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The Gandhian Ideology On Indian Village History Essay

4491 words (18 pages) Essay in History

5/12/16 History Reference this

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Indian village- The Indian state after 1947 was left in control of a population of incomparable differences – Hindu castes and outcastes, Muslims, Sikhs, Janis, Christians, Buddhists, Tribes, speakers of more than a dozen languages, thousands of dialects and myriad ethnic and cultural communities.

Till now Indian consists of more than 60% of rural areas or villages. So villagers were much important concepts of India. There are many sociologiest done study on the village society like- Andre Betile, M.N.Srinivas etc. many sociologist claims that Indian villages were not only the place, where people were live, but it’s a place which talking about the Indian civilization. So coming to the ideas of Gandhi, Neheru and Ambedkar, they have also visualize Indian village from their own perspectives.


For me, India begins and ends in the villages (Gandhi 19796:45, in a letter to Nehru written on August 23, 1944.).

…the old Indian social structure which has so powerfully influenced our people…was based on three concepts: the autonomous village community; caste; and the joint family system [Nehru 1946:244].

The Hindu village is the working plant of the Hindu social order. One can see there the Hindu social order in operation in full swing [Ambedkar, in Moon 1989:19].

(Jodhka, 2002)


Gandhi spoke many things about the village life. His contribution to India cannot explain by few words. He always told that for the development of India its need to develop the villages first. Because our county India is consist of villages. He engaged himself as a leader of India’s independent movement.

He refused to separate religion from politics, trying to sovereign disprove the charge that religion must keep India divided. He also withdrew from the vision of nationalist Hindus. He inverted their image of a khaki shod fatherland. He rejected the idea of using history as a source to determine future action. He tried to create a larger Indian identity by appealing to pre-existing local beliefs and identities through the idea of swadeshi – respect for the everyday material world inhabited by most in the subcontinent. The idea of village issues comes to his mind, when he feels discrimination between black and white in Africa. Then he tries to imagine the situation of rural India. He got better understanding regarding Indian village, when he returns back to India from Africa. He wanted to re build India from the lowest level with the poorest. He aimed for a self sufficient, self reliant village, which is free from exploitation, fear and believe in decentralization. He always used the methods of non-violence for fulfill his objectives as a method. Gandhi was critic the concepts of western civilization and intervention of technology in village and tries to preserve the county from commercialization, machine, exploitation, production, slavery, wage labour and the concepts of capitalism.

Gandhi also support and always in the favor of developing villages through two different aspects

He always appeal for decentralization

An attempt to de mechanizes textile production through return to charkha.

In the issues of economic development of the village, his ideas are like- village must be self sufficient in regard to food, cloth and basic necessities. It should not depend on imports for their development. So he promote cottage industries and CHARAKHA for employment and also promotes Khadi ( Indian hand woven cloths) to were, which helps to promotes the employment as well as helps to develop the village economy. His aim was to provide employment to all people and try to solve the problems of unemployment and poverty.

For the political freedom of the village, he talked about the Gram Swaraj. His idea regarding the concept of Gram Swaraj is that village should be consist of a complete republic, independent and should be decentralize. In the issues of village Panchayat Gandhi made an observation that, he was bit unsatisfied with the proceeding of constitution assembly, because as per him nothing much was discussed about the decentralization of power to the villages which he belived would not allow people to have their voice heard.

While expressing his opinion to shape Indian polity, Gandhi made a statement that “the center of power is in New Delhi or Calcutta or Bombay in the big cities. I would have distributed it among the seven hundred thousand villages of India”.

In his letter to Jawaharlal Nehru he wrote-

“My ideal village still exists only in my imagination. After all every humanbeing lives in the world of his own imagination. In this village of my dreams the villager will not be dull-he will be all awareness. He will not live like an animal in filth and darkness. Men and women will live in freedom, prepared to face the whole world. There will be no plague, no cholera and no smallpox. Nobody will be allowed to be idle or to wallow in luxury. Everyone will have to do body labour. Granting all this, I can still envisage a number of things that will have to be organized on a large scale. Perhaps there will even be railways and also post and telegraph offices. I do not know what things there will be or will not be. Nor am I bothered about it. If I can make sure of the essential thing, other things will follow in due course. But if I give up the essential thing, I give up everything.”

