Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis


Politics and International Relations

Reader 1

Steven Samford

Reader 2

Nancy Neiman Auerbach

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Rights Information

© 2014 Sanggeet Mithra Manirajah


India has seen unrivaled economic growth since it embarked on its neoliberal reforms in 1990. However, accompanying this growth in income and wealth is an increase in social and economic inequalities among its population. This thesis will look at the impact of the neoliberal agenda on India’s population, particularly on its rural and marginalized poor, and show how this growth and development has been predatory in nature, benefitting a small minority at the expense of a large majority of the population who are experiencing poverty, unemployment and the loss of livelihoods as a result. This paper argues that Gandhian economic philosophy - in particular, the emphasis on localization and decentralization – has a central role to play in the development agenda of India, and is fundamental in correcting this imbalance. By drawing on Gandhi’s economic philosophy and present-day grassroots movements and initiatives that are echoing his core principles, this paper argues for the localization of power in the form of participatory governance to achieve rural revitalization, poverty eradication and radical empowerment. Fundamental for this to happen are appropriate forms and systems of governance at the local level; the creation of livelihoods through and within the local community; and incorporating local traditional and indigenous knowledge into development strategies.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.