Global Research Assembly
July 4, 1979
In India whenever we have an opportunity to speak
to the Human Development Training School, or a large gathering
of the people of the Nava Gram Prayas or a Council we always begin
with a special greeting. I would like to extend that greeting
to you today. It is very simple: Namaste....Namascar....Namascram..
This is a greeting in three languages Hindi, Marathi
and Telagu (which is sometimes referred to as the Italian of the
One of the finest occasions in my life was the graduation
of the first Training School in Maharashtra two and one half years
ago. I was given an opportunity to speak and my opening line was
something like this, "My, my, my, my look what Maliwada has
wrought"' I had a similar opportunity a few days ago in Maliwada
when we celebrated the launching of the 232 village projects.
Again, as I spoke to those 600 Indian "strong" auxiliaries
and another 400 villagers and guardians and government people
that attended the celebration, I began with, "My , my, my,
my, my look what you have wrought!"
Now both of those statements are probably inadequate.
It is more like, "Look what Being has wrought"' Look
at what has been done because of our efforts, and in spite of
our efforts; this is what has been wrought. What I would like
to briefly report on is just that: what has been wrought by Being
It is as though an army has just emerged from a three
year battle, appears on the horizon and looks back over those
three years in order to face the next five years of battle. What
does that army look like? What is it made of? How did it get there?
How many weapons does it have, and what kind? What are its ingredients?
What are the scars it bears? This is the kind of thing I want
to try to express about the 232.
There are 10 things which I believe were dramatic
happenings in the doing of the 232 up to the present time. The
first one is that a movement, Nava Gram Prayas, New Village Movement,
has been formed. In other words, 232 villages in Maharashtra plus
countless supporting forces have joined to renew the villages
of Maharashtra State and beyond. With them are 600 Indian strong
auxiliary. These auxiliary live like the rest of you in the Order.
They live in houses. They have a full common life of ritual and
daily collegiums. They use manuals that provide constructs for
their corporate life and guises for conversations and collegium
constructs like the Journal translated into their language. They
live in the villages which is a key to the movement of Nava Gram
Prayas. As far as I know it is the only movement related to villages
in which all the personnel live in the villages themselves, and
work shoulder to shoulder with villagers. That has been utterly
crucial. And as far as I know this is the first time in the history
of the Institute of Cultural Affairs that we have ever had a role
in creating a movement other than our own movement as an Order.
I believe Nava Gram Prayas is an utterly unique kind of movement
in the 20th century for it is comprised of the most common local
people selfconsciously involved in bringing about
The second dramatic event is directly related to
the first. It is the creation of a cadre of giants. The 600 Indian
strong mentioned above have all pledged two years of their lives
to service in Nava Gram Prayas. Some of them may fall by the wayside.
Many of them will go beyond. Fifty of them have now been with
Nava Gram Prayas two years or longer. You have seen some of these
people here. They represent all the giants that are in Maharashtra.
They have been through the thickandthin of everything
imaginable. They have arrived at a new vocation, and they manifest
that vocation to their compatriots, to their colleagues and the
villagers with whom they work. More and more of them have become
giants as each quarter goes by. I have previously wondered, "If
some catastrophe happens to us old hands, both Indians and extranationals,
would Nava Gram Prayas be wiped out?" I have now ceased to
worry about that. These younger ones are here to stay. At the
232 celebration, I symbolized that by kissing the feet of one
of the auxiliary to show that extranational old hands were, in
principle, turning over to them the mantle of being Nava Gram
Prayas in history. Now you and I know that was utterly unnecessary
because we stand globally shoulder to shoulder with people of
all cultures and there is no difference in the men of the spirit,
whatever their color, education, their sex or age. But for the
doubters and those in the process of making the decision. the
symbol was important.
The key to the beginning of the creation of the cadre
of giants is the Human Development Training School. What a powerful
tool that is. Whatever else it does, it is the happening that
gives people an opportunity to make a decision. And, it is the
only place where we provide extended, depth work in the spirit
dimension. The work done with the profound humanness chart alone
is amazing, and it continues to sustain people day in and day
out. The HDTS has become the foundational, formational tool that
starts people on their journey in Nava Gram Prayas. We have had
ten of the eight week schools. The last five schools were each
three weeks long. Evaluation of the three week school is now in
process, and I am sure there will be lively dialogue on the role
and merits of each in the future.
