Development projects in Northern India

Today's problems, visions for tomorrow

Research Paper (postgraduate), 2005

99 Pages, Grade: sehr gut


Table of Contents

1. Introduction
1.1. Questions
1.2. Outline of the Paper

2. Introducing the Circumstances
2.1. The state of development in India
2.1.1. Social Workers in India
2.2. Preparations & Settings
2.2.1. Society for the Promotion of Himalayan Indigenous Activities
2.2.2. Society for Agro-Industrial Education in India

3. The course of the research
3.1. The Course of the Research and my own role
3.1.1. Society for the Promotion of Himalayan Indigenous Activities
3.1.2. Society for Agro-Industrial Education
3.2. Most important Informants
3.2.1. Society for the Promotion of Himalayan Indigenous Activities
3.2.2. Society for Agro-Industrial-Education

4. Methods
4.1. Choosing the Methods & Limitations
4.2. Planning and Taking Notes
4.3. Interviews
4.4. Informal versus Semi-Structured Interviews
4.5. Language and Participant Observation
4.6. My own role
4.7. Coming back home
4.8. Data Analysis

5. Results
5.1. Introduction
5.1.1. The Van Gujjar
5.1.2. In Amarpurkashi
5.2. The Van Gujjar and Amarpurkashi's villagers in comparison
5.2.1. The economic situation The Van Gujjar: Milk In Amarpurkashi: Agriculture
5.2.2. Population Growth The Van Gujjar In Amarpurkashi
5.2.3. The role of the women The Van Gujjar In Amarpurkashi
5.2.4. Health Care The Van Gujjar In Amarpurkashi
5.2.5. Education and Opportunities The Van Gujjar In Amarpurkashi
5.2.6. Politics and Bureaucrats The Van Gujjar In Amarpurkashi
5.2.7. New Income Opportunities & Environmental Protection The Van Gujjar In Amarpurkashi
5.2.8. Development Aid Donor Conditions Projects
5.3. Responsibilities
5.3.1. The Van Gujjar
5.3.2. In Amarpurkashi
5.4. Priorities of the Locals
5.4.1. The Van Gujjar
5.4.2. In Amarpurkashi
5.5. Strategies of the visited NGOs
5.5.1. Society for the Promotion of Himalayan Indigenous Activities Participation
5.5.2. Society for Agro-Industrial Education Education: Rural Resource Management International Dialogue

6. End
6.1. The Main Results
6.2. Personal Conclusion

7. Bibliography

Thanks to

My Parents, who taught me sympathy,

love and respect for my fellow human beings

Kai, for moral support

All my informants, especially:

Manto & the Sophia-Team

Pushpa Singh

Mukat Singh & the APK-Team

Students and Teachers of Amarpurkashi

Shin, Samta, Lizzie

Wolfgang Sachs & Vandana Shiva

and most of all:

to my sister Shantala who accompanied and advised me

We really don´t learn anything from our experience.

We only learn from reflecting on our experience.

- Robert Sinclair -

1. Introduction

During my Studies of Social and Cultural Anthropology - with the Minors Religious Studies and Environmental Protection - I was mainly preoccupied with the following subjects: Development, Globalisation and Social Movements. I was especially keen to learn about the situation of the poorer sections of society, e.g. in India, the country in which my father was born. I want to know, which interests and structures lead to the detriment of large parts of society, who is "responsible" and where to find solutions. I try to look at the "big picture" as well as to understand local situations.

