Underdevelopment of any
community is like a chronic ailment with multiple reasons. In
India, many communities remained socially isolated in such a
manner that deprived them of many benefits of industrial
civilization. In colonial days, the ruling class did not do much
to improve economy and living conditions. In traditional way of
life, these communities, did not show any interest to modern
education and grab opportunity for economically lucrative
They mostly did not possess
fertile land for cultivation. Those who live in hilly terrain
practiced age-old less supportive shifting cultivation and
collected natural food available in the forest. Those who were
artisans gradually found their products non-marketable under
competition from the industrial or mechanical sectors. The
cattle-herders or fishing communities also could not find their
traditional occupation very remunerative.
Under economic distress
these people neither could send their wards to attend school or
could make them engaged in their family occupation. In this manner
many rich cultural and indigenous technical traditions are on the
way of extinction.
In democratic nation, the
government has taken up programs to improve economy, education and
health alienated communities. But to translate these plans in
action, only government machinery is not adequate. Today many
voluntary organizations have come forward with this mission, but
these are not any benefit making interest.
In India there were few
people even in the days of colonial regime, who were enthused to
carry on beneficial work among such people who shied away from the
so called "developed" people. These people nurtured
concealed philanthropic fire in their huts for which a secured
life with luxury could not allure them. They mixed with the
marginal people understood their feelings and tried to deliver
their due benefits.
Those who lighted the torch in the initial
days are no more with us, but the fire kindled by them has ignited
many souls. It is very important to remember them and get glimpses
of their thought, so that their noble endeavour do not sublimate
in the air.