The practice of bonded labor in many parts of India is the ugliest aspect of feudalism still prevalent in the agriculture economy of our country. A poor man, who in dire necessity, borrows a small amount of money from the money-lender is never able to pay it back. This gives rise to bonded labor. Greedy money-lenders exploit the laborers and flourish at their cost. Steps taken by the British government to abolish bonded labor did not meet with success. In India, in the absence of a powerful peasant movement the menace of bonded labor continues unabated. The Government had mobilized its machinery to tree the bonded labor and as a result, the countryside had been experiencing a sense of optimism. Mobilization of official machinery is necessary but not enough to eradicate this malady. A double pronged social and economic approach is needed to improve the lot of bonded labor.
The question of bonded labor is a part of the wider agrarian problem in our country. The major part of land is still monopolized by a small number of families in rural India and this is the root cause of exploitation of the poor section of rural India. The only remedy to deal with the problem of bonded labor in particular and the poor peasantry in general lies in the fundamental changes in the agrarian structure and social relations in the countryside. Alternative credit facilities would have to be provided to free the bonded laborers from the clutches of money-lenders. There is an urgent need to organize the rural poor to fight for their rights.