The change in village community may be seen in different spheres.
(i) Caste System:
The British rule in India gave a serious blow to the caste system in the villages. The economic policy and the laws of British rulers induced the different castes to adopt occupations other than the traditional ones.
The hold of caste panchayat was loosened. The status of a village man was determined on the basis of his economic position and personal attainments. The restrictions on food, dress, mode of living and other matters imposed under caste system were removed.
Even untouchability was weakened. Thus caste system has now lost its traditional hold in the villages; however, casteism is getting strengthened on account of selfish political interests.
(ii) Jajmani System:
As remarked earlier in the chapter ‘Social Stratification in India’ the “Jajmani” system, a feature of village community in India has now weakened due to the governmental efforts to raise the status of the lower castes and impact of urbanization. The occupations adopted by the village people are not entirely hereditary or based on caste system, nor the payment for services rendered by the lower caste in kind; it is now mostly cash payment.
(iii) Family System:
The joint family system is no longer the peculiar characteristic of the village community. Nuclear families have taken its place. The family control over its members in matters of diet, dress and marriage has weakened.
The family is no longer an economic unit. Several activities which once were carried within the family are now performed by outside agencies. The education of village girls has raised the status of rural women.
(iv) Marriage System:
Change can also be seen in the institution of marriage. Although inter-caste marriages are rare and parents continue to dominate the mate-choice, yet the boys and girls are consulted by the parents in the matter of mate-choice.
Love marriages and divorces are almost non-existent. The individual qualities like education, economic pursuit, beauty and appearance of the marriage partners are given preference over the old family status. There is now less expenditure on marriages. The marriage rites also have been minimized.
(v) Living Standards:
The standard of living in the village community is gradually going higher the rural diet no more consists of coarse food only. It now includes vegetables, milk, bread, tea and vegetable ghee. The dress is getting urbanized.
The youths put on paints and the girls put on frocks and Bell Bottoms. Even the old ladies put on blouse instead of shirts. The mill doth is used in place of handloom cloth. Gold ornaments have replaced the old heavy silver ornament.
The young boys live bare-headed with well combed long hair while the girls use cosmetics There are now ‘Pucca’ houses to live. These are now better ventilated, well furnished, and in some cases electrified too.
The ceiling fans can also be seen in some houses. Lanterns have replaced the earthen lamps in most houses. Gobar gas plants have also been installed in some houses. The sanitary habits of the people have improved.