come to such a pass in our country that a Prime Minister needs to openly point
out what disease we suffer from. Look at some of the basic lessons Mr
1. “End ‘
sarpanch- pati’ culture in panchayats – the practice of husbands of women
sarpanches exercising undue influence.” We are all aware that in many panchayats,
municipalities and even municipal corporations, – especially those
constituencies reserved for women - where a woman is the president, chairman,
or mayor, her politically active husband is the true power center and she is otherwise,
simply a ‘dummy.’ This has become the culture in our place.
2. “There must be a mindset of ‘
gaurav’ and ‘ samman’ towards our villages.” We all know
that in most panchayats, municipalities and municipal corporations the
president, chairman or mayor is only an agent of the political party on whose
support he or she came to power and the person takes every care to repay his or
her debt to those who supported him or her for the position. In the process, he
or she also enjoys the pecuniary benefits of the position. Very few have
self-respect. Nor they command any respect from others except from the coteries
who function as their agents.
3. Leadership role for the elected village representatives to alleviate poverty and promote education. Is there any true leadership
in the grass-root level? Will the more
powerful leaders allow the local leadership to grow? We are a centrally
4. The problem of school dropouts and the role
panchayat can play in arresting it. I
do not know how many times the panchayat presidents visit the schools under
their jurisdiction. If they had been visiting, wouldn’t our school’s condition and
functioning have become better?
5. “Think about what you can achieve in the next five years for your village. Do they really think
for the village?
6. “Has Panchayats in our country ever thought that there should be no poor left in our country? If one village brings out five persons out of poverty in a year, what a big change will come
country?” There is a management dictum. “If you want to eat an elephant, eat it
bit by bit.” Small drops make an ocean. Why are the panchayat presidents not
thinking about it?
7. “Special attention to be given to
education of children and their vaccination.” The
national campaign for washing hands well among school children was really a
well thought out one, though symbolic. The need to educate the children on
hygiene and cleanliness is very important.
should take a lead in organizing meetings of all working and retired government
employees belonging to a particular village once in a while and ensuring community
participation to bring about a turnaround in a village in all respects.” This
is a very significant advice and observation. There are many educated and retired
people and housewives who, I am sure, would be willing to volunteer their
services to benefit the school children. How many government schools are
willing to take their help and allocate time for them? The knowledge and skills
of many retired people is many times wasted in watching television, movies,
chit-chat, or simply baby-sitting (though this becomes important in some
homes). Why not the panchayats or municipalities use their knowledge and skill
for the benefit of the children and youth?
panchayats should motivate all government officials to spend at least one hour a
week with the school children.” Will the government servants be interested or
will the schools be willing to allow time, in the midst of various pressures
10. “Many of these measures don’t need financial support from the government.” Very True. But, what is the reality? The only things the
panchayats, municipalities and
municipal corporations focus on are the ‘so-called development’, where budget
and money are involved because that is where the grapevine really lies. More
developmental projects, more money, more contractors and so on. Try even once,
to obtain a permission to build a house, obtain electricity and water
connection to your house without having to pay anything extra, over and above
the government fixed charges. We all know the truth. We stay helpless. We have
become notorious for electing the same corrupt people, election after election.
11. “We will not be able to develop our villages as long as we do not have a feeling of respect and pride towards them
…we have to motivate people, provide leadership… .This
requires a firm resolve rather than any budgetary provision.” –We need to have
self-respect and respect towards our village, our town, out state and our
nation. What are we doing about this?
All the observations, advices from Mr
.Modi are quite simple, but very profound. To translate them into actions,
he needs the cooperation from everyone. No one is going to like him, if he
decides to take the whip. We need to change our conditioning. It is really
gratifying to note that Mr .Modi has made very pertinent points that should rather
have been the norm than some exception.
Maybe, whatever he has observed, they are already happening in some villages. They must be exceptions than the rule.