A Study of the Impact of Planned Development on the Socioeconomic Dynamics of the Aboriginals of Central India
Change is a multidimensional process initiating in few or several aspects of the society but gradually encompassing all its aspects. The change agents, intrinsic or external, play a vital role in determining the degree, direction and intensity of change. The present study was conducted in three villages inhabited by ThakurGonds, a subgroup of numerically highest and geographically most widely spread aboriginals of Central India, Gonds. Gonds have profound mentioning in the mythological and historical literature of India. However, the present study is the first anthropological study carried out in this area by the author of this paper. The history of planned change is very recent in the area under study. The area was amidst the thick forest and the inhabitants of this area were looked upon with the sense of awe of mystery by the people living in the nearby town. Due to the small closely- knit entity of these villages, change was studied and compared at village level. The two prominent factors of change in this area are religious intervention through the construction of a Temple by a Hindu Sage and implementation of Planned Development activities by the government since 1982. Both these factors are intertwined in the local set up and had tremendous effect on the lives of the local people. The results show a mixed response of the people towards the change, which is very obvious in the initial stages and could be explained on the lines of Ogburn’s theory of cultural lag. There is resistance or hesitation, acceptance and rejection too. It has been found that the distance from the sources of stimulus, intergenerational gap, factors of motivation and socio-cultural barriers have played a vital role in the process of change. These have been discussed in detail in the present paper.
Keywords: Socio-Cultural Change, Religious Intervention, Cultural Lag, Aboriginals, Planned Development, Central India
Dr. Anima Sharma
Director (Research and Development)