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Green Templeton College | Oxford

Farmland earmarked for industrial zone in Chatterjee's site of study

Mihika Chatterjee, a 4th year doctoral candidate in international development, has been awarded the Frere Exhibition 2017 (proxime accessit). The Exhibition is awarded to enable a specific piece of work to advance scholarship in Indian Studies. It is open to students, faculty and members of the University.

Mihika’s doctoral project looks at the development of an industrial area spanning 1000 hectares in a 'backward' district of Maharashtra, India. Conducting fieldwork a decade and a half after the industrial area was first set in motion, her thesis traces what became of the zone as a productive space – how economic and social relations have been reconfigured – and what that reveals about state-led industrialisation in 21st century India.

The Indian state is playing an energised role in imagining a 'New India', a big chunk of which involves large-scale conversion of agriculture land. Her thesis hopes to contribute to the Frere Exhibition objective by analysing differential trajectories and outcomes of a planned and seemingly uniform process of large-scale industrial transformation within a rural, agrarian economy. By scrutinising shifts and changes within communities of farmers, she hopes her work will shed light on growing inequalities in India.

'The Frere Exhibition award will be hugely beneficial in driving this project to completion. It will support the remainder of my writing, as well as a brief secondary round of fieldwork to sharpen some of the arguments with more evidence,' said Chatterjee.