OUT THERE IN INDIAN VILLAGES (June-2005)


OUT THERE IN INDIAN VILLAGES

When we think of villages, what comes in front of our eyes is green fields full of crops, numerous big trees and plants, small ponds, lined huts, grazing cattle, green grass, muddy roads, birds chirping, children playing and people dressed in simple clothes. The mere thought of a village takes us back to our roots. The fragrance of the soil brings in the freshness in the air. But there are many who can just relate with these villages as another place to live in where the life is slightly tougher.

India is a country of villages. About 627,000 of them scattered through the country. Most of these are very small with a population of about 1000 people. The primary occupation of the majority of Indian villagers is – agriculture. Here, in the face of difficulties of all kinds, farmers follow time- tested as well as innovative methods of growing wheat, rice, lentils, vegetables, fruits, and many other crops. But to the great extent all the agricultural outputs are spent in order to accomplish the challenging task of feeding the millions in the nation.

Besides agriculture some other occupations have also started growing in the recent years. Today we can see some more government officials; we also find a variety of businesses running and we might find some more value driven tasks being taken up by more aware villagers today. With the development of ICT, we can also find the villages bridging the gap between themselves and the services and information.

Here, too, flourish many of India’s most valued cultural forms. Various handicrafts like paintings, potteries etc. are also carried out in villages as occupation.

People at villages are generally hard-working. To rise before the first ray of sun touches the earth, to work hard for the whole day, to spend evenings in some discussions at the common places like choupals and local shops, sit together to hum the folk songs and occasional participation in group dances, cultural performances etc. is the way of life for these villagers. The children learn their responsibilities soon. They start helping their parents in work. With schools available now, they also go for the classes. Now there are more opportunities even for the adults in villages – for literacy and basic education – where they can try to gain what they missed.


Most villages are characterized by a multiplicity of economic, caste, kinship, occupational, and even religious groups linked vertically within each settlement. Factionalism is a typical feature of village politics. In one of the first modern anthropological studies of Indian village life, anthropologist Oscar Lewis called this complexity "rural cosmopolitanism."

In a single village the number of castes found can vary from one to more than forty. The villages per say the communities are the carriers of the thought and firm beliefs of several castes and creeds in India. Many customs, rituals and age old traditions follow along with this system. Sometimes the customs and traditions also get infused into certain superstitions as well.

Each village is connected through a variety of crucial horizontal linkages with other villages and with urban areas as well.

There was a time when villagers used to be the easy prey to the Zamindars (landlord’s) who used to exploit villagers for earning larger margins and direct benefits with several merciless practises. With the government imposing laws against such tyranny, the villagers got a free environment. Today there are several facilities and advantages they got from the modern rules of their development.

Certain villages have reached at a good economical status in last few years. Today we find the cemented houses, bigger shops, cinema halls etc. in villages as well. A lot of people own not only the bullocks and the tractors but also the two- wheelers these days. The social ceremonies like marriages, festivals, pooja rituals etc. are carried out in a grand way though, accounting for a very low percentage.

Problems faced by the villagers are still uncountable. The root level problems are sometimes even hard to figure out from the top. However, the general problems faced by the villages are Bad-shaped roads, no electricity, low level of education at schools, no colleges, agriculture- related problems etc. Several measures are taken by the Government to minimize these difficulties but several villages still look for the reach. The economic condition of the people in village is also mostly critical. People at village still believe in getting more helping hands by having more children. This mentality makes their families big. As their resources remain limited, the economic condition falls. Besides, even when other occupations have arrived in the villages, agriculture still stands out as the basic work. On some grounds, more pressure falls on land by several people involved in the agriculture field. This also brings a bad outcome not only to the farmers but even to the fertility of land.

The solidarity of a village is always riven by conflicts, rivalries, and factionalism. Living together in intensely close relationships over generations, struggling to wrest a livelihood from the same limited area of land and water sources, closely watching some grow fat and powerful while others remain weak and dependent, fellow villagers are prone to disputes, strategic contests, and even violence. Further, the increased involvement of villagers with the wider economic and political world outside the village via travel, work, education, and television; expanding government influence in rural areas have resulted in increased factionalism and competitiveness in many parts of rural India.

The solutions of all these problems can be listed out but the challenge is to provide every village with it. Though the consciousness level of the villagers has grown in the recent time, they still need a lot of assistance. The villages are the pillars on which India has been build up. It’s the responsibility of every citizen here to work towards the strengthening of those pillars. The developing India can’t move towards the ultimate level of progress with the advanced cities. It needs to carry these villages too and for that it needs to work on the front of their development by reaching out to their problems and making the solutions reach them in an effective way.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

प्रेम ही है या प्रेम सा कुछ और है ये?

सोचा कुछ तुमपर लिखूँ।

Time Tells