Project Description: Select an identifiable group of people (gender, culture, etc.) that you are unfamiliar with and describe that group.
Pauri Garhwal, is a part of the tough Himalayan Range of Mountains in the India. Many rivers surge through the innumerable mountains in this area, carrying melted water of millions of tons of deep-freeze ice, but the village that we are going to visit is utterly water-starved! When we heard the story of their life and living for the first time, it seemed incredible. Can one remain dry under water? No drinking water in the cradle of Himalayas? We had never visited this area inhabited by this strange group of hilly people. We knew that it was a backward district.
What are the Multi Cultural Management problems in the Mountain Region of the Himalayas, like villages in the Backward District of Pauri Garhwal?
Whether backward or forward, the problems and the basis needs of human beings everywhere are mostly the same. Food, clothing and shelter! In this village, the additional problem was water! There may be several such villages in the District. To keep their identity secret, let us name the village X.
We reached the base of the mountain after walking about 10 miles from the nearest bus stop. We preferred to walk than avail the services of animal transport, like mules. Human beings also carried human beings in a palanquin. From the base, we had to climb two miles to reach the village at the top of the mountain. The climb was steep. We were tired and exhausted, by the time we covered half the distance, but we were determined. Our spirits were in tact. The water problem in the village showed en-route. Women and young children carried water jars on their backs; each jar must contain 20 to 30 liters of water. The rubble and mud path walk was dangerous. The village school had the midday meals facility, and to cook those meals the children, instead of studying, carried water to please their teachers!
This area has its own peculiar historical traditions and religious rituals. People are proud of their heritage. The economic conditions are tough, but the people, especially the women, work very hard. The level of their endurance for physical labor is amazing! Traditionally they are simple and shy people, but the ill-boding rewards of the modern materialistic civilization, drug and alcohol, have destroyed the charm of their family life. It is moral doom everywhere.
Customs and traditions:
Superstition and religious faith are interrelated. For every small event, astrologers are consulted. The talk of auspiciousness and inauspiciousness is the common aspect of their day to day life. To fight disease, and to prevent calamities, people rely heavily on tantra practices. To please God, he-buffalos, goats and sheep are sacrificed. They fear the anger of God, and look forward to priests for solutions.
Some small issues have left profound impact on the lives of women. The government-promoted pine tree plantation has adversely affected the growth of grass in the area as the pine needles falling from the trees, prevent the grass-growth. Women have to go to far off hillocks to gather fire wood and fodder. Women suffer from general weakness to various diseases. They have accepted poor health as inevitable after marriage and childbirth. They do hard domestic work, these illnesses notwithstanding! Rather they have no other alternative. Women encounter frequent accidents while fetching water and gathering firewood and fodder, as they walk through the mud paths full rubble. No first-aid facilities are available in the village.
Nevertheless, “Role of Women in the hills has undergone many changes; some of the important reasons are – Male migration, poor agriculture, illiteracy, gender based roles, shrinking natural resource base, outside interventions like Voluntary Agencies.”(Women of Garhwal, 2007)
Conduct research through two or more techniques (i.e., *Interviews [at least 2], surveys, observations, * Literature Search [at least 3 sources].
The main problems in the X villages are:
a) Majority of men in the village are addicted to alcohol; they waste whatever limited resources they have through the earnings of women, to fulfill their vices. Some of them have taken to drugs.
b) Unemployment is the problem with the youth in addition to poverty. They too have taken to alcoholism.
c) Addiction to alcohol has reduced the efficiency and capacity for work of men folk. This has added to the existing miseries of women.
d) Besides alcohol, smoking on intensive scale, abuse of certain substances of cannabis section, is also prevalent in this area.
