Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Who will take the first step towards peace and well being?

During my mission with the International Committee of Red Cross, we were working in Naxalite majority villages in Chattisgarh, India. Even though these villages are rich in natural resources, people struggle for basic necessities: food, clothing, medicines and education. Not many people are willing to go and offer their services as teachers or medical personnel in these villages due the poor security conditions.

During my short visit, we lived in a small town and would travel everyday for hours through the jungles over the land-mines. Since the Red Cross is a neutral and impartial organization, we had the permission both from the government and the naxalites to visit and assist in these villages.

I was conducting psychosocial support assessment, therefore I had the opportunity to sit with the elders, women, children, nurses, teachers and doctors to listen to their stories about their struggle to meet their basic needs for so many years. Their life seems to be the same before the insurgency as well as during it. Many questions arose in my being as a result of this experience...

Most of all why does a government let the poor people get to a stage where they are ready to give or take life in order to get their fair share? And if the people get to that point, does that behavior really enables their fellow community folks to get their fair share or it further worsens the situation for them? Don't most leaders on both sides eventually want power and forget the greater good for their people?

How many children are not getting enough educational opportunities? How many sick are being denied adequate medical treatment? How many women and children are being physically abused in absence of support systems? How many communities are living without enjoying their basic human rights?

Could the situation be better if both sides had decided to talk about the problems and their solutions? Would the situation be better if the priority on both sides was the well being of the people rather than power? Would the situation be better if the elders, woman and children were also actively involved in the negotiations? Aren't these questions relevant in other conflict situations as well?

Looks like we all know the best way forward but who will take the first step towards peace and well being?


  1. Anjana Ji,
    First time I come to u r blog, You people have done grate job, as u said situation are not good in the village, Red Cross and other NGO's do their job but I don't think situation will improve ..... Everyone should think put their own effort to control the situation.
    Surinder Ratti

  2. Surinder ji, aapko bhi namaste! :-)

    Thanks for your kind words and also you are right that people themselves need to take control of their situation. Active participation of 'all' community members is the key for sustainable development.

    The best way to go about it is by strengthening our education system for all ages.


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