Impact of Green Revolution on Rural Society

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By Dr. Banarsi Lal and Dr. Pawan Sharma

The adoption of modem agricultural technologies such as package of high-yielding varieties of seeds, chemical fertilizers, chemical insecticides and pesticides, mechanization of agriculture, cheaper agricultural credit and assured irrigation  resulted in the Green Revolution in India. Green Revolution led to rapid increase in the crops production which further assisted in the economic development of the country. It has left a significant impact on the social structure and cultural pattern of the rural society of the country. The traditional patron-client or jajmani system in which agricultural labourers remained bonded with specific land-owning families was replaced by the contract system. The farmers inclined in favour of payment in cash instead of kind. The Batai system of tenancy was substituted by the lease system. Instead of the marginal and small farmers, the medium and large-sized farmers began to lease land .There was a change in the class structure of the country. The agrarian capitalism induced by it led to the emergence of capitalist farmer class in the states such as Punjab and Haryana. It also created a class of rich peasantry. It accelerated the pace of modernization in India. The enhancement in crops productivity and net profit made even small farmers economically sound during the pre-1975 phase of the Green Revolution. This accelerated the process of the breakdown of joint family system. It also hastened the pace of urbanization by strengthening the economic base of rural areas which acted as a stimulus to growth of towns in the country. With the Green Revolution, means of transport and communication also increased in the rural areas. The Governments of different states constructed link roads for transportation of agricultural produce to the markets situated in the urban areas. The prosperity of the peasants in the early phase resulted in a manifold increase in the number of motor vehicles in the rural areas. This facilitated the mobility of rural people in the local and urban areas. The enhanced economical resources helped the farmers to purchase the radio, television, VCRs, stereos, mobiles and landline telephones. Now -a-days farmers are using the smart phones and can easily access the information as per their need. This has assisted in bringing the information revolution in rural society of the country.  The growth of education has also improved among the farming families with the improvement of their economic conditions. This is evident from the increase in the percentage of rural literacy and the enrolment of increased proportion of rural children in the urban based institutions for better education. Some of the rich farmers   began to send their children to the English medium Convent schools.

On the other side, the Green Revolution led to increased economic disparities because all sections of farmers were not equally benefited. This increased the social cleavages. The clash of economic interests between the upper caste land owners and the backward and scheduled caste landless agricultural labourers assumed communal overtones in some states of the country. Similarly, the clash of economic interest also began between the upper caste agriculturists and the merchant castes traders and industrialists. The conflict got further aggravated when the upper caste capitalist farmers began to invest their surplus in trade and industry which were until then virtually monopolized by the merchant castes.As the attainment of higher education by the upper caste enabled some members of those castes to join modem professions, the competition in modem professions between members of this class from the other castes groups got further intensified. The rapid increase in the number of educated upper caste youths from the rural areas led to cut-throat competition for limited Government jobs between them and their counterparts from the urban areas. The Green Revolution was also one of the factors in the emergence of a class of educated unemployed in rural areas of India. The members of this class were interested in only white collar jobs and were having no interest in agriculture.  They desired to become rich through short-cut methods. As a result, there was criminalization of the rural society in certain states of the country. Some members of this class got attracted by the ideology of revivalism, fundamentalism and the ideology of casteism to overcome their frustration·. Another negative aspect that has gained ground after the Green Revolution among the medium and large farmers is to use the ultra-sound facilities for sex determination. This caused the death of the females before they are born through abortions. The farmers started to do this heinous crime not only for cultural reasons but also economic ones. They do not want to spend huge amount on the dowry and other expenses on the marriage of their daughters. Besides, they do want their son-in-Iaws to claim share in their shrinking landholdings which have become costly due to the increase in the prices of land after the Green Revolution.  This has adversely affected the female ratio in the states such as Punjab and Haryana.
The increase in modernization due to the Green Revolution also affected the cultural patterns of the country. There was a change in the value-system of the farming and there was increase in prosperity and influence of media in agriculture. The Green Revolution was followed not only by an increased use of liquor but also by an enhanced consumption of drugs and other intoxicants. There was increase in wasteful expenditure on ostentatious consumption. Other sections of farmers also began to aspire to gain more wealth.  The agricultural labourers from the rural areas were also attracted towards the rich life·style. As their aspirations were not   fulfilled, they became highly dissatisfied. This dissatisfaction together with other factors led to the growth of revivalism, fundamentalism and casteism in India. The breakdown of the joint-family·system, which was intensified by the Green Revolution, reduced the authority of elders over the rural youth. Chicken and wine, pistol, cars and bikes became their craze. They were interested in earning quick money without bothering about the means. There was erosion of traditional norms and values resulted in the decline of morality. There was increase in the influence of the Khap Panchayats in Haryana. After the post· Green Revolution period there was increase in the search of different entertainment sources to get relief from the increasing stress caused by the changes in the social structure and cultural pattern. There was emergence in the self-styled god men and goddesses. Thus, there is dire need to rectify the negative impact of the Green Revolution. This requires a Second Green Revolution to resolve the agrarian crises that emerged due to declining crop productivity and falling water table. There is need to promote diversification in agriculture. There is also need to find out the ways and means to supplement the income of small and marginal farmers. The problem of unemployed educated rural youths should also be tackled by skill development. The problem of alcoholism and drug addiction should also be tackled by involving the religious leaders, NGOs and media.

Source: Daily Excelsior

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