Updated: Apr 12, 2021
Buying land in rural areas is always tricky. There are too many middlemen, too many sellers, many of them illiterate. The documentation is patchy, too many family members are involved. Everything is in vernacular, and there is a lingo unique to the process. There is intekaal, registry, kabza, takseem, girdavari, mushtarka khaata - all sorts of terms one needs to get used. After leading a fairly insulated corporate life, all this was new for us. But we had no choice but to get upto speed on this nitty gritty.
The first step in getting started is to mark out the land, ie do nishandehi, and fence up the area. The nishandehi involved the revenue department officials who come to the site with their records, and also invite the neighbours to be present as they mark out the land that you have purchased.The neighbours had to agree with the marking, and this exercise was immediately followed with a permanent fencing before any other disputes arose.
Sometimes what you have bought, and what you get, can be slightly different pieces of land. We, for example, discovered that we had a gauhar- a village path running through our land. We moved the path to a logical place, but we continue to have a split site with one lower piece of land being separated by the village path.
We decided to use cement pillars and barbed wire to secure our boundary as it was cheaper than building a wall. Also in the case of road widening, or any government activity, it would be easier to move this boundary back and forth. Somewhere along this journey, we met a local farmer/ contractor/ jack-of-all-trades person Keshoram aka Panditji, who became our go to man and took on the contract of fencing the entire land.
Eventually, Panditji became a full time manager at the farm, and the labour who started with fencing up the land, became our full time staff. Panditji's nephew Sunil became the first watchman/ caretaker. He built himself a small hut on our land, into which he moved in with his charpai (bed) and his pet dog.
Here is a video on how to Get Started with Building a Permaculture farm. The first step is to Fence your land!