life in the village started with a bang. On the evening of our arrival we met
Mr Hinge, the District Magistrate; he was very glad we had come at last he said,
tomorrow was most important.
was a day-long ceremony to celebrate the establishment of the Block Development
Scheme in the sub-district of Koregaon. This marks a stage of economic growth
when development plans have been approved and government officers and technical
advisers have been appointed to help the people achieve them.
accent is always on educating the people to understand and attempt the new methods,
and persuading them to form co-operatives which can then receive assistance in
carrying out the work.
ceremonies were in three parts. First, the welcoming of the State Minister of
Agriculture and Power, who was to preside. We were introduced to him and had lunch
with the officials, Hindu style, a vegetarian meal eaten crosslegged (ouch!) on
the floor and using the fingers.
the afternoon was the village meeting. We were escorted to the platform, an eminence
we scarcely deserved. Here we sat in state on silken cushions, watching the banners
fluttering and listening to the songs of greeting from the schoolchildren. The
purpose of the meeting was to give an impetus to the Block Development work, and
to explain work it entailed.
prizes were presented to the benefits of the system and those who had conceived
and carried out ideas for the improvement of their villages. This work had been
voluntary and unpaid.
ceremonies ended with a Hindu drama.
was hoped during the next two months to achieve an elementary standard of literacy
in the age-group 14-40. Classes were held at night, after all the day’s work had
been done, and many groups of adults sat with slates under paraffin lamps, being
instructed by the already proficient some of whom, naturally, were schoolchildren.
We saw a small girl of 12 or 13 instructing a group of nine adults.
was often necessary to divide our strength, otherwise the work could not be done.
One day from the diary reads as follows (in extracts):
at seven, Tony and Peter to Pusegaon early. Tony wants to film sugar cane cutting
and to include Mr Jogiekar (from the Gokhale Institute) as demonstrator.
carrying out routine work on second vehicle, cleaning oil filter and fitting new
wheel bearing. Car ready 10.30. Mark, Roger and self to Pusegaon. Peter and Roger
go with Mr Jogiekar to visit his landlord’s farm.
and Tony work in school, taking photographs of children at work, cine and stills,
and sound recordings on our portable tape recorder of lessons and songs.
get information from Mr Patil (the headmaster) about history and working of the
society which runs his school, the Rayat Shikshan Sanstha (Peasant Education Society).
time to return for lunch; eat tea and bread.
afternoon Peter and Roger return to Koregaon to visit Co-operative factory organised
by Mr Doshi (whom we met last week at the Satara Rotary Club). Very interesting
project, Mr Doshi has provided 22 machines, mainly lathes, and finds work to keep
them going mainly finishing castings for big firms who make ploughs, small electric
motors, etc. Workers are paid the value of the products less a small commission
for organisation. Some of their money is put aside until they have "bought"
and own their machine. Encourages saving and pride in work; also results in much
larger wages than the factories and provides local employment.
Mark and self to Aundh (13 miles away) to take up engagement made at time when
we lived there. We take photographs and cine film of the schoolchildren’s parade,
dancers and gymnastics. A little too regimented for our liking.
Curator of Aundh Museum where we want to take photographs, talked with him about
local customs and entertainments.
the evening we have arranged to give school short show of colour slides. Arranged
for 6.30 – when the electricity comes on! but this is "Indian" as opposed
to "English" time, so nothing starts till 7.30. Also it turns out that
whole village will watch.
outside. Rather silly with a picture about a yard square: but with a commentary
translated by a teacher. Shots taken en route not very popular, but pictures of
village immensely so, much jumping up and down in attempts to recognise friends
back to Bungalow at Koregaon, cook and eat meal, 10.0. Has to be big and has unfortunate
soporific effect after energetic day.
letters; to Director of Museums, also to Minister of Agriculture and Power asking
again, for permissions to visit Koyna dam project and to take film there. Also
to Bolivia seeking information on the second half of work.
little music from one of our tapes. Tonight no local people demanding entertainment
so it can be our own choice. Bed at 11. No time left for writing up notes or washing
clothes. Swear to find some time tomorrow but then we always do!