An old man is walking into the woods, the deepest and sometimes called the virgin forests of the Nallamalla, into the inhabbitations of the Chenchus one of the most Primitive Tribal Groups of the Country. He walks in and still nobody talks to him, they look at the stranger and go on with their daily chores. This was way back in 1999 and he was trekking all the while all the way for almost 2 years or so in the forests of Kurnool District in Andhra Pradesh and then one fine day one of the chenchu kids got hurt and the old man applied some medicine and a tablet, the boy started to get well.
Thus started the Journey of the tribal project Somepalli Somaiah Tribal aid and research Project by Mr U Mallikarjuna sarma. One fine day he met Mr Aekka Chandra sekhar then Pracharak (full time volunteer) of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) incharge of the Community development activities in western Andhra Pradesh. Mr Sarma asked “Sekharji how can I do something to these tribals. They dont know what they need. They cant ask leave alone fight”.
Sekharji Replied ” Mr.Sarma education and health care are basic needs lets start with them”.
“But by the way why are you so concerned of them”.
Mr Sarma said “I worked in the Polytechnic college for the PTG Chenchus for 3 years only one chenchu joined the course and he too left the course. I have resolved to see atleast one chenchu complete a polytechnic course and go on to become a successful enterprenuer”.
Mr Sekharji said ” ok then I shall stand by you. You can rely on me for men and money but the method you take care of”
I was amused and still am by the determination of this hero. Who is he just another beaurocrat he could have well forgotten like many others! But thats the difference that these people who make a difference have.
I read it somewhere that succesful people do things differently and not that they do different things.
Comming back to the present today the project has 18 volunteers apart from 3 doctors 5 teachers and 2 vocational trainers along with a physical education trainer. Today 36 Chenchu hamlets and 7,300 Chenchus and a mobile dispensary a voccational training center and also a residential school for 55 Chenchu boys is all Mr Sama could achieve. And yeah he is succesful in placing the first 10th pass out from the school in the ITDA office as an office boy. One step nearer to his goal, but still long way to go.
But the road ahead is tuffer rugged and dangerous with Naxals (leftist extremists), the redtapped beaurocrats, the liquor addicted Chenchu families TB affected dying people theres no light in sight. Mr Sarma still goes to the hamlets talks to them and the Chenchus today are not shying away they come to him for help.