Rural Power Structure : Leadership – Changing Patterns 

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Rural Power Structure :

Leadership – Changing Patterns 


For systematic study of any social system it is necessary that all its aspects should be studied. Politics is a very important subject in new studies. For many nations, the politicization of people and groups is also very important from a sociological point of view. To understand the nature, direction and other important features of change in developing countries, it is necessary to understand the political process there. In India, the social power has been there in the rural community since very ancient times. On this basis the status of the person is determined. Many religious texts, historians and scholars have mentioned the political system of the villages of ancient India. A common feature observed about the historical political system is that in the determination of social power, importance was given to the Ascribed Status in ancient times and not to the Achieved Status. In the study of Indian rural political system by many scholars, A. s . Altekar and B. N. The name of Puri is noteworthy. You have presented a detailed study of the ancient rural political system in your book ‘State and Government in Ancient India’. . Henry Maine in ‘Village Communities in the East and West’ has mentioned the presence of councils and chiefs of old people in Indian villages. Paskar Lewis studied group and leadership in northern India.

The interest of sociologists towards the study of rural power structure and leadership in India has arisen recently and many Indian social scientists have sponsored such studies in rural political system. Doctor . Yogendra Singh studied the power structure in six villages of Uttar Pradesh. M . N. Srinivas and Shyamacharan Dabe have mentioned the methodology of studying the patterns of rural leadership. 

The concept of Dominant Caste has been given an important place, whereas Dubey Prabhu considers the concept of leadership limited to a few individuals rather than caste. Prabhat Chandra has studied rural leadership in favor of traditional leadership in an article written by him. Many scholars have presented their studies in Park and Ticker’s compiled work ‘Leadership and Political Institutions in India’. In these, many articles have been written by Propler, Budd, Heink, Orenstein, Beals Macarmack, Harper etc. Ma Mrs. Leela Dubey, Rai, Dr. Kothari, L. P . The concept, methods and facts of leadership in India have been mentioned by Vidyarthi et al. On the basis of several articles presented in the seminar on Tribal and Rural Leadership held in Ranchi in 1962, Mr. Vidyarthi has edited the book ‘Leadership in India’, which is a masterpiece of the study of rural tribal leadership. Thus we see that many scholars have presented their studies on rural structure and leadership. We must note that the power structure is never independent in itself. Leadership is that important medium through which a particular form of power is made effective. Before we try to understand the pattern of power structure and leadership, let us understand what is power, power structure and leadership.



Concept of Power 


In general terms, power is understood to mean the pressure of any individual and group, which is evident on other individuals or groups. Power as a concept is concerned with the fulfillment of a particular status and role related to it. According to Max Weber, in general, we call power the state of one person or several persons acting on others or fulfilling it even when the other person opposes it. ” 3 , Horton and Hunt wrote in Sociology that “Power means the ability to control the actions of others. “4 This means that no matter what situation a person is in. The extent to which he controls the behavior of others, the more powerful he becomes.

It is clear from both these definitions that power is such an ability inherent in an individual or group by which the person or group holding power is not of the will of others. Even so, it forces them to behave according to their wish and becomes successful in getting all the decisions in their own favor. It is important in this context that in every society some individuals or groups acquire so much power because of their special abilities that they can use it effectively at any time. This pattern of influence in society creates such a network or system that interconnects individuals and groups who make decisions related to a particular subject. Chitambar states that the individuals or groups who have their influence on the society formally or informally, those individuals form the power structure in the society.

Rogers has explained social power as a fact by which one person influences or controls the actions of another. In order to clarify this statement, it is necessary to clarify the difference between its two forms i.e. Authority and Influence to clarify the concept of power. According to Chitambar, influence can be defined as such a force. In which power structure and leadership are involved and by which some individuals or groups influence the behavior and actions of other people in the society. Harton and Hunt have tried to explain the effect in a limited sense. According to you, we call influence the ability to influence the behavior and decisions of other people without any authority.

