Reaching A Remote Village

November 3, 2010 at 9:15 PMNov (Media, Musings, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

The department of textiles has taken an initiative to provide self employment for the people in the naxal affected villages. Bavady, Hara, Hosabalu and Kabbinaley are the four ‘remote’ villages where selected people will be trained in handloom weaving.

On 28 May 2010, it has been reported, the selected candidates received the first installment of the amount being distributed for them to construct a handloom weaving room in their houses. During the same occasion all the 12 houses of the Marathi Naik community of Bavady village were given solar lights and television sets apart from four street lights being installed in the village.

During the course of their training in handloom weaving the trainees, it is said, will be paid a stipend of Rs. 2000. It is also said that a cooperative society will be established at Kollur which will supply the raw material required and also help the weavers in selling their products.

All is well, it appears and also makes us applaud for the work being done by the state for its people. But, the question that arises, to my mind, is- does it require naxals to draw the attention of the state towards these ‘remote’ villages and the people residing there?

Of the several unknown places in the state which also needs developmental schemes and welfare schemes why only Bavady, Hara, Hosabalu and Kabbinaley have been selected? Is the state aware of other villages and the condition in which people are living there? Does it intend to reach those places or will it focus on those places only after the naxals have entered those areas?

Representatives of the people were present yesterday in the programme at Bavady. Shouldn’t they be ashamed that they never noticed or felt the need to do something good for the people in those areas? Should they have waited for the area to be noted a naxal affected to take some steps for the welfare of the people? Had the state forgotten its duties and responsibilities till Naxals entered the scenario and thus caused a threat for the state?

When we refer to these villages we refer to them as ‘remote’ villages. One of the folk songs that every Kannada speaking person is exposed to in his/her early life begins with the line- Dharanimandala Madhadolagey Mereyutiha Karnata Deshadolu… to mean ‘In the centre of the world there is a place called Karnata…” To most of us who have grown up listening to this song in our subconscious Karnataka is in the centre of the world and other places/nations/ states around it. The beauty is that even if you take any part of the world, it is the centre of the world, not just Karnataka. So every place is the centre and every place is a periphery. So now when we refer to these villages as ‘remote’, the question that arises, in my mind, is- what/who are these villages remote from? Is it remote from the centre of power? Is it remote from our notion of civilization? (There are no schools, anaganwadis and power supply at Bavady) Is it remote from connectivity? (Bavady is 84 kilometers from Udupi, the district centre, and to reach there one has to travel on a mud road for 12 kms from Kollur) Is it remote from (the reach of) democracy? Is it remote from our consciousness, awareness and attention?

Whatever is the scale of measurement, the truth is that they are remote. The very fact that they are remote is also an indicator of the truth that they have been untouched, unreached and unaccepted. In such a condition when the naxals reach them, touch them and accept them the sleeping state awakens for there is fire which might consume it. Does the state awake only when it faces threat and not when its people are living like lesser humans and second rate citizens? Are naxals like an alarm clock that awakens the state? What does the presence of naxals speak about the state?

31 May 2010

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