We came across a very interesting case related to alcoholism in the village. We were taken as guest visitors to the meeting of Village Elder men where justice-giving proceedings were in progress. This is a traditional system of giving justice, and this system is not subject to the rights given to a citizen under the Constitution of the country:
(Observation 1)—During Elections Campaigns for State Assembly, corrupt practices are quite common. Many workers get ‘temporary employment’ and liquor flows and all concerned with the campaigning enjoy this free opportunity provided at the cost of the election candidates of various political parties. This villager did the election campaigning for over a month. He remained ‘high’ most of the time. He became a hard core liquor addict. Elections over, the adventure was over, but the habit had taken hold of him. His wife did the domestic chores to support the family of four children and to pay for the country liquor demand of her husband. Fed up of her husband’s harassment and demands for drink-money, coupled with physical abuse, she complained to the village Elder men.
Here are the proceedings of the justice giving ceremony. The questions of the Elder men and the harassed victim’s demands/answers! Her husband was also a party to the proceedings, but he was in a state of hard intoxication, and therefore, exempted from the grill, on humanitarian grounds!
Q. What is your husband doing?
Q. What is he actually doing the whole day?
A. Thinking about the next drinks. He drinks more and more and has abandoned his work altogether.
Q. What job does he do? He must be doing something.
A. Beating me!
Q. What are his sources of earnings?
A. My earnings!
Q. Now, what do you want us to do?
A. Restore my pre-election husband!
The judgment of the Elder men was quick and simple: They advised the intoxicated man to make efforts to give up drinking as soon as possible!
After the ‘court proceedings’, we interviewed senior among the Elder men, whose age must be around 75, about the overall conditions in the village and what we can do about it. He was ready with his platitude, as if he was waiting to be interviewed with adequate preparations for it. Nevertheless, his feelings were intense and genuine. The summary of his observations is:
(Observation/interview 2)–The gusty wind of change is sweeping the villages. The tempest has uprooted several shade-giving, fruit-bearing trees, unfortunately!
Every face has become the face of party politics. The human face is a thing of the past. The real face is hidden behind the mask. Inequality has stimulated envy, ambition and greed. The gulf is widening between various castes and religious groups. Nobody is thinking of building a bridge. As they talk, they exchange only the briefest of glances. Where is the sense of humor gone? Why there are only sarcastic verbal duals?
Where is the real village-that was?
This water has become smelly, though the pond is full!
Oh, petty politicians. You may carry the day, but you have damaged an era!
Division, sub-division and fragmentation of the land! With no extra land in the village, what will these extra children will do?
Elections bring to the surface the animal in man! In the recent election, carnage was averted in the section of the village inhabited by a particular caste, due to deft handling of the situation by some elders. Human values still hold sway over the village minds to an extent. Something tangible needs to be done urgently, about unfair social conditions and highly noticeable inequalities in wealth, power and privilege. But why politicians adopt a bull-fight culture! Why are we barricading the hearts? Why the camaraderie has begun to disappear from many areas of the village life? Traditional rural culture is fast disappearing before the influence of the onward march of urbanization. The so called world of modern ideas sadly misses the kind of breadth of vision. With all these differences of shades among ourselves in the villages, we have to reach some kind of consensus, some common philosophy of life, so that the happiness is not ebbed out from the village as a whole. We need to to save our villages from this ridiculous power game of bluff and counter bluff both at the national level and village level politics?
And finally, this intoxication!
It is advancing with all the sections of the society, like an avalanche! Wherefore the younger generation is heading for?
Oh, village Goddess! Will you, with your grace, save us from poison of mistrust spreading in to every facet of village life? Bless us to restore mutual trust!
Identify potential areas of work-related conflict, and prescribe an effective management strategy and communication method for effectively managing this issue for your individuals and/or group.
The strategy to secure overall welfare of the community is chalked out thus:
To see that the existing schemes sanctioned by the Government, are implemented properly and honestly! Secondly, the future plans need to be supplemented and be supportive to the already existing facilities.
The potential areas of work-related conflicts are:
1. Community Empowerment Program:
The solution to the problems like water, road, employment and education could be achieved only when community is empowered, by making them aware of their rights, responsibilities and duties. Community needs to be united, drawn together, to fight for their rights. Special emphasis needs to be given to ideological empowerment of women in the area to promote their involvement in the developmental activities and to take stance for their own well-being.
