Ashish Kothari | Read the full story with photos in The Hindu >>
True self-reliance won’t come from relentless industrialisation, but from localisation and decentralisation, as demonstrated by these remarkable stories of empowered rural communities
Not so long ago, Dalit women farmers in Telangana used to face hunger and deprivation. Today, they have contributed foodgrains for pandemic relief. Farmers on the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border have been sending organic produce to Bengaluru even during the lockdown. And Adivasi villages in central India are using community funds to take care of migrant workers who have returned home. […]
In Tamil Nadu, the largely tribal village of Sittilingi in the hilly Dharmapuri district mobilised itself as soon as Kerala announced the first COVID-19 case in January. Panchayat president Madheswari, a former nurse, called for an urgent meeting with government departments and with Tribal Health Initiative (THI), a civil society institution. The village went into disaster control mode, using public announcements to spread awareness, initiating physical distancing, mask-wearing and public sanitation, and isolating returning migrants. Local tailors were asked to stitch masks in bulk.
Revive and refresh
These stories demonstrate what self-reliance really means — the revitalising of rural livelihoods. […]
The government’s present policies are, by and large, the complete opposite, and there is little in the recently announced stimulus package that points to any fundamental shift. Given this, it is left to communities themselves, with help from civil society and some sensitive State governments, to use the COVID-19 crisis as an incredible opportunity to move towards equity and sustainability.
The author is with Kalpavriksh in Pune.
Source: “What does self-reliance really mean? Amazing stories emerge from India’s villages” by Ashish Kothari, The Hindu, 5 June 2020
Date visited: 19 July 2022
KALPAVRIKSH is a non-profit organisation working on environmental and social issues. The group began in 1979 with a campaign led by students to save Delhi’s Ridge Forest. We work on local, national and global levels, are registered under the Societies Registration Act (S-17439) and are primarily based in Pune with members in Delhi, Bangalore, Dehradun and elsewhere.
Source: About us – KALPAVRIKSH
Date visited: 8 June 2020
Covering the human cost of Covid-19
The nationwide Covid-19 lockdown that started on March 25  has triggered distress for millions of ordinary Indians – stranded migrant workers, farmers, sugarcane cutters, Adivasis, Dalits, sanitation workers, construction labourers, cancer patients staying on city pavements, brick kiln labourers, pastoral nomads, and others. While many are on the brink with no work, income or food, several continue to work amid extremely hazardous conditions | Read about them in these PARI reports from across the country >>
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