Monthly Archives: July 2013

Councils and Headmen

Closely connected with the issue of whether land was collective or individual property was the question of whether the essential political institution of the ancient and authentic Indian village was a council or a headman. Some scholars held that the brotherhood of jointly owned village was the true Indian village and argued that the council, an instrument of joint rule and hence isomorphic with that village type, was the essential institution of ruler ship in it, even though it might not seem so.

The typical village of India was the severalty village rather than the jointly held village. Consistent with its form of property and division of labour, the essential political institution of that type of village was not the council of five (panchayat), but the headman. Just as that type of village developed out of a tribal ancestor, so too, his headman was the continuation of the earlier tribal headman and not an intrusion from a developing or conquering central government. There was, however, one village functionary who was just such an intruder, the village accountant, whose rise was inevitable when the plan of taking revenue by means of a share of the produce was introduced, and some kind of public administration was organized. Thus did Need introduce a modern administrative principle into the village alongside the ancient principle of kin-relatedness. One might think that this village bureaucrat would have eventually replaced the older headman, but this was not so. He remained the nominally superior head of the rayatwari village, retaining small powers and much-cherished privileges and precedence rights. Beyond this early insertion of the administrative principle, the ruling institution of the Indian village apparently underwent little or no change. The persistence of the older office of hereditary headman was a symptom of the post-tribal nature of the Indian village community and its caste society.

The displacement of the little republic by the little monarchy as the atom of India’s political economy has had important consequences. To some extent it can be seen as clearing away an egalitarian inconsistency in the primitive, stateless society. The idea that the Indian village was by nature a small monarchy seems much more congruent with the idea of an India divided into ranked or hierarchically related castes and patriarchal households. But some scholars were not prepared in making this shift even to suggest that headman and other villagers were not related to each other by the natural ties of descent.

Some scholars pointed out that the headman and the village officers and elders did not constitute an association. They were constituted by their natural places in the community, by their descent, by their age and sex, and by their clan and caste.

Caste’s Political Economy

The kind of economy that one would expect the caste village to have would meet the following theoretical requirements. It would not be socially undifferentiated as in tribal society, yet neither would it have class divisions and class exploitation. The surplus labour value whether in the form of products (agricultural or manufactured) of cash or of labour itself would be appropriated, therefore not by any exploiting class within the village, but by the state outside the village. The relations of the castes in the village would be characterized by ties of group cooperation and solidarity rather than of competition between individuals. The payments made for goods and services would be determined not by a market but by considerations internal to the village community. Scholarship has obligingly produced just such a village economy. It has been referred to as the jajmani system, after the relationship the village priest was supposed to have with his patrons or sacrificers.

The Indian village is invariably described in discourses on it as containing, in principle if not in practice, a full complement of those occupations, hereditary and belonging to different castes, that were required for the meeting of its own needs. The full complement supposedly consisted in the Deccan (upland area of peninsular India) of people engaged in twelve different occupations. Because they were due shares of the village’s produce, they were known as the twelve ayagars. Each of these village servants whose offices were hereditary, going from father to son, received for the services he performed a fixed annual payment, calculated as a share of the crops harvested by his patron (also received in allotments of land from the corporate stock). The patrons of these village servants were typically the heads of the cultivating households’ resident there.

Indian village were economically organized and self-acting. The economy of the village was self-sufficient and that payments in fixed shares of grain or the equivalent were integral to it. The competition that prodigious social force of which the action is measured by political economy, an inherent feature of modern societies, one that was closely linked with the individual and private property in land.

If Indian villages were ancient communities, then they could not possess any of these features, for they came together as a package. Thus the absence of a free market, of individuals, of private property and of a competitive spirit said to characterize the Indian village were not simply empirical findings for the 19th century theorists; their absence was essential to the type of society itself. Those missing elements were tied to each other and constituted the essence of modern society. They were opposed to the features that formed the essence of ancient societies-reciprocal exchange of goods and services within total unity within the kin group and enmity between groups not so related.

