Deb’s Magnum Opus

Debal Deb

Beyond Developmentality: Constructing Inclusive Freedom and Sustainability


International edition by Earthscan, London.

Indian edition by Daanish Books, New Delhi.

‘With this book Debal Deb moves into the ranks of critical philosophical practitioners speaking from developing countries – Enrique Leff, José Lutzenberger, Vandana Shiva, Victor Toledo and others – whose writings and lives are testaments of sanity, care, and vision’
From the Foreword by Richard Norgaard, UC Berkeley, USA



‘A fascinating, erudite and remarkably cosmopolitan guided tour around the erroneous assumptions and pathologically compartmentalized reasoning prevalent in mainstream development thinking and its historical and contemporary practice. Just as many economics text should carry a toxicity warning this should carry a commendation for promoting intellectual health. Deb’s work makes a substantial contribution to furthering the existing body of critiques by the likes of Rahnema, Korten, Escobar and Illich. One of the best sources for many cutting edge issues on development and environment’
Oliver Springate-Baginski, University of East Anglia, UK and co-editor of Forests, People and Power

‘For the better part of the last two decades the debate has raged over development as a modernist project questioning its epistemology, its enlightenment roots, its relation to imperial power and the massive machineries of development discourse associated with institutions like the World Bank.In its contemporary variant – neoliberal globalization – the search for alternatives to the hegemony of the market and of corporate power has taken on a new life driven by the so-called movement of movements. In BEYOND DEVELOPMENTALITY, Debal Deb takes on board this long history of resistance to development in its multiplicity of forms and opens the door for a serious discussion of alternatives. Deb has scaled the walls of the fortress of development and shaken the structure to its very foundations’
Michael Watts, University of California-Berkeley

‘Debal Deb is one of the most important voice for ecological sanity on our planet.  He shows that consumer capitalism destroys ecosystems and that traditional models of development paradoxically create poverty when they offer prosperity.  He shows in this vitally important book that it is possible to create real wealth while sustaining our environment by drawing upon the knowledge of indigenous people and grassroots social movements.  He shows that only by rejecting ‘developmentality’ and embracing ecosocialism can we solve problems of poverty, climate change, deforestation and declining resources.  He is a rare voice of sanity in a field where superficial techno-fixes are offered toth address ecological problems instead of the revolutionary changes in society, epistemology and economics which are actually required’
Dr Derek Wall, Principal Speaker of the Green Party of England and Wales

‘Dr. Debal Deb combines sharp and detailed scientific analysis with deep social commitment. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to get development right, so that it works for nature and people and not against them’
Dr. Vandana Shiva, Recipient of Right Livelihood Award & FAO Gold Medal

‘One of the book’s strongest points is its wide-ranging use of literature and thoughts from economics, ecology, sociology, political science, philosophy and indigenous knowledge systems….his work challenges set notions and stimulates new ideas on how humanity can achieve sustainable living, and therefore deserves a much wider audience’ 
Ashish Kothari, Frontline, July 2009

‘The main strength of the book is its comprehensive multi-disciplinary coverage..the book is a must read for all those concerned with environmental and social dimensions of the current growth path’
The Hindu, Feb 2010

‘Unequivocal, clear, and pointed statements…a thoughtful and detailed deconstruction of the practice of Western development… I applaud his attempt to reconstruct rather than abandon development and his willingness to attempt a counternarrative. Deb elegantly deconstructs capitalism, development, and developmentality without falling victim to nihilistic postdevelopmentism. I will surely use it in my graduate seminars on development.’
Brent McCusker, Economic Geography vol. 86, 2010

‘Deb does seem to give a firm, honest, and finally cautiously hopeful encouragement for researchers, concerned world citizens, and others with respect to our human ability to achieve a more respectful, long-term existence.’
Miamanni M. Mishkin C, Economic Botany vol. 64, 2010

‘Deb marshals a wide array of empirical and theoretical arguments in defence of the commons, and in particular of the common property regimes that have characterised so many indigenous peoples’ land and resource management practices….He is no ivory tower social scientist, but a hands-on expert in the conservation and propagation of traditional Asian rice varieties. His background as an Indian ecologist also informs his nuanced discussion of how ‘new ecology’ concepts such as uncertainty and persistence demonstrate the critical importance for sustainability of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) derived from the coevolution of human societies and their non-human surroundings.’ 
Mike Hannis, Environmental Politics vol. 19, 2010

‘The book is a major contribution to efforts at transformation towards a more prosperous world free of the pains of industrial growth. The style is racy, persuasive, accessible, and yet the content is empirically grounded and the approach is painstaking. It is a major contribution to the necessary effort to save mankind from the current global capitalist crisis.’
A. E. Remi, Development in Practice vol. 20, 2010

Last Updated (Sunday, 18 September 2011 21:44)


