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Operation Barga: An Exercise in Legal Empowerment? (A qualitative study of sharecroppers (‘bargadar’) and landowners in a West Bengal village)

Dasgupta, Rupsha LU (2011) SIMT32 20111
Master of Science in Development Studies
Graduate School
Department of Sociology
Abstract
The central premise of this thesis is an analysis of one major land reform programme (Operation Barga) initiated in the Indian state of West Bengal, from the Legal Empowerment of the Poor (LEP) perspective. Specifically, the research question addressed is the role of Operation Barga as a tool in legally empowering the poor bargadar (sharecroppers) and its impact on the landowners, over a period of thirty years, in a West Bengal village. It places the perspectives of the bargadar and the landowners at the centre of analysis in executing the research objective. The analytical framework used in the study is the LEP conceptual framework as expounded in the Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor (CLEP) Report, Vol. 1 (2008).
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The central premise of this thesis is an analysis of one major land reform programme (Operation Barga) initiated in the Indian state of West Bengal, from the Legal Empowerment of the Poor (LEP) perspective. Specifically, the research question addressed is the role of Operation Barga as a tool in legally empowering the poor bargadar (sharecroppers) and its impact on the landowners, over a period of thirty years, in a West Bengal village. It places the perspectives of the bargadar and the landowners at the centre of analysis in executing the research objective. The analytical framework used in the study is the LEP conceptual framework as expounded in the Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor (CLEP) Report, Vol. 1 (2008).
The study does not aim to generalize and hence the results only pertain to the study group. The study results reflect that Operation Barga did act as a tool of legal empowerment, securing the livelihood of the bargadar interviewed for this thesis. Furthermore, legal security of tenure that it entailed empowered the bargadar to negotiate land transactions, emerging as landowners themselves. It also played a role in facilitating better access to justice and protecting the rights bestowed on the bargadar by the Land Reforms Act of 1955 (amended). However, the impact on the landowners raises a question of parallel disempowerment. As Operation Barga helped secure the rights of the bargadar, the landowners were left unprotected, ending up in the throes of poverty in the long run. Thus, importantly, in order to make law work for the poor, a constant evaluation of legal reform should be in place that factors in the evolving socio-economic circumstances. (Less)
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author
Dasgupta, Rupsha LU
supervisor
organization
course
SIMT32 20111
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Operation Barga, bargadar, Legal empowerment of the poor, Commission on the legal empowerment of the poor
language
English
id
2155651
date added to LUP
2011-09-20 09:18:03
date last changed
2014-05-27 10:27:29
@misc{2155651,
  abstract     = {The central premise of this thesis is an analysis of one major land reform programme (Operation Barga) initiated in the Indian state of West Bengal, from the Legal Empowerment of the Poor (LEP) perspective. Specifically, the research question addressed is the role of Operation Barga as a tool in legally empowering the poor bargadar (sharecroppers) and its impact on the landowners, over a period of thirty years, in a West Bengal village. It places the perspectives of the bargadar and the landowners at the centre of analysis in executing the research objective. The analytical framework used in the study is the LEP conceptual framework as expounded in the Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor (CLEP) Report, Vol. 1 (2008). 
The study does not aim to generalize and hence the results only pertain to the study group. The study results reflect that Operation Barga did act as a tool of legal empowerment, securing the livelihood of the bargadar interviewed for this thesis. Furthermore, legal security of tenure that it entailed empowered the bargadar to negotiate land transactions, emerging as landowners themselves. It also played a role in facilitating better access to justice and protecting the rights bestowed on the bargadar by the Land Reforms Act of 1955 (amended). However, the impact on the landowners raises a question of parallel disempowerment. As Operation Barga helped secure the rights of the bargadar, the landowners were left unprotected, ending up in the throes of poverty in the long run. Thus, importantly, in order to make law work for the poor, a constant evaluation of legal reform should be in place that factors in the evolving socio-economic circumstances.},
  author       = {Dasgupta, Rupsha},
  keyword      = {Operation Barga,bargadar,Legal empowerment of the poor,Commission on the legal empowerment of the poor},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Operation Barga: An Exercise in Legal Empowerment? (A qualitative study of sharecroppers (‘bargadar’) and landowners in a West Bengal village)},
  year         = {2011},
}