Before we start thinking about village development we should first try to know Bharat. This is the mistake that our policy makers committed after Independence. They blindly aped the West and never tried to know what Bharat is and what Bharat needs. As a result the villages remained untouched from development. Rather this faulty model encouraged migration from villages to cities turning some villages into old age homes.
What we need urgently is the formulation of a policy which is village centric, agriculture centric and based on farm ancillary industries. Mahatma Gandhi had described it as village-centric cottage industry. Today’s development model is literally destructing the villages. Efforts are on to systematically destroy the village land and resources through foreign fertiliser and seed companies. Wanton mining is also contributing to this damage. Many a scientists have been warning against the chemical fertilizers and have been advocating bio-farming but we are not listening to them. Forests, water and bio-diversity are under severe threat. Though there is a law banning cow slaughter, it is not implemented. We are killing the villages in the name of development and in turn are inviting foreign goods in our houses. This is well-planned conspiracy to eliminate the rich cultural traditions of Bharat’s rural life in the name of an attractive term ‘development’. The folk culture has been destroyed due to modernisation.
Lets pledge for the upliftment of our villages
Akhil Bharatiya Gram Vikas Pramukh Dr Dinesh while speaking at the concluding session said successful rural development depends upon three major factors, which are already there in our villages. First, is the Matri Shakti i.e. women. About 99 per cent of the women in our country are free from any kind of addiction—vyasanmukta. Women participation in social activities of the village like Matri Mandali, Deep-Pooja, etc should increase. Second is the Dharmik Shakti—religious power. In Karnataka, through various religious institutes like Pejawar Mutt, Siddaganga Mutt, etc, a major social transformation has been achieved. It should be further promoted. Third is the Kisan Shakti (the power of farmers). The life which is mutually intertwined with the nature should be part of the social awakening. “Gram is not just a place with a geographical boundary, it is a place of values, rich in traditions and culture. Let us, pledge for the uplift of our villages,” he said.
During the Bharat Parikrama Yatra I have experienced that villagers, even in this tornado of development, have safeguarded their culture and traditions. Therefore, our focus should be to preserve those values and rich traditions. There is no harm in providing modern amenities. But a perfect balance must be struck in doing so. For example, electricity was not very much necessary earlier, but now it is. Similarly, there is no harm in providing modern means of communication and transportation. However, that does not mean that the village folks are made to rush to the cities for every small repair of electric apparatus or vehicles. The allied repairing shops should be available in villages only. By and large we should mix the old and the new technology as per the requirements. People should shirk the dependence on government for everything.
Sitaram Kedilaya (The writer is on Bharat Parikrama Yatra since August 9, 2012. He was in Digboi under Tinsukia District of Assam on June 19, 2015 when he was spoken on telephone by Pramod Kumar)