The third great happening is the creation of the
replication structures. I will not take time to go over those
in detail, but they include beachheads, strongholds, districts,
divisions, state, and continent and Nava Gram Prayas as a whole.
Then, circuit teams, division guns, strike forces, division meetings,
area meetings, councils, and mass meeting designs. All of this
has become so much a part of us in our every day life that we
in Maharashtra do not stop very often to reflect on what has been
created. The same is probably true for you. You have created and
have been a part of this structure and others similar to this
before Nava Gram Prayas picked it up. But that similar structure
in which you have been participating has been born anew and embodied
in Nava Gram Prayas.
The fourth major happening was the creation and implementation
of a Community Development Association, or as you know it, the
local economic vehicle. We have recast its legal form so it could
be utilized in Indian society. It is now that legal entity which
gives form to the polity dynamics of village life, that is, the
stakes, the guilds, the secretariat (or the leaders) and the community
assembly. What a peculiar catalytic instrument this is! As a formal
instrument of responsibility it organizes a village so that the
village takes off! It seems to give local people a brand new way
to grasp themselves as responsible for the village's total life.
It gives them a way to handle their own funds, and it gives them
the way to rebuild the village themselves. It plants practical
possibility in their consciousness. It has caught hold like wildfire,
and wherever we have been working with village community development
associations, brand new things have occurred. The community development
association is probably one of the great sociological instruments
developed in history for it provides a way for the villages to
plan as a corporate body for the welfare of all its residents.
Then it can be applied to the taluka (the county) and district
levels in the same way. Maybe a hundred years from now people
will look back and see that instrument as significant as the creation
of the panchayat system in India. I believe it has that kind of
symbolic potential for India's, and possibly any nation's, development.
The fifth event was launching the modular form of
the consult. We altered the regular consult format to a fiveday
practical design geared toward tactical implementation. Keystones
in the tactical system were emphasized to break the village loose.
The modular form is flexible and can be used over and over again
in various ways and places. For example, we held one day economic
and social modules this past quarter for all of the projects.
The methods of this new consult are basic and simple. Auxiliaries
and villagers can be easily trained to conduct the consult themselves.
In fact, during the last three weeks in May we did 76 consults
without any help from outside Maharashtra.
Incidentally, you need to know what a great boon
it was to us this past year to have the "Maharashtra monthers"
who came from around the world to give a month of time to help
us create a highly sophisticated method for doing consults rapidly
and expanding the number of village projects. In the process our
own people learned to do them. The 76 consults are the proof!
There were 40 "Maharashtra monthers" who came
to India this past year. In the last three years 95100 people
have come to provide some form of extended help from a few days
to a quarter. What a sign of global collegiality that is. It indicates
to me that people are ready to move wherever they are needed,
and are willing to leave their own heavy work, and pay for their
own transportation to catalyze human development at a crucial
time and place. What a happening that was for us We could not
have had the same year without them.
The sixth event was the demonstration of good will
and support by the local guardians, representatives of the local
private and public sector. They see a vision of possibility on
a mass scale. I refer especially to small businesses, local company
employees and local government officials. Where ever people in
the local situation have seen our projects they are extremely
responsive. Our projects have received almost complete support
through such a powerful authorization base among local people
Our advocates and supporters are hungry for ways
to participate, and are willing to do almost anything. I would
like for you to meet some of them who are here. Dr. and Mrs. Shah,
for example, have staffed eye clinics all over Maharashtra, especially
in villages near Bombay which they can easily reach on a weekend.
They supplement government health care programs with things the
government can not do, and the villages are delighted when they
come. Not only does Dr. Shah spend his weekends like that but
he treats anyone of us who has any kind of an ailment at any time
of the day or the night. Whenever we see him he pleads with us
for some way he and Mrs. Shah and others like them can be used
more fully. This is the kind of guardians we have in India. Vijay
Lokande is another. He is the businessman who has some small businesses
in Panvel which is close to New Bombay and also close to the village
of Chikhale. Anytime we need anything, we call Vijay. If the need
is located in the village, he jumps on his scooter to get people
or deliver a message or do anything. If we have a problem, we
go to Vijay. Vijay means "victory" in Hindi and Lokande
means "iron man". What a name! What a character! Mr.
