Social Peculiarities of Development

I would like to dwell today on a very odd but devastating social peculiarity of development in the rural areas of my home state Chhattisgarh. In the nineteen seventies and early nineteen eighties the number of male educated Chhattisgarhis from rural areas getting government jobs increased to its peak before tapering off thereafter. By this time the modern urban culture had also penetrated into rural areas of Chhattisgarh and so there was an appreciation that the traditional rural culture was shabby and old fashioned. Consequently these young rural males who had got government jobs sought urban women as wives. Thus the arranged marriage system that prevailed in rural areas was bypassed and urban caste networks were tapped. The urban girls too had no objection to marrying rural youth who were employed in government because of the better and more secure lifestyle that this promised. However, these urban girls then segregated their husbands from their rural families and began living in the urban areas. Simultaneously this created another serious problem that rural girls now found it difficult to find husbands because there was obviously no reciprocity of urban youth marrying rural girls. The give and take of relationships in rural areas was thus broken and this led to many rural girls remaining unmarried or marrying very late. I happen to be one of the few who have been able to marry an urban man. However, since I married out of my caste we had to face ostracisation after our marriage. Finally we had to give a feast to the whole of the village and my family had to pay a small monetary fine to the caste panchayat for us to be accepted again. This was more than fifteen years ago. These days inter caste marriages have become more common but the fines have risen steeply into thousands of rupees. Thus a traditional society which is basically patriarchal invariably gives rise to further problems for women in the interface with modern development.

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