Well, Remsingh learnt the ropes and became a capable field worker over the two years. Initially he would be intimidated by the Sarpanches and Panchayat Secretaries and was generally in awe of any Government official even a lowly contract teacher. However, slowly he developed the confidence to challenge Government officials and the elected representatives of the Panchayats. He had become an indispensable field worker of the organisation. Primarily because of the fact that he could read and write. There are many good grassroots activists of the organisation in the villages but due to the fact that they cannot read and write they find it difficult to deal with the bureaucracy. Most educated Bhil youth are not prepared to work as rights activists even for a salary and so it is very difficult to find anyone to work for the organisation as a full timer.
Then a few days ago Remsingh came and said he was leaving his job. He had got a job as a security guard in a private school for Rs 6500 a month and free education for one his children. Now once again we are left to dither along with a smaller team of workers. As one well wisher once said about the Khedut Mazdoor Chetna Sangath, in the context of the fight to stop the construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam - the organisation consisted of one and half persons who Quixotically took on the Indian Government and the World Bank at the same time.
Remsingh's departure made me ponder on the future of activism in this country. Given the difficulty of getting funds for such work it is not possible to pay much to full timers who work for justice for the deprived sections. Obviously the poor, for whom these activists work, cannot pay for these services that they desperately require. Governments quite naturally will not fund rights based activism as they are much more likely to put such activists behind bars. In fact both Government and Corporates have provided more options in academics from lowly contract teaching to the highest professorial jobs in universities to lure potential activists away from fighting for justice. Therefore both organic intellectuals from among the oppressed and middle class people these days, prefer to join academics than risk the uncertainties of a life of activism. So currently you have more people researching on people's movements than taking part in them as activists. After all if one can get a good remuneration sitting comfortably in an university as a teacher or researcher of people's movements and feel that one is contributing to a more just society then why would one bear the rigours of grassroots activism for a pittance? Thus, whether it is Remsingh who finds the job of a security guard more rewarding than the work of a field worker fighting for justice for the poor or a middle class youth who finds researching on people's movements more comfortable than actually fighting on the ground, the grass always is greener on the other side and the fight for justice continues to be fought with a skeleton staff!!!