Literature is not only the mirror of society but also plays an important role in directing society. Based on the unwavering efforts towards nation-building, social welfare, development and upliftment of marginalised sections of society, the book Nanaji Deshmukh: An Epitome of Indian Social Work has made a modest attempt to depict the Nanaji Deshmukh Chitrakoot model of rural development. Since the introduction of social work course in 1936 by Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, the social work education in India has been heavily dependent on borrowed Western literature. The dearth of literature on Indian social work has posed a major impediment towards the growth of social work education in India. Nanaji Deshmukh: An Epitome of Indian Social Work is the first book ever that has tried to depict the indigenous approach towards social work and community development. This book contains 16 chapters briefly explaining various concepts/models related to the indigenous model of community development and sustainable rural development. The book categorically presents the multifaceted roles of Nanaji Deshmukh as Rashtra Rishi, great social architect and social activist, politician, social entrepreneur and educationist.
In his foreword, Prof Rajaneesh Kumar Shukla, Vice Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Wardha, opines that the Chitrakoot model of Nanaji is the appropriate model for addressing social concerns like poverty, health and education.
In the introductory chapter, eminent thinker Mukul Kanitkar has clearly presented justifications for declaring the birth anniversary of Nanaji Deshmukh as Bharatiya Samaj Karya Diwas. He has emphasised that Nanaji Deshmukh has institutionalised the profession in social work in India. Prof YS Siddegowda, former Vice Chancellor of Tumkur University, and Dr Krishna have depicted Nanaji Deshmukh as a modern sculptor and his work and volunteerism for the development of society even with remote settlements, villages and tribal areas. Simultaneously, the description of the concept of self-reliant village has been truly reflected through the experiment done in Chitrakoot.
Nanaji Deshmukh has been a social icon who taught us how to serve selflessly. There is a need to document the experiments of Nanaji Deshmukh to trace his social work models and practices and to incorporate his indigenous models of community development
Dr Bishnu Mohan Dash, General Secretary of Bharatiya Samaj Karya Parishad and a pioneer of Indian social work – who is engaged in spearheading the movement towards Bharatiyakaran of social work education in India – has contributed a chapter Social Work Practice-the Nanaji Way. In his chapter, Dr Dash has highlighted that India has a different social fibre which is incomparable to European social thinking. It is high time that we understand the essence of social work from the Indian perspective. Nanaji Deshmukh has been one such social icon who taught us how to do selfless service to society. Nanaji Deshmukh has been a social icon who taught us how to serve selflessly. There is a need to document the experiments of Nanaji Deshmukh to trace his social work models and practices and to incorporate his indigenous models of community.
Mithilesh Kumar and Rajan Prakash, in their chapter, have interpreted the Integral Humanism as imbibed by Nanaji Deshnukh as the guiding principle of social work theory. The concept of Integral Humanism was propounded by Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay. After observing the experiments done in Chitrakoot and Gonda, it can be said that Deshmukh’s work is not only theoretical but also practical, which got inspired by the theory of Integral Humanism.
Other chapters, contributed by various academicians and researchers, have categorically emphasised the contribution of Nanaji to culture and spirituality, his approach towards social service and Sewa and his contribution towards employment generation, health, education and other research projects of Deen Dayal Research Institute established by Nanaji Deshmukh are being implemented in the field of social welfare. Nanaji Deshmukh’s concept of ‘village swaraj’ and self-supporting village has also been highlighted by other authors. Dr Diyali tried to equate the cleanliness project of Nanaji Deshmukh with the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
The book has also made a modest attempt to present the importance of the theory of Integral Humanism in social work to offer a new worldview to developing universal humanism, accomplishing social cohesiveness, bringing harmony in society and ensuring holistic development through community participation. The book is a major path-breaking effort to bring the indigenous Chitrakoot model of community development, which has been subsequently added in the social work curriculum of a few universities.
The book will be highly useful to the students, faculty members and researchers in the field of social work, rural development, sociology and other allied social science disciplines as well as to the practitioners and policymakers working in the field of social reconstruction and rural development.