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Saturday, March 27, 2010



The research proposal approved and funded by U G C

Social and economic changes are indispensable to any society.All such metamorphoses have its own repercussions all along.While civil society and collective agency remain freezed towards such fluctuations,the transformations become much aggrieved.The plight of Beedi(A type of tobacco famously referred as Malabar beedi) workers in Dharmadam,Kannur district,Kerala has been foolproof in this argument.When globalization prevailed over and hijacked people’s agenda infavour of the corporate interest,the traditional Beedi working sector remained virtually on the decline.By 1970’s and 80’s ,the Beedi sector in kannur district has been a traditional employment sector for both men and women .It remained almost the sole earning source for many especially in the Dharmadam panchayath and adjoining areas.Beedi working has been more a tradition ,culture and way of life to hundreds of people in the area .Beedi workers were all affiliated to communist party and the party has controlled Beedi working sector .Beedi has at times ,remained a symbol of communist heart.

This is an enquiry concerning whether the much touted benefits of globalization have reached the masses.It attempts to highlight the narrowness of globalization .It is not same for everyone.Development stimulated by globalization has not been people centred,infact ,it has been the opposite.Globalisation being dominated by multinational agenda and capitalist institutions shore up capital further by replacing and displacing human labour.The state on the one hand has moved away from it’s commitment to economic development of the people and on the other hand become hyper active in protecting the interest of the corporate sector .Globalisation has created a condition which was totally unfavourable for a welfare regime.Welfare regime was hardly able to live up to it’s promises.Market friendly policies got wide acceptance which often led to rapid redistribution of wealth in favour of corporate world and extreme polarization of productive resources.

The Beedi working sector in Dharmadam, kannur district has seen a different and contradicting development by the mid of 1990’s after India endorsed New Economic Policy .Despite there had a virtual decline in the habit of smoking ,tobacco smoking in the state had seen an upward trend.Branded tobacco products got higher credence among people.Corporate tobacco thrived in India and in the state. Skyrocketing prices,escalating number of smokers and flourishing corporate tobacco have become the order of globalised tobacco.

The plight of Beedi working sector makes an interesting lesson added to India’s globalization experience.The declining sector now become the earning source of women only.men has been replaced and displaced.Ever shrinking Beedi sector makes an acute rehabilitation issue in the state.Anyhow, the sector is likely to be disappeared in the coming days.When tobacco smoking thrives in India and in the state ,Beedi tobacco has been marginalized. Women seems almost on the margins of being displaced from the jobs.Their agency in the sector has been completely absent.From being the sole source of earnings of a locality ,Beedi has confined to the disappearing employment sector of poor and the marginalized women.Our development process has been skewed and savage.It has partitioned our economy and society .It has enforced a wild justice in our mind.The plight of Beedi is a telling lesson to our unfulfilled dreams.


The research proposal has following objectives-

1.Findout the politico-economic challenges faced by Malabar beedi sector in the era of globalization.

2.Understand the dynamics of socio-economic and political profile of beediworkers in Dharmadam area.

3.To explore the collective agency of beedi workers in the time of globalization.

4.Findout the dynamics of gender factor in beedi working sector in Dharmadam area.

5.Analyze relationship between political violence in Kannur and beedi working sector.


1.Politico-economic negligence has enabled globalised tobacco loot the traditional beedi sector of Malabar area.

2.Lack of collective agency has profound implication for the present plight of beedi workers in the Dharmadam area.

3.Beedi working sector has become the disappearing and exploiting employment sector of poor women.

4.The socio-economic and political profile of beedi workers has immense root in the political violence in Kannur area.


Broadly the work will be conducted by applying empirical research method.Primary data originates from two sources-scanning of primary records related to the problem and survey research method.Survey method will be applied by categorizing political leaders,trade union leaders,beedi workers, family members of beedi workers,women beedi workers and smokers. Through participant observation, visit of bedi factory is innevitable in the research.

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