9 Sep 2013, 10:42am
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Visit to the village palai

As a part of Prakash Foundation’s efforts for rural development, I visited Palai on Diwali last year. It was my first visit to the rural India, and I didn’t know that such an awesome experience lay in store for me.

As soon as I reached there, I saw villagers thronging around our Bus. They had been waiting eagerly for our arrival since morning. A huge pandal was setup for the evening programme.  After giving a quick introduction, we arranged the projector, and started showing the movie SWADES. In the movie, an NRI returns to an Indian village and works for its up-liftment. We were trying to do something similar, and the similarity between the movie and our mission was quite striking. I had seen such scenes in films and television, but now it was happening for real. The feeling was simply surreal.

On the next day, we arranged for a cultural program, in which we encouraged the village youth & children to show their talent. They were encouraged to sing, dance, tell jokes, etc. In between, we discussed topics of common interest. It was heartening to see them open up after showing so much initial hesitation. After the event, we did a candle lightning ceremony. The scenes of every one holding candles in different formations will remain etched in my memory forever. We also showed the movie Lagaan to inspire the villagers to believe, and to stand up for themselves. The movie was received very well, and I smiled from ear-to-ear upon seeing villagers happy faces and hearing them laughing and enjoying at every moment. It was real education as well as fun.

In the night, I decided to stay with the villagers at their home, rather than going back to our guest house. This allowed me to have a closer look at the difficult situations that villagers live in.  In the morning, I went for a walk into the farms and the nearby canal. I got to know about the various crops that are being sown, and the challenges villagers are facing.

Next day, before leaving, we clicked photo-graphs with villagers in different scenes and wished them a very happy Diwali. Overall, it was an experience that I will never forget in my life.

15 Nov 2013, 2:17pm
by usha bansal


It is very impressive that you are concerned for villagers. They feel neglected but we can improve their condition by education, and by telling them better farming methods. Small farmers are in very critical condition. They only depend on GOD if any natural hazard occurs. They get depressed to such an extent that suicidal tendency develops. I feel very happy when i listen or read that people are working for them.

 

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