Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation used to say that India lives in its villages and that Gram Swaraj (village self rule) is the pathway to Purna Swaraj (Complete self rule or Freedom). He also used to exhort young women and men about the need for ending the divorce between intellect and labour in rural India. This means that we must marry brain and brawn in village professions. The Indian Youth could contribute by bringing about such a marriage.
Programme Fellows have to understand the opportunities available in our villages for being of help in strengthening the livelihood security of rural women and men and the ecological security of rural areas. Since usually we have two monsoons, namely, southwest and northeast monsoons, it is important to spend at least one year in villages to understand the relationship between climate and the lives of the people.
The leadership qualities needed are a seeing eye and an understanding heart. Above all, they should approach the villagers with a sense of humility. The method of working should be partnership and not patronage.
If all the above criteria are fulfilled, youth can take our villages ahead to the 21st Century and foster agrarian prosperity and rural regeneration.