NOTE: This list is not intended to include all typographical errors,
but only those which might give a misleading or i:n.aurate
impression to the reader.
Table No.2 Column 1,
ot Note 3 2
Nature of correction
Read "errors" for :EoJ.os"
Read "facilities" for "faculties"
Read "Number of male. per 100 females"
efr "Nlmber of f.ee J.00 malqps
Read "one-for AehtV 1ot 0 n-tent
Village Life in Lahore District
(A Study of Selected Sociological Aspects)
Social Sciences Research Centre
University of the Panjab, Lahore
Village Life in Lahore District
(A STUDY OF SELECTED SOCIOLOGICAL ASPECTS)
W. L. Slocum
Abrar Fatima Sahi
This report on selected sociological aspects of life
in six sample villages in Lahore District was pre-
pared under the direction of the senior author in
response to a request from the Vice-Chancellor of
the University of the Panjab, Mr. U. Kramet,
dated January 12, 1959. Primary responsibility
for the processing of the data and for initial inter-
pretation was assumed by the junior authors, Miss
Jamila Akhtar and Miss Abrar Fatima Sahi.
It is always difficult for someone to attempt to
finish a task begun by others. In the present
instance many people had a hand in the study
before the task of writing this report was assumed
by the present writers. The original impetus for
the study came from Dr. John B. Edlefsen of
Washington State College who, under the ICA
Intercollege Exchange Program, headed the De-
partment of Sociology at the Panjab University
during the period 1955-57. The initial plans
were made by a Working Committee which included
the heads of the University Departments of Econo-
mics, Political Science, Sociology, and Statistics,
the Principal of the Hailey College of Commerce
and one or two others were also included. The
former Vice-Chancellor, Mian Afzal Husain ob-
tained funds from the Asia Foundation and the
State Bank of Pakistan.
The Asia Foundation also provided the services
of Dr. Wolfram Eberhard, Professor of Sociology,
University of California, Berkeley, as a consultant
during the period August, 1956, to January, 1958.
Dr. Eberhard and Dr. B. A. Azhar, the first Chief
Research Officer of the Socio-Economic Research
Project (August, 1956-February, 1957) supervised
the collection of data in the villages.
Dr. Eberhard and the second Chief Research
Officer, Chowdhry Muhammad Bashir (August,
1957-March, 1959) directed the initial tabulation
of data and supervised the preparation by the
assistant research officers of working papers on
various subjects covered by the interviews.
The photographs were taken by Mr. Ismaili,
Communications Media Division, ICA, Karachi.
During the period March, 1959-October, 1959,
the writers were assisted by the third Chief Research
Officer, Dr. M. Moin-ud-din Siddiqui. He has
prepared a note on sampling variations which
appears in Appendix A.
It is our hope that the report which we have pre-
pared will be reasonably satisfactory to the persons
and organizations who planned the study, supervis-
ed the field operations, provided financial support,
or otherwise participated in the study. As we
analyzed the available data, we found ourselves
wishing for additional information on many aspects
of the subjects covered. This, of course, might
have been the case even if we had participated in
the initial planning. Research frequently raises
more questions than it answers. We hope the
report, modest as it is, will stimulate careful
research into the circumstances and problems of
Pakistani villagers. It is our firm belief that
sociological studies if carefully made can contribute
materially to an understanding of the values,
customs, and problems of villagers. Such infor-
mation can have great practical importance to
organizations, agencies of government, and indivi-
duals who are interested in improving conditions of
W. L. SLOCUM,
Professorof Sociology, Washington
State University and Visiting Pro-
fessor of Sociology, University
of the Paniab.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Introduction .. ...... .
2. The People .. .... .. 3
3. Educational Attainments, Opportunities and Aspirations 10
4. Housing and Home Facilities .... 18
5. Sanitation and Medical Care .... .. 19
6. Food Habits .... .. 21
7. Styles of Dress .. .. .. 22
8. Family Structure and Relationships .. 25
9. Social Relationships outside the Immediate Family .. 27
10. Mate Selection, Engagement and Marriage .. .. 32
11. Social Ceremonies .... .. 36
12. Religion .. .... .. .. 39
13. The Organization of Work .... .. 43
Appendix A: Note on Sampling Erros ..... 47
Appendix B: A Punjabi Village Wedding 49
LIST OF TABLES
1. Age distribution.
2. Sex ratio.
3. Average number of children born, living and desired.
4. Literacy by age and sex.
5. Attitude of parents towards education for their children.
6. Type and level of education desired for children by parents.
7. Occupations desired for male children by parents who favoured education.
8. Occupations desired for male children by parents who did not favour education-
9. Reasons for opposition to vocational education for boys.
10. Frequency of meat eating.
11. Distribution of population by caste.
12. Selected inter-caste relationships.
13. Distribution of major items of marriage expenditure.
14. Prayer habits of family heads and wives.
15. Cash payments made to Pirs.
16. Size of farm by tenure status of operators.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
1. A Punjabi Village (Cover Page).
2. Map of Lahore District.
3. Population Pyramid.
4. A Village School.
5. A Village Woman Cooking Chappatis.
6. A Village Zamindar (land lord) Dressed for a Festival.
7. Hair Style of a Village Boy and Youth.
S. Village Women in Typical Village Dresses.
9. Hair Style and Dress of a Small Village Girl.
10. Village Boys Playing a Local Game.
11. A Small Huqqa Group.
12. A Village Mosque.
13. A Village Shop.
14. An Old Woman with a Spinning Wheel (Charkha).
2 / -
i^ ( / / \ f
4414WAY tdw .* ,
~N/ Vll *w
. SMpif &l".f
see a =I
This is a report on selected sociological aspects
of village life in Lahore District, West Pakistan.
It is primarily descriptive rather than analytical in
character. It is based on information collected
mainly by personal interview methods from adult
residents of six sample villages chosen by random
methods from villages with 300 to 900 population.
The field work was completed between December
1956 and May 1957.
The study was conducted by the staff of the Socio-
Economic Research Project of the University of the
Panjab for the purpose of obtaining information
relative to sociological, economic and political
aspects of village life. Within the limits of sampling
variations and the limitations of the interview
method of collecting data, the information pre-
sented in the report can be accepted as a reason-
ably accurate picture of village life in the area from
which the sample was selected.'
The information should be useful to many people
who work with villagers or seek to understand their
problems. It may also serve as a benchmark against
which to evaluate social and cultural changes.
Lahore District is located on the Indian border of
West Pakistan. It lies between north latitude 30'27'
and 31054'. The district takes its name from its
principal city, Lahore, the capital of West Pakistan.
The total population of the district in 1951, accord-
ing to the census, was 18,95,000. Of these,
7,95,456 lived in the city of Lahore. The popula-
tion of the district increased by an estimated
3,47,000 between 1951 and 1958, an increase of
The rural population, which constitutes nearly
half of the population of the district (48 % in 1951)
is supported principally by agriculture. The main
crops are cotton, wheat, millet (jawar) and sorghum
(bajra). The villagers also maintain buffaloes and
cattle for milk, ghee, butter, meat and power.
Some of them also have other livestock including
goats, burros, and sheep.
The climate is subtropical with intense heat in the
summer but with relatively cold winters. In the
summer months, the temperature has been known
to reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit. In the winter, the
temperature occasionally drops to the freezing
point, although this is relatively uncommon.
The average annual rainfall of the district is about
19 inches. Rainfall is, however, extremely variable.
As much as 16 or 17 inches of rain has been known
to fall during the course of a single 24 hour period.
The district is traversed by the Ravi and the Sutlej
rivers, both of which are tributaries of the Indus.
The Chenab, Ravi and Sutlej rivers, together with
wells in some localities, are used as the source of
water for irrigation purposes. About 90 % of the
cultivated area of the district is irrigated.
In common with many other parts of Pakistan,
the Lahore District has had a long and colourful
history. Lahore has been an important city for
centuries. It figured prominently in the campaigns
of the Moghul emperors and other ruling dynasties.
The following tabulation lists the principal dynasties
and governments since the year 1001 A.D.
1. Some information was obtained through interviews with small groups of men or women. We have used data from
group interviews sparingly be cause we have reason to believe that the private views of individuals may some times differ from
those expressed in a group situation. For further information on methodology. See Appendix 'A' "Note on Sampling
Errors," and Dr. B. A. Azhar, Origin and Development of the Socio-Economic Research Project", SSRC/SERP/No. 1, Social
Sciences, Research Centre, Panjab University, Lahore, September, 1959.
2. Bureau of Statistics, Department of Power, Irrigation and Development, "The Statistics of West Pakistan--
Population and Areg "-Government of West Pakistan, Lahore, 1958.
8. Pathans (Lodhi)
10. Pathans (Suri)
from 1001 A.D. to 1188 A. D. (187 years)
the time of study
Prior to partition there were many Hindus and
Sikhs in addition to the Muslim majority. Since
partition, the population has been predominantly
Muslim with a Christian minority. Nearly all
the Sikhs and Hindus migrated to India.
A review of historical material pertaining to the
six sample villages indicates that some are of com-
paratively recent origin. One of the sample villages,
for example, was first settled in 1905. Another was
first occupied in 1872 and a third in 1882. On the
other hand, one of the villages was founded ten
1. Lahore District Gazetteer, 1916. Punjab Government Printing. pp20-30; Syed Muhammad Latif,Lahore, its
History Architectural remains and Antiques. Gurdaspur, 1892.
, (33 years)
S (14 years)
S (37 years)
S (14 years)
2 THE PEOPLE
At the time of the survey, there were 3593 people
'in the six villages. The largest village had 880
inhabitants and the smallest 392.
Place of Birth
Although many thousands of refugees from India
entered West Pakistan at the time of partition, only
277 found their way into the sample villages. In
1956 two of the villages reported no refugees at all,
one only 3, one reported 41, one received 64 and one
village reported 169, constituting 43 per cent of the
population of 392. This is a village which in 1941
had only 232 people.
In relation to their land resources, the villages were
thickly settled. Considering the six villages as a
group, there were 521 people per square mile of cul-
tivated land. This is only a little more than 0.8 acre
per person or putting it another way aboutl.2 person
per cultivated acre. Among the six villages, there
was a considerable variation in population density
ranging from a low of 396 persons per square mile of
cultivated land to 993. The cultivated area con-
stituted 83% of the total available area of the
villages. The remaining 17% consisted of the area
occupied, by the villagers' houses (abadi), roads,
ponds, grave-yards, and uncultivated waste.
More than half (54.2%) were in the age categories
normally considered in Punjab villages as dependent,
that is, they were either less than 15 years of age or
50 and above. (See Table I on next page).
POPULATION PYRAMID SHOWING NUMBER OF PERSONS IN DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS BY SEX
I I o L a ,
3 2 1 0 1 2 3
Number of persons in hundreds.
TABLE No. 1
Age Distribution of the Population of sample Villages
Most of these dependents were children under 15 years of age.t According to local custom, villagers
are considered to be old at 50 and are then usually relieved of hard work although they may still supervise
the work activities of younger people or engage in work of their own choice. The fact that only
12.9% of the villagers were 50 years of age or older reflects the short life expectancy of the villagers.
Only 2.8% were 70 or above.
1 This information concerning age cannot be accepted as entirely accurate. In many cases, the villagers were
unable to recall precisely either the date of their own birth or the dates of the births of their children. Official records kept
by the village chowkidar were restricted to the number born and hence were of no help in establishing ages of individuals.
In addition there was a noticeable tendency for respondents to report age in multiples of 5, i.e., there was a marked
concentration of ages 15, 20, 35, etc.
Percentage No. Percentage
14.5 247 14.9
12.6 226 13.7
13.8 192 l1,.6
9.9 175 10.6
7.5 156 9.3
7.6 140 8.4
7.1 121 7.2
5.2 67 4.0
4.6 91 5.4
3.9 30 1.8
3.5 77 4.6
1.9 20 1.2
3.3 42 2.5
1.1 16 1.0
1.3 27 1.6
0.7 4 0.3
0.9 19 1.1
0.1 3 0.2
0.3 6 0.4
0.1 3 0.2
100 and above
- ;-------------:-----I~-- r
At the time of the study there were 116.3 males per
hundred females in the sample villages; in one of the
villages there were 127 males per hundred females.
This high sex ratio is similar to that recorded by the
census of 1951 for West Pakistan; at that time the
West Pakistan sex ratio was 116.9 and that of the
Punjab was 117.9.
The sex ratio was unbalanced in all age groups
(Table 2) in the sample villages, but it was highest
in the age group 75-79 years, where there were 300
males per hundred females.
TABLE NO. 2
Sex Ratio of Age Groups
Males per 100 females
20- 24 ..
25 29 ..
40- 44 ..
75 79 .
95 99 ..
100 or above
In 1955-56, the births of 60 males and 62 females
were recorded in the six villages. This is a sex
ratio of 97 males per hundred females which is
vastly different from the ratio noted above. The
reasons for the discrepancy are not known.
One result of the imbalance of numbers between
the sexes is to be found in its effect on marriage
opportunities. In a society such as that of West
Pakistan where all adults are expected to be married,
a surplus of males in a particular village means that
brides must be obtained from other villages or that
some men must marry women or girls much younger
More than three-fourths (77 %) of men and women
20 years of age or older were married and living
with their respective husbands or wives. The
data indicate a marked tendency for girls to marry
at younger ages than boys. Thirty-five per cent
of the girls, but only 2.6% of the boys aged 15-19
were married. Among those 20-24 years of age
85 per cent of the girls and 40% of the boys were
married. On the other hand, there was a rather
marked tendency for a higher percentage of older
men than of older women to be married. Among
those 50 years of age or over 59 % of the men and
46% of the women were married and living with
their respective spouses.
More than one-fourth (28.1 %) of ever-married
persons were widowed, divorced or separated. Of
these 85% were widowed; 58% of these were
widows and 42% widowers. The higher percentage
of widows is probably due to the fact that remarriage
of widows is not customary, especially among the
higher castes. The list of multiple marriages shows
that 30 of 33 widowers had remarried previously
unmarried women. The remarriage of widows.
had occurred only in three cases of levirate mar-
Few (3% of ever-married persons) were divorced
Overall .... .. 116
There are a number of reasons. According to the
Holy Quran divorce does not become effective
immediately after its first pronouncement. A
A period of waiting is required after the first and
second pronouncements. If reconciliation occurs
during the waiting periods before the third pro-
nouncement, the marriage is not dissolved.'
