Accepted paper:

Engendering Local Governance through Para-Legality


Aditya Mohanty (Central University Of South Bihar)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the ways in which the introduction of Resident Welfare Association (RWA) mode of governance in poorer neighborhoods of Delhi problematizes the traditional patterns of authority (viz., that of pradhans).

Paper long abstract:

Subaltern politics in postcolonial societies has often been seen through an archetypal Gramscian lens of civil versus political society dichotomy (Chatterjee 2004). In my larger Doctoral project from which this paper emanates, I look at such contests through a 'multi-case' ethnography of Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) among the RWA representatives and traditional community leaders (viz., pradhans) among the Valmikis (i.e., a lower caste community) in Delhi. In this paper, however, I deal with the findings elicited from the RWA in Valmiki Colony, 100 quarters i.e., an authorized/legal colony of 100 households, as the very name suggests. But an adjoining illegal patch of land here (viz., 100 quarters extension) houses 105 more families in an illegal Jhuggi-Jhopri/ Slum cluster. As far as civil society bodies for local municipal governance is concerned, the valmikis here of late have resorted to a smarter move. On one hand, there exists the Pradhan of this area (who lives in the legal segment since 1944) and is an old aide of the centrist Congress party. In the illegal segment, a '100 Quarters' Mohalla Welfare Committee (MWC)' has been flagged off, which is technically a prototype of an RWA. Its members are residents of both the segments - legal and illegal. The representative head of this group liaisons with the right-leaning BJP party. Thus, following Deleuze and Guattari (1998), in this paper, I look into the role of such 'rhizomes' of co-optation of 'political society' that shape the calculus of power.

panel A07
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