Economic Development and Individual Change: A Social-Psychological Study of the Comilla Experiment in Pakistan by Schuman Howard. (Occasional Papers in International Affairs, Number 15) Cambridge: Centre for International Affairs, Harvard University, 1967. pp.59. US$ 2.00.

S. R. Bose


Rural East Pakistan is confronted with poverty, population
pressures, fragmentation of land, indebtedness and inefficient farming,
all of which conspire to depress productivity in rural areas. The
Comilla Academy for Rural Development has been working since 1960 on a
pilot programme to stimulate productivity through village cooperatives
in Kotwali Thana of Comilla district in East Pakistan. Here is a report
by an American sociologist who tests the results of the Comilla
experiment on individual attitudes and values. He finds fundamental
'modernizing' changes in motivation and value among the villagers in the
pilot area. The basic structure of the Academy programme consists of
primary cooperatives at the village level, which are joined to a Central
Association, linked to the Academy, and possess outside funds from
government and other sources. Members of the primary cooperatives
jointly save and borrow money and rent modern machinery, although land
remains individually owned. Rather than concentrating on sending
extension officers, the programme encourages cooperatives to choose
their own leaders for various roles and then attempts to expose these
'natural leaders' to new ideas, values and techniques, which they, in
turn, will communicate to others. The programme includes a project on
family planning, which is connected with still other projects such as
women's education in mutually-reinforcing ways. The various projects
undertaken by the Academy give the total programme a comprehensiveness
that is supposed to make the average villager, through a series of
pressures and incentives, change his methods of farming, his ideas and

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