Copyright © 2009 CIS

Posted in Articles

News & Updates

  • Deb’s new paper on biomolecular mapping of rice grains
    February 7, 2019
  • Deb’s work featured in Gaia Foundation exhibition
    October 24, 2018
  • IIT-Madras talk
    September 12, 2018
  • Debal and Debdulal train Koraput farmers
    August 31, 2018
  • Prof. T Pradeep talks at Basudha Study Circle
    June 21, 2018
  • The Guardian cites Deb’s work
    June 6, 2018
  • Deb teaches Agroecology to Bangladesh Farmers
    April 25, 2018
  • Deb questions the necessity of Golden Rice
    April 3, 2018
  • Basudha Study Circle Talk by Santanu Mitra
    January 27, 2018
  • Deb’s new paper identifies an Endangered Tree in Bengal
    December 30, 2017
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Deb’s new paper on biomolecular mapping of rice grains

February 7, 2019February 7, 2019
Deb's new paper on mass spectroscopy showing localization of various biomolecules in the grains of selected rice landraces. This work was accomplished in T. Pradeep's lab in IIT-M. Read here

Deb’s work featured in Gaia Foundation exhibition

October 24, 2018October 24, 2018
Gaia Foundation's photography exhibition, We Feed the World, held in October in London, featured Deb's conservation work as one of the best examples of the triumphs and tribulations of the smallholder farmers and fisherfolk who bring food to the plates of hundreds of thousands of people every day. Report here.

IIT-Madras talk

September 12, 2018September 12, 2018
September 12:  D. Deb gave talk at IIT-Madras on ‘Agroecology’, and designed a collaborative research with Prof. T Pradeep. DD-IITM    

Debal and Debdulal train Koraput farmers

August 31, 2018August 31, 2018
Debal Deb and Debdulal Bhattacharya went to 4 villages in Boipariguda Block of Koraput district, Odisha on 29th and 30th August to give hands-on training in rouging techniques to maintain the genetic purity of the folk varieties distributed to them earlier this year. This year, more than 1100 farmers adopted 35 folk varieties to suit their land types.

Prof. T Pradeep talks at Basudha Study Circle

June 21, 2018June 21, 2018
Basudha Study Circle by Prof. T Pradeep of IIT-Madras on Nanotechnology and Water on 20 June 2018. Pradeep@BasudhaLab  

The Guardian cites Deb’s work

June 6, 2018June 6, 2018
John Vidal's new article in The Guardian describes Deb's work as "the antithesis of Bayer and Monsanto."

Deb teaches Agroecology to Bangladesh Farmers

April 25, 2018April 25, 2018
D. Deb gave an intensive training in agroecology to farmers in the Agroecology School organised by RIB, at Nilphamari, Bangladesh. DD-BD-Nilphamari DD-BD-Farmers2 DD-BD-class DD-BD-Farmers1  

Deb questions the necessity of Golden Rice

April 3, 2018April 3, 2018
At an international conference "Stop Golden Rice", held in Quezon City, D. Deb talked with Philippino ministry and activists, and demonstrated the unnecessary public expenditure on developing Golden Rice, while several indigenous rice landraces from India and the Philippines contain vitamin A. [View video of Deb's speech here]

Basudha Study Circle Talk by Santanu Mitra

January 27, 2018January 27, 2018
Basudha Study Circle Talk on "Why You Should Be More Concerned about Glyphosate Herbicide than Farmers", by Santanu Mitra, eminent expert on the environment and public health from Canada. February 24, 2018. 4:00-6:00 pm. 186A, Kalikapur Canal Road, Ekatre 2nd Floor, Kolkata 700099. [View video recording here] Tonu-Glyphosate DD-Glyphosate  

Deb’s new paper identifies an Endangered Tree in Bengal

December 30, 2017December 30, 2017
D. Deb has identified a hitherto unidentified rare tree, locally known as Sitapatra as Cordia macleodii, of which only 5 mature specimens are surviving in West Bengal. Deb also adds a few novel characters of this species to its taxonomic description. Here is the new paper, published in Dec 2017.

Crash Course in Agroecology: Principles and Practice

November 2, 2017November 2, 2017
The Crash Course was conducted from 26 to 31 October 2017. Trainees from 4  States of India and one from Germany attended the course.

Rice conservaonists from the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia visit Basudha

October 11, 2017October 11, 2017
Agroecology activists and rice conservators from the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia visited Basudha on the 9th and 10th October. The team from MASIPAG, Philippnes exchanged seeds with Basudha.

‘Silver Rice’ paper published in ACS Journal

August 5, 2017August 5, 2017
Details of silver accumulation on Garib-sal rice published in ACS journal:

Deb’s New Paper on Traditional Agricultural Knowledge

June 2, 2017June 2, 2017
Deb's new paper Folk rice varieties, traditionl knowledge and nutritional security in South Asia is published in G. Poyyamoli (ed), Agroecology, Ecosystems, and Sustainability in the Tropics. Studera Press, New Delhi.

Deb’s Talk to Punjab Farmers: Transcript

February 18, 2017February 18, 2017

Hindu Business Line Blink on Deb’s Work

February 5, 2017February 5, 2017

Laconte and Remy write on Basudha

January 1, 2017January 1, 2017
Dr. Philippe Laconte and Jean Remy wrote articles on Basudha's work on conservation and sustainability, in Reflets and Biodynamis: Cultiver la Vie.

