Even before opting for such a challenging opportunity called PMRDF, I was labelled as somebody who always chose to take the less travelled path. Be it my family or friends, they always had that look in their eyes whenever I did something which affected my career or their hopes and aspirations. It was not difficult to understand their restlessness once again when I decided to opt for PMRDF instead of taking up other offers from the corporate world.
It takes a huge effort to accept the truth and it’s even a greater challenge to accept it without knowing where this particular document would be published or kept or filed. There is no greater challenge than working with the government and yet act as “son of soil”. Yet I accept this as a challenge to share what I feel about the past 8 months or so as a PMRDF hoping for a fair trial this time !
The DEVELOPMENT DEBATE:
How many times have we heard this particular term in our lifetime till now called DEVELOPMENT? It is difficult to keep a track. The term has been defined by numerous intellectuals and scholars including our very own Dr. Amartya Sen. I have always struggled to understand the exact meaning of the same though. I would give myself that privilege where you could call me somebody who has studied in good if not great institutions and as somebody who always won accolades and awards in academics and sports throughout. My parents always thought that progressing from class I to class II was development for me and the family and once I moved from Hazariabag (Jharkhand) to Delhi to finish my further studies, it was a matter of pride for the family and now everybody recognised my parents as someone whose son has been studying in Delhi ! DEVELOPMENT again I guess……
During my tenure in one of the top companies as a BPO employee I realised a different meaning of DEVELOPMENT. The people who were seen as top performers and doyens in the industry were the ones who were sleep deprived, suffering from amnesia and such temper and frivolous mood swings that you would never know that he/she has already become a machine programmed to certain codes which failed to understand something humane. But again, higher up the hierarchy more valuable you become for the organisation and peers. The bank balance denoteed the level of DEVELOPMENT which came from turning yourself into a mean machine interested only in churning numbers and data from young confused individuals who entered into the industry thinking they would earn quick bucks.
Now comes the interesting part. The whole set of ideas and body of knowledge, if I could use the term, regarding the term DEVELOPEMENT went for a toss when I did my Masters in Social Work. The professors were mind blowing who challenged all the existing notions but failed to address the questions that kept corrupting my mind. The course made me realise that there is such a huge section of society who have been left out and ignored and have not been able to reap the benefits of DEVELOPMENT this country has seen post LPG in 1991. I worked and visited places like Odisha, Rajasthan and urban slums in Delhi which shook me from inside. I participated in the anti-corruption movement too!
Now, the last 8 months in PMRDF…hmmmm…what am I expected to say here….what do you want me to say in fact…..going to the fields, meeting people, meeting children from schools, various stakeholders….it has lent a whole new perspective indeed!
I have been involved in training (basic life skills, computer, etc) the youth groups in the district many of whom are tribal as well. The kind of imagination they have and the simplicity they portray just blows you away. Their definition of DEVELOPMENT is absolutely far away from all the definitions given by the scholars so far. They wait for hours to just get onto the bus that takes them to the nearest market. For them, one time meal might be the most coveted prize of the day. Electricity and tap water might not be the things they are looking for. Are they even looking to survive to the rigours of changing society? – I wonder!
The answer is unknown. I didn’t start writing this thinking or setting expectations that I would provide answers to the issues. We are fortunate and lucky to have such opportunity that we could sit here and write this because we are so-called young guns of INDIA right now and were just at the right place at the right time to crack this opportunity called PMRDF. The experience has made me humble and more humane towards everything and I think this would be my greatest learning. I have rediscovered myself and have started talking to the soul inside me.
DEVELOPMENT debate, though, might be left for some other time. Till then let’s try and do our bit by just ensuring that we do our job.
Kumar Manish is based at Umaria (Madhya Pradesh). He is a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Indraprastha University Delhi, PGDBA (HR) from SCDL, Pune and M.A. in Social Work (MSW) from Delhi School of Social Work, University of Delhi. Manish worked for around 4 years in operations, sales, customer service, HR etc. after obtaining his degree.
 Liberalization, Privatization, Globalization