Written by Neha Randive, Edited by Naaz Abdul Khadar
‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service of others’. We, as a part of student social responsibility committee of SCIT conducted a survey for the project ‘MILLION SOULS’ in Palghar District of Maharashtra from 15th to 17th of November 2014. Little did we know that the journey of 6 hours to Jawahar would influence our lives and change our way of thinking.
As soon as we reached the district we could feel the fresh air. It felt wonderful. While surveying we realized the villagers were the most friendly and courteous people we have met so far. They would answer our questions with lot of patience. On TV we have seen this poverty stricken face of India, but the impact of experiencing it in real life was even higher. Sitting there with the villagers and discussing their problems and issues made us think on the wider aspect of life. They live in the present without crying about their past or worrying about their future. They have many troubles in life and yet they have serenity across their faces. Whereas the people living in big cities, in spite of having everything keep cribbing and are generally dissatisfied with what they have. Living in a village taught us the importance of food, water, electricity which we waste at times without even thinking for once that there are few unfortunate people who cannot even afford one time meal. We cannot imagine life without internet but these villagers lead their lives without electricity! They use chullahs in kitchen and kerosene chimneys to study at night.
We will try to implement our learning ‘SAVE RESOURCES, SAVE LIVES’ for a bright future.
The village kids were so enthusiastic about the upcoming solar products and curious about city people coming to their village that they used to follow us everywhere. In cities, we are unaware of what goes on in our neighbors’ house but in village everyone knows tiny details about each other (like which households had SoUL lamps). At times, they would all get together and make decisions for a family going through though times. We realized that living in fast moving city life we have lost the touch of humanity which still dwells in the hearts of the villagers.
While surveying we noticed that maximum number of families were below poverty line which shows that India still has a long way to go in order to eradicate poverty. But we are happy about the fact that almost all the kids in the villages are getting educated. This can be the starting point to a change. We should be thankful, that we are living a life that is dream of millions! Altogether it was a wonderful experience and an ‘emotional’ roller coaster ride!
(This survey activity was conducted by students of SCIT – SSR (Students Social Responsibility) cell. Please visit SSR website to see more of SCIT – SSR activities here – www.scit.edu/ssr. The Million SoUL (Solar Urja Lamp) is the brain child of IIT Bombay. Please visit www.millionsoul.iitb.ac.in to learn more. We wish to express our heartfelt gratitude for the support extended by Mr. Sudhir Gogate Excutive Director of KiehinFie, Chakan, Pune to this SCIT SSR activity)