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Sadhu, Darpan and a little girl

July 4, 2010

Last week I had gone to a village near Kempty (near Mussourie), to visit a few alternative schools. These schools are different from schools established in other villages.

Children from these schools do not look down upon agriculture, upon what their grandparents used to do. They do not run towards cities leaving no options to come back to their roots. They respect their culture and love the village life. Anyways, let me dwell on that later, in next post. Here I want to talk about 3 incidents that I came to know about during my visit to these schools.

Incident 1

In 2003, one fine day a young Sadhu decided to walk on one of the banks of Ganga. He decided that he would start from Gangotri and walk till the delta and then back from delta to Gangotri. It was a long walk and took him a couple of years. During walk he noticed many things, but at the time of interview he said there was only one thing that he had learnt from what he saw. While walking along the bank of Ganga he crossed many cities as well as many villages.

On both sides of Ganga he did not come across a single village that dumped its waste into the river and not a single city that did not. “I know nothing about development, globalization, economy, GDP etc… but I know that what is happening is definitely not right. I know that if it continues the same way, the demise is close… very close” he said.

Incident 2

It was year 2005. Tej Singh, from Delhi, had gone to Mussourie with his family. Mussourie he saw had become more or less like Delhi. He decided to go to Kempty, a village nearby and spend the weekend trekking on the mountains. Well, the family lost their way in the village and could not find their way back to the guest house. It was 8PM and everyone in the village was already asleep. They knocked on one of the house. An old lady opened the door. She listened to their story and welcomed them inside the house. It was a small hut and her son Darpan and his wife was already asleep. She woke them up and asked them to fetch some firewood, for food had to be cooked for the guest. Within an hour, dal and roti were ready to be served. Tej Singh and his family had food and were given the only mattress in the house to sleep on. Next morning they thanked the family and left for the guest house. They tried to give them some money in return for the favour but were unsuccessful.

It was year 2006. Darpan left his village and went to a city in search for some work. This was the first time he had ventured out of Kempty. It was 10 at night and Darpan lost his way. It was dark and he did not know where to go. For some time he kept sitting near the footpath, staring at the tall residential buildings that stood before him. Then he dared to go inside one of them and ask for help. He went and rang bell of one of the houses on the ground floor. A lady opened the door, listened to Darpan and banged the door at his face. She also told Darpan that she would call police in case he rang the bell again. Darpan had to spend the night on footpath. He had learnt his lesson for good and went back to stay in his village.

Incident 3

A few years ago, sometime in March, a teacher was discussing geography, something about rainfall in the nearby areas in Mussourie. It was the same school I had gone to visit. The children were asked to go back to their parents, grandparents and ask them about the changing conditions and learn about rainfall. Next day the teacher resumed the discussion. She asked the children if they had learnt anything unusual.

One little boy got up and said that his grandfather had tears in his eyes when he asked him about rainfall and showed desire to learn from him. Never before in this village had a child going to ‘School’ asked his grandparents to teach him something. Never before had they not looked at them with pity.

A little girl got up and told that her grandfather says that it would rain heavily this year. Teacher was surprised and asked her the reason. The little girl told that her grandfather had showed her a crow’s nest on a tree. The nest was made deep inside the tree. He told her that because the nest is not made on the top of the tree or on the surface it would rain hard. He also told her that birds are very good at understanding the nature.

That year they say it did rain hard. The little girl was so proud of her wise grandpa. She learnt that though he did not know how to read and write, though he could not speak or understand ‘English’, he was so wise. He was so educated.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Siddharth permalink
    July 19, 2010 12:00

    Beautiful. I can’t agree with you more on this consti. The sadhu’s walk is unfortunately as true as it can get. Even though its an alarming issue, I see the same neglect in people – especially business houses. I wonder how many of us (the so called educated lot) are being made aware of these issues.


    • Consty permalink*
      July 19, 2010 12:12

      I see the so called ‘uneducated’ people caring more about the nature, mother earth, about fellow human beings as compared to all the ‘educated’ people… Do we see Education/ wisdom/ shiksha being even remotely imparted at our schools?


  2. August 5, 2010 18:11

    In the second instance that you mentioned, it may not be as vicious as it seems. Over the years I have stayed in Bangalore for example I have seen many people and families saying the story abt getting lost, not having food, getting mugged. The first 2 instances I believed and bought milk and bread for the entire family but they utterly refused and one family actually shouted saying that they want only money.. now bcoz of my past experience I don’t lend help to a similar family.


    • August 15, 2010 13:10

      No doubt about that Radhika… I know we can ques the second story in many ways.. Yes, fear and insecurity does contribute in whatever small or big way to the existing prob



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