On the other hand authority is a legitimate power which an individual enjoys by virtue of being in a particular position in the society and is in a position to give orders to other persons in this context. From this point of view, authority is a formal force that is closely related to the position of an individual, whereas influence refers to an informal power. For example, the power of the Prime Minister or the District Collector is related to a particular post, so we can take their power under ‘power’ whereas the power of a social reformer or scientist is not related to any particular post, more than ‘influence’. are associated. Thus it is clear that the meaning of authority is the legal power, while the effect gives the sense of an illegal power or non-legit mate power.


Although in every society or community, it is necessary for power to be effective in order to keep life in order, but its form may be different in different communities. In general, this power can be understood through four main forms – (a) the power of the elite, (b) the power of the organized group, (c) the power of the unorganized people, and (d) the power of the law. The power of aristocracy is related to those persons who hold high positions due to their wealth, efficiency or influence and influence other people by the power of their position. Apart from this, in every society there are such organizations of industrialists, doctors, professors, lawyers or farmers who use their power in an organized manner.

Generally, the strength of these organizations lies in the number of their members and the size of the organization. Sometimes unorganized people also display their power on different occasions. The power of the unorganized people is generally exercised in two forms – either by showing non-cooperation in a particular situation or by supporting or opposing someone by voting in a democratic system, finally, law is such a legal form of power that the whole The consent of the society is obtained. Law is such a formal structure of power by which the rights and obligations of all people are defined and control is established in the society. In societies where secondary group relations predominate, Kanan is seen as the most obvious form of power.


Thus it is clear that in every community there are certain people in whom power is vested. These individuals play an important role in determining group decisions and individual behavior patterns. The expansion of this power within a group.



Power Structure 

We can compare the power of influencing people with that of the currents of the sea, which from time to time move the waters of rural and urban masses in one direction or the other. . This power is in the leadership or in the group of people who hold the power and they use their powerful influence to give direction to the people. These forces work in the society through small groups or in other forms. Sometimes power acts in the society by taking the form of authority formally and sometimes it controls the society informally through individual or group and plays an important role in decision making. The pattern and form of influence can be any but it is definitely found in every society. The pattern of influence in rural society can be seen in terms of the overall power structure and leadership. Defining power, Horton and Hunt write, “Power is the ability to control the actions of others.” Max Weber also explains power in the same way, generally we refer to ‘power’ as a person or a number of people by their will. To impose on others or to fulfill even after resistance by others.

Parsons considers power to be such a generalized capacity of the social system whose purpose is to fulfill the interests of the collective goals. Thus we see that Horton and Max Weber have defined power as vested in a person or persons as an ability by which a person holding power imposes his will on other people even when they are against their will. . Parsons considers power as a social system which is used for the fulfillment of collective objectives. In the above context, we can say that there are some people or groups in the society who have such ability due to some qualities or abilities that they can use it in special situations. The model of influence in society creates a structure that links the individuals and groups making decisions. The individuals or groups who have influence in the society formally or informally, they form the power structure in the society.


Thus power in society can be seen in two forms – one in the form of authority and the other in the form of Iafluence. Influence can be defined as the force exerted by individuals and groups influencing the behavior and actions of people in society, including power structures and leadership. Horton and Hunt show the effect in a limited sense. According to him, influence means the ability to influence the behavior and decisions of others without authority. We can define authority as Legitimate Power which is obtained as a result of holding a position by which an individual or group gets the right to command other people, control their behavior. Power is the ceremonial power that a person obtains by virtue of holding a position. Influence gives an impression of informal power. The authority and power enjoyed by the District Collector is due to his holding office. Therefore, we will call the power of the District Collector as power.

The power enjoyed by a kind, friendly and religious elder in the village is informal, it will be called his influence. Receives power because of the office of the Prime Minister or the President. We will call their power as power. Whereas we will call the power of Mahatma Gandhi as influence. Therefore, it is clear that power is Legitimate Power while effect is non-legitimate power. Power is also closely related to culture. In Indian culture, the power of the elderly man and woman is different in making family decisions. In India, an older man has more power in decision-making than a woman, whereas in western countries the power of a woman is more than that of an Indian woman. Power is exercised indirectly in the society by the units of social structure like institution and organization. In this form the power assumes a formal form. Ja Shakti manifests in many forms in the society.

