13th Sept 08:
…We first visited the nearby hamlet of Karadimoole, where the women received us in large numbers. We spoke on RTI, NREGA and PDS. Everywhere we find that people immediately relate to PDS. PDS by itself is another wonderful scheme of the government but is one of the most corrupt too. This scheme possibly touches every family in rural India. Corruption is so rampant and so taken for granted in this scheme, that no villager is willing to raise his voice against it. Most of them do not even know what their entitlements are, the costs that they need to pay for the food grains and how the PDS shops operate. The PDS is another example of how an extraordinary scheme can be subverted by a corrupt and heartless system.
After lunch at Santhemarahalli, we visited the newly built Community Health Center there. To my pleasant surprise, I found the doctor still working without lunch at 3 p.m. We have all got so used to people not working in the Govt system, that we are surprised and taken aback when we find someone actually working.
14th Sept 08:
The walk has been a great eye opener to me. I am now realizing that it is just not physical strength that one needs to take on such challenging endeavors. One also needs an enormous amount of emotional and intellectual strength to do such things. I also realized that I found myself more emotionally and intellectually drained because what I saw and what I thought that I needed to do were not in sync with my value systems….One also feels so impotent and helpless that even after 61 years of independence, we have not been able to solve simple requirements of our citizens. We are still grappling with basic human needs while the State is negotiating the nuclear deal and other issues. We seem to want to land on the moon while we have just 8% sanitation coverage in our villages.
15th Sept 08:
… The lunch at the Gram Panchayath office at Maddur village left us concerned. We were worried that the GP secretary may have sponsored the lunch from ill-gotten gains. We decided that we would be more discerning in the future and try to ascertain to the extent possible the source of our sponsorships.
… We were happy to hear from the locals that there was a lot of interest, enthusiasm and energy generated in the villages that we had hitherto visited. We need to sustain this momentum and follow up on the gains…
16th Sept 08:
The walk is progressing extremely well. We traveled through a couple of villages before reaching Kollegal. The response here has been overwhelming. I am also happy that I have been able to shake off the lethargy and boredom of the routine that I had built for myself over the last two decades.