Since the Vedic times the village in India has been considered as the basic unit of local self administration. The will of the village people has dominated every village republic. In ancient polity, the activities of village administration were to manage tanks, pastures, temples, markets; dispensation of justice, taxation etc. The administration of village was controlled by the village panchayat headed by Gramik and Gramin (Rajput, 1984:46).
It was a Gandhiji, who for the first time in the 20th century articulated the need to revive the ancient Panchayat with democratic bases for their own and invest them with adequate power so that the villagers could have a real sense of gram swaraj. In his opinion, the village would be a complete republic independent of its neighbours for its own vital wants and yet inter dependent for way others in which dependence is necessity. The government of the village will be conducted by the panchayat of five person annually elected by the adult of villagers, male and female, possessing minimum prescribed qualification. They will have all the authority and jurisdiction required. Since there will be no system of punishment in the accepted sense, the panchayat will be the legislature, judiciary and executive combined to operate for its year of office, here there was a perfect democracy based upon individual freedom. The individual is the architect of his own government (Meenakshisundaram, 2004:110).
Gandhiji writes! “My idea of village swaraj is that it is a complete republic, independent of its neighbors for its vital want, and yet interdependent for many others in which dependent is necessity. Thus every village’s first concern will be to grow its own food crops and cotton for its cloth. It should have a reserve for its cattle, recreation and play ground for adult and children. Then if there is more land available, it will grow useful like money crops, thus excluding ganja, tobacco, opium, and the like. The village will maintained a village theater, school and public hall. It will have its own waterworks ensuring water supply. This can be done through controlled wells and tanks.
Education will be compulsory up to the final basic course. As far as possible every activity will be conducted on the co operative basis. There will be no castes such as we have today with their graded untouchables. Non violence with its techniques of Satyagraha and non-cooperation will be the sanction of the village community. There will be a compulsory service of village guards who will be selected by rotation from the register maintained by the village. The government of the village will be conducted by the panchayat of five persons, annually elected by the adult villagers, male and females, possessing a minimum prescribed qualification.
Cite this article:
Sohail Akhtar . Panchayati Raj in Bihar: Need for Representation of Muslims . Research J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 2(3): July-Sept., 2011, 89-96.