Jajmani System in India: Meaning, Definition, Advantages and Disadvantages
This article throws light upon the nine main features of Jajmani system. The jajman-kamin relationship is hereditary in the sense that in case there is separation in According to N.S. Reddy, “Jajmani jobs are considered to be proprietary. Another important factor is that demand and supply of a particular type of kamin in. The Jajmani System in relation to the village community. . The strength of the system depends however not on the actual payments made but . third section by a description of the disintegrating factors in the caste interrelationships. by " the' different castes, are a biological fact — representing inherent differences in . separation (based on the concept of purity and pollution), endogamy and ideology Wiser () analysed the jajmani system to explain the mutual services rendered by the .. elements with structural social relationships and observed regularities. symbolic, forming a hierarchy with biological systems at the bottom and.
In the first part of the paper, I will introduce the village of Udipur and the methodology followed. The livelihood change and its relationship with power, politics, class, citizenship and social transformation are discussed in other sections.
The first phase of visit was to test field methodologies and ensure the data to be collected in Udipur. The second phase was mainly focused on household selection and survey, and collection of qualitative data from different sources and methods. A range of households were selected to represent different social and economic groups, female headed households, households with less diversified and more diversified, migrant and non migrant households.
Through semi- structured interviews and focus group discussions at the village level, the field research attempted to develop a composite picture of drivers and nature of change. Filed work was conducted in October-NovemberJanuary-February Head of the households, youths, school teachers and mother were interviewed either individually or in small focus groups.
Wide ranges of people were met from different socio-economic, caste, ethnicity, gender and class backgrounds. Interviews and interactions were conducted outside the house, in school, in VDC Office, or in the field. Conversations were allowed to develop organically starting from very general questions such as what has changed in the village in your life in the last years. A rapid assessment was made in each settlement of households to establish how caste-based relation has changed over 25 years and the reasons for change or remaining the same.
The Village The village, Udipur, lies in Pyuthan district which is about one and half hours walk from the local market. There were households in the study village comprising of mainly Brahmins, Dalits and Magars. There are six settlements among which, five have settlement history of more than years. In the past, people were living closely with the members of same castes.
It was general rule for members of different castes to live in different sections of the village. Better houses were usually located at the centre of the village while the others were constructed in peripheral areas, at a slight distance from it.
It was not difficult to distinguish two residential areas at least at first glance—the group of households occupied by non-Dalits and Dalits. These residential areas were denoted by the word tole, to which the name of the caste is prefixed. Bahun tole, Magar tole, Kami tole, Damai tole, Sarki tole are some of the common caste prefixed tole in Udipur.Development and evolution of brain function_121 Dr CM Markan
The Brahmins were the land-owning caste, while the Kami, Damai and Sarki were the poorest section of the landless inhabitants. In the past, people in Udipur used to divide caste into three strata—the 87 Change in Subedi upper stratum containing the Brahmin and Chhetri, the middle stratum containing the Magars, and the lower stratum containing the Kami, Damai and Sarki.
It can be said that representatives of the upper stratum in the villages were land-owning class while the lower stratum was composed of landless laborers and tenant peasants.
Jajmani system - Wikipedia
The middle stratum may be regarded as having lived in a state of economic as well as social dependence on the caste in the upper stratum. The more the khet land one had, the higher the social and economic status of the household and family would be. In the past, land was the main basis of livelihood, and those who controlled it, primarily the Brahmins and Chhetris, used to control the economy. Ownership of land, and especially of irrigated land, was highly correlated with wealth.
The Dalits, on the other hand, had to work for wealthy household as agriculture wage laborers. None of the household is recorded as landless. Most of the households are owner- cultivators; they live by their own work and land. One of the significant changes identified by the villagers was the general decline of forms of unremunerated labor in agriculture. In the past, if one had no piece of land to work on, one would have to ask someone who had more land to give a piece of land to sharecrop for survival.
One should also provide labor services to help task of landowners. These were the poor households and the members of these households had relatively weak social relationship and information networks.
Agriculture in Udipur is a family enterprise. Rice, maize, wheat, barley and millet are the main staple crops which govern the work of villagers and influence the yearly cycle of all activities in Udipur.
Other crops include beans, ginger, chili, cucumber, tomato, cabbage, cauliflower, leafy vegetables and potato. The nature and extent of cultivation of some crops is limited by the type of land available. Agricultural productivity has not changed perceptibly, and aside from an increase in vegetable growing of some households for consumption and sale, the entire agricultural scene has not been changed that much.
People prefer and use compost fertilizer. Practice of using chemical fertilizers has slightly increased but they have the perception that chemical fertilizers damage soil and its fertility, and taste of the crop also become substandard. The practice of the use of insecticide is very low.
