In 1976 The Rural Action Project ( RAP) of NIBM ( National Institute for Bank Management – now in Pune) was initiated to spread the impetus of National development to the primary agricultural sector and engage the village poor in financial inclusion through the banking sector. Led by Prof. Subhachari Dasgupta, ninety (90) social rural workers viz.Spearhead Team members were trained in development communication and initiated an action research study in 29 districts in nine states including Assam, Bihar(Jharkhand), Haryana, Madhya Pradesh (Chhattisgarh), Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Many of them now head important NGOs in the different states. The Spearhead Team faced stiff communication challenges because they were outsiders whose presence disturbed the equation of power and domination excercised in the villages. The barriers were posed
a. by local caste based through moneylenders, higher castes and government officials of that time.
b. Deep rooted fearful mindset of the poor themselves.
c. Lack of organisation of the oppressed
Negotiating the tensions between disparate segments of society and harnessing the productive potential that arises in disrupting hierarchies in order to open the minds of people to consider alternatives and question dogmas.
PIDT was registered in 1980 to continue the work initiated by NIBM and the activists were influenced by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Mahatma Phule and Paulo Frierie and embodied their values while blending them with experiential learning from the subaltern praxis.
PIDT encouraged integration of workers with the community to facilitate genuine understanding for multi-stakeholder collaborative action and humanist cultural intervention.
PIDT worked through area based integrated development primarily intervening with the youth and working with the women to create an alternative paradigm for their status in society through cultivating their skills and entrepreneurship.
PIDT has been working to stop structural violence through conflict resolution through non-violent measures in areas known for criminality. Having established peace PIDT worked to develop women collectives for social engineering and skilling and training in different types of livelihood options both farm based and non farm based viz. SRI, Silk worm rearing, handloom, apiary, mushroom cultivation, ayurvedic medicine, homeopathy, vegetable cultivation etc. PIDT also worked on saving forests ,afforestation, check dams, lift irrigation, sanitation and education of children so create an holistic socio-economic development paradigm. All of these have interventions are made with full participation of the people creating the thrust required for sustainable development for transformation.
Our Inspirational Foundation
PIDT will always value the initiators of the Rural Action Project, National Institute for Bank Management especially Late Prof. Hingorani, Late Dr. N.C. Mehta , Late Prof. B.M. Ghiara, Dr. G.L. Karkal and Late Prof. Subhachari Dasgupta. Late Prof. P.K.Sen, First President of Sewa Bharati , Prof. Upendra Baxi, Prof. Bina Mazumdar, Dr. Pai Pannindikar. The various foundations that helped us to carry forward our activities both government and foreign donors. Our journey would not have been so satisfying without the support of so many courageous women and men who stood up to the struggle and took our handholding support in times of their struggle.
Prof. Subhachari Dasgupta – Founder Leader
Prof. Subhachari Dasgupta, born in 1929, grew up in turbulent times, and participated in the freedom struggle, even as a young child in Kolkatta in some of the non violent rallies and once was even the last flagbearer when all others before him had been shot dead. His schooling was partially in Kolkatta and partially in Hazaribag. Growing up in an aristocratic family and being the youngest amongst 6 brothers , gave him a lot of time to play, while over 100 persons had meals in their household at any given time. Perhaps his adaptability came from these circumstances.
After school, with much opposition from his family he joined the Mitra College of Art at Kolkatta. He did not enjoy it there so he left and joined Kalabhavan at Viswabharati , Shanti-niketan under Ramkinkar Baig amongst others, where he imbibed the spirit of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, and a love for nature and music, that held stead for the rest of his life's work. He travelled by cargo ship to London , where he completed his post graduation. After post-graduation he joined the Bata Shoe Co. in London and worked with them in Paris as well as in Kolkata, where he developed a number of new advertising strategies under the tutelage of D.K.Sinha. One of his creations was the linking of seasons and festivals (Durgapuja) with product, - a strategy still used by Bata and mainstreamed by many advertisers.
He then, joined Small Industries Extn Training (now NISIET) at Hyderabad and headed both communications as well as international training. At NISIET , he spent a very extensively active period in developing training mannuals for management of small scale and tiny industries.
When in 1970 , the National Institute for Bank Management was formed and he was appointed as the first faculty. At NIBM, which was an RBI instituted institution, he became a full professor. He served as consultant to Banks Bhumiputra and Negara to develop agricultural and rural banking in Malaysia. He also served as govt. of India advisor to develop agricultural finance in Banks in Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka.
In 1976, he along with other senior staff of NIBM started the Rural Action Project to investigate why villagers were unable to avail of finance from banks even though Farmers Credit Societies had been instituted. This led to extensive innovative action research, which led to intensive social action at various locations across North India.
Dedicating himself to the development of the people in remote tribal villages , he travelled extensively through the states of Meghalaya, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Orrisa and Maharashtra. His approach was to develop the analytical understanding of people and give voice to the voiceless. His mission was to increase freedoms of ordinary people in low caste communities and tribes. He worked incessantly and trained hundreds of young trainers who are able to carry forth this message throughout the country.
He was selected by the Chief Justice of India as part of a three member Enquiry commission to evaluate compliance to labour laws for construction workers during Asiad Games preparation.
Having interacted avidly with Schumacher , Robert Chambers and others he was an ardent follower of Paulo Frierie and shaped his development thought and action on those lines.
He held honorary positions as member governing board of International Association of Community Development ( IACD), Belgium; ICON in Sweden, Centre for Development Alternatives (CEPAUR), Chile; previously board member International Association for Volunteer Effort( IAVE.)- he contributed significantly to developing understanding regarding volunteering world-wide. Under his guidance, the IAVE held it's world conference in India last November 2006 where 600 persons came together from 59 countries.
A century ago, in the year 1901, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore founded a school in a wilderness near a small town ninety miles away from the bustling city of Calcutta. The school became famous as 'Patha Bhavan'. The inculcation of ancient values in those troubled years in Bengal reflected in the teaching in this school. The small school, in later years, was transformed into an important centre of learning which produced many illustrious students.read more >>
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