As we bid good bye to 2013, the young men and women of India become more critical than ever to India’s growth story which has its roots in the villages. Villages which are full of opportunities in the area of social enterprise and it’s not charity, it has tremendous amount of money to be milked by creating opportunity for the population as well as creating new markets as well.
Today we visited two villages from Brahmapore district of Odhisa which had 24×7 running water supply through taps, bathrooms and toilets in all the 80-odd households along with school and library.
These, along with more than a thousand more, were provided these facilities for a dignified life to the village people by Joe Madiath of Gram Vikas. The organisation works in the area of water & sanitation which is quite a big issue in Indian society. There are issues of caste clashes, cultural issues, habitual hesitation and not to forget government’s indifferent attitude towards anything good.
After listening to Joe, we were introduced to an 85-year ‘young’ man, Dr Subbarao, who has been working for world peace and a freedom fighter. He gave a very simple talk about what they thought Indian citizen to be in 1947. They imagined that theirs would be a free nation with respect for each other, no corruption, no discrimination and a place where people would be compassionate and happy.
However, he said, it was not to be. Today we have worse forms of all the above said issues. It struck to me as if we have robbed our elders by being completely ignorant souls who doesn’t think anything.
We, the young people, have stopped to imagine in true sense. We don’t have any aspiration in the real sense which has any humane angle to it. Most of us are concerned with leaving the society. We feel proud not to be from a ‘village’. Villages have become a place whose resources are sucked dry and all they get is displaced living.
I have been visiting places on this journey, meeting people, role models, change makers and achievers and I see a lot from our generation which studies in IITs, IIMs, Universities as well as those who are self-made. I see people actually thinking for change. There are people who, even when asked not to have serious discussion all the time, engage in fantastic discourses on social enterprise.
I hear youth of India taking pleasure in meeting local people and trying to know the issues from them in order to work out a solution. I don’t see the shallow faces and superficial mindset with a fast-paced English and some big words trying to prove that they are intellectuals.
It appears a different plane altogether. It comes to me as an India which has time to think. It projects positive vibrancy. It doesn’t worry about the colour of her nail polish or the design of his jacket. It is concerned with how to open enterprises that are socially relevant and can sustain monetarily.
There is a need for some serious thinking. We need to re-look our societies. We need to see how the education can be improved, how agriculture can contribute to the GDP in a respectable way, how reducing subsidy can make people self dependent.
Nothing is free. People have needs and the social enterprise can make a huge impact on the society. We need to stop open defection, we need to be self dependent on energy, we need education which doesn’t mean earning certificates and degrees, we need technology which smoothens our other enterprises, we need new ways to address old issues.
It is good to take pride in our glory but that shouldn’t cloud our vision. It is good to give reservations and subsidies to people but the reliance on it is hitting the quality of everything associated with it. We are crippling their skills and knowledge by continuous reservation, layered protection at every place from education, higher education to a government jobs.
We don’t need any motivational talk, we just need to spend an hour thinking about our society, its issues and solutions. The moment we would think, we would know how screwed up we actually are and how we can mend it.
I see our generation as the ‘thinkers’, the generation ten years younger to us will add value to this idea and keep executing it, and the later generations will just have to maintain the momentum. Once the village society is looked upon as our roots, we can have growing economy.
We will have to get back to the India that our grandfathers envisioned. We are the ones who will change the course of the ‘normal’. Today, more than ever, we need some agents of chaos, some agents of change, some agents to let the country feel good.
And we know, it is not hard to achieve.