In the international development literature it is emphasized that those who are supposed to benefit from development projects should participate in the process. (Cohen & Dannhaeuser 2002: xvi). Many anthropologists talk about the value of local knowledge, some even say the locals themselves are the real development experts for "Culturally Sustainable Development" (e.g. Clark 2002: 135). In the Fifties to Seventies, in contrast, the experts considered themselves to have the solutions and the locals were regarded as part of the problem (Chambers 1998: xiii). But the Top-Down approach of those days did not seem to help the disadvantaged and critics promoted participatory projects as leading to a more democratic form of development (Woost 2002: 107). At the same time Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working in development became more professional. Some experimented with new forms of cooperation. Subsequently, the value of local knowledge and indigenous methods, for example for the management of natural resources, were given more attention in the official discourse. Social and ecological dimensions of development became more important (Shepherd 1998: 89). In his book "Putting people first: Sociological Variables in Rural Development" Cernea, the first Social Scientist in the World Bank, demanded to give greater attention to social and cultural variables in development projects. For this end, he wanted to implement the research methods of anthropology and sociology in planning and ongoing evaluation of projects. (Krummacher 2004:11). Participation has become a central theme in development agencies. It is the new orthodoxy of the World Bank and is demanded in more and more countries and sectors. (Chambers 1998: xiii).

Experts estimate that there are more than 200.000 NGOs in India, in which people of different backgrounds and political ideals work with disadvantaged groups. (Raina 2004: S.8). They know local problems and have developed strategies to overcome them, partly in cooperation with the locals. That is why I think their experiences are important to analyse for furthering the ideal and methods of participatory sustainable development. In my research, I wanted to learn about the problems disadvantaged groups in India have to cope with. And I wanted to learn how NGOs attempt to solve these problems. I was especially interested in three subject areas: 1) the situation of the indigenous population, seventy million people, 2) the effects of globalisation on the poor, 3) the situation of the rural communities. In India, like in many parts of the world, farmers themselves are those who are most likely to suffer from malnutrition. (Hörig, 1995: S. 31-57).

During my stay in India, I did research for five weeks in the village Amarpurkashi with the "Society for Agro-Industrial Education in India". The society is mainly active in the area of education with several schools and a college. Besides they organize health camps and help the locals to find new income opportunities ( Also, I spent ten days with the NGO "Sophia" (Society for the Promotion of Himalayan Indigenous Activities), which works with the indigenous Van Gujjar, who live nomadically in the Shivalik forests, the foothills of the Himalaya. ( Finally, to learn more about globalisation, I took part in the one-week symposium "Another World is under Construction: Towards Sustainable Forms of Prosperity" organised by the NGO "Bija Vidyapeeth", which is headed by the environmental activist Vandana Shiva. This research report will be about my experiences and findings in the first two projects.

1.1. Questions

1. Which problems are most urgent for the disadvantaged groups? What solutions do they and the NGO offer?
2. Who is responsible for these problems? Who could, or should, solve them? How?
3. What future would people like to see for their children, their community, their country?

I wanted to question the NGO workers and locals, the Van Gujjar and inhabitants of Amarpurkashi. For every question I made a list of different aspects and of methods I wanted to use as shown in the following tables.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

1.2. Outline of the Paper

In the first chapter, I explain why I chose my topic and introduce the questions, that I wanted to answer through my fieldwork. In the following chapter, I describe the developmental situation in India and introduce the two projects, in which I did my research. In the third chapter, I discuss the course of the research and introduce the most important informants and interview partners. In the following chapter, I introduce the methodology I used and how it worked. I also reflect on my own role, on coming back home and on analysing the data. In the fifth chapter, I discuss the results of my research. After a general introduction to the situations of the Van Gujjar and the inhabitants of Amarpurkashi, I introduce the answers to the question about local problems. This part is divided into different subject areas which are relevant to both fields, in order to highlight problems the two communities have in common as well as to show the differences. First I talk about income, after that about population growth, the role of the women, health, education and opportunities, politicians and bureaucrats, new income opportunities, environmental protection and problems of developmental cooperation. In the following part, I discuss responsibilities and priorities of the locals. Finally, I introduce the philosophies and strategies of the NGOs I worked with, certain interesting projects and evaluate the work. After that follows

the conclusion, in which I summarize the most important findings and draw a personal conclusion.

2. Introducing the Circumstances

Before I started to look for development projects to visit in India, I read about the state of development, the situation of disadvantaged groups and social organisations in India.

2.1. The state of development in India

Since Independence in 1947 the Indian government prioritised the fight against poverty in each Five Year Plan. Between 1951 and 1996 the annual income per person has doubled, and the production of food has grown fourfold. The life expectancy has also doubled, the rate of infantile death has fallen by fifty percent.

