ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Myths, Rural and Urban

We do not have sound knowledge of urban society and its relation to rural society.

A M Shah writes:

India is getting urbanised rapidly but knowledge and understanding of urban society and its problems remain woefully inadequate. Throughout the period of the independence movement and for several decades afterwards the village was the primary focus in the discourse on economic and social development while the town remained on the fringe. In the social science research launched after Independence, the village continued to be the preferred unit of inquiry, leading to a large volume of excellent research. This massive effort to know the village laid a strong foundation for understanding the social life of nearly 90% of India’s population at that time, but it also meant relative neglect of the town, the influence of whose population on the rest of the society far exceeded its small proportion. It led to a number of misconceptions about rural versus urban society – in essence, to a partial view of India’s holistic reality. This imbalance is one of the reasons behind difficulties in coping with problems created by rapid urbanisation.

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