Tuesday, March 08, 2005

long time..

...visiting the blog after a long time... finally got time to do some surfing after Kalpataru though there is still lots of KT winding up to do (inventory of all sports equipment, writeups for newletter and student council, finance etc etc.)... god! wish i had never taken this post of Sports Co-ordi... just wound up giving myself tension the whole year and spoiling relationships with my classmates!


santosh, who is this mr.anon.? and how about sharing some of his posts with us?

nitin... great work... u r keeping this blog going... also saw ur blog... please post the last SIX paras of GROUND REALITY here... if i had to write something on that field trip, it would be very similar... what right do we have to give villagers false hopes and constantly trouble them in their homes for our own selfish study purposes? Even in our UP field trip we often visited villages where the FD had 'arranged' for many of the villagers to leave all their work and assemble at one place so we could talk to them... who are we to do this? what do they get from it?...


Anonymous said...

Hi All! Dealing with the villagers is always a sensitive thing. Not just because by reaching out to them you are disturbing their lives, but also because as the ambassadors of the islands of development in this sea of poverty called India, you carry cultural influences and hopes for a better future to them. In fact, rather than just going there for a few hours, getting all the villagers gathered at some place like a feudal chief (what else is the forest department but a fossilised relic of our dark colonial past?) and asking them funny questions, it is much better an idea to take some time out, say at least three-four days, stay with them and go through what they go through everyday in their lives- in order to feel sensitised and empathise with them. Then only one can see the real picture of the rural India-the kind of exploitation, misplaced hopes and failed initiatives and would be able to identify the pressure points, where small bit of action can lead to great changes in the life of the poor. Don't you think that as part of society and having benefited throughout our lives by the institutions of the society like IIFM, it is our moral responsibility to pay back atleast something to our less fortunate compatriots who were not lucky enough to be born in families like yours and mine? Think it over....

[But today money has become so much important to us that we do not allow such genuine organizations in the placement process of IIFM just because they are paying less than Rs 10,000/- per month. Is this really going to take us forward?]

Raccoon said...

haha..someone sure is pissed off by not allowing genuine organisations paying sub 10k salaries...anon...if a student wants to go to these orgs, they wont be turned away from campus...and its high time that donors or other stakeholders learnt that this field needs professionals..not monkeys who live on peanuts....guess I'll raise some hackles by this...but I stand by this....a person who works on the field is given a paltry salary..travels by general/sleepers...take a reality check and see the IIM guys being placed into the world banks/USAIDs...they travel business class...earn corporate salaries...which are also taxfree...are they doing more good than the guy on the field or is their contribution more important? the entire mindset of low salaries at the field levels needs to be turned on its head - only then will you see quality people going to the field - agreed that many quality ppl go there not for salaries but for their ideals...but that is a very small percentage. we need more professionals down there...and that can be done only if they feel that their contribution is valued and an opportunity cost of NOT working in a corporate environment with its accompanying luxuries is made up for them.

And I thought we were always very clearly told by the faculty NOT to raise any false hopes and tell the villagers beforehand that you are not there for doing any interventions????? Nobody told you to specify this when you went to villages?

I remember when we went for a field trip...the village had been so bugged by all hues of researchers descending on the village for a PRA, that they had done a PRA on a board and posted it outside...a very clear indication - Do NOT disturb us for another stupid PRA...that was the biggest learning I got...everyones time is precious...just because they're poor doesnt mean we can descend on their villages and make use of their hospitality and impose ourselves on them

Anonymous said...

Hey Porno!

(no pun intended!)


Well you r absolutely correct in saying that the pay packages for grass root organizations need to be more in order to send quality people in the field and that the pay structure needs to be turned over head to do this, but unfortunately, the things are just opposite.

To put it in a different light, a person who live in metros, earns 30K plus a month, flys business class, and stays at Taj, just to maaro his/her fundas at the airconditioned conference rooms in these 5 star hotels, present the 'ground'(?) realities of rural india sipping mineral water and cappuccino and discuss hunger on a 5 course 5 star dinner-you know what one is doing. This is called parasitism and we are no different! We take pride in calling ourselves consultants, while we don't know a dam thing about the sufferings that a poor family has to go through, just to survive. As consultants, the IIM junta in World Bank lives their lives as maggots on the living body, as a bloodthirsty pest- and yet feel so proud about it!

At the same time, the peanut-monkeys work with the poor, hand in hand, with empty coffers, yet head held high, and the poor associate them with these 'monkeys' not the civilized, sophisticated snobs, also called consultants in development parlance.

Raccoon said...

Well to be honest, everyone serves a purpose in the food chain - all those IIM-types working at the world banks serve an important purpose. The consultants in their own right serve a very important purpose - something that a grassroots development worker would probably not be able to do. They're not really parasites and they dont feed off your blood - had it not been for them, many many organisations would've been closed by now. The question remains of valuation of contributions at different levels in the chain.

And let me assure you, the peanut-monkeys have not made a huge change to the poverty scenario in the country - we remain as poor, if not more, with a bigger differential between socio-economic levels. Why? Because they're monkeys. Hand-in-hand, empty coffers and heads held high might all sound very romantic but the reality is that out of 100 professionals, only 10 go to the grassroots. Out of these 10, 3 are radicals, 2 are eccentrics and 5 did not have any other job option. Radicals and eccentrics are great, but we need level headed people here. They wont come for peanuts. Dont rue that IIFM turns back sub-10k salaried organisations.

(not a pun - that was my nickname in PFM..for entirely linguistic reasons, rest assured)

Anonymous said...

Hey Porno!

Ofcourse I know the genesis of your pseudonym! Well, I think you have a point here. Ofcourse out of the 100 dedicated professionals only 10 go the grassroots, and this is the reason why all grandiose plans designed in the 5 start conference rooms of our metros by the high flying professionals of IIMs, IITs, our own institute and so many other well known institutions sink without a trace once they reach the implementation stage! A person with great mind but lacking the limbs seldom succeeds in achieving her designs. Such cases generate just the frustration and nothing else. Probable this is the reason for the failure of the various poverty alleviation program.

For making these programs a success, highly qualified and inspired professional like yourself need to go back to the field. But when will you go to the field, when the payment structure in the development sector is inverted. So, like in armed forces, a person going to a remote place like Siachen gets heavy Siachen bonus for relinquishing the gains he had in the metro. THis is how we can achieve development. You also mentioned something about the eccentric people ging to the grassroots- may be we require more such eccentrics! The magnitude of the problem is such that it needs a kind of revolution- and I am not talking about Bolsheviks or Naxals- just ordinary people like you and me. The revolution is always brought about by the eccentrics- not practical people.

What do you say?