JSIA students undertake sociology field trip to Rajpur village
On 17 April 2019, a group of 35 students enrolled in the B.A.G.A 2018 programme at the Jindal School of International Affairs undertook a field trip to Rajpur village, Haryana as part of their course “Introduction to Sociology”. The trip was organised by Professor Bilquees Daud in collaboration with Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) which runs a resource center in the village.
The students had to collect data for their projects on themes of political ideology, caste, gender, and religion. They also conducted informal interviews with the villagers for their assigned project group.
The students initiated conversations with youth present, a majority of whom were from high school while some girls were even at the start of their college. The umbrage of the aanganwadi, gave the women confidence to speak of their long lost dreams of becoming fashion designers or teachers in their youth. Despite the increase in enrollment of children in schools and girls in colleges, the future of many young men and women in Rajpur still remains uncertain. Over the course of the trip, stories of women’s strength emerged with many women choosing to pursue vocational education schemes instead of being forced to take care of their families. However, the pressure on married women by their mothers-in-law to quit education and stay at home still remains an issue.
The wave of progressive thought has spread faster through the women and children of the village than men. At first, they seemed unapproachable but eventually opened up. They spoke about the politics and their elected representatives. Religion didn’t seem to be a stringent criterion in electing leaders as long as a leader allowed for unhindered practice of their faith. The major problem however was that most villagers complained about the lack of information about government schemes provided to them. The villagers said a program introduced by the government reaches them by the end of that administration’s term, leaving people only a few months to avail of the program while it is still valid. The primary culprit of this phenomenon is corruption, which, according to the men, hinders the people’s ability to make use of critical programs that would allow them to live better and more comfortable lives.
The field trip to Rajpur allowed students a unique and interesting opportunity to see how circumstances shapes and changes one’s perceptions. The lives of these people and the struggles they face allowed for a momentary glimpse into the everyday experiences of Indians. While the contradicting ideologies in the village might have been astonishing, they prove, nevertheless to be interesting and informative realities that make up the diverse mosaic of Indian society.