Rural Life and Society in India
Rural life and society in a typical Indian village is very simple. Rural areas are also referred to as ‘villages’. The villagers have a common way of living, dressing, food habits, shelter and manners, etc. The people in the village have a lot of homogeneity and enjoy more and less the same social status. In the villages, due to homogeneity, an associative attitude of community development has developed although there is very little scope for occupational mobility because agriculture is still the main occupation of the people.
In the village the family still plays a predominant role. Its hold is very strong and it is required to perform many important functions. Educational and recreational associations do not divert a man from the family responsibility.
In a village each member tries to confirm his behavior to established norms of conduct. He is able to understand the shortcomings and qualities of the members of his community.
In rural societies there are no turmoil’s and as such there is not much of individuality. The speed of change is slow and there is usually not acute problem of social adaptability in day-to-day life.
In the rural society culture is deep-rooted. It is part and parcel of social life. The villagers love their culture and cultural heritage, therefore pure culture can be found in the villages alone.
In the villages the people have face-to-face and primary contacts with each other with the result that the chances of crime are the minimum. It is primarily because stolen goods cannot be hidden, and secondly it is easy to trace the people of doubtful character.
Village life is uniform. Energetic and active individual’s frustrated from life find the village a sort of closed lane for them. In the villages there is little social stratification. The problems of class conflicts do not worry the people. There are no extremes and, in most walks of life, the people feel near to each other.
In India’s villages there are many factions. A faction is a section of people inclined to a certain type of thinking almost unknowingly and willingly. The factions develop due to personal interests i.e. an individual might become part of a faction simply because he might feel that his interests can best be served by joining that group. He might go on extending support to that faction under all circumstances as long as that faction serves his purposes. Then it can be due to political reasons. The people belonging to a political ideology might form one faction as opposed to another faction with a different ideology. Then there can be occupational factions that the people professing a type of profession or vocation might become part of one set of the people forming another type of quite opposite profession and vocation, thus having clashing and conflicting interests. It can also be faction based on caste with a view to either establishing its supremacy or superiority or seizing power or authority and the attempt might be checked or resisted by the people belonging to other caste faction.
Thus in every village there may be caste and political factions. The Constitution and state do not take cognizance of the caste system but in actual practice caste system plays a role in the power structure. The whole village is divided on the basis of caste. Elections to all the elected bodies are held with caste considerations. The votes are cast on caste lines. Decisions are made and views to problems taken, taking caste in consideration. In fact in the village every activity is based on caste and political factions. Without political or caste faction it is difficult to think of any power structure in the village. To be more precise power structure in the village is more influenced by caste than political considerations.
The horizontal ties of a caste too are important, for a caste group living in one village has strong links with its counterparts in other villages, and in several spheres of life members of the same caste living in different villages tend to act together.
The underprivileged sections in the rural economy – the self-employed peasants, the artisans, the landless agricultural workers – are getting politicized and are becoming more and more assertive. The recent tensions in the rural areas, the tenacity with which this section has started defending itself show its new mood. It is indeed a grim commentary on the role of all political parties which stand for a radical transformation of the socio-economic system that this broadest strata has so far remained unorganized.