Researcher: Aanchal Dhull
Title of Research: Between domesticity and development: a study of women cotton growers in Rellipadra village in Rayagada, Osidha
Field Faculty: Ms. Sailabala Panda
Academic Supervisor: Dr. Santosh Kumar Singh

Researcher: Amit Jain
Title of Research: Present, Absent or Transforming: Understanding Joint Forest Management Through Community Participation at Lapasiya Village in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand
Field Faculty: Mr. Ashish Chakraborty
Academic Supervisor: Prof. Anup Dhar

Researcher: Anjana John
Title: Heart of Darkness: A Study on Electrification and Energy Poverty in Pindrukhi, Madhya Pradesh
Field Faculty: Mr. Shiv Sankalp
Academic Supervisor: Dr. Ishita Dey

This dissertation is based on an action research of electrifying Baiga hamlet in Pindrukhi village in Madhya Pradesh. It is a research on how social inequalities influence and impact on the distribution of energy in India. In this work, I use the concept of infrastructural power (Mann 2008) to demonstrate that contemporary readings of the rural would remain incomplete without a deepened understanding of infrastructural politics at work. As far as statist politics is concerned the transformation of the rural is a matter of infrastructural development. For the state, the village is an infrastructural challenge, whereas most of the literature on infrastructure has been from the purview of modernisation. Despite these critical approaches, there is an emerging body of literature which talks about rural urban continuum. The missing link in this literature is how the rural needs to be rethought from the lens of infrastructural politics and rhetoric of developmental discourse. This dissertation intends to revisit the debate on infrastructural power through the lens of energy related infrastructure to address questions of energy poverty in a central India village where two Tolas went un-electrified during the course of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojna. This scheme was aimed at electrifying rural households and for agricultural purposes. What happens when the state machineries overlook the needs of sadak, pani and bijli (road, water and electricity) for a Baiga or Pardhi Tola in a village in Central India? Why do they overlook and what do politics of claim making tell us about infrastructural power and need to study villages through a lens of infrastructure?

I propose to examine this by drawing upon my action research work conducted during 2015 – 2016, to show that politics of electrifying a Baiga Tola has to be rethought from the perspective of energy. Though my ‘action’ research was confined to the coming together of the residents of the Baiga Hamlet for electrification, it also involved mobilizing the villagers to file RTI inquiry. Filing of RTI inquiries need to be contextualized against the backdrop of RTI applications related to infrastructural claims. However, in the contexts of larger developmental issues, the microcosm of electrification in Baiga Tola provides a backdrop to explore larger questions around energy and development – an area which is often interpreted as infrastructural development. Therefore, I further move the discussion from the lens of electricity as infrastructure to electricity as energy and related questions of development.

Energy is perceived as an importance source of substance and hence the production and distribution of diverse forms of energy often creates levels of inequality across the globe. Drawing from Timothy Mitchell’s work Carbon Democracy (2011), I try to demonstrate that it is not the fiscal part of energy production but the outcomes of particular ways of engineering political relations out of flows of energy that creates inequality in a democracy. He points out that it is this inequality which limits the contemporary democracy from making energy as a decentralized commodity and we need to analyze it and overcome it for the building solutions to future energy needs. Electricity is seen as a modern from of energy which has become an integral part of our day to day lives and yet millions of people still live in the dark. According to Akhil Gupta (2015), the future of electricity should be re-imagined that does not simply add more and more people to the central grid. He suggests a combination of renewable energy sources to meet a community’s energy needs. But, the darkness in Baiga Tola was also a sign of inequality, discrimination and injustice. Baigas claiming for their existing right for electrification in their houses is their resistance against the society which dismisses even their mere existence and survival. Electricity in Baiga Tola therefore stands as the symbol of acceptance of their need for justice and well-being. As an energy form, the production, distribution and supply of electricity need to be analyzed in the above manner.

Key words : Energy Poverty, Development, Participatory Action

Researcher: Ankit Pratap Singh
Title of Research: When Women Questioned Men: Re-defining Paradigms of Development in Rural India
Field Faculty: Mr. Suvakant Nayak
Academic Supervisor: Prof. Anup Dhar

Researcher: Anuja Tripathi
Title of Research: Tracking Transformation:Understanding reproduction health in Akhrawhan village in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand
Field Faculty: Ms. Sarbani Bose
Academic Supervisor: Dr. Rinju Rasaily

This research was actioned in the Village of Akhrahwan in the Hazaribagh district of the state of Jharkhand. Through conversations with the community during the process of immersion an indication emerged that in this context the fingers of the idea of body clasped those of the practice of everyday laboring. Tightly clasped fingers. The diverse roles of women in relationship to laboring was evident, in the practice of rural adivasi life.

The research attempted to engage with this praxis as a question that would be relevant to community existence. I initiated discussions on health issues to begin with. The tone of experiences of subaltern body textured the discussions. The question of body kept turning its head swiftly towards the laboring body in our conversations. One occupying the other.

I worked in close interaction with the ASHA workers in the village to understand the designs that the structure of the state (by interventions through introduction of condoms and sanitary napkins and its implemented usage) was imprinting on the collective psyche of people in Akhrahwan. So far, the largely accepted method of attending to women’s health is either through menstrual or reproductive health; and each has been assigned their separate and intermingled set of policies for cure. Health has been categorized and is conceived far from the perception of health in the world in which the adivasi live.

A review of literature through texts of Leela Dube, Uthara Soman, Karana Chanana tries to understand how the system affects and alters the way the world is perceived by a group of people. The research was actioned through the workings of NRHM policy and its relationship with the relationship with the village. The research records how these discussions around NRHM and laboring bodies brought a group of women to reflect on how health is perceived.

Key words: Health, Laboring body, NRHM

Researcher: Arunima Mishra
Title: Transformation in Health: Transformation in Development Dilemmas in Rural Health in a Village in Dindori, Madhya Pradesh
Field Faculty: Dr. Archana Singh
Academic Supervisor: Prof. Anup Dhar

Development generally has been understood in terms of the growth of gross national product, or with the rise in personal incomes or with industrialisation or with technological advance or with social modernization. This is also the case with India. Though there have been increased developmental efforts to fulfil its commitments and goals that were envisioned at the time of independence of a secular and egalitarian society free from all kinds of social, cultural, political, economic domination, it still lags behind. Vast majority of the Indian population still suffer from material and social disadvantage such as health and education.

This thesis is situated in Khannat village in Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh where I did my village immersions. For people (Gonds) in Khannat health-illness-jealousy-curse-traditional healing-modern medicine are the real issues which they identify with, yet for them it has never been a “developmental question” whereas livelihood, employment are always in their developmental thinking and action. This understanding of livelihood, employment and other monetary benefits has been developed partly because of their situation and partly because of the developmental agendas of the government. Issues of health and health care must be brought closer to democratic politics right at the village level  and make its place in public reasoning so that transformation in health policies can be brought about through informed reasoning about the most important necessity of life. In such a crisis situation with respect to health, there is a strong need for public involvement. There is an urgent need to expand collective action in “public health’ where the community takes its health in its own hands and decides and works towards its health related future. Thus in Sen’s framework the villagers would enjoy greater freedom if they were capable of choosing a greater range of different ways of living that they value. Thus, this thesis is an effort to raise health as a developmental question within a rural setup by enhancing the capabilities of individuals as well as the group or community as a whole and expand the substantive freedom as well as their rights and entitlements so that they have the freedom to chose what they desire.

