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

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Neo-bondage, Not Sharecropping

  

The article “Labour Partnership, Sharecropping, and Tribal Migration: Unravelling the Bhagiya System in North Gujarat” by Tara Nair (EPW, 26 June 2021) fills a key gap in the studies of agrarian labour in India. There are very few existing studies of this mode of labour engagement that has expanded rapidly not only all over Gujarat but is also showing signs of expansion in other states.

The bhagiya system has evolved as a highly innovative form of labour extraction by the enterprising peasant classes of Gujarat. The innovation lies as much in changing the mode of payment for agricultural labour from daily wages to a share in the crop as much in calling it sharecropping. This serves the key purpose of avoiding the labour laws, most important being minimum wages. The author, in spite of her rigorous description of the system, seems to have fallen into this trap and refers to the system as a distinct form of sharecropping in her conclusions.

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Updated On : 7th Nov, 2022
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