Socio - Economic Structrues
Most of the people in the state are farmers or farm labourers and live
in the villages. These people are a close knit community and are ever
willing to co-operate with their fellow villagers and share their problems.
Most people earn their living through farming. The hill tribes also rear
goats, sheep, horses and mules. Some tribes earn their living by grazing
cattle, crushing stones or searching for and collecting medicinal herbs.
The villages follow a neat and orderly pattern. Each
village has people, belonging to different castes and income groups. The
carpenters, the barbers, the ironsmiths and the Kahars help the landowners
with petty form jobs or other necessary work. They are paid in kind and
not in cash. These tribes also help each other in following the
rituals and customs at the time of a death or a birth. The larger farms
lie outside the villages and are owned by a few rich landlords. People
belonging to the lower castes also do begar (work with no payment) for
the landlord. The new land reforms and legislations have changed the situation
to a certain extent.
The villages follow a Panchayat system. The Panchayat
is responsible for development work within the village. The people worship
the land and it is supposed to be sinful to steal or sell it. The land
is the farmer's sole, property, although at times he is forced to pawn
it. The fallow land within or outside the village is known as shamlat.
It is considered as communal property.
The settlement follows the caste pattern. The settlements
of the higher caste Brahmins, the Rajputs, the Mahajans (money lenders)
are beautifully kept and well looked after. The Rajput live close to the
hills and forests. They follow the purdah system. The moneylenders and
the Khatris live to the cities. The Brahmins live both in the rural and
the urban areas. The houses of the lower caste are usually on the outskirts
of the villages. The smiths have their foundries inside the house where
they work morning and evening.
The villages attach a great importance to brotherhood.
When arranging wedding-matches, the caste and Gotra is given importance.
People prefer to marry into families with similar backgrounds both religious
and economic and into neighbouring villages so that kinship may grow.
Each caste is keen to retain its traditions and values. The lower castes
are now aware of the benefits of working and living as a community. The
joint family system is encouraged and the familiar relationships are cherished
and filial devotion is given high priority. The sister is highly respected
and other relationships are also given due importance.
The houses are built of clay bricks and the roofs are
of slate. In the hill areas stones are used instead of bricks and timber
is used for the roofs. The cattle houses are close to the house. People
prefer pucca houses. The tribals live in double storeyed houses where
the ground floor is used for the cattle and the first floor is used as
their living quarters. The labourers live in thatched huts. The architectural
patterns change from area to area. Among the gods both Aryan and non-Aryan
gods are worshipped. Shiva is the chief god among the Gaddis. Vishnu,
Krishna and Buddha are also worshipped. There is very little impact of
Jainism. The Buddhist Lama religion has had a great impact in the Lahaul,
Spiti, Pangi and Kinnaur areas.