Labor processes in rural Bihar: A set of survival strategies
Nilesh Kumar and Mrityunjay Pandey
This research is an enquiry into the rural labour process through a village study located in the Madhepura district of Bihar. Production condition and exchange relation intertwined with socio-economic hierarchy in the village creates a specific mix of labour processes as a set of survival strategies. Survival strategies of worker household is a response to unfolding distress due to neoliberal accumulation strategies.
Households dependent on agrarian income are largely of three categories Landowner cultivator, Tenant Cultivator and Agriculture worker. With the rising cost of cultivation, landowner cultivator is in the interest of diversifying their sources of income continuing with cultivation or leasing out land since the non-agrarian source of income is yet to assure. The village is largely backyard support for the landed class to search for a sustainable avenue outside the village. Tenant Cultivators household is holding back with subsistence farming using family labour to upgrade their status in the social hierarchy as a cultivator. Agriculture worker households are the largest group of households dependent on insufficient agrarian income surviving on the mix of unsustainable livelihood strategies through frequent circular migration between farm and non-farm activity.