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THE STORY OF A VILLAGE TO PROSPERITY

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How did you get into this?

When I passed out of school in the 10th grade, I wanted to serve the people and do something meaningful with my time. At that same time, I saw Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali and searched for information about it online only to find that it didn’t have much content. Soon, I started to create content for them and upload it to social media sites. Baba Ramdev eventually noticed me and invited me to join his social media team. There, I did a great deal of publicity and networking for the brand, but I didn’t charge a penny for it. This is because I wanted to serve a cause unconditionally. After working there for 4-5 years, I left and came back to my village. Seeing the downtrodden and poverty-ridden conditions, I decided that I wanted to help the people of this village.

How did you get into this?

When I passed out of school in the 10th grade, I wanted to serve the people and do something meaningful with my time. At that same time, I saw Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali and searched for information about it online only to find that it didn’t have much content. Soon, I started to create content for them and upload it to social media sites. Baba Ramdev eventually noticed me and invited me to join his social media team. There, I did a great deal of publicity and networking for the brand, but I didn’t charge a penny for it. This is because I wanted to serve a cause unconditionally. After working there for 4-5 years, I left and came back to my village. Seeing the downtrodden and poverty-ridden conditions, I decided that I wanted to help the people of this village.

Why did you want to do this?

The name of my village is Hansuli. It is a small village about 400 kms from Raipur, in Chhattisgarh. I wanted to serve people and help them grow economically and socially. That is when I decided that I would start with my village. I wanted to help the people there to uplift themselves from the deplorable conditions that they lived in.

What do you think about the condition of villages in India?

Villages in India certainly have a long way to go, with each village being plagued by problems according to their region. Still, there have been a lot of improvements in many villages but they need to be implemented for all villages.

 

What is the name of your village? Can you give me a background of how your village was before you came?

My village Hansuli was plagued with many problems. When I went back to help my people, I saw that there was poverty and a persistent addiction problem, to any kinds of addictive substances. Illegal liquor was made in almost every house and adults as well as young children were victims of alcohol addiction. There was no proper infrastructure or electricity. There was a run-down building in the name of a school which housed the kids of the village. The youth was aimless and they did not understand the importance of a good education and absolutely no future plans. In a population of 2000 people, even the 2 people who graduated and tried to find jobs were unsuccessful, so much so that it prompted the villagers to disregard education completely. There was a lot of eve-teasing, unemployment and gambling, rampant in the village. When I saw this condition, I decided to do something about it. At first, I took my family and a few 14 or so people into confidence and told them about my idea to make my village a ‘model village.

How did you work towards transforming your village?

I researched about the three model villages that were in India and decided to learn all about them by going there and staying at each village for ten days, recording everything and noting down everything. To arrange for the money, social media came to my aid by throwing strangers in my path who very kindly offered me money. I showed everything that I had recorded in different parts of the village for three months straight. My team told me that I needed to first need to win over the trust of the people. I campaigned for a cleanliness drive for the village on the last Sunday of each month. It was a huge success and people started trusting me and believing that I could do something for the village and that they could help too. Slowly and steadily, I gained the trust of people in the village.

A few months after the drive, I campaigned for an all-women team to head the village because till now the sarpanch and the panch positions were always filled by men. This I achieved with campaigning for an unopposed election, which would guarantee us Rs 30 lakh as a reward from the government, which would help in the development of the village’s infrastructure. Then, we focused on eradicating addiction by appointing a team who would patrol the village for anyone doing marijuana, tobacco, alcohol or cigarettes and fine them with Rs 500. I wanted an MLA to adopt the village because then there would be no problem of funds. Within a year, the Central government had invested Rs 6 crore in the village which were used for infrastructure, electricity, toilets and solar street lights. Corruption became almost non-existent and we did everything on our own, which saved the villagers a lot of their money. The only problem that remained was poverty, which remained in the village because of the circulation of money only in cities. I researched about products that are valued in cities that can be made in villages by small self-help groups and one product I found out about was hand-pounded rice, which started being made by a group of 22 women in our village, who manufacture and sell hand-pounded rice successfully.

How do you think women play important roles in the development of a small scale economy?

Women in the village economy help a lot in the progress of their economy. The self help groups are composed mostly of hard-working women who worked in small handloom factories, organic farms and basically all small scale industries that were endemic to the village. Now, women in our village started a business of hand-pounded rice, which is extremely popular in urban settlements and is wholesome and healthy as compared to refined or brown rice. We have received quite a few orders for this rice and hope to expand this business more. Women are the backbone of any society and are extremely industrious and productive. An economy benefits a lot in terms of expansion and profit when there are women at the helm too, along with men.

Do you think education will solve all these major problems? What have you done here, education wise?

The only problem I see in the education system over here that I see is the gap that remains to be filled by the government between 10th and 12th standard. There is a lot of confusion for the young mind as to what should they do next. Education will certainly solve all these problems by giving these kids a chance to technologically enhance their father’s small business like pottery or farming. Education system in the city and education system in the village needs to be systematically different because the social scenarios are different.

What do you wish to do in the future?

I have become attached to this village and its people since I have been working here for almost 7 years. I have become like a family member in this village. The important thing I wish to do is advance my career since I have spent my time doing my bit for the people for this village. There is still a lot that has to be done here. When I am successful in making my village developed and giving the people a standard of living that they aspire for, I will surely move on to work for another village.

Along with persistence and a team spirit, it is possible to achieve anything in the society, over a period of time. Creating change in society is like a circle that keeps on giving, if you once create that circle. From Mr Gupta’s example, we can see that it is possible to do something for areas which need help, on an individual level too.

Source- http://zoopah.com/index.php/2018/04/02/hansuli-story/

 

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