Sharing Session 27: Suicides and the Predicament of Rural India

Public Lecture By: Dr. A R Vasavi

{youtube}4LFGlKQE1fQ {/youtube}Why has rural, agrarian India turned into killing fields? Why are agriculturists resorting to suicide? What is the social and political significance of such deaths? These are the key questions that Dr AR Vasavi seeks to answer in her latest book “Shadow Spaces: Suicides and the Predicament of Rural India” as a way to understand the spate of suicides since 1997 by agriculturists.

Going beyond the predominant economic reason of indebtedness, this book contextualises the suicides within the configurations of the larger political economy, rural social structures, changing agrarian practices, and the growing individualisation of agriculturists.

In this sharing session, Dr AR Vasavi will talk about this study and how these agrarian suicides are situational acts which are the result of the vulnerable positions of marginalised agricultural households, caught in a web of risks and whose distress remains unrecognised and unresolved by an uncaring political regime. Locating the suicides as a window to understanding post-1991 rural India, the study provides a succinct summary of the complexities and involutions which mark rurality and the lives of rural citizens. The denouement and significance of suicides are commentaries on the state of the nation as a whole. She will touch upon the significance of the suicides, contemporary trends and the challenges ahead.

Dr AR Vasavi has a doctorate in social anthropology from Michigan State University and was with National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore (NIAS). Her academic interests are in social anthropology of India, agrarian studies, and sociology of education. She taught at Tufts University, Indian Institute of Management (Kozhikode) and at several other institutions in India. She has conducted field research in various parts of India and her publications include, Harbingers of Rain: Land and Life in South India (Oxford University Press, 1999), and two edited volumes, In an Outpost of the Global Economy: Work and Workers in India’s Information Technology Industries (with Carol Upadhya; Routledge, 2008) and The Inner Mirror: Translations of Kannada Writings on Society and Culture (The Book Review Press, 2009). Her most significant research contribution is her work on rural and agrarian issues and on the sociology of Indian education drawing on field-based projects and engagements with the state.

Time & Date: 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm, Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Venue: Sundarayya Vignana Kendram, Bagh Lingampally, Hyderabad