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Deconstructing Development Realities in India

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This paper entails a critical analysis of the Indian developmental regime with specific emphasis on the prevalent developmental paradigm nurtured under predominant neoliberal global institutions, and the persistent utilisation of the didactic visuality of development through imagery, surveillance and technology to connote progress at the exclusion of the demographic majority. The subsequent deconstruction of developmental realities is an exercise in the illumination of the inherent limitations of contemporary developmental frameworks in accommodating the manifold dimensions of development subsuming social, cultural and political facets. The contemporary status quo presents ideas of development in India with idealised imagery so as to invisiblise the chasm between the realities of people at the periphery and the elites. The propaganda of development serves as a spectacle and, therefore, serves to unite the masses into the delusion of progress through the imposition of a hegemonic visuality shaped by the power elite while the realities of the lives of people present a stark opposition. The homogenisation of the Indian body politic as equal benefactors of the pursuit of national development is sustained through the invisibilisation of the diverse marginalities that account for the demographic majority (Bahujan) of the country. The disparity in experiences accentuates a necessity to adopt a developmental paradigm attuned to the actual cultural milieu, as opposed to an ideal, imperative to the construction of an equitable societal framework. This paper will utilise a socio-ethnographic approach to historicise the idea of development and deconstruct developmental realities through an intersectional analytical lens thereby elucidating how disenfranchisement along the vertices of caste and gender informs the persistent marginalisation of certain communities by keeping at the centre of the analysis the foundation of the Indian nation-state – the people of India.

This talk is part of the Graduate Workshop in Economic and Social History series.

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