But 36 percent of the Indian population still live in poverty, that means they cannot afford the food they need on a daily base. That figure is 20 percent less than in 1974, but since the population has grown so rapidly, the absolute number of the poor has actually increased. More than half the children under four years of age (approximately 60 million) are malnourished, especially girls. Between 1951 and 1995 the number of those who can read has tripled, but half of all Indians are still illiterate, especially women.

After Independence, the government tried much harder to raise the level of production than to achieve a more equal distribution of wealth. State-owned companies and industry were supported, but small-scale industries and companies, in which the poor work, were not given equal importance. The green revolution was successful in achieving higher yields, but only those peasants benefitted who had enough money to invest in the costly equipment. New health centres and educational facilities were built, but mostly in cities, not reaching the majority of the poor living in villages. There was more investment into higher educational facilities, less in primary schools (Kumar, 1997: 6). The Census of 2001 states that 27 percent of the rural inhabitants do not have access to safe drinking water or roads even now (Mr. Pati, 10.10.). Developmental politics were centrally planned and managed, local village institutions were not consulted. The inequalities that have been sustained or even worsened by these policies are a major problem for India today.

The Indian government defines poverty on a monetary scale. Poor are those who cannot afford to buy the food they need on a daily base. This one-sided definition of poverty makes it more difficult to focus on other important dimensions of poverty: child labour, prostitution, illiteracy, environmental destruction, discrimination because of caste or gender. The 'positive discrimination' for disadvantaged groups ('Scheduled Castes and Tribes') has not had a major positive impact yet. The poor themselves emphasize the importance of a multidimensional view of their situation. Their most important wishes are: a good education for their children, health care, a safe environment and the reduction of exploitation and discrimination. (Kumar, 1997: 6).

There are considerable differences in the state of development in the different regions. In spite of a rather slow growth compared with other states, Kerala has for example invested much more in basic facilities as named above. With impressive results: the life expectancy of women is 74 years, 20 years more than in Uttar Pradesh. Less than fifteen percent of the grown-up women cannot read and write and the fertility rate is only two percent (four percent in other states). This is why the absolute number of the poor is also declining. In 1994 there were only half as many poor in Kerala as in 1974 (Kumar, 1997: 1-8).

As in many other parts of the world most of the Indian poor live in rural areas. In 1995 seventy percent of all Indians worked in the agricultural sector which was responsible for forty percent of the Gross National Product. The peasants are poor because the ownership of agricultural land is very unequal. 50 percent of the village inhabitants do not own land and approximately five million peasants work for years without being paid, because they are indebted. In the fifties and sixties, the government tried to redistribute the land, but the attempt failed, because most landlords only gave land to relatives and friends. (Hörig, 1995: 31-57).

Most of those who suffer from hunger or malnutrition are peasants. The British colonial government supported monocultures and big plantations which led to the downfall of the formerly integrated agriculture. Small peasants, mostly from lower castes, lost their land. The green revolution has been beneficial only for the wealthy. Lots of land is today of bad quality because of overuse. (Hörig 1995: 61-65).

When there is a scarcity of food because of bad harvests, the prices rise dramatically so that the peasants themselves cannot afford them any more. That is why until recently the Indian government kept their own stocks and regulated the prices. According to Vandana Shiva, an environmental activist, this kind of regulation has been forbidden by the World Bank as an illegitimate subsidy. Today 65 million tons of wheat 'pseudo-surplus' are rotting away while 300 million Indians are starving. (Shiva 2003). Others, like Sharad Joshi, head of the peasants union of the state of Maharashtra, defend the liberalisation: "Prices are artificially kept low because exports are only permitted up to a certain level. The government does not solve problems, it is itself the main problem", (Hörig 1995: 56). But a study by the United Nations Development Programme UNDP dated 1994 also comes to the conclusion that the liberalisation of the Indian economy and the reduction of state subsidies has worsened the situation of the poor and reduced work opportunities. More than ever before India is subject to the insecurities of the world economy. (Hörig 1995: 34).

