Why ‘Ritiya’ Could Not Go To Sell Vegetables? Myth Vs Reality In Terms Of Caste, Culture & Livelihood

by Open Science Repository Sociology
(January 2014)


This qualitative study focuses on the challenges faced by the upper caste Brahmin women in rural areas of Katihar district by keeping a contrast on their education, cultural values, choosing means of livelihood in the milieu of ‘newly transformed rural areas’ in Bihar. With a drastically decreasing educational quality in terms of skill and the morality the message of Education translated as knowing the rights to maintain equity and equality have made the upper caste girls excluded from the government policies. They have become the target of humiliations by the constitutionally ‘lower’ but economically well-off castes and the constitutionally minority Muslims. There is a paucity of research which could reflect the suppressed voice of insecurity and psychological dependency of these women who are the integral part of 'harmonious rural transformation'.

Based on Grounded theory, this study was instrumentalized on 20 individual semi-structured interviews of the upper caste women (age 24 to 44) engaging them in an average 56 minutes of interview (longest 140 minutes and shortest 39 minutes) from the three villages at the Katihar district, Bihar province of India.

The 4 item semi-structured interview questions based on grounded theory for this study surrounded the main research question, “why Ritiya (name of a rural Brahmin girl) could not go to work or study outside their home?” from the varied dimensions of educational skill, cultural competency and the personal security. The data later were embedded in the 'Grey System Theory' (Julong Deng, 1982) to categorize them into social, cultural, occupational, political and demographic themes.

The analysis of the reported qualitative data with NVivo-10 software does reveal the agents of hindrances which keep 'this lot' of rural India economically 'handicapped' and thus as a dependent but 'commodity of honor' among their relatives or as a liberated but a commodity of sex for the rests. Understanding their problems would help international community to issue directives for the national and local governments yet activate the NGOs in the interest of this increasingly becoming marginalized community of the rural population in India.

Keywords: rural brahmin women, caste, conservation of resources theory, grey system theory.

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Why ‘Ritiya’ Could Not Go To Sell Vegetables? Myth Vs Reality In Terms Of Caste, Culture & Livelihood

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