Integrated Rural Development: Guidelines from Sri Sathya Sai - Part 3


Sri Sathya Sai serving Prasadam during a festival at Prasanthi Nilayam

... Continued from Part 2

In all-constituent units of Sri Sathya Sai Organisations [i], cultural, social, and eternal aspects are accorded substantial importance. People should confer utmost importance to development of agriculture as an important element of rural development. Today in the villages under the block development scheme, houses are constructed up to roof stage and suspended thereafter. To alter this scenario, educated youth should take a vow for the development of villages.

Steady and Integrated Rural Development

The word ‘steady’ is very important [ii]. How does one go about implementing it? Now, if the residents of a certain village require vegetables, fruits, schooling, medical attention, etc., they go to another village or nearby town. Rural development must aim at providing the villagers with all necessary amenities and facilities. A coconut tree can be planted in the front-yard of every house. It will be very useful in providing ingredients for cooking. It can also provide items that are useful for offering worship. On the other side of the house, a drumstick tree can be planted. One must be able to grow the vegetables required for household consumption on one’s own in the backyards of the dwelling units. Primarily, rural development must be linked with health and education. Educate the villagers about hygiene and sanitation, which would certainly ensure good health. Attention should be paid to education as the next priority. Primary schools can be established to take care of education at the initial stages for small children. In this way, villages must be self-sufficient with reference to essential commodities like milk, vegetables, etc. 
Assistance for Kitchen Gardens and Coconut Plantations by Sri Sathya Sai Organisations in East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh
It is unfortunate today that the villagers sell all the milk made at home to the towns and the cities, but they themselves drink diluted milk in order to earn a few more rupees. From home dairy, dairy farmers ought to set aside some milk for domestic consumption and make use of the rest for commercial purposes. By doing so, one takes care of the self (oneself) as well as renders some help (to others). 

In the villages, the drainage system has to be made effective. Many people dig a big pit right behind their houses to dispose-off the sewage and garbage, the result of which is that foul smell emanates from the backyard. When monsoon commences, the villagers close all the doors and windows and sleep indoors. They contract all kinds of diseases by inhaling all toxic gases. This is the reason why community septic tank is required in villages until underground drainage facility is made available. This tank must be located in one corner of the village far off from residential localities. Health is very important. When health is there, wealth can be earned. Community toilets and latrines should be built in all the four directions of the village and at that very spot, suitable septic tank must also be built.
Sanitation activities by volunteers from
Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations 
in Koraput District, Odisha
Many people use firewood to fuel their cooking chulhas (traditional Indian stove). Among this firewood, there are some that are quite harmful. They emit dangerous carbon dioxide. This is the cause for the death of quite a few infants. Hence, wherever the fire is being lit, a pipe and a vent should be provided for the chulhas so that the smoke can be let off safely. In this way, the villagers can be educated about things they do not know. We may even demonstrate these systems in a few houses of opinion makers in the village, so that the others would emulate them. 

Attention should be paid to the wells in the villages. The water of the same well is used for watering the fields, drinking and even for toilet purposes. No wonder that the water gets polluted. Hence, separate provision must be made for drinking water. These irregular things are actually happening in the villages. Rural development is making very slow progress. The government makes a lot of publicity about so many government- sponsored schemes that are being implemented. If the government can manage to reduce the prices, there will be no need to borrow money from other countries.

Youth today must undertake village development work in India. If the need arises, our students must make arrangements to sink bore-wells. If no proper roads are available in the villages, arrangements should be made to build roads. Then the villagers will also lend their support. We require their involvement. They would feel self-conscious that some educated students are working for their progress in their own village while they remain mute witnesses. This would inspire them to volunteer their services. However, the youth of today have strange fancies. Their clothes should be ironed and must not be untidy. They must have a fan above their head. They do not like to squat on the floor. During the exam time, they insist on a comfortable chair. They do not realise that by sitting on such a chair, they will feel sleepy, and find it hard to write the exams [iii]. 

Do not crave for comforts, but depend upon your own capabilities and resources to carry out rural development work.

Click here for a special article on 'Spiritual Facets of Rural Development' based on Swami's Divine Discourse to His Management Students.

Notes:

i. For further details, please visit – www.srisathyasai.org.in

ii. Baba was referring to Sustainable Development while using the word ‘steady’.

iii. Baba is only trying to suggest here that people living in villages as well as those engaged in rural development work should be simple and lead a spartan life. It is only to emphasise that people should be ready to make any sacrifice (of personal comforts) to bring about sustained rural development.


3 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. it is nice to see that NGO's in India are striving hard for the development of the rural and unprivileged sessions of the society.
    I was looking for some article related to NGO's in India when i came across your informative blog.
    Thanks for sharing this post.

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