Nature, Culture, Agriculture

In the course of a couple of decades of 'nomadic' travel all over India, we have lived in a fair number states / cities / rural areas.

Places as diverse as rural Nashik, NCR Delhi, beautiful Srinagar, busy Bangalore, suburban Coimbatore, unheard-of Misamari have been our homes at different points of time between the early '90s and now.

So there has been a fair mix of metro-life, small city-life and living in rural locations. And if anyone were interested in asking us to choose between the three, rural living would win hands down.

The common thread that links India's rural areas is a heady combination of Nature-Culture-Agriculture.
Nature is still visible at all times of day and night, not obscured by poisonous air, concrete, steel and glass.
Rich culture is evident too; traditional practices thrive in homes and fields.
And the fields - they speak to you of the bounty that regularly fill and refill India's granaries.

To a safely ensconced but empathetic, concerned armchair activist-individual like me, this scene is idyllic enough. And so for the life of me, i can't imagine why people in government don a blindfold when it comes to the question of preserving and nurturing rural livelihoods.

Our rural areas could do with better local self-management / governance, better recognition of the role of rural livelihoods in the national fabric, and a certain amount of necessary infrastructure (not luxury amenities). With these systems in place, there is no reason why city-dwellers (whose noses are not stuck too far above among the ozone molecules) shouldn't rethink and relocate.
                                     Sane, simple, sustainable solutions stare us in the face,
                                         But the blindfold seems to be firmly held in place!

No amount of pompous proclamations from bullet-proofed ramparts or well-organized political platforms will be able to obscure such realities as these:
- Whether NH 37 or NH 47, the smaller towns and villages are literally bypassed. Take the design of the cross roads at busy junctions under flyovers. Above, vehicles zip past at speeds of over 100, but down below are several blind spots, inaccessible footpaths, gravel strewn unfinished roads, and unregulated growth in number of vehicles.
- The plastic habit, junk foods and wily exploiters have easily reached rural India far faster than potable water, electricity or conscientious administrators.
- Yes, Bharat matches India in haphazard traffic. The more prosperous rural folk care less than two hoots for civic responsibilities, and would easily merge with their thoughtless city brethren.
- Rural India too reels from SWmM - Solid Waste Mis-Management. Directives have reached circle officers from district headquarters to 'identify suitable spots for landfills', not for say 'strict implementation of waste segregation at source and facilitation of recycling centres'.

Rural hai magar shaant hai. In the company of birds and birdsong all day long (we don't mind the owls either), dark enough / deep enough / dense enough 'woods', green fields just yonder, with whole families out working along with the soil, taking care o the land that cares for them... yes, i could stay put, pitch in however i can, and ultimately blend in too.

You can't call Delhi a metro/city any more. It's a monstrosity. And that's where we are headed. :( Again. :( :(

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