As promised by me in this post about my trek to Kothaligadh, here is a discussion on one of the interesting topics that me and my maushi were talking about:
During the long walk from the Peth village (refer to photo) to Ambivali (base village), we saw many locals walking with their children. Mind you, I was crying and begging for the tar road to come every 2 minutes on that walk, and these people crossed that distance everyday to and fro because all their supplies came from the base village. When my maushi got this to my notice I exclaimed loudly "Why dont they just live at the base village like everybody else!"
My maushi asked me "Why? Why should they move to the base village?"
To which I replied "So that they can get lights, electricity.. They'll face less hardships, they'll progress... "
Thus began a long discussion on what is progress. According to my Maushi, having food, electricity, schooling and then some job does not necessarily amount to progress. If you look at it, as long as they have enough to survive on, do they really need "progress" ? What is progress anyway?
My maushi gave me an example that when people from the suburbs came into contact with some tribes in Africa, those natives developed some strange diseases because they had no immunity against some virus to which we are immune. According to her, everyone and everything shouldn't be explored and put out in the open.
This set me thinking. We have always defined progress as getting electricity, water, telephone, education to every nook and cranny of the country. But does that necessarily mean that people in the villages will start leading better lives? With all the amenities that we enjoy, are we necessarily "happier" than our counterparts in the villages?
This a very difficult view to accept when you consider all the luxury that electricity gives you, and not having schooling seems like a big joke. However, is a school the only place where children can get education? How about parents teaching kids at home? Instead of luring people out of their hometowns and villages with promises of "progress", how about if we make them self sufficent in their own home?
Something to think about...