In this thesis, the research topic or what is wrong has been arrived at in conversation and collaboration with the community. This work also traces and critically engages itself with the history of transformation that has already taken place vis-a-vis the question of health in the village involving various actors such as the state, the market, the international donor agencies and the non-governmental organisations in India and marks a slight turn away from the dominant notion of transformation which is economic growth centred towards capabilities-functionings. This transformation has been engendered through collective action by organising women in groups and bringing them together to raise the question of health and the problems associated with it and thus exploring its complex nature. It is envisioned that these discussions would result in the community realising the value of the issue and thus further taking up their health related future in their own hands and may be doing something about it if required. Finally, this work reflects upon the transformation that was engendered throughout the course and opens up questions as to why is it so difficult to raise the questions of health in a village like Khannat where the community itself identifies it as a problem and yet is not open to doing anything about it and whether will it ever be possible to make health a developmental question and turn the wheel of development to a more “(con)temporary, partial, provisional, contingent, flexible, context‐specific, context‐sensitive and ever evolving, in other words, open to the future” theory and practice of development.

Key words: Health, Collaborative Development, Transformation

Researcher: Ashutosh Kumar
Title: From Beneficiary to Relationality? A Description of ‘Collective’ Lives among Sopo Villagers of Gumla, Jharkhand
Field Faculty: Mr. Binju Abrahim
Academic Supervisor: Dr. Rukmini Sen

This work is a description of everyday life and relationality of Sopo village in Gumla District of Jharkhand which is in the midst of transformation led by State and Civil Society Organisations. Since, the everyday life and relationality are under transformation, the community life of the village is under eraser and a new category of people are in making. Among the new identities thus imposed by the State and the Civil Society Organisations, this thesis is interested in the identity of the beneficiary. The idea of beneficiary is not only internalized but is also sought after in the hope of getting government schemes and programmes (through the identity of Below Poverty Line) which according to the villagers is a means to a better and happy life. The thesis tries to highlight the fact that this internalization is freezing the community at an individual level from where the individual becomes the center blocking the community life and living. The thesis also tries to observe the Self Help Groups and understand/describe its nature and function as a collective trying to argue that this collective is externally imposed and has specific functions to perform.

On the other hand this thesis tries to engage on the issue of ekkta-unity. It tries to engage with the idea of ekkta in the village where the said village is already in two factions and finds it difficult to come to terms with each other, there is faction between men and women in the village and lastly the SHGs are fragmented with their individual interest being more important than the unity of the collective. It also problematizes the idea of sudhar (where the villagers understand it as a necessary change needed in them; which is for them to be better agricultural producers, to save more through SHG, to take loan through bank linkages etc. to avail government schemes in line of government requirement), which the Didi’s and Dada’s in the village argue is needed for the Ekkta. It tries to understand whether sudhar is self-transformation or transformation of an individual by external forces (physical; such as the change in the market forces which has forced the closure of existing occupation in the community whose example are cloth making by Chick Baraiks and iron tool making of the Lohara Community or psychological; where the incentive of a better life has processed the decay of the collative nature of the community by individualization of the villagers).

With the partial knowledge of the above realties, the action researcher tries to engage with the villagers in an action to redefine the idea of sudhar and ekkta. The action researcher tries to engage with the assumption, fear and scepticism of the villagers as well as his own about a transformation that is envisioned in form of a collective based on relationalities leading to ekkta. The action researcher tries to document the process the communities in the village undergo during the actioning of the research. As, the action-ing is based on the assumption that the sudhar i.e. self-transformation can lead to individuals becoming a collective tries break free from the identity of beneficiary and makes a preliminary attempt to take back its development from the hand of the welfare State.

Key Words: Beneficiary, Relationality, Collective, Ekkta, Transformation.

Researcher: Bhavya Chitranshi
Title of Research: Transforning the Political – Politicizing transformation: thye jouney of Eka Nari Sanghthan in Emiliguda Odisha
Field Faculty: Dr.Rukmini Sen
Academic Supervisor: Lt. Saroj Narayan Barik

This work is an engagement with the journey of a collective in Emaliguda village that named itself Eka Nari Sangathan. A group of adivasi women tussled with the idea of single-ness to disaggregate what it is to be ‘Eka – single’. Singled through a set of practices in family and relationships in the village, singled in personhood and psychic life. The research records the articulation of a politics of love and friendship that the sangathan has managed to create through their understanding and actions while collectivizing.

As this initiative progressed towards ‘collective (in) action’; while engaging with the State, society at large, and one’s own self as ethico-political subject the attempt has been to revisit the hegemonic understanding of the discourse and practice around development through generating a critique of the Capitalocentric and Orientalist nature of developmentalism; and through this interrogation, arrive at a re-imagination of development. This nudges transformation to be understood in its position at the cusp of ‘political’, ‘social’ and ‘self’.

The work offers a possible philosophy of transformative praxis that engenders change and collective formation among the gendered subaltern through participatory processes of self-reflection and reflection on the process of collectivization.

Key Words: Collectivizing, Reimagining the political, Transformation

Researcher: Bishakha Mishra
Title: The Spirit of Transform: Faith, Gender and Development in Baghpanja, Jharkhand
Field Faculty: Mr. Suvakant Nayak
Academic Supervisor: Prof. Anup Dhar

This action research undertaken in the forest village of Baghpanja in the Palkot wildlife sanctuary, Jharkhand focuses on the workings of the inner life of adivasi people. The life world of the adivasi is a source of learning for ways of development that are not western or developed from dominant secular models.

Following a time of incumbent crises that arises in the village, this research traces its way into people’s faith and spiritual practices as an axis to transformation during the time of death. Set apart from the secular model of development, the adivasi negotiation with life and death, faith and affect, development and transformation teaches us to negotiate relationships between the same in different ways. Secular politics with its separations of religion and politics creates a model of development implemented through economic empowerment and financial reliance that seeks to empower womend through SHGs. This work addresses the transformative politics of development from the realities of the inner life of adivasi women, in and out of SHGs, who transgress secular separations and present sophisticated and complex organizings of religion, faith, gender and politics in different ways.

A group of women in Baghpanja paved a path through collective prayer to attend to their problems and to create avenues for collective effort towards community rejuvenation. The thesis studies this process and analyses the processes of development involved herein.

Key Words: Faith, Gender, Development

Researcher: Dechen Wangmo
Title of Research: Language, Social Institutions and Tribes: Strategies for Oraon Language Revitalization in the Parha of Khatanga Village in Jharkhand
Field Faculty: Mr. Rajeev Ranjan|
Academic Supervisor: Dr. Ivy Dhar

This action research tries to engage with the question of language in the tribal life world of an Oraon village in Jharkhand, particularly the relationship the Oraon have to language. What does this relationship with language look like, what is its texture and contours were some of the curiosities of this work. Here, language is attempted to be understood through its relationship with education, especially within the structure and mode of instruction in institutional school education.