There is a demand for fresh vegetables in the local market center, a few farming household had begun to experiment with vegetables cauliflower, tomato, modern hybrid beans, modern cucumber etc. There was a general move towards growing cash crops including green vegetable to sell nearby markets. Agricultural programs introduced by the state in partnership with aid agencies and NGOs had led to transformation in agricultural practices. Closely related to agriculture is animal husbandry.
The purpose of domesticating animals is mainly for subsistence. Buffalo, cow, oxen, goats and chicken are important animals in the village.
Buffalos and cows are kept for their two valuable products, milk and manure. Animal manure is considered necessary for agriculture and is often sufficient reason for keeping such animals. In the past, the cows, oxen and goats were grazed in the forest during the day time. Currently, almost each ward has community forests, and grazing in the community forest is prohibited. In such situation, almost all households started to reduce the number of cows to be domesticated.
Only few households have one or two cows, domesticated either for milk or ritual purpose. The family, which cannot afford to buy buffalo for milk purpose domesticates cows.
Secondly, since they do not graze the buffalo and cows in public land or forests, the lesser number of livestocks would be enough for compost manure. The migrant households have smaller number of livestock due to lack of labor available to look after them. Each household has at least some fodder trees of their own for their cattle in the bari land or in kharbari.
Compared to past, there is increase in fallow land, and an increase in trees on the private land. The number of domesticated goats has been increased and the purpose of domestication is subsistence and sale. Discussions Changing Livelihoods Livelihood incorporates the diverse ways in which people make a living and build their worlds Whitehead The motives for diversification may vary.
Diversification is the survival for the poor, away from poverty for those who are on an upward path, and for the rich accumulation of income and assets. Thus, livelihood diversification is a phenomenon that characterizes survival and income strategies in individuals and 89 Change in Livelihood diversification has increased over time.
There are many reasons for this, amongst which changing incentives and labor markets, risk strategies, impact of disasters and civil strife, saving and invest behavior, all contribute differently in different settings Ellis It is differentiated in its causes and effects by location, demography, vulnerability, income level, education and many other factors.
Thus, livelihood study emphasizes the importance of local contexts and circumstances. This is also true that the analysis of rural livelihood is cast within the specific context of the larger political-economic system and focuses on understanding on how macro forces both influence and are influenced by what happens at the local level Hart The pattern of social relationships and livelihood strategies of different households is part of a larger process of structural change.
Scholars like Blaikie et al. Many have focused new remittance economy and livelihood change, the mobility of the people from rural to urban areas, the flow of good and commodities, and flow of information and communication.
Various reports of the Nepal Living Standard Surveys conducted inand have shown that wage rates in the agricultural sector have increased CBSand The traditional caste-based relationship becoming weak and the new relationships are developed in rural areas.
In the following paragraph, I have focused changing livelihood and its impact on caste relations in Udipur. In the past, a number of activities in the village, especially those requiring particular skills or knowledge, were performed by the specific caste groups in Udipur. Most of these occupations were thought of as caste specific, and the arrangement for work and payment were standardized in some form of traditional exchange, the jajmani system. Such system was very common in India and Nepal BerremanCameron The economic base of the village was based on ownership of land and certain social relationships were established among various castes.
The Brahmins and Magars were primarily agriculturalists. Very few Brahmins were engaged in priestly work. An artisan or service caste members were responsible to provide services. They were paid a fixed portion of grain at each harvest. The amount depended upon the size of the household or landholding of the agriculturalist and the type of the service performed. The traditional economic exchange was not only between high caste and artisans but also among the artisans.
Blacksmiths, for example, had to get service from the tailors and vice versa. In the past, Jajmani system was very common in Udipur. The common term used for such system is balighare1.
The term bali literally means cereal crop. Under the bali system in Udipur, Dalits were paid an annual wage in kind at the time of the harvest of the major crops. The amount paid varies by type and extent of services provided or received.
The rate for different types of services is fixed by customs varying sometime according to the place and occupation. Such practices are also common in other parts of Nepal Blaikie et al.
However, every farming household paid small shares from their annual grain production to Dalits who provide their caste-based services irrespective of annual variations of demand of such services.
The local Damai provided tailoring services to all other castes and received bali from their clients. The Kamis provided maintenance services - most important of which was sharing of agricultural instruments and kitchen utensils to their client households. The Sarki of Udipur manufactured nara, a strap of tanned leather which is used in joining the haris and juwa yoke of a plough together. The Jajmani system was not operated according to the principle of an exchange of equal values, but took the form of services performed by the members of Dalits Kami, Damai and Sarki for the benefit of the dominant castes, the Brahmans, Chhetris and Magars.
They used to give the Dalits an assured livelihood by means of payment in kind. For this reasons, the payment in kind made to Dalits depends on the patron.
The caste system associated in these ways with certain traditional hereditary occupations was maintained by the economic power of the land owners, that is, by the 91 Change in Agriculture was the occupation of almost all castes but was the main occupation of the dominant.