Further movie public opinion does not favour
divorce except under very exceptional circum-
stances. Ihe system of exchange marriages may
also be a deterrent since one divorce would usually
lead to another. Finally since most marriages
take place within the relationship and 'Baradari'
circle the pressures of kinship help to preserve
Cases of separation are also very infrequent
(1.2% of ever-married persons). This might be due
to the fact that usually the initiative for separation
comes from women because they cannot divorce
their husbands. It is essential that either they
should be self-supporting or that there should be
somebody to support them. moeen women work
in the houses of other people and are economically
more independent as compared to women of higher
castes.' Consequently, cases of separation were
more common among moeens than among higher
The villagers have high birth rates. The crude
birth rate for the six villages, calculated on the basis
of the birth records maintained by the village
chowkidars was 48.2 per 1,000 population for the
period December 1955-November 1956.3 Even
without any allowance for low registration, the
birth rate in the six sample villages was considerably
higher than the official estimates for the Lahore
District (36.2) and the former Punjab (32.3) for the
year 1954.' As a basis for evaluating the level
of the rate, it may be of interest to note that the
crude birth rate for England and Wales during the
period 1941-49 was 17.1 per 1,000. 6
Because of the high birth rate, the number of
children born to couples in the sample was high.
Couples who had been married more than 30 years
had given birth, on the average, to seven children
(Table 3). There were individual cases where the
number of children born to a single couple was 10
or more. In one case there were 15. Considering
all couples in the sample, the average was 5 children.
This, of course, includes a number of couples who
had been married only a short time.
On account of the high death rate, particularly
the high infant mortality, the number of living
children was much smaller, averaging 3.2.
TABLE NO. 3
Average number of children born, living and desired
by village women classified by number of
Duration of marriage
AVERAGE NUMBER OF
Born Living Desired
1- 5 .. 2.0 1.2 4.0
6- 10 .. 3.6 2.4 4.4
11 15 .. 5.0 3.0 4.5
16 20 .... 6.0 3.6 4.8
21 30 .. 7.0 4.0 5.1
Above 30 .. 7.3 4.0 5.0
All married women
1. Sir Dinshah Fardunji Mullah, Principles of Muhammadan Law, Calcutta 1955, the Eastern Law House, pp. 232-233.
2. Moeens are village servants
3. It is quite probable that the actual birth rate was higher still because the method of record keeping is considered
likely to result in under-repo ting.
4. Preliminary Review of Health Conditions and Public Health Work : Report issued by the Health Department,
Government of West Pakistan, Lahore, 1951.
5. Landis and Hatt: Population Problems N. Y. American Book Co.. 1954. pi. 159,
Analysis of the responses indicates that younger
-married women desired fewer children than older
In view of the importance of the birth rate in the
:growth of population, it may be of interest to con-
sider some of the important factors which appear
to support the high birth rate in the sample villages.
1. Early Marriage : It is generally recognized
by students of population that younger women are
more fertile than older women.' The data obtained
in the study show clearly that early marriage is
Information provided by the respondents concern-
ing approximate age at marriage does not reveal
any substantial change in the average age at marriage
-of parents and their grown children.
2. Fatalism: Many of the villagers have a
fatalistic attitude with respect to matters of birth
and death. Of the 153 women who responded to a
Question as to whether a smaller number of children
could make life easier for them, nearly half (48.4%)
replied that the number of children is determined
by God and every child brings its own fate with it.
-Consequently, they felt the parents had no occasion
to worry about whether they had a large or small
number of children.
A similar attitude was revealed in response to a
-question about the knowledge of women about
birth control methods. Only 120 out of 176
women answered this question. Out of the women
who did respond 87.5% felt that matters such as
birth and death rested entirely in the hands of God
and human beings cannot interfere. Only 12.5%
of those who answered gave a response which indi-
cated knowledge of specific birth control methods.
3. Taboos on discussion of sex: There appa-
rently is great reluctance, at least among women,
to discuss birth control or other sex related matters.
In response to the question "Do you wish anyone
to tell you about birth control ? ", only 12% of the
women indicated any desire for knowledge about
family planning methods. Another 34% gave a
negative response explaining that they considered
birth control to be sinful, and the remainder
refused to answer the question which probably
means that they did not consider the topic a proper
subject for discussion. In almost all cases, the
wives reported that the attitude of their husbands
toward birth control was unfavourable. The pre-
ponderance of these negative attitudes towards
birth control and family planning makes it clear
that at the time of the study little motivation exist-
ed among villagers for control of population
4. Family need for workers : Even though, on
the national and provincial levels, it may appear that
there is surplus manpower, still there appears to be
a feeling on the part of many village families that
there is a need for more workers, rather than fewer.
Many believe that more children, particularly more
male children, are needed to earn a livelihood for
the family. This attitude is reflected in the response
of the 40 per cent of the women who said that a
small number of children makes life difficult.
5. Importance of having children: Childless
couples are generally accorded low social status.
Furthermore, a bride gains status in her husband's
family through her children. Consequently there
is a definite premium, in the eyes of the villagers,
on having children, particularly male children.
The desire for more male children may concievably
be another motivating force for high reproduction
We have noted that there are some positive
influences which support a high birth rate. There
are almost no influences which tend to encourage a
low birth rate. There is little recognition, for
example, of the fact that more mouths to feed and.
1. Ibid p. 158
2. See page 26
more bodies to clothe without a proportionate
increase in production or income lead to poverty.
As noted in the discussion of the age distribution
of the population of these villages, the expectation
of life is relatively short. The death rate, particu-
larly for infants and small children, is high. During
the year of the survey, according to information
obtained from the records of the village chowkidars,
the crude death rate in the six villages was 21.2 per
thousand. This may be compared with 13.4 for
Japan, 9.9 for the U. S. A., 11.7 for England and
Wales, 10.2 for Sweden, and 9.5 for Argentine, all
during the period 1946-1950.1
It apparently is, however, a somewhat more
favourable situation than was found in certain
other parts of Lahore District.2
The death rate was found to be highest for young
children. Almost two thirds of the deaths during
1956 were children under six years of age. The
next highest mortality was found among those who
were 45 years of age or older.
Infant mortality was especially high. The
number of babies who perished in the first year of
life was 219.7 per thousand live births during 1956.
There was a great difference among the villages in
respect to the rate of infant mortality, ranging from
a low of 136.4 per thousand to a high of 370.5.
Although it seems inconsistent with the high sex
ratio there was apparently a higher mortality among
the male infants ; 250 males and 187 females per
thousand births of each sex died during the first
year of life in a 12 months period of 1955-56.
It should be noted when considering these data
that information was obtained concerning births
and deaths for only a single year. This is, of
course, too short a time, considering the rela-
tively small population numbers involved, to be
used with any great degree of confidence. However,
it does confirm the general observation of previous
investigators to the effect that the death rate in
Pakistani villages particularly the infant death rate,
is relatively high.
The reported mortality of females was lower
than that of males in the earlier ages, particularly
among infants. The unbalanced sex ratio noted
previously suggests that this difference may, at least
in part, be due to an under reporting of the deaths
of female infants and female children. Among
adults, women apparently had a higher death rate
than men. This was probably due to the hazards
associated with child bearing.
The causes of the high death rate are to be found
in the conditions of life in the villages. Medical
facilities are inadequate, incomes are low, standards
of diet and nutrition are not high, and the environ-
ment is generally unsatisfactory from a sanitary
point of view. In addition to these factors which
tend to make the villagers susceptible to diseases,
it may be that the high birth rate itself may con-
tribute to high infant mortality since frequent
births may weaken the mother. In addition to her
domestic work and the problems associated with
child bearing, the village wife has many other
responsibilities including feeding of animals, pre-
paring dung cakes, cooking and housework. She
leads a busy life and has little time to give to any of
The population of the sample villages was in-
creasing because the birth rate was higher than the
death rate and outmigration was negligible. During
the year 1956, the population increase due to the
excess of births over deaths was 2.7 % in the sample
1. W. S. Thompson, Population Problems, McGraw Hill, N. Y. 1953, p. 236.
2. In 1953 in Tajpur, also in Lahore District, the crude death rate was 28 per thousand. Cf. Tajpur, unpublished
research report in the Economics Department of the Panjab University.
villages. It is possible, of course, that this may have
been higher than usual since the national growth
rate has been estimated officially at 1.4% per
annum1. Even with the latter rate of growth, the
population of the villages seems likely to grow
faster than the means of subsistence unless material
improvements occur in agricultural production or
unless extensive outmigration takes place. So far
as the land is concerned, there is little if any further
hope for the expansion of cultivation. About
83% of the area owned by the villagers was under
cultivation at the time of the study and little of the
remaining area was available for cultivation.
Information concerning population numbers as
reflected by the records of the village chowkidars
reveals increases in the population of five villages
and a decline in the population of one during the
period 1930-56. The village reporting a decline was
adversely affected with the diversion of canal water
by India. Records of the chowkidar of this village
indicated that there had been little outmigration of
non-Muslims at the time of partition. Thus the
decline in the population of this village was evidently
due to the deterioration of economic conditions.
1. Bureau of Statistics, op cit p. 2.
3 EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENTS, OPPORTUNITIES AND ASPIRATIONS
The educational attainments of most villagers
were very modest. Out of the total population of
3,067 over five years of age, only 12% were able
to read and write. These we have classified as
literate. Of the others, a few claimed to be able to
read Urdu (4.2%), while still others (17%) said that
they were able to read the Holy Quran which is in
Arabic. The remaining two-thirds were completely
illiterate. The situation in the sample villages was
apparently somewhat better than in West Pakistan
as a whole. Accordinglto the census of 1951,
16% of the total West Pakistan population was
classified as literate by a more liberal test than that
employed here. For census purposes those who
were able to read any language were classified as
As in the case of West Pakistan as a whole, the
great majority of the literate individuals were male.
Age group i No.
"7 and above
70 and above
TABLE No. 4
Literacy by Age and Sex
. 1415 100.0
1 11 ]-1
This difference appears to exist in all age groups.
However, it is interesting to note that relatively
more females than males said that they were able
to read the Holy Quran.
The level of literacy for males was very similar in
five of the villages, ranging from 15.7 to 26.9%.
In the sixth village, only 5.4% of the males were
literate. There was no literate female in one of the
villages. Their literacy percentages were extremely
.low in all others, ranging from 0.5% to 7.5%.
There were also some significant differences
.among castes : the Syeds had the highest literacy
rate (53%), followed by the Rajputs (15%), the
Jats (11%), the Araeens (9.5%) and the Christians
(10%). Only 4% of all the other castes were
The limited educational attainments of the vil-
lagers constitute a very important barrier to the
introduction of new ideas. Communication among
villagers or between them and the outside world
must be carried on through the spoken word.
Reading and writing are not functional in their
daily lives. Books, magazines, and newspapers are
.little known or used, and there is little knowledge
of events or issues outside the local scene. For the
most part even those who claim to be able to read
and write have relatively little use for these skills
in the village. This dependence upon face-to-face
relationships for the communication of informa-
tion and ideas effectively insulates the villagers from
most outside influences. Traditional ideas
.inevitably hold sway in such an environment.
Like the educational attainments of the people,
their educational opportunities were also limited,
although apparently somewhat better than the
situation in the villages of Lahore District as a whole.
According to a report by the Lahore District Board,
740 out of 1,000 villages in the Lahore District had
no school in 1958. The Board reported that only
one third of the boys and one out of every 100 girls
of school age in the District were attending school.1
The situation with respect to educational oppor-
tunities was more restricted for the girls than for the
boys. For a total of 401 girls between the ages of
5 and 15 there was only one girls' school. This
had a total of 34 students. There was also one
co-educational school for Christians with an
enrollment of 8 girls. Both of these schools were
located in the same village.
Three of the six sample villages had schools and
two others were located not far from fair-sized
towns where school facilities were available. One
of the six villages had three primary schools, one
for boys, one for girls and one the co-educational
school mentioned above.
In addition to these schools, four of the six villages
The village Maulvi was the teacher in all the
Maktabs. In two of the villages, the wife of the
Maulvi (who is called Bibi) was the teacher of the
girls. In one village there was no special arrange-
ment for religious instruction for the girls. Such
teaching as they received was given either in their
homes or in the neighbourhood. In one village,
the girls studied with the boys in the Maktab.
Because of the limited opportunities for formal
learning, the village children learn mostly by
imitation of others and by other informal methods.
Technical know-how among the artisan classes is
1. Masud-ul-Hasan, Lahore District Board Development Drive, Lahore : Pakistan Times Press, 1958, p. 2.
2. These are small religious schools usually established in mosques.
passed on through the apprenticeship system,l in
some cases. Most of the children following
parental occupations learn the necessary skills from
the father or other male members of the family.
School Buildings and Facilities : The village
schools usually have only one or two rooms.
Out of the 5 schools that existed in the sample
villages, three had two rooms each. In another,
a katcha verandah (chappar) had been added to
accommodate the increasing number of students.
The remaining schools had a single room.
The small school buildings were pucca- buildings
(bricked or cemented), having in some case katcha
courtyards, which served as play grounds for the
children. During the winter, classes were held in
The school furniture consisted of a chair and table
for the teacher and mats for the students.
By way of educational equipment each school
had a black-board on an easel and some charts and
pictures for lessons in Nature Study and Hygiene.
Two of the schools had maps of the Lahore District.
Few of the schools in the villages had any library
facilities for children and wherever any existed
they were in the form of small collections of chil-
dren's story books, kept in the class-room almirah.
In two of the schools in the sample villages such
collections consisted of 21 and 34 books respec-
Teaching Staff: The schools were single teacher
schools. In cases where the school buildings had
two rooms, the teacher managed the classes by
having his seat between the two rooms.
The training of the teachers varied between eight
and ten years schooling plus one year's teacher
training from one of the Divisional Normal Schools.
The latter courses are called J. V. (Junior Verna-
cular) and S. V. (Senior Vernacular) respectively.
The personal qualities of the teachers are im-
portant in considering the extent to which the
school and its programme may be accepted or
rejected by villagers. This is illustrated by the
experience of one of the villages where 37 children
entered the school when it was first opened in 1952.
The number increased to 51 the second year.
Then a new teacher was obtained for the school.
