Chak Number 74 GB
|District||Sri Ganganagar district|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
Location and description
"Chak" refers to village in (Punjabi language). Chak Number 74 is a small village in northern Rajasthan, India. The village falls under the administrative unit (Tehsil) of Anupgarh in District Sriganganagar. The number '74' refers to the serial number of settlement on the canal (The Indra Gandhi Nahar), number 1 being the first settlement at the origin of that particular branch of canal. The local population generally believes that 'Chak' refers to 'Phonga wala mainer', the area irrigated by the Indra Gandhi Nahar. Its headquarters is situated in Sriganganagar on Sriganganagar-Raisinghnagar-Bikaner Road. The links below shows the village on Google map.
Statistics and history
Population of 74 GB is approximately 600, consisting of Sikh and Hindu families (around 50% each). All of the Sikh families are land owners, who migrated to this region from the Punjab around 1928, when the canal was built by Maharaja Ganga Singh of the former Bikaner state. Hindu families are the original inhabitants of this region; however, there were no permanent settlements in this area (except for a few towns under the old Bikaner state). Therefore, most Sikh and Hindu families settled in the villages around the same time (after permanent settlements began once canal was built). many Hindu families own land within the boundaries of 74 GB (in fact it may be only one or two); while a few of them own land elsewhere. Predominant language of 74 GB is Punjabi (the language that Sikh families brought with them from the Punjab), while the original language of Hindu families is Bagri. The State language is Hindi. Most people speak Punjabi, Bagri, and Hindi fluently. Punjabi is not the common language taught at the primary school level, therefore, only a small portion of people can actually read or write Punjabi (Punjabi has a different script, called Gurumukhi). General instruction in schools is in Hindi and most people read, write and do most of their business in Hindi. Students can elect to learn (read and write) Punjabi at school only when they enter grade six.
Indian society is generally divided into caste system, with caste lines driving most social interactions. The population of 74 GB can be divided into two main castes - Most of Hindu families belong to Nayak caste, while a handful of families belong to "Kumhar" caste. Almost all Sikh families belong to "jatt" caste (same as the ancient Kamboja tribe of northwest India). Inter-caste marriages are non-existent.
The village economy is entirely dependent on agricultural activities. Most of Sikh families are employed in farming activities, while most of Hindu families work as support workers within the farming. A few people commute to nearby towns and work in other areas - such as construction, tailoring, etc.
The farmland in 74 GB is made up of very rich soil and produces wheat, cotton, mustard, cantaloupe and lots of vegetables. It rains very little in Rajasthan; therefore, the primary source of irrigation is canal water. Some farmers have dug up deep wells and harvest groundwater for irrigation to supplement canal water.
||This section possibly contains original research. (June 2013)|
The village has had a government ran secondary school (grade 10) since 1975. No effort was made by villagers for decades to get this school upgraded to a higher level. The school has been upgraded to a middle school with classes up to 8th grade over the last few years. However, many families have started sending their children to schools in Anupgarh for "better" and more expensive education - especially those who can afford it. Education level among the older population has very low with most people educated up to primary level and some completely illiterate. However, this has been changing over the past 20 – 25 years for families with enough resources. Some families started sending their children to larger cities, near and far, for higher education. The first student from this village received his grade ten diploma in 1975 and the next three in 1981. The first graduate with a university degree emerged in 1985 and then more students who were obtaining these degrees. Some of these first graduates went even further and obtained higher professional education. The village saw its first chartered accountant in early 1990s. Since then scores of other students have gone for higher education in a variety of fields, a few received their master's degrees in commerce and one or two in science fields - but the village has not yet produced a single engineer or a doctor. This change in educational profile has been a very difficult process due to low levels of education among the parents and general absence of higher education institutions in the area (there is now an undergraduate degree college in Anupgarh, next one is 55 kilometers away in Raisinghnagar and then a few more in Sriganganagar). The nearest university is 150 kilometers away in Bikaner, however, that is considered almost out of bounds due to many cultural barriers for the mostly Punjabi population of this area (Bikaner is not a Punjabi town as against Sriganganagar, therefore, most people prefer to go to Sriganganagar rather than Bikaner). There has been no plan on the part of the state government to establish a university in the area or even in Sriganganagar, which is sizeable city (population approximately 225,000).
A handful of young people are now working outside the village in larger cities and a couple of them have even migrated abroad to pursue higher education and high paying professional careers. The countries that the people have migrated to include Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Even though some people have gone for higher education and got settled outside of the village, the general education level among the villagers is still very low. The farming, which is the primary occupation of the villagers, has not seen any substantial change or benefit from the new technologies or knowledge base that is available to people. Tractors arrived in the village in mid-seventies, however, the irrigation system has not changed at all, therefore, the supply of water to the farms is very erratic and has in fact deteriorated over the years with the state government just collecting taxes and spending the money in other parts of the state on the expense of this area. Political leadership is non-existent in the area - with elected representatives showing up every five years to get reelected and then disappearing for the next five years.