The oral nature of the life of the tribal vernacular seems not to have found a space within formal education system, children are barely taught in their mother tongue and the levels of disoociation with the school are high. An ethnographic study of traditional institutions of Parha and Dhumkuria systems existing in the context provide a glimpse of this relationship. The action research tries to put this glimpse of the ‘past’ and the situation in the ‘present’ in schools to dialogue.

Key Words: Education, Relationship with Language

Researcher: Himani Bajaj
Title of Research: Transformation in Rural Womenls Health : Developmental Dilemmas – As study of Women’s Reproductive Health in a Village in Dindori, Madhya Pradesh
Field Faculty: Dr.Archana Singh
Academic Supervisor: Prof.Anup Dhar 

The study seeks to explore reproductive health of women in SHG groups in in Dindori, Madhya Pradesh. Looks critically at the conceptual shifts through the 90s that moved towards reproductive health from the vantage of population control. Focus on changing healthcare seeking behavior of tribal women using the method of narratives, to understand their own perspective.

 This thesis problematizes the question of health in its relationship to development and tries to trace its true contours through women’s experiences of pain. Women on the one hand through reproductive health interventions available to them try to ‘empower’ themselves by accessing these services. On the other hand the fall-out and side-effects of modern treatment is dealt with through indigenous medicine and faith practices. Where is the space, the work asks, of women’s experience, and the reality of the health structure in which they live in the bio-medical configuration of the understanding of health. In short, this action research looks at how women’s health emerges and becomes a part of the developmental question.

Women are also invoked as local actors to take matters of health into their own hands as also matters of the ‘villages health’. The identity of this agentic woman is so shaped that she is expected to be anti-tradition while her health-seeking alternatives gets quashed by a kind of development that understands illness as divorced from context. The action research attempted to build this question into a collective question amidst women in the village.

Key Words: Health, Woman, Development

Researcher: Janisar Akhtar
Title of Research: Governance and Institutional Challenges of Forest Village Conversion: A Case of Gajkanhar Village in Dhamtari, Chhattisgarh
Field Faculty: Mr. Masroor Ahmad
Academic Supervisor: Dr .Praveen Singh

The Forest Rights Act is a powerful legislative tool for forest-dependent communities. The Government of Chhatisgarh through the rhetoric of ‘good governance’ has presented arguments towards converting all forest villages into revenue villages through a centralized, executing model. The clear strategic motive of the speedy conversion was to allow no time for Gram Sabhas and FRCs to debate over the proposed conversion.

This work looks at the ways in which this conversion affected and took effect in the village of Gajkanhar and reflects upon how decentralized power operates in forest dwelling spaces vis-à-vis policies like FRA and its engagement with the nature of action research as it unfolds in the field. The nuances of the forest vis-à-vis changing perceptions of the state and the inner life of its people twists in characteristic ways that forms the content of this research.

Key words: Decentralization, Governance

Researcher: Jyoti Tirkey
Title of the Research: Access to Safe Drinking Water through Collective Action
Field Faculty: Dr. Nivedita Narain
Academic Supervisor: Dr.Praveen Singh and Dr. Imran Amin

People in the village of Mahendrapur, in Rayagada district, struggle to access drinking water throughout the year. Dysfunctional state installed water sources in the village added to the intensity of the problem. This action research engaged with a collective negotiation with the state to ensure that it took recognition of people’s demands and responsibility for the provision of safe drinking water to the village. In spite of the Indian judiciary’s support towards water access as a part of people’s right to life the problem of water is intense in rural tribal south Odisha. The problem is further compounded by a lack of governmental understand in water and its relationship with the Kondha people of Mahendrapur, the arrogant ignorance of local bureaucracy and the attitude of neglect towards peoples own views about water and their problems with centralized governmental solutions to the same.

The research brings out ignored perspectives around water that shapes people’s behaviour in relation to water. For example, the research brings to view the importance of the sensory experience of the taste of water for a Kondha local or the gendered everyday experience of water in womens lives in the village. The research threw light on other understanding around the perceptions and practices that involved water. Based on these new understanding the action-ing involved focusing on situating these understandings in the communities approach towards solving the problem of crisis of drinking water. This reflected in the manner in which negotiations with the state were then sought and enacted.

Key Words: Water, Collective Action, Kondha-State dialogue

Researcher: Kelsang Lamu Sherpa
Title of Research: Development and Participation: an Experience of Educational Engagement in Rural Jharkhand
Field Faculty: Mr. Suvakant Nayak
Academic Supervisor: Prof. Shyam B. Menon

This action research takes practices within the village education and school management committee into account to bring out other narratives of how education envisaged with community participation is actually unfolding in people’s lives on the ground. The dissertation focuses on the differences of how participation is perceived and practiced. How participation is made sense of in village life, vis-à-vis the formal schooling space and what is the corresponding educative nature of these different kinds of participations, if any?

This work tries to understand what kind of participation triggers true abilities and sustained action towards collective demands. Counter-cultures of participation, apart from the techniques of intervened participation, can give us a perspective towards the dynamic nature of the rural. In the experience of this action research the village came up to counter the damages of one kind of participatory school education by attending to the gap between work and education, between labour and education, between body and learning. This provided an interesting angle of redevelopment of humanness and self-esteem in a way in which elements from the village world could be useful to each other.

Key Words: Education, Participation, Work, Practice

Researcher: Kiden Lama
Title of Research: Encouraging Tribal Parents and community Participation in the School through School Management Committee
Field Faculty: Mr. Suvakant Nayak
Academic Supervisor: Dr. Manish Jain

This action research took to the question of education thorough a conflict present in the village between the school teacher and parents of students attending this school. Conversation over the issue brought to the fore the idea that parents could participate more in having a say in how the school operated and organized itself. The idea was to encourage parents to contribute into the school management committee through their participation and help work their way around the conflict which was a symptom of the larger dysfunction of co-education between school and community. The research focuses on the practices that would lead to such a co-configurated interaction. It presents a detailed study of the design, presence and practice of school management committee in the village, the negotiations people made with the same and the actions that were taken to approach the same. SMC emerged as a possible space for collaboration between the educational framework presented through the institution of the school and the members of community. Other institutions present within community like family or religion contribute to a child’s education to nourish it and such understanding was brought to the SME through engaged parents.

Key Words: School Management Committee, Education

Researcher: Kshitij Mamgain
Title of Research: Agency of Collective in ‘Rural’, ‘Tribal’ Space and ‘Development’: A Participatory Experiment in a Village in Chhattisgarh
Field Faculty: Mr. Masroor Ahmad
Academic Supervisor: Prof. Anup Dhar

Researcher: Kushagra Jain
Title of Research: Tribes in Transition A sociological study of a community in a village of Kanker District of Chhattisgarh
Field Faculty: Mr. Saroj Mahapatra
Academic Supervisor: Dr.Santosh Kumar Singh

This action research project took place in the Ankhiharra village in Kanker, Chhattisgarh. Pardhi tribe, a group of nomadic indigenous group with no historic farming, had begun occupying land on the forest fringe to the opposition of the settled villages nearby. The position of the Pardhis, the dissertation shows, is a precarious one – on edge. Unacknowledged by the central government as a tribe because of its settled history being less than 50 years, confused as other tribes because of their new livelihood around bamboo, no land to live, no forest to roam, the Pardhis were in a troubled time whereby the way of life that they had always known seemed no longer possible. They live in a world where their possibility is closed to extinguished.

