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The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library


‘From the Margins to the Abyss: India’s changing meatscapes’, 5th March, 2015.

‘From the Margins to the Abyss: India’s changing meatscapes’

Dr. Zarin Ahmad,
Independent Researcher,
New Delhi.


This presentation looks at India's changing meatscapes as a lens in interrogating social justice. Historical evidence shows that meat has been considered marginal to city spaces politically, spatially and socially. Butchers have lived and worked in an intricate web of social, spatial and occupational relations. The meat sector is undergoing critical transformations in contemporary India – they pertain to the economic, technological and geographical domains. However spatial and technological relocation is not merely about losing skill sets and livelihoods. It challenges the very access to labour and uproots people from social and emotional spaces. Based on a multi-sited ethnography of India's changing meatscapes, the speaker argues that social justice is not just about economic and distributive aspects but needs to be addressed beyond these simple binaries.


Dr. Zarin Ahmad is trained in Political Science and International Studies. Her doctoral thesis was based on refugees and Muslim minorities in Sri Lanka in the context of the war. She is currently engaged in research on India’s meat sector and on Islamic laws and customary practices of inheritance among Muslims in India.

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