Friday, December 19, 2008
Collective action and Cooperation during my fieldwork visit
Hello friends, as part of our fieldwork I went to the state Rajasthan. My host organisation was URMUL Trust and my village was Dandkala. It’s a village of Pakistan refugees who settled over here after 1971 Indo-Pak war. In our village Electricity was one issue which touched my heart as despite being an electrified village in government records there was no electricity in the village. When we (me and my village partner Anand) probed further to know the exact reason behind it then we came to know that 4-5 electricity poles needs to be repaired and electricity meters needs to installed in households. We thought that it is not a big deal for us to facilitate villagers on this issue. We started talking to villagers about how to solve this problem. After lot of meetings and discussions villagers came to consensus that the whole village will write one application collectively. Villagers understood the importance of collective action and cooperation needed to solve this problem. Although in Dandkala Rajput and Jaat community are not at very good terms but for the benefit of whole village they decided to cooperate and collectively take action. Villagers wrote one application to let government officials know about electricity problem of Dandkala. We told villagers that since it is an election time so by just little bit of collective effort of electricity can come very soon. After this villagers even talked to local MLA Mr. Devi Singh Bhati about this issue and without any fear demanded electricity for the village. Talking to Local MLA who is extremely influential person clearly demonstrated that it was the collective strength of the whole village which made it possible else villagers are very fearful of him. Villagers decided that all of them would go to submit the application to Executive Engg. at Bikaner. The result of all these efforts resulted in installation of Electricity meters within 12 days in 70 households. It was made possible only because of cooperation and collective action of villagers. This collective action reinforced my belief that villagers need just a facilitator and not sympathizer.