Inequalities in Rural Bangladesh: Causes, Effects and Remedies
The present paper is prepared based on a research program entitled “The Changing Pattern of Inequality in Rural Bangladesh: An Anthropological Study of Two Natore Villages”. In this research, inequality refers to the unequal patterns of economy, differential level of power and status that influence the human life style as well as the society. In the backdrop of declining importance of kinship and traditional social organizations, the growing tendency of mutual dependence of the rich and the poor villagers has contributed to the reduction of social inequality. While adoption of innovations in agriculture mostly by a class of farmers, the effect of environment and the differential opportunity of new jobs help continue the economic inequality in the rural society. Amidst such social and economic situation, the leadership as well as exercise of power has become dichotomized into traditional and modern leadership. Again modern leadership is multi-centered which has created a balanced-condition in generation and exercise of power in the villages. As a result, the traditional leadership is gradually disappearing giving place to the new.
However, the pattern of inequality in the society is indeed complex and changing in nature. It is the outcome of the interplay among the factors of power, status and economic forces. Hence, the inherent nature of inequality can neither be understood nor its magnitude minimized without grasping them as a whole. Eventually, inequality would take ultimate shape how these three societal- currents and counter- currents will be minimized in the society.
Keywords: Field Work, Rural Kinship, Social Organizations, Economic Inequality, Rural Power Structure, Social Status
Md. Abul Hashem Hashem
Executive Director, Non Government Organization (NGO), Resource and Human Development Association (REHUDA)