Its main four forms are – elite, organized power, power of concerned people and power of law. In the less elite society, there is such a group of people who hold power because of their wealth, ability to work and influence or because of high positions, we call them elite. G or Organized Power There are some such organizations in the society which get the support and acceptance of the public and those organizations use their power. For example, students, lawyers, doctors, teachers, farmers and industrialists have significant power and influence in the society. These people use communication, magazines, radio, television etc. to show their power. Different organizations exercise power on the basis of their numbers. Power of Unorganized Masses Power is also vested in the unorganized people though it is used seldom. co-operation and cooperation in any work by vote
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Traditional Power Structure in Rural India 


There were three main pillars of power structure in traditional Indian villages – Zamindari system, Gram Panchayat and Jati Panchayat. On the one hand the zamindari system was representative of the material and economic interests and preferences of the people of the community, on the other hand the village panchayats and caste panchayats were symbols of the social features of rural politics.

Agriculture was the main occupation of the villagers. Thus, the rights of land ownership determined the position of dominance and subordination in their social relations. The rights of land ownership controlled the economic requirements of the people of the communities. The Zamindari system played an important role in the power system of the village. Gradually, the Zamindari system developed in the form of a power institution in the villages and it also started determining the policies. This practice also influenced the roles of village panchayats and caste panchayats. After the Zamindari system, the caste organization was the second important organization influencing the behavior, rituals, traditional expectations and social life of the rural people. The caste organization developed its power structure along with the zamindari system.

The third major source of power structure in the villages was the village panchayats. Before the establishment of the present Panchayati Raj, there was a council or village panchayat constituted by the elderly people of all castes in the villages. These panchayats controlled the power of the collective organization of the zamindari. Thus the zamindari system. Before the abolition, the institutions of the zamindari system, village panchayat and caste panchayat played an important role in determining the power system in the village. Any economic, political, social, cultural and cultural disputes were settled by these three institutions only. This does not mean that apart from these three there were no other sources of power in the villages. The priests, customs, traditions and customs were also the sources of power in the villages. These were accepted by the people of the village unconsciously and on violating them, many difficulties would arise in front of the person. The three sources of rural power, the zamindari system, the village panchayat and the caste panchayat were not independent units in themselves but were also interdependent on each other. Above them was the power of the police and the state. These three institutions were also dependent on him and also derived their power from them. We will mention here these three sources of power structure in Indian villages so that the traditional power structure of the villages can be clearly understood.


Zamindari System and Power Structure


There is disagreement among scholars about the method of land ownership in the villages before the zamindari system. Henry Maine believes that patriarchal families were prevalent in ancient times. The head of the family along with his members used to do agricultural work and the practice of collective ownership of land existed. Mukherjee and Altekar have agreed with the views of Henry Maine. Baden Powell is of the opinion that as a result of ethnic movement, the rights of land ownership also changed. The Ryotwari system was prevalent before the Paryas, which is still found in southern India. The Aryans started the practice of collective ownership of the village on land. They say that ownership of land arises in two ways, one, the person who labors on the land and makes it cultivable, has a right over it. Second land rights arise because of the victory. In northern India, the right of land was obtained due to the conquest of land by a dara or due to the grant of land by the king or due to the expansion of land by the gotra. On the basis of land ownership, two types of villages are seen in northern India.

(1) Villages having talukdari or zamindari system.
(2) Villages having joint zamindari system.



In the villages where we had zamindari or talukdari system, all the land in the village was owned by the zamindar or talu kar dar. The other people of the village were called his subjects or rayots who had only the right to cultivate. In return for cultivating the land, people paid rent to the zamindars. The zamindars would have rights over the gardens, ponds, pastures, land etc. of the village. The person using them had to pay rent or land payment in cash or kind. The merchant, handicraft and service caste used to pay compensation in the form of Upsar. The zamindars also had many judicial rights on their raita. The Zamindari system gave rise to many primary, political, social and judicial rights. There was no interference of law in these rights. The zamindars were very powerful without any law and the people of the village also accepted the customs more than the law. The Zamindari system thus gave rise to a distinctive power structure in the villages. After the caste panchayat, the zamindar in the village was the symbol and guardian of the law and rules in all practical matters. They set up their courts, kept records of papers, did justice and punished the criminals. The zamindar was the head of the village.

