सीधे मुख्य सामग्री पर जाएं

How NGO Vaagdhara’s vision of Swaraj became a source of hope in thousand-odd villages

By Bharat Dogra 

Vaagdhara is one of the few voluntary organizations in the country which has centered its work around the vision of swaraj—or self-rule based on increasing self-reliance of rural communities. It has worked with this vision for nearly two decades in the tri-junction area of three states—Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, with most concentration in South Rajasthan (particularly Banswara district). This is a region known for heavy concentration of tribal communities, particularly bhil adivasis. These efforts have so far reached an estimated one hundred thousand (one lakh) households spread over about 1000 villages.
The concepts of swaraj, gram swaraj and self-reliance of rural communities have a special significance in the context of tribal communities with their more distinct social and cultural features and identities. In particular there is a clear need to recognize the special strengths and virtues of tribal communities and to build on them on the basis of understanding instead of neglecting and even displacing them.
Vaagdhara has been working with such an understanding. Its understanding of swaraj –conceptually as well as in terms of implementation-- is captured in its three basic precepts—True Farming, True Childhood and True Democracy.
True farming is based on understanding the strengths of traditional practices of bhil communities and strengthening them. These include practices of Helma (in which instead of hiring workers farmers cooperate with each other to meet the peak work needs of each other) and Hangri (mixed farming systems which have evolved keeping in mind the special needs of the area). The effort of Vaagdhara has been to build further on these strengths while at the same protecting them.
Research by Vaagdhara revealed that despite the erosion caused by external forces in more recent times in biodiversity, as many as about 100 kinds of foods were being grown or were otherwise available in the villages through collection from forests. Without caring or understanding this, such villages were being called backward while monoculture farming areas were being called the most advanced.
Vaagdhara worked to strengthen the community’s own faith in its traditional good practices and systems while offering opportunities to improve these further through better methods of manure preparation, making available plants to create new gardens and creating an organizational base of volunteers and facilitators from among them and supporting them.
The tribal communities already had rich traditions in soil conservation practice, in protecting plants from pests and diseases, seed preservation and food storage/preservation practices. Vaagdhara helped to establish a better and wider understanding of these, as well as to suggest and offer some improvements.
Vaagdhara’s approach has been to support natural and organic farming. While some farmers adopt this entirely, as this only means going back to their strengths lost in recent times, others take their own time. This is accompanied by significant soil and water conservation measures. The overall result is to improve soil quality significantly, contributing to carbon absorption as well as improving the moisture retention quality of soil. The planting of mostly indigenous species of trees gets a lot of emphasis, which can be found in orchards and also in the middle of crops, again contributing to soil and water conservation as well as to carbon absorption. Apart from fruit trees, other trees which are useful for meeting the needs of fodder, fuel and small timber are also grown, as also bamboo, which can meet cash needs in difficult times. What is grown is most closely linked to what is eaten by family and has good nutrition value. Apart from cattle and goats, a more recent trend has been to keep buffaloes also, thereby increasing farm level milk supply. Dependence on market has been minimized for food and on most farms there is now no need to purchase chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
Secondly, the concept of True Childhood is sought to be realized by checking child exploitation, ensuring education of all children, improving child nutrition, securing higher child participation in decision making and taking steps to check alienation of higher school children and youth from their communities. Kitchen gardens to improve nutrition have been widely created and in addition special campaigns to make better use of raw local foods for more nutritious dishes have been carried out, targeted more and mothers and children. Child Rights Committees have been organized in villages and active attempts to end gender discrimination at childhood level are made.
The concept of true democracy is based on strengthening community organizations as well as making much better use of government schemes and programs, particularly the ones like MG--NREGA which can contribute to advancing the objectives of swaraj based approach. NREGA work, for example, can contribute much to soil and water conservation work. Communities are increasingly involved in preparing micro programs which are helpful for them as well as for facilitating better implementation of government programs in keeping with community’s priorities. These efforts are advanced by having several organizations of people centered around swaraj based progress at various levels called Janjatiya Swaraj Sangathna (JSS) or Janjatiya Vikas Manch (JVM), saksham samoohs of women in villages , their facilitators and volunteers or swaraj mitras. Tribal sovereignty conclaves have been organized from time to time and swaraj yatras have been taken up more regularly at local level, but once also all the way from Banswara to Jaipur, in the process taking Vaagdhara’s message to a wide area and also establishing a wider dialogue with the government.
These efforts of Vaagdhara based on its understanding of swaraj have been a source of hope and constructive work in a region spread over about a 1000 villages in Central India.
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The writer is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include ‘Protecting Earth for Children', ‘Man over Machine' and ‘India’s Quest for Sustainable Farming and Healthy Food'

टिप्पणियाँ

Maya Valecha ने कहा…
Commendable work on the ground. Some light on difficulties faced, funding if any required, would have helped. How many employees employed in Vaagdhara?

