Good people

Published: Saturday 15 May 2004

-- The Wasteland: Making of Grass-roots Leaders Nandita Roy Published by The National Foundation for India and Seva Mandir, Delhi 2003 200 pages

This book addresses concerns of the dry stretch of land in the great outback of Rajasthan. It chronicles the efforts of an Udaipur-based non-governmental organisation in mobilising the people of the area into developmental activities. It is divided into two sections. The first section, titled Individuals Who Made A Difference, includes portraits of local folk who have worked on projects such as planting of trees, organising literacy campaigns and wresting pastureland from the grip of encroachers. As the author comments, "The consequences of success in this endeavour go well beyond the immediate issue of improved land productivity.

Indeed they go to the very heart of the need to create a society where poor people, professionals, and public servants can participate on an equal footing in shaping the future of their society." The second section, titled Collective Action For Social Transformation profiles the good work done by different groups such as the Van Uthan Sangh, the Bada Bhilwada Group and the Kasya Group.

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