The activities to be promoted for this purpose are:
a) Ideological empowerment of women in particular and community in general.
b) Capacity building
c) Awareness about heir rights and responsibilities.
2. Health and Nutrition.
Statement of the problem:
a) Lack of First-Aid facility
b) Poor consideration at the district hospital.
c) Lack of awareness on general and major health issues.
d) Poor health care of child and mother.
e) Animosity among women.
a) Medical checkup of school going children and treatment of minor ailment. In case of chronic and serious diseases, refer them to the hospital and to see that they get proper treatment.
c) Education regarding personal hygiene and sanitation.
d) Special emphasis on mother and child health. A medical officer/doctor shall be made available on the designated days.
e) Quarterly medical and health checkup camps need to be arranged.
f) Motivating the villagers to avail the health facilities at government hospitals.
g) Ensure that patients are properly attended at the government hospitals and that no illegal fee is charged from them.
3. Safe Drinking water:
Statement of the problem:
a) The Water Source available in this village is about 2 kms vertical downhill. The water from this source is used for all the purposes including drinking but the hygienic maintenance of the source is hardly practiced.
b) For lifting water to the village there is no mechanical method other than lifting it on one’s back in the jars having capacity of 30 to 40 liters, which are often unclean.
c) People are not aware about the dangers of contaminated water and the method of its purification and keeping it fit for drinking.
a) Awareness about dangers of contaminated water and how to keep it fit for drinking will be imparted to the villagers.
b) Community will be motivated, mobilized and educated about the techniques of hygienic maintenance of the water source and hygienic storage of water in the house for drinking purpose.
c) Rainwater harvesting possibilities shall be explored.
Statement of the problem:
a) Teachers do not attend the school regularly.
b) No arrangement for Games and sport
c) Increasing number of dropouts.
d) Absence of tuition or coaching classes for weak students.
e) Ignorance among parents about education.
a) To arrange tuition classes for weak students.
b) Introduce certain games, sport and cultural activities for students in the school to generate interest in them to come to school.
c) Conduct a bridge camp for the dropouts to enable them to join the mainstream education.
d) Most importantly, mobilize the community to ensure that the teachers attend the school and take classes regularly and in an efficient manner. For this, a village education committee shall be formed to oversee and inspect activities in the school.
e) Priority will be given to the education of the girl-child in the family
5. Employment and income generating activities:
Statement of the problem:
a) Due to scarcity of water, activities such as organic farming, cultivation of medicinal herbs, dairy farming etc. have become difficult.
b) The semi educated or uneducated youth has no scope to any type of job.
c) No program such as youth welfare or job oriented, has been introduced in the village nor is the youth is aware of it.
d) No avenue for any vocational training is available nor has it been arranged so far for the village youth community.
e) Women being fully occupied to transport water, firewood, fodder, cow dung and work in the fields have no spare time to get involved in income generating activities, even if such an activity promoting scheme is introduced.
6. Community De-addiction program:
Statement of the problem:
a) This is the biggest of all the problems and is the root cause of the misery in the villages. The youth of the village are badly affected by the habit of intoxication.
a) A total package of drug demand reduction program needs to be implemented. Establishment of a permanent counseling centre, under highly motivated and trained personnel should get priority.
Develop a report of the group, analyze the values and unique cultural factors of the group and apply them to work issues.
Gaura Devi (1925-1991) –This woman is a legendary figure and is actively remembered even now, by the people of Pauri Garhwal, especially the women! She said, “Forest is like our mother’s home. We will defend it-come what may.” Her next issue of fight was against state oppression. Women’s natural environment, that provides fuel, fodder and water are under tremendous stress. She actively campaigned for Chipko movement. (The save tree campaign) Chipko literally means to hug a tree and die with it, if need be!
