Aleph to publish The Indian Village: Rural Lives in the 21st Century by Surinder S. Jodhka

Pic Credit: Aleph


‘India lives in its villages’. 

This statement popularized by Mahatma Gandhi is often referred to in discussions about the country, its past, and its possible future. But what exactly is the Indian village? In the most basic sense, the ‘village’ is a kind of human settlement, always standing in contrast to the ‘town’ or ‘city’. Yet, it is also an idea, one which has undergone myriad shifts over the course of our nation’s history.

In The Indian Village: Rural Lives in the 21st Century, award-winning sociologist Surinder S. Jodhka critically examines the changing nature of the village in India, both as an idea and as a lived reality. Reflecting on the colonial construction of India as a land of village republics, a representation that was turned on its head in different ways by Indian nationalists in the early twentieth century, and the post-liberalization nation, this book provides a detailed account of how rural lives have been transformed in India through the decades. The book also looks at India’s modern villages to showcase the current diversity within agrarian and rural realities with a specific focus on the processes of development and democracy in rural areas.

The Indian village, the author suggests, is not a relic of the past. It has always been a dynamic reality and it lives on in an active relationship with the wider world. Besides its many other aspects and processes, it enables the city to prosper, just as the city keeps the village going. Radical, innovative, and grounded in impeccable scholarship, The Indian Village is a seminal study of rural India.


Surinder S. Jodhka is a Professor of Sociology at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He has extensively researched and published on the dynamics of caste in present times, aspects of the agrarian economy, changing patterns of social and political life in contemporary rural India, and the sociology of community identities. He is the editor of the Routledge India book series on ‘Religion and Citizenship’ and co-editor of the Oxford University Press book series on ‘Exploring India’s Elite’. He is a recipient of the ICSSR-Amartya Sen Award for Distinguished Social Scientists.

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