Author: M L Dantwala
Harsh Sethi/Pravin Visaria
Editor(s): M L Dantwala / Harsh Sethi / Pravin Visaria
Publisher: Sage Publications
ISBN/UPC (if available): 817036762X
Contributors to this volume maintain that there is reason to believe that voluntary action can be a potent instrument for bringing about social transformation, for eliminating poverty, and for building an egalitarian and humane society. To this end, they present convincing examples of successful socio-economic transformation brought about by a determined application of these ideals.
Over the past few decades, there has been a glaring deterioration in India’s social and political ethos. The repercussions of this process on public behaviour are evident in all walks of life which are characterized by apathy, cynicism and a general gloom. Bucking this general trend.
In the Introduction, the editors juxtapose the current situation against the promises of the Indian leadership made before and immediately after independence. M L Dantwala takes up this strain in the first essay and provides a perspective for the exposition of the book’s central theme. The next article argues that voluntarism for social change, as opposed to the agency of the State, is rooted in Indian culture, combined with Gandhi’s influence and the ideology of the Left.
The six case studies of successful voluntary efforts that follow constitute the core of the book. Taken from both urban and rural efforts at regeneration, these case studies serve to highlight: the significant change in the attitude of the people from apathy to active involvement when presented with unselfish leadership; and the evolution in the priorities of voluntary organizations from welfare and development to advocacy and the struggle for rights and entitlements, without giving up the earlier goals.
The contributors are, however, alert to the fact that NGOs tend to view themselves largely as a separate sector and not only as instruments of social service. Harsh Sethi and Vimala Ramachandran therefore sound a note of caution and emphasize the need to evolve mechanism to ensure transparency and accountability if the sector is not to become discredited in the eyes of the people. Finally, a reflective essay by Rajni Kothari locates the larger phenomenon of voluntarism in the civilizational ethos of the Indian subcontinent and favours giving priority to civil society over the State.
Discussing voluntarism with a balanced perspective and advocating it as an laternative model of development, this book will be of considerable interest to students and scholars of development, social work, sociology, political science as well as to voluntary organizations and the lay reader.
Preface by D M Nachane
Promises to Keep
Voluntary Organizations in India: Motivations and Roles
Swadhyaya: Social Change through Spirituality
Rural Development through People’s Mobilization: A Case Study of Relegan Siddhi
The Contribution of NGOs to Development: Some Issues and a Case Study
Participatory Development in Adivasi Villages: Experiences of NIRID, 1979-1997
Sumangali Seva Ashram: Contributions of a Local NGO in Urban Bangalore
Empowering the Poor through Micro-finance: The SEWA Bank
Voluntary Organizations: Professional Agency or Sub-contractor
Evolving Accountability of Voluntary Organizations
The Future of Voluntarism
Notes on Contributors
About the Editors