Thursday, August 11, 2022

The People


Life of the People

Nearly eight percent of its population of about ten million live in about seven thousand villages and hamlets of varying sizes. The composition and size of the villages differ from place to place depending on the location. Each area has characteristics of its own. The caste and community inhabiting a village also impart to it a certain type of character. A Jat village will be a little different from the one in which Rajput dominate. A Brahman village can be distinguished from a Gujjar village.  All Jat villages are not similar. The sub- tribe or gotra of the tribe will impart certain distinguishing features. All the villages have certain features which stamp them with general character, irrespective of their location and caste or gotra of the dominating sections.

The rural people have been very much affected by the wind of change. The village is not the same as it used to be even a few decades ago. This change is purely physical. The village now has improved in external appearance, the essence of village life remains the same. The life of the villagers remains rooted in their age old customs and traditions. The villagers have retained their essential frame work of rites and rituals, fairs and festivals, taboos and superstitions. The people remain deeply attached to the tribe, caste or sub caste to which they belong. Their social relations, marriages, eating, drinking and other dealings are still endogamous. The impact of democracy, secularism or socialism is not obvious. The tolerance, catholicity, simplicity and spontaneity has made rural life gay and enjoyable. Gone also is the corporate life which kept the village institutions functioning. 

Among the Brahmans and Rajputs, women of the family have all the grinding, cooking, cleansing and spinning to do. They are strictly confined to the walls of the courtyard, where they cook, spin, grind flour, husk rice. Among the Tagas and Gujjars, they go to the well for water and carry meals to their men in the field and often pick cotton and safflower. Among the Jats and Rors, they also weed and do other laborious work in the fields. They all sit about in the alleys, spinning and gossiping. The boys as soon as they are old enough, are dragged away from their games and sent to tend the cattle and from that time they are gradually initiated into labour of their lot. In the evening they play about noisily. Life is terribly dull. The periodical fair or mela and the occasional wedding form its chief relief's together with the months of sugar pressing, when everybody goes about with a yard of cane in his mouth and a great deal of gossiping as well as a good deal of hard work is done at the press.

Among the Rohtak people, from the day that he is old enough to control unruly cattle and is considered worthy of some scanty clothes and a pair of shoes, the life of the Rohtak agriculturist is one monotonous round of never ceasing work. The fields must be ploughed and prepared at least three or four time every harvest, the crop has to be sown, weeded and protected from numerous enemies ( winged and four footed). It is a long and most wearisome task. The cattle must be tended daily. Money must be earned by taking off the young stock to sell at the fair, or by carrying grain for the traders to the distant market. The women work hard as the men. The Zamindar's life is full of laborious toil that the wandering tribes pray that their dead should not be born as Zamindars.

Some of the modern amenities such as roads, transport and electricity have helped in lightening the dreadful monotony and hard toil of agricultural operations. The work has been less laborious due to the coming of tractors, tube-wells, threshers and other labour-serving devices. The strain of the cultivators life has increased rather than diminished. The relief of the physical side has been more than counter balanced by what the village has lost by the breakdown of the once idyllic peace and quiet of the rural side and the disappearance of corporate life.