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Copyright © 2017 GUMIN REGO KILAJU .

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“A dream is defined as a series of images, thoughts, ideas, emotions, aspirations and sensations that usually occurs involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep”. Everyone has dreams and like any other, we too had dreams, the difference being ours was a voluntary dream where very coincidentally, each one of us dreamt of making our place a better place. We dreamt together for a home where peace, equality and happiness prevailed.

In the process of modern development and urban advances, like anywhere in the world, our villages have also been steadily losing its serene environment, simplicity, innocence, coherent and cooperative values upon which our forefathers had founded the villages. The understanding and the reverence with which people lived with the valuable forests and rivers, wisdom and responsibility, passed on from generations to generations have been fast vanishing with greed and eroding moral values that no longer represent the essences of the villages. Though infrastructure wise, progress is seen but the truth remains that these interior villages of ours were far richer in terms of bonding, positivity and peace. It had been a place which encouraged no grudge, no ego and no ill-spirited rivalry; where, the advice and guidance of the village elders were respected and team endeavour was the essence of life. Be it a marriage programme, construction of house, celebration of festivals, local rituals invoking deity for the wellness of a person, family or village, it was always a team effort that paved the way for success. But of late, these villages have witnessed a lot of change due to the intervention of politics and modernity. The concept of I, Me and Mine has gained dominance over bonhomie and positivity and all the good old practices have taken the back seat. Materialistic importance has overtaken the humanitarian considerations. Somewhere, we the educated members from the village to have become self-centric and indifferent to the situations in the village. Caught up in this melee, we thought, we could come in, together as a group, to reinvent & rejuvenate the village by staying true to all our good old practices but also by embracing the goodness of the modern interventions. Today, in each village we have about 40-50% of households with a Govt/Semi Govt employee, who is also the main bread earners. So, we were driven by the hope that if each employee i/c retired ones along with the enlightened people in the village would come together and take up the responsibility of changing the mindset of one’s own household to begin with, 50% could be easily tuned to a mindset with a futuristic vision or as per our plan. Then, it would become easier to motivate the remaining 50%. But for this, it was important that we went back to our village; be a part of it, be selfless and most importantly make our good intentions known to them.

With these ideas, we started sharing our opinions amongst a small group, then with employees of Gori & Soi villages living in Itanagar. Once we converged on the ideas and approaches, we went to Basar and put across our concept to the employees serving in different districts in a meeting on 5th Dec’2012. After acceptance by all the employees serving in different districts, we sat with all the people of Gori (comprising of three GP’s) & Soi village on 6th Dec’ 2016 and had a marathon discussion preceded with a power point presentation on our ideas and way forward. We shared our objectives as follows:

  1. Attaining a society which will treat all as equals.

  2. To promote education and sporting culture.

  3. To conserve flora, fauna and marine lives.

  4. To promote cleanliness & sanitation.

  5. To change our mindset and outlook and prepare ourselves to attract tourism for a sustainable economy.

  6. To encourage conversion of land and water-based resources towards a sustainable income through organic farming, animal husbandry, fishery etc.

  7. Taking the society to the concept of we, ours and us.

  8. Remaining apolitical, non-profit making and keeping our organization a self-supported organization.

Though we have just made a beginning and we have a long way to go, but so far in the last Four and a Half years, through a combined effort, we have contributed our bit on following activities:

  1. Counselling and organising parent-teacher meet in village schools and felicitating the performing students to encourage competitive education.

  2. Open defecation free status for Gori & Soi villages with the construction of proper toilets in all the households with the support of Swachh Bharat Mission programme and gap funding from GRK. Promotion of SBM in the rest of the villages and help in achieving ODF in the entire block.

  3. Open rearing of pigs did not only cause filthy environment and spread of diseases but also had been a huge problem for kitchen gardeners and farmers in general which were contained by GRK by introducing 100% enclosed rearing. This has resulted in a considerable reduction in illness amongst villagers as per the statistics of the Medical Superintendent of CHC Basar. We have encouraged regulated social services in the villages.

  4. Organising dedicated football coaching for under 10 year’s boys and girls through GRK Football Academy. The idea is to catch the young talent, harness them and create success stories so that future generations could be motivated to take up sports as a career option.

  5. Restriction on the consumption of IMFL in the village for all occasions, which otherwise, is found to be a cause of violence among younger people and an undesirable expenditure.

  6. Restriction on fishing & hunting for ecological balance and growth of biodiversity. We are encouraging the concept of forestation and shifting from Jhum cultivation to eco-friendly cultivation.

  7. Workshops on organic cultivation, floriculture, fishery and drug etc. Exposure visit to Mawlynnong, Asia’s cleanest village, floriculture training from Daffodil Floriculture Nursery, Khetri, Jagiroad etc.

  8. Organising a Community based tourism festival “Basar Confluence” to harness the tourism potential of the area for Socio economic development and environment protection where showcasing of the tribal art, culture and heritage of the tribes of Arunachal Pradesh takes the centre stage. The entire community of Basar is involved in its organisation. The GRK facilitates that the proceeds, whatever from the event are shared amongst the stakeholder’s i.e community and the villages and are invested into their upliftment activities.

The idea behind trying this concept in just two villages initially was the fact that smaller the pilot project area is, better is the chance of success therein. Starting it with a huge population would have made it unmanageable and chances of failure at the commencing point itself would have been higher. Too many stakeholders with too many opinions can at times derail the initiative, though; we encourage differences in opinions to arrive at the best solution. Having said that, the ultimate objective was to motivate the adoption of the concept by as many villages as possible and to institutionalise GRK with federal units and a central body. With the initial success felt in the two villages and with similar activities already undertaken by a few other villages, on 9th Feb’2015, a meeting was organised with  massive gathering of eminent personalities of the area; retired seniors, serving people, panchayat leadership, businessmen, village elders and youth etc where, unanimously,  decision of institutionalising GRK was taken. Now, we have a central body in the name of GRK and federal units in villages that are identified by GRK suffixing the first or few letters of the village/villages concerned.

Most fulfilling experience up till now has been the fact that GRK concept has since been accepted by many more villages like Bam (comprising of three GP’s), Nyigam (comprising of three GP’s), Regi, Kamdak, Nyodu, Galu, Pagi, Disi, Padi, Dali, Chisi, Dari, Eshi, Sago, Piri, Chirne, Kadi, Ego-yamin,Pajo,Sibe-Siru,Nyobom.

It’s a long journey ahead of us and we have many more miles to go before we make our place one of the most liveable places. This journey that we have undertaken has never been any single person's initiative, it has always been a step taken together in unison. Such ideas are always there in human minds. It is just that an effort has been made this time to channelize and converge the ideas & initiatives. By reading this, we can feel, you also have become one of us in this movement, if you were not in already. Let us together spread these ideas further. Because, together we can bring a change, together we can be the change.