(Letter to Jawaharlal Nehru, 5-10-1945; 81:320.) * (Joshi, 2002)


Nehru was also an important and nationalist leader of Indian nationalist movement and the first prime minister of India. Nehru differed from Mahatma Gandhi on many topics like Non-violence even the idea of Indian village. He always supports the concept of western science, technology, heavy and large scale industrialization. His ideas on Indian village are best found in his book called- Discovery of India.

Nehru managed to persuade the country that his was the only possible definition of Indianness. He came up with a compelling and imaginative story of the Indian past told as a tale of cultural mixing and fusion, a civilizational tendency towards unification (merger) which would realize itself within the framework of the modern nation state. He sees India emerging only within the territorial and institutional framework of the state. Nehru’s understanding on India was based on historical nature, he actually looked at the ‘old’ social structure of Indian society from an evolutionary perspective and if we talk about the old social structure, then it consist of 3 factor like- autonomous village society, caste and joint family. When he becomes the prime minister he comes to know about Indian village situation through direct contact with the rural masses. Then he saw another picture of India, where people were suffering lot of pain. Neheru never celebrated the old village republic of India but he support the articles of western scholars on ” Traditional Indian Society”. Neheru wanted the state machinery to gear up to achieve the socialistic good. He also talked about the functionalist of the Indian traditional village- like all the functions of the each caste are inter related with each other and each caste group functions it within its framework. Neheru did not believe on village republics. Neheru always take up the village life to the contemporary or present situation. He also focuses on the village class structure.

He also talked about the agrarian relations, which I mentioned below by a following quotation-

“I listened to their innumerable tales of sorrow, their crushing and ever-growing burden of rent, illegal extraction, ejectments from land and mud hut, beatings; surrounded on all sides by vultures who preyed on them – zamindar’s agents, moneylenders, police; toiling all day to find that what they produced was not theirs and their reward was kicks and curses and a hungry stomach” [Nehru 1980:52].* (Jodhka, Village Society, 2012)

He saw landlordism was come from the British rule and they were implementing this Zaminadari system in India.

Neheru support the concept of Urbanization and Industrialization for the rural village development, because according to him this urbanization and industrialization will help and reduce the burden on land and will create more employment for the people. He also supports the intervention of modern’s technology in the village. His approach to development is on the basis of technology and modernization.

Coming to the village economic factor, he talked about social an d economic structure of the village society in the terms of Social Classes. He never liked the way Britishers disturbed the old economic status of the Indian village. According to him- The Indian village economy deprived because of the Britishers intervention in the village. He told that because of britishers intervention, the Indian farmers, who used to playing Charkha in his extra time were also deprived from their extra income. Many people were became un employed. People were gave more stress to the land for their livelihood. Pressures on land increase, so the unemployment increase. So he wants the intervention of technology in the village, which decrees the lord from land.

He/ Neheru visualize socio economic structure of Indian village society through the intervention of modern technology. According to him Kisan are the real masses of India.


Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s intervention in the political discourse of modern India was an attempt to answer the following questions: Is India a Hindu nation? If it is not, then what are the ways in which Hinduism could be equipped to live with other faiths? Can Hinduism cope with the ever growing pressures exerted by democracy, liberal institutions and modern technology? Ambedkar was belonging from a village of Maharashtra in a lower caste background and suffered huge discrimination in their life and even he fight for it. He was a modernist who was deeply influenced by Western ideas of personal freedom and equality. He also educated as Gandhi and Neheru. He had much experience of village life.He believed that Dalits had no place within Hinduism. The very foundation of Hinduism rested on caste, a system which he forcefully formulated as one constituting an “ascending scale of reverence and a descending scale of contempt.” This was graded inequality.

