- Fresh air, vegetables, quiet life, healthy labour.
- Beautiful scenery, peace and calm, soothing influence of Nature on the mind.
- Lack of good schools, hospitals and doctors, amusements. Limited employment.
- Summing up, for and against.
Writers especially poets, have always tended to glorify the life of Nature. Shakespeare praises the life of men, “Under the Greenwood Tree”, where there are no enemies except the cold winds of winter. It cannot be denied that there are many benefits in country life. The villager wakes to breathe the fresh air from the fields and woods, instead of the stale city odours. He gets vegetables and fruit fresh from the fields, instead of old and withered after lying on a stall in the market. His work in the fields is health-giving and his sleep at night is deep and untroubled by noise.
During the hours of day, the beauty of natural scenery soothes and gladdens his mind. Instead of the tramcars and the hooting of motor-cars, he hears the songs of the birds in the trees and the gentle murmer of the breezes. The saying, “God made the country, but man made the town,” shows that the excellent influence of rural surroundings has not been overlooked. For rest, peace and tranquillity, there is nothing to equal a life in the heart of Nature.
But there is another side to the question. Since country teachers are badly paid, there are either no schools or very poor ones in the villages of the districts. For the same reason, the only medical men are poorly qualified, if indeed are any at all, since the best men like to practise in the big towns. There may be no hospital within hundreds of miles. Often there is no form of amusement at all, unless the villagers organise some simple drama or tamasha on one of the great religious holidays. The village water supply, drawn from well, is mostly pure but sometimes it becomes contaminated by manure from the fields or other sources. Green scum-covered pools, breed mosquitoes, and there are no municipal services either to treat this danger or to educate the villagers to the danger of mosquitoes and the malaria they bring. So, instead of enjoying the ideal health which the poets imagine, the village people are often sufferers from dysentery, malaria, and a number of other ailments.
On the whole, the villagers are contended with their lot. Unconsciously they have adopted the creed that the man who does not want much is not likely to be disappointed. The future will see great reforms for them, we all hope.