Today we were joined by Mr.Jayaram, CEO of Zilla Panchayath, Chamarajanagar and Mr.D.R.Patil, former MLA of Gadag. The discussion with Mr.Jayaram on the functioning of the bureaucracy and administrative system in India was a real eye opener. Mr.Patil and his friend (an ex-MLA from Bagalkot) wished to organize similar walks in their areas.
We reached a village called Mangala, where we were confronted with a defiance from the men in the village, which was a reaction to a small but tricky local political issue. After half an hour of coaxing and negotiations, they relented and allowed us in. The team performed a street play, sung a few songs and i interacted with the villagers.
…The villages of India are today plagued by the evil of local politics. Decentralization does not seem to have happened in the field of development as much as in politicking and corruption. People at the local level have developed large political egos and this usually comes in the way of contextual development.
…Politics in rural India is dominated and controlled by men. Despite all the empowerment processes that have been initiated in various ways for the women, men still control the social, political and economic direction of a village. One has to factor this in when thinking about working in a village. SHGs have added more colour and variety to this spectrum but are still a long way in changing the power structures. Reservation has definitely altered power structures, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively.