கறந்த பால் கறந்தபடியே பேசு
I could not remember the “good soul” who gave me Robert Chamber’s “Putting the Last First” to read in the year 1987. (is it not our tendency that we normally forget those who enabled us to climb up and remembering those who ditched us) Since copying facilities were rare in those years, I literally copied many pages by hand..thus allowing Chambers to get into me.
Thanks to Mr. Loganathan of ISED, who introduced me to Dr. John Devavaram (JD), founder of SPEECH and RCPDS. Seeing my interest in Robert Chamber, he offered me a chance to meet Chamber and then a training in Participatory Rural Appraisal.
My memories go around the Round Shed in SPEECH, Tiruchuli, where hundreds of Govt & NGO staffs were trained by Dr. John in PRA. With ease and expertise it was Mr. John who upscaled the application of PRA practice in different parts of the world.
There were several parallels between PRA and the Philosophy of Creative Intelligence (Transcendental Meditation) propounded by H.H. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Unlearning, handing over the stick, attitudes, humility to listen are some of the fundamentals common to both. As a TM practitioner, I was able to understand PRA better than other participants. My interest in PRA took me closer to John, who provided opportunities to understand the fundamentals of participatory development. Without John’s companionship I would have rotten intellectually by this time. I thankfully recollect those days of learning and sharing with John and his staffs in SPEECH at Thiruchuli. People make visit to Thiruchuli (the birth place of the great Sage Ramana Maharishi) to get glimpses of wisdom. I also got it from Thiruchuli, but from Mr. John and his staffs.
The learning from John further shaped by his associate, Mr. Rajendra Prasad who enabled me to understand the practicalities of Coastal PRA and livelihood concept. It was he who encouraged me to experiment with participatory GIS.
SPEECH and PAD were my extended class rooms where I sat with humility and reverence and learned a lot.
I accidently found a paper that I presented it in the South South Workshop on PRA held on July 1996.
The article tries to look at PRA from a totally different perspective which needs to be further examined. It may ultimately lead to new ways of bringing attitude and behavior change of an enduring nature >>>>