These dominant castes were the ruler power in the economy of the villages. In these circumstances, agricultural production was never organized as a means of acquiring profit by reinvestment in the expansion of the scale of reproduction, but had the function of maintaining the traditional mode of living in the village. The Jajmani system underwent gradual changes in Udipur, in particular after Economic development of the country led to the penetration of monetary economy into the village and villagers came to regard a certain level of monetary income as a necessity to be used for purchasing market products.
Further, modern industrial production started to have some effects on the traditional occupational structure in the village. The hereditary occupations associated with the caste system became incapable of maintaining themselves, and even where the traditional occupational system was not brought to complete dissolution, many of the traditional occupations came to require fewer workers than in former times.
Currently, many similar services are still performed in Udipur but on a piece work or daily wage basis with cash or grain used for payment. When this happened, the annual payments in kind which were intended to assure the livelihood of the Dalits under the jajmani system changed their nature. Patron of the past lost their power from land. Apart from their engagement in managing their farms, the most obvious source of income for poorer household is seasonal migration to India and daily wage labor.
This is much more important in terms of the number households involved and scale of remittance in the seasonal migration of labor to India MishraSeddonAdhikari and Hobley Migration to work in Indian cities Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Punjab is a popular practice among men in villages.
Working in India or outside the villages is considered better than working as an agricultural laborer in the village. Migration to Indian cities enabled men to remit money to support their households and occasionally provided them with opportunities for consumption of goods and experiences.
It is likely that remittance flows in the villages have functioned as a safety net for households of migrants and helped to cope with the rising food prices. A few women have gone with their husbands or relatives to find work in India. In the last 25 years, increasing numbers of males with educational qualifications of Bachelor or above have migrated to the nearby towns and cities like Kathmandu in search of job opportunities.
Thus, occupational multiplicity is becoming more common and more pronounced and the balance of household income is shifting from farm to non-farm. Livelihood and poverty are becoming delinked from land and from farming.
Remittance is playing a growing role in the rural household income. Lives are becoming more mobile and livelihoods correspondingly delocalized. The non-farm activity becoming central to the rural livelihoods and an increasing number of rural households have no commitment to farming.
It is, therefore, more pronounced transition from one way of making a living to another.
No longer is access to land, a necessary condition for reducing poverty, and farming has simply become one of the activities among many in Udipur. A larger number of households receive remittances from their family members working in different locations within and outside Nepal.
A very visible change can be seen in the economic condition of some migrant Dalits households. Some households have built new houses with zinc or slate roofing. This is a huge change compared to their housing with thatched roofing prior to migration. Others have repaired their houses to give them new looks. Similarly, before migration the household members used to dress in ragged clothes, and they used cloths donated by their bista usually upper-caste people but now they no longer accept used clothes from their bista.
In the past, caste had a significant role in shaping occupations and roles as well as values of various activities in Udipur. Hereditary occupation was an expected role of the household members. The situation has changed. Relationships between castes have become more relaxed today.
There is more food sharing between castes and a lot more eating done at local restaurants where caste distinctions are less likely to be made. One of the biggest changes that took place in Udipur is occupational pursuits of various castes. Many have now taken up newer occupations that do not relate to their caste, such as government jobs, teaching, retail and services, and repair work.
Wealth and power in the village is now less associated with caste than before. Power and Politics In the past, decisions were taken by the leaders of the dominant castes, 93 Change in Subedi and a compromise agreement was regarded as the unanimous decision of the whole meeting. It was difficult for any of the members to resist such decisions. But now the voting procedures has been adopted which has become possible for members to express their opposition.
At the same time, the connection between the political leaders and external political power has been strengthened under the multi-party political system. The Dalits feel that there has been change in power relationship in the village.
9 Main Features of Jajmani System in India
The Dalits have been raising their concerns on caste-based oppression and discrimination issues. In the past, politics was regarded as the sole preserve of the non-Dalits. The current situation is different. Political events in the village after the establishment of multi-party system have given the Dalits and Magars a strong feeling of empowerment. Power has become independent of caste to a greater extent than in the past. Outside contact has resulted in greater awareness of the outside world in the village than was previously.
9 Main Features of Jajmani System in India
The youths, mainly the males go to town more often, they know better how to deal with officials, and they are less vulnerable to both officials and business persons. People are better informed on the events outside the village and its vicinity than before. They are, in short, more active and capable participants in the larger society. The experiences of urban life have helped many non-Dalit youths to challenge their own beliefs and traditional discourse and practice along caste lines.
Such acts have been contributing to shift the power game in Udipur. The social changes which have been taking place in the village are the products of wider socio-economic and political changes in national and international contexts. 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 CarpenterNai BarberKumhars PottersLobars BlacksmithsDhobi Washer manSweeper 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. 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. 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. 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.