71 years post-Independence, India is still strictly demarcated on the basis of inequality, so much so that we have two widely divergent Indies, one thriving in our cities and the other that is prevalent in our villages. The urban and the rural aspects have very less in common with each other and both have their pros and cons with patrons of each side vouching for their quality of life to be far superior to the other.
What glaringly sets apart the rural folks from their urban counterpart is the difference in per capita income which is about less than half on an average level. With 66% of population still dependent on agrarian income, this difference does not augur well for the economy. Yet the villagers find solace in the abundance of bounties served by nature in form of fresh air, water and less noise and air pollution which is the bane of urban life.
Urban people on the other hand, would not like to swap their access to modern technology, facilities and amenities for all the unadulterated gifts of nature.
It has become a way of life for the urban population to be dependent on the technological advances made by man for his benefit, but which has now enslaved him, to the extent that life without them even for an hour is unimaginable,. Wi-Fi service, cars, metros, swanky houses, 24 hour access to water, power back up, malls, elevators, glitz and glamour of urban life is essential pre-requisite in their run-up to chase more money, power and social status. Medical facilities and better access to quality education and a wide scope of career opportunities keep the lure of urban life alive despite its vehicular emissions and air pollution and feeling of isolation.
Class difference is another delineating feature which strictly sets apart the village and city life. Differences on the basis of religion, caste, creed is much more vociferous in the villages, though to be honest, even in the 21st century India, the undercurrent of such differences is quite prevalent in urban life too, though in a much less apparent manner.
Social bonding situation is much favorable in the villages where people always have time for each other in spite of their struggle to make a living. Human interaction is always given preference in the rural set up where it very common for human beings to get together on an everyday basis and have time and attention to share other people’s problems and issues. City people, on the other hand, do it on a virtual platform more than on a real basis. Visiting each other’s homes, without prior intimation is considered uncouth and given a chance, most of the interactive formalities are accomplished on phone or on the social media platforms.
With rapid strides in industrialization, villages are fast becoming more and more urbanized with cell phone towers cropping up, electricity and piped waterline making a positive difference in the rural life, access to education becoming easier and medical care being made available. However the pace is uncertain with various pockets in India, largely deprived of basic amenities and compelled to live in the remote shadow of backwardness of their city counterparts.
Better career prospects, since time immemorial has lured simple, rural folks to the tantalizing appeal of city lights. But the luxuries and quality of life which seem a benchmark of urban life is a mere mirage. The population in cities is growing disproportionately to its infrastructure on account of this massive immigration, relegating this mass exodus to a dehumanized rat race phenomenon.
The key then, is to strike a balance incorporating the pros and cons of each side and ensuring growth of better career prospects and facilities in the villages and better infrastructural support in the cities to absorb the influx of population.