The number of villages in India is far greater than that of towns. Most of the people of India live in villages. Hence the importance of the villages of India is very great.
The past and present conditions of the villages
Though villages have great importance in the national life of the Indians, their present condition is very miserable. Formerly, the villages were prosperous. People had then few wants. They lived in peace and plenty. People got everything that they needed in their own villages. The landlords of the villages set up schools for the education of the villagers. They set up dispensaries for the treatment of the villagers. They got big ponds excavated in the villages. These ponds supplied the drinking water of the villagers. There were public gatherings. There religion was discussed and mythological stories were retold. This helped the spread of mass education. Most of the villagers had their own lands for the production of foodcrops and vegetables. They had also cows to supply them with milk. They had also ponds full of fish. In fact, they were happy, though there was no grandeur in their mode of living.
But later, with the coming of the British, people had a growing charm for the town. The landlords and the rich people of the villages began to leave their villages and come to live in the towns. Gradually the villages fell into ruins. Their old prosperity vanished. Now most of the villages are in a wretched condition. Generally poor people live there. Many houses are deserted. Jungles have grown there. Malaria is ruining the villages. The cultivators and artisans are poor and ignorant. They do not know the laws of health. There is no hospital or good physician. People die every year owing to the outbreak of epidemic diseases. In many villages there is no school for the education of the villagers. There is no public library for the spread of education among the masses. In short, the villages are utterly neglected and so they are in a ruinous state.
How to improve the villages
As most of the people live in the villages, it has been now felt that the condition of the villages must be improved. Unless their condition is improved, India can never be prosperous. Hence thoughtful Indians suggest that villages should not be neglected any more. Educated people should go to villages and settle there. The landlords also should go back to villages. Schools should be set up for the education of the villagers. Charitable dispensaries should be set up for the treatment of the villagers. Big ponds should be excavated and tube wells should be sunk for supplying pure drinking water to the villagers. There should be high roads for better communication. There should be Co-operative Societies to help the poor cultivators and artisans and save them from the grips of cruel money-lenders. There should be arrangement for the education of the grown-up cultivators and artisans. The cultivators should be taught to cultivate their land scientifically. They will thus be able to get more crops and improve their standard of living. All villagers should be encouraged to produce articles of daily necessity in their own villages. In this way each village will be a self-sufficient unit. People will be attracted to live in villages if they get there the facilities of town life. Living in villages is less costly and there one can enjoy pure air and natural beauties. This they cannot generally enjoy in the town.
Our Government's attention has now been drawn to improve the condition of the villagers. So in some villages there are now schools, hospitals, co-operative societies and even banks to help the poor and neglected villagers. It is a happy sing. In this work of uplifting the villages, the students of the country can take an important part. They can spread education among the masses. College students may go to the villages during the long vacations and render social service for the welfare of the villagers.