Our Indian Villages | Backwardness | Changing | Markets

Our Indian Villages | Backwardness | Changing | Markets

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Backwardness of Our Indian Villages

Our Indian Villages | Backwardness | Changing | Markets

➤ Seventy-five percent of Indians live in villages. The backwardness of Indian villages means, therefore, the backwardness of India itself. Village uplift is a Himalayan task.

The problem has been made more difficult and complicated by the uncontrolled increase of population. There is too much pressure on land.

Backwardness of Indian villages means absence of education and economic well-being.

➤ Every village should be connected with the other villages and larger towns and cities by metalled roads. Most villages are so far away from markets that village trade has become almost impossible.

Given roads and quick and cheap communication, our villages can grow money crops and also sell other products many miles away.

Electricity, cheap and abundant, will enable our villagers to run power-driven cottage industries. We are very poor in power economy.

Cattle dung is used up as fuel. If in every village cooking was done in every cottage by gas and electricity, cowdung could be used as manure and per acre production of crop could go up.

➤ There should be a network of canals all over India. Flood control and river valley projects, and also the supply of cheap artificial manure, would be instrumental in removing the backwardness of Indian villages.

Poultry-keeping, cattle-breeding on sound scientific lines, bee-keeping, fish culture, fruit orchards, and the destruction of pests could do a lot in removing the backwardness of Indian villages.

➤ Every village should have a school and a playground, a library and a reading room. Also, there should be one hospital for every three or four villages.

Family planning and population control are necessary conditions for removing the backwardness of Indian villages. Co-operative farming has not made much headway.

Then there is over-fragmentation of land. Many are the evils from which Indian village life is suffering. There is an alarming amount of wasteful and expensive litigation.

Crime is also on the increase. May our people and our Government succeed in the years to come in tackling the Himalayan task of the removal of the backwardness of Indian villages.

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Our Changing Villages

Our Indian Villages | Backwardness | Changing | Markets

➤ The best results and the richest values of freedom do not lie only in such things as elections, panchayats and parliaments, but in a new and growing mass-consciousness.

Our newly-won has freedom given a new soul to India. Slowly but surely a new social self-knowledge is being born in the new Indian villager.

➤ The old Indian villager was like dumb driven cattle. His sould and body were not his own. His field and labour were not his own.

He was at the mercy of the landlord, the Patwari or Lekhapal, the money-lender and many others. He knew no happiness. From birth to death he knew no carefree laughter.

He was deprived of the joy of living. He had only wrongs and no rights. About the teeming millions of old Indian villagers it could truly be said that:
Chill penury repressed their noble rage
And froze the genial current of the soul.
➤ In the case of the new Indian villager, the deadening effect and the stupor of the dark past have begun to disappear. The quickening effects of freedom and franchise are creating a new type of Indian villager.
The new Indian villager is becoming more spirited, more mentally alert, he is becoming progressively conscious of his rights and of his place in society.

He had begun to feel that his land and labour truly belong to him. He is becoming Indian-conscious and somewhat world-conscious.

This mental and moral awakening has untold possibilities. The pathetic contentment of the old Indian villager has given place in the new Indian villager to a healthy discontent.

The shock of the new life has in many cases proved too much for him and along with promising qualities he has begun to show criminal trends. New checks and balances are needed for his forward moving life.

➤ For the first time the Indian villagers are becoming aware of a mass renaissance. The new Indian villager is not a headline in the newspapers. But he is there all the same.

He is coming slowly but surely into his own. We feel a new presence in the atmosphere, a presence that is not to be put by. This new presence is the new Indian villager.

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Our Indian Village Markets

Our Indian Villages | Backwardness | Changing | Markets

➤ Every Indian village does not and cannot have a market doing business every day or even for six days in a week.

The smallest market with four or five dozen shops and stalls will need, on average, about a thousand people to do shopping daily.

Most Indian villages do not have a population of even a thousand people. And those villages which have a much larger population do not have a thousand people who can do daily shopping.

Thus a market in every village will be uneconomical. Daily markets are for only towns and cities.

➤ About five per cent villages have weekly markets to which sellers and buyers come from the neighboring villages. These markets or bazaars last from afternoon to sunset.

➤ Village markets are of  various kinds. In some of them cattle are bought and sold. Villagers are agriculturists.

Although tractors are slowly coming more and more into use, the bulk of Indian agriculture is still carried on with the help of cattle. Hence the need for weekly cattle markets.

➤ The purchasing power of about ninety-nine per cent villagers is very limited. They are poverty-stricken.

Their needs also are very limited. Weekly village markets are held for the sale of the agricultural and cottage industry products of the villages.

Coarse grain, khandsari, mustard oil, sugarcane, vegetables, cheap sweetmeats, fish and meat seasonal fruits are bought and sold in the weekly open air village markets.

A few articles from the cities also find their way into the village markets.

A few articles from the cities also find their way into the village markets, such as needles and threads, cheap mirrors and combs, wooden caskets, some articles of personal decoration for women, utensils, hand-loom and mill-made cloth, cheap ready made garments, spices, cigarettes, betel and tobacco leaves, groundnuts, salt etc.

➤ The habit of tea-drinking is spreading fast to villages. So village markets now also have tea stalls.

Paper and stationery are also available for students of village schools. Crude ornaments of cheap metals are also an item in the village bazaar.

➤ Village markets also serve as meeting places for friends and acquaintances from the neighboring villages.

They provide some change colour in the otherwise monotonous and colorless life of Indian villagers. They keep the wheels of our rural economy going.

➤ As the evening begins to close, the shopkeepers begin packing up their wares and winding up their shops and they return to their respective villages with the gains of the day.

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