The social life of man has undergone different stages of development. The earliest humanly communities were perhaps the loosely organised aggregations of a few families who carried oil mutually interdependent activities in gathering food and defending themselves against their enemies.
These primitive bands were migratory. Gradually, man acquired skill and knowledge in agriculture. Then began the settled life of man. With the development of agriculture and the consequent stabilisation of the source of food, human communities became more permanent. These communities came to known as Village Communities. The village is the oldest permanent community of man.
All early communities were basically rural in character. As Kropotkin points out, “We donor know one single human race of single nation which has not had its period of village communities. Bogardus says, “Human society has been cradled in the rural group”. Meaning and Definition
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Rural society or the village community consists of people living in a limited physical areaway have common interests and common ways of satisfying them. Psychological bonds play an important part in the rural community.
Physical locality contributes to the integration and stability of to village community. Such proximity had developed sociability and had encouraged solidarity ail mutuality.
As the rural sociologist Dwight Sanderson has stated in his “The Rural Community”, a rural community consists of people living “on dispersed farmsteads and in a hamlet or village which forms the centre of their common activities”.
Rural community is often looked upon as an association in which there is “social interaction of people and their institutions in the local area”. The relationships in the rural community tend to be what Cooley termed primary, that is, of the intimate nature. The rural localities are often referred to as “country neighbourhood”.
The rural sociologists J.H. Kolb and Brunner defined a village as a population centre with 250 to 2500 persons and a hamlet as a somewhat smaller aggregation. A rural community may be defined as “a group of people permanently residing in a definite geographic area who, having developed a certain community consciousness and cultural, social and economic relations feel that they are separate from other communities”.
The rural community has a long history of its own. It has become almost natural with the human life. No known community was started on purely urban character. Urban community is a phenomenon of recent development.
Rural life has preceded the urban life. It is said that God made the village and man built the city. In spite of the growth of cities, the population of the world is largely rural. In India alone more than 50 crores of people live in villages. More than 70 per cent of Indians live in more than five lakh villages in India. The urban life still depends on the farm and what it produces.