Participatory development aims at social justice through the process of self-reliant and improving the quality of people’s participation. It endeavours for sustainable development. The quality of participation is determined by three elements like people, local organisations and the formal and informal institutions like laws administrative systems and national structures of state and government. So the participatory development must be conceived by the co-ordination, planning and implementation of economic policies by the government, enhancing the quality of participation by the local people and permit its sustainability. In the opinion of experts, an ideal government functions as a basis for participatory development through legislation and institutions, administrative competence and transparency, decentralisation and creation of a proper market environment. Various studies made by ADB and World Bank, are indicating that effective development require the early and substantive involvement of all stakeholders (general public, people representatives, government, civil-society organisations, private sector etc.) in the designing of activities itself. On several occasions, a consensus among development partners and intended beneficiaries is always evident on the right of affected communities to participate in the activities, which justifies implementing participatory approaches in planning and development.
There are two perspectives in which participatory development can be described. They are the ‘social movement perspective’ and the ‘institutional perspective’. In the first perspective it is the mobilisation of people to eliminate unjust hierarchies of knowledge, power, and economic distribution. Institutional perspective describes it as the reach and inclusion of inputs by relevant groups in the design and implementation of a development project. There are three ‘action’ words which guide participatory processes in to national planning they are : listening to stakeholders, engage them in planning for future, respond to their doubts positively.
Participatory approach is an important approach for people oriented development activities by focusing on direct involvement by local people. This approach is also related to human rights, especially social, economic and political freedom, and good governance. Based on the aforesaid background the questions before us are: – 1) does growth mean economic growth alone? 2) Is involvement of stakeholders in overall initiatives possible? 3) Is it the only solution for sustainable development 4) is ‘development’ in participatory manner a permanent solution for sustainable development? 5) Is there any sustainable solution from Bharateeya perspective? Philosophy of Integral Humanism is one of the solutions.
According to the Philosophy of Integral Humanism, society is a living organism. Every living organism has a body, a mind, intelligence and a soul. So the progress of a human being means simultaneous progress of body, mind, intellect and soul. Like an individual a society also has its body, mind, intellect and soul. According to Bharatiya Daishik Science, a society is a natural organism having limbs. It cannot be created artificially, nor destroyed by man. The reason for its creation and destruction are the same as for the creation and destruction of the living world whether plant or animal. To him society is not a humanely created one but it is born like any other animal. So the relation of a society to its individuals is the same as that of an organism to its limbs or that of a tree to its branches, leaves and flowers. As regards the supremacy of the individual or society, Panditji says “any healthy thinking takes in to account the interests of both the individual and the society. People ask us whether we are individualists or socialists. Our answer would be “we are both”. According to our culture we can neither ignore the individual nor lose sight of society’s interests. We do not consider individual supreme and so we are not individualists. But we do not also think that society should have the power to deprive an individual of all his freedom and thus exploit him like a lifeless thing. So we are not socialists either. One cannot conceive of a society without individuals and the individual has no value without society. Bharateeya culture has set both in proper perspective and jointly considers the welfare of both”.
Dr Umadevi S (The writer is Associate Professor in Political Science, Sanatana Dharma College, Alappuzha)