Notions of shares were also important in Indian discourses at an early time. The question is hence not an empirical. It is whether an economy of shares is to be seen as a determinate, unchanged essence of the village as an early ancient community.

Village India, Living Essence of the Ancient

India has been called a land of villages, and if proof is needed of the truth of the description, it is found in the census figures which show that the rural population numbers over 300 million or 9/10ths of the total population. Practically the whole country is parceled out among villages, about half a million in number. A more vivid Impression of the predominance of village life is obtained from a railway journey through India. For hundreds of miles at a stretch village succeeds village, towns are few and far between, and many of the small towns are more like overgrown villages, in the midst of which the cattle are driven afield and from which the peasant goes out with his simple plough on his shoulder to till the neighboring lands.

Scholars and rulers took the village in their discourses to be the irreducible unit, the atom of the state in the nations and empires of Asia. Perhaps more than in the others, however, the village in India came to be viewed as the quintessential Asian village. When it comes to India, it was found confronted with a civilization that is in the eyes of the Asian specialist truly rural in nature.

India supplied Asia with its traditional peasants in the ryots of her village settlements. Indeed, throughout much of the 19th century the Indian village was even taken as typical of both Europe and Asia. Looking upon it with a condescending fondness that borders on the romantic, they supposed the Indian village was analogous with the post-tribal, agricultural village of the Teutons or Germanic branches of the Aryans in ancient and medieval Western Europe, an area of historical inquiry that was being formed at the very same time that the British were settling the revenue in Indian villages. That village in Europe had all disappeared as it became a modern society. India, however, was still an ancient society. The ancient Aryan village still survived there.

Now, it could well be that the importance of the village in the study of India may be due not only to the supposed pre-eminence of the village in Indian civilization but also to this noble quest for our own origins. The constitution of India as a land of villages was also due to the efforts of the British to de-constitute the Indian state. As they were composing their discourses on India’s villages, they were displacing a complex polity with an ancient India that they could appropriate as an external appendage of a modern Britain. The essence of the ancient was the division of societies into self-contained, inwardly turned communities consisting of cooperative communal agents. The essence of the modern was the unification of societies consisting of outwardly turned, competitive individuals. Just as the modern succeeded the ancient in time, so the modern would dominate the ancient in space.

 

Asiatic Communes and Rural Mentalities

An issue that dogged discourses on rural India in the 19th century was the question of whether the village holds or owns its lands in common or whether the cultivating households of an Indian village hold them severally.

There were three modes of production apart from the capitalist. The first and earliest of these was the communal or tribal. The Asiatic mode seems always to be classed as a variant of the communal, a direct development out of the primitive mode that accompanied the rise of agriculture. The Asiatic land form was thus clearly distinguished from the two other pre-capitalist forms, both confined to Europe, the ancient or Roman and the Germanic. Clans were present in all of the precapitalist formations, but they were of primary importance in the earliest or tribal mode and hence in the Asiatic mode.

Persons of the clan community saw the clan not as the result of their cooperative efforts, but as its presupposition. Consistent with this is a further presupposition: the members of the community thought of the land not as their personal property, but as the property of the community. They were merely its possessors; hence the displacement of ownership on to a fictional entity, the clan ancestor or deity.

The primitive society, one characterized by a gentile constitution, that is, one consisting of a confederation of descent groups, was not divided into classes and possessed, therefore, no state the instrument for the furthering of class interests. Within the Asiatic states that arose out of such earlier tribal societies, a division into classes took place, but this was synonymous with the division into villages and the state. The surplus it extracted was, consistent with this lack of differentiation, both a tax and a rent. The same displacement of thought that had occurred within the primitive community was, correspondingly, carried with one step further. The ownership of the landed property of the various communes became, in its turn, displaced on to the oriental despot and his divine double, an imagined god.

The village is, thus, a strange world and the villager a strange sort of human. The village lands on which he labours belong not to him who plows them but to the village as a whole. He merely possesses his land and only then by virtue of his descent from an ancestor and patriarch of the clan, who is at the same time founder of the village. The village itself belongs in the metaleptic thought of the villager, to a remote owner or state in the form of an oriental despot. The unity of that state is based in his mind not on real activities and relations, but on imaginary ones, the presence of the spirit of a clan or village deity and of a despot –and-god couple.

