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

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The Importance of Being 'Rurban'

Tracking Changes in a Traditional Setting

A categorical distinction is facing rough weather--that between urban and rural. If we take just agriculture, there is so much of the outside world that comes in not just as external markets but as external inputs. Further, many of our villages barely qualify as rural if we were to take occupation alone. So the earlier line that separated the farmer from the worker in towns is slowly getting erased. By now agriculturists are ready to accept that their future lies elsewhere, perhaps in cities and towns, perhaps also in household and informal industries. If they cannot make it to those places, at least their children should.

This is the text of my V K R V Rao lecture delivered in May 2014 in Bengaluru. A fellowship in Teen Murti Memorial Museum and Library got me started on this subject. I subsequently benefi ted from discussions with a number of scholars at the National University for Education Planning and Administration, New Delhi, and Shiv Nadar University.

Hard To Be Rural

India may not yet be quite urban, but neither is it rural. Perhaps, the clumsy term “rurban” might suffice for the time being; for time being it is, given the rapid transformation that is taking place in Village India.

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