Change and Development in Rural Society - Revision Notes

 CBSE Class 12 Sociology

Revision Notes
Change and Development in Rural Society

Facts That Matter

Indian society is primarily a rural society

  • The majority of India’s people live in rural areas, approx. 67 per cent.
  • They make their living from agriculture or related occupations. This means that agricultural land is the most important productive resource for a great many Indians.
  • Land is also the most important form of property. But land is not just a ‘means of production’ nor just a ‘form of property’.
  • Nor is agriculture just a form of livelihood. It is also a way of life. Many of our cultural practices and patterns can be traced to our agrarian backgrounds.
  • For example, most of the New Year festivals in different regions of India – such as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Bihu in Assam, Baisakhi in Punjab and Ugadi in Karnataka to name just a few – actually celebrate the main harvest season and herald the beginning of a new agricultural season.

Agriculture and Culture

  • There is a close connection between agriculture and culture.
  • The nature and practice of agriculture varies greatly across the different regions of the country. These variations are reflected in the different regional cultures.
  • One can say that both the culture and social structure in rural India are closely bound up with agricultural and the agrarian way of life.

Rural life

  • Agriculture is the single most important source of livelihood for the majority of the rural population. But the rural is not just agriculture.
  • Many activities that support agriculture and village life are also sources of livelihood for people in rural India. For example, a large number of artisans such as potters, carpenters, weavers, iron smiths, and goldsmiths are found in rural areas.
  • Rural life also supported many other specialists and crafts persons as story-tellers, astrologers, priests, water-distributors, and oil-pressers.
  • The diversity of occupations in rural India was reflected in the caste system, which in most regions included specialist and ‘service’ castes such as Washermen, Potters, and Goldsmiths.
  • Some of these traditional occupations have declined. But increasing interconnection of the rural and urban economies have led to many diverse occupations.
  • Many people living in rural areas are employed in, or have livelihoods based in, rural non-farm activities. For instance, there are rural residents employed in government services such as the Postal and Education Departments, factory workers, or in the army, who earn their living through non-agricultural activities.

Agrarian Structure

  • Depends upon the land holdings amount of land a person holds.
  • There is unequal distribution of land some people have lots of land and some people don't have any.
  • The agriculture structure is how the land holdings have been distributed among people.
    Types of Landholdings:
    1. Large Landers: Own large amount of land, earlier known as zamindars.
    2. Medium landowners Small landowners: Have small amount of land and can make a profit.
    3. Marginal landowners: These along with small family grow just enough for consumption of their family and do not have enough land to get surplus to sell in the market.
    4. Landless landowners: Have no land of their own, work for others.
    5. Tenants: Take land on rent and give the landowner a share of the profit.
    Positions of women
  • Woman's position is low, they can't own land.
  • Women are usually excluded from ownership of land, because of the prevailing patrilineal kinship system and mode of inheritance.
  • They have equal property rights as the son but they are woman or they are scared to voice their oppose.

Class and Caste Structure in Rural Areas


  • Upper caste were considered to be upper class. But the issue in rural areas is complex
  • Brahm.ins are the top most caste but not necessarily the wealthiest. The kshatriyas are upper caste as well as upper class.

Dominant Caste

  • After independence, land reforms introduced land ceiling. It set a limit of land holding by each individual.
  • Large land owners sold away their land to medium land owners as they moved to urban areas to set up factories.

Proprietary Caste

  • Upper caste, rich people, large and mediums land owners controlled the resources and labour force in that particular areas.
  • Begar-bonded Labourers: were illiterate and did not know how to do any skilled work.

Zamindari System

  • Zarnindars collected the kind- rice, wheat, sugar etc. as tax from the farmers of the village
  • For maximum exploitation of farmers, zarnindars collected extra taxes.

Royal/Raiyat/Ryatwari System

  • One member of the family (joint family) was selected to collect the tax from the family and give it to the British.
  • There was some exploitation, but very less-It was very successful in some areas.

Mahalwari System

  • Headman of the village collected the tax - It was much better than zamindari system.
  • There were three problems the Ministers often faced:
    1. Poverty
    2. Imported grains
    3. Less productivity
    Poverty and less productivity was during colonial period and imported grains was after independence. They came up with land reforms to solve these problems as well as to ensure social justice.
  • After independence the gap between the rich and poor was very large.

Abolition of Zamindari System/intermediary System

  • The exploitation of farmers by zarnindars led to a lot of problems.
  • The first land reform introduced was that the farmers would directly pay their tax to the government.

Land ceilings (productive land law ceiling, unproductive-high)

  • A limit as to how much land a person could own.
  • If a farmer had 300 areas of land, 80 acres were given to the small, marginal farmers as 220 was the limit.
  • The government imposed upper limit on the amount of land a person can own.
  • Ceiling varied region to region depending upon how fertile the land is.
  • In a productive area there was low ceiling limit, more land was taken from farmers.
  • It was a big task for the government to visit each region and judge the ceiling according to facility level.
  • In some areas it was successful, but not so in some areas due to Benami transfer the landlord wanted land to himself, thus he would put the land in the name of the women, accountant, distant relative only on paper it was so, but actually he owned the land.

Tenancy Reforms

  • Tenants are those who take land on rent.
  • If the land has good productivity, the landlord wanted the land back.
  • Government made lives of tenants secure by
    (i) Security for tenants: For certain period, owner cannot take the land back, before period.
    (ii) Regulation of rent: A certain amount of the profit was to be given to the landlord either he would pay or in the beginning he would not agree to paying money.
  • Even if he made a loss and said he would give it to the landlord he would have to pay.
  • One of the policies was that if the tenant showing production over a period of time and was regular in giving a part of his profit, he would buy the land.
  • If he was unable to pay, at times the landlord could take away the land from the peasant.

Consideration of Land Holdings

  • The whole rural area was divided into sectors and each sector had various facilities provided by the government.
  • A person from another sector could not use the facilities of another sector. They have to use the facilities of their sectors.

Land Records

  • During the colonial rule, there were barely any records.
  • Later they were registered, maintained and was computerized.

Green Revolution

  • Green revolution was a revolution started in 1960's and 70's had a drastic change in the productivity.
  • Introduced in those areas where there was a possibility of a water source and fertile land.