India is the largest democracy in the world. It's natural boundaries comprise the Bay of Bengal on the east, Pakistan and the Arabian Sea to the west, China, Nepal and Bhutan to the north and the Indian Ocean in the south.
India cradles the ancient Indus Valley Civilization and is a region consistently explored for ancient trade routes. It is the home of Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism and also flaunts the presence of Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and the followers of Islam.
Ever since the country's independence from the British colonial rule in 1947, the economy of the nation has banked upon agriculture. Most of its population is involved in agriculture and allied industries, transforming it into one of the fastest growing world economies.
India is a multilingual nation and home to a multi-ethnic society that truly personifies the adage 'Unity in Diversity'. The life of Indian villagers is totally dependent on agriculture. The lifestyle of people and their working styles are as interesting as the balance provided by the lifestyles in the metropolitan cities.
The government promotes socialist-inspired rural policies and extensive protectionism in Indian villages. The attempt to save the Indian village from pervasive corruption is consistent and totally market-based, since the agricultural surplus is an advantage to the increase in population.
The village folk not only dress simply, but also display simplicity in their meals and work life. Indian villages are major contributors of agricultural products like wheat, rice, various lentils and cereals, cotton, oilseed, jute, tea, coffee, and sugarcane. The typical village home also houses cattle, sheep, goats, and poultry.
Village life revolves around tilling and reaping and providing the raw material for allied industries. In spite of regular migration of youth to cities and townships, the population directly involved in agriculture remains constant and dedicated to the cause.
Villagers begin the day with baths and eat only after worship at a temple. The rest of the day spreads over work in the fields and/or the creation of ingenious crafts. Their meals comprise hand baked breads and lentil. The day culminates in either well-earned rest or sharing of thoughts in the village quadrangle.
Most homes are eco-friendly units, with courtyards, cattle enclosures, and thatched kitchen areas. Their community life spurs to action during annual fairs and pilgrimages. While men in most Indian villages sport light, cotton shirts and loose pants or dhotis, the women's attire comprises the typical sari or long skirts and blouses.
Handcrafted jewelry like bangles, anklets, nose rings and earrings highlight every dress code, urban as well as rural. Festivities of Diwali and Holi bring the villagers together and it is not uncommon to see even non-Hindus have a whale of a time with the colored water and special delicacies.
Villagers display a deep loyalty to the village deity. Feuds are not uncommon. Some facilities are common like ponds and tanks, meadows, temples, cremation grounds, trees and wasteland. Traditionally, the villages follow the panchayat or headman system, which offers equal chance to women and men to be a part of and contribute to the village administration.
The Work Scenario
Village work largely depends on the main occupation of the family or gram (village). While some are pledged to agriculture, some indulge in the creation of arts and crafts. Work also depends on the location.
For example, people of the coastal villages of Kerala naturally indulge in large-scale fishing, while those near the tribal settlements capitalize on the national and international market for native craft. Villagers use simple tools and in spite of the current trend of dependency on automated tools, prefer manual labor.
Today, the outskirts of villages flaunt textile industries, food packaging plants, steel plants, and sugar industries. They have generated employment opportunities for the young and old alike.
Ongoing government reforms endeavor to fashion the nation as a 'motor' for world economy. Improvements in public sector reforms, agrarian infrastructure and rural development, redressed labor norms etc. have redefined the overall quality of life.