Dethe has already been introduced and I will not say too much
more about what he does. I remember when we first went to Maliwada
three years ago and saw Mr. Dethe. He had had four heart attacks
and the doctors had instructed him to take it easy, so he went
out to start the Maliwada Consult. Since then, he has been always
ready to go whether it is in India, Latin America or wherever;
all you have to do is call him. Then there is Raminder Wasu who
is a guardian for the Sikor project. She always introduces herself
as a resident of Sikor. She is one of our newest guardians but
most supportive. A brand new local guardian network has indeed
burst forth. We tried to launch a guardian network a year and
a half ago on a statewide level. Everyone who attended the meetings
sat around and made intellectual statements. They were hungry
to do something, but they did not know how. The local guardians
do know how. We have moved to capture their selfconscious
Also, we have begun to see that the repository is
locally based. One of our staff ceaselessly remarks that all that
is needed for village renewal is Taluka or District based. This
may be pushing it a little but it does indicate the local focus
of the repository.
The seventh happening is the application of motivational
pressure on all the villages of Maharashtra State. You sent us
out to hit the beach and immediately expand over all the territory
of Maharashtra, to cover completely all 232 talukas. We have done
that and what we anticipated has happened. We have begun to put
motivational pressure on other villages in Maharashtra. The results
are yet unknown, but we have been receiving clues. The first clue
came one and a half years ago in January, 1978, when suddenly
the Human Development Training School was attended by people who
just appeared. One third of the 200 people who came were not from
any of the villages we had visited. They had just come as a part
of the ripple effect. And that ripple effect continued through
the eight week school held in January and February, 1979. We have
a different situation with the three week schools, but the ripple
effect is still operative. The second clue is seen in the kind
of response villages are making to our projects. Our recruitment
technique for the school last fall was to do five Gram Sabbas
in five villages in one taluka. The village that responded most
creatively would be selected for the Project village. However,
the other four were alive and awake and were good recruitment
sources for the Human Development Training School. We went to
a taluka and selected village X. Villages Y and Z, and A, and
B asked, "Why didn't you select us?" We responded, "We
can select only one village in the taluka in this round. We can
come back next year to you." The villagers then commented,
"Alright, we will watch Village X and whatever happens there
we will do in our village." That kind of feedback or pressure
is occurring. The third clue is the striking response of the selected
villages the last six months. We have said from the beginning,
"We are not here to do your project we are here to work shoulder
to shoulder with you to give you methods so that you can do the
project yourselves." We did not believe it for, practically
speaking, we tried to do the project ourselves. We still lived
before that story, but practically our whole being was focused
toward trying to bring off the project ourselves. The villagers
did not believe us either. They would agree and say they
were willing to do the project, but they would stand back and
watch us or help us trying to actuate their project. These days
something new is happening across the State. Now when we arrive
at a new village and give that pitch, the residents believe it,
and furthermore, we believe it. These are clues to motivational
pressures. They are subtle, but they are present in fantastic
The eighth key event, or happening in Maharashtra
is the circuit structure and monitoring dynamic. A district may
contain between three and 14 talukas. Within a district we establish
a district project and two stronghold village projects. We now
have 75 circuits operating in Maharashtra. The circuits are responsible
for catalyzing tactical action to ensure the total development
of all the villages on their circuit. A circuit is responsible
for two to five projects in addition to the base village. The
whole tactical life and nurture of the village throughout Nava
Gram Prayas rests upon the circuits.
From the beginning we held consults every quarter
and launched new projects. Immediately, we were able to supply
them with new project directors. Each quarter we added more projects
and named new project directors. But in March a gap appeared.
we discovered that we lacked trained leadership to provide each
new village with a project director. In some cases, we sent out
auxiliary staff but that was not adequate, without leadership
the staff could not function. We had to create the circuits in
order to effectively catalyze tactical action in the new projects.
We now have enough people to immediately place two auxiliary staff
in every one of the 232 projects and do all our circuits. But
they are not strong enough yet. In most cases they are new people.
To accelerate their training we have brought them into the strongholds
where they will operate until they are assigned into a project
as auxiliary. In the mean time they will serve as backup
people on the circuit and be trained in the strongholds. The circuit
teams visit each project once every week or ten days depending
on how many projects the circuit contains.
