Indian is grouped small number of its people. It is humbly the intimate relation of its people with nature. Although it is incorrect to assert that agriculture is the sole occupation of the villages it is the major occupation in villages everywhere. In the words of T.L. Smith, agriculture and the collecting enterprises are the bases of the rural economy, farmer and country man are almost synonymous terms.
Besides these characteristics, the people of the village also exhibit a homogeneity of population due to which they do not frequently come into conflict with each other and maintain mutual intimacy and harmony. Bases on these characteristics of villages, the features peculiar to rural life are as follows:
The villagers satisfy all their needs in the village. They have a sense of unity and a feeling amiability towards each other. In this way the village is a community because its people have community consciousness.
2) Primary Institution: –
The development of the villages is influenced considerably by the life of the village. It this way village is a primary institution.
Faith in religion and duties is found in the life of the village. The major occupation of the countryman is agriculture in pursuing which man has to struggle constantly with nature. Very often nature lays waste the results of very hard labour on his part and the farmer cannot comprehend its mystery. Hence he acquires an attitude of fear and awe towards natural forces, starts, worshipping them and even tries to gain command over them by magic. In this way faith in religion and sometimes even in magic is found in the life of the villagers.
4) Importance of Neighborhood:
Not many people live in village and thus they assist each other as and when any occasion arises in their struggle of life. They are generally in need of one another’s assistance. Secondly there is not enough of individuality and speed in the life of the village to disable one from paying attention to another. Hence neighborhood is at great importance in a village and neighbors have intimate relation with each other.
5) Joint families:
Another characteristic of the life of the village is the joint family system. In the village the family has strict control over the individual. Generally the father is the head and representative of the family and is also invested with the duty of maintaining disciplines among the members. His orders are obeyed by all the members of family. In marriage, festivals, business etc., it is he who manages the affairs of the family.
All the members of the family share the burden of the family occupation. The men plough the field, the women harvest the crops and the children grace the cattle. In this way working together, the villagers maintain a sense of co-operation among themselves. Much attention is directed towards the preservation of the family honour and utmost care is taken to observe and maintain the traditions of the family.
6) Group feeling:
In the life of the villagers group feeling occupies an important place. They respect the judgment and obey the orders of their elders and the Panchayat. Society, caste and Panchayat have control over the individual. People are afraid of being publicity criticised or condemned.
7) Simple life:
Hence phenomena like theft, misconduct, chicanery etc., are not found to recur very often in the villages. The villagers have limited means and they do not license ostentation. In the villages people who go about in a manner calculated to attract attention are not looked upon with respect. Even in the materialistic age of today the generally accepted ideal in the village is a simple life and high thinking. In the village every individual endeavors to attain and observe the ideals of his family and caste. The villagers are a simple and plain people.
They are not incapable of making a false pretence at cultured behaviors and gaudiness, nor are they capable of boasting. They have sympathy for man and want to meet each other on a natural and human footing. Their life is tranquil, peaceful and plain. Mental conflicts and complexities are almost absent. They spend a natural life in the lap of nature. In their life there is a determined pattern and method for everything so that they are spared the labour of continually pondering over them.
Certain norms governing marriage and business etc are irrevocably fixed. Hence there is no occasion for mental conflict. Trade in the village is not carried out on a large scale and consequently there is not much specialisation of occupations. The small needs of life are fulfilled by the farmers themselves class conflict is generally lacking rich and poor, small and high and low, all live in an atmosphere of natural co-operation and accept the discipline of the village.
The level of morality in the village is high. Any girl in the village is generally treated as a sister or a daughter by most of the male members of the village, by the very virtue of her being a member of the village.
In this way, life in the village is more natural and orderly. There are not many occasions for conflict between father and son, master and servant, creditor and debtor, husband and wife, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law etc. In spite of the fact that the income of the villagers is rather low, their life continues in a vein of satisfaction because of its very simplicity.
Change in Village Community:
But the elements of village life which have been delineated above can be found to exist only in that village which has remained unaffected by the influence of the women’s. Otherwise, as a general rule, these elements are vanishing from the village life. The community consciousness in village life is steadily decreasing. The control of the caste Panchayats is almost non-existent.
The villagers who work in the towns also become addicted to irresponsible and sedentary habits and when they exhibit the same habits in their villages the other simple minded adolescents are also corrupted. The village belle living in the towns is even more adopt at the use of cosmetic and on her return to the village she too spreads this habit among her sisters in the village.
Now-a-days the villagers are using aids to beauty in a larger measure than before and the level of health in the villages is fast deteriorate acting because milk and its bye products from the villages are sold in the towns and secondly the money thus earned is being wasted on useless things. Though education is spreading in the villages, it has turned back to the old ideal of simple living and high thinking. Even though they may appear plain tin their dress and way of living due to poverty and simple due to in sensitivity, they are not the least scrupulous in adulterating the commodities which they sell.
The convention of hospitality is no longer observed. Sex relations are marked by a lack of responsibility. The joint family is fast disintegrating. The number of thefts, abortions, murders, assaults, litigations etc. is also increasing. The old customs are being violated. The bonds of caste and society have been disregarded. Individualism, materialism and rationalism are increasing.
Hence the only elements which now characterise life are agriculture which is the major occupation of the villagers, small population lack of transport facilities lack of scientific comforts, and houses, un medaled roads and natural environment etc.
Actually, the villagers every where are at present passing through at traditional period. The old relations, bonds and ties have fallen into disfavor and they cannot be reinstated in the original form. Even now the villages can be given an equally simple if not simpler, plainer and higher life by improving the conditions in these villagers, through the establishment of Panchayats spread of education, economic reform in agriculture etc.
Rural reconstruction through scientific method is very essential for this. In all the agricultural countries in the world, this matter has received considerable attention and much progress has been made in Russia and China. It is a matter of great satisfaction that the Indian Government is not oblivious of this crores of rupees are being spent on new plans of rural reconstruction directed towards the improvement of life in villages. As a result of these endeavors the village will once again become as well organised and integrated as before.