Sunday, August 31, 2008

GHANDHI’S HEAVAN

At a time when practicing the path preached by Ghandhi is consider out of vogue, a small village in Uttaranchal still lives by the principle of the Mahatma. Not a soul in bakhroti village in tehri district consume alcohol or smock tobacco- the two vices that Gandhi stood against The Ghandhian code of conduct is practiced to the book by the 20 odd village families. Who wear khadi, do not lie or hurl abuse at one another. The villagers say this is a feat in itself as Uttaranchal is infested with village where most men are addicted to alcohol and tobacco, and woman have often protested to mend the system.A journalist .umesh dobal, Who reported about the thriving alcohol mafia here was done to death.

The ideals wear installed in the villagers by baldev joshi, a school teacher, who was influenced by the freedom struggle and Gandhi’s dictum of non- violence. Joshi later enrolled himself with the prajamandal party and strove for the merger of tehri, a princely state, into India. He propagated the Ghandhian principle among the villagers and prompted them to abstain from alcohol and tobacco and lead a disciplined life. So much was joshi’s influence, that the villagers still follow the path he showed ,even after his death some years ago.

The villagers proudly inform that bakhroti was given the ideal village tag by the authorities in the 1770s, when the rest of the state was in the grip of alcohol and the gandhians wear trying hard to get liquor movement in the area. Thanks to their ideals, the villagers claim they command respect wherever they go. The people in the neighboring villages throw away their cigarettes and bidis. When we go near them, as a mark of their respect ’they say. And in their bid to enforce the Gandhian code, they spared none. Former village chief buddhi Prasad recalls how the villagers had locked up a block development officer, who was drunk.