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Commons, Community and Customary Law: A Rule of Law

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Chakravarty-Kaul, Minoti
Conference: Participatory Development Forum
Location: East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii
Conf. Date: December 17, 1992
Date: 1992
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/763
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): institutions
rural affairs--history
Ostrom, Vincent
social organization
customary law
common pool resources
Abstract: "This is a humble attempt to search for the institutional roots of rural society in North India. Vincent Ostrom put this attempt in the context of much larger happenings in the postwar world and now. According to him: 'We are in the context of a strange and puzzling world where there has been a collapse of Soviet Power in Eastern Europe, collapse of the Soviet economy; where the monarchy in Nepal has been challenged by the panchayat system; where there has been transition from Authoritarian to Democratic Regimes; where the collapse of British, French, Dutch and Portuguese Empires after World War II led to the independence of countries like India.' The movement in India led to the setting up of a Federal Democracy: constituted and imposed from above. A guided socialistic pattern of society became a desirable end and the State-centered pattern of governance appeared a natural vehicle to achieve it. However, the basic tension remains: Factionalism remains a powerful force in postwar Indian society. My attempt is to construct history, no, not subaltern history--but using the window of British Imperial records to set up what Vincent would describe as 'an archeology of thought and ideas': a search for law ~ A Rational Gode of Law. One which will attempt to meet the challenge of modern ideas of equality to boundary rules applicable to human community: and hence to the very source of the 'tragedy of the commons.'"

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