Water from the Ground

Water is one of the mot commonplace compounds on Earth. There is 250 000 million liters for every man, woman and child (1 cubic kilometer is 10-12 liters on earth. The problems arise not from shortage of water, but from its unequal distribution.

The largest store of freshwater is in icecaps and glaciers there is maximum store of fresh water-especially in Antarctica-which hold about 30 million cubic kilometers of water as ice. Rivers, lakes soils and the atmosphere, the obvious sources of freshwater, contain about 200 000 cubic kilometers of water-less than one-fifth of 1 per cent of the world’s total water supply.

There is another important store of water, much of it fresh that is easy to overlook. The rocks of the upper part of the Earth’s crust contain many holes. Some are caverns, but most of them are tiny pores-such as the spaces between grains of sand in sandstone or networks of equally fine cracks. Most pores are filled with water. After the oceans, porous rocks contain the Earth’s largest store of water; one calculation puts the total at more than 50 million cubic kilometers, of which at least 4 million cubic kilometers is fresh water.

Some rocks are more porous than others. More important, the pores in some rocks are either large or join up so that water can flow through them easily. Such rocks are said to be permeable; sandstones and gravels are good examples of permeable rocks. In other rocks, water can hardly flow at all; clay has very small pores, whereas pumice is full of good-sized holes but they rarely link up. These and similar rocks are impermeable. Layers of rock that are porous and permeable enough to store water and let it flow through them easily are called aquifers.

In temperate countries the absence of water in the landscape is often a good clue to the presence of one of these great underground stores. Where there are rocks of low permeability at the surface, such as clays or granites, or altered rocks such as slates, only a little rain soaks into the ground. Most of the rainwater flows straight to streams or rivers. These impermeable rocks from landscapes with rivers that rise quickly, even flooding their banks after heavy rain, but diminish or even dry up after a spell of dry weather.

In areas of permeable rocks, most rain soaks into the ground. It reaches rivers only after passing slowly through an aquifer. Permeable areas usually have only a few streams, but they flow with little variation throughout the year and rarely flood.

TECHNOLOGY

The successive stages in man’s technical progress are readily associated with particular well-known periods in his historical development: fire, writing, the wheel, sails, bronze, iron, water power, steam, explosives, electricity, light alloys, wireless, television, nuclear energy, automation, flight, rockets, and space travels etc.etc.

In any age, people view each major discovery achievement as the inventor’s final answer to an old question. Real progress is achieved only when certain problems, some of them centuries old have been solved.

Wherever one can penetrate the darkness which hides the early history of mankind, traces of astonishing technical achievements can be found. For instance, the gigantic old-age stone monuments, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and clay tablets, ancient weapons, jewellery, f fortifications, palaces, burial chambers, ships and tools and all that is unearthed by archaeologists. Then think of the most outstanding discovery of all-the wheel.

Very little is known of the science and technology of those days. It is not known who discovered the lever, the roller or the wheel. Nor can it be said when these fundamental achievements of man’s brain and hand became the daily tools of his craft; the wheel must have been discovered and forgotten many times.

For various reasons man’s ideas did, nevertheless, triumph and his efforts throughout the ages did ultimately take effect, although only slowly at first. His artefacts furthered and supported his authority and glorified him in the wielding of it. The development of a kind of everyday technology was therefore directed to the construction of houses, to the manufacture of clothes as a protection against the elements, to the manufacture of weapons for hunting or for defence against enemies-human and animal. This emphasis on means of survival led man to change the world around him in many ways.

We live in an artificial technological world from which it is now virtually impossible to escape, since it provides all the material aids to our existence, whether they be clothing, houses, lighting, heating cooling, air conditioning and sanitation or supplies of drinking water, gas, electricity, vitamins, medicines or vaccines.

Many advances must have been due to the creative powers or ingenious inventors and thinkers, who opposed the inertia of traditionalist and unadventurous. In this way they assisted the gradual unfolding of science and technology.

