As a kid I used to visit Ganga Deen Nivada for two months every year, it was more of fun and enjoyment. As the years passed by problems there started troubling me from inside. I always thought of coming back and working there but never had enough courage to come back.
When I was in Teach For India I worked with "Expansion Committee" on TFI Rural model. I believe without working in rural India it would be impossible for us to bridge the growing gap between two India's. No doubt its not easy to go and work in rural parts, the conditions are so different, luxuries are a rare commodities, sanitation and electricity is a problem.
Gramya Manthan came in as a blessing for me. It has actually helped in understanding rural India or the real Bharat in a better way. No matter how much I have lived there, it was first time that my thoughts were more towards holistic growth of these areas. It was first time that I understood and tried hard to reach the roots of the problems. Before this I really used to propose the solution without actually understanding the problems.
In rural parts you can't address one problem and ignore others, things are so inter-connected that education can't be addressed with thinking of livelihood, agriculture can't be made easy without thinking of energy.
If I list down my major learning from the program, I would list them like this:
- I feel more connected with my people
- I feel more responsible toward the plight of my people
- I have to be one among them to solve their problems
- My belief in Gram Swaraj has strengthened
- Rural India needs a holistic development plan
- Education can't be addressed without addressing livelihood and health/sanitation problem
- Agriculture problems can't be addressed without thinking of alternative source of energy
- Life is much better in rural India
- People in rural parts are looking forward and ready to accept the change, they want to come out of poverty and lead a better life
- People are more Innocent, Hopeful & Supportive in rural India
- It strengthens my belief that YOUTH is the biggest hope and there are many young people who want to work for rural India
- For being a catalyst of CHANGE one must be ready to die and take re-birth
- Farming teaches you the essence of life
- How government system is made dysfunctional ?
It is first time in my life that I can understand the pain of a farmer because of delay in monsoons as I have seen Ramdaas Chachcha struggling for twice a meal, Himanshu running from school after mid-day meal, Pankaj wasting his energy in his mid 20's.
I feel my-self responsible for many of these problems because when they were toiling in Sun I was enjoying in a metro and enhancing the huge gap between us !! It's never too late and I feel proud that today I am ready to work for rest of my life in Ganga Deen Nivada a village in U.P. with a population of 260 people and still without electricity.