Are you familiar with the aura created when first drop of rain falls on ground? The smell speaks of serenity and purity. Those who are still living in mud houses know this very well. Coming from rural background, I am very well familiar with the sensation that appeals to all five sense at once. Lately use of local construction materials like mud is being promoted once again. Local NGO SPARC has started a mud houses projects in Lahore and have selected some functional mud houses in remote village Thatta Ghulamka Dheroka as show case giving mud house owners incentives to keep them spanking and open. This has created new chain of activities and people are seen renovating their houses (it is so easy to keep a mud house neat and new). These images showing women mud plastering exterior of their houses say a great deal.
Mud houses conventionally bring an image of ancient dwelling devoid of modern civic amenities. That is not true. Mud houses can be modern and fully equipped with all the facilities that are available anywhere. One wishes that urbanite revert back to use of energy efficient mud material, get closer to that nature and take advantages in urban areas so that this impression can be dispelled.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Importance of inputs from traditional cultures in development of rural areas
The most important factors for the current development were laid in the early nineteenth century. The "rejection of thinking" and "acting as a community" -- meant for the technology -- resulted in enormous increase in the industrial production because the division of work led to higher productivity and new professions. It appeared, on the face of it, as a way to increase the standard of living and quality of life. Best example that can be cited is Taylorism as introduced in Ford automobile factories and other production units in the early industrial age.
Analysis of the society by political and economic thinkers led to development theories, which could not foresee the effects of these policies as evidenced today. The cardinal error by these theorists was the euro-centristic model -- nobody took what was happening in other cultures into consideration.
In Smith's economic system, the free market functioned globally, as long as global meant regional and maximum on a national level. In Marx's political system the democracy functioned internationally, as long as the power base was centrally located. Similar concept is also found in ancient Greek city state models on a local basis. In all the cases, there appears to be consensus on one point that multiple behavioral models (Artenvielfalt) are not acceptable in these theories. But this is precisely the decisive error.
It is in this context that the present development situation can be analyzed. Today, the market factors are democratically functioning in society, which determines the general welfare of the people. Paradoxically, the market – in the traditional sense -- neither takes into consideration the environment nor the traditional cultures that are present in rural areas. Production of goods leads to a certain uniformity because of cost reduction methods. Every effort must be undertaken, so that the production does not fall short of targets under any circumstances. The multi-national concerns attempt by adding more products to their production programs to offer a variety of models: since all parties participating in the market work in similar way, but the demand in the market is relatively fixed and not able to be increased arbitrarily, it is clear where the wastage of resources is taking place.
The winner is the one, who has the largest potential of human resources as long as these can be controlled politically. The intentions and the wishes of so-called democratic countries are understandable, if they exert all possible pressure on others to accept their form of governance. If this effort does not succeed, their system – let us call it western system -- would collapse together with all parties involved in it.
There are incredible factors, which remain unconsidered by the members of the urban culture, they being the innovators and carriers of the enormous misunderstandings and the cardinal errors. These cultures have developed over a long period of time in inter-action with the climate and the environment. Each culture has its own set of rights and should be the subject of research to shed light on this enormous richness. Of course much of the matter has been lost due to the way of thinking and the actions undertaken up till now, but exactly this is the task before us; to track down these materials.
Misuse of environment and resources are hardly a subject of discussion in economic appraisals. Similarly, the richness of traditional cultures, which still exist at least in part in the rural areas, which are typically described as "under-developed" is not mentioned in these appraisals. There is no code or value allocated to them. The damages become visible only when the values are already destroyed. The extent of destroyed traditional cultures is quite evident in the number of museums, i.e. as soon as the traditional cultures began to be considered as moneymaking measures for the institutions, they received recognition as a valid market factor, but in effect became still unstable.
As the international flow of money is not directed towards local industry and national states, there is a trend towards uniformity through optimization and standardization. This uniformity can be concealed through various designs and requires increased consumption of goods. In order to increase the consumption, the consumers (all consumers of the world united!!) require financial means, which are actually not available to the majority of population.
A special sort of market is created at the place where traditional cultures are promoted. Members of the community have a chance to participate, if they consider it a possibility to maintain their basic requirements, i.e. a form of satisfaction of most basic material needs must remain intact.