He was addicted to drinking and was not con-
sidered by the villagers to be of good moral
character. Consequently, the enrollment progres-
sively decreased, reaching a low of 15 in 1957.
Libraries : None of the villages had a public
library but a few of the villagers owned one or two
books or Qissas.3 Most of these were religious
Newspapers: Two persons received daily news-
papers; onein English and the other in Urdu. Two.
subscribed to an Urdu weekly newspaper and two
religious leaders subscribed to a religious weekly.
Radio : There were two radio sets one in each
of two villages. One was out of order and the
owner could not afford to have it repaired. The
other was owned by a landlord who was interested
in it as a source of entertainment rather than as a
source of information.
Educational Organizations : There were no literary
societies or other educational organizations for
adults. In one village, however, a Chand Tara Club
1. The apprenticeship system as it works in the villages, is quite different from that of the West. Instead of a formal
contract, it is based upon verbal understanding between the parents of the child and the artisan (who is usually a relative or a
family friend) that the child will be helped in learning a certain skill. No payment whatsoever is involved, nor is the period
of training fixed.
2. See page 18 for definitions of katcha and pucca.
3. Qissas are varied narrations, such as stories of native heroes, love stories and biographies of saints.
This school is a newly built, two room school. The building at the right is a mosque under construction.
(Moon Star Club) had been formed under the
sponsorship of the Village AID staff.' Among other
activities, this Club held literary meetings for
Cinema : No cinemas were located in any of
the villages. Two films had apparently been shown
at some time in the distant past. One dealt with
educational benefits provided by a foreign country.
The other was the life story of Jesus Christ.
So far as the villagers themselves are concerned,
there was little felt need for education. This is
particularly true with respect to the education of
females. In response to a question regarding com-
pulsory primary education which was included in
the interviewing schedule for male groups, con-
siderable opposition was expressed to the idea of
compulsory education, especially for girls.
Some of the interviewees explained their negative
attitudes towards female education in terms of its
presumed lack of value for a domestic career, to
which, they said, the girls are predestined. Others
mentioned disapproval by others in the village of
female education as the reason, and still others
feared that education might have undesirable
consequences on the character of the girls.
There is some evidence, however, that the
unfavourable attitudes towards female education
expressed during the course of the group interviews
were not fully shared by all the villagers. Infor-
mation obtained through individual interviews
(Table No. 5) indicates a much more responsive
attitude towards education. In fact 33.7% of the
men and 42% of the women respondents indicated
a desire for educating both male and female
TABLE NO. 5
Attitude of parents towards education for their
Attitude Per Per
Education for both the sexes.. 33.7 42.0
Education for boys only 15.9 7.7
Religious education only .. 27.9 31.5
No education desired .. 22.5 18.8
All .. .. 100.0 100.0
Number .. .. 151 143
A significant proportion of the respondents
(27.9% of the males and 31.5% of the females)
indicated a desire for religious education only. In
this connection, it will be recalled that 26% of the
females and 9% of the males who were other wise
illiterate were able to read from the Holy Quran.
Those who indicated a desire for education for
their children were asked to indicate the level and
type of education desired. A summary of this
information is presented in Table No. 6 which
presents separately the aspirations of male and
female respondents. It will be noted that there
was a considerable amount of agreement between
mothers and fathers as to plans, although in indi-
vidual families, differences of opinion may have
The aspirations of parents for female children
were much lower than for males and tended to
emphasize religious education. Most of the
parents of the boys, on the other hand, tended to
emphasize secular rather than religious education.
Higher education was desired for some of the sons,
but for none of the girls. Senior Cambridge was
desired by the wife of a landlord who was a matri-
culate; she wanted to have an opportunity to
1. Village AID work in this village had been started only a short period before this study was conducted. It had not
been introduced in the rest of the sample villages.
educate her daughter in some English school. Two
of the respondents who indicated a desire for higher
education for their sons were a barber and a car-
penter respectively. These individuals stated that
they would spare no efforts to have their sons highly
educated because they believed that this was the
only way that they would be able to get rid of their
miserable lot ". This comment indicates an
appreciation on the part of these individuals, of the
potential function of education as a channel for
upward social mobility.
TABLE No. 6
Type and level of education desired by parents who favoured education for their children
Level of Education
By father By mother By father By mother
Percentage Percentage Percentage Percentage
Primary .. .. 23.7 22.6 23.8 29.3
Middle .. .. .. 4.8 9.3
Matric .. .. 32.9 28.0 1.6 4.0
'Senior Cambridge ... ...... .1.3
Intermediate* .. 2.6 1.2
B.A.* 6.6 5.7
M. A.* .. 1.3
M .B.B.S.* .. .... 1.3 2.3
Law .. .... 2.6 2.3
Religious education .. .. 15.8 17.9 57.1 40.0
Whatever fate brings .. .. 13.2 20.0 12.7 16.1
All .. .. 100,0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Number .. 76 89 63 75
*B. A. Bachelor of Arts.
*M. A. Master of Arts.
*M.B.B.S. Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery.
Among the parents who wanted some education
for their children more than one out of eight thought
that the decision regarding the amount of education
was something which was beyond their control and
depended on the will of God.
Occupational Aspirations: Those who wanted
their children to obtain some education were asked
what profession or occupation they would like to
have their children enter.
In all but two cases, both parents indicated a
preference for marriage and a career in home
making for their female children. For the two
exceptions the occupational goal was teaching.
The aspirations of the parents for their male
children appear in Table No. 7. There was a con-
siderable amount of agreement between the aspira-
tions of the male and female parents for their sons.
The largest category was that of clerical services.
This was followed closely by agriculture. A few
wanted their sons to become village officials or to
enter professional work or military service. The
very small proportion who wished their sons to
enter business is a clear indication that business
activities do not have much prestige among the
villagers. Some of the parents were fatalistic, hold-
ing the view that the occupational choice of their
sons was something which would be determined
TABLE NO. 7
desired for male children by parents
who favoured education
DESIRED FOR MALE
Occupation By ByV
Village officials .. .. 9.2 11.2
Clerical service .. .. 32.9 34.8
Military service .. .. 6.6 3.4
Professional/Managerial 5.3 3.4
Business .. 2.6 4.5
Agriculture .. 28.9 30.3
Manual labour .. 5.3 2.2
Whatever fate brings .. 9.2 10.2
Total .. 100.0 100.0
Number .. 76 89
Reasons for not desiring education for children :
Respondents who indicated that they did not desire
any systematic education for their children were
asked to give their reasons. Ten out of the 34
males and 7 out of the 27 females who said that they
did not want their children to receive any education
indicated that they regarded education as a cause
of irreligious attitudes. During the course of the
group interviews, there was also considerable ex-
pression of support for the view that education
tends to make people irreligious.
A number of the respondents were opposed to
education because they considered it useless for
farm workers. Some of the mothers (8 out of 34)
who gave negative responses on education for their
children said either that they were unable to afford
such schooling or that their children had little or no
interest in it.
What sort of occupations did parents have in
mind for the children for whom they did not desire
any education ? This question was put to the
respondents and the parents indicated in all cases
that they expected their female children to get
married. With respect to the male children,
about 3 out of 10 of the parents, both male and
female, indicated that they expected their sons to
enter farming. (Table No. 8). A number expected
them to become labourers. Some said that their
children would choose for themselves. Others
said that they would like for them to take any job
that would help them to earn money, and a number
indicated that their careers would be determined
TABLE NO. 8
Occupations desired for male children by parents
who did not favour education
Occupation Percentage Percentage
Farming .... 33.3 29.6
Labour .. .. 15.1 14.8
Any job .12.1 18.5
Whatever children choose .. 18.2 14.8
Whatever fate brings 21.3 22.3
Total ..i 100.0 100.0
Number .. ..J 34 27
The limited range of occupations considered by
these parents was, of course, a reflection of their
isolation from urban influences. Most of the parents
were illiterate and probably could visualize few
jobs for their children other than those which were
available in the village. Most of those who are
engaged in agriculture expected their sons to follow
this line of work. Men and women who were
labourers expected their children to be labourers.
Attitudes towards vocational training : In view of
the importance of vocational education as a means
of providing trained personnel for industrial and
business occupations, questions regarding attitudes
towards the desirability of such training for male
children were included in the interview.
The responses indicate a lack of appreciation of
the importance of such training. The great
majority. 91 per cent of the males and 87 per cent
of the females, were opposed to it. Since there
were no significant differences in the answers given
by men and women, their responses have been
combined in Table No. 9. In some cases, the
responses seem to be a reflection of caste-like
attitudes, vocational work being identified as manual
work which does not have high prestige, but is con-
sidered to be a function of lower castes. In other
cases, the responses may be interpreted as a reflec-
tion of fear that vocational training might cause the-
trainees to leave not only the traditional occupation
but even the village.
In a number of cases, parents indicated that the
children should decide for themselves whether they
should have vocational training or not. Some of
those who were opposed to vocational training
were not willing to discuss the matter at all and did
not reply to the question concerning their reasons
for their attitudes.
Of the small number who indicated an interest in
having vocational training for their children, a third"
indicated that they would like to have them trained
in mechanics or carpentry, while the others had no
specific vocation or trade in mind. Half of the-
parents who indicated a willingness to have their
children given vocation training were willing to
do so only if the training was free.
TABLE NO. 9
Reasons for opposition to vocational education
Agriculture is better .... 31.7
Vocational training is not useful .. 12.0
Manual work is not honoured .. 21.6
Military service is better .. 2.8
It would cause children to leave the
village .. .... 9.3
Children will decide for themselves.. 15.3
No response .. 7.3
Total .. .. 100.0
Number .. .. 300
Information presented above indicates that at
the time of the study there was not much demand
for educational opportunities or facilities at the
village level. In fact, there seemed to be consider-
able opposition to secular education. This was
particularly true in the case of female children.
There is little, if any, likelihood of a spontaneous
growth in the demand for education from the
villages in the foreseeable future. It is not
familiar to them. The majority do not understand
that it has any useful functions. Reading and
writing are not functional in their lives and in so far
as they do have some ideas about it, these are likely
to be coloured by the apprehension that the con-
sequences may be undesirable for them and for
4 HOUSING AND HOME FACILITIES
Viewed from the standpoint of the materials
from which they were constructed, there were three
principal categories of houses. First, and by far
the most numerous (84 %), were the katcha houses.
A katcha house is a house made of dirt and other
local materials such as sticks and reeds. Katcha
houses invariably have dirt floors. The roofs are
generally covered with dirt laid over poles and
twigs which serve to hold it up. The second type
of houses (4%) occupied by relatively wealthy fami-
lies are classified as pucca houses. These houses
are constructed of brick and have wooden doors
and glass windows. They may have brick floors
and tile roofs. The remaining houses (12%) are
partly katcha and partly pucca. They are occupied
by middle income people.
Nearly all of the houses in these villages had a
small courtyard which could be used for supplemen-
tary living space. Meals were frequently prepared
in the courtyard.
Most of the houses were very small; 73.5% had
only one room. The distribution according to
number of rooms was as follows :
The rooms were generally approximately 8-12 ft.
high. Floor areas ranged from 28 sq. ft. to 585 sq. ft.
with a great majority less than 200 sq. ft. (88.8%).
It appears that katcha houses require frequent
reconstruction since more than half were less than
10 years old.
Most of the houses had only one door and less
than one-fifth had windows. Still fewer had
The number of persons per room was relatively
high, averaging 5.3. In addition to human occu-
pancy a few villagers kept their cattle in their houses
during the winter.
The home facilities used by the villagers were
very meagre. The only furniture found in most of
the houses consisted of beds (charpais) and an
Only 12% of the houses were equipped with
separate kitchens. Nearly 9 out of 10 (88%)
reported that they had no kitchen of any kind.
Two thirds (66.6%) said that they cooked outside
both in winter and summer. An additional 33.3 %
reported that they cooked inside in the winter and
outside during the summer.
In most cases where cooking was carried out in
the house, there was no arrangement for the escape
of smoke. Only 1.2% of the houses had chimneys
in the kitchens. This means, of course, that
whenever cooking is carried on within the houses
the air is filled with smoke. The village women
use cow-dung cakes as fuel for cooking. This is
not entirely a matter of choice since there is very
little other fuel available to them.
The cooking equipment consisted of small and
large seized kettles of brass, aluminium or clay, an
iron plate for baking bread, a big brass or earthen
plate for kneading dough, big clay pitchers for stor-
ing water, a small earthen pot with open mouth for
boiling milk and another large pot of similar shape
for churning butter. Flour and other food like
gur, sugar, rice, etc., are stored in tins or pitchers.
Food is served at the place where cooking is done
to save the services of a bearer. Usually the head
of the family is served while sitting on a bed
(charpai). No cutlery is used for most purposes but
spoons may be used with a sweet dish. The
villagers have brass or aluminium plates, cups and
glasses for daily use. Guests may be served on
chinaware at tables, if such items are available.
The number of houses which had bathrooms
was very small, comprising only 17.3 % of the total.
In other cases, a portion of the courtyard was
screened-off for bathing purposes by a charpai or in
some other manner. No information was obtained
with respect to the frequency with which baths were
taken by various members of the family.
5 SANITATION AND MEDICAL CARE
Only 11.3% of the houses had separate latrines.
Where present, these were situated in a corner of
the house. The common practice with respect to
the disposal of human wastes was to go out into
the fields. This is the prevalent method in most of
the villages in the Punjab at present.
With respect to water for household purposes,
most of the villagers (92.7%) reported that they
used water from the village wells. A few (2.1 %)
used canal water, and a few others had wells in their
own compounds (1.5%). Some of them (3.7%)
had a hand-pump inside or outside the house.
Obtaining water for cooking and other household
purposes is mostly regarded as women's work. In
59.8% of the families, women carried water them-
selves. Another 38% of the families, those who
could afford to do so, employed water carriers for
the purpose and in 1.9% of the families water was
carried by male members. In these latter cases
this was an arrangement due to illness of the
women or some other unusual circumstance.
There is at least one pond in every village. This,
together with open drains, provides a breeding
place for mosquitoes and various disease germs.
The majority of the villagers used water from a
common well. Bacteriological tests of the purity
of the water were not made, so it is not possible
to say whether or not this source of water was
contaminated or not. However, it was customary
to bathe and wash clothes on the protective wall of
the well which suggests the possibility that some
contamination exists from time to time.
