Wednesday, 18 May 2022

CHARACTERISTIC OF CITIES

The study of the morphological features of Indian city cannot be ignored or underestimated. A sociological analysis of urban life and society indicates and vindicates certain features/characteristics. They are:

  1. Social Heterogeneity: 

If villages are the symbol of cultural homogeneity the cities symbolize cultural heterogeneity. In cities, we find a variety of groups, each representing a typical culture. The villages are natural carriers of culture and they preserve its integrity intact and unbroken. On the other hand, in cities we find a confluence of many cultures which participate in this interplay and inter-reaction are changed or modified to some extent at least. Thus, whereas unity and uniformity are characteristic of villages, in cities we find multiplicity of cultures and viewpoints.

  1. Individuality: 

On account of voluntary associations and secondary control the city dwellers develop a personality at their own. The ideals, the viewpoints and the conduct and behaviour which a city dweller encounters are so varied and contrary that the traditional moral codes cease to have much meaning for him. a city-dweller feels compelled to fashion out his own conduct of life according to his own reason and choice. On account of this whereas his behaviour tends to be arbitrary, it also bear the indelible stamp of his own personality.

  1. Unbalanced Personality: 

A combination and mixture of such facts, as looseness of character and morals,, artificial environs and atmosphere, the deleterious influence of cinema and other means of entertainment, high ambition and lustful desires and general mentality of materialism, have resulted in producing unbalanced personality of city dwellers. In producing imbalance in the personality of city dweller specialization has also contributed in a big way. People are mad after false fa├žade and artificial glitter of the city. In cities the element of humanity seems to have gone out of dwellers. We find highly literate and skilled professionals like professors, doctors, lawyers etc., in the cities but we rarely come across human beings. People in city work at fast pace but the growth of their personalities is usually one sided.

  1. Moral laxity: 

On account of the lack of community feeling lack of homogenous family, western influence and an atmosphere of luxury and comfort prevailing in the cities moral laxity results. In the hustle and bustle of city, there is no control over individual’s behaviour and the incidence of pre-marital and extra marital sex is fairly high in the cities. In Western cities polygamous tendencies are clearly accepted and people freely enjoy themselves.

  1. Social mobility: 

The most important feature of urban industrial society is its social mobility. In urban society the social status of an individual is determined not be heredity or circumstances of his birth but by his works and economic status. In cities, men are not born good but made good. Thus, in urban life a man can achieve as much progress as he wishes according to his intelligence and efforts. By the dint of hard works and good intelligence an individual can go a long way in achieving great things. In cities, the caste barriers are breaking down. The incidence of inter-caste marriages is growing. The women’s education is encouraged and the educated men and women are not orthodox in their ways and habits. In colleges and universities men and women belonging to Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra mix up without consideration of caste of class. New social changes and reforms are accepted much better by city dwellers than rural people.

  1. Secondary Control: 

In villages there is strict control over individual’s behaviour exercised by family, caste or class. But, however, in cities none of these groups exercises effective control over behaviour. In cities individual’s behaviour is controlled by such agencies as police, law courts etc. this is known as secondary control.

  1. Voluntary Associations: 

Owing to a variety of professions, castes, groups and cultures in cities, there are numerous voluntary groups and associations. The primary groups like family lose their orthodox character and have  a tendency towards libertarianism.

  1. Lack of community feeling:  

Not only is there lack of community feeling in villages, there is also lack of unity and harmony in the family. In cities people are not bothered by social oblique or ridicule. They can pursue their individual ends unmindedful of what others think about them. People in cities are so busy in their individual pursuits that they have no spare time in which to think about others.

  1. Lack of unity in family: 

In cities we find not only the lack of community feeling but there is also lack of unity, homogeneity and harmony in the family. Each member of the family, father, mother sisters and brothers are so busy with their own programmes that they do not interfere with each other’s independence. Each member has his own society and pursues his individual ends. Generally, the unity and cohesiveness among family members is not better than among the people staying in a hotel.

