Ramesh Chaurasia – Encouraging Self-sustainable community living
‘Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’
This proverb suits the long term motto of the Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha under the leadership of Mr Ramesh Lakhulal Chaurasia.
According to Mr Ramesh Chaurasia, you cannot wait for the man to learn fishing while he starves. So, it is important to take care of his basic needs and teach him to earn a livelihood alongside. He spoke to us about the long term plans of the organisation for ensuring that everyone in the Chaurasia-Tamboli community has access to necessities in life and is also provided opportunities to climb the social ladder.
Mr Ramesh Chaurasia expressed, “It is not that the entire community is struggling. Many are doing well and we know so many successful and popular people from the Chaurasia community. Today, even those in the business of making and selling paan have opened up fancy establishments. Many are in high offices and many are successful entrepreneurs. But like any community with traditional occupation as the mainstay, a large number of families belong to the vulnerable group. We want the government to recognise this and do the needful to uplift these families. But we are not waiting for help to arrive. We started with the belief that those families are a part of the extended Chaurasia family. So, we are active in many fields to bring about a change. Even if you can uplift one community, you are doing an important job because the cycle of poverty and deprivation breaks from that point. Rather than depending upon government aid, we want our people to become self-sufficient by building communities, by starting small and medium-sized enterprises, by adopting newer techniques of agriculture, by using microfinance schemes, and by investing in education for the children.”
Taking the dialogue further, another senior functionary said, “We can never provide enough finances for families to survive and progress for an indefinite period. This is not possible anywhere in the world. What is possible is that we provide basic facilities, educate and inform the people, and help them become self-employed or apply for jobs. Our long term objective is to help people become self-sufficient. The biggest obstacle is a lack of confidence and awareness. Financial limitations are another aspect. But before anything else, awareness needs to be brought.”
Bringing opportunities for the community Due to the need for more active members and the lack of accessibility especially during the Pandemic, reaching out and carrying out research amongst the marginalised groups has not been possible. The Akhil Bharatiya Adarsh Chaurasia Mahasabha has seen huge success for its E-library. This has motivated them to think of online research and documentation. As smartphones and internet connections can be out of reach for many people who need help, more community centres will be set up in the future. The community already has a few training centres. So, it won’t be too difficult for them to merge some of the existing centres and also open new ones. Systematic linkage of various projects will be attempted to address different aspects that are barriers to self-sustainability. The community is keen on addressing social, environmental, and economic aspects as well as other aspects related to mental and physical well-being. It is only when all of these are targeted that the community can be made self-sustainable.
Senior leaders like Mr Ramesh Chaurasia are trying to bring the focus of the government to their community so that government-run programs can also reach all people. They also want the rights of the marginalised section to be protected. A safe environment must be provided for all communities to thrive. It is only with these measures can a nation develops through the participation of all groups that make up a nation-state. Hope and effort are the most powerful and life-altering forces. When the ones who are capable of making any change do not give up on the ones who need hope to hold on to, miracles happen.