In the negotiation of practice that allows them survival a group of Pardhis agreed their problem to be the unavailability of bamboo. This ensued a tussle with forest department in the face of the slow demise of hunting and gathering, to protect and lend support to the Pardhis by giving them bamboo saplings. The department refused to give the saplings if there was no privately owned land. During this effort the philospphy of nomadicity and its tussle with the demand of a developed life became evident.

 Key Words: Nomadic Tribe, Negotiations of Existence

Researcher: Mudit Mishra
Title of the Research: An Exploratory Engagement with the Needs, Aspiration and Suffering of Rural Youth in Village Sipringa of Gumla District, Jharkhand
Field Faculty: Mr. Nrusingh Sutar
Academic Supervisor: Prof. Honey Oberoi

This work explores the conception of youth in rural India. It further explores the needs, aspirations and suffering of the male youth in rural India. It attempts to trace the work on Youth Development among young men in the small revenue village of Sipringa in the Gumla district of Jharkhand. The findings suggest that the State’s definition of youth wherein it states that “a person belongs to the age group of 15-29 years” needs a more engaged understanding, as the prevalent definition of ‘youth’ is not capable of defining youth as a category with their particular needs, aspirations and suffering in the rural agrarian context. The youth policy and programmes are majorly based on the ‘youth for development’ approach, where they have very little to do with the ‘development of youth’ and are actually unable to cater to the needs, aspiration and suffering of rural youth. This work advocates for a change in the existing dominant approach of economic and sociological view of youth. The research instead suggests a need for engaging with young people empathetically, focusing on their needs, aspirations and the challenges stemming from their everyday living experiences. The approach being suggested through this work views youth from a humanistic, rather a more holistic lens, where they are seen as evolving human beings and stress is put on ‘development of the self’ of the youth to make them feel empowered in the real sense, where they can become aware; and can articulate, recognize, address and achieve their needs and aspirations on their own, along with the support of the existing socio-political structures.

Key Words: Youth Development, Rural Needs and Aspirations, Holistic Youth Development

Researcher: Minu Marydas
Title: Un-Whispering Menstruation: Beyond Totem and Taboo
Field Faculty: Ms. Archana Singh
Academic Supervisor: Prof. Anup Dhar

This dissertation is a reflexive writing on the process of action research in the Gond village of Parsel in Madhya Pradesh. The research attempted to carefully document. The action-ing focused on creating spaces for discussion where people could reflect on and rethink about their experiences and practices around menstruation in families, so as to create in the long run a dialogue between mother-daughter, mother-son, husband-wife, father-daughter, father-son or even sister-brother. This ‘engendering’ of the experience, space and question of menstruation in the rural tribal context and location could be seen as the contingent axis of transformation in this action research, including transformation in perceptions of bodies, genders and gender-relations, and (hitherto taboo-ed) relations within the family. Ultimately, the idea was to engender reflective consciousness about menstruation and menstrual health and to ‘come out’ of the practice of ‘whisper-ing’ about it.

Unlike most initiatives by various organisations and institutions and individuals, this action research work did not focus on commercialisation, medicalisation or sanitisation of menstruation. This deflection from the mainstream perspective to menstruation which, usually takes the form of a hasty and an unthinking and unreflective de-tabooing of menstruation through the distribution of sanitary pads (the modern totem) and the insertion of rural or tribal women into the circuits of (global) capital-logic – makes the action research work of the collective of women, of which I was a part and partial catalyst, different.

This is thus an effort to engender a ‘space’in the rural tribal context and location where one could voice out one’s experiences and concerns regarding menstruation and which focuses on a transformational axis beyond the familiar gender-training formats of distributing the modern totem (i.e. sanitary pads or similar modern totems or modern rituals/rituals of modernity) and top-down forms of de-tabooing (i.e. looking at menstrual practices through largely an elite, urban lens, at times, UN-women kind of perspectives, without understanding and caring for its even-if-problematic importance in an individual woman’s life in rural tribal contexts). The thesis, thus, becomes a dialogue of women not just with family-friends-community but also with larger questions of modernity-tradition, modernisation, capital-logic, and the patient and reflexive working through a tribal claim to gendered bodies and experiences. In other words, this action research was also to find a language and praxis of feminism true to tribal women’s life-worlds and their everyday experiences of being-in-the-world.

Key Words: Menstruation, Family, Engendering Tribal Perspective, Feminism

Researcher: Namrata acharya
Title: Towards the Revival of a Village Anganwadi: An Action Research Initiative in Karondabera, Jharkhand
Field Faculty: Mr. Suvakant Nayak
Academic Supervisor: Dr. Nandini Nayak

Electricity, toilets, tap water, accessibility, and all-women self-help groups (SHGs) that have existed for years—these conventional markers of ‘development’ seem well in place in Karondabera, a tribal village situated in the Palkot block of the Gumla district, in the state of Jharkhand. But curiously, in this very village, the Anganwadi is anything but fully-functional and has suffered neglect for long. Attempting to break the secular divide between theory and practice, this work is an endeavour in action research, the vantage point of which is the betterment of the village Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) centre, better-known as Anganwadi. Beginning with a description of the field, this work traces the journey of the exploration and identification of the ‘problem’, in other words the area of intervention for ‘action’. The importance and significance of the ICDS scheme is emphasized on, drawing from literature as well as from observations in the field along with analysis of detailed interviews with the ICDS administration at the block level. The highlight of this work is the ‘action’ that aimed to build awareness, motivate discussions and generate interest in the workings of the scheme, the description of and insights from which are presented at length. Additionally the dissertation critically analyses the role of SHGs as a platform for collectivizing women, drawing from instances from various spaces and from experiences during the process of ‘action’, situating the same within the context of ICDS. Apart from offering reflections and analysis regarding the ICDS scheme itself, the dissertation also explores the complexities and challenges of doing development through collaborative action, by critically engaging with aspects ranging from participation in groups, theory, practice, experience and the self, to transformation, development and development practice.

Key Words: Anganwadi, Developmental Action, Collectivizing

Researcher: Natasha Narwal
Title of Research: Landing in Boriguda: Making Sense, Making Change
Field Faculty: Mr. Sibabrata Mohanty
Academic Supervisor: Dr.Anil Persaud

This thesis focuses itself on the navigations of an action research. The concerned action research roosts over problems of land rights for the villagers of Boriguda in Rayagada, Odisha. However apart from the particular problem that emerged from the context the research engages with the process of undertaking an action research and tries to capture a possible methodology to approach practice and its reverb on the engagement with the research question.

I lay out the journey of my interactions and engagement with the village in situating the villages history of land rights in the context and trajectory of the region. I have explored the different languages (of the state and people) in understanding land and subsequent understanding of rights over it – the chasms and interactions between these languages and how one’s own understanding could create sites of tension. Through such a reflection the work has also tried to analyze the hierarchies and possible renegotiations between the researcher and the researched.

