Agrarian crisis in Punjab and 'Natural Farming' as a response
After four and a half decades of Green Revolution agrarian development, the state of Punjab is now, according to many commentators, in a state of social, economic and ecological crisis. In this paper, I interpret this crisis through a Gramscian lens as a ‘crisis of authority’, in the sense that while the dominant paradigm (the Green Revolution) can no longer provide solutions to the state's most pressing social problems, there is no clear single alternative either. This situation provides a political opportunity for non-hegemonic groups to articulate various other possibilities that address fundamental questions. This paper focuses on the work of one such group, the Kheti Virasat Mission (KVM). KVM is a civil society organisation that promotes ‘natural farming’ as a solution to the crisis in Punjab: natural farming is a chemical-free method of farming, which relies exclusively on materials available at the local level. This paper looks at KVM's methods of intervening in the crisis situation and examines the difficulties faced at the level of implementation. It argues that KVM's successes and failures highlight the uneven capacities of different classes and social groups to effectively respond to a ‘crisis of authority’.