When we first arrived at Dhule I expected the trip to be nothing more than an educational one. I had read all about the different aspects of life in rural India – agriculture, animal husbandry, irrigation methods, etc. I was apprehensive about the difference between my textual knowledge and reality. Then again, reading Sadhana by Tagore and the Theory of Trusteeship by Mahatma Gandhi inspired me to look a little beyond the obvious and have a more insightful experience which would not have happened otherwise.
In Sadhana, Tagore says, “It was in the forests that our civilization had its birth.“ India never placed any boundaries between herself and nature and was always in unity with it. As I walked through the forest in Baripada, I could see what effect this has on the individual and the environment. This forest was once destroyed due to deforestation and exploitation, but one villager decided to raise awareness among the locals and restore it. Due to his love for nature and hard work, the forest is now protected by the villagers, and they are sustained by it. I could understand the significance of the harmony between man and nature in the town of Dhule from just looking at the way they now treated their forest.
In the Gram–Panchayat, I saw Gandhiji’s Theory of Trusteeship in action. Knowledge from the Theory of Trusteeship helped me gain an insight into what exactly was the work and impact of DBMGF. The various watershed developments were crucial to the villagers as it saved them during drought. The water ATM achieved two objectives – to conserve water and to make it readily available. The subsidized rates for agricultural requirements was essential for the farmers. The community radio gave important information and the training center provided training and job placements for youths. I feel all these were successfully implemented because of the intrinsic empathy among people as elucidated in the essay.
This whole experience would have been incomplete without both Sadhana and the Theory of Trusteeship. While I would have still gained knowledge from just going to Dhule, reading the two works tied everything into perspective and gave me the lens through which I could see the world there.
Rohini C and Gaia S (G11)