The extranational staff are clearly a minority.
They do not operate in one village anymore; they may have as many
as 28 villages to watch over. Because of this, many of the projects
never see a white man or an extranational. When I was in
Latin America last winter I discovered that we have assigned ten
more trained extranationals to those five projects than
we have in all of the 232 projects in Maharashtra. As far as money
is concerned only the six or seven spotlight projects receive
any significant amount of seed money. Since January, each of the
25 district projects has received only $700 $800 to seed
program actuation. All the other projects receive about $30 or
$40 a month for actuation. One U.S. project has just received
a $120,000 gift from the government and another $80,000 in loans;
$200,000 for that one project. That kind of funding would run
the entire subcontinent for four months! I rejoice that Latin
America has al1 those extranationals and I rejoice that
U.S. projects received $200,000. That is not the point. I simply
wish to paint a picture of the kind of task the circuits have
to do. I believe this is the way of the future for the third world
The national staff bears the brunt of the circuiting
work. They are relatively new. The people like those you have
seen here, the giants, are very few about 50. The
new people have little practical leadership experience, and most
are uneducated. Some are illiterate; some have had a few grades
of primary school education; some have graduated from high school;
less have attended university; and very few, like K.K. Tupe, have
a Master's degree. Most are, however, uneducated. The majority
are young in their late teens or early twenties. Last year,
I said that training was the key for the coming year and described
how we had learned to train people to be giants in HDTS and onthejob
in projects. I went on to say we needed to teach them to jump
out of their skins. Well, I was wrong. It would require four,
five, or ten years to train people to jump into a whole new realm.
In practical field operation, we cannot ask them to be other than
who they are, and that is what we have to work with.
Now, consider the drama. Inexperienced, uneducated
youth go to a village and they encounter tough village leaders.
The leaders have made it. They are shrewd and intelligent. Many
are ruthless in order to survive. Almost all have care within
them already or awaiting to burst. They are impatient with immaturity
and naivety, and they will not put up with any kind of sham or
pretension. Now consider yourself as a circuiter. You go into
the village...you have no money, nc special skills, not much education,
little leadership experience, and you are looked down on as an
immature youth. What in the world are you going to do? That is
We have worked to develop an actuation model for
community patterns which has become utterly crucial. Incidently,
I was extremely pleased with what was happening in the Latin American
projects in this respect. In the midst of getting all the programs
started, community patterns were emphasized. In the subcontinent,
Being has squeezed us in such a way that we are forced to take
community patterns wit:h practical seriousness. Every village
must make the decision to renew itself on behalf of others; no
one else can make this decision for them. And every village has
to plan how it will carry out that renewal and do its own implementation;
no one else can do that either. That is where we must beginwith
the people we have.
We have been experimenting six months with a new
form of practical application of corporate patterns. Then, last
quarter, one of the divisions experimented with this new model.
At the June council, we decided that the major emphasis across
all the circuits would be this model. We have named our first
quarter maneuvers: "Breaking Loose the Power of the 232.
(stakes and guilds)" Circuiters begin with short maneuver
forms on the stake level and then begin to activate all the dynamics
of community organization. They push for effective tactical action.
Village action is tied into the circuits as villagers and circuiters
attend circuit planning meetings where ruthless accountability
is held for their own village implementary plans. Circuits are
usually done by two people, an auxiliary person and a project
director or a villager from another village. First they meet with
the village leaders and then go to the stakes and begin to plan.
They have a very simple chart that they use with each of the five
stakes. The twenty, thirty, or forty people in attendance fill
the chart out themselves. The chart is contentless; it can be
related to the consult document, to campaign plans, to the previous
month's work, or to any quarter's battle plan. People learn how
to fill in the chart very quickly. They are ready to respond,
and this form gives them a concrete and objective way to participate.
This has become a structure by which the village can become involved
in planning for itself. The information from the chart is taken
to a community meeting where the three victories from each stake
are gestalted into five victories. Then the community decides
what it will do, who will do it, and how they will do it. The
next morning the leaders meet with the guilds and tactical action
is carried out. This method equips the young circuiter to avoid
a confrontation with those grizzled village leaders. The village
leaders honor the methodology because they have experienced it
in the consult, and know it makes for authentic local planning.
