Conditions of villages
Improvements in agriculture
Nobody can deny that the growth of cities the villages has been considerably neglected. Even since light western civilization came into our country, we have been developing a craze for city life. Now a day, the people are attracted to the cities for the comforts and luxuries of life, which they cannot enjoy in tier village homes. Under these circumstances, we must try to improve our villages.
The importance of the movement known as ‘Village Uplift’ or ‘Ruler Reconstruction’ cannot be over-rated, considering that Pakistan is an agricultural country and four-fifths of its population lives in the village. Many economists and politicians are of the opinion that Pakistan should concentrate upon reforming its villages before striving for achieving self-government. They are no doubt, right; for the happiness of the villager is obviously “the happiness of the greatest number.” Their interests of townsmen_ they rise and sink together.
In the Punjab, Mr. F.L.Brayne was first official to think of village uplift. While acting as the Deputy Commissioner of Gurgaon, he studied villages at first hand, was grieved and shocked by the deplorable conditions obtaining in them; and set about earnestly to reconstruct them. He brought home to the people of that district the importance of sanitation, education, and scientific agricultural implement. The experiment met with great success, and within a short period, Gurgaon made incredible progress. Mr. Brayne embodied his instruction in a book called “Socrates in an Indian village”. This book can be aptly described as the Bible of village uplift. It consists of short, easy dialogues on topics concerning villagers, and contains excellent suggestions and proposals. Put briefly, Mr. Brayne’s program touches four things.
First, be emphasizes the value of education. According to him, ignorance, more than anything else, is responsible for the backwardness of the Indian farmer. Steeped in age-old ignorance, the farmer does not know his interest. If he ignores the laws of health and sanitation, runs into enormous debts, or follows ancient methods of agriculture, it is because he lacks enlightenment. The remedy suggested is that primary education should be made compulsory for boys and girls. Adults should be educated through such modern devices as the radio, the cinema, and the magic lantern. The villager should be acquainted with the latest methods of agriculture, with the evils of litigation, drinking or smoking and should be taught the value of thrift. The principle underlying this suggestion is that when the villager is educated, he will be able to ‘see reason’ for himself and, instead of opposing reform or innovation, he will become warm supporter. The farmer, in other words, is to be instructed in the principle of “self-help.” He is to be told that unless he saves himself, nothing else can save him.
The second item on the program is health and sanitation. The villager is content with passing his days in the unhealthy surrounding. He does not care much if streets of his village are dirty or if houses have no arrangement for fresh air. He allows dirty water to collect in pits and ponds situated in an about the village, with the result that they attract mosquitoes which spread malaria and trouble. Thus, the villager is to be exhorted to keep his houses and streets clean by throwing the dunghills and rubbish into pits, (meant for this purpose and situated at a sufficient distance from the village.) he is to be warned against the harm that mosquitoes do and is to be advised to use quinine and cheap mosquito nets. He is also to be asked to visit the free dispensary whenever he or members of his family fall ill.
Lastly, he is to be told to use ventilators, not to tether cattle in his sleeping room and to get his children vaccinated before they fall prey to smallpox.
No doubt, if the farmer acts upon these suggestions, he is bound to prosper. He would be able to lead his better life without any hazard and problem if he makes whole attempts to improve his home and his farm.