A second group that is in a difficult situation consists of the 70 million Adivasis, the biggest indigenous population in the world. They live in areas that others call wilderness, for example in the Rajaji National Park in the foothills of the Himalayas. Their homes are being destroyed by mining, dams and industry or they are declared National Parks as the West defines them: where people are not permitted to live. Many of the Adivasis are today said to be thieves who destroy the forest.

Every year 1.5 million hectares of forest are lost. This leads to floods, erosion and draught in the valleys, because the forest is lost as a reservoir that holds water on the slopes of the mountains. The main reason for the destruction of the forests are state development projects and cutting of trees for agricultural land to feed India's fast-growing population. Natural forests are also replaced by commercial monocultures of teak or eucalyptus. For the displaced Adivasi, who have their own religion, there is no place and little sympathy in the Indian caste system, so that they have to fight for their survival in city slums or as agricultural day labourers. (Hörig 1995: 84-97).

2.1.1. Social Workers in India

Following Gandhi’s example, many voluntary organisations were founded in the Seventies. Professionals moved from the cities to the countryside and worked with local communities in different fields such as education, health and hygiene, water and rural development. In the eighties the Indian government decided they could be useful as "service providers" for rural development and began to support projects financially. Also money was given to them by foreign donors, especially since the decentralization of developmental aid after the end of the Cold War period. Thus many social organisations were found and became well equipped. Today there are estimated to be more than 200,000.

2.2. Preparations & Settings

Besides reading about the situation in India and communicating with the development projects, I took part in an intensive three weeks Hindi course to refresh the knowledge I acquired while staying in India in 1999 with relatives for six months. In the projects I visited in Northern India, Hindi is understood.

2.2.1. Society for the Promotion of Himalayan Indigenous Activities

In one of my anthropological classes about the Himalaya region, I wrote an essay about the Chipko Movement. That’s how I learned about the conflict between the traditional use of the forest by locals who are dependent upon the forest, commercial utilization and environmental protection while the population is growing. For my research, I wanted to work with an NGO that tackles this problem and I started to research my topic on the Internet. There I found several articles about the Van Gujjar who live in the Rajaji National Park and a NGO that works with them, the "Society for the Promotion of Himalayan Indigenous Activities", Sophia in short. Their website had many useful details. I contacted Praveen Kaushal, the head of Sophia, who is often called "Manto" and we communicated via email. Besides that, I tried to find additional information about the Van Gujjar. The Van Gujjar are indigenous, nomadic Muslims. In winter, they live in the Shivalik forests, the foothills of the Himalaya, in summer they migrate to higher regions. They have buffaloes, whose milk they sell. They are dependent on the milk prize, because they do not have agriculture. Because their settlements are far away from roads, their access to health and educational facilities is severely hampered.

The NGO "Sophia" was founded in 1996. The founder, Praveen Kaushal had worked for the much larger NGO Rlek ("Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra") before, which is headed by his father. Sophia works exclusively with the Van Gujjar who live in and around the Rajaji National Park. In 1996, they started the programme "Self Help Milk Marketing", which works like a cooperative to ensure the Van Gujjar fair prizes for their milk. Before that, they were heavily exploited by middlemen.

In 2001, the NGO made an evaluation of the health situation of the Van Gujjar. Following that, they held several health camps and established women's groups in which the women save money and talk about health problems. Some of the women were chosen by the others to be trained as Para Health Workers / Birth Attendants.

In 2004, the NGO has started a new project. Through a participatory process, the NGO wants to make a plan with the Van Gujjar, in which they as a group prioritize their problems and work out strategies on how to solve them in the long term. The focus is on empowering the Van Gujjar so that they will be able to take up negotiations with the government themselves to argue for better access to health care centres and educational facilities.

