Rural’ and ‘urban’ are the foremost categories through which social life has been visualised and engaged with in modern and contemporary times.
The idea of the ‘rural’ or the ‘village’ has been of particular significance in India. British colonisers represented India to the world as a land of ‘village republics’. This representation was so influential that even the nationalist leaders accepted it uncritically.
Gandhi advocated ‘a return to the village’ as the only genuine way to gaining swaraj, or self-rule. Nehru and Ambedkar too saw the village as the site of India’s traditional life; however, to them it was also a signifier of India’s economic backwardness and social ills. These notions have shaped social science scholarship, popular politics and public policy.
The idea of such a demographic transition continues to be a core element of state policy and an important indicator of positive social change and economic growth/ modernisation. However, the ‘rural’ in India persists; nearly two-thirds of India’s population still lives in rural settlements.
A Handbook of Rural India, brings together 36 research papers written by some of the leading social scientists, from the early 1950s to the present. It provides a historical perspective on the subject of the ‘rural’ and covers a wide range of topics that have been critical to the imaginings and empirics of village life in contemporary India.
Contents: 1. Introduction/Surinder S. Jodhka. Ethnographies of the Rural: Early Village Studies. 2. The Social Structure of a Mysore Village/M.N. Srinivas. 3. Village Structure in North Kerala/E. J. Miller. 4. A Himalayan Village/W.H. Newell. 5. A Bengal Village/Shrimati Jyotirmoyee Sarma. 6. Social Structure in the Punjab/M.W. Smith. 7. A Deccan Village/S.C. Dube. 8. Change in a Malwa (MP) Village/Adrian C. Mayer. 9. Sripuram: A Village in Tanjore District/Andre Beteille. 10. A Changing Village of Rajasthan/V. Nath. Rural Development: Perspectives, Policies and Programmes: 11. Structural Change: An Approach to Poverty in Asian Rural Development/Ralph H. Retzlaff. 12. Community Development Programme: Its Political Impact/Baldev Raj Nayar. 13. Social Consequences of Rural Electrification/T.N. Valunjkar. 14. Green Revolution and Social Inequalities in Rural India/D. N. Dhanagare. 15. ‘Garibi Hatao’: Can IRDP Do It?/Nilakantha Rath. 16. Politics and Implementation of Integrated Rural Development Programme/Kuldeep Mathur. 17. Operation Flood and Rural India: Vested and Divested Interests/Shanti George. 18. Power, Politics and Village-Level Organisations: Oilseeds Growers’ Co-operatives in MP/Sankar Datta. 19. One Kind of Democracy: Implementing MGNREGS/Siwan Anderson, Patrick Francois, Ashok Kotwal and Ashwini Kulkarni. 20. Falling into Poverty in Villages of Andhra Pradesh: Why Poverty Avoidance Policies are Needed/Anirudh Krishna, Mahesh Kapila, Sharad Pathak, Mahendra Porwal, Kiranpal Singh and Virpal Singh. 21. Rural Non-Farm Employment in India: Access, Incomes and Poverty Impact/Peter Lanjouw and Abusaleh Shariff. Changing Rural Landscapes: Social, Economic and Political Life: 22. The Myth of Self-Sufficiency of the Indian Village/M.N. Srinivas and A.M. Shah. 23. Chamar Family in a North Indian Village: A Structural Contingent/Bernard S. Cohn. 24. Urbanisation in a Delhi Village: Some Social Aspects/M.S.A Rao. 25. Rurality, Modernity and Education/Krishna Kumar. 26. Dominant Castes or Rich Peasants?/John MacDougall. 27. India’s Rural Politicians: Two Faces of Power/Satish K. Arora. 28. Transitory Residence and Invisible Work: Case Study of a Rajasthan Village/Rajni Palriwala. 29. Who Borrows? Who Lends?: Changing Structure of Informal Credit in Rural Haryana/Surinder S. Jodhka. 30. Maps of Experience: Narratives of Migration in an Indian Village/Radhika Chopra. 31. Marriage Norms, Choice and Aspiration of Rural Women/U. Kalpagam. 32. Masculine Spaces: Rural Male Culture in North India/Prem Chowdhry. 33. Wife-Beating in Rural India: A Husband’s Right, Evidence from Survey Data/Shireen J. Jejeebhoy. 34. Politics at the Margin: A Tale of Two Villages/Dayabati Roy. 35. The Elderly in Rural Orissa: Alone in Distress/Pradeep Kumar Panda. 36. Emergent Ruralities: Revisiting Village Life and Agrarian Change in Haryana/Surinder S. Jodhka.