Villages at the periphery and the changing face of backwardness
The visible hand of the state has combined with the invisible hand of the market to transform even our most remote rural areas
I recently revisited Palamu (now a division of three districts: Palamu, Latehar and Garhwa) after 45 years to plan a re-survey of four villages I had surveyed in the late 1970s (see Sudipto Mundle, ‘Backwardness and Bondage’, Indian Institute of Public Administration, 1979). The villages are important not in themselves but because of what they represent. Jharkhand is one of the most backward states in the country and Palamu is the remotest, most backward region of Jharkhand, i.e., the periphery of the periphery. Comparing conditions there today with those prevailing in 1977 will enable an assessment of how things have changed, or not changed, at the bottom of the development pyramid. My initial impressions follow.