Technology in the modern sense originated in the 7th century. Thinkers advocated the measurement of natural processes and derivation of laws from such measurements as the proper field of the natural sciences, and prepared the way for experimental science. Once natural laws had been formulated, they were increasingly used to replace investigation by trial and error, and soon came to determine the limits of possible technical achievement.

The role of mentors in researcher’s life

When a researcher takes his initial steps in the world of academia there are many things that he does not know. He has questions about his work and curiosity about his future. It is essential for these questions to get answered quickly so that the researcher can progress successfully. Only a responsible mentor can guide the researcher in the right way and give him appropriate advice.

A mentor is normally someone who has already gone through the hurdles that the researcher would face and has conquered them successfully. Anyone can be a mentor. It could be a faculty member, a senior researcher or even a colleague. A mentor can be anyone who has the wisdom, the experience and the best interests of the researcher in his heart. The mentor should also have the respect of the researcher. Whatever advice the mentor gives, the researcher should be prepared to implement it. Some of the qualities that a good mentor instils in a researcher are values and ethics. The researcher is given guidance in not just the scientific duties that he has to fulfil, but is also taught the responsibilities that he has towards society, his profession, his colleagues and his seniors. The mentor also helps the researcher identify his career goals and develops a plan for achieving them. Researchers often get ideas to work on new areas and explore new fields from their mentor.

Many researchers show implicit faith in their mentors and follow whatever advice they give them. This gives the mentors great power over their apprentices. It is essential for them not to abuse this relationship. The careers of many researchers have been spoiled just because the mentors gave the researcher wrong advice for their own selfish benefits. The mentor should realise that the relationship which they have with the researcher is one of trust and they should not exploit that trust.

Many researchers acquire a lot of knowledge just by observing the way that the mentors conduct themselves and go about their work. It is often said that the best way to learn the right things is by following somebody’s example. This is what researchers do when they learn from their mentor. A good mentor can make the career of a researcher by showing him the right path. Consequently, researchers without a mentor are left floundering in the dark and are forced to learn everything through trial and error. That is why all researchers need good mentors to guide them.

How should scholars deal with peer pressure

Everybody has to deal with pressure at some point or the other in their lives. In school and college teenagers face the pressure of looking cool and excelling at studies. At the office there is a pressure on the employees to attend parties, to get in the good books of the boss and meet company targets. Scholars and academicians face peer pressure as well. They face the pressure of writing research reports and getting them published in academic journals. Sometimes when a group of scholars are working on a project together they face the strain of having to agree with their colleagues on a certain point even when they have a different opinion. Many scholars also face the pressure of having to be part of scientific institutions and academic societies. So how does a scholar deal with all these pressures and live his life with freedom?

It is important for scholars to have interests outside of their academic circle. They should cultivate other interests besides just focusing on academics alone. They can take up a sport, learn painting or go on an adventure trip to an exotic location. These activities can help scholars realise that there is a life beyond their scholarly pursuits. When they are facing pressure at the work place or at the educational institution it would be good for them to just get away from it all and gain a healthy perspective on life.

It is essential to cultivate relationships outside the academic circle. Most scholars tend not to socialise. They bury themselves in their books and research and consequently face loneliness. And if they face any problems in their academic societies they find that they do not have a support mechanism to lean on. That is why it is vital to build relationships with people from other walks of life so that they can get a balanced view of the world.

Many scholars often forget why they entered the field in the first place. It was their love of academics that brought them there. They should not lose the passion that they have for their chosen field. They should also remember that each individual is unique. They should set their own goals and try and achieve them rather than getting influenced by what others expect them to do. Such an attitude can allow scholars to deal with peer pressure and lead a balanced life.

How case studies are used for teaching

The textbooks help students in understanding the various subjects of their curriculum. Teachers are the mentors of the students who use textbooks to teach them various subjects.  In higher classes the case studies are used so the students can get clear picture of the subjects and understand the complicated issues. Case studies also open doors for analysis and discussions between teachers and students. It is somewhat give a practical experience to the students for what has been taught theoretically. Case studies can be also used by teachers in the tests as well as they can also give a project work about a case to the students.

