This presentation will take one through the spice garden economy of Uttara Kannada district, once famous as the ‘Pepper Queen’, but then known as a ‘backward district' in the post-Independence period. The presentation will examine the development trajectory in the district and will examine the multiple ways in which the local communities, known to adopt ‘environmentally conscious’ and sustainable farming practices, have dealt with the issues plaguing their district. It attempts to juxtapose the environmental narrative along with the development narrative of the district and to understand and map the complex ground realities that link the local with the global.
Manisha Rao is an Associate professor at the Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai. Her research and teaching focus on the intersection of environment, gender, development and social movements. She obtained her PhD from the Department of Sociology, University of Pune and an MPhil from the Department of Sociology, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi. Her research has been published in journals like the Journal of Developing Societies, Sociological Bulletin, International Quarterly for Asian Studies among others. The social and ecological politics of the Uttara Kannada district of the Western Ghats remain an area of interest and field research. She recently completed a major research project awarded by the ICSSR, New Delhi on the Development, Religion, Sustainable Environments: Collective mobilisations in the Western Ghats. Her edited book ‘Reframing the Environment: Resources, Risk and Resistance in Neoliberal India’ was published by Routledge in 2021.