BY NEHA HEGDE
A model village of our country– Hiware Bazar is located in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. This village was once a severe drought-prone area. But, for the past 20 years, it has been carefully planned watershed management. This resulted in transforming it from poor to a prosperous self-sufficient village of about 1300 residents.
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During 1989, there was no proper administration, discipline, and management in the village. It was a village of Pailwaans – Wrestlers and had insufficiency of water. Most people were addicted to liquor, and the village had 22 liquor shops.
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The web series Transparency: Pardarshita is constituted of 7 episodes written, directed, and produced by Munish Raizada. It showcases the internal ongoing politics in India. The 6th episode – “Swaraj Ke Tapu” tells us about how Hiware Bazar has been transformed by implementing Gram Swaraj. Popatrao Pawar, a socio-economic reformer of Hiware Bazar talks to Munish Raizada about the development.
In the 6th episode of the web series, as the director of the web series sets out to learn more about the flourishing of this village, we can witness a lot of changes when compared to the past years. Due to the village’s bad reputation the administration and deputed teachers for the village school considered punishment posting – creating an environment not favouring learning. As a result of two months of school was locked by the villagers with the demand that the gates will reopen as district administration deputes good teachers for the village school. There was no hope of development. Agriculture and all allied activities were unprofitable. Due to this, people started to migrate from the village.
By the interaction with villagers in the web series, we realize that in the ’90s there was a revolution in the way things worked in Hiware Bazar. Popatrao Pawar paved way for the betterment of the village. Villagers asked Popatrao Pawar to stand for the sarpanch position, as he was literate. In spite of opposition from his family, Pawar stood and became the sarpanch. The Gandhian concept of Gram Swaraj was inculcated to develop and resolve the problems.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: कथनी से ज़्यादा करनी पर ज़ोर देने वाले बने दो आदर्श ग्राम
The first step was led by the progress of education in the village. Gradually, the environment started to enhance. In 1995, the Adarsh Gaon Yojana was launched. Under this Yojana, about 52 earthen bunds, 2 percolation tanks, 33 loose stone bunds were constructed, and 9 check dams have also been constructed in a series on the downstream Nallah. The usage of water is even recorded by the villagers themselves.
People come together to work, solve problems and social cohesion is prevalent in the village. The produce from the village has marked as an improvement, crops grown are jawar, bajra, wheat, onion, potato, and vegetables along with floriculture and horticulture. In 1995, the villages’ daily milk production was 250 liters, now it is 2,600 liters. With a per capita income of just INR830 ($12.99) per month back in 1995, to INR30,000 ($469.50) today, Hiware Bazar has created wonders in development. In addition to that, open defecation, tobacco, and alcohol consumption are strictly prohibited.