He always represents the lower section of the Indian society, who all are known as- Untouchables and Dalits. He always talked about village from a Dalitist view. He also discussed about civilization of the Indian village society as he saw Indian civilization as a Hindu civilization. He never accepts Dalit as a part of Hindu civilization.

He divided Indian village in to two categories. That’s touchable and untouchable. Touchable were the majority or the upper caste people and untouchables were the minority or the lower caste people. The major communities were the economically strong and minorities were dependent for their livelihood on majority. He visualize Indian village as a Caste social structure. Ambedkar never support the existing village democracy. According to him, there are certain things like exclusion, exploitation and untouchability is there. Even the untouchables were the lower caste people, who were excluded from different village festivals like Holi and Dasara. They always exploited by the upper caste people. There rights were always humiliating. He always talk about the village power structure and tried to fight for untouchables through right based approach. Even he tried to find out the origins of untouchability. He also himself involve in politics for development of lower sections of the people in the society and to give a status to the Dalit in the village community. He drafted the constitution. In the context of village panchayat he told that- I observed, wshat is the village but a sink of localism, a den of ignorance, narrowmindness and communalism? I am glad that the constitution has discarded the village and adopted individuals as its unit.

Difference between the idea of Gandhi, Neheru and Ambedkar-

Gandhi, Neheru and Ambedkar all three were not only great personality of India, they also work for the development of our country. But they have some different ideas for developmet of our country or the developmet of the Indian village community. They all have different idea regarding class, caste and structure of the Indian society.

When Gandhi spoke about Village as a Unit, Neheru spoke about the Landlords and peasantry and Ambedkar talked about touchable and untouchables. When Gandhi advocated the need for reviving the spirit of the village, Neheru spoke about the transformation of the social, economic structure by using modern modern technology and changing agrarian relation. When Gandhi tried to looked village as the concept of self sufficiency, Neheru looked at village through the concept of industrial intervention. When Gandhi support the traditional methods for agricultutre and the community resource, that time Neheru support the use of modern technology in Agriculture and Ambedkar talking about the equal distribution of land among Upper caste and lower caste.

When Gandhi and Neheru accepted the notion of the village, Ambedkar never accepted it. He imagines the India from Past colonial period and tried to find the emergence of Untouchability.


Gandhi, Neheru and Ambedkar were the three prominent person of our country who not only participate in the freedom struggle, but also give a light for India’s development. There contribution to Indian village development is different from each other. When Gandhi talking about the self sufficiency, non-violence and swadeshi, Neheru taking about the Modern technology intervention, industry establish and Ambedkar talking about the equal opportunity, equal distribution of resources among touchable and untouchables. All three prominent people’s ideas are different but they work very much for the development of the rural India for the people’s development and India’s development.


Dash, S. (2006). Gandhi and Neheru. Orissa Rivew , 5-8.

Jodhka, S. S. (2002). Nation and Village: Images of rural india in Gandhi, Neheru and Ambedkar. Economic and Political Weekly , 33-43.

Jodhka, S. S. (2012). Village Society. New Delhi: Blackswan

Joshi, D. (2002). Gandhi on Villages. mumbai: Gandhi Sangrahalaya, Government of India.

i) How are common property resources (CPR) helpful in eradsicating poverty in dry land regions of India?

ii) Despite the importance of CPR why is private property resources (PPR) given more prominence by policy makers? Explain.



Common property resources are those resources which can use by all people. There is no individual’s exclusive right. These common property resources are include- village pasture, community forest, non-irrigated land, uncultivated fields, river, lake, village pond, costal fisheries, wood lands etc. in India mostly CPRs are found in dry regions, mountain regions, un irrigated areas and in forest and in villages. CPR is a assets which come under ecological zone. The literature on common-property resource theory first emerged by Gordon (1954). He formulated the theory for fisheries to explain the dual problems of low income among Canadian fishermen and overfishing and this idea was taken up and developed by Hardin (1968) in his article “The tragedy of the commons”, relating to grazing rights for a hypothetical village commons. Common property resources are helpful and also help people for their economic development and also help them for their development etc.


