Tuesday, 2 March 2010
Meherali Center at Tara
Tara is a small village around 4 km from Karnala. On the way to Tara there are a lot of small resorts. Few of our members were tempted to stop at one of these for lunch. However, I had already informed the people at Yusuf Meherali Center that we were coming and they would have cooked for us.
Another speciality of the institution is the kind of work that they do in the neighbouring areas to educate the masses. They also provide employment to the villagers in their premises. They run a soap factory, an oil mill, a bakery and a carpentry where they manufacture goods of top quality.
I had been there before with my college group (courtesy nature club of Wilson College) and also with the students camp that we organised for Kanara Saraswat Association.
It was always a great experience to visit this place. The spirit of being independent in a small way and yet churn out goods of the top quality is a challenge.
The best part is the people who are running the show are people who have migrated from the cities. It is such a difficult thing to do. Give up the luxuries of urban life to go to the village and make a difference.
Another very important reason was the fact that the gentleman who led my first trek (Bhargav Sir) who was an inmate here was unwell. He was also suffering from crf. and was living on dialysis. I had heard that he had grown very weak. This person was so active and so lively, that I felt like coming all the way to meet him. The fact that I met him after a trek would also in some way encourage him to get as active as her was earlier. I fervently hope and pray that he does.
we had a sumptious meal here for a very reasonable price. A full meal of homely food was really what the doctor ordered us after a trek.
Then after some rest and chit chatting we went and saw the various mills that they run.
On the way back we had some kokum sarbat at their restaurant (which was separate from the mess where we had our food)
The kokum Sarbat was so refreshing. It was difficult to imagine. We bought some items are the store like kokum, syrups as well as the dried variety, the hair oil and some other items and set out for Mumbai.
The experience was so exhillarating. Imagine people who came from the city to live in the villages, run cottage industries, educate the rural folk, generate employment and live like any other villager and most importantly make them financially independent.
I am sure its a huge learning experience. Learning that would hold us in good stead for the rest of our lives.
When Gandhiji talked about Gram Panchayat maybe this was what he was referring to. India is truly in the villages.
If we want to change India we need to begin from here.