Sunday, March 13, 2005

Ground Reallity

/**Had written this post a few days ago,on My Blog when we returned from Samardha Trip.Thought of Posting(pasting) it here also(as Akshai asked in his previous post)...So here it goes....**/

Destination…Village Samarda, arnd 35 Km from Bhopal. First we visit a Nursery near Barkatulla University…& then heads off towards Samarda. The village is in interior, 10 kilometer from main road…no other connectivity. We reached at arnd 12:30.
We have already made groups which had to concentrate on various issues & we scattered in the village.
My grp enters the village….my first encounter is with Narendra, He is arnd 8-9 years old, & he says, Namaste sir, when he looks us. I try to start conversation…. abt him, his family, his education. He is in 4th std, has two siblings & his father is a Nakedar (Forest watchmen) with forest department. He also have agricultural land, & when I asks him that who works over land, he proudly says that he joins his mother in fields. He says that there are total 96 students in his school from std.1 to 8th but only one Ma’ssaab (Teacher) we also come to know that there are several television sets in village & also four CD Players,& …which was the last movie u saw, he shyly tells..”Billa No.786”, A Mithun Dhamaka(proves that not Shahrukh, but Mithun rules Indian grassroots still :).

After talking several minutes (when I think that there is nothing more to ask) we move further inside the village. The scene is, that almost everywhere…I encounter my classmates in groups of 2 or 3, talking to villagers.

again I encounters a child, girl this time(arnd 7-8 yrs), but she is too shy, & I only get her smiles in answers to my queries, but I manage to know her name(Puja) ,that her father & mother are not at home, that she also goes to school but didn’t went today(holiday) & when I asked..what abt food, very proudly, she tells that “I prepared it & also fed by little brothers”….

Here, we meets, Vrindavan….he is arnd 30 years old..& after several minutes we also come to know that he is the father of Narendra(the child whom we met earlier). We talk abt the problems of villages & the first among many is connecting road…he did not had to say much because we reached by that road only…& that 10 Km patch (from main road) is pathetic. & this is the condition when this village comes under State Chief Minister’s constituency. He says that whenever elections come...they get huge promises that the road will be made this time…...but promise are promise only.
Regarding other probs…it is drinking water, drainage system, education, health…to name a few.There r only 4 hand pumps in village & only 2 are working. There is a well at forest rest house and once some pipes were also laid to village for water supply but the work halted in between and those pipes are stolen by now & there has been no progress since then.

Regarding health…in major cases they have to take patient to Bhopal & in most cases it takes too much time to reach Bhopal that the condition of patients worsens in middle.

Regarding education as we already heard from that child, there is only one teacher on 96 students & he is also not very regular. We can very well think what a person will teach to 96 students.

There is not much agricultural land with villagers…the other sources of income are..works provided by Forest department, Tendu Leaf & Mahua Collection..


We again start moving & encounters some more villagers…but it is that old lady(arnd 50) years who gave us some bitter truth pills which I can never forget. I m writing her words in Hindi here as that generates more effect.,

kya hai ye…tum log har mahine aa jaate ho.(I protest that its my first time)..to koi aura aa jata hai…yaha aate hai..ye sab likh le jaate hai..karta koi kuch nahi, mai 40 saalo se dekh rahi hoo, is gaon me kuch nahi badala, kuch nahi hua.(I says that I m a student)…to tum log yaha picnic manane aaye ho. Aaj shaniwar hai na…tumhari chutti hogi, tum ghumne aa gaye, nahi to yaha Samarda me kya milega jot um yaha aaye ho, Abhi 2 mahine pehle bhi ek camp laga tha yaha…log aaye the 8 din rahe, khele-kude, khaya-piya aur chale gaye…kiya to kuch nahi.yaha log aakar 50 baar road kaa naap leja chuke hai,aaj tak road nahi banaya.tum jaise log bhi aate hai, ulte-seedhe sawaal puchte hai..aur chale jaate hai.(an elder person (age arn 65 is sitting near her 7 he tries to cool her but in vain.)

I just listens the grnd reality with bewilderment, unable to answer anything, whatever she is saying, there is truth in her words, & though there is anger in her words there are also traces of pain. also it leaves some questions in my mind

Who gave us right to interfere in there lives? OK we have our studies and field work components but doesn’t asking question like this raise false hopes in their mind? They tell us our pain, with expectation that here is someone who has come to listen me & he will do something for me once he goes back…& what will we do…make a nice presentation…a nice looking report…talk some big words(sustainability. livelihood, capacity building, blah., blah, blah…) and then forget everything. Is it ethical?

Imagine the way we behave with the door to door salesman in cities…and here we are…44 students…attacked a village with just 50 houses with our absurd queries and question, asking the problems abt which we can do nothing (at least at present).

(some examples…how people were asking questions there…”Aapke yaha BPL families kitni hai?”, “Aapke yaha family planning hoti hai?” & the poor fellow is wondering over the words “BPL” & “family planning”).

How can India Feel Good when a village, just 35 kilometers from State Capital, constituency of State CM has not got proper road connection, have a school with only one teacher, have no employment and no water (whatever bloody interdepartmental & governmental conflicts are there)?

One question to myself…I m writing all this stuff, so big words…but once I get a job ..will I think abt them…will I prefer to go & work in a village like that? I don’t know….

4 comments:

Akhand said...

very right bagla, i feel most of us have felt like that, but then what we can do.
Atleast we can stop going to such places, whereeverwe go (true with villges we visite during field trip) people think like we will do some thing for them, thus we create some expectation which really donot exist......

surely if we can deny going to such places?

Akhand said...

very right bagla, i feel most of us have felt like that, but then what we can do.
Atleast we can stop going to such places, whereeverwe go (true with villges we visite during field trip) people think like we will do some thing for them, thus we create some expectation which really donot exist......

surely if we can deny going to such places?

Akhand said...

very right bagla, i feel most of us have felt like that, but then what we can do.
Atleast we can stop going to such places, whereeverwe go (true with villges we visite during field trip) people think like we will do some thing for them, thus we create some expectation which really donot exist......

surely if we can deny going to such places?

Nitin Bagla said...

Hi Akhand...
Writing that comment once was enough ;)..seems u lost control over ur mouse :D.

But i defer with ur point.See...not going to villages(or such places) is not the solution...After all it is there...we will have to work in future..., we will have to find solutions for their problems & it is that cause for which we r being prepared here at IIFM.
So not go..or deny to go is simply not acceptable.
What we have to learn is a nice way to communicate our feelings to villagers while we are talking/listening to them.The communicatiuon has to be two-way & simplyto listen their problems, show sympathy with them and coming back will not do.
See..when we go to field(& also during our field work in various states), one thing is that we are always tied to Forest Department.So there remains very less scope of our talkin(though this was not in case of SAMARDHA.)
Secondly...our motto is to always collect as much data as we can...& for that we some time have to exploit the other person (encouraging him to speak)..., in this process...he keeps on talking(once initial ice is broken) thinking that here is someone..to whom he can share his problems(other than poliitcians & govt. officers, to whome he has talked many times & got nothing....in usual cases)...& here only we generate false hopes.

So the better way is to communicate properly.
I know that at present we have very limited scope to do any thing(except for making report & presentations ;))...but when we will go in field , definitly we can and we will make a difference...(though i m still, not sure , which sector i will go).

Hope...ye sab jyada Bhari nahi ho gaya...