2.2.2. Society for Agro-Industrial Education in India

The "Society for Agro-Industrial Education in India" has been founded by Mukat (commonly known as Babuji) and Jeanice (commonly known as Jyoti) Singh in the small village of Amarpurkashi (1700 inhabitants) in the state Uttar Pradesh. The focus of the NGO was on teaching in the beginning. When there was a boom in the cultivation of sugar cane and the prizes paid by the mill owners dropped dramatically after just one year, Babuji helped the farmers to organize protests. Because of that, there were several court charges against him and he had to leave India for five years. In 1984 Babuji returned. Since then, health programmes have been organized and a clinic for mothers and children has been built up. Also, a school and a college were established. Today the founder, Babuji, concentrates his efforts primarily on the College course he developed: "Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Resource Management". The focus is on rural development and on creating new income opportunities.

I found this NGO on the Internet as well and applied for participation in the programme run by "Indian Volunteers for Community Service", IVCS in short. To prepare for my stay I read information on the situation of Indian villages in general. From the 15thof September until the 16thof October, nearly five weeks, I was a "Project Visitor" in Amarpurkashi.

3. The course of the research

3.1. The course of the research and my own role

Accompanied by my younger sister, Shantala, I was in India from the end of July until mid-December 2004. Shantala wanted to explore India to learn more about her origins, as I had also done after finishing school in 1999. We decided to travel together. Being of Indian origin and having witnessed material poverty as compared to my own situation as well as the warmth of the Indian people, I have always been preoccupied with two questions. The first is: What are the reasons that some countries and some people are poor and others are wealthy. I have always felt that I have been especially lucky in my life, having been given countless opportunities and never failing support by my parents, as well as teachers, friends and institutions such as my school and the foundation that provides my scholarship. I know that many people have helped me to become succesful – and that many other people never receive the help nor the opportunities they deserve. The second question that is of interest to me is: Why is it, that notwithstanding material scarcity, there seems to be so much happiness, strength and warmth in the Indian people I met. This is how I came to study Social and Cultural Anthropology and these questions have always accompanied me. While in India, my sister took pictures to add to her application for a university course on Visual Communication. With short breaks, the research took part from the mid-August to the end of October. During the rest of the time, we visited relatives and friends in Delhi and Bombay, travelled in the Himalayas, Rajasthan and Southern India and spend time with my "Grandguru" Sangeeta Dash, of the classical Indian dance Odissi in Pondicherry. While travelling I asked many people we met about their income and living situation and general developmental topics and I wrote a diary.

3.1.1. Society for the Promotion of Himalayan Indigenous Activities

We visited the NGO "Sophia" between the 21stand the 31stof August. While staying in the office of the organisation, I interviewed the three field workers, the office worker and the founder, took part in the employee's conference, read articles, evaluations, project proposals and research accounts of former visitors. Twice we made day excursions to close-by settlements of the Van Gujjar, who had not travelled to the summer camps. One day, we accompanied the van of the Milk Marketing Programme.

When we arrived on the morning of the 21st, Manto picked us up and took us to his home, where he lives with his wife Jaya, his sons aged five and seven and his mother. We were supposed to sleep in the office, where the office worker Reena and her older sister, field worker Beena, live. They have a room for guests, because they are sometimes visited by Swedish students. Pernille Gooch from Sweden has written her Ph.D. paper on the Van Gujjar in 1998. Manto was her assistant. Now some of her students occasionally come to do research here. But the first night, we stayed at Manto's, because the girls had gone away for the weekend.

We immediately started talking about the Van Gujjar. Manto was very open and friendly, but sometimes a bit shy, e.g. he asked me to stop taking notes, because it made him nervous. On the next day, Sunday, I became ill. On Monday I was well enough to go to the office, even though still a bit shaky. In the office we first got to know Reena, who was also shy in the beginning. She had just started attending an English course. After a while she relaxed and started treating us "like sisters". She said that she could be more free with us than with other visitors, because we were also Indians. People often told us that they felt we were “just like Indians” and were particularly helpful. We wore Indian Salvaar Kameez, tried to behave in a culturally acceptable way and I spoke Hindi. But being a foreigner could also be of advantage: When Manto, Shantala and I talked about the sex education of the Van Gujjar, he said he was not sure how to treat us; could he talk openly about the subject as with other foreigners or were we shy about the subject, like Indian women might be. So in this case, I was able to benefit from the advantages of both roles.

