Being from Rural India, I have always thought that development means building infrastructure and skills among people. This perception was strongly challenged during this Dialogue.
I always felt proud to get an education from outside of my village and step outside of my homeland to pursue higher education and work in corporate sector, and thought about the girls who didn’t get this chance as being not given that opportunity/ seriously missed some golden opportunity; but I now feel confused or being used in some conspiracy.
Kritika Kedia, Teach for India Fellow
We tend to make changes and drastic shifts in lives of people with our limited understanding. It is the concept of superiority that has led the urban world ‘help’ the rural people develop in a way we think is the only way to live life.
It is necessary to take in all the perspectives and think about them, rather than merely considering the ones that are served to you.
The purpose of life of any particular community, their needs, geographical conditions and culture should also be considered while undertaking development. It is also not necessary to change their lives to make them fit in the idea of urban world. There is no single way in which life can be lived.
There are a lot of questions that this dialogue has ignited to which there cannot be a single answer. But what the workshop developed was an approach to keep questioning, reflecting and thinking.
Disha Patwa, Student at Nirma University, Gujarat
I came here with very vague idea about the Dialogue through website. But after the completion of six days, I feel I have not just understood the idea of rural development but also the method or way of self-reflection of various aspect of life.
The dialogue has helped me to realize who I am, where I actually belong to and has made me to rethink of what I would want my future to be like.
It has helped me to understand the importance of acceptance- towards people and surroundings. It has helped me to rethink the basic purpose of my life and the primary and basic needs of my life. These six days have been greatly influential.
Sakshi madan, Student at Indraprastha University, Delhi
After this beautiful workshop on Rural Development, I want to feel one with nature, in fact, I do!
I think I would want to bring out an initiative of change by trying to make more self-reliant communities, where satisfaction or peace is the aim.
Anchal Khulbe, Student at Ambedkar University, Delhi
It's been almost one month since Deer Park and unlike most of my experiences, this one stays in heart. I believe all the other time I was looking outward for answers but totally neglecting inward. But at Deer Park, I was looking where I was avoiding all these times. One dialogue a Chinese lady I met there told me is still ringing in my ears, "To change the world, first change yourself; and the world will follow"
As for the program and the contents, it gave me a perspective that, actually I was quite near to but didn't really comprehend a full picture. Since this workshop, every news I read, every snippet of information I get I put them through the microscope of how it affects the rural and less privileged people. The program also urged me to take online courses on "History of 1700s" and even a course on "Buddhism and Modern Psychology". For once, I have a sincere desire to learn about Rural Development and is willing to follow any path that would take me there and not for degrees or certificates.
There has been a marked difference in the way I view things now and even though not fully, I am at a good head space now. And I have to thank the dialogue for this improvement I am have felt in my personal life.
Albert Bonnie, Student at NIT Calicut
Overall what I realized is that every coin has two sides. Though I had heard this statement before, I got to learn the actual meaning of it here in this workshop.
What our rural areas are facing today is the impact of hundreds of years of exploitation. It cannot be changed abruptly as doing that will be wrong too. But knowing what we are actually doing will make us aware about our action and that may lead us to changes, overall as community and as a whole country.
Vedika Shrivastav, Student at Indraprastha University, Delhi
There is a super structure that we are captured in and it is especially disastrous for rural communities. We need to rethink the superstructure, by rethinking we will be able to come out of it and design a way of life that really works at individual and community level.
It also made me see how villages are developed in ways that were earlier unknown to me.
Tanuj Kalia, Student at Ambedkar University, Delhi, Founder- lawctopus.com