Policy Watch No.10

Revisiting Bogaram: Liberalisation and Caste in an Indian Village

Bogaram, a village in present day Telangana, which is studied in this Policy Watch for the socio-economic impact of liberalisation on a rural community, was initially the subject of the author’s research in 1996. This Policy Watch is based on a revisit made to the same village in Ramannapet Mandal, Nalgonda district, Telangana State after two decades. This Policy Watch documents the structural changes that have taken place in the village in past 21 years. The major empirical observation that emerged from the study is that the dominant caste of the village, i.e. the Padmashalis (or the traditional weavers), which was emerging as socially, economically, and politically dominant in 1996, has declined in terms of economic and social power over the past 21 years, despite the fact that they are still numerically significant caste and hold the reins of political power. The socio-economic decline of the dominant caste of weavers has happened along with the decline of their weaving occupation as a result of the decline of export markets, lack of local markets for finished cloth, and increasing prices for the raw material, and changes in weaving technology. The study concludes that this decline of the Padmashali dominant caste is in consonance with the decline and pauperisation of the entire village economy in the contemporary context of globalisation and liberalisation.

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