‘Talking to the Land’
Aijaz Ashraf Wani & Muzamil Yaqoob
THE MAKING OF LAND AND THE MAKING OF INDIA by Nikita Sud Oxford University Press, 2021, 253 pp., 1495.00
May 2021, volume 45, No 5

The on-going farmers’ protest in India has once again highlighted the continuous significance of land on the one hand and its continuous process of making and re-making on the other. These protests point towards the fact that the land issues and agrarian politics are not settled in the country and issues associated with them continue to remain potentially powerful to impact the political landscape. The post-Independence Indian political history has been predominantly shaped by politics around the issues concerning land. Much scholarly attention was paid to how agrarian reforms in the immediate 1947 context potentially moulded the contours of political performance in India. The discourse on agrarian politics that enriched over time has swung to provide space for discursive debates on the formation of land and its performativity in the post-1990s liberalized India. However, in most cases land is usually treated as something solid, concrete, given, unchanging and without agency. The book under review, The Making of Land and The Making of India by Nikita Sud, Professor of Development Studies at Oxford University, makes the reader see land as a ‘living’ entity—constantly undergoing the process of making and remaking. It examines how individuals, groups (identity or professional), institutions, state and market see, understand, interact, shape, make, un-make and influence land and vice verse.

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