Fruitful Cooperation

- Dr Mukund Naware 

सफल सहयोग

You find the cause and means will follow, it is said.

I experienced this as NDDB Spearhead Team Leader, Jalgaon during 1974-76. It started with visit of Purushottam Joshi who was my friend in Nagpur Veterinary College few years ago. He had come on short visit to Jalgaon with his wife and the couple was staying with her sister.

Joshi contacted me over phone and then met me in Jalgaon Union’s office. His visit was no doubt a surprise and we decided to spend as much time together as possible. Then he casually mentioned that the relative with whom he was staying had his office just at a walkable distance from the place where we were sitting. He suggested that we could as well go there and meet him just as personal introduction. I accepted his suggestion and we went there.

That was the office of the Directorate of Field Publicity. Till then I had not known that there was a Govt. Department by that name. The name of the officer was Shri Khandekar who was co-brother of Joshi. After we were introduced I found Khandekar to be very informative and helpful, perhaps that was his job requirement also. During the corse of our discussion it was revealed that his office was there to help various departments in field activities and for this purpose they had hundreds of documentary films on various topics. I casually enquired whether they had films on dairy and cooperation. He immediately called the list and I found that they had two documentary films with titles सफल सहयोग and सौराष्ट्र के लोकनृत्य. The black and white film सफल सहयोग was based on Amul story and the other one in color, although devoted to folk dances had depicted perfect harmony amongst artistes which was nothing short of cooperation. Then and there I thought about borrowing those films on a future date and Khandekar readily agreed to help me. Thus our meeting ended on a positive note and on next day Joshi went back to Buldana where he was working as Extension Officer in Zilla Parishad.

Then I discussed my idea with Narendra Vashi who was like Deputy Team Leader. He agreed that showing documentary films in villages where we organized dairy societies on Anand Pattern was excellent idea. What more, he was willing to operate the 16 mm projector himself if we could arrange one. At NDRI he had received practical training to operate the projector. Now our problem was to only find the projector and we made some effort in that direction. In couple of days we came to know that the Arts and Science College at Faizpur had a 16 mm projector and Shri JT Mahajan, MLA who was Chairman of Jalgaon Milk Union had influence over that college being on the Executive Committee of the Education Society that ran the college. That linkage worked wonderfully well and when we went to meet the College Principal instantly he gave us the 16 mm projector and the rolled screen with tripod stand in complete faith. That added a dimension to our extension effort immensely.

We went to Shri Khandekar to obtain the films. He did not ask for even a formal letter and just on my signature in his register he gave away both the films. In the next couple of days Vashi tried and confirmed that the assembled things ( जुगाड ) worked well and we were ready with a Projector and two Films as a part of our Team’s kit to organize film shows. In the next ten months we must have organized over sixty to seventy film shows in villages just a day prior to bringing the working on Anand Pattern. Each show had hundreds of viewers, women and children alike and the message followed was quite powerful. The first film to be screened was on folk dances followed by सफल सहयोग.

The film सफल सहयोग was produced by Ezra Mir in Films Division and it was remarkable being a sort of running interview of Dr. Kurien dubbed in Hindi with several frames appearing in the background

At one point Dr. Kurien was also seen in conversation with Amul Chairman, Shri Tribhuvandas Patel although their dialogue was not audible. What I remember till today is a line dubbed in Hindi in which he was saying … और आनंद मे हमने यही तो सिद्ध किया है । ( I am one of those who believe that…) भारत का किसान इतना पिछडा हुआ नही है जितना कि समझा जाता है.. हम सभी की तरह वह शुरूआतमे नये तरीके अपनानेसे झिझकता है … लेकिन जब उसे मालूम होता है कि दूध उत्पादन के नये तरीके फायदेमंद हो सकते है, उसकी आमदनी बढा सकते है, तब वह बिना झिझक से उन्हे अपना लेता है… All such statements were good enough to make lasting impact on farmers. Therefore, we could see that screening of these films charged the village atmosphere and it helped us in our extension effort.

During this period the Field Publicity Office did ask us to return the films couple of times but that was only to reissue them. The College at Faizpur also did not ask us to return the projector. Here I must mention that during the first phase of Operation Flood there was no provision of funds for Spearhead Team to carry a Film Projector. Therefore, the number of Film Shows reported by us on monthly basis was over and above the expectation and hardly anybody noticed that activity leave alone appreciation.

