Behind Mud Walls Analysis

1307 Words6 Pages
Rebecca McKenney
History and Film
Doctor Desai
27 January 2018

Behind Mud Walls: Analysis
William and Charlotte Wiser and Susan S. Wadley traveled to a village in India called Karimpur in which they observed the culture of the village during the course of seventy-five years. They recorded these observations in the book, Behind Mud Walls: Seventy-Five Years in a North Indian Village (Wiser, William, et al., University of California Press, 2000, 381 pages.)
In the first chapter, Wiser discusses the challenges of interacting with the villagers of Karimpur upon their initial arrival. Suspicious that the Wisers were officials ready to take advantage of them, the Wisers had to slowly gain their trust by offering medical help to both the villagers
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They are the Dhobi, Chamar, Dhsnuks, and Bhangi. Dhobi wash the clothing of the villagers. Chamars serve as leather workers. Dhanuks are midwives and mat-makers. Bhangi are the sweepers of the village.
In chapters five and six, Wiser discusses the importance of animals. Wiser also discusses the role of women in Karimpur, the addition of newborns into the village, and some of the marriage traditions of the villagers. In chapters seven and eight, Wiser discusses the education and observed behaviors of the youth of the village. Like most children, the children of the village may play and try to get a little bit of education. Some of the children in the village may act as messengers for their parents and help their parents with work to help support their families.
Wiser also discusses who the agents of authority are in Karimpur and their roles in the village. Some of the leaders in the village include the village headman, the watchmen, the accountant, and the landlords. The “village headsmen”, Wiser explains, “is a resident of the village appointed by the government to represent the village in all matters pertaining authority.” (Wiser) The watchmen serve as “representatives of the police in the village” (Wiser). The accountant is in charge of all the land records in the village. Since he is in charge of the records, he also has the ability to threaten to remove names from deeds unless the villager pays a
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Wadley’s Behind Mud Walls: Seventy-Five Years in a North Indian Village is an insightful view into another culture. As an audience member who lives in a country where changes are created quickly and numerously, it was surprising (at first) how the villagers of Karimpur resisted change to their way of life. Though this reviewer is familiar with the concept of having landlords, she was surprised how Karimpur did not belong to the people but rather the landlords. It was also a surprise in how quickly children caught on to their social status. For example, in questing a villager about why a bhangi could not attend school with the other boys in the village, the Sahib got this

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