BACKGROUND AND QUESTIONS In the Indian state of West Bengal many f.docx

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BACKGROUND AND QUESTIONS In the Indian state of West Bengal many farmers work as sharecroppers (bargadars in the Bengali language), renting land from landowners in exchange for a share of the crop. The traditional contractual arrangements throughout this state varied little from village to village, with virtually all bargadars giving half their crop to the landowner at harvest time. This had been the norm since at least the eighteenth century. However, because of the extreme levels of deprivation among the bargadars many thought this was unfair. In 1973, 73% of the rural population lived in poverty, one of the highest poverty rates in India. In 1978, the newly elected Left Front government of West Bengal adopted new laws, called Operation Barga. The new laws stated that: Bargadars could keep up to three-quarters of their crop. Bargadars were protected from eviction by landowners, provided they paid them the 25% quota.
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