In the second type of villages where joint zamindari system was prevalent. The power structure was of another type.




The Village Panchayat

The organization of village panchayats was also different in different villages according to the Zamindari system. In the villages of Punjab and Southern India, there was a village panchayat whose rights and who would be the members were almost fixed. In the village panchayat there were lambardars of different yokes, contractors of talaqdars, elderly persons of different caste panchayats, watchmen etc. While the zamindari system divided the villages into various thoks and pattas, there was also a broad base of the rural power structure. These village panchayats were responsible for maintaining law and order in the villages, hearing appeals against caste panchayats and hearing complaints from wholesale landowners. In theory, the village panchayat held the highest position in the rural power-structure, but in actual practice its dominance fluctuated along with the factions of the bulk of the landowners, and this broad institution rarely used its power successfully. Used to do Generally these village panchayats lived in a dormant state; But whenever the question of prestige and security of the village arose, the village panchayats appeared to be functional and supremely powerful.




 The Caste Panchayat 


The caste panchayats were an important source of power in all the Indian villages. The caste panchayat provided security to the caste system. The different roles of caste panchayats attracted the attention of many scholars like Blatt, Risley, Mathai, Paltekar, Mukherjee and Malviya etc. With the establishment of the judicial system of the British state, many functions of caste panchayats also ended. The chief officers of the caste panchayats were Chaudhari (Pradhan), Pacha (member of the Panchayat executive), Charidar or Sipahi (messenger) etc., all of which were hereditary among the lower and middle castes.

The influence of these caste panchayats was not confined to a single village but extended to ten or twenty villages. The caste panchayats performed many functions such as fixing the rules of food, setting the area and rules of marriage, punishing those who violated the rules, and protecting the reputation and security and interests of the caste from the opposing castes and groups, etc. But with the passage of time, when the zamindari system was abolished and newly elected panchayats were formed, the caste panchayats became functional in the villages and groups of castes were formed. In the Zamindari system, the element of casteism was suppressed in the caste panchayats and the caste panchayats were a secondary and expected source of power, but now they have become the controlling force in the village social, economic and political relations. Now they are also a cause of social tension in the rural social structure.

It is clear from the above discussion that the traditional rural power-structure was being formed from a limited number of people. Although efforts were made to decentralize power through gram panchayats, but before independence, gram panchayats were practically the medium for the welfare of the zamindars and they did not have the ability to take any decision independently. Even the head of the caste panchayat could not disregard the wishes of the zamindar. The main features related to this traditional form of rural power structure can be briefly understood as follows Sharjahrit

“(1) Rural power-structure The nature of power of the individuals or groups to which it belonged was mainly genetic. The transmission of this power was not only from the zamindar to his son, but the post of head of village panchayat and caste panchayat was also directly or indirectly hereditary.

(2) This power-structure was characterized by autocracy. It means that the person who had a special status in his group used it freely without any hindrance to secure his interests. Thus, group welfare did not have much importance in the power structure. –

(3) The effect of caste-stratification has been clearly present in the traditional rural power-structure. Generally, the lower caste people could never get an important place in the power structure. The power vested in the zamindars and village panchayats was also used to protect the upper caste people. Fle

(4) Land ownership and family prestige also had a special place in the determination of personal power. This means that the big zamindars had more power than the small zamindars, while the head of the village panchayat was also generally the owner of a large land and belonged to a noble family.

(5) The nature of the power structure was mainly local. Each village functioned as a separate unit of power and the power of the zamindar, gram panchayat or caste panchayat was also associated with a local area.

(6) Rural power structure was also the basis of social structure for a long period. Caste, occupational and religious practices were determined on the basis of the instructions of the person or group in whom the power of the village was vested. (7) In Pant, the element of power was more important than Prabhat in the traditional rural power structure. It means that the power of the person was related to the rights conferred on him or




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