Paper: Revisiting social contract: building solidarities in the face of compounding uncertainties in India

Paper details

Paper authors Shilpi Srivastava, Rohit Jha, Lyla Mehta, Devnathan Parthasarathy
In panel on Building locally-led solidarities over shrinking space for civil society
Paper presenter(s) will be presenting In-Person & Online


Over the last three years, the world has witnessed a series of intersecting crises and uncertainties. The fallouts of the COVID-19 pandemic have intersected with ongoing food, water and climate crises leading to polycrises. In particular, extreme weather events such as cyclones, droughts, heatwaves and floods in the last few years have also compounded the problems faced by vulnerable communities on the frontline. We draw on insights from our recently concluded and ongoing TAPESTRY and ANTICIPATE projects respectively to unpack how solidarity is constituted in the face of intersecting crisis critically analysing its temporal, spatial and social dimensions. We demonstrate how responses from “above” have been inadequate and how authoritarian leaders have used ‘crises’ to grab power, polarise society and legitimise projects that are further aggravating problems. While state responses have often been unpredictable and inadequate, we demonstrate there has been an outburst of local forms of solidarity, and civic action from ‘below’ that offers hope for reimagining the social contract between state and society.