When green becomes saffron: wind extraction frontier, resource governance and citizenship regime in borderland India

3rd October 2022

Renewable energy mega-infrastructures constitute the chore of institutionalized responses to climate change in India’s agrarian settings, as they are imagined around features of “greenness” and “cleanness”. But this shining story entails a problematic construction of land, the related (un)making of space for extractive capital and a complete disruption of agrarian social structures around features of exclusion and dispossession. 

This research adopts perspectives from political ecology to understand the persistence of class-caste relations, the legacy of coloniality and the new citizenship regime underlying green extractivism in India: wind infrastructures are targeting (common) lands categorised as “deserted” and “waste” and subaltern groups whose livelihood practices have been historically described as “unproductive” and “backward”. Windmills blend with local landscapes of power relations and (party) politics. They align with broad ethno-religious conception of Indian citizenship and space as Hindu and their expansion over new border areas serve nationalist projects of territory revivalism and population surveillance.  

This presentation will be based on the study of wind power projects in borderland Kutch district (Gujarat).