Village Life

The village is the natural centre of any rural community. Gandhi believed that villages were the key to happiness and prosperity, and pleaded for the decentralisation of economic and political power through the organisation of vil­lage panchayats. The panchayat is a committee of five elders who govern local life. The village was therefore the primary unit of social organisation.

Today, despite continuing urbanisation, many Indians still live in villages. Though modern technology is apparent everywhere, it appears incongruous, and life largely depends on the land as it has for thousands of years.

A typical village scene in Bengal

Grinding flour and churning yoghurt in a village household

The bull, traditionally used for ploughing and transport, is gradually being superseded by the tractor

Disposable cups and plates are nothing new. These sun-baked clay pots and banana leaf plates are easily and effectively recycled. Village life, based ondharrna (adherence to God’s laws) helps to preserve the environment.

Many village still use cottage industries. Here a woman spins wool by traditional means.

Personal Reflection

  • What experience do we have of living a more simple life?
  • What would be the advantages and disadvantages?
  • Do we identify simplicity with backwardness?

Related Values and Issues

  • Economics and the environment
  • Consumerism