However, after several months it so happened that the electric bulb in the projector went off and it had to be replaced. As can be expected the replacement was not available easily but a local electrical shop could finally arrange for it. Needless to say, we included the ‘ expenditure on replacement of projector bulb ‘ in our monthly statement.

Thereafter we promptly received a note calling for explanation on that kind of expenditure. When there was no projector from NDDB how the expenditure on bulb replacement could be entertained was the question raised by our auditors. When I answered them the expenditure was allowed as a special case.

However, that sent us alarm that if something went wrong with the projector as a whole who could replace the whole projector and certainly it was beyond our personal capacity. So we thought enough is enough and returned the projector and both the films to respective agencies. The सफल सहयोग was over.

P.S. Purushottam Joshi, my friend who caused the above chain of events met with a fatal accident sometime in 1980. Like many, even he didn’t know about his contribution to our work.

Feast of Memories- 4

Meeting Thiru SK Paramsivan at his village Chinniampalayam. Thiru Paramsivan now 102 became the founder Chairman of Erode District Milk Producers Cooperative Union

On a hot afternoon, I visited Chinniampalayam, a village ten kms from Erode, to meet Mr SK Paramasivan, a progressive farmer, cooperator and a former Member of the Parliament. After preliminary introduction, I explained to him the purpose of my visit: to organise Anand Pattern milk cooperatives under the Operation Flood programme.

Making a face, he retorted that cooperatives, as a whole, had failed in Tamil Nadu and that the people have lost faith in cooperatives. He was a member of the Erode Cooperative Milk Supply Union and had bitter experience of the Union: it served neither the producers’ nor the consumers’ interests. I allowed him to ventilate his feelings on the cooperatives which he did for about thirty minutes. At the end, I made a request to him to give me an opportunity to talk to the farmers of Chinniampalayam. He welcomed the idea, though reluctantly, and agreed to convene a meeting. The date and time were fixed. I thanked him and left, assuring that I will meet him at the appointed time.

I, along with members of the Spearhead Team, reached Chinniampalayam exactly at 6 pm (the appointed time) and met Mr Paramasivan. He was surprised to see us exactly at the appointed time because he confessed later that no government officer ever came at the appointed time! The farmers had already assembled for the meeting: about fifty of them were ladies. Paramasivan introduced me to the farmers and asked me to talk. It was always my practice to collect as much information as possible on the village, farmers, number of milch animals (buffaloes), facilities for disposal of milk and the problems faced. I had collected this information in respect of Chinniampalayam, in advance.

Addressing the farmers in broken Tamil, I told them about the problems they were facing in keeping buffaloes and producing milk: high cost of feeds and fodder, lack of AI and animal health care facility and exploitation by the agencies that collected the milk. I explained to them how the farmers in Anand solved these problems by forming milk cooperatives. I also told them about the Operation Flood programme and organisation of Anand Pattern cooperatives as a part of this programme. The programme will be implemented in seven districts in Tamil Nadu which included Erode also. NDDB had placed a Team in Erode to help the farmers in organising Anand Pattern cooperatives. The farmers listened with rapt attention and I could notice on their faces signs of willingness to try out the pattern. 

When the meeting was about to conclude, Paramasivan got up and said “we have a farmer in our village, Raju, a communist. He was in the habit of opposing all good things saying good things happened only in Russia and China. You take him to Anand and let him see the developments there. If he is convinced, you can take it that our entire village is convinced”. Thus saying, the meeting ended.

As a part of the Farmer Induction Programme, Raju was deputed to Anand along with other farmers. He spent a few days at Anand, went around the villages and saw for himself the changes that had taken place due to milk cooperatives. On his return to Chinniampalayam, Raju told the farmers what he had seen at Anand and that if any good thing had happened anywhere in the world, after Russia and China, it was at Anand. Further, he said that was the last chance for them to develop their village and that they should wholeheartedly accept and support the programme.

Chinniampalayam was one of the eight “Anand Pattern” cooperatives that we had organised in the first lot, with Paramasivan as its Chairman. Today, it is one of the most successful cooperatives.

Continued Feast of Memories – 5
Contributed by Dr. E. Madhavan, Former Regional Director NDDB , Mumbai