Atanu Dey On India's Development

Raural Development

I have been associated with India Rural Development Fund (IRDF) from its very inception many years ago. IRDF was started by my friend Uday Kumar when we were both working for HP in the Valley and it does a remarkable job of providing primary education to many villages in Andhra Pradesh.

Since I am listed on the “About Us” page of the IRDF website, I do occassionally get emails from various agencies working in rural areas. I got one today which I think is too good to keep to myself. Here it is — for the record — the email with the subject heading “Raural Development.”

sir,
first of all my heads off to u and ur team.
i shall take this opportunity to introduce myself,
i m a citizen of village thaura, block rewsa.
sir, v villagers wana do some innovative task for the development of our village for this v need ur guidence. v have some good projects which v wana excute through our gram panchayat.
sir v also wana meet u personally to explore areas of our interest.
it wil b our pleasure if r given a chance and i shall promise on behalf of ourt villagers that if v given a chance v shall leave no stone broken.
thanking u,
anticipating ur kind cooperation as always.

[name]
village thaura
block rewsa
distt sitapur.

The image of headless people and unbroken stones is priceless.

  • DP Chalasani

    Surely, it is very difficult to expect someone from rural India to communicate well in English. Bad as the language is, maybe one has to understand what the intentions of such people are. If they are people of good intentions, how they communicate, especially in a language not native to them, isn’t very important. Atleast he is making an effort.

  • http://jyote.blogspot.com Jyoti Iyer

    Hi Atanu,

    Very moving indeed. There are bright people to be found, but sadly there is no network or unified resources for them to tap into. Would you have any suggestions for creating those?

  • bb

    Interestingly, most of the students who send me e-mails regarding the possibility of funding for graduate studies write the same way. There’s no regard for spelling or grammar! I wonder if this sort of writing is the latest trend in India. The problem is that most educators find letters of that sort unprofessional. Even the Chinese write better English.

    Where do they learn this sort of English? Do they write this way because they are short of time and internet access is expensive? Do they lack the time to draft a letter before e-mailing it? Where do the Chinese learn how to write so well in English?

  • http://www.sharvari.com/blogger.html sharvari

    I somehow find it difficult to believe this was written by a villager. People from rural areas often write bad grammar because they literally translate from their mother tongue. But they dont usually use “v” for we, or “wana” for want. This writing reminds me of a teen who chats a lot and is trying to cram in as many phrases/big words he/she can. I can almost hear him/her say “wassup sir” to you next time.

  • http://www.deeshaa.org Atanu Dey

    DP, sure one has to make allowances for people who have not had the benefit of a great education in English. However the writer of that email presents a puzzle. It is not as if the writer is so untrained in the language that he cannot use “we” “your” “you” etc. Also, his mangled idioms “leave no stones broken”, “heads off to you,” indicate that the person is straining needlessly.

    That email is simultaneously funny and sad. I think it is possible to learn simple English and rural people are not idiots. We should not expect them to be less capable of learning.

    Jyoti, don’t have much to add on how to help the rural people except to say that the government has to get out of throwing money into inappropriate schemes. Recently heard that Rs 65,000 crores were being allocated to make rural areas digitally empowered.

    BB, I think people who write like idiots are — how shall I put it — idiots. Sloppy writing is really a reflection of sloppy thinking. I suppose receiving sloppily written applications is a blessing — it helps one reduce the pile of applications with little effort.

    Sharvari, have you heard those people on FM radio who cannot talk one sentence in either pure Hindi or English? Don’t know if they are incapable of speaking either of the language or are merely posturing. But they sound pathetic. Perhaps the writer also mistakenly believes that “v” is cooler than “we”.

  • Rahul Wagh

    While we’re on written english, you maight want to correct the spelling in your post – ‘Raural Development’, or am I missing something?

    Atanu responds: Rahul, I retained the misspelling of the original email’s subject line.

  • Rahul Wagh

    And I did it too!! I meant might not maight. Apologies

  • http://sharvi2223yahoo.com Sharvari Tikhe

    It is good thing, atleast they want to learn the things and want to grow in life.That means they are aware of their weakness. So I feel instead of comenting on their language(English)let them express themselves.Once they will start educating themselves they will improve in their language and other profile.And I guess for so called ‘Urban community’ it is not a big deal to understand what the villiagers want to say or express. As we called our selves well educated.