Key Words: Action Research, Land rights

Researcher: Navnee Gupta
Title: Faith, Reason and Transformative Dialogue: Rethinking Stories and Spirits in a Baiga Village
Field Faculty: Dr. Archana Singh
Academic Supervisor: Prof. Anup Dhar and Deepti Sachdev

The work is a documentation of an action research that was carried out with the Baiga tribe in Kharideeh village of Karanjia block in Dindori Distr ict, Madhya Pradesh. My research is located in the interface between the rural inhabitant and the urban researcher practitioner around the question of tribal identity. It presents a larger critique of the development paradigm that constructs the rural tribals in terms of “lack” and “poverty”, in other words, an absence to be rectified by the modern scientific “experts”, hence institutionalizing the business of developing the “underdeveloped”.

I enter the landscape of the Developmental space of the rural through health, this being an arena where the villagers sought change. I sought to understand the tribal identity vis-à-vis a modern perspective and the negotiations of a people’s identity against the background of social and discursive constructions that inform it. How does the tribal, when understood as the “lacking” “poor” and “unknowledgeable” subject of Development respond to the introduction of a modern health perspective? What happens to the people’s perceptions of self and identity when a modern health institution is introduced into their world, and how do we then conceptualize, rather re-conceptualize transformation in their frame of life?

Through participant observation, informal conversations and focused group meetings, maneuvering through the silences and resistance of the people, I attempt to understand the culture through the route of their traditional systems of healing by exploring not only the practices of the Panda and the Vaidya as traditional healers, but also their system of healing as embedded in the larger socio- economic, political and natural context. I locate the other intermediary systems of healing/ medicine in the village like the Jholachhap doctor and dai against the backdrop of the negotiating world views of the modern and traditional. I analyze the condition of healthcare in Kharideeh, by looking into the condition of the various health workers employed in the community by the Government.

The work discusses how the villagers wanted swasthya (health) in the village and getting an SHC (Sub-health center) was their way to ensure it. The course of action that the work took towards transformation helped me understand how the women understand and envision action, as it was through continuous dialogues with each other that we had reached a point where the central question became health. What does the Baiga village, with its still very much alive Panda traditional system of healing do to the development discourse? The work is an attempt to look at such cultures as traces to the fractures of modernity.

Through the work, I attempt to put to question the kind of struggle that alternatives to the rational scientific modern technocratic ways of living have to go through to be recognized as valid alternatives to Development (where Development ceases to be one sole organizing principle of social life – a post-Developmental era), even when they are capable in their own contexts, as are the modern people, to lead meaningful lives by continuing their ways of life. Why an attempt at homogenizing such rich and diverse forms of life? Does this give way to a peek into the insecurities of modernity that is constantly, still struggling to deepen its roots in such cultural communities?

The work proposes that simply criticizing the modern system of health for the violence it symbolizes is impractical. In a shifting space of negotiations between the life worlds of modern and traditional, the people have come to see the modern health institutions as alternatives that even if untrustworthy, are experienced as a need in rural spaces too. So, it is not about criticizing one and adopting the other system, but it is about removing the un-freedoms that limit people’s agency to make the best choice for them. Cultures need to re- invent their own modernity appropriate to one’s circumstances and social practices, by applying reason. There is a need to look at tradition and modernity not as dichotomous entities constructing realities, but as overlapping instrumentalities contributing to a hybridized reality.

This work opens up a space for possibility of a dialogue between the community and the structures of the State and non- State actors. It questions health in terms of how the modern State looks at it and in turn, how the notions of health of the State establish un-health in the way people (women in the SHGs, with SHGs as metaphors of un- health) experience it. It widens the insecurities of modernity, as it seems like the Baiga village could open up the fractures of the structures of modernity, in the way it leads up to promises of a unilinear notion of moving towards health.

To sum up, the work destabilizes the singular understanding of action and transformation as leading to an empirical visible change; it tries to complicate the way Developmental agenda is being talked about in today’s world order by bringing about a change at the conceptual level. The work can be seen as an opening through which many others can look into the fractures of modernity; as one can no longer see the Baiga in a “lack” and “poverty” without questioning such stereotypes for their redundancy, as they have been seen as ahistorical entities due to the discursive homogenization brought about through the Developmental agenda.

I contend that the Baiga being a tribe that has been a challenge to work with, through its resistances- in silence and absence- to the structures of modernity and notions of Capital centric Development, has opened up small windows of possibilities of change in the little time that I had to engage with them. The work has potential to be explored further in bringing together the gaps between the community’s imagination of health, the State’s imagination to provide it and Development Practice students’ to engage with both to look at health as a whole in the cracks of the social and political realities of Development, as it is only seen through the “productive” in the bodies.

Key words: Baiga, Health, Modernity, Development, Faith

Researcher: Neeraj Joshi
Title of Research: Rural transformation in Podchuanpadar, Rayagada district, Odisha: communities’ needs, effective communication, and institutions of delivery
Field Faculty: 
Lt. Saroj Narayan Barik
Academic Supervisor: Prof. Anup Dhar

Researcher: Niraj Kumar
Title of Research: Education beyond numbers, State; Policy and Pedagogy
Field Faculty: Mr. Pranjal Saikia
Academic Supervisor: Prof. Anup Dhar

Researcher: Nishant Choudhary
Title of Research: The Question of Men: In a ‘Woman Centric’ Development Imagination
Field Faculty: Amit Singh and Dr. Archana Singh
Academic Supervisor: Prof. Anup Dhar

Researcher: Partha Sarthi
Title of Research: Local resources and livelihood options: convergence of traditional and scientific   knowledge for augment rural
Field Faculty: Dr. Santosh Kumar Singh
Academic Supervisor: Mr. Suvakant Nayak

Researcher: Pooja Mehra
Title of Research: Drop-Out and absentees Among Children in Government schools of Rural Jharkhand
Field Faculty: Ms. Sarbani Bose
Academic Supervisor: Prof.Anup Dhar

Researcher: Pratibh Mishra
Title of Research: Synthesizing the Alternatives in Agriculture: A study of cotton farmers in Mandol Pitesu village of Rayagada, Odisha
Field Faculty:
Academic Supervisor: 
Prof. Anup Dhar

Researcher: Pravendra Singh
Title of Research: The idea of de-centralised planning and the grassroots reality: a case of Ssatbahana village in Dhamtari, Chhattisgarh
Field Faculty:
Academic Supervisor: 
Prof. Anup Dhar

Researcher: Rahul Singh
Title of Research: Coming Together as a Collective: An Action Research Study on the Impact of ‘Collective Community Action’ in a Water Scarce Tribal Village of Gudrapara in Dhamtari District of Chhattisgarh
Field Faculty: MrManoj Kumar
Academic Supervisor: Dr. Nandini Nayak

This work inter weaves an analysis of transformative learning and the experiences around finding a collective solution to the widespread problem of drinking water scarcity in the village Gudrapara, located remotely in Nagri Block of District Dhamtari in the state of Chhattisgarh. Through the process of rural immersions the research engaged with the real settings of the 62 households in the village and with the actual lives of the individuals and families; and constructed the cumulative experiences and narratives around auctioning the research. The subject of inquiry – drawing on the everydayness of the village life, particularly of the women – is the process of transformation. The research looks at how women belonging to different SHGs in the village, struggled for enough of water for their families while the men belonging to the various groups/samitis mostly complained about the non-availability of irrigational water. This work is as much an outcome of action-ing research as it was instrumental in researching the action. This research uses the framework of ‘communicative action’ towards creating a ‘communicative space’ drawing from the celebrated work, ‘Theory of Communicative Action’ by Jurgen Habermas (1984).

