ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Agrarian Forces and Relations in West Bengal

Agrarian Forces and Relations in West Bengal J Mohan Rao IN a paper candidly acknowledging the 'rural rides' rather than extended research on which its conclusions are based, John Harriss ('What Is Happening in Rural West Bengal? Agrarian Reform, Growth and Distribution', EPW, June 12, 1993) has nevertheless put us in his debt by providing a sweeping interpretation of the changes occurring in the Bengali countryside over the period of Left Front rule. He squarely confronts the Marxist/' social-democratic' /reformist government's claim that the significant improvement in West Bengal's agricultural performance and in the living standards of its rural poor are due to the structural changes in agrarian relations brought about by its reform policies. And in arriving at his negative verdict, Harriss finds reason to set aside previous diagnoses of the causes of agricultural stagnation based on the distribution of rural property and power, and the modes of surplus appropriation they support.

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