Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Stand Corrected:

C said that the most beautiful view in the world is to see the snow peaks on a full moon day. The range turns absolutely blue and sparkles in the silvery light. I was jealous of C. This was his first visit to the mountains, yet he has seen this fantastic sight. I, on the other hand have been to the Himalayas so many times but never ever seen such a sight. Even on this visit to Kumaon, the summer haze hid the snow range on the full moon day. I still have so much to see and experience.


In my last post I said that villagers are so simple and happily ignorant. Here in the villages of Kumaon I saw a different sight. With the help of an organization – Chirag - who have 209 villages under their wing for conservation through community development, they have come a long way. And all the change have been understood, led and implemented by women. Its not that the organization deliberately chose to empower the women……but it’s a big fact that men are less prone to gaining positive knowledge and more prone to resistance and destruction. With proper guidance, the women of the villages are now involved directly into all areas of work….from forestry, rain water harvesting, education, livelihood issues, self help group, micro-financing, agricultural marketing etc.

One woman of the Van Panchyat Committee (Forestry) admitted that if given to the men folks they would cut down all trees for easy money. She and a female member from each house takes turn to guard the forest, plant trees and collect fodder and dry twigs. I looked at the mountain side….it was lush green and vibrant.

I remembered Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code. Our ancestors were right. There’s immense power in the feminine.

And I was grossly wrong in my thinking. Villagers are ignorant but you can change their mindset by giving them right education and guidance. Whereas its just the opposite for city folks. They are educated, yet its so difficult to change their mindset. Tell a villager why it’s unwise to use plastic and they will carry one plastic bag for months. Tell a city folk that it’s unwise to use plastic…and they will insist on taking back 3 plastic bags instead of 1 every time they shop. They are not bothered because they wouldn’t give up their luxurious life or mad rush for money for anything in this world. Even if it means giving up Earth.

And its when we actually reach down to their level and try to understand, we see that in reality its us and not them, who have no clue.