Social Scientist. v 4, no. 44 (March 1976) p. 56.

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Village Leadership: A Motivational Study of Role Responsibility

S JV Mishra

INDIA HAS over half a million villages constituting about eighty per cent of the population. Rural India is distinctly different from the urban society in form and structure, geography and climate, material prosperity, standard of living and way of life.

The present study examines the role responsibility of the rural leaders as perceived by them. The leaders of Darauli panchayat in Siwan district of Bihar state were studied with the help of a questionnaire and informal discussions. Also, the behaviour of the leaders in the context of development programmes was closely observed in order to gain an insight into their orientation towards role responsibility.

Three groups of leaders were studied: the experimental group of panehayat (local government) leaders, the observational group of those who lost in the local government elections (referred to as defeated leaders) and the control group of traditional leaders who were not performing any formal role. Altogether 42 leaders of Darauli panchayat were interviewed by means of a cluster of open-ended and fixed-response questions. Some of the salient findings are reported here.

The concept of political or leader-role responsibility is open to interpretation. In traditional political theory ^responsibility' has been used to mean accountability of the government and is a characteristic par excellence of a democratic system. Responsibility, accordingly is the hallmark of a government that is held answerable for its acitons as distinct from an arbitrary and autocratic rule. In this sense, responsibility characterizes a system that develops mechanisms such as free elections, parliamentary institutions, and an independent judiciary to ensure accountability of authorities. From this viewpoint, responsibility is a concept to regulate, restrict and legitimize the exercise of power.l

Three concepts of role responsibility have been put forward: fromthe policy-making point of view, 2) from the viewpoint of the people working through various socio-politcal institutions concerned with development and 3) from the administrative angle2. What it requires is the creation of

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