In olden times, the main immovable form of property was land and buildings. Factories and industrial plants are of recent occurrence Movable property consisted of valuables like gold and silver ornaments, clothes, furniture, etc. Now it can well be govornment papers, shares of companies engaged in promotion of commerce and industry, mines, etc. Usually all property went down from father to son and of late even daughters have a share in property that is ancestral. In the case of self-acquired property the person who has earned it can dispose of it in any way he liked or leave a will behind him for the manner of its disposal.
So long as land remained the principal form of property and income its exploitation was the only means of livelihood for people and as that needed collective effort, it was an economic need for all to work jointly. The joint family system was therefore the inevitable mode of living. Where large areas of land still form the means of livelihood, joint families still exist and naturally they are in the rural areas. But the tendency now-a-days, even among agriculturists, is towards splitting of such families, under the stress of modern ideas of individual freedom. Yet for agricultural operations, separately living families have to co-operate with one another. Under joint families, sons, nephews and even grand-children worked under the direction of the family head, usually a grand old man without friction and such a sight is by no means rare even now in rural Dhulia. But in urban areas, small families of father, mother and their offsprings is the rule. The father is the head and leader of the family even if the mother now goes out as an earning member. During recent
years, girls have been receiving education with boys and under the stress of economic conditions they have also begun to like jobs outdoors and earn their livings. The, matriarchal system is not' known to be existing anywhere in Dhulia.
Although all prejudices against the education of women have now disappeared and girls are receiving primary, secondary, university specialised and professional education side by side, it is still supposed that home is the proper field of activity for a woman. It is only among the English educated and advanced classes that women are picking up jobs of teachers, nurses, clerks and sometimes even legal and medical practitioners are found among women. Economic necessity has compelled women to come out in the open. The freedom movement also drew them out and some women are now attracted to public life. Yet most women continue to live indoors and are economically dependent on men. Among the peasantry and the artisan classes, women work by the side of men. In most cases their position and authority is subordinate to that of men. The position of widows in particular is very unhappy if they do not choose to re-many. It is from among such women and those girls and women of the poorer classes, that recruits are usually found to keep prostitution going as an institution in urban areas. According to some sociological thinkers it is a necessary evil in society. But around it also flourish independently the evils of drink and gambling in spite of legislation and social conscience being against them. There are in almost every industrial and urban centres gambling dens and traffic in women; also in a clandestine way.
Now as in olden times, the people of a village arc a mixed lot. Rarely could a village be found inhabited by a single caste. Yet there was neither inter-communal dining nor inter-communal marriage. People took this arrangement for granted and god-ordained or nature ordained and there were no disputes as between castes and castes, though some castes considered themselves superior in the social order to certain others whom they considered inferior. Yet there was an absence of enmity or hostility and the supremacy of Brahmans was openly tacitly conceded. Rigidity in regard to eating together or even dining together has now almost disappeared, but the caste banner still powerfully operates as regards inter-caste marriages. On some festive occasions, whole village dinners were held, as for instance on the prasad day after Mahasivaratra, but even then the rows of diners were caste-wise. But there seems to be an awareness now that castes have ceased to have any significance because the avocations and functions assigned to them are no longer carried out by members of the caste concerned. Now it is by no means rare that a Brahman runs a shoe-shop and a Mahar university graduate becomes a Mamlatdar.
This process began with the break-up of village communities with the consolidation of the British rule and weakened the ties that bound the villagers to their headmen (Patils) and priests and to one another. The Panchayat where it still continues to exist has become an inane body, no longer able to exercise authority effectively. The relations between the various craftsmen and villagers are still cordial because they depend on one another for daily transactions of a variety of character. Yet
the baluta system has broken down and services of the carpenter or the blacksmith are now hired in terms of money. Many of them have left their villages in pursuit of better paid work in towns and in fact the old villages as a well-knit economic and social unit has broken down. After the advent of political independence, various constructive activities like the Community Development Projects and Extension Services and later establishment of grampancayats and the Zilla Parisads have begun to put new life in the rural areas and with the new amenities that are being increasingly provided, villages promise to become attractive enough and migration to cities will be checked. If they got all the conveniences and amenities that they get in the cities besides sure means of livelihood, the villagers would not leave the villages.
With the spread of education in humanities and sciences, She growth of industries and factories, new classes of people have arisen who follow specified professions. The teachers, the lawyers, the medical practitioners the engineers, the technicians and mechanics are new and they have opportunities for following their professions in semi-urban and urban areas. These did not exist in the British period, when the barabalute system of village organisation usually prevailed. Heredity no longer determines the profession of any caste, community or individual and equality of opportunity for all is universally agreed upon as guaranteeing individual liberty and initiative for self-development. Women are also entitled to this privilege as guaranteed by the Constitution of India. But 150 years ago, every village used to be a well-knit and well-organised community with its rigid castes and their hereditary professions which supplied the functional needs of the community.
Captain Briggs found in 1818 that in Khandes, now split into two districts called Dhulia and Jalganv, the barabalute included the Brahman priest, guru; the Muslim priest, mulla: the astrologer, josi; the carpenter, sutar; the blacksmith, lohar; the potter, kumbhar; the goldsmith, sonar; the barber,
nhavi; the washerman, parit; the villagebard bhat; the village watchman and guide, jaglya; the scavenger, mang; and the shoemaker, cambhar. In lieu of services rendered they received annual grants of grains, plus some cash payment from every household. The system has outlived its utility in the context of new social organisation and has almost disappeared not only in this district but everywhere.
The tenancy legislation in Maharashtra which turned the tenants of land into its owners with effect from April 1, 1957 and the Moneylenders Act which ended the usurious methods of the savkars and other allied legislation which promoted the growth of co-operatives has transformed the cultivators of land into self respecting citizens. The welfare activities of the Public Health and Education Departments and various aids to the rural people in the form of irrigation, better seeds, better implements, manures and fertilisers make for
the uplift of the people and are giving them a sense of a better life which promises to be better and better still with the avowed object of a socialistic pattern of society now being aimed at by the State. Dhulia is a meeting place of people from North India, Gujarat and the neighbouring districts of Nasik and Jalganv. The present population contains elements from all these places, the variety being more discernible in urban areas. Communication with Bombay and the existence of cultural influences like the Samartha Vagdevata Mandir. the research work earned on in Dhulia and a well-conducted weekly journal like Bharat make this district as one of the particularly enlightened districts of Maharastra. The existence of cotton mills and textile trade have lent it a modernist complexion. Similarly, industrial organisations which numbered about 250 at the end of: the Third Five-Year Plan like ginning and pressing factories, edible oil mills, a straw wood factor), a leather works indicate that the district is getting more and more industrialised.