There are many in our countries who idealize our villages. Gandhiji was one of them. Rabindranath also had a yearning for the quiet countryside. During the days of non-co-operation, there was a resounding cry—’Back to Villages’. And yet few of us today would wish to be permanent dwellers in a village. We do not wish to be left in the back-water of a bygone age. No one will, for a moment, undervalue the quietness, even the beauty or poetry of the green fields, the blue skies found in the village. The city and not idyllic village is the place where most of the work is done today.
Villages, of course, cannot be abolished. We must have villages where the tillers of the soil live in close touch with the earth; Villages of today cannot be at all like the villages of the past. They will have to be urbanized. They will have to be something between a village and a town by green corn-fields.
The first step towards this urbanization is to bring electricity to every cottage. A lighted nighttime will mean an extension of the day and therefore, more work and amusement. Fortunately, our hydroelectric multipurpose schemes of Bhakra Nangal, Damodar, Hirakund, and Tungabhadra largely carry electric power to distant villages. Actually all villages of Punjab are now electrified. In some other states, also electricity has travelled far into interior village.
Large-scale farming with mechanized ploughs will lead to vast increase in production and therefore in rural prosperity. Electrical motor will pump water from rivers and from deep tube-wells for irrigating land. In a similar way, dairy and poultry farming are springing up in villages like Bally and Haringhata in West Bengal.
Rural economy rests on agriculture, backed by small scale and cottage industries. The importance of the artisan find the craftsman can hardly be over-stated. Ambitious project of developing cottage industries on the Japanese model may do something to change the outlook in our villages.
A modern village will have scope for many new industries. The, future villages of my dream will have all the amenities of the city without the congested living. For a city today is nothing but a concrete jungle. Villages in many states have been brought under the Panchayet system. They are now expected to prosper and throb with new life, with villagers moving at a faster pace.