The focus of everyday life in Sugao revolves around farming. Village activity changes with the agricultural season and farm tasks are the rotating pivot around which village society is organized. The agricultural cycle has traditionally been geared, in the Sugao farmer's mind, to the moon and the astrological sign (of which there are twenty-seven in the Hindu calendar) in dominance at the time. In practice, cultivation tasks have become associated with phases of the Hindu lunar calendar which give the farmer guidance when to do what in his fields.

This paper describes some of the changes that have occurred in agricultural production in Sugao since 1942. The intent is to illustrate, with this case study of a village microcosm, some of the forces that have been set in motion by a combination of development strategies introduced during the post-Independence decades of development planning in India. Some of these have had as a goal the fostering of urban, industrial development, others of improving the health and education of people, still others, and most importantly for Sugao, of subsidizing and modernizing agriculture and inducing a shift to more cash-crop production. These strategies have had obvious and subtle effects on the Sugao economy and affected segments of the Sugao society in different ways.

This paper documents, quantitatively as well as qualitatively, some of the changes that have occurred in the practice of agriculture in Sugao and their impacts on village peoples' work and the village economy. The paper concludes with some conjectures about the future of development in villages like Sugao if this observed direction of change is maintained.


Urban, Community and Regional Planning


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