The Optimist Citizen
Ashwani Parashar with village kids.

How a Diwali break visit led this Doctor to transform a village in the banks of Chambal

A few years ago, Ashwani Parashar visited his hometown Dholpur during the Diwali break from his medical studies in Jaipur. Always brimming with sensitivity for society, he decided to celebrate his Diwali with people from financially repressed backgrounds. Along with a group of friends, Ashwani Parashar bought some sweets and crackers and visited a village called Rajghat, situated on the banks of the Chambal River. The moment they reached there, they saw there were no roads to drive on. While walking towards the village, a new thought had already made inroads into Ashwani’s mind. 

Discovering the necessities of Rajghat

Ashwani started interacting with the villagers, only to discover that along with the lack of a road, the village had no electricity either. The conditions had gone so worse that if any medical emergency arose in the village, there was a fair chance of the patient not receiving the treatment at all, due to the unavailability of roads and transport. Surprisingly, Rajghat is only 7 kilometres away from the District Collector office. Moreover, he got to know that their source of water, coming from the Chambal Ghats, was highly contaminated. On top of this, there was a constant danger of Crocodiles creating havoc. 


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Finding Solutions

Once he was back in Jaipur, he started reaching out to his contacts and colleagues to raise funds. On a suggestion, he began researching the applicable government aid plans allocated for Rajghat. Shockingly, no plans or aid programs were running for the village. The paperwork suggested that Rajghat comes under Nagar Parishad. Due to this, policies meant for villages like The Pradhan Mantri Sadak Yojana were not applicable. The government previously had just two achievements in Rajghat – a government school till 5th standard and a handpump. Ashwani rampantly tried to raise the issue with the Nagar Parishad, but like a premeditated fashion, his appeal mostly fell on deaf ears. But, Ashwani was not one to have his spirit dampened by the opposing side. 

Ashwani Parashar with the villagers

Soon, more people joined, and Ashwani thought of reaching out to The Prime Minister. Within a couple of weeks, The Prime Minister Office replied to his request and assured him that they will look into the matter. This acted as a boost for him, and he was convinced that Rajghat would get all the attention it deserves. In a matter of days, many officials visited Rajghat and inspected the place. But even after two months of this incident, there was no proper growth and development in the village. Nothing changed. Now, Ashwani filed a PIL in High Court against Rajasthan Government, quoting Section 21 ‘Right to Life’. The case is still under process. 

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It is our fight

After a lot of thought process and planning, Ashwani decided to take the matter into his hands. As a part of their initiative, they started to reach out to people using Social media and personal connections under the hashtag #SaveRajghat. Several organizations came forward. As a result, funds started flowing in. The subsequent Diwali, Rajghat saw five houses with electricity running on Solar power. The chosen five had families with girls who used to visit the other village for their school education. Ashwani used this opportunity to promote education among villagers and promised them to provide electricity only if they educate their children. The change was palpable in the air, and the village was completely electrified in 3 months. Also, on 26th January 2018, water purifiers were installed in Rajghat. 

After the PIL, the government has constructed eight public toilets in the village, which are not functional yet but hopefully, they will be, soon enough. Along with this, electricity poles have been installed with a promise for a seamless electricity supply from the grid. There has been steady progress in the village in the last year. “The positive changes have inspired me to work more and establish a good environment in the village”, says Ashwani Parashar. Ashwani and some friends are planning to settle all these basic amenities first and then start focusing on the educational environment in the village for the children. Ashwani, being the youngest member of the Jaipur Youth Summit, believes that, ” Most problems that exist in the village can be solved by spreading more awareness and promoting education. Education has acted as a strength for me; it is one of the most important assets anyone can gain.” 

Ashwani Parashar discussing with villagers

The current scenario in Rajghat is evident that preliminary education is itself in crisis, which needs improvement on a prior basis. He wants to introduce a highly efficient system of education in the village, which will not only inspire children of this village but also nearby villages. This might take time, but he is determined that they will achieve it for sure. Before signing off, Ashwani Parashar stated an often said but seldom practised thought with a deserved significance, “Do your bit to bring change things around you for the better. We should start taking responsibility ourselves. My experience made me realize that rather than blaming or finding faults, we should be working towards finding the solution. Only the solutions can pave ways for a better future, not a focus on just passively talking about the problem.”  


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