India is an agricultural country and most of its people live in villages. A village is a collection of small huts in the midst of fields on which the village farmers work. Some villages are big while others are comparatively small. They are generally cut off from the cities and have a different kind of life.
Village life has its own charms. Cowper says, “God made the country and man made the town.” Villagers live very close to nature. It is in the country that nature reveals all her beauties to man. Natural beauty of the village has been a source of inspiration for poets, philosophers and artists.
The villagers pass a healthy and peaceful life. There is no smoke and noise of the city factories. The sounds of scooters and motor-rikshaws and other vehicles do not disturb the peaceful atmosphere of the village. They breathe fresh air which promotes their health. They also get pure ghee and milk. There is no hustle and bustle and no worry as in the modern city life. The villagers, therefore, are happy and healthy. They lead a simple life and their desires are few. They are satisfied with what they have and never dream of those luxuries and comforts that modern science has provided us with in such ample measure.
Image Source: theshootingstar.files.wordpress.com
Most of the people who live in villages are farmers. They cultivate their farms situated in the neighbourhood of the village. They go to their fields early in the morning where they work till evening; ploughing, sowing or reaping according to the season. Spinning and weaving is one of the most important cottage industries in the village. It helps to increase their meagre income. Besides this, some people keep shops and provide the necessities of life to the villagers. Others work as potters, carpenters, blacksmiths, etc., to fulfil their needs.
The villagers are deeply religious. They worship a number of gods and goddesses. They devote regular time to prayer and worship, the village priest enjoys great respect. But they are highly orthodox and any change is disliked and opposed. Much kind of superstitions flourish among them. They live in constant fear of ghosts. They believe in a number of omens.
The villagers are socially knit together. Their life is corporate and interdependent. “They depend on each other for the supply of their daily wants. They share the joys and sorrows of each other. They help each other in times of need. Their social sense is so strong that the guest of one is considered as the guest of all. In a town or city one does not care to know even one’s own neighbours. But each villager is familiar even with the family histories of other villagers. In the evening, they assemble in the village “chopal” with their “hukkas”, and chatting and talking goes on till late in the night. This is their simple recreation.
But the village life has also some serious drawbacks. The villagers are extremely poor. They live in one roomed “kuchcha” mud houses, which often fall to the ground in the rains. In this way, they are put to great hardship. Suitable houses must be constructed for them. In spite of their hard work they are not able to earn enough to provide themselves with even two square meals a day. They are ill-clad and ill-fed. As they are not able to save anything, in times of need they have to borrow from the village money lender. They are frequently in debt which they are often never able to return.
The villagers are illiterate. Most of them do not even know how to sign their names. There are no suitable arrangements for their education or for the education of their children. Even when there is a school, teaching is highly unsatisfactory. There are 350 million illiterate people in our country and in 50 per cent of rural schools there is only one teacher for two classes. The teacher is ill-paid and takes no interest in his work. The ignorance makes them superstitious and conservative. They are content with their old methods of cultivation and do not like scientific methods. Scientific methods of agriculture must be used, and Government should provide facilities for this purpose.
In the villages, there are no suitable medical arrangements. Often there is no qualified doctor. The village vaids and hakims are mere quacks that kill more patients than they cure. The villages are highly insanitary and many infectious diseases break out from time to time. Thousands of people die every year of malaria, cholera, tuberculosis, etc., uncared for and without any medical aid. There should be at least one good hospital in each block or tehsil.
Life in the villages is also dull and monotonous. Now a great change has taken place in villages. Quarrels, rivalries and conflicts are becoming common. The peaceful atmosphere of the village is being disturbed. Outlaws and anti- socials have made life in the village unsafe.
Rural life must be reformed. Villages should be made more attractive. More opportunities to earn income should be created so that people do not try to run to cities.