On academic discussion point of view I would say that Ms. Kiran Bedi's TV program on resolving live conflicts in marrital relations was also a ambitious infra-power project which many of the aam adamai could not rleate to due ot being summersed in his / her own millions of day-to-day struggling problems. Some of the readers may disagree to above but let us see the effects of infra-power and how it is weilded effectivley in Urban India un-noticed and or encouraged by the State herself !
In the context of Mumbai, a particular notion prevalent at street-level provides good insight into the systems of infra-power: Powertoni is a Mumbai-street slang term abbreviating Power-of-Attorney to a colloquial understanding of ‘the wherewithal to get things done’; an ability to bend or break the rules (laws) as one sees fit. Shiv Sena musclemen often use the term to describe the free hand they are given to carry out their duty – they are working for Bal Thackeray (the Shiv Sena superimo), and so have powertoni from him. Thus, powertoni signifies a power that does not originate in oneself, but a power that one holds usually by virtue of violence, on somebody else’s behalf. Who the ‘someone else’ is, is at times unclear:
Illustration: David, the handyman in the area claims his powertoni from his past acts of violence. “Shuru mein mene saat supari khaya hein” he tells me, which literally translates to ‘in the beginning, I ate seven beetle-nuts’. That is, what gave David his initial powertoni were the seven murders he was paid to commit. Now no one even bothers to find out whom he killed or at whose behest (or whether he actually killed anyone at all); everyone simply knows he has powertoni. This goes back to the definitional core of infra-power – it is non-obvious, non-formal, and ephemeral: invisible to the casual passer-by. Individuals, like the local hoodlum, or a respected gang member might possess powertoni, as might groups, like gangs. Being in possession of infra-power, that is, signifies an agency outside of the formal channels, a sovereignty beyond the state, a know-how of the city not only to get things done, but importantly also to provide security in times of need. Infra-power can mean access to the benign – getting front seats at a local cricket match, or the material signs of “the good life: cellular phones…air-conditioning, visits to [the local] red-light area”, as well as the more critical aspects of urban livelihood – protection from violence and harm, a secured space to live, or access to employment.
It is important to re-state that even though infra-power refers particularly to non-state and extralegal channels of agency, the potency of infra-power is also tapped into by State (or ‘legitimate’) actors such as policemen (as say illustration mentioned above), labour leaders (like that of Chandavarkar 1994) and politicians (like that of Shiv Sena's 'plebeian' political culture as undermining democratic rule). In sum, infra-power not only competes with the authority (monopoly) of the State, but it can also collude or even have a corrosive effect on it.
Source: Paper presented at the 9th Annual Global Development Network Conference, ‘Security for Development: Confronting Threats to Survival and Safety’ in Brisbane, Australia; January 29 – 31, 2008