Vikramaditya Thakur conducts research in the anthropology of rural India. He has carried out long-term fieldwork in the western Indian state of Maharashtra both in the Satpuras hills and the neighbouring plains among Bhils, a Scheduled Tribe group. His PhD dissertation studies the forced relocation of 33 villages of Narmada river valley from the hills to resettlement colonies in the plains due to a large dam. Combining ethnography along with archival records and vernacular literature, it studies how groups at the margins of society, perceived as ‘backward,’ respond when faced with certain displacement due to the state’s development agenda. He examines how forced relocation calls into question basic relations with family, market and state, which are mediated by democratic processes and social movements, and divergent aspirations across generations in families and larger kin-based groups. His research interests include agrarian studies, social movements, and environmental and social history.
‘Logjam: Peasantisation-Caused Deforestation in Narmada Valley’ in Mahesh Rangarajan and K.Sivaramakrishnan (eds). Shifting Ground: People, Animals and Mobility in India’s Environmental History. New Delhi: Oxford University Press (forthcoming).