Teaching a concept or an issue becomes more interesting when case studies enter. The students understand the issues in a better way and also get involved in it. Case studies increase the interaction between teacher and students. A case study could be in a form of discussion where a teacher gives a case to the students in a classroom and then students can give their feedback and by each student’s opinion a teacher can judge the mental ability of the students. A teacher can also divide a class into small groups and tell each group to come out of their best solutions about the case given. For example, in Political science subject a teacher can give a case study on how a country where dictatorship is existing politics would be different if democracy would exist. At the end of the discussion a teacher and also a student with satisfying answer can give conclusion and tells the best possible way of solving a problem.

A case study can be given in the form of situation also. In a test also the teacher can give a case where a student has to give his opinion/solution. For example, teacher can give a case about an area where rain water harvesting does not exist and ask them to write the benefits and solutions of the problem if the rain water harvesting applied. By giving case study a student can easily understand the problems and conflicts involved in any issue and scenarios.

Case studies are also used at college level also. It can be also used in teaching professional courses such as Sales & Marketing, Journalism. In Journalism, a teacher can give a case of how after the emergence of internet many people turned for news on net as compare to the time when there was no internet. It can also include that how internet can be a quick source of getting news.

In case studies the student has to give a conclusion at the end of whatever topic chosen. After the debates, conflicts involved in the topic and situation, a student must write or speak about the steps which are the solutions of the problem. Case studies are best in higher classes because it involves the students and the students get an exposure about the issue and situation given by the teachers. They don’t remain passive and get the concepts clear with such type of exercises.

Mentoring students through online platforms

Education has an important role in the life of a student. A good education can give a good career as well as make a student a good human being. Classroom teaching gives a student direct interaction with the teachers. In classroom teaching, the teachers and students can see each other presence; the teacher teaches and takes class tests so as to find out that whether the students got the lessons taught or not.

Internet has become an important part of our life and one just can’t think of life without internet.  When education and internet meets then education gets accessible to the students outside classroom. Education through internet is a virtual medium where the students get the same knowledge that they get in a classroom.  In an online medium the teacher becomes instructor and education can be fun also through this medium. Nowadays many schools give homework to the students through online medium. The parents are required to make an account with the school’s website and by logging in to the website they can check what homework the teacher has given to the student. There are many companies who offer online education material to the students as well as to the teachers. They provide web based learning material to the junior (nursery to V) as well as to the senior (VI to XII) classes.

In higher classes online education gives a student hesitant-free environment. Those students who are passive and shy by nature they can find themselves comfortable in online education. The higher class students can easily access the website; they can get the relevant information about the various subjects in a compact manner. After coming from the school they can enhance their knowledge from these websites. There are virtual classes, test modules available on these websites and besides that they can ask a question to either subject matter expert or online tutor.

E-learning is the only way which gives a student learning in an interesting way. There is a scope of illustrations, graphics, audio and video elements in the learning process. Even students can interact with the teachers online also. The teachers can solve the queries of the student through online medium. Online tutors can also give tuitions to the students which can save student’s travelling time to the tuition centre. The teachers can prepare assessment exercises, online tests which will judge whether the students are getting the lessons of the various subjects or not. The tests can also be creative at the same time. Here, with every correct answer of the student an audio or text of appreciation will make students more motivated and they will get more interested in the studies. If the answers are not correct the correct answers can be shown to the students at the end of the test or after every question. Apart from all the above benefits that an e-learning website offers, these websites also provide networks, blogs, newsletters and much more to the students.

Online education not only helps students of school level but also to the people who are working and want to study further. It breaks the barriers; by getting education through e-learning a person can do a job as well as get an education at the same time. There are so many universities which offer courses through online medium. An education through online medium save a lot of time and yes there is flexibility for students. They can take up the lessons according to their time of convenience. So, education through online medium is just a click away. It is more creative, colourful and also serves the main purpose i.e. to teach the students.