I couldn't remember the last time I saw so many stars. In the clear blue sky, it seemed as though millions of tiny lamps were hanging about, all intent upon making the night as beautiful as possible. Somewhere nearby, local music was being played, and after the hectic day long journey, it sounded like the most beautiful lullaby to me. Away from the city hustle-bustle, in the midst of nature, it was actually possible to not worry about insects and mosquitoes, and sleep under the blanket of stars enjoying the light summer breeze. Such was my first day on a visit to Bhabhra, a small town located in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh. Over here, our field partner Prayas is engaged in a lot of projects with local tribes. So far, I've had no experience with tribal people, and the stories I heard from Prayas staff on my first day, sure got me intrigued. As the sun set on my first day here, stories slowly gave way to perspectives and aspirations.“I love their lifestyle. They live such peaceful lives in the midst of nature, busy in their own selves, not worried about any worldly concerns. All they need is a little awareness and basic education,” said one of the Prayas staff.I couldn't help but agree that this lifestyle seemed amazing. Everything these people wanted, was available right there in their home, there was no rush. But what would happen if these people became actually aware and educated. Wouldn't they start wanting more? Will they be content with their lifestyles then? And what is better; their present lifestyle or for them to become a part of the emerging city crowd? If you introduce foreign elements into a local culture, would it be possible for them to stay the same afterwards? Change is an elementary part of life, and education can be one of the most potent activator for change; although the direction and extent of that change would largely depend upon the mode, quality, and content of education that is given.Right now, all I am hoping for is to have a great field visit, and get a glimpse into this amazing world which has been hidden from me for so long.
Under the blanket of stars