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Indian Villages

Gilbert Etienne


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1A large number of people have helped me during all my time spent in India. Some dear friends are unfortunately no more. Raghu Raj and his wife Vimal, Naval Tata and Surendra Pal Singh let me enjoy their hospitality, their affection and their experiences of their country. Surendra Pal Singh, an important land owner in Unchagaon, who would later on become minister, greatly helped me in my research and in my life in Khandoi.

2Pran and Raksha Talwar, Aspi and Kitty Moodie, Simone Tata, Radesh Singh and her sons have been no less intimate and helpful friends. To all of them, I wish to express my deepest gratitude.

3Janine and Gerry Rodgers have greatly helped me with their deep knowledge of Bihar.

4A number of civil servants, including some former ministers like Y. K. Alagh, helped me in organising my surveys and helped me with their advice. In addition, there have been many peasants, poor and rich, who shared their experiences and knowledge with me.

5On several occasions, I obtained financial support from the Swiss Fund for National Research and from my Institute. I also wish to thank the staff of the library of the Institute, particularly Martine Basset who supplied me with several books and reports.

6Parts of the field studies with reference to Dalits have been published by the Institute of Rural Management at Anand (Dalits in Villages and Poverty Alleviation Policies, 1963–2008, 2010).

7I wish to thank very warmly my old friend Jagdish Bhagwati, professor at Columbia University, who has kindly prefaced this book.

8Annette, my wife, has played a crucial role in all these surveys. She gracefully accepted a kind of nomadic and sometimes frugal life. Her sound understanding of development and her critical judgement greatly helped me. This book is also the story of a very close couple. After spending so much time in India, can one remain totally removed from the cosmic principles, Purush, the male principle, and Prakriti, the female principle, with the former being nothing without the latter and vice versa?


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