The lack of meaningful dialogue and interactions among the different groups in the village, disabled the mutual unanimity or consensus over the actual cause of the prevailing problem of drinking water scarcity at the village level. This lead to uncertainty over the course of action to be undertaken to deal with the situation. My actions were oriented to bring together, members of the different pre-existing groups (Talab Samiti, Krishi Samiti and Yuva Samiti) and women SHGs of the village on a common platform to collectively discuss, debate, understand, decide and work through the process of initiating a meaningful ‘collective community action’ in relation to addressing the actual village level developmental problems and issues, like the scarcity of drinking water.

The research questioned inactions of/by the community to deal with the given situation and to discover what is it that is hindering the villagers to cooperate or to come together and address the issue of water scarcity in the village collectively. Establishing a relationship with the lived experiences of the people enabling me to relate, engage, communicate, narrate and envisaged the journey of ‘collective community action’ with the community. The collaborative interventions encompassing the processes of the meetings, discussions and collective consensus building with a fair amount of hand-holding enabled the people of Gudrapara to take the collective ownership of the development challenges of the village to an extent. In these processes I acted as a catalyst in ‘opening up a communicative space’, providing the community with a ‘common platform’ to discuss, debate and interact with each other on different developmental questions of the village, to build a collective understanding of the problems and issues, and raising a hope and imagination for initiating the formation of a collective group named Gram Vikas Samiti, transforming the inter-group communications, associations and sustained dialogues radically at the village level.

This action research, thus, took the question of transformation through dialogic seriously and explored the ways in which a community could engage in a politics of persuasion to arrive at a common problematic. The process of engaging in this dialogue over the issue of water is the transformative axis that the research explores in order to understand the expressions of community purpose, common spaces of expression and engagement in possible transformative exercises.

Key Words: Water, Action-ing Research, Communicative Action, Inter-group Transformative Exercise

Researcher: Rashmi Singh
Title of Research: Collective (in) Action: Water and Sanitation in Mayapur
Field Faculty: Sarbani Bose
Academic Supervisor: Prof Anup Dhar and Dr. Imran Amin

Efficacy of collective in action through an overdetermined context. Two entities are tracked – substantive ‘collective action’ and the other as ‘collective is in collective action’. Post 1980s rural collective action has been uncritically celebrated and accorded the emancipator of those on the periphery, those scattered. Collective demands for services from the government has become unavoidable of summon.

Mayapur, the village in which this action research was conducted, had many models of collectivizing present. Collective demands were being made for water and defecation services through groups and the village had a SHG collective which was more than 25 years old. I worked with an autonomous mixed group of men and women to take up the question of collective and to see the efficacy of an autonomous collective. Instead of assuming that the formation of a collective leads to empowerment, this work tried to study how empowerment makes itself natural to the collective. Turning the question changed the way I was looking at the efficacy of a collective.

Key Words: Collective (in) Action, Efficacy

Researcher: Saranthem Romeo Singh
Title of Research: Water, crop diversification and rural livelihood: a sociological study of village Dibidih Darntoli, Jharkhand in an Action Research Framework
Field Faculty:
Academic Supervisor: 
Dr.Santosh Kumar Singh

Agriculture has remained a means of livelihood, work and reliance for most of the adivasi rural. Though the adivasi farmer in Jharkhand is often a small farmer. Technological inputs in agriculture, a steady shifting trend to cash crop and land being grabbed by large and small corporations for industrial purposes has changed the face of agriculture. This has also put immense pressure on small and marginal farmers to cope and continue to practice agriculture in was that are not ecologically coercive and can still support the survival of farmers and their families.

The present study is a process recording on an attempt to facilitate crop diversification among small and marginal farmers in Jharkhand, to improve their socio-economic conditions. Accompanied by sustained actions to improve irrigation that can support such agriculture, the action research took the understanding and practice of agriculture in the village context seriously and tried to engage with it.

Key Words: Agriculture, Small Farmers, Crop Diversification

Researcher: Saurabh Chanda
Title: Negotiating Food Security: Rediscovering the Food Regime in Chakai
Field Faculty: Suvajit
Academic Supervisor: Prof. Anup Dhar

This Action Research establishes the food regime of high yielding varieties of rice that have been disseminated in India, and subsequently into the area of Chakai, with the help of both examples and instances from original fieldwork, along with the claims laid down by various different authors through the literature review. It also traces my journey as a researcher and as a development practitioner as I navigate the field of southern Bihar, right at the edge of the Chota Nagpur Plateau, where the tribal have still not been integrated completely into the homogeneity of Indian citizenship, and while they try to maintain an alternate identity, they also have to circumnavigate the Indian state bureaucracy to access whatever resources they are entitled to. With these resource entitlements, I examine how the tribal tackle the question of food supply and security. It consists of my experience of the first immersion and my first experience of the village, while trying to arrive at a research question, as well as adapting to a rural lifestyle. This brings about a fine dichotomy of the rural against the urban. It also provides a detailed analysis of the arrival at the question of hunger and food security through the shared and lived experience of the tribal village, and through this shared living, there is an arrival at a solution which is both acceptable to the villagers and agro-ecologically favorable. While trying to implement this solution, this research thesis also examines the inter-personal relationships that develop between the villagers and me, and how they affect the research in their own manner. The position of the developmental organization in the food regime is further explained with the use of the literature on the subject, as well as examples from the field. Also, the literature is used to understand the various state agencies complicit in maintaining the food regime. The thesis ends with some questions on development in general, along with the final result of the action research.

Key Words: Food Security, Indigenous Grains, Agricultural Practice

Researcher: Sayanti Sur
Title: Administrative Literacy: Negotiating Mainstream Administrative Practices in a Gond village
Field Faculty: Mr. Saheb Bhattacharyya
Academic Supervisor:  Dr. Imran Amin

This action research started with going through and exploring the everydayness of a village life wherein identity, confidence and relationality (with the outside world) have been tremendously affected by the existing practices of government. The images and practices of government are continuously shaping and reshaping people’s views about everyday life – starting from the popular legends behind village’s name, the housing patterns, rights over and access to land, water and forests to the nuances around their food, entertainment, marriage, economy, health, people, the polity and the increasing interplays of boundaries between the two hamlets – have rendered people intimidated on multiple realm especially a fear about the government, its bureaucracy and lagging behind in its developmental race. To understand this everydayness of an analytical perspective of governance and governmentality and their impact on the everyday life is taken up. The action research discussed in this dissertation sought an alternate route for increasing the status of claim-making on State, and thus an enhanced agency within the villagers of the Kewlajhiri, as low claim-making and low agency mutually reinforces each other. The study moves forward to explore the image and practice of state within Kewlajhiri. As it unfolded, it revealed how governmental practices impact everyday-life of Kewlajhiri through mainstreaming the cultural practices and norms, and the circulation of money and market exchange. This part of the state-society interaction is mostly not captured in the government reports and finding, better to say that the structure do not accommodate such subjectivities and nuances.

