Parenting the land
Even the prime minister could not take his eyes off Jayapur village in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh. The village which has now been adopted by the PM under his Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana scheme had met with a similar fate when the Rashtriya Swayamasevak Sangh (RSS) decided to plant trees, promote animal husbandry and promote children welfare in 2002. Incidentally, the village does not have even a single Muslim family and the PM must prepare himself if unceremonious questions are targeted at him by the media in absence of any worthy opposition. It is another matter that the RSS functionaries are reportedly worried that there might be skirmishes if the MP’s decide to adopt the villages that have already been under the RSS purview for more than 10 years now. While it is a good initiative on the PM’s part to help develop Indian villages and take them on to the path of modernity, it will be equally diabolical if the MP’s decide to adopt villages which are already replete with better if not good civic, educational and administrative facilities. The government’s thrust may be on modernity and development but the scheme is nothing more than a political tool to garner votes from the usually naïve rural voters who take into account face value development to cast their votes. While providing basic amenities is important, it is of equal significance that the Panchayati Raj system is strengthened and people who can actually bring about lasting change in the overall orientation of the village should be made accountable. Panchayat elections need to fought on issues which are local and a prudent outlook must be considered when votes are cast. Instead of promising them phenomenal rates of growth and metamorphosing the villages into urban hubs, the government as also the MP’s should make voters understand that real change will only happen when they know of their rights and responsibilities.