Ralegan is a small village with a total population of around 2,300. It has developed by leaps and bounds in a period of 20 years. The five principles adopted by this village are nashabandhi (non-addiction), nasbandhi, charbandhi, khurabandhi and shramadan.
This village has attained worldwide recognition. During the 70’s, Ralegan was beset with a number of problems. Since it is located in the low-rainfall zone of Maharashtra, it had to face a severe water shortage, due to which farmers were forced to have only one crop in a year. The villagers migrated from one place to another in search of work.
The Ralegan of today is a totally different picture. Anna Hazare has a lion’s share in its development. The village, which once faced acute shortage of water, has, with the help of small bunds and well planned use of technology, a great quantity of stored water. The quantity of water has increased so much that water from Ralegan is supplied to other villages through canals. The problem of the villagers’ addiction has been wiped out.
The village, which had a problem of a large population, now faces a problem of less manpower. There is an increase in the rainfall due to the increase in the greenery.
The village has a grain bank, to which all the villagers contribute two quintals of their produce. This is stored in the godowns and is given to needy people. The needy are given one quintal of grain and at the end of the year they have to pay an interest of 15 kilograms of grain.
What is nice about the people of Ralegan is that the people are not lazy, despite being rich. Instead they are active and are working for the development of the nation.
From the project ‘India lives in villages’ by Jnana Prabodhini Navanagar Vidyalaya of Pune