India lives in her villages. If the village perishes, India will perish too, her mission to humanity lost. Panchla Siddha is a tiny village in Nagaur district of Rajasthan with agriculture as the mainstay of its economy. Life is simple, in tune with nature, with an age-old culture hidden under a crust of dust and rustic lifestyle.
Values in the Village
The village’s culture is markedly different from the city, because it is governed by cherished values and perennial ideals such as:
At first glance a villager may seem innocent or naive, but his approach is simply free and spontaneous. His expressions are not choked by the trappings of the intellect and calculations of time. While city dwellers seem constantly to seek new and improved material life, the villager perceives life as a wondrous gift, and is nourished by the spirit of contentment and gratefulness.
Visitors will notice that communication and interaction between villagers is an exercise of gesticulation, touching, and some theatre. No matter where the eye roams, there are examples of debate and discussion but all with a non-violent focus of inclusion and openness for everyone – men, women and children alike are expected to be present and offer what they can.
A penny saved is penny earned. Villagers adjust to scarce resources, and spend frugally. Luxurious self-indulgence and the consumptive attitude cannot survive in the village where the needs of the community take precedence over individual ambitions. To meet larger causes, smaller comforts may be postponed or sacrificed. Individuals co-exist, are perpetually interdependent with each other and nature…and the community thrives.
Living by the Yamas
Without being able to explain how or why, villagers live by the five yamas that Patanjali explains in Yoga Sutras:
|YAMA||Right living, ethical rules|
|Asteya||non-stealing, non-coveting, no debt|
|Aparigraha||absence of avarice|
|Brahmacharya||being constantly aware of the universe|
Remain In Tune with NatureThese moral values keep the social fabric of the village intact while urban society emerges and changes around it, demanding growth and progress not in tune with the true nature of man, nor the ecology that must keep evolution in balance. 70% of India’s population lives in villages, however successive governments since Independence haven’t paid due attention to the value of village life, nor its inhabitants’ escalating problems of human rights and infrastructure failures while preferring to affiliate with big businesses (domestic and foreign) that profess loyalty and riches, most of which will never trickle down to the villager. This neglect and callousness has reached alarming proportions and is now threatening to thwart India’s rightful place amid the parliament of nations.Let’s join hands and regenerate Panchla Siddha – make it the village of our dreams. We suggest a three-pronged strategy:
- Wipe out illiteracy
- Train youth to earn their livelihood
- Empower women and elderly with self-managed healthcare
We seek partnership, collaboration, alliance with like-minded individuals and institutions. Perhaps the rewards of association may not manifest in the short-term, but certainly they will instill virtues of selfless service and resolute stamina in all who participate.