Field work in Ranchi was a very great experience for me. It was a very tough time for me as I had to move from village to village situated in the hilly areas enduring hunger and cold.
I was placed in the agency called ALERT centre (Adivasi Legal Education Research and Training centre). The director of the agency was Fr. Savari muthu, who is also an advocate of the Ranchi high court.
My experiences that are memorable are:
• As a student, I worked as a temporary staff member in the agency with full responsibility.
• Involving myself deeply with activities like preparing questionnaire for the survey in the village.
• Involving for the first time in a five year perspective plan on NREGA (national rural employment guarantee act.) assigned by the D.C of Latehar district (Jharkhand)
• Involving in the orientation program for panchayat election in the Mahila Samakshya Kendra (MKS) in Ratu, as well as in the D.C office.
• Meeting high officials like- DC (deputy commissioner) DDC (district development commissioner) and DRDA (district rural development officer).
• Moving around the hills in extreme cold weather during the month of October.
• Going up and down the high rocky hills with one meal a day during the survey.
• Continuous journeys
Therefore the whole field work was very interesting. But the most interesting thing for me was the simple lifestyle of the Adivasi people who manage without proper infrastructure and electricity. I was assigned to do the survey in the villages of Chormunda and Arahans. Both the villages are far away from the town and the means of communication are poor. During the survey I found that almost all the families are under BPL with average annual income of Rs.6000. They are hard working people who depend only on agriculture. They are the innocent people who are still struggling to live a better life, but alas! they were not seeing any light to guide them out of their present situation. There are lots of developmental programmes in the villages but the government has to give more attention to them. But from the social work perspective the people are still in need of support (man power). Even after 10 years of separation from Bihar, they are still in darkness and struggling to bridge the gap between the poor who are struggling to live and the rich living a luxurious life. They are in search of jobs, but in vain. It is a big question for them, whether they will get job or not? So the problem of unemployment is greatly responsible for the many anti-social activities in the state. When I used to read the newspaper, everyday there would be news of accidents, murder, rape, bomblast, corruption etc. The state is still far away from bsic development. Therefore a sense of brotherhood among us is needed to lead a happy life, because “life is a journey it starts with our cry and ends with others’ cry”.
The area where I was working was a naxalite affected area and it was a very tough time for me to work there. Because, according to the villagers they often visit the place where I was working and it was good luck for me that I didn’t come across them.
I also visited the Betla National Park which is about 1026 sq.km; an additional 226 sqkm was added to the park in 1989. It is the first national park in India to become a tiger reserve under project tiger. It is very dense forest with tigers, elephants, etc.
The whole month went with different activities in different places with different people. I was impressed by the personality of the director of ALERT who is 55. He is like a one man army handling almost 60% of the agency work at this age. He is the man who is giving full effort for the development of the Adivasi. His active energy reminded me of the phrase ‘activeness and punctuality lead us to the path of success and laziness to the path of ruin’. (Narayan)