Remittance and the change of the socio-cultural status of the marginal farmer- an anthropological study on Saherkholavallage of Narsingdi District

Bangladesh is a densely populated country in the world and manpower is the important sector of her economy. As International migration play a pivotal role in developing country; it is pertinent to study the profound effect of the remittance which have effect on Bangladesh society in general and receiving household in particular. However, literature on these important aspects of remittance has been lacking. There is a long history labor migration from Bangladesh to many other parts of the world. Migration from Bangladesh to the middle east has been the most significant, however, since the mid-1976s migrants are recorded to have gone abroad during the last three and half decades for temporary employment, mainly to the Middle east. Saudia Arabia has been the destination of half of these workers. But at prasent , a large number of migrants are working in UAE, Malaysia, Singapore and some other country of Europe. A great body of literature exists on the economic and social impact of overseas migration and remittance on the economy and society of Bangladesh.Since 2001, both the outflow of workers and inflow of remittance have increased sharply from rural areas. There is dearth of empirical work on the effects of these resent inflows of remittance. Present study aims to understand the casual relationship between remittance and socio-economic status of marginal farmers who are receiving remittance. It was carried out on November, only with respondents from Saherkhola village at Raipura Thana under Narsingdi districts. Migrants who are working overseas at least five years have significant changed in their life style, they are now well off economically which helps them to have a mobility in their social position, changing the cultural of rural area due to remittance. This study will attempt to identify the role of remittance in changing socio-economic status of marginal farmer. Marxist theory of social stratification has some justification in rural Bangladesh, Max Weber theory was found to be more suitable in depicting the picture of rural social stratification and socio-economic power and social stratification. Polarization and Differentiation process of rural farmers are shown due to remittance and how poor farmers become more marginal and emergence of new class in society. Data collection on this issue reveal the fact that there has been a clear indication of reorganizing and reshaping the rural social stratification and it is mainly because of the impact of foreign remittance. Most of the people working in overseas countries are from the marginal and poor families. They are making money and sending which changing their life style, it show a vertical mobility in the rural areas of Bangladesh. This study tried to show how Remittance changing socio-economic condition, power structure and status of marginal farmer.

Bangladesh is a country of 160 million populations with a population density 1142/ Bangladesh .There is a long history of migration in Bangladesh. Labor migration opens a new era for Bangladesh. For the last three decades many people of the rural areas of Bangladesh are going to overseas countries to earn money. Most of them from the families of the marginal and poor farmers and they are either unskilled or semi skilled workers. All these people are away from their family and sending money to their family and relatives. The income of these families has increased remarkably. Whereas an agricultural labors in Bangladesh cannot earn more than three or four thousand per month as unskilled worker in who is working outside Bangladesh is earning around fifty thousand per month. Indeed their income is more than that of the many rich farmers of the rural societies. Because of this scenario there has been a gradual but regular change and alternation within the existing rural social position. In fact poor and marginal farmers in the rural area are emerging as remittance receiver who is going to play a significant role in rural society and economy. That is why; the purpose of this study is to investigate that how remittance influences to change the status of marginal farmer.

Around the world people move in and out of places every day, and they have done so throughout human history. Their pattern of movement reflects the condition an ever changing world. In return, it has high impact on the socio-cultural and economic landscapes of the places of their origin. It transforms the local communities of their interaction with orientation to the advanced technologies, fashion, and accessories etc. It has influential effects on the lives of family of emigrants to except their change and improve their livelihood. Since, 1976s, Bangladesh has been one of the major labor exporting countries to the Middle East. Thus the importance of foreign remittance in the economy of Bangladesh is widely recognized and required little reiteration. Along with the readymade garment sector and non –farm activities in the agriculture sector, remittance have been identified as one of the three key factors that have been responsible for reducing the overall incidence of poverty in Bangladesh (Osmani2004). The volume of remittance from Bangladesh migrant workers exceeded US$ 4 Billion in early 2007(The Daily star, 2007), a figure which dwarfs the amount of yearly foreign direct assistance received by the century.

It is therefore striking that very limited empirical work has been done in relation to the actual impact of remittance on incomes as well as social improvement. Azad (2006) and Siddiqui (2007) explored, in a mainly qualitative fashion, the potential of remittance as a source for micro-finance initiatives. There line of reasoning suggests, without implying causality , that remittance can feasibly be consider as falling within purview of pro-poor initiatives. Bruyn and Kuddus (2005) examined the dynamics of remittance utilization without drawing firm conclusion on its effectiveness as a poverty alleviation tool.

Indeed any comment of the above mentioned aspect of remittance will at best be speculative unless supported by firm empirical evidence. We therefore propose to carry out empirical study on the effect of remittance on rapid incomes which have direct influence on socio-economic condition, socio-cultural status, rural power structure etc, in order to remove such speculation and channel the discourse away from the quantities realm onto a more secure, qualitative footing. Such an effort is necessary in order to derive more accurate conclusions which will greatly assist in understanding changes in rural areas and the formulation of guidelines for future policy.