The difficulty of keeping the village clean is
increased by the custom of keeping domestic animals
either within or adjacent to the houses. The majo-
rity of the people (61.4%) had cattlesheds adjacent
to their houses ; a little over one tenth (11.4%)
kept their cattle inside their houses ; 8.6% kept
them within the village but not adjacent to their
houses; while 18.6 per cent kept their cattle just
.outside the village or in their fields.
Houses were not screened and during certain
seasons of the year flies are plentiful. These
insects, of course, can carry disease germs from
various sources and deposit them on food.
It should not be thought, however, that the
villagers are totally unaware of the need for sani-
tary precautions. As stated before, the villagers
take their meals near the hearth. The fire keeps
away the flies and other insects from the food.
Also, flies are driven away with the help of a hand-
fan or a piece of cloth if they try to come near the
food. A few of the villagers had screened cupboards
in which to keep cooked food, while others placed
it under a straw cover.
As noted previously, death rates were high but
no information was obtained concerning the pre-
valence of various types of illnesses. The people
themselves know little about the nature and types
of disease. The chowkidars who keep the records
of deaths have little or no medical knowledge. More
than 80 per cent of the deaths which occurred in the
sample villages during a 12-months period in 1955-56
were reported as having been caused by fever.
Pneumonia, tuberculosis, and typhoid fever were
mentioned in a few cases. In some cases no cause
whatsoever had been assigned. According to inter-
views with nine male groups, villagers do not
normally consult a doctor when they are ill. When
asked why not, a few alleged that those who were
unable to pay the amount of money demanded by
the dispenser were not given good medicine.
Some alleged that patients did not receive adequate
attention when in a hospital. Others said that the
hospital was too far away from the village to be
easily accessible. Still others said the. cost of
getting to the hospital was excessive.
There was a dispensary in one village. Four
villages were located within three miles of a town
which did have a dispensary. The remaining
village was located five miles from a town with a
A vaccinator employed by the Health Depart-
ment, visited each village once or twice a year to
vaccinate children. If an epidemic should occur,
the lambardar or patwari2 of the village would
inform the Health Department at once and inocula-
tions or vaccinations would be administered to all
who desired this service. The villagers indicated
that medical help received from the Health Depart-
ment during times of epidemics was very much
Most of the people (63 %) said that they relied
upon home treatments insofar as possible. Medical
aid is sought only in cases of serious illness.
Some of the home remedies ordinarily used for
specified illnesses follow :--Malaria is treated with
quinine, anise seed, black henbane seed or tea.
Typhoid is treated with a mixture of milk, sugar
and pepper. In addition an amulet or charm may
be used and milk from a goat may be squirted on
the head of the patient. Whooping cough is treated
with ashes of leaves of banana with sugar mixed
in ghee or ginger. All sour things are prohibited.
A bad cold is treated with curd or lassi mixed with
salt and pepper. Another treatment is violet
flowers boiled in water or parched grams. Frequent
baths and tea are favoured by others.
Dysentery is treated with rice and curd, banana
mixed in curd or with a beverage made from
ground leaves of the jaman tree, sago, or isibgol.
For cholera the treatment is onion juice, gulqand,:
mint or cardamum ; pneumonia is treated with
mustard or sesamum oil which is applied to the
chest and massaged. In addition blood letting is
practiced. The diet of a pneumonia patient
consists of tea and eggs ; stomach-ache is treated
with anise seed boiled in milk, essence of lemon,
salt, soda lemon or chooran.5 Also a hot water
bottle is applied to the stomach in some cases.
The itch is treated either with a massage of
mustard oil or by swallowing a dose of mustard
oil (taramira) after breakfast. Some villagers also
apply an ointment of sulphur and take a bath with
dirty water. Wounds received in accidents are
either treated by a doctor or an ointment of alum
and turmeric or burnt cloth mixed with oil is.
applied. Some villagers also apply dirt from a
ginning machine, oil crushing machine or sugarcane
crushing machine. Kerosene or tincture of iodine
may be applied. A headache is treated with tea,
milk, or aspro and an amulet may be used. Boils
are treated with indigo mixed in water, the dirt
from a ginning machine, leaves of the shisham
tree, zinc, the leaves of the abbasi flower or other
1. Lambardar is the Village Headman.
2. Patwari is the Village Revenue Officer.
3. Gulqand is a jam-like preparation composed of rose flowers and sugar.
4. A small horn like device is used to create a vacuum on the surface of the skin in order to draw the blood out of
5. Chooran consists of black salt and essence of lemon.
A VILLAGE WOMAN COOKING CHAPATTIS
Chapattis are eaten at breakfast. lunch and dinner.
6 FOOD HABITS
The consumption patterns of the sample families
were characterized by emphasis on cereal grain,
especially wheat. After cereals came milk, vege-
tables, ghee and sugar. Non-cereal proteins like
meat. fish and eggs contributed very little to the diet
of most families.
The usual type of daily food eaten by the inter-
viewed families was as follows :-
.Chappati' and skimmed lassi.2
.Chappati, curry consisting of
pulses or vegetable, and lassi.
. Chappati and curry and milk (rice
was cooked occasionally).
Lassi was taken in place of water with lunch,
while at dinner milk and water were taken. Tea
was prepared only at ceremonial occasions, particu-
larly for entertaining guests from cities. It also
served medicinal purpose for headache, colds, and
Only four families reported that they ate meat
TABLE NO. 10
Frequency of meat eating by village families
Daily .... 4 2.6
2-4 times in a week .. 8 5.2
Once in a week .. 28 18.1
2-3 times in a month .. 38 24.5
Once in a month .. 15 9.7
4-6 times in a year .. 4 2.6
1-3 times a year .. 25 16.1
Whenever can afford .. 30 19.3
Never .... 3 1.9
Total .... 155 I 100.0
The families who ate meat two to four times a week
or more frequently were well-to-do families by
village standards. In a majority of cases the meat
was usually mutton but some ate beef, and chicken
and mutton were reported by one landlord's
23.6% of the families mentioned chicken as a
special dish for guests. Others entertained their
guests with mutton or beef or sometimes chicken
while nearly half said that they did not prepare
special dishes for guests but offered them the same
food regularly served to members of the family.
There was little variability in the food patterns of
individual villages and no significant differences were
observable in food combinations by days of the
The quality of the food varied with the differences
in the economic position of families. For example
the well-to-do families consumed chappatis
prepared with wheat flour, rather than that of bajra
and maize which was more common among the
poorer families. This was also the case with ghee
(clarified butter) and mustard oil, and with milk and
Some of the families occasionally did not prepare
curry for lunch or dinner but took some sauce,
pickles or sugar instead.
Major food items such as cereals and milk were
home produced or partially purchased while tea,
mustard oil and meat were obtained from the
1. Chappati: Flour is kneaded with hands and small balls are prepared. Each ball is placed on a round wooden board
(chakla) and expanded in round shape with a wooden roller (belna). It is further expanded with a movement of the hands
some-what similar to that of clapping and then baked by spreading it out on an iron plate (tawa) on the fire. Sometimes
chakla belna may not be used and it may be expanded with hands only.
2. A local drink similar to buttermilk.
7 STYLES OF DRESS
Distinctive styles of dress, hair styling and other
aspects of personal appearance exist among the
villagers. These patterns make it possible for a well
informed observer to distinguish a villager from a
city man or a landlord from an agricultural labourer.
Because of the symbolic significance of certain
customs, it is sometimes possible on the basis of
dress and other aspects of personal appearance to
make a provisional judgment of the degree to
which villagers cling to the traditional ways of
their ancestors. However, this point should not be
pressed too far ; the relationship may be tenuous.
Styles of dress are frequently superficial.
There are clear indications from the informal
reports of the interviewers that substantial changes
in styles of dress have occurred within the last 10 or
15 years. Even though Pakistani villagers may be
slow to accept some types of change it evidently
is not correct to regard them as unchanging and
unchangeable so far as customs affecting appear-
ance are concerned.
As in most societies, distinctive customs govern
the dress and general appearance of men and
Haircut, Beard and Mustache :
A little over half (52.9 %) of the men were found
to have a traditional type of long haircut, the girda.
An additional 15.7 % wore their hair up to their ears,
a style which is said to indicate devotion to religion.
A more modern type of haircut, the bodi, was dis-
played by 30.7%. One man was bald but none
had a shaven head.
Tradition in these villages prescribes a long
mustache and a beard for a man. A bare handful
of the men (1.3 %) were clean shaven. Nearly all
had mustaches ; 45.8% of the mustaches were long
while 52.9% were short. A little over half of the
men (52.6%) wore beards.
The reports of the interviewers thus indicate a
considerable movement away from the traditional
styles prescribed for hair, beards and mustaches. It
is likely that most of the traditionalists were older
The most popular type of headdress was found
to be the traditional pagri which was worn by
79.1 %. A few (1.3%) wore caps. The remainder
(19.6%) were bare headed. This may be regarded
as an indication of the acceptance by younger
villagers of urban styles.
The pagri has special significance in Punjabi
villages. For example, older men are said to wear
the pagri as a sign of respect when they appear
before a government official, when they visit rela-
tives or when they attend a meeting of the village
council (Panchayat). It is always worn by a religi-
ous leader (Maulvi) at prayer time. Two men who
become close friends sometimes exchange pagris
which implies that they have become as close as
Pagris are made of different types of material,
some very fine, others common. In some cases,
a towel may serve as a pagri. Some are smaller
than others ; for instance a cultivator generally
wears a short pagri with only 21 to 3 yards of
material when working in his field. The usual
length of material is from 5 to 6! yards.
The field workers reported that many of the
younger men in the villages had discarded the
pagri. The high proportion found in the sample
is evidently due to the fact that most of the men
in the sample were over 30 years of age.
Shirt or Kameez was worn by most of the men
(84.7%) when interviewed. Another 14.7% were
wearing bunian, a cotton garment normally worn
under a shirt. One man was bare to the waist.
A VILLAGE ZAMINDAR (LANDLORD) DRESSED
FOR A FESTIVAL
Note the headdress (pagri). The starched end of the
pagri up from the head, and stick are signs of higher
HAIR STYLE AND DRESS OF A VILLAGE BOY
The boy is wearing tehband (a length of cloth wrapped around
the waist) and Kameez. The youth is in tehbandand bunian
(undershirt) which is the usual dress for work. The shoes
worn by the youth are called nookdar.
Nearly all of the men (98.2%) were wearing
.tehbands (a piece of cloth 21 by 21 yards), which is
tied around the waist and serves as a sort of skirt.
This is the traditional lower garment of the male
Punjabi villagers. However, most of the cloth
used is machine made and manufactured outside the
In this connection, it may be of interest to note
that Muslims are expected to wear tehband, trousers
or other garments so that the lower portion is always
above the ankles. This serves to protect it from
becoming soiled ; if soiled it cannot be worn at
prayer time. It is also said that wearing a garment
such as a tehband below the ankles may be inter-
preted as meaning that the wearer is proud and
On formal occasions like weddings, festivals or a
visit to relatives or a city, illiterate men wear clean
clothes of the same style worn on other occasions.
Educated men or boys wear shalwar, kameez and
shirwany or coat and pants. Hence the type of
dress worn on such occasions depends upon the
education and social status a person has in the
For everyday work the villagers wear shoes of
rough leather usually made by the village shoe-
Special shoes of finer quality are worn by those
who can afford them for special occasions such as
weddings, festivals, visits to other villages, towns
or cities, etc. Most of these are manufactured
outside the villages.
While there has evidently been little change in the
style of material of work shoes, there apparently
have been substantial changes in dress shoes in the
last 20 years. The older manney shahi joota has
been replaced by multani joota ; the noakdar joota
by khussa and other traditional shoes by city made
shoes of various types.
Usually women wash and comb their hair once a
week on Friday. To keep it tidy it is braided together
in one plait with front parting. Small girls whose
hair is short have their hair knitted into thin plaits
from front and back and then bound together into a
pigtail. Young or newly married women dress
their hair in such a style as to keep it fluffed up on
both sides forming a pigtail at the back.
No cosmetics are used except antimony for the
eyes and walnut bark which is used to clean the
teeth. This colours the lips and serves the purpose
A long cloth of 2J yards in length called dopatta
or chaddar is worn by women to cover their heads
and breasts. The material used is either muslin
or chanoon in summer and woollen or any thick
cloth in winter. Every woman is expected to cover
her head and breasts to show herself modest and
respectworthy. A woman who does otherwise is
thought immodest and vulgar. This is the usual
way of observing purdah within the village. In a
strict sense purdah is observed only by the women
of those families which can manage their affairs
without the women going out of the houses. Others
may wear a burqa on a visit to relatives or a trip to a
city. Observation of purdah is a symbol of prestige
and fashion in Punjabi villages.
Sometimes two women exchange their dopattas
which indicates that they have become as close as
sisters. In case of a severe quarrel or fight between
two persons or families peace is likely to follow,
if the daughter of the guilty side places her dopatta
at the feet of the innocent party. This is an indica-
tion of extreme humiliation and repentance and
shows a strong desire for reconciliation.
Most of the women in the sample villages wore
shirts and trousers (kameez and shalwar). There
were some who wore a skirt-like lower garment
(ghagra) or trousers tightly fitting on the legs
(churidar pajama) instead of a shalwar; the latter
two garments were common among old women of
the Araeen and Meyo castes.
Generally old and middle aged women wore loose
shirts, with a high neck resembling a man's kaneez.
Young women wore shirts tight at the waist with
different neck designs. For daily use they had one
or two suits but for doing odd jobs, like plastering
the house they wore old worn out clothes. They
also had one or two better suits for formal occa-
sions like visits to relatives or for festivals.
Information was also obtained about colour and
types of material. Traditional colours like black,
red and yellow had lost ground as most women
(61.0%) chose other colours of their own liking.
The remainder (39.0%) indicated no change in the
past 10 years. The change may be attributed to
the fact that the village economy no longer manu-
factured all of its cloth or dyes.
Local.cloth (khaddar) was going out of fashion.
The majority (62.5%) used cloth made by textile
mills. Of these, 16.3 % had started using expensive
silken cloth. The change in style governs the
quantity of cloth used in making a dress which is
important both from the consumer's and the pro-
ducer's point of view. About one third (34.4%) of
the people were using less cloth as compared to a
decade before. Another 10.1% were using more
cloth. The rest (55.5 %) indicated no change.
