b. What is Jajmani system? Examine the views on jajmani system as an egalitarian as well as exploitative system. Giver reasons for its decline. (2013, paper II Section A)
The jajmani system is considered as the backbone of the rural economy and social order.It is a system of traditional occupational obligations. In rural India, Jajmani system is very much linked with the caste system.
It could be said that the Jajmani system is a system of distribution whereby high caste land owning families are provided services and products of various lower castes such as Khati (Carpenter), Nai (Barber), Kumhars (Potters), Lobars (Blacksmiths), Dhobi (Washer man), Sweeper (Chuhra) etc. The servicing castes are called Kamins while the castes served are called Jajmans.
Close and Intimate Relationship:
There is a close and intimate relationship between the jajman and kamin. This relationship is not purely economical but it is sentimental and internal. A spirit of fellow feeling and brotherhood develops under this system. Both jajman and kamin know full well each other’s limitations as well as plus points.
So, they try to adjust each other. Jajmani system is hereditary and permanent, that is why both jajman and kamin sympathies for each other. This system creates an atmosphere conducive to peaceful living and co-operation.
Source of Exploitation:
Jajmani system is exploitative. The agricultural castes, which are invariably upper castes, seek the services of the occupational castes, which Eire generally lower castes. The exploitation of lower castes continues under the garb of paternal ties.
Like the caste system, this system has become a source of suppression, exploitation and discrimination. Oscar Lewis has pointed out in his study of Jajmani system in Rampur village, whereas in the past it was based on personal relationship, it has now become an instrument of exploitation of kamins by jajmans.
There are a number of factors responsible for the disintegration of jajmani system in India. These factors are:
Due to the Impact of modernisation, the jajmani system is getting disintegrated. The influence of life style, modern education, western culture has become the barrier In jajmani system. Decline in Jajmani system can be attributed to changes in hereditary occupation. The rapid expansions of means of transport and communication have enable the people to receive improved services somewhere else.
Due to the impact of industrialisation and urbanisation, the economic condition of the people has been changed. So it comes in the way of jajmani system. Barter system of exchange is now almost extinct. Now payment in form of cash is made.
Broad changes in caste system also come in the way of jajmani system. Jajmani system which was once useful In Indian rural society has gradually seen reduced to exploitation of the lower castes. Jajmani system is interconnected with the caste system.
The caste system in India is on its way of disintegration. So the jajmani relations with other castes are In the process of being broken off. Another factor is that now-a-days the caste panchayats are dying out. They have lost their power and effectiveness. Various reform movements have also contributed to the decline of the jajmani system.