The Role of Weekly Markets in The Tribal, Rural and Urban Setting (An Old and Rare Book)
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The Role of Weekly Markets in The Tribal, Rural and Urban Setting (An Old and Rare Book)

Item Code: NAM043
Author: Irawati Karve and Mrs. Hemalata Acharya
Publisher: Deccan College Postgraduate and Research Institute
Language: English
Edition: 1970
Pages: 148
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 9.5 inch x 7.5 inch
Weight 240 gm

On the 15th of October 1964 the Deccan College celebrates the centenary of its main Building and curiously enough this period coincides with the Silver Jubilee of the Postgraduate and Research Institute which, as successor to the Deccan College, started functioning from 17th August 1939 when members of the teaching faculty reported on duty. When I Suggested to members of our faculty the novel idea that the centenary should be celebrated by the publication of a hundred monographs representing the research carried on under the auspices of the Deccan College in its several departments they readily accepted the suggestion. These contributions are from present and past faculty members and research scholars of the Deccan College, giving a cross-section of the manifold research that it has Sponsored during the past twentyfive years. From small beginnings in 1939 the Deccan College has now grown into a well developed and developing Research Institute and become a national centre in so far as Linguistics, Archaeology and Ancient Indian History and Anthropology and Sociology are concerned. Its international status is attested by the location of the Indian Institute of German Studies (jointly sponsored by Deccan College and the Goethe Institute of Munich), the American Institute of Indian Studies and a branch of the Ecole Francaise d’ Extreme-Orient on the campus of the Deccan College. The century of monographs not only symbolises the centenary of the original building and the silver jubilee of the Research Institute, but also the new spirit of critical enquiry and the promise of more to come.


This study was undertaken on behalf of the Research Programme Committee of the Planning Commission. This was later transferred to the Indian Council of Social Science Research The work was begun in February 1967. The team of investigators guided by Dr. Hemalata Acharya was in the field from May 1967 to August 1968. The processing of data was taken in hand immediately and was finished by the end of 1968. The Report was completed and sent to the R.P.C. by july 1969. Early in 1970 the work of the R.P.C. was taken over by the newly constituted Indian Council of Social Science Research. They have kindly passed the Report and sanctioned seventy five per cent. of the cost of its publication for which we thank them.

We record gratefully the help given by the residents of Satana, who assisted us ungrudgingly in the field work. These include school teachers, office holders of the Cooperative Agricultural Marketing Society and traders and shop-keepers. We thank the Sar-Panches of Dang Saundane, Lakhamapur, Mulher and Taharabad, who put at our disposal all the data that they could spare. Above all, we thank the buyers and sellers in the weekly markets whom we interviewed. Inspite of their interest in buying and /or selling in the market, they cooperated with us in filling questionnaires, and were willing to be interviewed. These individuals are the main prop of our research.

We thank Dr. S.M. Katre for putting at our disposal, the office staff of the Deccan College, as and when needed. The Research Assistants of the Department of Anthropology need a special word of thanks as also the field investigators, for they spared no pains in making our work smooth.


Some recent anthropological work pertinent to the present problems.

In recent years, some anthropologists of the Substantivist School of Economic Anthropology have tried to show that ‘market’ as is depicted by economists has no relevance in the context of the tribal society. Polanyi seems to be leading this school. A subtle distinction is made between the substantive and the formal meaning of economic. “The latter derive from logic, the former from fact. The formal meaning implies a set of rules referring to choice between the alternative uses of insufficient means. The substantive meaning implies neither choice nor insufficiency of means.”

This trend indicates one important fact; that we need to know more about the functioning of different ‘varieties’ of markets before hastening to any conclusive statement. The term ‘varieties’ has been used with a purpose. There is not one ‘market’ but many markets on different levels of monetization and sophistication. We may not accept the sharp contrast posed by Polanyi. At the same time differences cannot be ingored. Before pronouncing our judgment on such differences, the best course is to study what is happening to the traditional markets in order to find out the nature of such differences.

Weekly markets are traditional markets in that they are not markets defined and delineated by the formal science of economics. They are ‘market places’, concrete at that. They are meeting places for people-the media of communication having a socio-cultural base.

This study was contemplated with a view to find out the role of weekly markets in the tribal-rural and the urban settings under the conditions of directed or autonomous change. Modernization and urbanization in India are proceeding apace accompanied or unaccompanied by industrialization.

The study has been limited to one area of Maharashtra-Baglan Taluka of Nasik District. This area froms the part of north-west Maharashtra and touches the border of Gujarat. It has tribal population, it has rural orientation and it has urban centres nearby. We got opportunity to compare the present study with the previous study of Phaltan as in many respects these two studies are comparable.

What is revealed from these two studies is not sharp contrast but levels of development—a kind of evolutionary process in modernization of markets. We do not subscribe to ‘anti-market’ mentality, because as the traditional societies are being industrialized, they discard their traditional institutions and accept the modern methods of production. This process brings about cultural change in various sectors of traditional societies. Market penetrated the tribal life long before we discovered it, as itinerant traders and money-lenders made their way as soon as they thought it profitable. What are known as ‘peasantization’ or the tribals the ‘proletarianization’ of the tribals and the ‘proletarianization’ of the peasants have already commenced.

Our aim in this study is to find out how best to organize resources in order to make the benefit go to the remotest corner of the country. We have given priority to communication—physical, material and non-material. It is no use differentiating societies on the basis of achievement orientation, and ascription—or market and non-market economies. Men like to be rewarded and societies have made provision for such rewards—though things with which men are awarded differ from cultures to cultures. We agree with Belshaw, when he writes, “... men in all societies must organize their resources and take risks in doing so, the entrepreneurial function is omnipresent and a condition of any form of life.” He further asserts, “But the differences lie in the scale, the complexity, and the ramifications of the systems, not in the fundamental attributes of human nature.”

Indian Society is in the very midst of social change of formidable dimensions. In as much as, this change is altering the accepted behaviour pattern, its effects must be observed and if needed must be directed in the right channel. Even the weekly markets have displayed trends of change, in that visitors to the market have indicated their needs, desires, wants and aspirations-though in a mild way. Modernization and urbanization have gone a few steps ahead in Phaltan, while Satana is still struggling to attain some rudiments of modernizations. Exchange, (may be through gifts, or through money) is a feature that expands the area of interactions. And, if properly conducted, it intensifies activities and spreads new communication. That exchange has meaning is discovered through this study of weekly markets. We have been able to study only an aspect of the field. The field is vast and requires micro-studies of each and every facet. This is just a beginning.

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