Wednesday, December 21, 2011

27th Week @XIMB

27th Week - 11th December to 17th December

11th December - PRA done at Hinjerpenth at Nandapur block in Koraput district. Progress is an illusory term used in the development projects. That was the crux of the learning that I got working there.

12th December - PRA done at Renga Village in Simliguda block. This village was a prosperous one and caste division was visible to an outsider also. There was great difficulty for us in gathering people come from all hamlets together for FGD (Focussed Group Discussion). Me and MM were also misjudged initially as the agents of mining companies during survey. We have to clear our project mission and our background to them for tuning.

13th December - The remaining PRA tools were applied at Renga Village in Simliguda block. A lot of information was extracted in excess of our project to get an overview of the people mindset and village level conditions. Still, I was very careful in not giving any sort of political overtones in rapport building process.

There was a buzz in our mind to understand about Naxal problem. I concluded at the end of day that the Naxal problem had arose due to the continuous exploitation of the tribal people by the government, money lenders and middleman. It's a shame to realise that we people never stand up for the rights of those whose political views and social norms  we find disagreeable. And the apathy of many bystanders is also major stakeholder in the rise of Naxalism, Corruption and Fundamentalism in India.

I clearly understand that powerlessness can corrupt as insistently as does power. The desperation of poor tribal people lead them towards arm uprising. There is some sort of rationalizing of violence in us humans also. We student of rural India also overlook the structural violence that exist in the society in our analysis. The caste, religious and class conflicts are ground realities that shapes the path of economic development of any region. Now, I appreciate the work of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Binayak Sen, Deep Joshi and Medha Patekar much better in this frame of reference. Even when one can't help them physically yet healers like them empower people spiritually.

14th December - We reached Berhampur railway station in the morning and hired a cab for Chandragiri block at Gajapati district. We visited Taptapani on the way, that is famous for its hot springs. It is nestled at about 1,800 feet (550 m) above sea level. Our work at Gajapati district kicked off.  In 1963, about 600 Tibetan refugees arrived in the southwestern Orissa hill country of Gajapati, in a fertile valley known as Chandragiri. We stayed in the Tibetan Guest house there. We started working in the Chudangpur village of Chandragiri block with a brief meeting.

15th December - Our selected village have only Christian tribal people. All the households were converted to Christianity some forty years ago. With pumping of the foreign money for missionary activities and rise of Hindu fundamentalism, I personally fear that there is a chance of  riot situation in the future. I met two persons from Ministry of Home affairs in the Dhaba that night. Suddenly, I felt like living in an anarchy in my own country.

16th December - I roamed around Jeerang settlement and a small waterfall near it. We spotted two armed naxalites on our route to village in full day light. While working and roaming around there forced me to revise ours myopic narratives about nationhood, civil society and religion in the popular media and textbooks.

I left Gajapati in mid noon for Ganjam District. We passed through Aska, the place which has the 1st Sugar factory in Asia. The landscape was open and full of agricultural fields on both sides of the road. I reached Bhanjnagar block in the night. Biju Patnaik belongs to Village- Nuagam, near Bhanjanagar only. He once famously stated that 'Orissa is a rich state where poor people live'.

There was brief encounter with Police sub-inspector as we were non oriya outsider in a crime prone and naxal affected area. We tackled the problem quite diplomatically.

17th December - I was working in the field at Dhodapali of Jaganathprasad block. Visit to the field for the identification of Key Informant. The selected village was a poor and rainfed area.

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This Blog is meant purely as a personal diary of a rural manager in making. It exists to record information, experiences and opinions about various issues encountered in the line of duty. Any person, institution and organization mentioned here doesn't assume any liability for its contents. This is not a deliberate attempt to defame anyone. And if you have actually read all that is written in the blog and aren't mad at me, then thanks for your time and patience !
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