The author is Associate Professor, Centre for Economic Studies & Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. firstname.lastname@example.org
The marginal farmer is today pitted against the hegemony of the state and its collaborator—the private developer, even as the developing economy fails to provide alternative livelihoods to those in search of non-farm employment.
Do Bigha Zameen’ (1953) is a classic Bimal Roy film about the plight of Shambhu Mahato, a marginal farmer who owns two bighas (measurements vary from one region to another, ~1333 square meter in West Bengal, where the story unfolds) of land. Thakur Harnam Singh, to whom Shambhu is in debt for having borrowed a small amount several years ago, wants to sell his land for a modern mill to a city based businessman. Since Shambhu’s land lies between two...