The work adopted an action research methodology which included immersions, experiences, reflexivity and reflective action for action research as its four main features. The co-generative dialogical practice attempted in our action and emergent in our experiences have led us towards further explorations for ‘action’ (i.e. identification of the ‘problem’). Drawing largely from the unpredictability of everyday life I have argued that poor need to understand the governmental procedures and the rationalities behind the formation of those procedures. In such context administrative literacy would help build capacity to aspire amongst poor, supported with resources to voice and express their views to protest, to debate against and negotiated with institutionalized governmental practices.

We selected MGNREGA, 2005 as an important tool of the administrative literacy where it revolves around a process of getting to know its provisions in an easy-to-comprehend and easy-to- remember way. A flipbook was made to serve the above-mentioned purpose as a device for responsive reflexive state-society interaction. The objective of the flipbook was to make it explicit that there had been a huge history of people’s struggles and movement behind MGNREGA. Thus, it aims at building a critical understanding amongst the group, to form an opinion about the process, and not only comply with the existing processes and, over time, will acquire an enhanced sense of citizenship – with voice, protest, debate and negotiate with governmental procedures and their everyday practices; so that, people understand that bureaucracy, the government officials are not the only faces of the Government, but they themselves are most significant part of this structure of Government. I believe that if public administration practices are inclined towards, and is sensitive to citizen’s everyday suffering, the intensities of negotiation they undergo, and reflect on citizens’ attitudes towards them and why it is so – then it could be possible that the state-society interactions may alter differently; and thus an alternate route could be aspired where communication will be possible between the people (aka citizen) and local state representatives of ‘democratic institutions’ which are supposed to deliver the commitment of the state, their perspective, capacity and authority.

Key Words: Governmentality, Claim Making, Aware Citizenship

Researcher: Shashi Shikha
Title: Shifting The Language Around Teenage/ ‘Unmarried’ Pregnancy: From ‘Risk to ‘Cohabitation’
Field Faculty: Mr. Suvakant Nayak
Academic Supervisor: Dr. Ishita Dey

Drawing upon an action research among youths in Khursuta village in Jharkhand, this work proposesv to shift the language around ‘unmarried’ pregnancy. I make an attempt to understand ‘unmarried’ pregnancies and teenage parenthood in the context of customary norms and practices of cohabitation. I attempt to understand practices of cohabitation among men and women in the tribal life-world of Khursuta. The practices of cohabitation provide us a useful lens to understand sexuality, particularly the changing norms around choice of partners. This work tries to understand the sociability of the life-world of Khursuta. A mapping of local practices of cohabitation is instrumental in understanding if motherhood is contingent upon marriage and the practices of addressing parenthood outside marriage. The study challenges the dominant discourses on unmarried and teenage pregnancies by highlighting the socio-religious aspects of normalisation of formal institutions of marriage. In this context, the impact of Christianity on the traditional customs and practices of the tribal community needs to be examined.

The study reconceptualises the prevalent understandings surrounding sexuality (moralising sexual desires and behaviours and reducing teenage sexuality to sex education in the schools advocating preventive or remedial measures of contraception) by shifting perceptions of ‘risk’ and ‘ethics’ from an externalised focus of study – which may be theorised about by Christian and Brahmanical worldview experts (detached outsiders) – to focusing on the insights from lived reality of the community in Khursuta village (a microcosm of larger tribal life-world). These experiential insights facilitate a process where an alternative understanding of the tribal life-world is possible through a co-generative dialogue to generate our ideas of sexuality which is in terms of relatedness and realised freedom from the institutional legalities. Empirical approaches are effective in probing traditional, technical, economic, practical, social and political characteristics of rural community development. But I wish to explore a range of factors affecting rural communities, particularly ethical, spiritual, aesthetic and cultural influences. Therefore, in my dissertation I wish to establish the significance of immersion as a methodology for understanding a privately held public issue of sexuality which seems to be repressed at the outset but in reality, is controlled by the state and the corporations by categorising sexuality under reproductive health.

For this research, I have documented immersion as a distinct methodology of action research. Immersion provides an avenue for a co-generative dialogic exercise between the practitioner/researcher and the community. The dialogic interaction between people and me paved a way for co-researching the question. In this study, my action research is on trying to critically examine the community ethics around sexual intimacy in the tribal life world of Khursuta and to address the perceived ‘risk’ of unmarried pregnant women, single motherhood and teenage parenthood, thereby generating an action which draws upon an understanding of relatedness rather than medicalisation of risks as prevalent in the dominant discourse. The findings from the study suggest that the perceived ‘risk’ in the case of unmarried pregnancies has a potential of crisis when the alliance3 is inter-tribe or inter-religion or inter-caste and in cases where the men’s family or the man himself denies co-habiting with the woman. The alliance of a man and woman goes beyond legal sanctions or ritualistic traditions. The first sanction (allowance, acceptance) is partner’s consent. Usually men pursue women but at times it is also a mutual choice. The second sanction is sought by introducing the families. The girl’s family visits the boy’s house and vice versa. This verbal alliance is recognised in the village and the society accepts this without any ceremony or ritual. To strengthen and formalise the bond lota-paani4 takes place at both the houses. Usually after lota-paani there is no urgency of marriage as the boy and girl can start living with each other in any one of the house or when they migrate together, or in case the girl gets pregnant she begins to live in the boy’s house or if there is an urgent need to be taken care and there is a need for the labour in the boy’s family,

Although alliance in kinship studies is used to signify marriage, I am using the term to denote its dictionary meaning. The dictionary defines alliance as a union or association formed for mutual benefit. It is a relationship based on similarity of interests, nature or qualities, it is a state of being jointed or associated. Lota-Paani is a ritual where the closest kins of girl’s family visits the boy’s family and vice-versa. A feast is organised and selected households in the village of the boys/girl’s family are invited for the ritual. In order to invite the people in the village a member from the family goes around the village inviting the kins for the ceremony as well as showing the water in a copper urn. It is a formal announcement of association between the two families in the village. the girl is requested to live with her in-law’s family. The marriage ceremony is a grand event for the family and they usually take time (sometimes it can be more than five to seven years) to prepare for the marriage before commemorating it. The study addresses the broader question of transformation by understanding sexuality in tribal life-world through cultures of relatedness and negotiated experiences in sexual relationships. A smaller transformation was to generate discussions amongst mahila mandal, and ‘youth’ in the village on the aspects of perceived ‘risk’, ethics of intimacy and initiate a candid deliberation with individuals on engaging with the issue in the familial space. Through the Action Research of organising ‘youth’ club in the village I attempted to see whether or not there is a space for the differe(a)nce, in our (Outsider’s) perspectives of looking at development of tribal life-worlds, and how our frameworks come into a dialogue. My experience opens an opportunity to engender the homogeneous spaces (for instance of SHGs) for recognising difference and allows for the appreciation of cultures of difference, which is visible in their new cultures of relatedness as exhibited by the collectivization of youth. However, it remains to be explored that how can the cultures of relatedness affect practices of collectivization and what are some ways in which it can be nurtured. The work is organised such as to provoke a thinking on the conceptualisation of development, ‘unmarried’/teenage pregnancy, sexuality and risk. It focusses on the significance of shift in thinking ‘development’ by presenting alternate perspectives to look at these situations. Keeping the provocation alive the work then analyses the language in which teenage unmarried pregnancy is situated in the global context. It moves on to discuss how the global discourse shapes the national imagination with respect to unmarried/teenage pregnancy and enumerates the reasons on widely accepted interventions. Through critical analysis it helps us mark the missing links in the global conceptualisation on teenage pregnancy and foregrounds the need to relook at this global discourse by presenting alternative views on teenage/unmarried pregnancy in context of Jharkhand. These arguments help rationalise the research question in the present study. Further in a focussed manner, it discusses the policies and programmes at the national level to address issues around adolescent health, politics around abortion rights and issues surrounding the implementation of sex-education. Thereby, highlighting the approaches with which programmatic action are operationalised on the ground.

