Social Movements as Actors of Change
Since India’s independence the states of Bihar and West Bengal have seen the emergence of various socio-political movement. Although many of them decisively influenced the course of Indian politics, the social context which allowed them to emerge is still poorly understood. A project funded by RLS and carried out by the Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group (CRG) aims to change this.
The goal of the project is to analyse the political logic and social context of popular social-political movements in Bihar and West Bengal. Among others, the research covers the refugee rights movement in the 1950ies, the Bihar Movement led by Jayaprakash Narayan, the militant movement for land, crop and dignity led by poor Dalit peasants in Bihar, as well as the emergence of the Naxalite Maoist movement. By looking at historical as well as contemporary examples of social movements, the research group seeks to better understand the reasons for the success or failure of popular movements and tries to map and analyse their inner structure and logic. The critical examination of popular movements in Eastern India fills an important gap in the existing research of social movements and will provide valuable insights for political activists, trade unionist and human rights campaigners.
The Mahanirban Calcutta Research Group, better known as Calcutta Research Group, was established in 1996 as a forum for political activists and intellectuals in order to campaign for a lasting peace between India and Pakistan. Its founders were a group of researchers, feminist thinkers, journalists, trade unionists, and lawyers. Today CRG is well-known for its research, dialogues, and advocacy work. The emphasis that CRG places on the East and the Northeast of India has resulted in a strong network of scholars, activists, and institutions in the region.