Mr. N.S.Jodha done a study on common property resources in dry land area and he took Rajasthan as his study area. In his study he focuses 3 district likes- Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Nagaur as the study. Not only in Rajasthan in all over India, he done many studies in the dry land area regarding CPR like- Sholapur districts in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, tamilnadu etc. According to him in dry regions of Rajasthan, the common property resources were effectively used by the people from feudal period. And all these common property resources are-

common grazing land, which include uncultivated and cultivated land

village forest and wood lands including Orans ( it’s used for the religious work)

waste dumping ground, common ponds, animal watering points, common facilities for stock breeding

From his study he come to the conclusion that-

CPR and its contribution to –

CPR (Common Property Resources) is those resources which can access by every people. It providing grazing space, which help individual to saving their land for crops. This helps to the people in rural dry land areas like- they can they can use the CPR as a grazing land and their own land for the cultivation. Even they can use CPR like rivers, tanks which can used for the sessional farming. Because in dry land water is a main problem of the villages and coming to the poor people they were not able to buy water and hybrid technology, so CPR helps them for their collecting irrigation water, which play a important role in PPR system. In dry land areas the farming system depends on CPR like – village forest, grazing land, watershed management, drainage system etc. even CPR help people of dry land regions, when they were in crises period through providing water, land, forest product in forest area, income etc.

Impact of CPR on Rural poor in DRY land area-

N.S.JODHA in his study of CPRs contribution to village of dry land regions of india, he discussed that CPR helps people and provides employment and also help for economic development; even it helps for decrees inequality among poor and rich. Here in following I am showing a table, which going discuss about the contribution of CPR to village economics in dry land regions of India. (N.S.Jodha, 1986)

Contribution of common property resources to village economies in dry regions of India


Common property resources






Physical products

Food, fibres




Fodder, fuel, timber, etc.








Manure, silt, space




Income and employment benefits

Off-season activities



Drought period sustenance



Additional crop activities



Additional animals



Petty trading and handicrafts


Broader social and ecological benefits

Resource conservation



Drainage and recharge of groundwater




Sustainability of farming systems





Renewable resource supply




Better microclimate and environment





A = community forest; B = pasture/wasteland; C = pond/tank; D = river/rivulet; E watershed drainage/river banks; F = river/tank beds.

Table adopted from JODHA 1985

Employment generation- CPR also helps people for income generation and for providing employment. There are two components of CPR for income generation. 1) Income from CPR product collection, 2) income from animal husbandry. According to N.S.Jodha, in his study of CPR in dry land regions, poor households were getting higher income from CPR products like- gum, honey, fruits etc. they were collecting these entire product from CPR like forest and selling it in local market, which helps them for their livelihood. Coming to animal husbandry the poor households animal husbandry sustain only because of CPR. Because they were using CPR land for their domestic animals grazing land and it contributes the nutrition part for the animals.

Reduction on income inequality- as we know CPR helps people of dry land regions, when they were in crisis period through providing water, land, forest product in forest areas etc, it also reduce inequalities which were generated by PPR in rural areas, somehow partly reduce by CPR through providing resource to poor households. It also contributes to the poor people’s nutrition and food by providing them rights to access the resources. If we focus on the Forest right act 2005 and PESA Act, we will find that this two act contribute a lot to give rights to the people to access the common property resources and help them to generate income for themselves. Even N.S.Jodha in his article of CPR in Dry land regions mentioned that CPR based income could be much higher in many areas than the income generated from any government programmes like- anti poverty programme or poverty alleviation programme.