ट्रेंडिंग

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

हिंदी आलोचना जैसे पिछड़ चुके अनुशासन की जगह हिंदी वैचारिकी का विकास जरूरी

- प्रमोद रंजन*   भारतीय राजनीति में सांप्रदायिक व प्रतिक्रियावादी ताकतों को सत्ता तक पहुंचाने में हिंदी पट्टी का सबसे बड़ा योगदान है। इसका मुख्य कारण हिंदी-पट्टी में कार्यरत समाजवादी व जनपक्षधर हिरावल दस्ते का विचारहीन, अनैतिक और  प्रतिक्रियावादी होते जाना है। अगर हम उपरोक्त बातों को स्वीकार करते हैं, तो कुछ रोचक निष्कर्ष निकलते हैं। हिंदी-जनता और उसके हिरावल दस्ते को विचारहीन और प्रतिक्रियावादी बनने से रोकने की मुख्य ज़िम्मेदारी किसकी थी?

देशव्यापी ग्रामीण भारत बंध में उतरे मध्य प्रदेश के आदिवासी, किया केंद्र सरकार का विरोध

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18થી નાની ઉંમરના 1,15,129 બાળકો શાળા બહાર? વાસ્તવિક આંકડો 15-20 ગણો વધું

- સુખદેવ પટેલ*  16 એપ્રિલથી સમગ્ર ગુજરાતમાં શાળા બહારના 6 થી 19 વર્ષની ઉંમરના બાળકોનો સર્વે શરૂ થયો છે.  જે 26 એપ્રિલ સુધી ચાલશે. જેની જવાબદારી સરકારી શાળાના શિક્ષકોને સોંપવામાં આવી છે. અત્યારે પ્રાથમિક શાળાઓમાં વાર્ષિક પરીક્ષાઓ ચાલી રહી છે. લોકસભાની ચૂંટણીઓના કામ પણ શિક્ષકોને ભાગે કરવાના આવશે. શિક્ષકો કેટલું કરી શક્શે? શિક્ષકો પાસેથી વ્યાજબી રીતે કેટલી અપેક્ષાઓ રાખવી જોઈએ? RTE ની જોગવાઈઓ મુજબ દરેક બાળક શિક્ષણ મેળવી શકે, તે માટે શાળા બહારના બાળકોને સર્વે કરીને શોધી કાઢવાનું ઉમદા કામ સરકાર વિચારે છે, તે આવકારદાયક છે. આવાં ઉત્તમ કામમાં જેમને સીધો લાભ થવાનો છે,  તેવાં હિતધારકોની પ્રતિનિધિ સમિતિ SMC સ્કૂલ મેનેજમેન્ટ કમિટી આ જવાબદારી સારી રીતે ઉપાડી શકે તેમ છે. શિક્ષણ વિભાગ SSA તરફથી આ કામગીરીમાં SMC ની ભાગીદારીનું આયોજન કરીને યોગ્ય માર્ગદર્શિકા તૈયાર કરવી જોઈએ.

How the slogan Jai Bhim gained momentum as movement of popularity and revolution

By Dr Kapilendra Das*  India is an incomprehensible plural country loaded with diversities of religions, castes, cultures, languages, dialects, tribes, societies, costumes, etc. The Indians have good manners/etiquette (decent social conduct, gesture, courtesy, politeness) that build healthy relationships and take them ahead to life. In many parts of India, in many situations, and on formal occasions, it is common for people of India to express and exchange respect, greetings, and salutation for which we people usually use words and phrases like- Namaskar, Namaste, Pranam, Ram Ram, Jai Ram ji, Jai Sriram, Good morning, shubha sakal, Radhe Radhe, Jai Bajarangabali, Jai Gopal, Jai Jai, Supravat, Good night, Shuvaratri, Jai Bhole, Salaam walekam, Walekam salaam, Radhaswami, Namo Buddhaya, Jai Bhim, Hello, and so on.

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

स्वास्थ्य सेवाओं को मजबूत करने के बजाय बीमा आधारित सेवाओं को प्राथमिकता क्यों?

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અમદાવાદ પોલિસ કમિશનરનું જાહેરનામું: નાગરિક સ્વાતંત્ર્ય પર તરાપ મારવાની પ્રક્રિયાનો એક ભાગ

- હેમંતકુમાર શાહ  અમદાવાદના પોલિસ કમિશનરનું લોકશાહી વિરોધી વધુ એક પગલું ચૂંટણી ટાણે જોવા મળ્યું છે.   તા. ૧૬-૦૪-૨૦૨૪ના રોજ તેમણે એક જાહેરનામું બહાર પાડીને ફોજદારી કાર્યવાહી અધિનિયમ-૧૯૭૩ની કલમ-૧૪૪ આખા શહેરમાં લાગુ કરી જણાવ્યું છે કે "કોઈ પણ પ્રચારપ્રસાર રેલી દરમ્યાન કોઈ એ કાળા વાવટા ફરકાવવા નહિ કે ઉશ્કેરણીજનક બેનર કે પ્લે કાર્ડ બતાવવું નહિ અથવા કોઈ વિરોધમાં ઉશ્કેરણીજનક સૂત્રોચ્ચાર કરવો નહિ."

न नौकरियाँ, न पर्याप्त मजदूरी, न राहत: अनौपचारिक श्रमिकों के लिए मोदी की विरासत

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क्या कांग्रेस का घोषणापत्र मुस्लिम लीग की सोच को प्रतिबिंबित करता है?

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