What are the Salient Features of Indian Rural Social Structure?

Rural Social Structure: every society has certain units. It is these units that form the social set up or social structure. These units are inter-related and through their study, it is possible to study the behavior patterns of the society. This is true of the Indian society, particularly the Indian Rural Society.

In Indian Rural Society, different villages are the units and they have geographical, moral and other types of structures. Their behavior pattern, there believes ideas, faiths etc. are also different from one another. For the proper study of the Indian Rural Society, the units that from the social structure have to be studied.

Units of Rural Social Structure: we have just now seen that the villages form the units of the Rural Society. These villages have their own structure. The structure formed out of the following units:-

1) Family 2) Caste System 3) Internal Organisation 4) Religion 5) Economic System.

If scientific and proper study of the Indian social structure is to be made, these units have to be studied in detail. Let us taken them up one by one.

1) The family:

Family is the basic unit of Indian social structure. It occupied an important place in the Rural Society. Apart from performing various basic and important tasks, the family also brings about socialisation social control and also performs various basic and important tasks; the family also brings about socialaisation, social control and also performs various economic activities. It is the agency that controls the religion activities particularly in the Rural Society. It has the following characteristics:

a) Patriarchal family structure, b) joint family system, c) extended family structure.

2) Caste-System:

The second unit of the social organisation of social structure of the Rural Society in the Caste System. Through the institution, the functions status, occupation role and social position are determined. In fact it is an inverse system or reverse system or traditions. The caste system is based on endogamy and sometimes has common economic position or linkage.

It is a perverts from of old economic classification. The following extract throws light on the origin of the Indian Caste System. The origin of Indian caste sometimes is traced from the penetration of the Aryans, who devised the system for the division of labor in their society. The traditional divisions have long since been complicated over laid by innumerable sub-division into multitude of several thousands different caste which marred the social structure of India.

It clearly shown that Indian caste system is the result of different caste units. There is social stratification on the Rural Society which gives birth the caste-system. The caste system is based on certain customs and traditions. As a result of those customs and tradition various factors are determined, which in their form determine the Caste System as such is an endogamous group. Normally it has the following characteristics:-

1) Limited to the persons born within that caste. 2) Endogamous group, 3) Determined occupation.

3) The internal organisation:

This internal organisation governs and determines the social and individual life of the people living in a particular village. Normally every village has a Panchayat and its head; it is elected with the consent of almost all the adult members of the village. Such as revenue, law and order etc, generally there is a village Panchayat, a village Nyay Panchayat, Panchayat of different castes and certain other social, religious and political group’s voluntary groups.

That are indented at helping the villagers are maintaining the religious customs and traditions play a vital role in determining the internal organisation and working of the villagers and village life.

4) Religion and religious organisation:

Like caste, family internal organisation etc, religion is an important unit of the village social structure of organisation. In fact religion means worship of the super natural power. This super natural power means god and other gods and deities, worship of supernatural power and the ditties form an important part of village life. Villages have there own gods and deities.

In fact all those patrons of behaviors that are helpful in removing uncertainties of man’s everyday lie are known as religion. Indian life which in its real form it today represented only by the village life based on religion.

5) Economic system:

Economic system has now come to occupy an important place in every social structure. In fact economic system determines not only the social structure but various other things. It includes the means and the system of production system of distribution, sharing of profit etc, according to Raymond forth; social and economic activities are inter-related have a mutual relationship.

They are interring dependent. In fact economic system very much determines the social structure. According to economic conditions the activities of a man are determined. This is true of the village society as well. The economic system of the villages is based of the following two factors:-

A) Functional specialisation and b) Inter-dependence.

In village society as we have seen earlier different castes have different occupations and functions. In other words their economic activities are determined by their social conditions. A particular social group has performed particular type of economic activities. For example the social group or the caste that is known as washer man is responsible for washing the clothes; no one can be to that profession.

They have monopoly over the washing of clothes and they are prohibited taking to any other thing. In this manner they have a functional specialisation.

But in villages functional specialisation is not free from interdependence of people of a particular caste do a particular thing, members of other castes or social groups have to depend on them for fulfillment of their economic needs of earning their livelihood but also help the member of other social group to do their livelihood but also help members of other social group to do their job. Because of the backwardness of the economic position the social structure of the villages is also backward. It has to be studied in proper prospective so that real progress can be made.