Deen Dayal Upadhyaya

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Braj Prant (Western Uttar Pradesh)

Rejuvenating the villages is obviously the key to durable national development. A trend-setter in the direction is the village called Nagla Chandrabhan in Mathura District. The village scholar and social Deendyal-Dham, named after the reputed scholar and social worker who articulated the philosophy of Ekatmamanav Darshan as the answer to humanity's varied problems. He was a saintly person, an exemplar of plain living and high thinking. He believed in action rather than mere
words. Uplifting the bottom-most segment of society was his life-long passion. Many are the institutions and development projects that he inspired. Among these are the plethora of activities centred in this village which happened to be his birth-place.

A Unique Memorial

A memorial building in his name housing a pictorial exhibition relating to his life-work and a library were set up. This complex was the venue for all the endeavours initially; now, however, each sector of activity has grown immensely and has its own separate structure.

Earlier there was only a primary school. Now it has been improved greatly, and a Saraswati Shiksha Mandir and Saraswati Vidya Mandir have been added. Over four hundred children from about 25 villages attend these now.

Similar Saraswati Shiksha Mandirs and single-teacher schools have been started in other villages of this block, which attract 1,690 children from 55 villages. The vast network is manned by 46 teachers and co-ordinated by an organising committtee.

Jan Shikha Kendra

As the activities grew in the region, an apex body to coordinate educational efforts was formed. Through this "Jan Shiksha Samiti", 250 single-teacher schools, 280 Shiksha Mandirs and 60 Vidya Mandirs are functioning. Over 1,600 teachers are involved. These schools are together catering to the needs of 48,544 children from 2,607 villages. The apex committee functions from Deendayal-Dham.

In order to develop occupational skills, a vocational training centre too has been started. This is being developed as a fully self-contained residential facility for about 50 students.

Two Samskar Kendra are functioning in two Sewa-Bastis, and these are attended by about 100 children every day.

For Inculcating Samskars

Most Shiksha Mandirs run Samskar Kendras in the Sewa-Bastis in their regions. About 250 boys and girls are making use of these Kendras. About 150 of these are Basti-dwellers. Samskar Kendras have an important role in kindling interest in education.

Due to many years' efforts, Deendayal-dham village now has almost 100 per cent literacy. The literacy drive is being extended to 63 other villages in the block.

There was no facility for High School education of girls. To fulfil this need, the Deendayal Upadhyaya Kanya Mahavidyalay has been started. This will meet the requirements of girls students from about 100 villages.

The Smarak Bhavan includes a library and a reading-room which have proved very popular and are a most useful medium of awareness-building.


The Memorial runs a dispensary for the use of all the surrounding villages. The periodical eye-camp performs 200-250 operations and provides eye-glasses to the needy. Likewise, every year tricycles are given to the handicapped.

With a view to environment health, varieties of trees have been planted. There is also a nursery for distributing seedings.


As water in most wells was salty, women had to fetch drinking-water from the only sweet-water well which was a great distance away. Fortunately tow borewells bug by the Memorial yielded sweet water. The villagers' joy knew no bounds. By their own hands they laid the pipe-lines and a dozen outlets conveniently located. The women are freed from the travails of carrying head-loads of water every day. The maintenance is done by the villagers themselves.

Women's Training

Recoginising that women's economic and social security is the foundation of a healthy society, a tailoring training,
centre for women was started. Using this as a focal centre, several samskar-giving activities have been developed. Women attending the centre are also active in spreading literacy. A Shakha of Rashtra Sevika Samiti also functions here. Till now, some 750 women from 20 villages have completed their training and have improved their living conditions.

Many-Sided Activities

In addition to tree-planting, trials are being conducted to explore what vegetables and other plants can be grown in the briny water here.

One of the cottage industries of the region is the manufacture of Ayurvedic preparations like Chayavanprash, Triphala, etc. Bee-keeping is another local occupation.

To encourage self-employment, the Vidyalay provides training in the making of candles, soap, wheels, etc. The response has been encouraging. One family produces a 'Surf-like detergent, and the entire production is brought by local residents within two or three days.

It has been planned to introduce computer training.

As cattle are basic to rural economy, a Goshala is being developed. Gobar Gas production is also encouraged. The residues will go to make excellent compost manure.

Traditional methods of using cow's urine in certain medical preparations are being tried.

Compiled by Amarjeet Singh, Research Associate & Programme Coordinator, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, 9, Ashok Road, New Delhi - 110001
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