While in the office, I talked to Manto and Reena about the Van Gujjar, and read documents about the new participatory project. We also visited the organisation Rlek, in which Manto and some of the other Sophia’s employees had worked before Sophia was founded. Shantala designed a brochure about Sophia’s work for donors and other people who are interested in the work.

The next day, we visited one of the Van Gujjar settlements in Mohan, accompanied by the field worker Pramod and the field coordinator Nareendra. We visited three huts, "dehras", and talked to the Van Gujjar about their problems. Manto instructed us to tell the Van Gujjar that we were both married and no one in our family drank or smoke. The Van Gujjar are rather strict in this regard. In the evening we moved to the office and I could type down my notes.

On the 25thand 26th we stayed in the office with Manto and Reena and I had time to work on my notes, read more documents and ask questions. On the following day we visited a Van Gujjar settlement in Timli, again accompanied by Nareendra and Pramod. On the 28th, there was an employee's conference. That day Beena and Nazim returned from their field trip to the summer camps in the mountains. They told us more about the first phase of the participatory process. We could have accompanied them, if I had not fallen sick, but I had been worried that we were physically not fit enough for the excursion. The settlements in the mountains are far from any street and it takes a day's walk to reach them.

It is important to realize that I talked only to Van Gujjar who do not migrate anymore. The 29thwas again a Sunday and we made an excursion with Beena and Reena to the Shantala Devi Temple. On the 30thwe accompanied the van of the Milk Marketing Cooperative. On the 31stwe said goodbye, gave a donation to the project and left. A few days afterwards, Manto told us on the phone, that they had been granted donor's support for another three years.

3.1.2. Society for Agro-Industrial Education

In the "Society for Agro-Industrial Education in India" the day of the "Project Visitors" (PVs) who took part in the programme run by "IVCS - Indian Volunteers for Community Service" began with morning yoga. After breakfast most of the seven PVs went to the primary school or to the middle school where they taught English. I visited the classes of the students of the Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Resource Management" (PGPGRRM) for a few days. After lunch it got very hot and everyone took rest. In the afternoon we had tea and afterwards a discussion with the project founder that lasted usually around two hours. We discussed such diverse subjects as development, education, Yoga, Meditation and Hinduism. I also visited two other schools, discussed with journalists, the local "Member of the Legislative Assembly" (MLA), the police and the former Pradhan, the head of the village. We also accompanied the PGRRM-students to an NGO workshop in Lucknow, where I had the chance to learn more about the Indian development situation. Visiting the PGRRM-courses in the mornings soon became difficult because of my limited knowledge of Hindi. So instead, I sat in the library of the college in the mornings, where I tried to read local papers, the project's "International Journal for Rural Studies" (IJRS) and work on my notes. But that was difficult, because there were often students in the library that wanted to talk to me. This gave me countless opportunities for informal discussions about the topic development. Other important informants were the project employees and their children who lived on the campus. The college teachers were also very interested in discussions.

I had little contact with villagers that were not involved with project work, which bothered me, but in the end I decided to concentrate on talking to students and project employees which were easy to approach. They were mostly from the area, but some of them had not known the project for a long time. It was also very helpful to exchange views with the other PVs to verify, sort out and enrich my ideas about the project.

3.2. Main Informants

3.2.1. Society for the Promotion of Himalayan Indigenous Activities

Manto s full name is Praveen Kaushal. His father is the head of the big and well-known NGO "Rural Ligitation and Entitlement Kendra" (RLEK). While Manto was with Rlek, he worked on a programme of informal education for the Van Gujjar that received a Unesco-Prize and he worked on winning the right to vote for the Van Gujjar. He also worked for the United Nations and assissted the Swedish Social Anthropologist Pernille Gooch three years with her Ph.D. research about the Van Gujjar’s situation. It was published in 1998 by the Department of Sociology of the University of Lund under the title "At the tail of the buffalo - Van Gujjar pastoralists between the forest and the world arena". Pernille and Manto lived one and a half years with the Van Gujjar. In 1996 Manto left Rlek and founded Sophia. Manto is very open, caring and helpful, towards his guests as well as towards his employees. Some of them followed him when he left Rlek, even though they earn less than half their former wage at Sophia. Manto discusses strength and weakness, even of his own work, openly and is keen to know other opinions. I was very impressed with the way his organisation is run.