Bachhendri Pal of this area climbed Mount Everest peak in the year 1984.
The commitment of women is more for their natural resources, and they are gathering courage now to fight against the oppressive policies and corruption in the government agencies .They need all the encouragement and support.
And yet, work-related conflicts continue to plagiarize the life of women in the villages of Pauri Garhwal.
“…some of the legally constituted Van (Forest) Panchayats(Councils) now have all-women councils, it is less easy to sideline the formally elected women. However, as soon as funds are involved, forest staff often devises innovative ways to marginalize the women. The World Bank program subtly transformed the women’s status from rights-holders to ‘beneficiaries’. Their decision-making authority was subject to the “supervision and concurrence” of the forest officer.
In a village in Pauri Garhwal, a man was appointed the vice-president of the Van panchayat even though there is no provision for such a post in the Van panchayat or JFM rules. Funds for the JFM committee were routed through a joint account opened in his and the forest guard’s names. The women, who were already effectively protecting their forest, were exhorted to ‘participate’ in JFM plantation activities; but they were provided little information about the budget or accounts and relegated to the status of wage labor from being decision-makers and managers”
An evaluation study of a recently completed forestry project, funded by the World Bank found that despite the focus on women’s participation, most of the women (and even men) knew little about the terms of the agreement they had supposedly signed with the forest department. Neither were they aware of the accounts for works undertaken in their villages.”(Sarin, 2004)
“The household ladies use herbal drugs for most of the ordinary ailments of infants and children. The herbal drugs are mostly available to them from their kitchen stock, kitchen garden or village fields and from the village bazaar……The use of infusions of the leaves of Ocimum sanctum (Tulsi) for coughs and colds and mild fever, fomentation with the hot leaves of Ricinus communis (Erand) and Aloe barbadensis (Geekuar) for relieving inflammations, swellings of joints and sprains, and many other home remedies are learnt traditionally in the home……. all are well known to Indian elderly housewives.”(Tiwari, n.d.)
Intensive efforts will be made to promote herbal medicines and to cultivate herbs in the villages, by establishing herbal gardens.
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It is no use brooding over the statistics, whether women illiterates are 50% or 60%. Drug addicts are 80% or 85% of the village population! Whether the unemployment is 90% of 93% among the youth of the village!
The problems are gigantic!
When a drug addict is constantly nagged and abused, condemned and ostracized by the
society, he turns into a viler and bitter individual and there is every likelihood of his
becoming a criminal.
The menace has assumed alarming proportions, with no signs of abating on all counts! If it is not checked with extra-serious efforts, the present disastrous situation will be catastrophic in the future Youth are caught in it, and the clutches are too strong. The combustible younger generation is burning itself in the fire of various types of drug addictions. The present efforts made by UNODC, Govt. agencies, medical practitioners and philanthropists in all the related areas, are like blocking a furiously advancing avalanche with the fence of straw. Or trying to reach the moon by kite flying! Or controlling the rising flood waters of the river by filling pitchers! Statistical studies and data are no doubt needed, but it is no use digging the well when the house is on fire. When there is a war, your goal should be to win the war, no matter how you do it. The initiatives should be implemented by honest people on a massive scale. The transformation in all the mentioned areas is required urgently and it is needed to be done simultaneously. It is like driving a vehicle, in the reverse gear—it is slow; has to be done with extra care!
Sarin, Madhu. (2004). Disempowering Forest Management. India Together. Retrieved March 25, 2007, from http://www.indiatogether.org/2004/jul/wom-forest.htm.
Tiwari, Lalit. (n.d). Traditional Himalayan Medicine System and its Mateia Medica. Infinity Foundation. Retrieved March 27, 2007, from http://www.infinityfoundation.com/mandala/t_es/t_es_tiwar_medica_frameset.htm.
Women of Garhwal. (2007). Uttaranchal Worldwide. Retrieved March 27, 2007, from http://www.uttaranchal.org.uk/uww_wog.php.