Palanpur, the Economy of An Indian Village

By C. J. Bliss; N. H. Stern | Go to book overview
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A revisit and some speculations on the future

§ 10.0 Introduction

The present chapter will be concerned with various matters which in one way or another post-date the period of the studies with which Chapters 4 to 8 were concerned. In August 1977 the research team paid a short visit to the village during which events that took place since June 1975 were recounted to us, in particular the manner in which the Emergency1 had affected the villagers, and some changes since we left the village were noted. The 1977 visit to the village and what we learnt from it are reported in § 10. 1. There was not time within the space of this brief visit to conduct important new investigations but there were a few questions, which had come to light from our study of the research material that we had taken away with us, that we are anxious to have resolved. To this end we conducted some informal interviews with fifteen farmers. These interviews are described and some of the more interesting findings noted in § 10.2. In § 10.3, we try to say something on an important but difficult question which has been put to us a number of times by people interested in our studies: what conclusions for policy can be drawn from the work that we have undertaken? It was not our primary concern to arrive at policy conclusions but our findings do, at certain points, bear on policy and in this section we try to draw together such implications for policy as seem to be clearly suggested. Finally, § 10.4 is concerned with a vital question, which has to do with policy in a way as well: what does the future hold for the village of Palanpur? Of course we cannot pretend to know but it is a very interesting line of enquiry and our studies do have some bearing on it. Thus we have been rash enough to offer some views on this issue to conclude this second of our concluding chapters.

§ 10.1 The Village Revisited

The research team spent five days in Palanpur in August 1977. This was a very brief visit but, because we were already well acquainted with the village and the villagers, our time was very productive and we are able to learn a lot even in such a short time. This was the first time that we had seen the village during the heart of the kharif season. We saw the tail-end of the 1974kharif when we first came to the village and we collected data from the farmers concerning the yields from that season, but now we could observe for the first time a variety of standing crops. Our return to the village apparently gave pleasure to its inhabitants--we had always said that we would return one day. As before we

In June 1975 the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi, took special powers and arrested a large number of people. Formal amendments to the constitution eventually resulted, bestowing great power on the Prime Minister. The state of affairs is often referred to as 'the Emergency'. Mrs. Gandhi called a general election for March 1977 in which her party was decisively defeated. Among the policies which were adopted under the Emergency was an aggressive family planning drive under which men were pressured into accepting sterilization.


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