ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Development as Destiny in India’s New Borderlands

Following partition, development experts associated with United States’ philanthropic organisations and new international agencies took an active role in transforming the divided Punjab. Through the 1950s, the World Bank worked to adjudicate the Indus River Basin dispute between India and Pakistan. Issues of soil fertility and the productive capacity of lands on both sides of the new border proved critical within these discussions. At the same time, the United States-based Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation coordinated with the Indian state to launch projects in the agricultural sciences, population control, and community development for partition’s refugees. A dual agenda of restricting the fertility of rural populations and augmenting the fertility of agricultural lands, united these first international development initiatives following partition.

At the first all-India conference of the Family Planning Association of India in Bombay in November 1951, the Indian demographer and economist Sripati Chandrasekhar rose to deliver his inaugural address as president of the group. Having earned his PhD in sociology from New York University in 1944, Chandrasekhar would go on to work with Julian Huxley’s United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and serve as a controversial cabinet minister under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi (Bashford 2014: 285).1 Addressing post-partition India’s food production capabilities, Chandrasekhar began:

Despite the great advancement of modern science and technological skill, our total food production, not to speak of other necessities, has not kept pace with the growth of population. On the contrary, our natural resources are not only not increasing with the growth of population, but what is worse, they are actually dwindling on a global scale, resulting in what Aldous Huxley calls “a double crisis.”2

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Updated On : 25th Jan, 2018
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