Documents of ADATS - Book 5

Coolie Sangha Formalisation (October 1988)

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In the intervention strategy developed by ADATS, Coolie Sangha Formalisation is the 2nd 3 year phase which we envisaged in our 9 year matrix for involvement. A description of the 1st 3 year phase of Coolie Sangha Formation was rather detailed in it’s listing of activities to be carried out and it could even be broken down into quarter wise projection of specific activities which needed to be implemented in order to set up strong village level CSUs, club them into cluster level bodies and integrate them into a taluk level apex coordinating body the BAGEPALLI COOLIE SANGHA. This gave a single and united thrust and purpose to the Coolies’ efforts which was able to transcended individual interests without losing sight of the person status of each Coolie member.

To arrive at a similar definition of the 2nd 3 year phase of involvement Coolie Sangha Formalisation is not quite as easy. It is much more than a series of measurable actions which need to be implemented in a preordained manner. Any listing of foreseeable actions will therefore sound like a repetition, but without the same time and target oriented intensity which described the previous phase. In order to describe this next phase of our involvement in the Chelur Expansion Programme (CEP) area, it is necessary to go back a little into the sociocultural, psychological and aspiration existence of Coolies in village society and attempt to properly place our intervention within this framework.

The 1st 3 year involvement phase was chiefly characterised with the introduction of external values which we development workers upheld as desirable. There was an element of imposition, capitalising on the Coolie’s utter destitution and deprivation in a milieu where they had no option but to accept this imposition of ours.

In these 1st 3 years, we could not afford the largess of recognising the plurality and complexity in situations. We had to necessarily be unilinear in our approach, using all our arguments to pit the Coolies against the Ryots. Our efforts had to be characterised with a confidence which bordered on arrogance. Our achievements had to be time targeted, on schedule and spectacular.

At that time it was the pitting of our beliefs in equality, justice and the inalienable human dignity of all against repressive, exploitative, dehumanising feudo capitalistic values and practices which prevailed in the middle peasant political economy.