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

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Caste, Gender and Class in Panchayats-Case of Barddhaman, West Bengal

Case of Barddhaman, West Bengal G K Lieten A truly emancipatory movement requires continuous political and social action leading to enfranchisement This essay highlights an aspect of enfranchisement by examining closely the functioning of the panchayat institution in West Bengal. Empirical material from one block in the district of Barddhaman is the primary reference and additional material from a block in Birbhum is the secondary reference AN emancipatory movement, which the CPI(M) in West Bengal claims to represent, should be expected not only to provide a sufficient and equitable access to economic resources, but also to strive at emancipation from oppressive social and political forces. A mere equitable share of basic economic assets and access to credit, inputs and markets may allow for economic development, but, as Anisur Rahman has noted, poverty alleviation programmes tend to transfer the dependence of Door households from one source to another. Such program- mes often remain "a narrow management notion subject to manipulation by those who would enjoy the monopoly of social knowledge" [Rahman 1984:11].

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