fly on the wall
bhagat singh | 14 Sep 2009

real india ......real people

This was the first day of my internship in Chhattisgarh. The project was World Bank sponsored pilot project on participatory value chain development in NTFP activities among tribal women.  I got 12 villages to visit for, in initial days of my internship I was about to visit only 6 village in charama block.


First day I went to the processing unit, 80 KMs far away from the place we were staying, there I have seen processing of all the NTFP.



It was quite nice experience. Second day I and my fellow visited the first village by the local jeap. That day was quite well; we visited two villages at that day and observed the real India. People in fewer cloths, with bicycle in hand and traveling towards their farm. The animator arranged a meeting, here we have convened with few women of the village, and discussed about their SHGs and NTFP (non timber forest product).



Women asked so many questions, we were able to give answer to some of their questions but some of questions were unanswerable, like when will government start understanding us, we dying because of lack of water, when our children will get proper education, when will we get electricity more than 4 ours. When we will get proper health services..



I and my fellow were silent, because we haven’t had  any answer, do you have?? One of them told us that you guys get clean water live in ac room that is why you guys are fair more than us. And we are black because we do work all the time and don’t get basic things, and they burst on laughing. But it is not just a matter of laugh. It left so many questions u touched.



After the first village, we took bicycle for the other village called tirkadand. Here we met Mr. Purushottam mandaavi who was awarded by MR. Abdul kalaam as the best lakh former in the country for the year of 2007 ., I salute his and his fellow’s commitment for the forming of lakh and its processing as well. At that day we pushed the bicycle for the 8 KMs, after 4 years of leaving my school. We were moving through the jungle and just thinking about the animals. Lucky didn’t find any. And for the next 5 days we have to pull the cycle for 40 KMs (up & down) a day. Those 5 days were the toughest days of my life.



Third day we had to travel 40 KMs and in the middle of the way both tyres got punctured and we drag it for 8 KMs straight. It became our routine, we go to villages and when we get back to our block, we drink mango shake, daily. I am sure in 7 days we would have drunken 10 liters mango shake.



So many questions came out during the internship what I have never expected, but those questions changed my life. Now I am more concerned about those communities and think will I ever get chances to answer those questions which were asked at the very first meeting of those communities. And I am sure I will.