The author would like to thank Nel Vandekerckhove, Mario Rutten, Ward Berenschot, Koenraad Bogaert and the journal's anonymous referees for comments on an earlier draft of this article. Research for this article was made possible by the support of the Fund for Scientific Research (FWO), Flanders (Belgium).
Diffuse Authority in the Beedi Commodity Chain: Naxalite and State Governance in Tribal Telangana, India
Article first published online: 22 FEB 2010
© International Institute of Social Studies 2010
Development and Change
Volume 41, Issue 1, pages 153–178, January 2010
How to Cite
Suykens, B. (2010), Diffuse Authority in the Beedi Commodity Chain: Naxalite and State Governance in Tribal Telangana, India. Development and Change, 41: 153–178. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7660.2009.01622.x
- Issue published online: 22 FEB 2010
- Article first published online: 22 FEB 2010
Although the Naxalite (Maoist) influence in India stretches from the north of Bihar to the south of Andhra Pradesh, their impact on the political economy of the Indian countryside — and specifically the tribal livelihood economy — remains understudied. This article examines how resource access is mediated in areas where both the state and the Naxalites hold some degree of public authority, using as a case study the trade in tendu leaves, used to make beedi cigarettes. This low-profile, lootable resource provides the single most important source of income both for the tribals in North Telangana (during the summer season), and for the Maoists. The article presents a commodity chain framework, adapted to the concerns of multiple public authorities, to throw light on the linkages both between tribal procurement and Naxalite taxation and between government and Naxalite authority. The author argues that in a situation of long-term conflict, relatively stable joint extraction regimes can be organized, by which all parties can benefit from multiple authority over certain resources.