A Big Shift: From Villages to Cities

Posted on May 20, 2010 in Society

Mireille Rodrigues:

How many of us have an opinion of how exactly opportunity or success is defined? How about where either can be found? Or what forms they take? Many youth are eager to travel abroad in search of fortune. And, within India, it is not uncommon to see people flocking to metro cities expecting fame and fortune. This article focuses on a few of the aspects related to migration to cities from rural areas.

One very common reason for migration is Education. What many of our parents once experienced, when they migrated in search of jobs, is now felt by thousands of students who travel far from home for higher education. The culture shock in such an alien environment takes some getting used to, especially if this change is expected to be permanent. Youth are said to be very open to change. Many of them see cities as their big escape into a world of opportunity. Even more believe that foreign shores are their ticket to success. While this is not always true, it must be admitted that better facilities and prospects abroad have opened a lot of doors for the youth.

One positive effect of urban migration is related to the role of women in a household. They are now rightly appreciated as integral members of a family and a workforce. More households are open to women in workplaces. The gender disparity that was often lamented is now less than before. Also, there is greater access for them to quality educational facilities. Moreover, there is more scope for conducting higher studies for women than before.

The economic situation of most people is now, much more lavish than what they were used to earlier. While this is blamed for the escalation of certain unhealthy practices, it is also responsible for better healthcare and education. It could also possibly be responsible for greater general awareness about public policies, environmental issues and current affairs.

While urban migration might be a good thing in many cases, it is not so in totality. Excessive urban migration is responsible for an increase in slums in metro cities. This leads to lower living and working standards. Slum areas are often polluted and over-crowded and represent a lower standard of living.

Recently, a study found that the occurrence of obesity in migrants to an urban dwelling is much higher than in people who reside in their hometowns. Very similar to the ‘Freshman Fifteen,’ one can blame this on the easy availability of junk food and the resulting consumption of a higher amount of calories. Another contributor is the lack of physical activity in urban settings. On related issues, obese people are more likely to have diabetes, hypertension, and high blood sugar compared others.

Another negative effect is the diminishing contact of urban dwellers with their aged family members still living in rural areas. Rural couples are now likely to receive more in terms of monetary support, but are sadly lacking when it comes to physical care and personal attention that only comes with the presence of their children.

One should be considerate towards the villagers who prefer to stay back in their native places. Opportunity should be available and accessible to all, regardless of their location and settings. The untapped potential that remains hidden due to apparent “bad luck” represents a vast pool of talent that simply turns stagnant due to underutilization.

Many people are under the impression that the grass is always greener on the other side. This is not quite true. Opportunity must be created, not chased indefinitely. Urban life is not a guarantee of a perfect life for everyone.

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.