How Do Women Respond in the Context of Acquisition of Agricultural Land? A Micro Level Study in Semi-Urban South Bengal, India


Kanti Das, Bidhan, and Nabanita Guha. 2016.  “How Do Women Respond in the Context of Acquisition of Agricultural Land? A Micro Level Study in Semi-Urban South Bengal, India.”  Indian Journal of Human Development 10 (2):  253-69.

Authors: Bidhan Kanti Das, Nabanita Guha


The state’s ‘eminent domain’ provision under colonial Land Acquisition Act, 1894 is the major cause that forcefully dispossesses the peasantry of their major means of production, that is, land. Though it facilitates rapid industrialization, it has a severe impact on affected persons that often leads to socio-economic impoverishment. Despite the existence of a significant number of studies on the relationship and impacts of development-forced displacement and resettlement in general, only a few studies focus on gender issues. Moreover, there is complete absence of studies on the consequences, which women face in the context of acquisition of agricultural land, where the affected persons are not physically relocated. Based on a micro-level field study, it tries to explore what the affected persons, particularly the women, do when the productive assets like agricultural lands have been acquired for private industries. Furthermore, it tries to examine whether there is any impact on the members of neighbouring families, particularly the women, whose lands have not been acquired. Analyzing the village-level data in an industrial zone of South Bengal, India, it is revealed that land acquisition forced the affected women to go outside for earning, thereby enhancing their position in the family in an agrarian environment. This positively affected the neighbouring women and made them engage in income-generating activities, breaking the cultural traditions of non-participation of women in outside work and patriarchal subjugation, prevalent in peasant societies of India.

Keywords: Land acquisition Act 1894, occupational change, utilisation of compensation money, South Bengal

Topics: Agriculture, Displacement & Migration, Forced Migration, Economies, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Land Grabbing, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2016

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at