  1. Heterogeneity: 

In cities all over the world we find great disparity in the living conditions of rich and poor. Whereas some person live in grand air-conditioned mansions, their needs, attended to by an army of servants, there are many who have to shelter overhead and do not have enough victuals to appease their hunger. In cities we also find great disparity in regard to food habits, living conditions, language, religious beliefs, cultural outlook, customs and traditions and social norms of city dwellers, there is great variety and contraries in this regard. In cities people of different religious persuasions, holding different ideals, inspired by different cultural customs and traditions live. Their thinking and outlook differs widely from each other. The city dwellers, as a rule are ambitious, individualistic, rationalist, materialist, secular and alert to their personal interests.

  1. Social Disorganization: 

Again, owing to above mentioned features, we find social disorganization in the cities, people are dissatisfied and discontented. Many conflicts, both direct and indirect constantly ravage the mental and physical health of city dwellers. The class and status feelings, are very acute. The strikes and class conflicts are frequent. The evils of communalism and factionalism are quite rampant. The interpersonal relations and intra-familial relations are also uneasy. Thus, urban society is a divided society and urban life a divided life shot with conflicts and tensions.

  1. Artificial life: 

The life in urban industrial society is artificial. In big housing complexes and broad lanes of cities we rarely come across nature, the greenery and animals. In the dense and congested localities of the cities the houses are dark and dingy and unwashed by the sunlight. The industrial chimneys are ever emitting carbon and foul gases. The atmosphere of cities is, therefore, full of pollution and harmful to breathe. In cities the air is foul, the offices and factories are artificially lit. in these conditions people in city work. In large factories the value of an individual worker is next to nothing. He is no more than an easily replaceable part of a machine. He does not even know, still less understand, the whole process of manufacture of a thing he is helping to make. For example, there will be few in motor company too much specialization of function in big metropolis that people have reached a stage where they function mechanically. In such circumstances the life becomes highly artificial and no natural healthy growth of the personality is possible. In cities we come across professors, doctors, lawyers and leader but we do not meet a man. These persons are so engrossed in their respective specialization that they know little or nothing about the work of other professionals. Thus, though their knowledge about their own field of specialization is immense they know so little about other aspects and their knowledge of man as a whole is so ludicrous that, on the whole, an unlettered urban society are completely artificial and, on the other, there is professional specialization. Those between them have altogether artificialized the life in the cities.

Even day-today life is becoming artificial. Naturalness is missing from everywhere. Every city dweller’s face has lost its natural colour and brightness, it has become a mask. Women of cities are ever busy trying to regain the lost radiance by artificial beauty-aids. People are more interested in artificial appearances than in natural health. The city dweller doctorate their drawing rooms not with dwellers get out of cities to see beautiful landscape of hills and is not that of an observer who sees in order to appreciate, but they take photos of such things with their still or movie camera. They do so in order to impress upon their friends about the places they visit. Even the means of entertainment in cities are artificial. While watching cinemas, theatre and reading of the novel man remains wholly passive.

The mannerisms and etiquettes in cities are also artificial. Even emotional expressions like laughter, smile, silence etc. are deceptive. They laugh in order to pass as civilized and urbane rather than because of any genuine relief or gladness. In cities we find a meaningless and ignorant rat race. Everybody runs not because he had some goal to reach but simply because other people are running.

People are too competition-minded to feel for each other and mutually work and co-operate. The life has become extremely boring and routine. An office clerk gets up well after the sun rise with the aid of bed tea and newspaper in front of him. He soon attends to necessities and is ready to pack off for office. After return from office he listens to cheap radio music, eats his food and retires to sleep. The story of city life can be summed up in Shakespearean vein that it is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Besides these characteristics, peculiarities of marital life, dynamic life i.e., dynamism in urban life, high incidence of crime and formation of voluntary associations in urban centres are worth mentioning.