Almost all the women had changed over to city
made shoes like slippers, sandals, or walking shoes
except very old women who were still clinging to
their traditional locally made shoes, called .jooti'.
For first two or three years children are only
given a shirt or frock to wear in summer. They
are also supplied with a wrap (a thick cotton cloth
called khesi.) in winter. By the time they are of
seven or eight years of age they begin to dress like the
Influence of changes on village industries
Most of the changes in styles of clothing and
footwear have been accompanied by changes in
materials. In general, material from towns and
cities have replaced those previously made in the
This has resulted in the virtual disappearance of
weavers, cloth printers and dyers from the village.
The shoemaker has survived, but he now uses.
leather purchased from the towns and he has left the
manufacture of expensive shoes to others.
?l ~ ~~~
VILLAGE WOMEN IN TYPICAL VILLAGE DRESSES
The one on the left is wearing shalwar and kameez (pajama
and shirt) which is the usual dress of young village women.
The other is wearing ghagra and kameez (skirt and shirt)
which is relatively uncommon.
HAIR STYLE AND DRESS OF A SMALL
8 FAMILY STRUCTURE AND RELATIONSHIPS
The family is a basic social unit in Pakistan as in
other countries. As a social unit, the Pakistani
family performs a variety of important functions.
It produces children and gives them much of their
basic social training. This is of fundamental
importance because the social training received by
a child as a member of his family is of great import-
ance in the development of his personal character,
particularly in an environment where opportunities
for formal training are limited. The family also
provides opportunities for the development of con-
tinuing relationships between parents and children
of an affectional and cooperative character. In
rural Pakistan, the family is also an economic unit
of basic importance.
Some of the people in the six sample villages lived
in joint-family groups consisting of the father and
mother, their married sons and their wives and the
children of the latter, plus, in some cases, other
relatives. Still others lived in nuclear families
consisting of husband and wife and their children
only. All lived in family groups.
In the sample villages 55 per cent of the families
were nuclear families. These were of two
sub-types : (i) the nuclear family with an indepen-
dent household, where the married couple and
their offspring lived and ate independently of other
related family units, and (ii) the nuclear family with a
semi-independent household, where a married
couple and their offspring ate separately but lived
with other families. Separate figures regarding
the prevalence of each of these sub-types are not
available. However on the basis of general obser-
vations it can be said that the latter type is more
common than the former.
About 14% of the families were joint families.
Such families were more common among agri-
culturists than among persons of other occupa-
tions; 21 % of the agriculturists lived in joint
19% of the families could be classified as inter-
mediate between joint and nuclear, i.e., they were
basically nuclear families but also contained some
other relative such as a sister or a brother of the
head. 11% were families which had been broken
by death, divorce or separation.
Although Muslims are permitted to have as many
as four wives at one time, nearly all of the existing
marriages in these villages were monogamous.
There were, in fact, only two cases in which villagers
had more than one wife.
The average size of family, taking the nuclear,
joint and incomplete families together, was 5.1
persons in the sample villages. In the individual
villages it varied from 4-6. The Jat and Kamboh
castes tended to have larger families than other
castes. The Christians had comparatively smaller
Taking the nuclear families alone the average size
According to the traditions of the villagers, males
generally have superior status to females. A
husband-father is expected to be the head of a
nuclear family. He is entitled to respect and obedi-
ence from his wife and from the children. The wife
is expected to defer to her husband's wishes and to
serve him faithfully. In joint families the head is
usually the oldest male.
Custom also decrees that the dominant male
must assume certain responsibilities. For example,
he is expected to provide the livelihood and to work
diligently for the support of his family.
The interviews disclosed a general attitude on the
part of men that women were in some respects
inferior. Discussions with groups of men in all
cases indicated that the men considered women to
be mentally inferior.
Respect for Age
Under the prevailing social values in the villages
the elders of the family must be respected and
obeyed by the younger members. This is true not
only for elderly males, but also for females. The
elders supervise and direct the work of younger
family members and great emphasis is laid on respect
for their wishes. Deviations in this respect by
young children are not taken very seriously but
ignoring of parents' wishes by grown sons or
daughters-in-law may cause considerable adverse
comment about the defaulters. This is particularly
true in case of a disagreement with the daughters-
Segregation of the Sexes
Although complete segregation of the sexes would
be impossible in a restricted area such as an agri-
cultural village, the relationships between the sexes
are very closely regulated in accordance with the
strict moral standards of the villagers.
Young children of both sexes are allowed to play
together freely, although their interests are soon
directed towards the customary activities and
interests of older members of their own sex. As
noted in the section on education, secular education
for the most part is reserved for boys, although
there was one school in which Christian boys and
girls studied together.
Strict segregation of the sexes is practised beginning
shortly before the boys and girls reach marriageable
age, which in these villages may be as early as 13
or 14 for girls and 17 or 18 for boys. The social
contacts of married women with the members of the
opposite sex are almost entirely restricted to the
male members of their immediate families.
Sexual relationships are restricted to married
couples. Pre-marital and extra-marital sexual
relationships are considered to be sinful. Villagers
generally felt that a man who is guilty of extra-
marital or pre-marital sexual relationships should
be flogged severely in public. There was con-
siderable support for the opinion that such an
offender should be shot dead by his relatives. There
was general consensus among the male groups
that a woman who engages in illicit sexual relation-
ships should be put to death. Information con-
cerning the enforcement of sex rules in these villages
was not obtained, but it appears that the standards
are somewhat more lenient with respect to the
lapses of men than of women. This is typical of
many societies around the world.
The social ideals of the villagers demand that a
family must remain united, whether the relationships
within this unit are wholesome or unwholesome.
This is particularly true of" respectable people.
Divorce and separation are strongly disapproved.
As noted earlier social demands and religious
pressures plus the prevalence of exchange mar-
riages and other kinship pressures are believed
responsible for the low percentage of divorced and
separated persons in the sample villages. Only 3 %
of the ever-married persons were divorced and 1.2%
were separated. Except for marriages that had
been broken by the death of one or the other partner
(24%), the rest of the married couples were living
As in the case of husband and wife, unity among
other family members, i.e., parents and children
or brothers and sisters is also desired and empha-
sized. However, the pressures in this respect are
not as strong as in the former instance. Serious
domestic quarrels between brothers and between
married sons and parents often lead to the disin-
tegration of joint living of the family, and setting
up of nuclear family units. The predominance
of nuclear families in the sample villages is probably
the result of such dissolutions.
9 SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS OUTSIDE THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY
While the family is of basic importance in the
Pakistani village, it is not by any means the only
system of social relationships in which villagers are
involved. Individuals of all ages and both sexes
have informal relationships with personal friends
and personal enemies.
Most people are also members of informal groups
such as the extended family, friendship groups,
castes, kinship groups, factions and patties. Adult
males may also be members of or in contact with
the village panchayat if such an organization exists.
They may also be members of cooperatives or other
formal interest groups although few such organiza-
tions are to be found in the typical village. Some
may be members of anti-social groups such as
dacoits. In addition, there may be a certain
amount of contact between the head of a family and
various representatives of government in connection
with the collection of taxes or law enforcement.
Relationships within the Extended Family
In terms of intimacy of social relationships, the
,extended family comes next to the immediate
family. An extended family consists of all the
related family units, and is characterized by a strong
"we-feeling ". It plays a prominent role as an
agency of social control. Acts leading to a bad
reputation or scandals involving any of the members
are regarded as disgraceful for the whole group.
The group, therefore, considers it necessary to check
deviations on the part of any member from the set
patterns of behaviour in the village. Major deci-
sions such as those concerning a son's or a daughter's
marriage and purchase or sale of land by any
family, are usually made after consultation with the
elders of the related families.
Ordinarily the extended family meets on cere-
monial occasions, i.e., marriage, birth and death,
and exchange of gifts and presents is common at
the happy occasions.
In the event of distress, the related families are
expected to extend a helping hand. Analysis of the
sources of credit in the villages indicates that in
times of financial difficulties, loans in a large majority
of cases are obtained from relatives and friends.'
Caste and Sub-Caste (Baradari) relationships
As a result of the long contacts with Hindu culture
caste has become a regular feature of the social
structure. Castes represent more or less fixed
prestige levels assigned to individuals by virtue of
their birth. The highest status in the villages as in the
cities is given to Syeds who are commonly regarded
as descendants of the Holy Prophet (Peace be on
Him). Next come the land-owning castes like
Araeen, Rajput and Jat. The occupational castes
like Julaha (weaver), Mochi (cobbler), Dhobi
(washerman) have a low status, and castes like
Mirasi (village bard) and Musalli (converted
sweepers) are placed lowest on the social scale.
The number of castes and sub-castes runs into
hundreds. There were 115 in the sample villages.
Information for the main castes is presented in
Table 11. It will be noted that Rajputs were most
numerous, followed closely by Araeens.
1. In this connection it may be worth noting that such loans are'normally made without interest. Interest is viewed as
ausury and is socially disapproved.
TABLE NO. 11
Distribution of Population by Caste
Caste No. of Percentage
Teli (Oil Presser)
Barwala (does odd jobs)
Mirasi (Village Bard)
Bhatiara (Gram Roaster)
.. 3,593 100.0
1. Most of the Christians when asked about their castes only stated that they were Christians, though a few gave castes
like Sindhoo and Sansi.
2. Neuandra Bhaji is the exchange of gifts between families at the occasion of marriage etc. Neuandra means money
and Bhaji means other gifts like clothes and sweets. A record of the gifts exchanged is maintained and in case two families
cease to have relationships, accounts are usually balanced. The relationship is said to persist for generations and seems to fall
next to marital relationships in intensity of feeling.
Less than 1.0
Less than 1.0
Each of the castes and sub-castes constitutes a
separate "we-group" but the members of same
sub-caste have a stronger sense of belonging to'
the caste. Group solidarity is preserved by arrang-
ing marriage within each sub-caste.
Relationships within the main caste are not close
but the main caste represents a wider circle of
approved affiliations. This is indicated by the
fact that the first preference in mate selection is given
to persons of the same sub-caste ; second preference
is invariably for a person of the same main caste.
Of the 118 male respondents who were asked to
indicate the names of castes from which they would
accept a daughter-in-law or to whom they would
give their daughters in marriage, none was willing
to marry the children, particularly the daughters,
outside his own caste.
In actual practice marriages between different
castes do take place sometimes, but usually among
castes of equal status. Marriages between persons
of high and low caste are very rare.
Discrimination between the high and the low
castes is also made in case of other relationships
such as exchange of gifts (Neuandra Bhaji)', dining,
friendships and acquaintance. Many village mem-
bers of other castes indicated that they would not
maintain intimate social relationships with members
of either the Mirasi or the Musalli caste : (Table 12).
.- .. ; .?. "-, -
C= ~ ., ALhJ
r dE~ rw-.r .
- .-" -. .
VILLAGEE BOYS PLAYING A LOCAL GAME (GULLI DANDA)
TABLE NO. 12
HIGH CASTES1 Low CASTES2
No. Percent No. Percent
Reject no caste .. .. .. 42 60.0 33 76.7
Reject Mirasi and Musalli .. .. 16 23.0 6 14.0
Reject all low castes .. 10 14.0
Reject all except own cast .. .. 2 3.0 4 9.3
Reject no caste .. .. .. 33 47.1 22 51.2
Reject Mirasi and Musalli .. .. 16 22.9 13 30.2
Reject all low castes .. .. 19 27.1
Reject all except own caste .. .. 2 2.9 8 18.6
Reject no caste .. .. .. 51 72.9 38 88.4
Reject Mirasi and Musalii .. .. 15 21.4 5 11.6
Reject all low castes .. .. 4 5.7
Reject all except own caste .. ..
Friendship and neighbourhood relationships
Relationships with neighbours, who in a majority
of cases are also relatives, are generally close and
informal. Men have frequent contacts with
persons other than those of the neighbourhood but
the contacts of women in every day life are primarily
confined to women and children within the neigh-
The housewives of the same neighbourhood sit
together in their leisure hours and exchange views.
Among other things, they are likely to gossip about
any breach of the traditional norms by any person
in the village. Sometimes a young housewife may
seek advice from the more experienced ones in some
household affairs and may be guided by them.
The teen-aged girls of the same neighbourhood
also have intimate contacts with each other. They
sit together with the charkhass in the afternoon
or in the evening and spin. Narration of amusing
stories and singing also goes on in such groups and
thus enjoyment and work go together. The girls
of this age group also meet and gossip at wells when
they go to fetch water. When together they some-
times discuss the problems of their own age and the
younger ones learn from the experiences of the older
ones of the group. This is also the case with boys
groups, the main difference being that the members
of boys groups are not necessarily concentrated in
the same locality, but may be spread throughout the
village. When they are small, however, boys
generally find their play group in the immediate
1. High castes include Araeen, Rajput and Jat. There were no Syeds in the sample.
2. Low castes include all occupational groups represented in the Sample. 5 persons who belonged to the Meyo and
Kamboh castes which were considered neither high nor low by the villagers have been excluded.
3. Spinning wheels.
The men have their informal gatherings of friends
in the evening. They sit together with their water
pipes' (Huqqas) and smoke turn by turn while dis-
cussing the matters of the day. Any news from
the city is of great interest to them and every one
comments on it according to his knowledge. Some-
times a person who can read takes a Qissa2 along
with him and reads aloud stories and varied narra-
tions from it. These are usually in poetic form.
The others listen, appreciate and occasionally sup-
plement with other stories related to the subject.
Criticism of the deviations of individuals from the
traditional norms of behaviour is also common in
such meetings. In important family matters advice
may be sought from close friends. These friend-
ship groups of men and women are characterized
by a 'give and take' attitude. They sympathise
with and help each other in the hour of difficulty.
The exchange of gifts and presents at ceremonial
occasions is also a common feature of friendship
This, however, does not mean that there is no
conflict in the villages. It may exist in very acute
forms. Sometimes enmities are said to persist for
A faction may be defined as an informal group
which exists for the purpose of seeking to promote
the interest of members through conflict with similar
groups. Thus, the presence of such a group pre-
sumes the existence of one or more similar groups
with which conflict exists. The leaders of factions
are not formally elected but achieve leadership
through personal prowess and reputation. Mem-
bers may be drawn from various sources and
factional loyalties may change. The interviewers
found castes, sub-castes and even families divided
by factional hostilities.
