By Dibajyoti Gogoi:
Kotda is a remote place in Udaipur district of Rajasthan which is also known as ‘Kalapani’. Government officials who are sent here are regarded as having ‘punishment posting’. The place is one of the largest blocks of Udaipur, located 120 km south of Udaipur city, bordered in the north by the Pali and Sirohi districts of Rajasthan. As per the 2001 Census, Kotda has an average literacy rate of 24.52% lower than 59.5%, which is the national average. The place is dangerous, risky and generally not suitable for people not originally from here.
For people living here, life is without electricity, water and education. But they are happy with limited resources. They do not have any expectation and demands from the government. Children here usually discontinue higher education after reaching 13 or 14. Girls get married after completion of class 8 or 9. For them, education is not necessary for sustenance. A large number of children don’t even see the school. They live in a society where taking of care of domesticated animals is given more importance. The youth either migrate to Gujarat for labour or stay at home to take care of farming.
Schools and colleges are also devoid of teachers and infrastructure, which discourages the youth from getting an education. But the youth alone cannot be blamed. Because “Youth are not useless, they are used less, they are not careless but are cared less,” as said by Swami Chinmayananda. The society and environment, in which they have been nurtured, is leading them to a dark future.
Now it is our responsibility to ignite the passion in them and extract the best out of them. I can feel the pain of these young people because I am one of them, who has the passion and dream to fly, but my wings are tied by the poverty and prejudices prevailing in this area from a long time.