Looking at panchayats…

Kumar Kalanand Mani of the Peaceful SocietyPanchayati Raj or Gram Sarkar? based at Madkai-Ponda in Goa, gave me a copy of a book he compiled, called Panchayati Raj or Gram Sarkar. This title comes from the Centre for Panchayati Raj.

As Mani explains, the book “was first printed and circulated at a three-day national seminar organised by me in 1993 at the Sevagram Ashram, Wardha, on behalf of the Gandhi Peace Centre, Hyderabad.”

It contains essays on Panchayati Raj and Mahatma Gandhi, Panchayati Raj and Jayaprakash Narayan, Panchayati Raj and Vinoba (Bhave), , Panchayati Raj and Various Models-Structures, Panchayati Raj: Women, SC/ST and Employment, Panchayati Raj and the Ashok Mehta Committee and The Constitution Bill, 1991.

As we critique the post-colonial Indian state, and its failures or lapses on many fronts, ideas like panchayati raj (come to be regarded as corruption-prone institutions in today’s Goa for instance) and Gandhian thought, might not be getting due attention. Some interesting ideas here; but is it sufficient to cope with the storm brought in by the fast-pace of change that rural India is today being pressured with?

Incidentally, my friend Mani’s other initiatives include the River India network, and Swaraj India


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