A movement in tribal Jhabua begins on April 28. It goes at an incredible pace to cover 900+ villages by June 10. 3000+ volunteers across the villages come forward, takes training and reach family-to-family in villages. Jhabua, which stood at a catastrophic collapse around April 28, has a less than 1% infection rate on May 24. The ‘Medical Kit distribution & Awareness’ movement becomes a social movement by the end. What makes all of these possible?

With India reeling under pandemic, we are not even looking towards villages or rural areas in general. And that’s okay, not the first time or unexpected, as this is how we have been developing for a long.

But what can an organization working in the rural tribal areas, with panic, rumours and ground reports of 50–60 deaths every day, do? How to respond, well, not just for responding, but to make a difference?

We find an answer in the tribal district of MP — Jhabua. Shivganga Samagra Gramvikas Parishad or Shivganga Jhabua is a social organization working on Holistic Rural…

We count the tears not the pain.

We put all blame on the government & system. It changes nothing, other than our attempt to sheath our conscience, ourselves from the guilt. We want to hide our fragility, our inability to take risks. But we can not shrug off that responsibility, the onus of those tearful eyes is on us too.

My dear friends,
I am a youth just like you. I used to have the ‘regular’ dreams of a package and recognition until a couple of years ago until I felt my heart aching for something more than me. Something, asking for the attention of youths like us.

Today I recall my experience and share my pain, as today I see a lot of you in a similar restlessness.

Migration is a bleeding pain of a large population of our country, a hidden population, which doesn’t catch our eye, otherwise. But we, the people at discomfort, do we know what…

For long, we the modern education and its products, have perceived rural and tribal India with our understanding limited by materialism and insensitivity. While we label some traditions as inhuman activities, we impose a sympathy on others. Both equally damaging to these earth-saving traditions and self-respect of those people. The traditions & lifestyle of rural and tribal India are presented to us like an out of world phenomenon. They may seem very dramatic to us, but on the ground, for these people, such traditions are simple and natural part of their life.

The caption as given: डॉ. यशोधर मठपाल जी द्वारा बनाई गई तस्वीर पहाड़ की नारी के संघर्ष को दर्शाती हुई — ‘कटु सत्य’. ‘The Reality’ by Dr. Y. Mathpal Src: Museum of folk culture Bhimtal

I came across this picture today on Facebook. I do not conflict with the artist; it is indeed a beautiful painting. But the idea conveyed makes me put some questions.

What I see in this picture is women climbing on trees to obtain wood, and that is portrayed as hardships of women in the given landscape. It is nothing but lack of understanding or more lack of desire to understand, captivated by one’s aura of being educated and hence ‘knower of everything’. What would have been a good picture? Women using some easy electric woodcutter to chop down the trees?

Entangled between what’s good and bad
what’s cool and sad
what’s grey and white
Entangled between grey and black
I feel I have lost it all.
My courage, my morality, my truth.
I feel disgusted of what I have become.

Sometime in 11th in a session, I questioned why boys make disrespectful and disgusting comments on girls at their back; everyone laughed at me, all — boys & girls. They laughed at me for making an issue out of jokes. The next two days of the camp were uncomfortable as I was the most uncool guy there.

That kid in me, died and got buried somewhere in the years that followed. But the ghost haunts me. I became a part of what I used to hate so much. It happened gradually. Initially black became grey, and grey engulfed white. Now…

A capture with blissful village-feeling.

The world is witnessing the consequences of the concentrated development model in the form of urbanization. The countries like Brazil and South Africa are facing a dire social, economic and environmental crisis. India, aiming high for development needs to draft a distributed development model where there are prosperous villages millions of small economic centres. The architectural set-up for such a village has to be designed with the approach of responding to the local context. Only the idea of ‘Think Locally and Act Global’ holds a promise of a sustainable future.

