2nd Amirgadh to Tundia (Gujarat) December,1998


A JOURNEY FOR EXPLORING LOCAL CREATIVITY

SHODHYATRA - II

​This shodh yatra has been completed.

2nd Amirgadh to Tundia (Gujarat) Shodhyatra Report

Diversity of Deserts and Forest

The marchers of SRISTI Parivar in search of local creativity of tribal people walked for 125Km in chilling cold through the forest, and got an memorable priceless experience. Here is the report presented by Chimanbhai Parmar Dilip Koradia of SRISTI Parivar and all local shodhak friends who played an important and major role in organising this Shodh Yatra.

Birth of the Concept of Second Shodh Yatra

At the last day of the first Shodh Yatra at Gadhada the principal of the Gadhada Vidyapith Shri Chelbhai Shukla, suggested that, SRISTI would possibly get greater cooperation of villagers of Gujarat, if 2 Shodh Yatras are organised during the year in different regions of Gujarat. At that time it was decided to conduct the next Shodh Yatra in north Gujarat during the winters. It was also decided to organise this Shodh Yatra with the help of GEF project of SRISTI. And finally it was decided to conduct a Shodh Yatra of 125Km. from Amirgadh (Jassor) to Tundiya (Gadhwada). Its route was decided by the workers of SRISTI. The yatra to start on 31st December 1998 from Amirgadh Gram Vidaypith, district Banaskantha and to end at Arvalli Jan Vikas Trust, Tundia, taluka Danta, district Banaskantha on 6th January 1999.

Aims / Objectives of Shodh Yatra

  1. To form a Shodhsankal of tribal villagers.

  2. Conservation of biodiversity.

  3. To establish Mahila & khet mandal.

  4. To widely spread organic farming

  5. To find and organise lactures of experts who have knowledge of forest, farming, environment plants.

  6. To establish voluntary institutions to protect and develop the forests, and to encourage the people to revive the forests.

  7. To establish knowledge banks of various vegetation in villages.

  8. To encourage informal institutes or co-operatives towards afforestation.

  9. To coordinate and document knowledge stored in the memories of people.

  10. To facilitate those who are rich in knowledge.

The Organisation of Shodh Yatra

There was detailed discussion to formalise the schedule of the Shodh Yatra. The route was decided which would cover 30 villages and 3 Talukas of Banaskantha districts covering 125Kms. On deciding the route Shodh Yatris visited the villages on the way and met the leaders of forest dwellers, teachers, farmers and institutions. They were informed about the objectives of Shodh Yatra and its various programmes and requested them to co-operate with the Shodh Yatra. The facilities for night halts etc. were setup. After organising the Shodh Yatra the workers of SRISTI and 200 farmers of Banaskantha district were invited. Around 35 farmers and 25 students from Center For Environment Education, (C.E.E.) Ahmedabad showed their willingness to join the Shodh Yatra.

The First Step of the Shodh Yatra

The Shodh Yatra started at 11:00 A.M. on 31st of December 1998 from Amirgadh Aashram. Many villagers, forest-dwellers, the director of Amirgadh Aashram, Shri Hasmukhbhai Patel, Smt. Devikaben Patel and the administrator Shri Bharatbhai Thakar and the other members of the institute encouraged the marchers by their presence. On this occasion Shri Hasmukhbhai, Shri Amrutbhai, Shri Bhanjibhai and Shri Premjibhai talked about the various aspects of agriculture, agricultural implements and trees which affected the society. Shri Sudershan Iyengar talked about invention and various activities along with the various aspects of water, land and environmental protection. Prof. Anil Gupta talked about conservation of our biodiversity for the future generation at the end of the programme Shri Candubhai Suthar delivered the vote of thanks. Shri Harshitbhai Vora encouraged the marchers reciting the poem Bhomiya vina mare bhamvata dungra, jungle ni Kunj kunj Jovi hati …….". On listening the poem the marchers became emotional. On the way the workers of SRISTI talked to the villagers about the various activities to be carried out during the meetings and requested to villagers to participate. They arranged exhibitions before hand and two workers of SRISTI went ahead in the jeep to supervise various facilities like lunch, dinner and night halt. People on the way stared at us with curiosity and many ladies thought that the march was to the Ambaji temple. During the Shodh Yatra, Shodh Yatris learnt about humor of the ladies dwelling in the forest, and also about certain special trees, thickets and thorny shrubs. All Shodh Yatris enjoyed the sweet gestures and warm reception of the people as Shodh Yatris marched ahead.

Programmes and Activities during the Shodh Yatra

Night Meetings

In the villages where Shodh Yatris had to halt for the night a small gramsabha was arranged and during this gramsabha Shodh Yatris learnt about the lifestyle of the foresters, forests and their relationships with the wild animals etc. The farmers of SRISTI Parivar Amrutbhai, Badribhai, Bhimshibhai, Bhanjibhai, Vallabhbhai, Rasikbhai, Khimjibhai, Jayantibhai (ISRO) exhibited their implements and informed the villagers about the various experiments carried out by them. The local farmers in turn also talked about the various inventions made by their own people. They also talked about agriculture, animal husbandry and by-products of the forest and fast disappearing forest vegetation. Shodh Yatris were encouraged by their interesting information. Exhibitions were arranged during the gramsabhas and the day meetings arranged with local villagers.

Biodiversity Competition

Along with the Shodh Yatra, various biodiversity competitions were arranged in the schools of Sembalpani, Chikhla, Ganapipli and Mankdi. In such competitions students and other children from villages were asked to collect the samples of such vegetation that they could identify and list down their usage. They were also quized about the collection made by them. Those children who had performed well were presented with SRISTI literature, Certificates, Pen/Pencil and schoolbag. The ashramshala of Sambalpani was presented with a wall clock. Many villagers and Educational institutes had joined the programme.

Co-ordination of Indigenous Methods

While travelling from one village to another on the way and during the gramsabha Shodh Yatris documented the dialogues held with the forest dwellers and things Shodh Yatris learnt from them. Shodh Yatris visited houses, scattered huts, talked to the villagers working in the farms, orchards and fellow travelers to learn many new things from them.

Facilitations of creative villagers, the farmers engaged in organic farming, people leading happy life in the forest, foresters who developed special knowledge about trees on their own were carried out by presenting them "Madhu Bindu", "Samvad Thi Sanshodhan Sudhi" and "Loksarvani Sampat" along with a certificate and their own photographs. 25 elders dwelling in the forest were facilitated in the like manner.

Conclusion

The marchers reached Tundia on 6th January 1999 where the Shodh Yatra was concluded at Vikas trust, Tundia cross roads, in the presence of Shri Mansukhbhai, Bhagwatiben, 10 ladies and other villagers.