Books For Students of Dolls Village
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Some years ago, Senior German Volunteer Dr. Senta Siller had conceived and implemented the idea of giving books to the students of two government schools in Thatta Kedona Ghulamka Dheroka – the Dolls and Toy Village to promote education in rural community. At the start of academic session, Thatta Kedona distributes the books (and stationary items) to the students of Government Girls Primary School as well as in Government Boys Primary School.
Water Supply at Dolls Village
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Medical examinations in the past have shown, for example, that all children under 6 years had digestion problems caused by unhygienic water. The subsequent survey regarding quality of drinking water in households confirmed the medical suspicions. The promotion of clean drinking water is therefore of primary importance. Here is a brief about some of the projects undertaken in the village:Read more »
Labels: Rural Development
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
The amounts allocated in the federal budget for development aid say it all, namely that too much is being done and too little at the same time. How can that be, -only one thing can be true? And still, both are correct because for one it is too much and for the other too little.
Now, how does it look for the actively engaged people in development aid? They are mostly not thoroughly acquainted with the problems of the developing countries because they constantly make comparisons between their home and the project country und therefore very quickly develop a certain way of thinking, namely to develop themselves so much in the normally three years of participation in an overseas project, that they can build a small house of their own at home.
To these actively engaged persons also belong the diplomats, who –given the bad experiences- have to posess certain qualities, namely: be gladly in the home country and be in a position to use the German language in the foreign country. Now what does that mean? – foreign languages are learnt only later during the training process for the official post. Those posted in the foreign countries appear to hate their mother countries and therefore wake up early in the morning. Since they love security and safety of their official premises, they leave these only on arrival and departure and otherwise they are too busy in the table work or are participating in enormously important conferences and are therefore totally overloaded to even think of taking out time for not so important matters. To these not so important matters also belong the development aid projects. Their activity is mostly limited to finding paragraphs which speak against a project and to ensure employment at the base station for processing the incoming project proposals.
A pleasant side-effect is the official therapy. At home subjected to otherwise long and tedious therapy, these officials obtain official and free psychological treatment in which they are required to look after the visitors and applicants in a friendly manner and thereby ascertain their importance, which can be summed up to be zero. This strengthens the officer and makes him resistant to inter human contact.
The projects most successful are the ones in which the families involved in the project are well looked after; that’s also a sort of development aid.
Employees of the population and immigration offices are called human smugglers. They have improved their image in the meanwhile quite a lot and now offer complete immigration packages. The concerned family has to pay a certain amount of money and with that it gets a guarantee that one person from the family will get an entry visa to the desired country even without any knowledge of the language of the host country. A lot of advertisement is done in this context; the diplomatic representation or the embassy on its part does not keep one eye closed here. On the contrary, they keep their eyes wide open on their work tables and avoid in case travel in such a dangerous country.
In short: how bad it would be if these officials of the foreign ministry and the ministry for development aid were not there? - The country would have additional unemployed persons, not much but still. Moreover, the expensive therapy costs are saved by way of the residence in the foreign country, where aggressions and humanly mistakes can be let out without anyone making a fuss!
BNU Students Visit Dolls Village
Monday, April 9, 2012
Monday, April 2, 2012
Engraved woodwork - the name is enough to collectors, travellers and cautiously curious dreaming. Antiquity is the first message of the ancient art. And, woodwork executed in villages of Pakistan is a collector's delight that needs to be preserved.
During the Mughal era, Pakistan produced many intelligent personalities and talented artisans who occupied positions in the Mughal courts. Artisans of Pakistan have instinctive good taste and they have achieved a distinctive excellence in woodwork. They are said to have been employed during the construction of Taj Mahal at Agra and Golden Temple at Amritsar. Special types of furniture and decorative items with brightly lacquered woodcarvings and coloured woodwork are still made here and famous all over the world. Gujrat, Chaniot and Multan are particularly famous for woodwork.
What this internationally acclaimed craft of the country needs is an institutional patronization and extensive efforts for preservation. Made in Pakistan wood items are found at different antique shops and but this art seem to be fading away in the face of the factory made items. It can be a potent source of earning for village artisans if attention is paid to and earnest efforts are made. Sadly, the trained incompetents responsible for export promotion of art and culture do not see this and the unique potentials and its cultural importance yet.