India's Experiment with Community Development Revisiting the State and Community

Main Article Content

Hena Khatun
Jyotirmaya Tripathy


Development in postcolonial India remains a contested terrain where competing
approaches are negotiated and operationalized. From the early days of independence, development discourse in India carried elements of Nehruvian impulse of state-led technocratic development as well as people-centric
community development primarily influenced by the Gandhian notion of the village economy. The present paper aims at engaging with this Indian development complex, where conventional binaries such as state-led/
community-led, national/local, top-down bottom-up, and so forth are transcended, leading to a framework where the binaries become complementary. It traces the evolution of community development and engages
with its mainstreaming in the early decades of independence as well as in the
neoliberal phase of developmental governance. Although this renewed trend of
involving the community in the development process presents itself to be more
people-centric, it is argued that such a tendency could be as homogenizing as the narratives of national and global institutions. The paper recognizes the ambivalence of community development and proposes that the state and community, far from being autonomous spaces, mediate and produce each other.

Article Details

Author Biographies

Hena Khatun, IIT (ISM) Dhanbad, India

Hena Khatun is a research scholar in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT (ISM) Dhanbad, India

Jyotirmaya Tripathy, IIT Madras, India

Jyotirmaya Tripathy is a faculty member in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Madras, India.