The Other Side of Globalization – Village Self Sufficiency

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The Other Side of Globalization – Village Self Sufficiency

“My idea of Village Swaraj is that it is a complete republic, independent of its neighbors for its wants, and yet interdependent for many others in which dependence is a necessity”. – M K Gandhi.

It could be a movie, but it’s true. Born in Kuthambakkam in a well-to-do lower caste family, Rangasamy Elango describes himself as a rebellious youth who was committed helping his village escape the stranglehold of a caste-based society. Elango went on to graduate in chemical engineering and work in organizations like Madras Refineries and Oil India, but he was always drawn back to the village.

When the 73rd Amendment to the Indian Constitution revived Panchayati Raj – village government — Elango jumped into the fray. He campaigned for the post of Panchayat President at Kuthambakkam – a village of around 5,000 people less than 60km from Chennai.

Elango won the elections with a comfortable margin, thanks to overwhelming support from his own caste. But he wasted no time in winning over the higher castes. He gained credibility by cracking down on his own caste’s main source of livelihood, brewing illicit arrack (liquor). At the same time, he began searching for innovative ways to create new jobs, especially for the villages’ poor and landless.

He looked for problems that could be turned into opportunities. The village needed a new storm drain – estimated cost Rs. 420,000, following state tendering and contracting procedures.  Instead, Elango found inexpensive leftover materials from a local factory, employed his own villagers to provide the labor and completed the job for just Rs. 220,000. Instead of applauding him, the state’s bean-counting bureaucrats accused Elango of not following rules, and he was suspended from his position

Elango was despondent. His wife suggested he read Gandhi. Those pages of wisdom and generosity brought Elango renewed energy and focus. He recognized the integrity in following his Dharma, his duty. “I saw that the right thing to do was to carry on my work and face the challenges,” he says. Meanwhile, villagers and the local newspaper let it be known that they wanted more good government and fewer bureaucratic rules; they wanted Elango back.

The Chief Minister of the State heard and read about the case and, in classic Tamil movie style, called a Gram Sabha meeting; 2,000 villagers showed up to support Elango. He was soon re-instated.

Elango promptly proposed a bold social experiment – a housing colony for poor families from different castes. The Chief Minister was so excited by this program that he sanctioned Rs. 10 million for the construction of a colony of 100 houses in Kuthambakkam.

Elango used innovative building materials – mud bricks – that were low cost and eco-friendly. He also used local labor, providing employment to 200 families for a year. The villagers chipped in 10% of their wages for the cost. The experiment has been such a success – yes, the different castes are living happily side by side – that the colony has become a model for other districts in Tamil Nadu.

Elango has gone on to provide other alternative jobs to illicit brewing, including village self-help groups that are involved in contract manufacturing and food processing. He recently launched an e-learning center, and is intent on helping prepare the village’s unemployed teenage boys for the working world.

Perhaps best of all, Elango is borrowing a page from Gandhi by sharing his ideas and methods. He has set up a Panchayat Academy, and so far more than 100 villages have sent their Presidents for training. What can we contribute to the goals of enlightened village governance in terms of our time, energy and ideas?

Do come forward and share your own examples of such remarkable human beings – people who give us hope that we can create a much brighter future for all of us.

Sudhakar Ram believes that we have the potential to create a sustainable world and live in harmony with our environment. However, this would require a fundamental shift in our mindsets – the “constructs” that drive our attitudes and actions. The New Constructs is his attempt to identify, showcase and celebrate people like Elango. What can we in the New Constructs community contribute to the goals of enlightened village governance in terms of our time, energy and ideas? Do come forward and share your own examples of such remarkable human beings – people who give us hope that we can create a much brighter future for all of us.

Sudhakar Ram is Chairman and Co-Founder of Mastek, a leading IT solutions company specializing in providing IT platforms and applications for large and complex transformation programs like the London Congestion Charging Scheme, and the National Health Service in the UK.

Video recorded by Master LL in HD! ( ) [ Final Fantasy XIII ] Mission 51 “Attacus” (5☆) ** WILL CONTAIN FULL SPOILERS!! ** ** WAIT FOR HD QUALITY!! ** Went directly to Titan Trials after beating the game.. so I didn’t get to level up my Crystarium much at all. Everyone always wonder why I got so much HP.. it is simple… don’t blindly spend your CP on the crystarium! Aim for what you want to learn and such! In my case I always aim for HP first, then Abilities and last ATK and MAG (whichever is more important for that character). Anyways unlike my JP gameplay version.. my character’s development is much much weaker.. but with good tactics I actually surpassed my JP M54 gameplay. So here, this is for those who just beaten the game and on post-game and want to complete the Titan Trials final battle. Quick tip notes – I went full BBB (RavRavRav) to build up Chain, this allows more bonus damage in the long run. You can deal almost 10k more damage just having 300% chain going. This is something I neglected to do on my JP gameplay. – Always keep slow and deprotect on him.. having defaith helps when he does his self-dispel (it removes 2 debuffs off him). – Keep Bravera on Light and Fang for full damage. —————— System: PS3-EN 1st Gameplay WMV HD format, 8.0Mbps Bitrate, 1280×720, 30fps, WMV7 codec
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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