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Axelby, Richard and Rigaud, Suzanne (2019) 'The Hermit Village of Malana: An Update on Community Democracy and the Management of Change in the Himalayas.' In: Jodhka, Surinder and Simpson, Edward, (eds.), India's Villages in the 21st Century: Revisits and Revisions. India: Oxford University Press, pp. 326-352.

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In the decades that followed Independence, the study of rural society became the backbone for new sociological understandings of India. This chapter starts with one of these accounts –Colin Rosser’s study of the ‘hermit’villageof Malana –and goes on tooffer an update on the economic, political and social organization of this unique community in Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu District. Rosser’s initial description of Malana (1952) was of a village that was not only physically remote but also insistent on enforcing a strict social and political separation from the wider world. Yet, closer examination revealed to Rosser the cosmological order and systems of tribute that allowed the people of Malana to survive in their mountain fastness. The second part of this chapter updates Malana’s story to consider processes of economic and political change demonstrated throughthe introduction of cannabis as a cash crop, the building of dams and roads in the valley, and a devastating fire that tore through the village in 2008. Viewed collectively these different aspects of change are bound together though the shared cultural logic of the Malani people and a set of political institutions determined to manage relations with the external world.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
ISBN: 9780199497249
Copyright Statement: This the accepted manuscript of the chapter published by Oxford University Press in India's Villages in the 21st century
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2019 14:55
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council

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