In the opinion of Inayat Ullah3, conflict is the
principal goal and reason for being of the factions :
"The group finds satisfaction in humiliation,
in economic loss, in sufferings of the other
group. In its scale of values, extinction of
enemy is most important. All other activi-
ties derive their importance from this domina-
Active factions were found in two of the six vil-
lages. In the village which had a large proportion
of refugees, no active factions existed at the time the
field work was conducted. Conflict apparently
had been confined to individuals or families.
Village B, which had a long record of hostile
relations with neighboring villages, had no factions.
There were some reports of sex irregularities, abduc-
tions and cattle stealing. It appears, however, that
external conflict operated to minimize internal strife
which might have resulted from these events.
Village F had a long history of factional strife,
first between two parties of Rajputs and second
between Muslims and Christians. The conflict
between the Rajput factions had existed for 30
years but was diminishing in intensity due to new
leadership. Reconciliation was indicated by some
cases of inter-marriage between the factions. The
conflict between Muslims and Christians, also of
long standing, was still virulent. Most of the
Christians were agricultural labourers. During the
pre-partition period, the British were reported to
have interceded in favour of the Christians at the
request of the Christian Bishop. After partition,
1. Smoking was very popular in the sample villages with 77.8 % of the male interviewees addicted to it. Comparison
between the individual villages with regard to smoking indicated that the percentage of smokers ranged from 59 to
87 in the different villages.
The usual form of smoking was the Huqqa with the local tobacco used in it. Cigarettes were used by some of the
interviewees when travelling which may partly be due to the inconvenience in carrying a Huqqa and partly due to a
desire for modernity.
2. See Chapter III on Education, page 19 (footnote).
3. Inayat Ullah : "Political Consciousness and Activities", Socio-Economic Research Project Working Paper, part V,
I(-- ~ ar~
A SMALL HUQQA GROUP
Squatting around a Huqqa is a common pastime in villages.
the position of the Christian faction was said to have
deteriorated and many had shifted to non-agricul-
tural occupations. Some were employed outside
Village G also had a long history of factions. In
this village, the attempts of one sect to convert
members of the other led to strife but eventually a
substantial victory was achieved. A significant
number of the members of one sect were converted
and others left the village.
Villag s Q and J did not have a recent history of
factional strife. Conflict situations had been
confined largely to individuals.
The functions of factional groups are primarily
destructive although they do result in co-operation
and social cohesion within the faction. Inayat
Ullah has commented unfavourably on the conse-
quences of factionalism:
In village G the cooperative society was rendered
ineffective by factional strife.' Factions tend to
disrupt peaceful social relationships by disrupting
families, castes, sub-castes, families and even reli-
gious groups.2 The economic consequences may
also be severe, due to excessive litigation and lack of
cooperation.3 The work of village administration
is made more difficult. Usually, panchayats become
ineffective.' Educational activities and village
development activities are also hampered.'
Patties come into existence with the distribution
of farm land, the number and size ofpatties depend-
ing upon the size of the land area. In the sample
villages the number of patties varied from 1 to 4.
Each patti is usually under the charge of a separate
lambardar or headman, though sometimes two small
patties may be put under the charge of the same
person. The occupants of land in a patti are in-
dividually and jointly responsible for the payment
of land revenue. Separated in these respects, the
residents of different patties develop 'in-group'-
'out-group' feelings which may be latent, but
become evident in matters such as representation in
the village panchayat. Open hostility may also exist
and factions may sometimes be formed on patti
basis although no such factions were found to exist
in the sample villages.
Voluntary Formal Organizations
There were virtually no formal voluntary groups
of any consequence. Cooperatives had been attemp-
ted in two villages. Both failed. There was a
youth group (Chand Tara Club) in one village which
had been organized by the V-AID worker.6
Contacts outside the village
Contacts outside the village were very limited.
Only about 12 per cent. of the respondents mention-
ed names of friends who resided in other than their
own villages. Less than 5 percent had friends in
Nearly all (95.7%) had a strong liking for their
villages and, when asked if they wanted to move to
the city, 86 % of them replied in the negative.
1. Ibid. p. 31.
2. Ibid. p. 33.
3. Ibid. p. 31.
4. Ibid. p. 32.
5. Ibid. pp. 33-34.
6. See footnote on page 13.
10 MATE SELECTION, ENGAGEMENT AND MARRIAGE
Marriage is an important event in the lives of the
villagers. It involves directly not only the two
individuals who get married but also their immed-
mediate and distant relatives. Others are involved
to a lesser extent, including members of the caste
and certain others who have a ritual function to
perform in connection with the marriage.
A wedding is an occasion for rejoicing and feast-
ing. Gifts are exchanged among relatives. The
girl is given a dowry by her parents to give her a
start in life. It consists of clothes, ornaments for
herself, beds, bedding, cooking utensils, dishes and
household equipment. The number and quality
of the items varies with the social status and income
of the parents of the girl. Usually there is no written
contract. However, a written contract which is
specific with respect to property exchange and
other obligations of both parties is used for non-
A wedding requires large expenditures by the two
families and consequently it is frequently a source
of much debt.
Marriage partners are chosen by the parents rather
than by the individuals concerned. Wives younger
than husbands are preferred. As noted previously,
early marriage is customary in the villages. The
best match is considered to be a marriage between
first cousins. Marriage within the caste is also
preferred; the data indicate that 78.8% of the
marriages in the six villages involved members of
the same caste. Of the 130 inter-caste marriages,
89 or 68.5% involved Christians for whom inter-
marriage with close relatives is not customary. Of
the remaining 50 inter-caste marriages which in-
volved Muslims, the information available from the
field study indicates that castes of approximately
equal social rank were involved. There were, for
example, no marriages between agriculturists and
village servants (Moeens).
There were no marriages between Muslims and'
Christians. There were practically no marriages
between different Muslim sects either, the excep-
tions involving a few cases of new converts from one
sect to another in one village.
Information obtained from individual male
respondents indicates that the great bulk of
marriages involves relatives. These respondents
disclosed that 53% of their wives, daughters-in-law
and sons-in-law were first cousins, while an addi-
tional 23% were members of their Baradari, the
sub-caste circle of distant relatives. From an eco-
nomic standpoint, the cousin marriage results in
keeping property within the kinship circle. This
is an important consideration which affects the
economic aspects of the marriage contract. At
the same time, it is probable that the selection of a
mate for one's children is sometimes influenced by
the desire to create new relationships which may
serve to increase the prestige and/or wealth of the
Distance as a Factor in Mate Selection
We have seen that kinship, religious affiliation
and caste are important factors in mate selection.
Physical distance between families is also a factor
in some cases, although it is probably less im-
portant than any of the 3 factors just enumerated.
Many of the wives came from nearby villages;
38.5% lived within 10 miles.
Since it is customary for the wife to move to the
residence of the husband, it is to be expected that
most husbands would have been born in the village
of current residence. This turned out to be the
case; 69 percent of the husbands and 34 per cent of
the wives were village natives. However, most of
the married men who had been born outside the
village were not refugees. This seems rather strange
in view of the belief that the incidence of inter-village
mobility is low. The explanation is doubtless to
be found in the custom which provides that the
first child is to be born in the parental home of
the mother. It seems likely that most of these men
who had not been born in the village were actually
lifetime residents who were first-born sons of
mothers born elsewhere.
Personal choice in mate selection
The fact that the bulk of the marriages involved
relatives suggests that in many cases the bride and
groom were known to each other prior to the wed-
ding. If they did not know each other intimately,
at least they may have heard about each other from
relatives or friends. This does not mean, how-
ever, that children are given a voice in the choice of
their mates. It appears that this seldom happens
in these villages. Furthermore, it appears to be the
firm opinion of both adult males and adult females
as reflected in the group interviews that the selection
of a husband or wife should be made by the
parents without consultation with the children
involved. The latter are expected, as a matter of
loyalty to their parents and families, to abide by the
decision of their parents. It is true that the formal
consent of the couple must be given at the Nikah
ceremony, but this apparently is a formality. If a
boy or girl should refuse to take the person selected
as his or her mate at the Nikah ceremony, the con-
sequences would be most embarrassing for the
family, especially for the family of the girl.
After the parents of the couple have reached a
mutual understanding, the parents of the boy are
expected to go to the girl's house with gifts for the
girl. These include a complete set of clothes for the
girl, one ornament of gold or silver and some cash
for the girl. A gift of sweets and other food is also
supposed to be taken for distribution to relatives
and Baradari. In addition, at this time, the girl's
family is expected to give a ring or some money to
the boy and some clothing to the close relatives of
the boy, consisting of turbans for the men and
dopatta shirts for the women. There may be some
gifts of clothing by both families to their own rela-
tives. The village servants (Moeens) may also be
given some cash or clothing.
According to information obtained during the
course of the group interviews, engagement cere-
monies were favoured by two-thirds of the male
groups and one-half of the female group. In other
groups, the favoured procedure was for the engage-
ment to take place among the relatives without any
outsiders present. Apparently in some cases the
traditional ceremonies are dispensed with com-
pletely and the verbal agreement between the two
families is considered sufficient.
Selection of the marriage date
The months of Ramzan and Muharram are avoid-
ed as marriage dates because Ramzan is the month
of fasting during which celebrations involving
eating or drinking are forbidden, and Muharram
is a month of mourning. The responses of the
women indicate a preference for spring and summer.
Some however, stated that they had no particular
preference with respect to the time of year and pre-
ferred to fix the date whenever adequate funds were
available to meet the expenses involved.
Quite a number of the women believed in lucky
days for weddings. Thursday was generally consi-
dered to be the most lucky day, but Wednesday,
Friday and Sunday were also mentioned.
Various ceremonies connected with the wedding
and involving the families of both the boy and
the girl and other relatives begin from 5 to 7 days
prior to the actual marriage ceremony. These
involve the exchange of gifts, the beautification
of the bride, and pleasantries of various kinds. The
specific details of the marriage ceremonies vary
from place to place and from caste to caste.
i. See Appendix 'B' for a description of marriage ceremonies.
According to the responses given to a question
.about the frequency of performance of the cere-
monies, it appears that the traditional types of cere-
monies performed on the occasion of marriage
are undergoing'modification in many cases; 44.9%
,of the male respondents and 53.4% of the female
respondents indicated that they performed some of
the marriage ceremonies, while 9.1% of the males
and 22.0% of the females indicated that they had
abandoned them entirely.
Weddings constitute a major item of expense both
for the family of the boy and for the family of the
girl. Information on expenditure was obtained for
weddings of 69 sons and 88 daughters. These
averaged rupees 1306 and rupees 800 respectively.
The range in expenditure was from rupees 100 to
rupees 4,000 for sons, and from rupees 100 to rupees
2,100 for daughters. In a substantial number of
cases it was necessary for the families to meet at
least part of their expenses by borrowing money.
This was the case for 47 of the 157 marriages, or
30% of the total. In the cases where the money
was borrowed, the borrowed money constituted
46.8 % of the total outlay.
The debts incurred by the borrowing families
were substantial in terms of their resources. It
cannot be said, however, that marriage debts con-
stitute a major source of rural indebtedness. In-
formation obtained during the interviews con-
cerning the reasons for borrowing indicates
that only 7-9% of the total debt in the sample
villages was incurred for the purpose of meeting
The size of the wedding, in terms of the n umber of
guests, is a major contributing factor in marriage
costs. The number of guests at weddings reported
varied from none to more than 2,000. The most
common number of guests was between 52 and 100.
It is obvious that the entertainment of substantial
numbers of guests requires large quantities of food
and expensive entertainment. The following table
indicates the proportionate distribution of the
marriage costs according to major items :
TABLE No. 13
Ornaments and cosmetics
Clothes, furniture & utensils
major items of marriage
Per cent Per cent
*Entertainment of guests, payment to Moeens, and
The proportion of expenditures devoted to orna-
ments and cosmetics indicates that these items were a
major source of expenditure. This was also true
of clothing, furniture and utensils, particularly for
the family of the girl. The expenditure for jewels
on the part of the family of the groom represents an
investment to some extent since these jewels are
presented to the bride and if necessary, can be sold
to meet family needs.
Limitations on marriage expenditure
Because it was expected that marriage costs would
be found to constitute a major item of expense to the
villagers, a question on attitudes towards possible
governmental limitation of such expenditures was
included in the interviews. The majority of men
and women who provided information were in
favour of governmental limitation on expenditures.
In response to the question "What would you say
if the Government were to limit the amount of ex-
penditure?" 81-8% of the men and 56-7% of the
women gave answers which were favourable.
Only 14.2% of the men and 11.6% of the women
were positively opposed to governmental limitation
of marriage expenditures. The remainder were
either indifferent (4% of the men and 5-8% of the
women) or undecided (25-9% of the women).
The question may well be raised as to why the
villagers do not themselves voluntarily limit their
expenditures. The answer seems to be that the
scale of expenditures on a wedding has a bearing
on the social prestige of the families involved.
Competition for favourable recognition is therefore
likely to result in expenditure beyond the means of
the families. This, of course, results in debts.
11 SOCIAL CEREMONIES
The customs which traditionally regulate the
celebration of certain significant events in the lives
of individuals and families may be classified sociolo-
gically as folkways.' These are the right ways of
doing things, but they are not compulsory and
people can deviate from them without severe penal-
Such traditional customs exist among the villagers
with respect to births, weddings,2 circumcision and
The birth of a child may be followed by the dis-
tribution of sweets3 to friends and relatives and to
others who come to offer their congratulations to the
parents. In some cases money or clothing is
presented to the village servants (Moeens). These
customs are more often followed for boys than for
girls, reflecting the greater value which is placed on
male children. Nearly three out of every four
female respondents (72-7%) reported that they
celebrated the births of boys and an additional
16-7% said that they would have liked to do so
but were prevented by poverty. Only 36-7%
reported that they celebrated the births of girl
babies. Subsequent birth-days after the first one
are not celebrated in the villages.
The parents soon choose a name for their child.
Many parents (39-8%) chose a name of their own
liking but 8-9% of the names were suggested by
paternal or maternal aunts or by an elder brother
or sister while 26-0% of the names were given by
grandparents, uncles or some other elders of the
family, and 1'4% of the names were the names of
grandparents. In the rest of the cases, children were
given religious names. Such names were either
suggested by a Maulvi (3-4%) or taken from
the Holy Quran or the Holy Bible (20-5%).
