Self-Reliance

Chinnathambi, Arunachalam and Thenan just called us to share some honey which they had extracted from a hive under some rocks, whilst clearing part of our land. Talking to them, looking at how they function, I wonder about their lives and the lives of the next generation of villagers which seem to be headed in a “townu” direction.

They are responsible for every facet of their lives: We seem to have passed on the responsibility for many (important) things to institutions.
They build their own houses: We delegate that to architects, contractors, masons and “coolie aal”.
Their babies grow up in their grandparents’ laps: Ours, increasingly, go to creches
They educate their kids: We pass that work on to schools.
They grow their own food, and have various remedies for many common ailments: We buy food (and, increasingly nowadays precooked or semi-cooked food), and pass the responsibility of our health onto hospitals.
They are born at home and die at home. Increasingly many people in towns are born and die in hospitals.

But, now, many of the next generation, are passing on the responsibilities:
From their panchayats to the police station and the courts
From their medicine men to the hospitals
From their families to the hired mason and carpenter
From themselves to the government schools.

Increasingly youngsters are getting alienated from their culture. They are moving from a culture of self-reliance to a culture based on money.

If, like us, they “sublet” the important work of Roti Kapda aur Makaan, what will occupy them? What occupies us?

One thing that I need to learn is to extract honey from a hive, for the next lot of workers I hire may not be able to do that!

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4 Responses to “Self-Reliance”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    A question inspired by your requiem for Ramasamy – how well has micro-finance (a la Muhammad Yunus, of Grameen Bank fame) penetrated into your neck of the woods? And do you think it is an effective cure for the “self-reliance” issue? – Anupam

  2. sunder and sonati Says:

    Not much by way of Micro Finance in these parts.

    The Nationalised Bank makes it difficult by its sheer bureaucracy and “sahibness” for the villagers to use its services.

    They find it easier to approach the friendly neighbourhood moneylender, who speaks their own language.

    Their migration to the Money Economy is anyway a movement away from self-reliance

  3. meeta Says:

    Thats really true. In Kaladera, the village in Rajasthan which is part time home for us, when someone wants a new blouse- they sit at the machine and stitch it. I run around looking for something already made, or a tailor. These are all day to things- what about giving up your feeling of being connected to life to organised religion, or the need for entertainment to tv or the net. Most people are busy saving time, passing on the work to some specialist but what happens to the time that’s saved. Where does it go…

  4. Sridevi (now aka Sri) Says:

    Speaking of “self-reliance”, we decided to have a home birth and heard from a lot of naysayers about how brave a move that was.
    Having one’s child be born at home is brave??? Relying on one’s own healthy body is brave?
    One sees so many people put too much faith in hospitals (where infections are extensive), and drugs (that almost always have side effects). I say they are the “brave” ones.
    Having Omar at home was the best thing we’ve ever done.

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