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Post Conflict Face of Poverty and Society: Understanding a Gandhian Initiative against Pauperization and Violence in Mushahari (Muzaffarpur, Bihar)

Anand Kumar
Kanihar Kant


This is an analytical narrative about post-conflict dynamics of poverty in a block of villages in north Bihar known as ‘the Mushahari Project’. It is related with the socio-economic and political consequences of violent class conflict initiated by an underground group of Maoists, also known as the Naxalites, in Mushahari Block of Muzaffarpur district which led to a ‘face to face’ engagement between the Gandhian social workers and the Maoists. The Naxal challenge to the Gandhian workers about the relevance of the Sarvodaya work around Land issues led to radical reorientation of the Gandhian model and resulted into the making of an inclusive approach for rural reconstruction and poverty eradication. It involved social mobilization of the rural communities across caste and class lines as well as a realignment between the rural communities, the state and market forces for an effective and integrative process of socio-economic changes. The Gandhian response as conceptualized by the Sarvodaya leader Jayaprakash Narayan insisted on a) creating space for coming together of the peasants, artisans, landless labourers, political workers and the bureaucrats for a developmental agenda, b) moving away from class violence, and c) desisting from politics of revenge by moving towards a multifaceted programme of infrastructure development, agricultural growth, and income generating activities. The paper also addresses the successes and failures of the Gandhian/ Sarvodaya engagement about rural poverty and social conflict.

Publication Type(s)

CPRC India Working Paper


rural India conflict poverty reduction

ISBN: 81-86641-54-8


1 Post Conflict Face of Poverty and Society PDF 1346.7 KB

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