In dry land areas the water shed management is a most important common property resources through which people were benefited and which help them to eradicate poverty indirectly. As example- Wadgaon Lakh village, Tuljapur, Maharashtra

Tuljapur is a drought prone area where water is a very scarce problem for the people. And coming to this village most of the people were depend on the agricultural committee. And because of the water scarcity people were migrated to the other place, which create problems for their health, education and livelihood. Even because of the scarce resources of water people were not able to get profit from agriculture even other livelihood. And in summer its create very much problems for them. And to solve this problem villagers, with the help of TISS were started water shed project there from 2002. Through which they were getting much benefit from that. Like the issues like- migration solved. The poor people who were not able to use technology for their field and cannot spend much amount of money for their irrigation facilities were get benefited of the water shed project( CPR) and it helps them for their irrigation as well as for their other activities. And now they were getting much profit from agriculture compare to before.

( data collected by primary sources :In field work : From villagers and watershed committee of Wadgaon lakh village, Tuljapur, Maharashtra)


Through income generation and reducing inequality CPR helps people and tries to reduce poverty from dry land regions. Coming to the second part of the question why PPR (Private Property Resources) given more prominence by policy maker despite given more importance to CPR. Coming to the PPR, it’s talking about individual’s ownership on resource. When CPR talking about the common resources PPR talking about the personal and individual resources. After providing employment and increase the poor people’s status, PPR given more importance by policy makers. Because- they were ( policy makers) were talking about the indivuals rights on the property and the rural development planning mostly emphasize on private property resources centered activitiess through the promotion of high yielding crop varieties and supply of electricity for ground water lifting device. not only this we can say that in some villages the CPR also there were discrimination going on like- CPR were controlled by the high caste people or the majority of the people, so there were discrimination going on the basis of caste and access to resources.

And if we focus to the history of PPR then during the british rule the britisher introduce land settlement system where it gave private property right to individual although they had other motives as well but it indeed gave fuel to capitalist farming in india and subsistence farming declined considerably and even after independence the Land reform policy adopted by Indian leaders still with the motive of higher production and better living condition of farmers so the PPR was assumed as the only tool that could bring about development.

Even coming to the impact of neo-liberal era, FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) the common property resources were taken away by government for constructing companies and factory. And they were takeaway the rights and the common property and on the basis of complementary they were providing individual land or employment to the poor people. Not only because of LPG or FDI but the PPR( Private Property Right) provide a legal law or acceptance to individuals to use that property and gives right to make decision on that resources. We can say in our country India the very much discrimination going on in the village on the basis of caste, class and gender, majority and minority. So there were many people were excluded from access to resources. Like example- Dalits. Still in many places they were not able to access the common property resources. So PPR had given more importance by the policy makers in India.

Even According Herman Chinery-Hesse- “The absence of land title absolutely hurts the poorest of the poor… You can’t start an economy without ownership not being in question”.


In the above argument we have seen that the State tends to emphasis more on private property resources with the presumption that it would fuel our economic growth and improve the socio-economic condition of the people and eradicate poverty. But if we go into Jodhka findings we see how much people are dependent on CPR for their livelihood ,besides if we see in tribal belts in eastern and central india as well as in north east region their whole economy depends on Community resources ,although the State has came up with various laws like PESA and FRA but we find in Odisha the state has started distributing individual Pattas (Diplomatic steps to curb naxalism) again can be seen as reverses in its commintment to promote CPR ,

In rest of India CPR is more or less has remained as a concept and the State hasn’t done much to promote it.


Bon, E., 2000. Common Property Resources: Two Case Studies. economic and political weekly, 35(28), pp. 2569-2573.

Dasgupta, P., 2005. Common Property Resources: Economic Analytics. economic and political weekly, 40(16), pp. 1610-1622.

N.S.Jodha, 1986. Common Property Resources and Rural Poor in Dry Regions of India. economic and political weekly, 21(27), pp. 1169-1181.

N.S.Jodha, 1990. Rural Common Property Resources: Contributions and Crisis. econpomic and political weekly, 25(26), pp. 65-78.

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