Palanpur, the Economy of An Indian Village

By C. J. Bliss; N. H. Stern | Go to book overview
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2
The Village

§ 2.0 Introduction
The setting of our study is one village, Palanpur. We give in this chapter a description of the broad features of the life and economy of Palanpur. The purpose of this description is to provide essential background to the formal studies of later chapters. For example, much of the analysis of those chapters will use the household as the basic unit of observation and it is important to understand what that unit comprises. And our comments on past changes and future developments will be based in part on comparisons with previous studies of the village; thus the reader will want to know something of those studies. We have included in the main body of the chapter those aspects to which frequent reference will be made, reserving for the appendix to this chapter those to which reference is only occasional. Some of the material included in the appendix may be of particular interest to students of Indian agriculture who require more detail concerning certain features than other readers will want. Some important aspects of the village economy which are examined in detail in later chapters, in particular Chapter 4, are passed over here. Examples are credit 4.3), the labour market 4.1), and water sources 4.4).The contents of the sections are summarized as follows:
General description of the village
The structure of the population and households
Land-ownership
Tenancy
Cropping patterns
Comparison with previous studies
Concluding remarks
Appendix to Chapter 2.

§ 2.1 General description of the village

On arrival at Jargaon Station, Palanpur looks much like other villages one would have passed on the way. It is quite an attractive village and there are many trees on its railway side (see map Fig. 2.1). The village is very compact (approximately 1 × ½ km). Most houses are constructed from dried mud but a few of the larger houses are made mainly from brick. Typically there are no windows looking outwards: living areas open onto a courtyard. Cooking often takes place in these courtyards and animals are kept there. The courtyards vary from the tiny to the quite spacious, varying even more than the houses in size. Access to the courtyard is always by one door which often can be securely barred and the richer houses run to a small reception area immediately behind the door.

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