Seedling of Vitex glabrata planted in Odisha

November 25, 2016November 25, 2016
Basudha Lab regenerated a few seedlings using tissue culture method from seeds of the last specimen of Vitex glabrata, that existed in a roadside sacred grove in Chhandar village of Bankura district of West Bengal. This Critically Endangered tree was cut down in March 2016. The first seedling was successfully transplanted in Kerandiguda village, near Basudha farm, on November 18, 2016.

Basudha’s Work mentioned in OFAI Source Book

June 1, 2016June 1, 2016
Basudha's Work and Debdulal's contribution mentioned in Shamika Mone's Source Book on Organic Seeds, published by OFAI, Goa.

Basudha Lab’s Report (Jan-Apr 2016) Published

April 25, 2016April 25, 2016
The First Quarterly Report of Basudha Biotechnology Laboratory for Conservation is published. Click to download

Deb presented agroecology before Gujarat Chief Minister

April 19, 2016April 19, 2016
Kapil Shah and D Deb were invited to gave presentation before the Chief Minister, Gujarat, to suggest (a) enlisting of agroecology experts outside of mainstream agriculture universities on faculty of the proposed Organic Agriculture University, (b) agroecological design of a demonstration plot of the university, and (c) exclusion of GMOs from the State.

Agroecology training in Chittagong, Bangladesh

April 12, 2016April 12, 2016
Deb gave agroecology training for farmers and NGOs at Chittagong, Bangladesh from 10-12 April 2016.

34 Rice Landraces Rescued from Nagaland

January 2, 2016January 2, 2016
D. Deb and Avik Saha visited the districts of Dimapur and Peren in Nagaland and rescued 34 traditional rice landraces from imminent risk of extinction from agricultural modernization.

New publication: Biochar effect on crop productivity

January 2, 2016
Recently published: "Variable effects of biochar and P solubilizing microbes on crop productivity in different soil conditions" DOI: 10.1080/21683565.2015.1118001. [Download PDF]

Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems journal mentions Basudha’s work

December 2, 2015December 2, 2015
Editorial of Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems vol. 39 (6), 2015 mentions Basudha's conservation and demonstration efforts.  [Download PDF]

New Demonstration Farm in Kashipur, West Bengal

November 28, 2015November 28, 2015
Under the auspices of Mr. Avik Saha, Basudha took over in November 2015 a new agroecological demonstration farm at Kashipur, West Bengal. This farm will (i) demonstrate agroecology and ecological fishery, and (ii) conserve multiple landraces of rice, millets, legumes and tubers.

New Study Published Showing Metal Profiles of 130 Rice Varieties

September 14, 2015September 14, 2015
In a recent issue of Current Science (10 Aug 2015), a new study on metal contents of 130 rice varieties was published, showing over 65 varieties containing high quantities of iron, and a unique variety containing a considerable amount of silver uptake and deposition in grains. This work was authored by D. Deb and Prof. T Pradeep, and Soujit Sengupta from IIT-Madras.

400 Indigenous Farmers Joining Force to Save Heirloom Seeds

May 19, 2015May 19, 2015
During a period of just 5 days, from the 13th June to 18th June, Basudha's campaign to save folk rice varieties persuaded over 400 farmer households to replace all modern rice varieties with heirloom varieties, on zero-external chemical input. D. Deb and Debdulal Bhattacharya visited 8 villages of Gendabaju and Kodisuru villages of Chandrapur block, Rayagada district of Odisha to talk with them about the value of indigenous rice varieties and the means to winning freedom from seed corporations and chemicals industry. Entire communities in these 8 villages, comprising over 400 farmer households, pledged to abandon all modern rice varieties, and grow indigenous seeds instead, on their farms. They would collect seeds free of cost from Virhi in early June. Kodisuru Gendabaju

22 Rice Landraces Rescued from Malkangiri District

March 26, 2015March 26, 2015
D. Deb surveyed 4 blocks in Odisha's Malkangiri district, and rescued 22 landraces to add to Vrihi's accession.

Biotechnology Lab for Conservation Opened in Aug 2014

August 26, 2014August 26, 2014
Basudha's Biotechnology Laboratory for Conservation opened in Kolkata on 12 August 2014, entirely funded by Mr. Avik Saha, cultural activist and lawyer, and Basudha's trustee. This laboratory is established with the explicit aim to promoting conservation of the country's biological heritage. The lab will remain engaged in studies to reveal genetic, biochemical and nutraceutical properties of folk rice varieties; and tissue culture of critically endangered plants to promote their conservation for the benefit of the local communities. This is the only lab in the country that runs on individual donations, and does not, and will not receive any institutional funding support from any governmental or corporate institutions, and is entirely aimed at biodiversity conservation. Read report in Times of India (New Delhi/Kolkata) 13 August.   [Download pdf]