We the students of TYBA Political Science, Wilson College had been to our Field visit to diverse places of Vidharba in Maharashtra such as Warora, Anandwan, Gadhchiroli, Hemalkasa, Vairargarh, Shodhgram run by Society for Education Action and Research in Community(SEARCH) organization, and many other fascinating places. The purpose of our visit was to study issues in local self-governance, the issues of tribals and other issues in Vidharba. This field visit was organized by ‘LET’S GO OUTDOORS; and it was for 07 days i.e. 26/02/2018 – 04/03/2018.
Day 01 – 26th February 2018. Our journey commenced from CST with 24 of us and were all thrilled for the next 07 days. The long train journey didn’t seem to belong as Sandesh Lad, founder of Let’s Go Outdoors, made us play games which enlivened the time and after a while, we were looking out of the window and enjoyed watching the high sunlit clouds drifted across a clear blue sky.
Day 02 – 27-03-2018. We alighted at Warora, where we quickly freshened up and had the delicious breakfast. The first place that we visited was Anandwan near Warora, which is a forest of happiness. The aroma of the forest was great, we could hear the mysterious sounds of nature. At Anandwan we got aware of the work done by Baba Amte, who endeavored to help lift the marginalized section and especially the people afflicted by leprosy; to take the legacy forward Vikas Amte and his team took forward the work done by baba Amte and also equipped Anandwan by generating employment opportunities, provide education, progress in agriculture, for patients and local residents. We then visited the Warora municipal council and interacted with the CO, where he made us understand about the structure, source of revenue, working of the municipal council, etc. In the evening we left Warora and headed towards Gadhchiroli.
Day 3 – 28th February 2018. We woke up at 04:00am and were all set to go at Hemalkasa near Bamragarh. Through our journey, the bright looking milky clouds got up from sleep and started travelling around the sky visiting the wonderful environment. The huge trees swung in the wind greeted the good morning. The morning seemed so self-calming. We headed for breakfast at Hemalkasa and savoured poha and a cup of tea, served to us by the canteen run by Lok Biradari Prakalp. By 10:00am, we entered into the Lok Biradari Prakalp and it was a great opportunity for us to interact and converse with a person with mystique, Dr. Prakash Amte and Dr. Mandakini Amte and have a guided tour of the educational and health facilities of the centre. At Hemalkasa we saw a beautiful place which is called as Amte’s Animal Ark – wildlife orphanage and sanctuary. The Animal Ark has a variety of animals which were essentially orphan animals like leopard, sloth, bears, snakes, deer, crocodile, monkey, giant squirrel, cat, etc. The leopard was sleeping as if it was lazy to move, the monkeys climbed up the trees and swung from their branches, we also noticed a Neelgai standing alone near a tree, we were amused by this ark. Our next visit for the day was at Triveni Sangam of local rivers – Indravati, Perlkota and Pamulgautami confluence here. The river was window clear, it was peaceful and statue still. Bending down, I scooped a hand through the water and drank. It was thirst-quenching. We clicked lot of pictures as it was an awe-inspiring site. On our way back, we halted at India’s first biodiversity plot, began in1956, in the Allapalli range called as “The Glory of Allapalli’. The trees here were the towers of the forest, with a maximum range of 5.70 metres. The leaves we stepped on were crackly beneath our feet because of the recent dry spell. While travelling back to our place of stay we stopped at a tea stall in a village named Ashti for a much needed tea break. The shadows were now twice as long as themselves, the sunshine had lost its brightness and there was a close silence in dim evening light. A cup of hot tea in our hand, soft lighting and funny jokes – evenings like these were medicine for our soul.
Day4 -01 March 2018. We started our morning at 06:00am, and it was among a memorable experience for us to relish our breakfast from a roadside vendor. The first destination for today was Vairargad fort, built by the Gond kings, which is possibly the only fort in Maharashtra which has step wells. We were also very fortunate to meet the pioneer in community health and the founder of SEARCH organization i.e. Dr. Abhay Bang. He and his wife Dr. Rani Bang started a unique hospital for tribals based on their suggestion and needs. They have also reduced the infant mortality rates in one of the most backward areas. Later, we met the CO of Gadhchiroli municipal corporation, he showed us all the relevant law books and also took us to his house to show vermi composting an organic vegetable garden.
Day 05 – 02 February 2018. We all were very ecstatic as it was festival of colours-Holi! We jumped out of our beds and adorned each other in the colour and shared a bond of community and friendship through the day. We had a session with our Professor, regarding self-awareness, discussion on social-political issues and our visits. We enjoyed a session called as warm fuzzies which is about appreciating each other. We then ate our lunch and by 03:00 pm we left for Nagpur. On our back, when the sun dipped lower in the sky and the heat of the day was replaced by a cool breeze we halted for a tea break. The tea was very refreshing.
Day 06- 03 February 2018. It was the last day and since the field visit was going to get over so soon we all were upset. We ate our breakfast and started for the day. We visited the Cantonment Board at Kamptee and the CEO provided us information regarding the civil and military administration. Our next visit was at the Nagpur municipal corporation where CEO and 5 other senior officials of the municipal corporation made a presentation on municipal transport, water supply, solid waste management which was followed by how smart city project is being implemented in the city. We also saw the City Operation Centre which is an essential part of a smart city project. We then visited the zero milestones, the distances to various destinations across the country are measured from the marker. By now we all were hungry and had our last meal which was a feast. Finally at 05:00pm, we boarded train from Nagpur station and headed back to Mumbai.
Day 07 – 04th March 2018. We reached back to our destination i.e. CST, at dawn of sunny Sunday by 07:15am, with pleasant memories of our field visit which was an amazing learning and fun-filled experience.
A heartiest thank you to Sandesh Lad, for his excellent arrangements, ability to make everybody comfortable, help us experience the sense of belonging as he made time for each one of us and also for his positive energy and cheerful spirit throughout the trip.