Expenditure incurred in connection with birth!
celebrations ranged from nothing to more than Rs.
1,000/-. In 30% of the cases, expenditures for
the celebration of male births were Rs. 100/- or
more; only 7-2% of the female birth celebrations
involved expenditures of this magnitude.
There were some interesting differences between,
villages, especially with respect to the celebration
of female births. In two villages no family in the
sample spent as much as Rs. 10/- for this purpose.
In another village only one family spent anything
to celebrate the birth of a girl.
This information confirms the view that the birth
of a girl is not regarded as favourably as the birth
of a boy by a majority of the villagers. .There are
various reasons for this. First, a boy is regarded
as a worker in the field and as a defender of the
household if any conflict arises with a rival group.
Second, a girl when grown will be given away in
marriage. Thus, she becomes a member of
another family while the boy remains with the
parents and is a source of strength and comfort to
them in their old age. Third, since the woman's.
position as a marriage partner according to village
custom is inferior to that of a man, her future hap-
piness depends upon the attitudes of her husband
and in-laws. The parents of a girl, therefore, in
order to promote their daughter's happiness usually
feel that they have to go out of their way to please
the boy and his family. This may injure their sense
of self-respect. Fourth, the dowry to be given
to a girl, especially if there are several daughters,
may take away a major portion, if not all, of the
savings of the parents. Consequently a girl may be
regarded as a liability rather than an asset. Under
1. See W. G. Sumner, Folkways, Ginn and Co., Boston, 1906.
2. See Appendix B.
3. These are for the most part home-made delicacies such as local candies made of white sugar, a sweetpowder (panjiri)
or similar items.
these circumstances it is not difficult to understand
why the birth of a girl is not considered an occasion
for rejoicing, not to speak of celebrating it as an
auspicious event. This statement is not, however,
to be interpreted as meaning that parents have no
affection for their female children. In most cases
parents are fond of all of their children
Circumcision is another occasion in Muslim
villages to provide joy and an opportunity for the
members of a family or broader kinship group to
renew and strengthen kinship ties. Three-fourths
of the respondents celebrated the occasion. More
than one-fourth (26.3%) distributed halwa (a sweet
dish made of flour, sugar and ghee) or rice or gur or
white sugar drops or parched sweetened rice in the
village. Another 36.3% gave a feast to their near
relatives. In the rest of the cases either sharbat
(a sweet drink) was distributed among the baradari
(6.3 %) or money was given to moeens (2.5%) or the
child was circumcised at birth (1.3%) to save the
double expenditure on performing birth and cir-
About three fifths (61.%) of the boys were cir-
cumcised between 3 and 7 years of age, 10.3 % below
one year, 9.6% between one to three years and 4.5%
at birth. Only 14% were circumcised after 7 years
of age. Preference for performing circumcision
at an early age was justified by respondents on the
ground that a young child feels less pain, the wound
heals quickly and also the child can be controlled
easily. Preference for a later age for circumcision
was supported with the argument that the child is
old enough to take care of himself.
In all cases the circumcision was performed by a
village barber and the instruments used for the
purpose were a razor, thread and a reed instrument
Of the people who celebrated the circumcision of
their sons, 41.2% received clothes, cash or some
ornament for the boy plus a suit for the mother of
the child from the parents of the mother. Another
12.5% received cash for the boy, 3.7% relieved
only clothes for the boy, and the remaining 42.5 %,
received no gifts.
Gifts are given by those relatives or friends who
have received gifts of money or other articles at
similar occasions. Gifts are also brought by
paternal aunts of the child who are entitled by
custom to receive more than what they bring and by
the maternal grandparents or uncles. It is custom-
ary for the latter to give liberally on such occa-
sions to please their son-in-law and his relations.
They are not expected to receive anything in return.
Last but not the least are the death ceremonies
which complete the life cycle of an individual
as a member of the family and other groups.
In preparation for burial the mouth and toes of
the corpse are tied up with a piece of cloth, the
eyes are closed, the hands are straightened or folded
over the stomach as in saying prayers and the face
is turned towards the west (Kabah). This is done
just after the death to keep the dead body in the
proper posture. After this the relatives and friends
get together and start preparations for the funeral.
New cloth, cotton, camphor, and rose-water, are
purchased. Flowers are bought, if possible. Then
a thorough bath with hot water and soap is given
to the dead person. The body of a man is wrapped
up in three pieces of cloth, that of a woman in five
pieces and of an infant in one piece. The body is
laid on a bed (charpai). Camphor and rose-water
are sprinkled on the corpse and garlands of flowers,
if available, are placed around the face. Relatives
and friends have a last look. Then the charpai is
carried by four near male relatives to the grave-yard,
followed by all other male members. There, funeral
prayers (Namaz-i-Jenaza) are said and the body is
lowered into the grave. A passage from the Holy
Quran is read and then the grave is filled up. After
the burial the procession returns to the home of the
At the death of an old person, pretty sheets are
spread over the body. These are kept by the
village barber and the Mirasi after burial and also
some cash is distributed among the moeens before
the body is put in the grave.
For the first one or two days there is no fire in the
hearth of the family of the deceased. Meals for the
family of the deceased are offered by some relatives
-or friends. Also for ten days, people coming to
offer 'Fateha'1 are expected to sit on a mat as a
sign of respect to the dead. Relatives and friends
:get together formally three times during a period of
six weeks following the death.
First, after three days the Qul ceremony is
performed, This is called Qul because a section
of the Holy Quran known as Qul is repeated over
one and a half seers of currents, parched grams,
sweetened grams or only parched grams, which are
later distributed among children and those persons
attending the occasion.
The second meeting after seven to nine days is
called Sata (seven) or Naawn (nine) and the third
meeting after 40 days is called Chehlum.
On all these occasions the blessings of God are
sought for the solace of the departed soul. All these
ceremonies are observed for all except infants.
Nothing is done if the child dies just after birth.
If the child happens to be in the milk-feeding stage,
milk is given to somebody for 40 days. If the child
has passed these two stages then Qul, Sata or
Nawan and Chehlum are observed.
The Chehlum ceremony for old people who have
grandchildren is an occasion for rejoicing. A feast
is given to the village people and to friends and
relatives coming from far off places. Clothes are
given to the daughters and sons-in-law of the dead
person. The in-laws of the deceased's sons also
bring clothes for their daughters and sons-in-law.
Presumably the idea is to express satisfaction at the
termination of a long and successful life and to
thank the Almighty for enabling the departed soul
to perform all his duties and obligations that devolv-
ed upon him as the founder of the family.
1. Fateha : Verses on the first page of the Holy Quran are recited by all those who come.
Religion is a dominant influence in the lives of the
villagers. More than 85% in the sample villages
:were Muslims, the remainder being Christians.
Among the Muslims, 89.2% were Sunnis, 9.4%
were Shias and 1.4% belonged to other sects.
Information provided by Muslim families regard-
ing their participation in religious activities is
presented in this section. Comparable informa-
tion was not obtained concerning the religious
participation of Christians.
The sample families had a very strong faith in God
.and demonstrated a considerable degree of fatalism
-and a spirit of resignation to the will of God. In
answer to the question "Do you believe in Kismat
,(fate)?" and "Is it decided by God?", 100% made
a positive response and only one-third thought that
fate could be changed to some extent by personal
efforts. Two thirds (67%) were of the opinion that
whatever had been ordained for them would be
fulfilled regardless of their wishes or efforts.
A number of them interpreted their difficulties
in terms of unfavourablee stars'. Even things like
the amount of education for children and their
careers were thought to be in the hands of fate (in
20% of the cases) and the control of such things as
the number of child births was regarded as out of
question, due to the operation of the forces of fate
by 76% of the women. Planning for the future,
and anticipation of a better or worse time was also
regarded as useless for similar reasons. In response
to a question as to whether the informants expected
the next year to be better, worse or the same, 50%
of them said : "Only God knows about it."
More than 43 % of the male family heads reported
that they offered their prayers five times daily (Table
14). The frequency of the participation of women
was greater than that of men; more than 61% of the
wives prayed five times daily.
TABLE No. 14
Prayer habits of male family heads and wives
Not at all
1. Includes persons who prayed five times daily as required by religion.
2. Includes persons who prayed from 1-4 times daily and with frequent breaks in between.
3. Includes persons who prayed on Fridays and during Ramzan (month of fasting).
4. Includes persons who prayed only on Ids.
Comparison of the prayer habits of persons in
different age groups indicated that the frequency of
participation in religious activity was less for the
persons between 20-50, as compared to those
above and below this age. This may be a result
of the greater entanglement of individuals belong-
ing to the former category in worldly affairs; the
reason given by a majority of those who did not
pray regularly was 'work' or 'little children' in the
case of women. Greater interest in religious acti-
vity after 50 years of age can be partially explained
in terms of relative freedom from work. As noted
earlier a Punjabi villager is old at 50 and most of the
duties of the parents are taken up by children, at
that age. Furthermore, since faith in the next world
is a fundamental part of religion, individuals as they
grow elder begin to think more seriously of the life
after death and they participate in religious activity
with greater frequency to prepare themselves for it.
The greater regularity, of prayer among persons
below 20 years of age may be due to concern of
elders for the proper training of young people.
The men in the sample villages prayed mostly in
congregations in the village mosques; the congre-
gations were particularly large on Fridays.' In
the address preceding the Friday prayer the people
were reminded of their religious duties by the
Maulvi, and were repeatedly advised to "act rightly"
in accordance with religious commands.
Besides the daily prayers, special prayers were
offered to seek mercy from God in the event of
calamities like draught, excessive rain or epidemics.
Fasting is observed during the month of Ramzan2.
Each day during the month is counted as a separate
fast. Those who keep a fast do not touch either
food or water from dawn (Subah-sadiq) to dusk
In answer to the question "How many fasts did
you keep last year?", 64% of the women said
that they had fasted for all or almost the whole
month. The percentage of men in this category
was 33.8. Another 43.4% of the men and 30.7%
of the women reported that they kept some of the
fasts and 5.3 % of the women in comparison to
22.8% of the men had not fasted at all.
Zakat 3 and other contributions
Zakat is an annual contribution to orphans,
widows and other needy persons. It is obligatory
only for persons of fairly substantial wealth. Those
who are eligible to pay Zakat are called Sahib-i-
In response to the question "Are you a Sahib-i-
Nisab?" about 20% of the male interviewees ans-
swered in the positive. Only about half of these
persons actually gave Zakat. The amount given
during the previous year varied from Rs. 25 to 1,000.
More common than the payment of Zakat were
(i) contributions to mosquesbrphanages or dther"
religious institutions, and (ii) alms-giving to beggars
and poor persons. Fifty per cent. made contri-
butions to religious institutions and 94% said that
they helped the poor. The amounts given to insti-
tutions in the previous year varied from Re. 1 to
Rs. 50 in a majority of cases. Six persons had con-
tributed Rs. 100-500. The interviewees said that
they gave as alms whatever they could in the form
of food, clothes or cash payments.
1. Friday is a sacred day according to Muslim belief.
2. Ramzan is the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar.
3* Zakat is an annual payment on property which remains in possession of a person for a whole year, when it reaches a
certain limit called 'Nisab'. Nisab differs with the kind of property. The rate of payment is one-tenth of the value
of property or of income.
(See Muhammad Ali-The Religion of Islam, Lahore, 1950, The Ahmadiya Anjuman-i-lshaat-i-Islam).
"" I' ;" S. ,"'*'* ..,. --
A VILLAGE MOSQUE
The village mosque is a place where villagers gather not only for prayer, but also for discussing important
community problems, especially on Fridays.
Only one of the informants said that he had been
to Mecca. All expressed a desire to go for
pilgrimage, but most said that they lacked the means
.for it. Four persons were saving money for this
purpose. The amount they had saved in the year
preceding to the year of the study varied from
Rs. 100 to 200.
Knowledge of Quran
Twenty-eight per cent of the female and 16% of
the male interviewees from the sample villages said
that they could read the Holy Quran in Arabic.
About one-third of them reported that they recited
portions of the Holy Quran daily. Another one
sixth recited on Fridays and the rest mentioned no
specific times. Seven men and three women knew
the translation of some portions of the Holy Quran.
A similar number had read some books on Hadith I
or biographies of prophets.
The major religious festivals celebrated in the
villages were Id-ul-Fitr," Id-ul-Azah,S Shab-i-
Meraj 4 and Shab-i-Barat .
The celebrations on the first Id include offering of
Id prayer, if possible, in new clothes, preparation
and exchange of sweet dishes, gifts and presents
and charity to the poor.
Similar celebrations occurred on Id-ul-Azha.
In addition the celebrations on this Id are accom-
panied by the sacrifice of animals. Forty-five per
cent of the sample family heads reported to have
offered a sacrifice on this occasion in the preceding
year. The sacrifice was made in the form of a goat,
sheep or cow, which cost from Rs. 25 to Rs. 200.
Shab-i-Meraj was celebrated by lighting candles
and praying at night, and on Shab-i-Barat food and
sweets were given to the poor in the name of Allah
and the deceased persons of the family.
Meelad-un-Nabi and Muharram 7 were also
observed. In addition, some semi-religious festi-
vals (Urs) were held in the memory of holy saints
and Pirs. Many of the people performed Mannats 8
on the occasion of such festivals.
A pir is a person who is believed to possess special
spiritual knowledge and is accepted as a religious
guide. A person who accepts a pir is known as his
murid. The sample families mentioned the names
of 109 different pirs, who were not only their reli-
gious guides but who also helped them in worldly
troubles by praying for them and by giving Taweez9.
1. Sayings and traditions of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be on Him).
2. Id-ul-Fitr is celebrated on the 1st of Shawwal (10th month of Islamic Calendar) following the month of Ramzan
3. Id-ul-Azha is cc!eb:ated on the day following the performance o Haj (pilgrimage) in tei month of Zil Hij (last month
of Islamic Calendar).
4. Shab-i-Meraj is celebrated in the memory of Prophet Muhammad's (Peace be on Him) visit to heaven on the 26th
night of Rajab (7th month of Islamic C. lcndar).
5. Shab-i-Barat is celebrated on the 14th night of Shaban (8th month of Islamic Calendar) to present food and sweets
to the deceased.
6. Meelad-un-Nabi is the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (Pe'-c, be on Him) which is celebrated with great rejoicing
on the 12th day of Rabi-ul-Awwal (3rd month of Islamic Clendar).
