Challenging the Urban Bias in Scholarship
Jagpal Singh
CONTESTED CAPITAL: RURAL MIDDLE CLASSES IN INDIA by Maryam Aslany Cambridge University Press, New Delhi, 2020, 299 pp., price not mentioned.
May 2021, volume 45, No 5

Rural society in India has undergone social and economic transformation in varying degrees during the past decades giving rise to new questions and issues such as decline or demise of traditional social classes and the rise of new ones, changes in patterns of power relations among them, changes in nature of relations between villages and cities and usage of Information Technology (IT). This has necessitated an explanation of these issues and questions; and revision, rejection or search of alternative concepts and theoretical frameworks as the inherited conceptual and theoretical frameworks are unable to adequately explain them. The book under review is an addition to literature which addresses the new issues and questions. With the examples of two villages—Rahatwade and Nandur in Pune district of western Maharashtra, the book seeks to explain the relationship between the rise of rural middle classes (which emerged in the ten years prior to 2014-15) and industrialization in rural areas following the introduction of economic reforms. It draws upon the data collected through field work, interviews, political economy survey at All-India level on human development, and secondary literature.

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