Eesvan Krishnan


In December 2007, in response to protests against the compulsory acquisition of land for special economic tones and other industrial projects, most notoriously at Nandigram and Singur, the UPA-I government proposed changes to the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 ('LAA 1894') of a scope and significance unprecedented in independent India. There exists, however, a comparable albeit forgotten precedent of reforming intent and ambition from the late (British) Ra. In 1927, the Maharashtrian nationalist N. C Kelkar (1872- 1947) proposed what was described as a 'revolutionary' private member1Billto amend the LIAA 1894, inspired in part by a satyagraha, a few years earlier, against land acquisition for a privately-constructed dam. The Bill met with serious opposition from officials and was ultimately withdrawn, a failure which this article attempts to explain in light of the history of land acquisition and the political economy of the inter-war years.