It tended to conceptualize agrarian social structure in the framework of exchange relations. In its classical construct, different caste groups specialized in specific occupations and exchanged their services through an elaborate system of division of labor. Though asymmetry in position of various caste groups was recognized what it emphasized was not inequality in rights over land but the spirit of community. Wiser argued, each served the other. Each in turn was master. Each in turn was servant.
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Jajmani system is a socio-economic institution of the pre-industrial self-subsistent village economy. The jajmani system is essentially based on caste system. Caste system is a unique feature of the Indian society. The customs, traditions and rules of behaviour differ from caste to caste. Each caste has a specialized occupation. Such specialization leads to the exchange of services in the rural society.
Religiously, a jajman is one, who employs a Brahmin for the performance of any solemn or religious ceremony. Normally, the very same Brahmin is invited to perform a ceremony, in a particular locality, and the fee payable to him becomes customary and even hereditary. A jajman is usually under obligation to pay the customary fees even when the Brahmin does not perform the ceremony.
Religiously, it is an institutional arrangement that makes the Brahmin dependent for subsistence on the jajmans, who constitute his clients. From religious, the term passed onto socio-economic relations. It is a permanent relationship, which is caste-oriented.
In the jajmani system, the high caste landowning families are rendered services and products by the lower castes. The serving castes are called kamins, whereas the served castes are known as jajmans. Yogendra Singh describes jajmani system as a system governed by a relationship based on reciprocity in inter-caste relations in villages. The jajman-kamin relationship involves religious, social and economic aspects.
This is because the kamins services are needed during the performance of religious rituals, they are provided with the social support by their jajmans and get financial or in kind also benefits for their services from jajmans. The kamins, who provide services to jajmans also, need the services of other castes for themselves.
According to Harold Gould, in such a situation, the lower castes make their own jajmani arrangements either through direct exchange of labour or by paying in cash or kind. Though these castes are considered to be lower castes, they do not provide their services to the Harijans. Even the Brahmins do not accept these lower castes as their jajmans. According to Vidya Bhushan and Sachdeva, some of the important features of jajm- ani system are as follows: i. Jajmani Relations are Permanent: The jajmani rights are permanent.
His difficulty will not be in dismissing him, but in finding a substitute. Jajmani System is Hereditary: The jajman rights are property rights and hence are inherited according to the law of inheritance.
Barter System: The exchange of services is not based on money but on barter system. The serving family gets things in exchange for the services rendered by it; though in some cases they may also get money. The occupation being hereditary, it provides security of occupation to the kamin. It serves to maintain the Indian village as a self-sufficing unit. It distributes the agricultural produce in exchange for menial and craft services.
The system also helps in maintaining the prestige of higher castes. The kamin castes are expected to render their services to jajman castes, for which the kamins are paid in cash or kind at fixed intervals. The significance in this jajman-kamin relationship is that the jajman is expected to give concessions in the form of free food, free clothing, rent-free lands, etc.
The jajmani system is not reciprocal in all the villages. As most of the village economic institutions are undergoing change, such changes are also affecting the inter-caste relationships. Various land reforms had their impact on the interaction among castes, which gradually had affected the jajmani system and other social systems of village life. The jajman-kamin relationship involves many norms and values.
There are various norms concerning rights, duties, payments, concessions, etc. The relationship between them must be like that of a father and a son. The jajman has to fulfill all the needs of his kamins, and the kamin has to support his jajman during disputes. In jajmani system, the cultural values of generosity and charity are religious obligations. Almost all the sacred, secular Hindu literature authorizes the relationship between the jajman and kamin.
The caste councils have the power to punish the jajmans and kamins, if they commit any mistake. The jajman also has the power to take the lands granted to the kamin, if he does not perform his services. Disintegration of the Jajmani System: The challange in the jajmani system came when India was under the British rule. Here, the Britishers were more interested in developing their economy at the cost of Indian economy. They were interested in collecting taxes and using them for war of territorial expansion or to lead a luxurious life.
The jajmani system due to its inner strength did not allow the spread of feudalistic tendency to grow, as it contributes to the growth of social barriers. Profit in place of sacrifice and substitution of money for service further weakened the jajmani system.
The changes taking place in the caste system, religious system, political structure, kinship, brought about a change in the jajmani system.
All these systems are linked very closely to the jajmani system. This made the kamins to leave their caste occupations and migrate to urban areas. As a result, the jajman lost the services of the kamin. The rigidity in the caste system decreased, which made possible for kamins to take up new opportunities of employment. Spread of education.
Losing of powers by the caste councils and Village Panchayats. The Village Pan- chayats are deprived of their traditional roles. The improved means of transport and communication has helped in making the market transactions easier. Most of the artisans prefer to get money for their goods.
Cultivators also prefer to buy articles for their daily needs, from the market, by paying cash. Due to the above mentioned factors, the jajmani system is deteriorating day-by-day. Thus, most of the village communities are not dependent on the jajmani-kamin arrangements. Related Articles:.
Jajmani System in India: Meaning, Definition, Advantages and Disadvantages
Etymology[ edit ] The word jajmani has its origins as a descriptor of those who paid for religious sacrifices in the Vedic period but today refers to a system of exchange of services. As such, the system perpetuated a patron-client model rather than that of an employer-employee, with the service providers generally being unable to operate in an open market. For example, it was found in Sri Lanka and areas of Pakistan but seems never to have been used in the South Indian district of Malnad , nor in what is now Bangladesh. It thus acted as a restrictor on the social, economic and geographic movement of the kameens.
Meaning of Jajmani System: Jajmani system is considered as the backbone of rural economy and social order. It is a system of traditional occupational obligations. In rural India Jajmani system is very much linked with caste system. Etymologically, the term Jajman has been derived from the Sanskrit word Yajman, which means a person who performs a yajna.