the transition toward a pan-state antidam campaign—the Narmada Bachao Andolan—embedded in a multiscalar infrastructure of contention, and, finally, the embedding of this struggle in a wider social movement project for alternative development. In conclusion, the author reflects on the strategic lessons that can be drawn from the trajectory of popular resistance to dispossession in the Narmada Valley.