A learning from my “rural” internship!

This article is inspired by my experience of working with an NGO named Ekta Parishad which works for land rights in the rural/tribal areas of Chhattisgarh.

Interacting with the people of Bhujia tribe and educating them about their land rights.

Interacting with the people of Bhujia tribe and educating them about their land rights.

There is a craze for industrialization within India at the moment… and there is a real feeling against all things rural. Rural life is being destroyed without creating any opportunities in urban areas. This change is being driven by globalization but it is also being created because we don’t respect “rural”. Food production is undertaken by what is called “unskilled labour”. “Gaumer” is a word used to describe someone living in a village but it also means “idiot”. Agriculture has been made unproductive, the farmers can no longer live on the land, they are portrayed as idiots and then they have no choice but to leave and go to the city.

Farmers are now treated with the same respect as Dalits and 2,00,000 farmers have committed suicide (in the last 10 years). “Why would you want to do this?” Farmers are like a broken record saying they are bad and have no income. (They say). When people then come to the city, they become cheap labour. But the condition in the city is terrible. A society which demands services must provide services to these people. But these people have no shelter, no toilet. How much more could you mistreat people? There is no future for farmers in cities, its very ugly.

As soon as educated people appreciate this paradox then you will succeed in making a change. But they don’t understand this. This lack of understanding represents a form of huge violence. Industrialization is a form of state wide violence.

To counter all this violence the Naxalities fight. But they, too, bring violence. They come as your friends but they control the people. To counter the violence of the Naxalites, the state brings in the army. Then there is no room for the people and survival becomes very difficult.

Khadi Gram Udyog

Khadi Gram Udyog

It is important for people to challenge the drive to urbanization  Many people do not understand the need for the rural culture. There is a propaganda that employment leads to development and that this leads to employment. Industrialization  therefore leads to employment. If 50,000 people depend on a forest for their livelihood and it is cleared to make way for a mine, that mine will never be able to employ 50,000 people. People are happy working the land. You can upgrade this by educating people in agriculture. If you say agriculture is not profitable, come with alternatives. You don’t have to jump to Tata. Land provides dignity, identity and security. It is not even about the quality or quantity of land. Even a patch of rock can be mortgaged..

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