1. Introduction

2.    Urban life emerged as civilizations flourished
3.    Urban life blessed man with the comforts of life
4.    Life in countryside

a.    Serenity and tranquility
b.    Clean environment and healthy surroundings
c.    Rich culture and simple lifestyles
d.    Sincere and trustworthy people
e.    Lesser crimes
f.    Stronger social bonding
g.    Agricultural self-sufficiency

5.    Country life lacks basic amenities
6.    Concept of suburbs
7.    Conclusion

Man is a social animal by nature and he cannot live in isolation. Throughout history, human beings have gathered to form civilizations some of which flourished in such a way that they reached the zenith of development. All these civilizations were characterized by their peculiar and unique settlements and culture patterns. Human settlements form a feature that has been a defining element between the two distinct forms of societies ‘rural and urban. The debate on ‘country life versus urban life” is as old as the hills. Whereas country life presents the very basic form of living, urban life is blessed with more comforts and facilities. Urban settlements emerged as civilizations progressed and people required a closer interaction for their economic, social and political needs. Urban life comforted man with basic amenities as well as sheer luxuries of life and has become a hallmark of prosperity and growth. Country life, on the other hand, offers a natural setting, impossible to be found in urban dwellings. The serene beauty and absolute purity of country environment, its traditional and rich culture and simple lifestyle, stronger social bonding and sincerity among people and remarkably fewer rates of crimes make country life a preferable form of living. Though country life, in many cases, lacks access to the civic amenities that are indispensable for a trouble-free living, most people still prefer to live in rural areas.

As mentioned above, man cannot afford to live alone. No child can be brought up normally in isolation. The essential characteristics of a human being that turn him into a ‘social man’ from a ‘social animal’ are developed through interactions in society. A child acquires the qualities of learning, reasoning, socializing and communicating with others from the society. Human settlements are the defining feature of societies. Thus, the two basic forms of societies ‘rural and urban’ are defined by human preferences of socialization. It is their desire for stronger political and social interactions that drives them to form urban settlements. Even the earliest civilizations of human history ‘Sumerians, Egyptians, Babylonians and Indians, to name a few, were centred on one or more cities. In fact, the word ‘civilization’ itself means living in cities or urban areas. Urban settlements serve not only as political power-centres; they also provide opportunities for greater prosperity of civilizations.

The maximum comforts of life are available only in urban environments. Modern facilities of health, education and civic amenities are the most striking feature of urban areas. Country folks can only dream of these facilities. Parks, recreational activities, better employment opportunities, modern banking and financial services, communication networks are provided in urban areas though some of them are available, to some extent, in villages as well. From universities to security arrangements, and from hospitals to shopping-malls, all these facilities are found in urban areas.

Despite all these modern services and facilities, urban centres fail to cater the needs of human beings that can be fulfilled by villages only. The modern facilities in cities come at the cost of peace of mind and true and sincere relationships. Today, people are fed up of the fast and artificial life in cities. They travel hundreds of kilometres to enjoy the scenic beauty of nature that is an essential feature of countryside. Living in countryside still offers many attractions for the human beings.

The most important and foremost among them are the serenity and tranquillity found there.

The extreme overcrowding of cities is nowhere to be found in villages where one lives absolutely free of such irritating disturbances. The refreshing atmosphere of countryside ensures calmness and peace of mind which urban dwellers cannot even think of.

Environment in rural areas is pure and clean. The fresh air, cleaner water, lush green fields, fresh fruits and vegetables are some benefits of countryside. Unlike urbanites, country folks do not face the problems like air and noise pollution, filthy gutters, and menacing traffic jams. They do not suffer from diseases and epidemics that are caused by contaminated water and overcrowded dwellings.

The rich culture and simple lifestyle also at tract those who aspire to have a serene living. There is a high regard for culture and traditions in countryside. The culture, in its purest form, is celebrated only in villages. People are proud of their traditions and each social event is celebrated with great ardour and fervour.
Another important feature of country life is its sincere and true people who are always there to help each other. Show-offs and exhibitionists are seldom found there and people know each other personally and very well. Frauds, forgeries and deceits that are rampant in urban societies, find little space in the fabric of rural society.

As people know each other, these settlements have a tight community which results in strong social bonding. They share work in fields, take care of each other and are together through thick and thin. This creates a stronger sense of community unlike urban life where one may not know even his next-door neighbour for years.

This close social bonding ensures lesser nuisance and crime rate in countryside. Urbanites are victims of street crimes, land-grabbing, extortion and even murders. In countryside, the conflicts are resolved through social control. The verdicts of elders are accepted and respected by everyone and disputes are settled amicably. This is in total contrast with the urban society where litigations and complaints are common.

Another benefit of countryside is self-sufficiency in food as most people are involved in agriculture. The issues of food security or grains shortage are not known to them. Moreover, the cost of living is fairly lesser there. Contrarily, it is too high in urban areas. Accommodations are hard to find even at exorbitant prices. The standard of living is also low. Squatters are common in cities and people are forced to live in unhygienic and congested environment.

The benefits of living in countryside are countless. However, everything has its price. The cost of enjoying pure and natural environment is the lack of basic amenities of life. The modern systems of sanitation, solid waste management and supply of drinking water supply are found in cities only. Urban dwellers enjoy modern facilities of health and education at their doorstep.

The concept of suburbs is getting common as it offers a mixture of simplicity and purity of countryside and modern facilities of urban life. Suburbs are the hamlets or neighbourhoods that are outside of but reliant on nearby large city. Nowadays, people prefer living in such areas where they can enjoy natural beauty along with availing the modern facilities.

To conclude, it’s purely a matter of choice which way one wants to live. Countryside and urban areas are two distinct societies offering peculiar benefits and facilities. Country folks aspire to have a reach to the modern civic amenities whereas urban dwellers long to live in serene and peaceful atmosphere of countryside. Many a people find ways to enjoy benefits of both and believe that the principle in Chinese adage ‘making money in big cities and retirement in the country’ is the best choice. However, country life serves as an attraction to most people fed up of the busy lives in noisy and turbulent cities.

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