They trust it. The method allows the circuiter to dialogue with
ordinary, uneducated villagers; he is one of them, though from
another village. In the stake meeting he can talk with them and
inspire them to work. The results from the stakes' work is brought
to the village meeting. The village leaders honor it, because
it has come from their own people. This procedure undercuts a
lot of the fear or collapse of our auxiliary which has taken place
in the past. This is the only model that we have developed which
actually works across the whole board, and we are going to bet
our life on it this quarter. If it works, it will be the key to
our future, and perhaps to replication in general.
The ninth happening was the formation of a base for
a social revolution. We are not out to do projects. We could care
less whether we do 100 projects, 232 projects, or 2500 projects.
We are out to do replication. In doing replication we have established
a network of villages that visit each other, work with each other,
share expertise, plan together, and act together. That network
is engaged in awakening new villages, and has pledged itself to
renew all other villages in Maharashtra. That is something to
take seriously. These projects, wired together in such a way,
are going to profoundly affect the social fabric of the society
itself, especially as they grow to number 2500 and beyond. We
need to watch carefully because this movement of village renewal
is going to take off far beyond us. When you imagine hardheaded
village leaders gathering in the villages across a taluka, shaping
plans to release new life and to bring economic and social sustenance
to that taluka, you know something is going to move. When interchange
takes place across talukas and districts, a village movement takes
off in a brand new way. The question that faces us with new intensity
is how will we be the ordering dynamic and the catalyst in the
midst of that?
The tenth key event was initiation of projects in
each taluka of the State of Maharashtra. This is documented with
statistics: 31 Global Women's Forums, 296 Gram Sabbas and 234
consults. We have actually initiated 235 projects. We have heard
the number 232 so much that we get tired of it. But this story
is such an unbelievable thing to the ears of society in general
that people do not know how to handle it. Their imaginal context
is not equipped to appropriate it. I remember a meeting with a
committee of the State government in the fall of 1976 which could
not see the possibility of replication. They said, "Well
now, you are doing a project in Maliwada, and you plan to do four
more, okay?" They nodded at that. When we went on to discuss
25, they just stared at us. When we got to 232, they could not
even hear us! It just did not compute. What they could not see
was that we are not after projects being started, but after the
renewal of 35,000 villages in Maharashtra. In this context the
projects represent one step toward statewide village renewal.
The three additional projects which make the total
235 are Nadlapur, in Andra Pradesh, Sikor, in Uttar Pradesh, and
Chainpur in Bihar. They are what we call buffer projects. Although
they lie outside Maharashtra, they are as integral a part of the
replication process as the projects within the bounds of Maharashtra.
They buffer in the sense that they protect the replication process
from all of the swirls of life in the surrounding geography. At
the same time, they are vanguard projects, for through those projects
replication can move to other states of the continent.
The celebration of the 232 in Maliwada was a great
happening. First of all, it provided great absolution. The coming
together of the hundreds of people to celebrate was a profound
stamp of approval on all that had been done. Second, it provided
a great vision for the future. At the conclusion of the Maliwada
Consult three and a half years ago, Lela Mosely presented Chokababa,
the 80 year old Harijan leader with an "Iron Man" picture.
The picture of that presentation is well known to all of us. This
year at the celebration, Lyn Mathews, on behalfof the global
Order, presented Chokababa with a plaque of Maharashtra commemorating
the completion of the 232 and laying the State out before us.
What a celebration!
In closing, I would like to say two things about
the future. One is that our replication model calls for 2500 more
projects this year. In principle this is no problem for we have
learned how to initiate projects coming and going. The challenge
is wiring together the projects and catalyzing the remaining villages
in each taluka so that new life will explode across the geography.
To do that we will need strong circuiters and auxiliaries in each
of the 232 to succeed. Next, what we need to watch for in the
future is a brand new break loose in the spirit...new life in
Nava Gram Prayas. And, if you would allow me to prophesy on our
behalf, precisely that is going to happen in a fantastic way.
Our increasing ability to put the power of the villagers back
into their own hands and the power of renewal to their disposal
will do something to us. That power will eventually explode back
toward us. And when that happens, we are going to experience a
brand new surge of life. I do not know what it will do to us,
but I prophesy it will do something great. We need to watch for
it out of the corner of our eye. I don't know how soon it will
come, but it will come.