Introduction: the ‘rural’ development means the improvement of the villages. Bangladesh is a small country of 8,000 villages. More than 80% of our people live in villages. This fact reminds us of the importance of villages in our agriculture-based economy. Proverb says,
“God made the country and man made the city.”
The condition in the past: the condition of the villages was not the condition of the villages was not so deplorable in the remote past. Then the villagers were prosperous. We have come to learn from the description of a Chinese visitor to Bangladesh that in Bangladesh the barns were full of paddy; the cow-sheds were full of cattle; the ponds were full of fishes and the houses were full of peace and happiness. Most of the things were produced in the villagers. In short, the villagers were self-sufficient in almost all respects.
The condition in the present: the present condition of the villages is not at all satisfactory. We notice that the importance of villages is getting less and less day by day with the ever-increasing popularity of modern science and technology. The age of the misery for these villages began with the advent of the British. They began to set up mills and factories in the places which soon turned into towns. Soon the people from the villagers began to flock these towns with the hope of earning more money. The amenities of town life also attracted the rural rich people to leave villagers for towns. The result was that the villages fell into ruins. The village economy got shattered. Today the towns and cities are getting more and more developed with the advancement of civilization. On the contrary, the villages are getting more and more declined day by day. It needs no telling that the declining of the village economy is posing a great threat to the overall development of the country. Actually, the thinking of developing cities only by neglecting the villages would be an act of just setting the horses before the carriage. This why we badly feel that the development of the side of the village by side with the development of the cities is the crying need of the day.
Necessarily of rural development: ours is an agriculture-based rural economy. More than eighty percent of our population directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture for there livelihood. Agriculture is the backbone of our national economy. Just as the bold-cell of our body circulates blood all over our body through our veins and keeps us alive, fresh and energetic, so also our agriculture works just as the blood-cell of our body like the economy of the country which vibrates and pushes up our development to the economy. In fact, the progress of the different sectors of the agricultural sector. Thus life in a village works as the foundation-sector. Thus life in a village works as the foundation-stone of the overall development of our country. This is why; we assert that the development of the rural economy must be done side by side with the development of the city. Lutfur Rahma, famous writer says,
“if we want to make the nation great we must first rouse the rural people those, who are educated, must give up their arrogance and despite and undergo a lot of sacrifices for the fallen rural people.”
How to develop: the development the development of the villages cannot be done overnight. It is because we have no Aladdin’s magic lamp in hands to bring about a radical change in the present condition of the villages. Our ways and means are extremely limited. So, we have no other alternative than to resort to the policy of ‘slow but study.’ We can take the following steps to better the conditions of the rural life:
- A network of schools-both general and technical should be set up all around.
- A good number of adult education centers should be set up.
- Farmers should be trained in the scientific method of cultivation.
- Proper steps should be taken to improve the conditions of the domestic animals.
- The system of marketing of the agricultural products should be improved.
- The health and sanitary conditions of the villages should be improved. The transport and communication system of the villagers should be improved.
- The villagers should be motivated to adopt the family planning measures.
- Cottage industries should be revived and developed under government patronage.
- Co-operative societies should be started to extend loans to the farmers.
- Stresses should be given on the village hats and bazaars should be developed.
- The supply of electricity should be extended more and more to the rural areas.
- Last but not the least, the educated and the rich people should come forward to strain their time. Energy and money for the all-round development of the rural life.
Steps were taken by Government: our government is fully aware of the need for the rural development. A great emphasis has been laid off the development of the rural education, agriculture, medical care, electrification, family planning, cottage industry, transport, communication, health and sanitation, fish cultivation, recreational facilities etc. With a view to making the villagers self-sufficient in all respects.
Conclusion: there is no denying the fact that both the rural life and the city life are indispensably integrated with each other and both of them pay a simultaneous role in the overall and balanced development of Bangladesh. They are not substitutes for each other but complementary to each other. We should make the campaign ‘go back to the village’ popular by bringing about necessary changes with providing amenities and novelties of modern life. The sooner we can do this, the better- the better to build up a happier, healthier and wealthier national life. We should all, therefore, work for hand in hand with the government to make the rural development programme a grand success.