© 2020

Resisting Dispossession

The Odisha Story


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Ranjana Padhi, Nigamananda Sadangi
    Pages 1-43
  3. Ranjana Padhi, Nigamananda Sadangi
    Pages 45-69
  4. Ranjana Padhi, Nigamananda Sadangi
    Pages 71-93
  5. Ranjana Padhi, Nigamananda Sadangi
    Pages 95-121
  6. Ranjana Padhi, Nigamananda Sadangi
    Pages 123-143
  7. Ranjana Padhi, Nigamananda Sadangi
    Pages 145-168
  8. Ranjana Padhi, Nigamananda Sadangi
    Pages 169-189
  9. Ranjana Padhi, Nigamananda Sadangi
    Pages 191-211
  10. Ranjana Padhi, Nigamananda Sadangi
    Pages 213-240
  11. Ranjana Padhi, Nigamananda Sadangi
    Pages 241-262
  12. Ranjana Padhi, Nigamananda Sadangi
    Pages 263-291
  13. Back Matter
    Pages 293-311

About this book


The book brings to the reader a set of political and social narratives woven around people’s resistance against big dams, mining and industrial projects, in short, displacement and dispossession in Odisha, India. This saga of dispossession abounds with stories and narratives of ordinary peasants, forest dwellers, fisher folk and landless wage laborers, which make the canvas of resistance history more complete. The book foregrounds these protagonists and the events that marked their lives; they live in the coastal plains as well as the hilly and forested areas of south and south-west Odisha.

The authors have chronicled the development trajectory from the construction of the Hirakud Dam in the 1950s to the entry of corporations like POSCO and Vedanta in contemporary times. It thus covers extensive ground in interrogating the nature of industrialization being ushered into the state from post-independent India till today.

The book depicts how and why people resist the development juggernaut in a state marked with endemic poverty. In unraveling this complex reality, the book conveys the world view of a vast section of people whose lives and livelihoods are tied up to land, forests, mountains, seas, rivers, lakes, ponds, trees, vines and bushes. These narratives fill a yawning gap in resistance literature in the context of Odisha. In doing so, they resonate with the current predicament of people in other mineral-rich states in Eastern India. The book is an endeavour to bring Odisha on the map of resistance politics and social movements in India and across the world.


Ranjana Padhi is a writer and activist based in Bhubaneswar. She has authored Those Who Did Not Die: Impact of the Agrarian Crisis on Women in Punjab (2012).  She also writes for journals and web portals.

Nigamananda Sadangi is a writer and translator based in Bhubaneswar. He contributes articles to Odia periodicals and journals.


Development Narratives People’s Movements Social Movements Resistance Politics Anti-Displacement Post-Independent Odisha Odisha Political Economy Resistance Literature Anti-Displacement Literature

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Independent WriterBhubaneswarIndia
  2. 2.Independent WriterBhubaneswarIndia

About the authors

Ranjana Padhi is a feminist activist and writer currently based in Bhubaneswar. She has authored Those Who Did Not Die: Impact of the agrarian crisis on women in Punjab (2012). Her contributions in writing have also appeared in the Economic and Political Weekly, The Wire, Monthly Review and Countercurrents. Ranjana has been part of the autonomous women’s movement in India and volunteered in other autonomous, non-funded collectives. She has actively worked in many joint coalitions and campaigns around issues of democratic rights and civil liberties, state repression, workers’ rights, forcible evictions caused by corporate land acquisition, sexuality and communal violence.

Nigamananda Sadangi is an activist, writer and translator based in Bhubaneswar. He is currently part of the Anwesha collective–a socio-political journal in Odia that is focused on issues related to social movements as well as caste, tribal and gender concerns. He has participated in fact-finding efforts and investigations in Odisha to highlight the violation of civil liberties and democratic rights of people. He has contributed articles to Odia journals like Samadrushti, Nisaan and Vikalpa Vichaar and also to Economic and Political Weekly and Countercurrents. He has translated works of many leading writers and intellectuals into Odia.

Bibliographic information

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“Resisting Dispossession becomes unique for bringing together the narratives of all the major historical movements of Odisha under one cover. … This book will be immensely helpful for readers in academia, and beyond, who have interests in the politics of development and dispossession in the Global South.” (Souvik Lal Chakraborty, Social Movement Studies, November 30, 2020)