Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Jeffrey Witsoe




work, village, local, social, state, caste


This anthropological study aims to understand the role of activists in the day to day operation of the rights based policy, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), in India. MNREGA promises 100 days of employment to each household that makes a demand for such employment, providing an employment safety net for the large population of the Indian rural poor. Historically, government and local corruption in official and unofficial policy implementation structures have interfered with the efficiency of social relief and reform initiatives in India. Such systems of operation also impact the functioning of MNREGA. However, unlike previous initiatives to provide relief and support to the poor, MNREGA of the state of Andhra Pradesh has been able to achieve a level of success not witnessed before in the country. Such success has complexity in its origin, derived from cultural phenomena, historical events, and changing economic and political environments. All such factors contribute to the integral role of activists in the operation of the program within patronage bound village society. Thus, my research explores the role of activists in Andhra Pradesh, and their intermediary role in the claim to rights and citizenship by the rural poor.