A Study of Long-term Rural Development and Transformation in India

Research Project , Research Report 2007

Tsukasa MIZUSHIMA Dept. of Oriental History, Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology, Univ. of Tokyo
Masahiro UMEZAKI Dept. of Medicine, Univ. of Tokyo, 7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Hiroyuki KAWASHIMA Dep. of Ecosystem Studies, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences,Univ. of Tokyo,
Hiroyoshi KANO Institute of Oriental Cultures, Univ. of Tokyo

Abstract

Three types of distinctive ecological zones, namely wet, dry, and intermediary, have long been observed in near proximity in southeast India. Under the overall shortage of rainfall for sustaining rice production, the area has exploited three resources in the past. First was the extension of cultivated area by developing arable land, secondly the intensification of land use by exploiting underground water, and thirdly the increase of land productivity by employing new technologies exemplified in the course of Green Revolution. The problem faced by the villagers at the moment is that the chance of further developing them has been more or less exhausted. Over-exploitation has often led to acute failure of crops every few years in different parts of India. Besides, the shift from water-saving mixed agriculture to more resource-exploitative rice cultivation has added pressures not only upon agricultural production but also the social relation in the villages. Disappearance of village unity that has been sustained by the so-called “caste system” in the past, and the increasing dominance of individual interests over others has made it difficult for production system to sustain. Migration to urban centers or overseas has gained much importance in villagers’ decision for future, too. Deserted fields and houses in rural India would become a common scene in the decades to come.

Keywords:

Southeast India, rural development, long-term change, village unity, migration