Then, in this work I take a little step back and present a reflective description of an attempt to live in the tribal life world of the Khursuta village impinging on immersion as a methodology. I state the Research Question for the purpose of Action Research, detail the scope of the present research with critical analysis of the knowledge on Oraon tribe and Rautiya caste available as documented. I briefly point out the existing gaps in the knowledge on them and present-day realities from the ground. I etch out the methodology to carry out the research and some of the approaches that would be followed to action the research. Subsequently, I draw upon narratives to bring forth community’s perception on the ethics of right and wrong, with specific reference to the sexual behaviours and practices. I discuss the narratives in detail to bring in the voice and choice of the people who inhabit the tribal life-world in the context of their practices of co-habitation in its complexity

I move on to discuss the ways in which I attempted to create a new ethics of practice in collaboration with SHG and a youth group that I tried to bring together during the course of this journey. At this juncture, I foreground the urge of engaging with the problematic of ‘unmarried’ pregnancy with people. In the end, I revisit the idea of action research as I understand it and the importance of dialogue in engendering action. Here, I restate the transformative axis against which the current work is situated and the challenges of doing the action research. Further I bid to establish the relationship of choices around sexuality in the tribal life-world to the larger framework of development.

Key words: Immersion, Tribal Lifeworld, Practices of Cohabitation, Sexuality

Researcher: Shruti Gupta
Title of Research: Exploring School and Community Interactions in Context of Right to Education: The Case of School Management Committee in Kondha Dengasargi
Field Faculty:  Mr.Kirti Bhusahan Pani/ Ms. Shailabala Panda
Academic Supervisor: Dr.Gunjan Sharma

The work explores the question of quality of education in rural spaces and its implementation under the Right to Education, 2009. It looks at narratives of an everyday engagement with education amongst Kondha children in order to understand what a ‘school’ means to such a child. Based on this understanding the action research pursues community dialogue over the same between the concerned parents and teachers.

In its own way, the research tries to ask, not only what a school means to an adivasi child but also what a school means to an adivasi way of life. How can a community that values education, engage more fully in the process of education that involves state structures and institutions, what narratives come forward during these engagements and what could be some ways of relooking at education from a community perspective were questions that the dissertation tried to touch upon.

Key Words: Right to Education, Adivasi Way of Education

Researcher: Shubhangi Lakhchaura
Title: Recast(e)ing Dining Practices in Rural: a Transformative Action Initiating Inter-dining Practices in Daihar, Hazaribagh District, Jharkhand
Field Faculty: Mr. D. Narendranath and Ms. Sharbani Bose
Academic Supervisor: Dr. Rukmini Sen

This transformative action research is a reflective and reflexive analysis of collective efforts and learning towards inter-caste dining among the self help group (SHG) women in the village Daihar, in Chauparan block, district Hazaribagh in the state of Jharkhand. Daihar, a village with seventeen castes which not only divided people hierarchically but had overarching effects and affects on their everyday, so mundane and apparent that it remained un- or under-realized. I realized that exploring caste would therefore be the most plausible approach to get more acquainted with the spaces, inhabitants and behavior of Daihar. In the subsequent ‘field’ immersions and more involvement I comprehended that the onus of adhering to caste, the traditional and its practices was more on the didis than the bhaiyas. The mobility and labor of the didis were more scrutinized and controlled according to their respective caste status than the bhaiyas. The bhaiyas with loosened caste ties practice more inter-caste mobility while the didis are more constraint to intra-caste ties and dining relations.

The caste and dining behavior characterizing and upholding the caste and inter- and intra- caste relations, chiefly among the didis, who are deemed to be maintaining the sanctity of caste which the males can’t as they move out of the houses more for work. The personal interactions and meetings were held with the didis of different pre-existing SHG groups to comprehend and express the interplay of caste-gender-dining. It was highlighted in the meetings that for the didis it was the bhawna (affect) shaped of the inherited and personal encounters and communications with the ‘other’ castes which marking the difference in conduct with inter- and the intra- caste. The process of exploring the difficult issue of inter-dining in a caste-gender afflicted context encouraging the didis towards inter-dining, some of the didi’s proposed to organize a collective merriment. A ‘feast’ was collectively organized, where the didi’s of different castes organized, prepared and dined together.

The ‘feast’, a collaborative effort which according to the didis provided them the space to express where they wanted to sing, dance and celebrate and also instigated the feeling of womenhood and sisterhood amongst them. Though it was a day’s event but was continuation of the interactions over the caste-gender-dining interplay. The research remained process oriented and focused on processes that bring about changes in people’s perceptions, behaviors and practices.

 Key Words: Caste, Collective Inter-dining, Transformative Affect

Researcher: Soumi Kundu
Title of Research: Writing on action and the right in action: Dynamics within MGNREGA workers in Kirangi, Dindori
Field Faculty: Mr. Amit Kumar Singh
Academic Supervisor: Dr. Nandini Nayak

Researcher: Tejendra Pratap Singh
Title of Research: Political dynamics in Baiga community: Dindori district Madhya Pradesh
Field Faculty: Dr. Archana Sing
Academic Supervisor: Dr. Imran Amin

Through immersive research methodology this action research contests the ideal of a village and how this idea is constructed. Influenced by ethnographic moorings this study of the forest village Sheetalpani and Chanda presences the Baiga life. It goes on to understand the workings of governance and panchayati raj institutions in the Baiga village and the place of the Baiga people in it.

The literature review looks at the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act and the concept of decentralization, its relationship with governance of Baiga people and the nature of the practices around this relationship form the gist of the research.

The process recordings account for the discussions that brought these thoughts to the fore and an analysis of how they were designed and how they unfolded.

Key Words: Baiga, Governance, Panchayati Raj

Researcher: Themchan Raising
Title of Research: Strengthening formal routes and inaugrating informal routes of primary education in Dhamkara village of Gumla district
Field Faculty:Mr. Suvakant Nayak
Academic Supervisor: Mr. Vinod R