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Kalpattu is a village that's close to the sea coast in Tamil Nadu. People here do many kinds of work. As in other villages, here too there is non-farm work such as making baskets, utensils, pots, bricks, bullock-carts etc.
There are people who provide services such as blacksmiths, nurses, teachers, washermen, weavers, barbers, cycle repair mechanics and so on. There are also some shopkeepers and traders. In the main street, which looks like a bazaar, you will find a variety of small shops such as tea shops, grocery shops, barber shops, a cloth shop, a tailor and two fertiliser and seed shops. There are four teashops, which sell tiffin – such as idli, dosai and upama in the morning and snacks like vadai, bonda and mysorepak in the evening. Near the teashops in a corner lives a blacksmith family whose home serves as their workshop. Next to their home is a cycle hire and repair shop. Two families earn a living by washing clothes. There are some people who goto the nearby town to work as construction workers and lorry drivers.
The village is surrounded by low hills. Paddy is the main crop that is grown in irrigated lands. Most of the families earn a living through agriculture.
There are some coconut groves around. Cotton, sugar cane and plantain are also grown, and there are mango orchards. Let us now meet some people who work in the fields in Kalpattu and see what we can learn about farming from them.
All of us here work on Ramalingam's land. He has twenty acres of paddy fields in Kalpattu. Even before I was married I used to work on paddy fields in my parental village. I work from 8.30 in the morning till 4.30 in the evening and Karuthamma, Ramalingam's wife, supervises us.
This is one of the few times in the year that I find regular work. Now I am transplanting the paddy, when the plants have grown a bit Ramalingam will call us again for weeding and then finally once again for the harvesting. When I was young I could do this work with no difficulty. But now as I grow older I find bending for long hours with my feet in water very painful. Ramalingam pays Rs 40 per day. This is a little less than what labourers get in my home village, but I come here because I can depend on him to call me whenever there is work. Unlike others, he does not go looking for cheaper labour from other villages.
My husband, Raman is also a labourer. We don't own any land. During this time of the year he sprays pesticides. When there is no work on he farm he finds work outside, either loading sand from the river or stone from the quarry nearby. This is sent by truck to be used in nearby towns to make houses.
Apart from working on the land, I do all the tasks at home. I cook food for my family, clean the house and wash clothes. I go with other women to the nearby forest to collect firewood. About one kilometre away we have a village borewell from where I fetch water. My husband helps in getting materials such as groceries for the house. Our school-going daughters are the joy of our lives. Last year, one of them fell ill and had to be taken to the hospital in town. We had to sell our cow to pay back the money we borrowed from Ramalingam for her treatment.
1. You have probably noticed that people in Kalpattu are engaged in a variety of non-farm work. List five of these.
2. List the different types of people you read about in Kalpattu who depend on farming. Who is the poorest among them and why?
3. Imagine you are a member of a fishing family and you are discussing whether to take a loan from the bank for an engine. What would you say?
4. Poor rural labourers like Thulasi often do not have access to good medical facilities, good schools, and other resources. You have read about inequality in the first unit of this text. The difference between her and Ramalingam is one of inequality. Do you think this is a fair situation? What do you think can be done? Discuss in class.
5. What do you think the government can do to help farmers like Sekar when they get into debt? Discuss.
Please refer to attached file for NCERT Class 6 Civics Rural Livelihoods