7. The first ten days and particularly the tenth day of the first Islamic month (Muiharram) are spent (particularly by
the Shia sect), in mourning the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Husaain (Holy Prophet's Grandson) and his party who
were assassinated in the plains of Karbala.
8. Mann at is a promise to make some offering in cash or kind to some saints (dead or alive), on the fulfilment of some
desire, such as having a son, etc.
9. A Taweez is an amulet consisting of selected Holy Verses. Enclosed in a golden, silveror leathercovering, theverses
are tied around the arm or worn in some other way by individuals for the protection from evil foces.
About two thirds of the pirs were reported to
belong to the Syed caste. Most of the others were
members of the Qureshi, Rajput, Pathan and Araeen
castes. Two belonged to low castes, Kumhar
(potter) and Musalli (converted sweepers). Nearly
50% of the pirs were over 50 years of age.
All except three pirs resided outside the sample
villages, a majority in the nearby villages or towns,
though some lived in distant cities like Lahore and
More than 60% were migratory pirs. They
visited the villages occasionally-usually two to
three times in a year, and advised, blessed and
prayed for their murids (followers). Some of the
villagers visited their pirs once or twice a year or
whenever they were in some difficulty. In either
case the pirs were offered some 'nazrana' (payment)
in cash or kind, or both.
TABLE No. 15
Cash Payments made to Pirs by Village families
Amount offered per visit families Per cent
Re. 1 to Rs. 5 .. 61 48.4
6 to 10 .. .. 46 36.5
11 to 15 .. 11 8.7
16 to 20 .. .. 6 4.8
Above 20 .. .. 2 1.6
Total .. .. 126 100.0
The payments in kind usually varied from a few
seers of 'gur' (locally prepared sugar) or sweets to
2 maunds of wheat. However, one family had given
a cow and another a goat.
Besides the income from their murids, most of the
pirs were reported to be engaged in other activities
like farming, Hikmatl and Dars-o-Tadris2. Two
were said to be in Government service.
1. Practice of medicine based on the use of herbs and other local materials for the treatment of diseases.
2. Religious teaching.
in return for grains.
.- 1 -. .:, > ----- -- '** rT ---
-.:' .* **' si* "C^
13 THE ORGANIZATION OF WORK
The fundamental division of labour among the
, villagers is in terms of men's work and women's
work. Men are responsible for earning the family
living while women are responsible for household
tasks and child care. Deviations from the establish-
ed pattern are not favoured.
Occupation and social rank
Agriculture is the primary source of livelihood
for the villagers. Consequently agriculture is con-
sidered to be the most important occupation.
Within the agricultural community social rank is
differentiated according to tenure status and the
size of land area owned or operated. The larger
the land holding, the higher the social rank. Thus,
the landlords constitute the village elite. Owner
cultivators come next. Cultivators who own no
land do not rank as high as the owner cultivators.
Government servants rank next to agriculture.
Even petty government servants have considerable
prestige in the villages.
Business, unless it is carried out on a consider-
able scale, is not appreciated by the villagers. Those
who engage in business usually have a fairly
low position. The lowest position is that of the
moeens or village servants.
The principal occupation of men was agriculture;
65.3 per cent of the family heads were agriculturists;
27.7 per cent were moeens (village servants including
barbers, smiths, potters etc.); 3.5 per cent carried
out petty business like small scale shop keeping and
tonga driving; and 3.5 per cent were engaged in
The family heads who were agriculturists may be
classified according to tenure status as follows :
Peasant proprietors ..
The landlords did not cultivate their lands them-
selves, but depended upon rent received from their
tenants. In the sample villages there were no big
landlords except one who owned an entire village
with an area of 685 acres.
Owner cultivators, part-owner part-tenant culti-
vators and tenants worked their lands themselves;
some employed labourers. Their holdings were
usually small, averaging 7.3 acres (Table 16).
The moeens depended largely on farmers who hire
their services as "sep workers"-that is on the basis
of a verbal contract according to which the latter
make payment to the former semi-annually or
annually. The payment was usually in kind.
TABLE No. 16
Size of farm by tenure status of operator
Size (in acres)
1- 4 .. .. .25--
1_ 4 ....**0-
________ --- --
Organization of farm work
In the role system on a typical farm, the leadership
position in farm operations is occupied by the male
head of the family. Major decisions concerning
farm management are primarily made by him.
Sometimes adult sons are also consulted. In joint
families, the advice of elderly men is important.
The participation of women is very rare except in
,decisions concerning purchase or sale of land.
Family heads are assisted by other male members
of their families. As noted earlier few of the village
boys engage in studies or train for other than
parental occupations. The majority of them belong
to agriculturist families and start working at an
early age as unskilled labourers on farms. The
type of work differs according to age; older boys
assist in sowing, ploughing, irrigating and other
heavy work, while little boys herd cattle and do
,other light tasks.
In addition to unpaid family workers, hired
labourers are elso employed either permanently or
100-0 100"0 100-0
6-5 6-9 6-8
temporarily. Permanent labourers are employed
on the basis of an annual or semi-annual payment
which may be in kind or cash or both. They are
also given board and lodging by the cultivators.
Temporary labourers receive daily wages. They
are paid in kind and do not receive either board or
In the sample villages, 70 per cent of the cultiva-
tors had hired labourers. Of these, 10.6 per cent
hired permanent labourers ; 30.3 per cent hired
some permanent and some temporary workers, and
a majority (59.1 per cent) hired only temporary
workers during harvest or other busy periods. The
number of permanent labourers hired by individual
cultivators ranged from 1 to 4 and the number of
temporary labourers from 1 to 25. The duration
of work of the latter ranged from a single day to two
Payment made to permanent labourers came to
Rs. 51.7 per month on the average. This includes
the cost of board and lodging. The average wage
of temporary labourers when expressed in monetary
terms comes to Rs. 1-6-0 per day. The amount
varied according to the type of work done by the
An overwhelming majority of the hired labourers
(95.4%) were adult men. Only 3.6 per cent were
boys. To meet the heavy demands of work in the
harvest seasons, some of the cultivators also sent
their women to the fields to pick cotton or to
perform other tasks.
There is a heavy demand for labour, even on small
holdings, because few agricultural operations are
mechanized. In the sample villages, no modem
machine was used in any of the cultivation or har-
vesting processes except by one cultivator who owned
a tractor. However, about 30 per cent had rented
centrifugal machines or cane-crushers for sugar
making during the previous year.
Responses to a question concerning attitudes
towards the adoption of certain modem agricultural
technology indicated that a considerable number
of the cultivators were aware of the value of such
technology but were handicapped in adopting
them due to financial and other difficulties. For
example in response to the question "What do you
think of tubewell irrigation ? ", 30.6% of the
farmers said "It is very good ". 22.7 per cent
desired to install tube-wells while the others did not
favour the idea for the reason that the underground
water of their area was salty and therefore unfit for
irrigation. Of those who desired to have tube-wells,
four persons were willing to contribute a total
amount of Rs. 3,350 or about one third of the
estimated total cost of installing one tube-well.
Occupation and caste
A sort of functional specialization of castes does
exist in the villages. No regulation existed con-
cerning the participation of different castes in agri-
cultural work, but still it was primarily in the hands
of Araeen, Jat, Rajput and Kamboh castes. In the
sample villages 90 per cent of the agriculturists
belonged to these castes.
Association between occupation and caste is
particularly marked among the moeens; each of
the moeen castes has a major occupation, i.e., the
Teli (oil crusher), Nai (barber), and Dhobi
(washerman) all follow specific occupations. Since
the range of occupational choice of the villagers is
limited due to their economic, educational and other
social handicaps, occupations tend to pass from
father to sons. Thus, generation after generation,
the different occupational castes tend to remain
engaged in the same work. Work other than that
traditionally carried out is taken up only as a
subsidiary source of income. For example 18 per
cent of the moeen family heads in the sample worked
as temporary agricultural labourers to supplement
In case the economic position of a moeen becomes
strong enough to permit him to acquire some land,
he may become a cultivator. However, the
traditional recognition of his status as a moeen
would be a barrier to recognition by others of his
new status. Therefore those who desire to change
their occupation may move to some other village
were the original caste and occupation may not be
known. A new occupation may then be started
under a new caste designation. This is apparently
rather rare as there were no such cases in the sample.
Generally the resources of moeens are too limited
to allow such a change.
As noted earlier, the major activity of women is
child care, household work or work directly con-
nected with home affairs ; 97 per cent of the house-
wives in the sample villages reported housework
as their main activity. The rest were engaged in
midwifery, spinning, weaving, bread-baking and
Data from weekly work sheets covering the time
of the women interviewed indicate that daily
housework includes preparation of meals and
related work such as fetching water from wells,
washing utensils and serving food. They also do
the cleaning which includes sweeping, dusting and
washing clothes. They are, of course, responsible
for their children. They also attend to such jobs
as churning butter, taking foodto the fields for men,
preparing dung cakes for fuel and occasionally
plastering their houses with mud.
Besides their major activities. 71.4 per cent of the
housewives reported that they spent their time in
subsidiary activities. These included spinning,
weaving, tailoring, teaching the Holy Quran and
working as part-time domestic servants. Spinning
was most common. The yarn which they produced
was utilized mostly for making coarse cloth for
domestic use. In a few cases, some was taken to
market, thus supplementing the cash family income.
In major as well as subsidiary activities, the house-
wives were assisted by other female members of
their families. Work such as fetching water and
washing clothes is mostly done by young girls.
Many of them help with spinning also. In some
cases even little girls of 7 or 8 years attend to their
younger brothers and sisters, while the mothers are
busy with other household tasks. Domestic servants
are employed by the well-to-do.
In joint families most of the household work
is done by the daughters-in-law. The elderly
females mostly engage in spinning or general
- ... .
AN OLD WOMAN WITH A SPINNING WHEEL (CHARKHA)
Note the style of headdress (chaddar).
NOTE ON SAMPLING ERRORS
M. MOIN-UD-DIN SIDDIQUI
1. Population and Sample
It was intended to study the characteristics of
village life in Lahore District. A village list,
giving the area and the 1951 population of each
village in the district, was obtained from the Office
of the Census Commissioner, Karachi. Excluding
the villages with a population of ignore than 3,000,
the remaining villages were classified with respect
to size, the class-interval being 300. The modal
group was 300-599 with 210 villages, and 138
villages belonged to the group following the modal
group, i.e., 600- 899. From each of these two
groups a random sample of 3 villages without
replacement was selected. Thus the sampling
ratio for the former group of villages was 1/70 and
for the latter group 1/46. For each of the sample
villages a list of the resident families was prepared
through actual census. A systematic sample of
every fourth family was taken from this list. Thus
the second stage sampling fraction was 1/4 in every
The total estimated population of the villages
-covered, 348 in number, was 1,98,000, which repre-
sented 21.6 per cent of the total rural population of
The reason for confining the study to the modal
group and the one following was the assumption
that these villages represented the modal or
typical' characteristics of village life in Lahore
2. Estimates and Confidence Bounds
The sample families were but a small fraction of
the total number of families covered by the survey.
The results presented in this report are estimates
derived from a sample. These estimates are
subject to sampling fluctuations in the sense that
different samples will lead to different estimates.
We have used a simple technique of setting up
confidence bounds on the median characteristic of
the distribution. Briefly, if three independent
estimates, X1, X2, X,, are available and Xt is the
lowest and X3 is the highest number then the
chance that the median will lie between Xl and X3
is sevent3-five percent.
The method of estimation was straight-forward.
An example will help to illustrate the procedure of
Example : The percentage of population in age.
group 0--14 years in the villages B, I, J, which
belong to the population group 300-600, was 41.3.
As the total population of 210 villages in this
population group was estimated to be 94,500, the
total number of children under 15, in these villages
was estimated to be -413 x 94,500 = 39,028.
The percentage of such children in the villages
F, G, Q, which belong to a population group 600-
900 with the total estimated population of 103,500,
was 40, hence the number of such children in these
villages would be .4 x 103,500 = 41,400. Thus
the estimate of the total number of persons in the
age group 0-14 in all 348 villages was 39,028 +
41,400 = 80,428, while the estimate of the total
population was 198,000. The percentage of total
persons in this age group was then calculated to be
(80,428/198,000) 100 = 40-63. Since the ratio of
the total population in the two groups of villages,
i.e., 94,500/103,500, is approximately unity, we
may, without any significant loss of accuracy,
take the simple mean of the two percentages, i.e.,
(41-3 + 40.0)/2 = 40-65 as our estimate.
To set up confidence bounds on this estimate each
village in the first group was randomly matched
with a village in the second group. Thus (B, Q),
(I, F), (J, G) were matched.
The mean of the two values supplied by the two
members of each pair was calculated, giving three
independent estimates of the population charac-
teristic. Thus the lower and upper bounds were
set up on the median of all such possible estimates,
the confidence coefficient being 0.75.
Example : The following table gives the esti-
mates of population percentage in the age group of
0-14 years in the six villages.
TABLE No. 1
Estimates of population percentage in the age group of 0-14 years in the six villages.
Age Group B
n-14 40 9
Thus the 75 per cent confidence bounds were obtained as (38.5, 42.3).
TABLE No. 2
Estimates of, and confidence bounds on some selected population characteristics. Confidence coefficient =75 per cent.
Category Point Estimate Lower Bound Upper Bound
1 2 3 4
1. Percentage in 0-14 years .. .. .. 40.6 38.5 42.3
2. Percentage in 15-49 years .. .. .. 46.0 44.2 47.9
3. Percentage in 50 and above .. .. .. 13.3 12.6 13.7
4. Percentage of *literates among males of-6years and older.. 33.3 25.0 38.0
5. Percentage of *literates among females of 6 years and older 30.3 22.6 32.7
6. Number of females per 100 males .. .. .. 117.0 112.1 125.0
7. Average family size .. 5.2 4.6 5.8
*Literates : All those who
(i) can read and write.
(ii) can read but cannot write.
(iii) can read only Holy Quran.
This report on Selected Sociological Aspects of
Village Life is the second in the series of reports on the
Socio-Economic Research Project, following "Origin and
Development of the Socio-Economic Research Project."
by Dr. B. A. Azhar, published in September, 1959.
The third report on Selected Political Aspects of
Village Life is under publication.
G426-Panjab University Press, Lahore.,