Criticism is a word one should not associate with us. Coming from an urban background and spending my entire life in a metro, I looked upon the system with skepticism. Seeing people around in a dire state, the poor standard of living, people living and eating out of garbage, it was but natural for me to criticize the system we live in.
Earlier I was one of them who are ignorant of the facts that lay besides them. I was being ignorant but would certainly not typecast things. You learn and enlighten yourself on the path that you have decided to walk. But in my case it was not to be. My journey so far has been one from a clinical background to the present in development sector. It was not a sudden transition but a gradual one at that. Of course, moments of self realization, introspection and a lot of deliberations were party to this transition. I got the right opportunity at the right time to work at the grassroots level in the form of the Prime Minister’s Rural Development Fellowship.
Looking back at the year gone by as a PMRDF, I feel that have not been able to contribute satisfactorily to my liking. My journey so far has seen more lows than highs. But things are looking up in the past few months and I see myself contributing my bit in the development of the district I am posted in. So far, I have been involved in field visits to the interior villages to ascertain the community needs, community mobilisation and institutional visits. More recently, I am involved in the implementation of the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme in the district. Also, I am involved in bringing up livelihood projects in the district based on the available local resources.
You get to learn more in the field; this is what I liked about the Fellowship. The community needs and development are two aspects that are very subjective and change as we go deeper into the interior villages. The field visits have made me realize that the needs and development are varied aspects that are inter-related – one being a desire and the other a way of fulfilling it. Most of the time we tend to use it inter-changeably and mould it according to our liking or perspective. The perception the community has about their development is something which is related to what we give or showcase to them. Do we empower them enough for them to determine their needs and the true path that leads to their needs? These are the issues that need to be looked into. I am striving to work towards it in my district.
Although I have not been able to contribute significantly to the Fellowship, the Fellowship certainly has done well to me in changing my attitude to look at things. It has made me look at things not as I see or perceive them to be but to look at things the way the affected parties look at them and seeking a solution from there.
Vijay Tete is based at Gondia district of Maharashtra. He is a B.A.M.S (Bachelors in Ayurveda Medicine and Surgery) from Sion Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya and an M.P.H (Master in Public Health) from Tata Institute of Social Sciences.