Dainik Bhaskar recently brought out an article on a village in Rajasthan which is alcohol-free and drug-free. The unique thing about this village is that it had centuries-old tradition of serving opium to the guests to greet them. But then, change came. How, we don’t know. But the change led to a complete removal of any liquor or drug and opium was replaced by, guess what, Gur i.e. jaggery. Although opium is legally grown in the state, it is difficlut to track when its use turns into abuse. So, the villagers took the stand and ousted opium from the village.
Greeting a guest in India has been a defining factor of Indian hospitality. ‘अतिथि देवो भव ‘ i.e. Guest is God is a tradition embedded in Indian culture. To treat the guest with love and devotion is imperative in almost every household in India. Offering sweets and mouth-watering delicacies to guests is a token of affability which tells the guest that s/he is welcome. The innovative thing about this village is that it has replaced the age-old custom of offering afeem to the guests by this sweet delicacy.
In Marwar, Raipur, people are known to have had no fights. It is a peace-loving village comprising of Mali Samaj (barber community) that also understands the importance of education and makes every effort to send all children to school, yes, the girls too. What is even more inspiring is that the villagers say a big no to child marriage. In a state which has been notorious not only for child marriages but also female foeticides, this village stands apart and sets an example that others ought to follow. There is one school in the village where a total number of 156 students study and out of that number, 87 are girls. Isn’t that something to be proud of? It is said that at the end of the dark tunnel, you will find light. This village is just that light, enlightening children’s lives through its own illuminated minds.
For the sake of environment, the villagers here have adopted drip irrigation system. 75% farmers pursue drip irrigation to sustain soil and improve water distribution. Drip irrigation is a method which uses pipes or tubes to distribute water evenly and slowly, (drip by drip) directly into the roots or soil surface. The method ensures that soil erosion is minimized, weed growth is diminished and there is minimal loss of nutrients.
Drip Irrigation has its roots in the 1950s when a British man named Symcha Blass was visiting a friend in Israel. He noticed that one tree among many others stood taller and healthier. Intrigued, he started digging and discovered that the roots of the tree were being replenished by a continuous flow of water from a nearby dripping faucet. The discovery was a revolution in the field of agriculture. The sixties saw the birth of Netafim, the pioneer in drip-irrigation system. Mr.Barak, one of the directors at Netafim says,
“In the 1960s, we were using plain drinking water. Today we use recycled water, waste water, brackish water…and we’re adding nutrients mixed in with the water, so that, in a way, what we’re really doing isn’t irrigation, it’s ‘fertigation.’”
Understanding the importance of this irrigation method is crucial to Indian farmers. The ministry of agriculture in India needs to take steps in this direction to help the farmers who are feeling lost and are committing suicides at a startlingly high rate. Jain Irrigation Systems have proved to be expensive for the poor farmers in India since the government provides only 50% of the subsidy to buy the infrastructure required to set up the drip irrigation method. (Source http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/14/could-a-cheap-drip-system-rescue-indias-farmers/) The other half of the price is too much a burden on the India farmer’s pocket. The interesting thing about Jain Irrigation however, has been the implementation of the technique on rice. The drip method has been used worldwide on cotton, sugarcane, fruits and vegetables. Jain System is trying to expand the usage to rice which constitutes the staple diet of more than half of the Indian population. By doing so, water that is saved can be put to use for other crops. (Sourcehttp://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2012/06/25/drip-irrigation-expanding-worldwide/)
Another company that has provided a cheaper alternative to Jain System has been DripTech, whose main aim is to cater to small land-holdings.
Coming back to the Marwar, the villagers try to resolve whatever disputes they have (which can be counted on fingers as the number is only 2!) by reaching a solution through talk. The village elders and the youth are known to sit together to reach a solution if one is required. There has been no police case registered in the village!
People here have built their own roads, and also their own private dairy. To serve others, a tent house has been built to hold functions in the village.
‘Dreaming or Doing is a choice that will mean the difference between failure or success.’ So is the case with this village. Each villager contributes to the village and what we have is a set-up that ought to be emulated. Let us hope that the sweetness of jaggery spreads across the Indian continent and we get to hear more positive stories of change everyday.