Excerpts from a Fellow’s Diary: Does he need any salary?

Governance is Ours
Governance is Ours

I have always felt that to get a clear picture of a situation, one should look at both sides of the coin and with this experience of the last one year, it has only been strengthened. Even government officials and Sarpanchs come across so many problems and pressures in their day-to-day working and to simply blame them for anything that is wrong will definitely not solve the problem. There are a few Sarpanchs who I felt are doing a tremendous job, despite a meagre salary of around 3000 Rs. Well, before coming here, I think most of us were managing a specific area or hardly about ten to twelve people and getting around 15-20 times the salary of that Sarpanch. Shouldn’t we ponder over statements like “Since the Sarpanch is a representative of the people, why does he need any salary?” Yet, of course he has to do everything right in the first instance.

I feel this tendency to blame the government for every ill happening in this country needs to be changed. Well, don’t mistake me for a blind supporter of this or that government, neither am I giving a clean chit to every act of a government; but the point I am trying to make is that how many times are our reactions based on pure logic and deep thought instead of an outside impulse. And as soon as that incident is over, everything goes back to absolute normalcy again. With every terror attack, every disclosure of a new scam, every new Jan Andolan; our nationalistic feelings rise to a maximum, get displayed in social networking sites and then again dies down as fast as it was aroused.

Well, to sum up the proceedings, I would like to say just one thing about my stint here – I don’t know what are the best ways or thoughts that I came across, neither have I figured out what are the best ways to resolve the prevailing chronic issues here, or what are my ‘takeaways’ from this stint, or whether I have made any difference by being out here; but the thing I realize and I care about is that I have changed as a “PERSON”, with a  bit more compassion and understanding of realities.

–       SBI Youth for India fellow Achal Bajpai

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Excerpts from a Fellow’s Diary – People First!

Lakshmi thinks about people first.
Lakshmi thinks about people first.

Lakshmi is a master trainer in coir rope making. She sells her produce in the local market and simultaneously trains other women in the same skill. She has studied only till the 5th standard, but she actively monitors several Self Help Groups and manages their accounts. Lakshmi is striving to earn as much as she can through odd jobs here and there, apart from coir rope making and her role as an animator. I once paid a visit to her house for a case study and we were both going back on a bus to the same place. I was still wondering if I should be paying for her bus fare too but before I could even make a move she had bought tickets for both of us and quite stubbornly refused to accept money for the same. She said I was her guest that day. I was moved. Here was a lady who was saving all that she could for her three girls and when every paise counted, she didn’t think twice before paying for my ticket. Not that the bus fare was much, but if this was to happen in an urban setting, the person would’ve thought twice before he/she paid for the other person. She taught me an important lesson that day, always value people more than money.

 

– SBI YFI Fellow Suhasini Vavilala