By: Pravin Bhikale
On 7th July 2014 we had gone to Mallal for 7 days village stay programme. It is a part of development management programme. We left the hostel for Mallal at 7.00 am. We were three in the group. We had to collectively undergo the village stay. The main purpose of this programme is to experience and analyse the poverty and get familiar with village life. Before visiting the village I had some presumption about the village life. I was sitting in the van with some expectation about village .In the van everyone was gossiping but I was already engaged in my imagination world. I was eager to meet the babbled river of the village, I was eager to get wet in the drizzling rain, I was eager to see the greenery of the village. I was eager to see swaying crops in the field, I was eager to hear twitter of cuckoo. I was ready to take experience the full fledged village life. I believe that nature is a great music director and it always produces nice music. Sounds of leaves and branches, sounds of flowing river water, melodious voice of the birds, rustling sounds of swaying crops they all create music. After 1 hour we reached the village and whatever I expected or imagined did not exist. Dried river, no crops in the field, no twittering of the birds, no rustling sounds of growing crops, no rain at all. The music director had lost his sur and tal. I was completely disappointed. Now I was treating myself as traveller searching for water in the desert and came to some place with expectation of water and I got mirage.
We had taken lunch and took 2 -3 hrs sleep. After that we went for a walk in the village. I was already disappointed but I knew that I was in the field work so I took such unsuited condition as challenge. I hadn’t done any work on first day. The second day as I woke up in the morning I visited nearest farm field. No crops in this field, I inquire why there was no crops cultivation in the village and nearby area. I came to know that there was inadequate rain since three years. I stood in the centre of that field. Sun was throwing flames from the sky, the land was restlessly waiting for rain. It seems to me that a girl (Land) was waiting for her (Rain) lover and that sun stood in between them as villain.
Whatever issues or problems are known from the survey done by us is moving around this field. Agriculture is the main occupation of society. As this village comes under rain shadow part of Tamil Nadu, water shortage is always there. This village is surrounded with water tanks but it has no use because this water tank depends either on rain fall or on river water. In the Whole village I did not see any type of greenery. All youth’s interest has been gradually decreasing in agriculture. All have tendency to migrate to the cities and earn. They have a mentality that now agriculture has no commercial value. It is a highly risky business. After knowing all these issues I felt that agriculture land was speaking to me. Land is sharing its grief. Land was crying for water with dried eyes. Land is mother of farmers. This mother was calling her son and daughter to come to save me.
I had taken few comments from villagers which clearly show that they have a negative mentality for farming. “We have only 0.5 acre Land, which become infertile as no rain. I have a big family and my family could not be survived with earning from this small land. So I went to Saudi 7 years back. “——————————————————————————– Mr. Vidur
After coming from Saudi he didn’t join the agriculture, he is a dealer of coal. I asked him “why should not you join the agriculture?” He replied me with another question “what is in farming?”. If youth from village are continuously migrating to the cities or if there is no discontinuance in migration then that day will not be so far when Mallal village is considered as “OLD AGE HOME” .
Pessimism flows entire village for agriculture. Those are educated youth they are not taking interest in the agriculture and those who are not well educated they have negative attitude towards farming. They are doing coolie work, watch man work but they are not willing to work in the field. I think that for farming optimistic environment is more important than favourable climate.
Like other village this village is also facing problem of poverty. Uncertain monsoon, water shortage, low or no agriculture yield, alcoholism are some of the reasons of poverty. This village is covered with poverty. During 5th days I had experience of this desert of poverty. My eyes were searching for something positive things. I used to play cricket in the evening with boys. I think Cricket is game in India which connects the people. While playing I met to one boy “Saravana”. I was always kidding him. He was always smiling. On 6th day I went to his house. That time I realized that behind this smiling face, lot of struggle is going on. He was just 14 years old, his mother was suffering from breast cancer, his father was an alcoholic and more than 50% of family income spent on liquor. But Sarvana was always smiling. He got 80% in 8th standard. I have seen a hope in his eyes. I couldn’t think that he is suffering from such extreme condition when I first met to him. Cricket connected sarvana and me. This small boy has provided me a positive energy. I felt that now I am the happiest person in this world because I always got mirage , lost hope to get water and suddenly I got water in this deserted land. I got a hope in this pessimist world.
I entered in the village with some expectation. I was disappointed. I was nervous. But I left this village with experience of real village condition. I left the village with a treasure of positive energy of Sarvana.
I went with some expectation and came with experience.
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