The Jajmani System is an age old institution which has helped the village economy to maintain itself. It was this institution that made it possible for the villages to remain economically self-sufficient units. This institution has certain advantages and merits as well as certain disadvantages and demerits. These merits and demerits have to be studied separately.
Merits and advantages of the Jajmani System:
Advantages and the merits of the Jajmani System which have helped the village economy to go on for all these years are studied under the following head.
1) Occupational protection 2) Economic security 3) Security of service 4) Personalised close relation
1) Occupational protection:
As a result of Jajmani System. Every person was assured of a protection to his occupation. He knew that if he breaks his family occupation he shall not be able to earn his livelihood. There was no need for him to go in search of any other occupation or profession.
2) Economic security:
Because of the Jajmani System every person who was engaged in some useful occupation was assured of economic protection. It means that if a praja or Kamin looked after jajmans well he would be able to get his livelihood. According to Dwight Sanderson, “It is the strong organisation of the village community for its own economic and social purpose without political basis, which made the village community in India so seemingly immortal.
3) Security of services: With the result of Jajmani System, while the Praja of Kamin enjoyed economic security, the jajmans was assured of service. The system was based on hereditary arrangement and so the services that were provided were permanent. The sons and daughters of the Kamins knew that they would get a job and so did not bother to go in for some other job.
4) Personalised close relations:
The relationship between the jajman and the Prajajan were not formal and impersonal as we find in the towns. In the towns person goes to a barber, gets himself shaved, pays and comes back. All this happens in a mechanical manner. It is not so in the Jajmani System in the village. The barber is a part of the establishment of the jajmani and the two are worried and anxious about the well-being of each other.
Since the relationship had been going on for the generation, they know each other very well, had personal and sympathetic relationship. The relationship in the Jajmani System is not merely economic or professional as is to be found in urban society.
Demerits and disadvantages of the Jajmani System:
Although Jajmani System has gone on for years together and it has the advantages that have been already enumerated but it cannot be said that it is free from the difficulties and demerits. Its difficulties and demerits are enumerated below:
1) Based on the sense of high and low; 2) Great impediment to occupational and social mobility 3) Leads to exploitation.
1) Based on the sense of high and low:
Like Case System the Jajmani System is based on distinction and discrimination between member of various occupations and castes. Those who Act as Kamins or Prajajan are considered to be lower while those who Act as Jajman are considered to be superior. The type of distinction makes the society full of inequality and makes the old age distinction between man and man as something acceptable. This is not a correct approach.
2) Great impediment to occupational and social mobility:
Because in the Jajmani System those who have been taking to age old occupation did not leave those occupations. They did not think of improving their economic conditions. It has been seen that many of these persons have gone out and take to new jobs, become more prosperous and improve their economic status.
Now days it is not possible to continue with the age old occupation. Because of scientific and technological developments several changes have taken place and age old occupations cannot be allowed to go on. If they go on they shall be responsible for social backwardness and lack of progress in the economic and technological field. If the society has to grow economically and socially economic and social mobility has to take place. Jajmani System comes in the way.
3) Leads to exploitation:
In Jajmani System, since the jajmans are economically strong, they try to exploit their Prajajans or kamins. Those who are provided with service are considered to be lower. Normally these persons belong to lower classes and so upper class because of their economic superiority exploits them. In the modern times, this relationship has assumed the form of exploitation in which the jajamans are gainers. The conditions of the kamins remain miserable and because of their economic weakness, the members of the upper class harass and trouble them.
New trends are changing the Jajmani System:
In the last few years particularly after Indian independence, several socio-economic changes have taken place, which have changed the phase of the rural Society. This Rural Society is now not a Rural Society of the slave India. Attempts are being made to improve condition of the member of the weaker section and lower castes. The political system, in which they have also been given the right to vote, had made them realised that they are also been given the right to vote, had made them realised that they are also equal in status to their jajmans.
The feeling of inferiority has more or less come to an end. This has changed the jajmans system. Apart from socio-economic changes in the recent years there has been weakening of faith in religion. Because of this people are no fonder of performing rituals. The prestige of Brahmins has also gone down socio-economic conditions coupled with scientific and technological progress have made it possible for members of the weaker sections of the society to got to other places and seek better employments.
That is why the provisions that provided services to members of the upper class have lost their here dietary sanctity. Because of there factors the following new trends are now visible in the field of Jajmani System.
1) Change in occupation:
In olden days there were some rules and regulations about Jajmani System. There were certain castes that by tradition provide certain service. Now because of the socio-economic changes instead of education, scientific and technological development etc, the members of these castes has taken to other occupations. They have now gone to towns and started working in factories and other places where they are able to earn their livelihood. There is definite sign of occupational mobility.
2) Payment in form of cash:
In olden days, the humans used to pay to the Prajajan or Kamins in form of commodity, that commodity was normally. Sufficient to keep those free from earning livelihood through other means. Now the situation has changed. The gamins are not paid in form of commodity but in cash the payment that they receive in cash is not sufficient for them to make the selves live nicely. They have therefore to seek other means of livelihood and it is provided by other industries and offices.
3) Change in economic conditions:
In recent years change in economic conditions of various castes has taken place. Really speaking there has been an economic and social morality. Members of the upper castes have gone down while the member of the lower castes has gone up. Apart from it because of facilities provided by the government to members of the lower castes, who used to work the government to members of the lower castes, who used to work as Kamins or Prajajan have now acquired education. Because of education they are breaking the old traditions and a new class is emerging.
Agriculture is no more the sole economy in the villages. It is being supplemented by other industries. This has changed the outlook and the normal bias of the members of different castes.
The Jajmani System is still there but in its skeleton form. This system was linked with the Caste System. Since Caste System is coming to an end more or less, the Jajmani System is also coming to and end.