India is a land of villages. Seventy percent of people live in villages. So the soul of India is its villages. The socio-economic and cultural conditions of villages are very important to India. In this context, a village market is an important place that serves its many purposes. The village market is a primary economy.
A village market is a place in the village where villagers gather to buy and sell their daily needs. It sits for five to six hours. It sits in the afternoon and ends in the dusk. Vegetables, Fish, Oil, Milk, Fruit, Rice, Sugar, Clothes, etc are sold in the market. The village market makes available indigenous goods made/ manufactured by villagers themselves it indicates a self-reliant economy. Moreover, it is a simple economy. The village market serves social purposes also. It is a meeting place for villagers to exchange their views and opinions on social and cultural matters. They meet their kith and kin also. So village market helps for social cohesion. The extra-economic function is equally important as its economic function.
Village life is a very simple life. Here the behavior is spontaneous and comes from the heart. Poets and philosophers have desired to live in villages. An Odiya poet Sachidanand Routray has written –
“Chhota mora gaanati
Bhugola pothi patare pachhe
Na thau tara naanati
Chhota mora gaanati.”
(My small village is dear to me, even if it does not find mentioned in the geography book.)
Down the years of History, great men have been born in villages. The simplicity of village life makes their mind great. The village market has many intrinsic merits. It is far away from the din and bustle of the cities. Villagers wait eagerly for the market day not only to buy and sell daily needs but for social contact. A great relief comes to their mind on the market day. The village market has also drawn the attention of Anthropologists also because it is a simple society – what Robert Redfield, the American Anthropologist said and termed it Folk Society – (American Journal of sociology)
The village market offers a fundamental and simple way of life. There is also a saying – simple living, but high thinking. Make a plain living in the lap of Nature and be a child of Nature, far from the madding crowd. The village market is a testimony to that. The elemental way of life is the summum bonnum of ideal human life. So we should cherish these fundamental values of life to lead a simple happy life which is elusive these days.
(The views expressed are the writer’s own.)
Radhakanta Seth is a former Income tax officer in Sambalpur. He is a freelance writer and his articles have been published in some Oriya dailies like Sambad, Samaj, Dharitri, and English dailies like The Telegraph and in a sociological journal ‘Folklore’ published from Kolkata.
He can be reached at [email protected]