The development of large-scale solar parks has reignited contestations over land and resources in rural India. Land acquisition for the Gujarat Solar Park and the Kurnool Solar Park has altered relations of production in adjacent agrarian systems and (re)produced social power asymmetries. Drawing on mixed methods fieldwork, this study is motivated by the following research question: How do dispossessed peasants resist solar park development? Resistance ‘from below’ takes diverse forms, such as protests, blockades, sabotage, lawsuits, acquiescence and suicide. Solar park developers engage in various corporate social responsibility schemes designed to pacify discontentment and institutionalize the support of peasants who were dispossessed of land and livelihoods. In effect, these social schemes ‘render technical’ the legitimate political claims of residents. This research complicates essentialized notions of unified peasant resistance in the face of agrarian transformation for climate change mitigation.
Triggering resistance: Contesting the injustices of solar park development in India