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Message From Nanji Deshmukh
  Self Reliance Methodology
Litigation free villages
  Rebuilding A Conflict-Free Society

(Ramrajya as envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi can only be achieved when there is freedom from crime and fear. For a conflict-free society and nation we would have to begin from our villages as India lives in her villages. The first step required to make these villages prosperous and self-reliant would be to help free them from all disputes).  

Mahatma Gandhi always had the feeling that the dream of an ideal village cannot be fulfilled until it is free from all kinds of ills and crimes. He once remarked —  "India  lives

in her villages but unfortunately, our rural India, the real India, is inflicted with poverty and social squalor”. “We can improve the condition of India only when we improve the conditions in our villages”. “If villages thrive, we all would thrive”. The great philosopher, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya, also stressed many a time that no society can prosper so long as it is entangled in disputes, litigations, etc. However, this area – of making society conflict-free — has remained neglected in all the social work being done by thousands of VOs working for rural development throughout the country.

Deendayal Research Institute (DRI), realized that this indeed should be the first task in the field of rural development. Because the Institute believes that only a mind free from all encumbrances can think of development. And as it believes in the philosophy of Integral Humanism, the Institute is of the firm belief that only a society not afflicted by social hindrances can progress.  In the year 2002, the Institute took upon itself the task of making 500 villages in its area of operation dispute-free by the turn of the decade. And what it has achieved in 80 villages in the first phase so far has been encouraging. 

Till date, more than 80 percent of the disputes have been resolved with mutual consent with the motivation of the Samaj Shilpi Dampattis (Social Architect Couples) who are deputed by the Institute in these villages to help them become self-reliant. The target is to make these 80 villages litigation-free by August 15th this year. And the work is running ahead of its schedule.

But first, the genesis of the problem: Why rural India is afflicted with so much litigation. Nanaji Deshmukh, the visionary behind this unique concept, feels that majority of the crime in villages has erupted from the growing consumerist culture that we have adopted from the West. Consumerism leads to competition and competition leads to enmity and then to litigation. Our villagers too, falling prey to this culture, started migrating to cities in search of more wealth and got involved in all kinds of criminal activities.

There can only be a change in above situation when there is a change in attitudes, and the greed for wealth diminishes. As the cities are result of the consumerism culture, it is not easy to change them instantly. However, it is easy to change the attitude of villagers, provided we make them self-reliant and stop their migration to the cities.  The Samaj Shilpi Dampattis (SSDs) work on the premise that every dispute can be solved if the villagers, particularly the womenfolk are explained the ill-effects of litigation on their progress. In many cases, it takes weeks and months to make them understand as to how important it is to live without any encumbrances.
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