Presently, I am shouldering dual responsibilities; one as a Home Minister of Maharashtra State and second as Guardian Minister of Gadchiroli district.
This remote district infested with Naxalites has to face tremendous hardships. It becomes impregnable for the government to extend help and support to Gadchiroli district hence development in true sense is not possible. Till date 132 villages are bereft of electricity and good roads. The number of people living under poverty line is high and the district ranks last on Human Development Index. These conditions make them vulnerable to Naxalites propaganda that instigates the villagers to revolt against the system.
When I first became the Guardian Minister of this district I gave the matter a deep thought. A befitting answer to Naxalite uprising is bringing about revolutionary growth in the district at lightning speed. The question was from where to start and that is still the core issue here.
The naxals oppose any form of development from taking place in the villages and on the other hand the condition of the schools has deteriorated. The terror of Naxals is such that the parents refrain from sending their children to schools. This sight is common in Gadchiroli district. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar gave us a thought, ‘learn, be organized and start a campaign’. If we cross out ‘learn’ how can we expect of taking the thought to another level of ‘organization’ and ‘campaign’. The real change will come about through education.
Going one step ahead I have taken responsibility of 51 children from Gadchiroli district and sent them to Pune. Responding to my appeal the children are now housed at Netaji Subhashchandra Bose Military School’s dormitories. The school has decided to provide the children with proper education.
The next six years will see these children, a mix of tribal’s and non-tribal taking formal education. Tomorrow they will grow up in to responsible citizens and make their families proud. This is certainly an optimistic change for the family members of the children. The step surely paves way for development in Gadchiroli district. As of now it is just a path and together we can make it a Highway.
Relocating and educating these 51 children does not make for the complete Gadchiroli district. This is only the tip of the iceberg. We have yet to scale the whole mountain and together we can as my experience says. These children will go in for higher education, work in different fields. Tomorrow when one of the girls will be enrolled in Police department, wear a police uniform and is posted in Gadchiroli district her parents will be proud of her achievement. But if the same girl is killed with a tag of a ‘Naxalite’ attached will that make them proud and would the tears be the same in both the cases is a matter of grave thought. The people from Naxal infested area will surely rethink which revolution they want to opt for. Revolution begins from ‘Education’ and ‘Knowledge’. Man eventually progressed from caves to civilization on the basis of education.
Educating these 51 children is our first step to progress and I expect to see it taken further from here with your help and support. Kindly give it a thought as to how you can make a difference and contribute in this endeavor. The hour of need is for more such helping hands to come ahead and wipe the tears of sorrow off the parents face and replace them with tears of joy. These 51 children will act as a guiding light to take it ahead from here.
The bigwigs from educational institution in Maharashtra should take a cue from this initiative and extend their help. They can start off by building schools in these villages. I am trying to raise the standard of government schools and with the help of teachers I hope to bring a change in the prevalent conditions.
For now I take your leave but will communicate with you on this same issue through my blog as I have a lot to share and discuss with you.
There are other topics which I intend to talk on. I hope the path that I have selected will bring along a positive revolution, a revolution which Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar envisaged.
It makes me proud as I adopt these 51 children in the capacity of Maharashtra’s Home Minister and I have no words to describe my feelings. This is all beyond words and I hope when these words are no more you will sense the feeling of achievement through my blog.
R. R. Patil,
Home Minister, State of Maharashtra