Urbanisation is essentially development — a notion of development which rapidly took over world post-industrial revolution. While some countries managed to recover from this infestation after historical epidemics, others who followed late due to socio-political reasons, are facing the adverse effects. Afflicted with the population explosion, the developing countries are facing an unprecedented challenge of development. And this mode of development has resulted in grave social, economic and environmental concern in countries like Brazil, South Africa and other African countries like Ghana and Nigeria [1]. The concentrated mode of development has resulted in 50 per cent of the world population…

यह एक छोटी से घटना भारतीय गाँव और उनके मन के बारे में सबकुछ बता देती है…कमी में छिनना — झपटना नहीं, संतोष से निर्वहन करना, मेहनत करना। निश्चय ही इनके भोले चरित्र का कुछ शोषण भी हो रहा है, फिर भी ज्यादा मानव कौन? ज्यादा दया किसमें?

एक दूसरा वर्ग भी है, हम जैसे कुछ लोगों का जो सबकुछ मुफ्त चाहता है, और अगर नहीं मिलेगा तो नोच-नोच कर ले लेंगे…अराजक हो जायेंगे, हिंसा पर उतर आयेंगे। आपको देना पड़ेगा …नहीं दोगे तो सड़क जाम कर देंगे, गालियाँ देंगे, कैद कर लेंगे, दीवारें रंग देंगे। हमारी हड्डियों में इस…

What we should count — crackers or cars?

There’s a lot of noise on crackers on Diwali. Some celebrating the accomplishments of their anti-crackers Diwali campaign along with Delhi govt. They should. They have managed to stop a leakage in a sinking ship. However, we don’t see this raised consciousness throughout the year. The educated young revolutionaries seem to be completely ignorant of what’s degrading the environment. And so, these pseudo-animal-lovers are nothing but flag-bearers of hypocrite and illusioned class. The point is, they must be shown the mirror, they must be questioned for their allegiance and above all their pointlessness of being educated.

Climate change is real. It’s happening. Now that we realise it, we can’t keep on shouting on the streets asking it to slow down. Even crying after a tree has fallen won’t help. Planting another 10 will. We need to make a behavioural change. And it starts with the individual. We need to give up the luxury of selfish living for our future, for the next generations. As not caring is no more an option, we have to choose between protesting and doing. And we know that the latter will make us better ancestors for future.

In 2009, some 1000 men, women and children from Bhil tribe of Jhabua district, Madhya Pradesh gathered in Jhabua town on the call of ‘Halma’. Halma is an ancient tribal tradition of solving problems through community participation. The call was given by a Jhabua-based organisation. The purpose was water conservation. The tribal people rallied in the town, with Gaiti & Fawada (Pickaxe & Spade roughly) on their shoulders, giving a message that these agricultural tools are as important as guns of soldier and farmers should be proud of it in the same way soldiers are proud of their guns. …

“India lives in its villages,” said Gandhiji a long time ago. Today 67% of the population lives in rural areas. Like many other aspects about rural India, Rural Architecture remains an untalked issue. But today, when cities are exploding with overpopulation and villages are losing their identity due to insensitive interventions; we seriously need to talk about it. And not just talk but work on it as well.

The noted architect Norman Foster says “Architecture is an expression of values.” It took me a long time to understand what values. Somehow I happened to visit villages of tribal Jhabua. It is then that I can genuinely appreciate his words.

The Hut is a heavenly place for farmers working in the scorching heat of summers.

Architecture is everywhere, all around me, but ‘values’? The shining glasses, the concrete columns, the Mahals and forts say the story of influence, interference and power but not values. Then we see a space — a thatched sloping roof of Palash leaves, standing on a structure of stem and sticks. This space which in our terms could hardly be…

This may sound rude but face it, this is the truth. Bare hard facts slammed at your face. It makes me aghast at people’s ignorance and their hapless blind eye towards obvious and nearer disasters we are going to face. We are so engrossed in our materialistic utopian world that we rely on our poor imagination that money or something will save us. What has utterly failed us is our education.

Just scrolling through Instagram I came across a status which boasts a title:

Now, this may seem a very fair representation of data but in style of representation lies the misguided mindset. The agency and the author are US-based so they’ve hardly anything to do with India or rural India to be precise. What is disturbing is that this post was the status of a Delhi-based guy, who also happens to be IIT-ISM graduate. The guy, so disconnected with Indian rural realities couldn’t figure out the same farmers, distressed to breaking point, serve his bread & butter. …

Kumar Harsh

Mostly from experience - of tribal Jhabua, and the struggle of learning 'selfless passionate dedication for people'.

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