Reena Chetri is the youngest employee. She is the office worker, lives in the office and is learning English.

Beena Chetri is Reenas elder sister. She is a field worker with Sophia and is teamed up with Nazim since three months. In winter, they work in Mohan and in summer in the mountains. Reena is more quiet than her younger sister, but very firm in her judgement. She also worked with Rlek before.

Nazim Ali is a Gujjar from a village that borders on the forest. He is not a Van Gujjar, because they live in the forest itself. He is sometimes a little shy and it is hard for him to be totally neutral towards the Van Gujjar because he knows them since he was eleven years old and for them he is a group member. Sometimes they try to draw him into their arguments among each other. On the other hand, the Van Gujjar trust him very much.

Pramod Prajapati has studied Bachelor of Commerce. He also worked for Rlek and education is still what he deems to be most important for the Van Gujjar. Each of the two field work teams consists of one woman and one man, Pramods new partner will start her work soon. Like Beena and Reena she is also from a family with Nepalese background. Manto tells us that their families allow their daughters to live independently even before marriage.

Nareendra Taipathi has just started to work as the new Field Coordinator. He is a lawyer and our first excursions to the Van Gujjar are also his. In the beginning he seems to be a little shy, but as soon as we start to talk to the Van Gujjar, he takes notes and develops ideas for solutions. In the employee’s conference he calms down the discussions by talking quietly and without haste. Everyone calms down and listens to him.

There are also a doctor and a nurse, who belong to the team and accompany the field workers when required. The Milk Marketing Team is now organisationally and financially independent from Sophia, it consists of the driver, the coordinator, whom we do not get to know and a Gujjar who works as a helping hand.

3.2.2. Society for Agro-Industrial-Education

Pushpa Singh teaches Hindi to the PVs and is our coordinator. When we arrive she has just finished her tests for the Bachelor of Education.

Mukat & Jyoti Singh: Mukat Singh is the founder of the project. He was born in Amarpurkashi. Later he went to England and then returned with his Australian wife Jyoti to do something for his village. Everyone in the project calls him respectfully "Babuji". He is tall, calm, friendly, white-haired and always very dignified. He tries to hand responsibilities in the project over to younger employees and not to interfere too much anymore. "In development, people should have a choice and make decisions themselves. They make wrong and right decisions, but that's their affair, not ours!" In our daily discussions he sometimes become philosophical instead of talking about problems in the project and the village. He talks about developmental problems and solutions in a very general sense, because he cannot implement the solutions he favours in the village; he cannot dictate people what to do. One day he says: "The little something I can do is so little that it is insignificant." But he still goes on, because he is impressed how eager his students are to study in spite of all the obstacles in their way. One informant thinks that people demand too much of him. Babujis wife Jyoti arrives towards the end of our stay.

The Accountant of the Society for Agro-Industrial Education, his wife, headmistress in the Primary School, and their children, live on the Campus. They have four daughters and a son. The eldest daughter is already married has moved. The next daughters are nineteen and eighteen and study close-by. All children speak good English, because they talk a lot to the foreign Project Visitors.

Kirpal Singh teaches the Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Resource Management (PGRRM) students "Panchayati Raj", about the village assemblies. He has himself studied the PGRRM. He is the headmaster of the new middle school in Jafarpur and is very friendly and open with his students.


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Development projects in Northern India
Today's problems, visions for tomorrow
University of Hamburg  (Institut für Ethnologie)
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Development, Northern, India, Feldforschungsbericht
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M.A. Mira Fels (Author), 2005, Development projects in Northern India, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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