ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Village in the City,the City in the Village

Many villages gradually get included in cities and urban people also migrate to villages transforming them into towns. Both phenomena require intensive study, including an examination of the defi ning criteria of a "town", and the estimates of urban population.

A n important concomitant of urban­isation in India is that villa­ges l­ocated outside the boundaries of a city get included in it over time. There are more than 300 such villages within Delhi now and every other city I know has such villages in varying numbers. There is no readily available count for the country as a whole, but I am sure it would be large. This phenomenon has been intensifying since the 1950s and is sure to intensify further. India is on the path of rapid urbanisation, and the u­rban development autho­rities of all cities are planning to draw more and more villages into their nets. The causes and consequences of the pheno­menon therefore require careful analysis.

How a village gets included within a city is usually a long drawn process. It is necessary to recall that in most parts of India a village is made up of, first, a residential settlement (gaon-than or abadi area) where houses and huts are huddled together,1 and second, agricultural fields, pasture (gauchar) land, water tanks and ponds, cart tracks, wasteland, and other open territory all around it.2 The two together constitute a territorial unit called the “revenue village” (mauza in most parts of India) with fixed boundaries recognised for local administration.3 Often it includes, besides the main settlement, one or more small subsidiary settlements, or “satellite villages”, as M N Srinivas called them. On the other hand, a mauza may not have any residential settlement, in which case it is called a “deserted village”.

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