Away from the glitz and glamour of cities, villages of India breathe soul into the country and while the problems and issues of these villages are endless, here are ten model villages who stepped up and decided to end these issues once and for all.
- Mawlynnong, Meghalaya
While the rest of India is still grasping the concept of Swachh Bharat Mission, Mawlynnong, a small village in Meghalaya mastered the art of cleanliness way before it turned political and earned itself the title of the cleanest village in Asia in 2003. The cleanliness of the place enhances its serene environment and stunning scenery and makes a tourist’s experience surreal. The need for cleanliness arose when an epidemic rocked the normalcy of the village. Today, every villager is disciplined to maintain hygiene all around. Instead of litter, you will encounter cone shaped bamboo dustbins in every corner of the area. These hand-woven garbage collectors are directed into pits and are later used as manure. Plastics are strictly banned and rain water harvesting is immensely encouraged in the village.
- Piplantri, Rajasthan
When Piplantri, a village in Rajasthan, faced alarmingly skewed boy to girl ratios, they came forward with the concept of ‘ecofeminism’ as a solution to curb the evil practice of female foeticide. For every daughter born, villagers of Piplantri plant 111 trees and a statement is signed by the parents in front of the village council to confirm that they won’t marry the girl off before legal age, will educate her and nurture the trees planted to celebrate her birth. The method not only balanced the sex ratio, it also gifted the villagers with new and better source of employment along with environmental benefits.
- Akodara and Punsari, Gujarat
These modern villages of Gujarat can put metropolitan cities to shame with their effortless transition into digital villages. With every household owning an accessible savings account, most local monetary transactions happen through mobile banking, debit cards, and internet banking. Even the agricultural and milk trades depend on online transactions. No wonder Akodara is dubbed as the first cashless village of India. Punsari village, on the other hand, is known for its extensive Wi-Fi and CCTV network. Punsari went digital way before Akodara and it was Punsari village’s success that fuelled government’s interest in funding Akodara to transform into a cashless economy.
- Manzgam, Jammu and Kashmir
While the peace in Jammu and Kashmir always seems temporary, Manzgam, a small village near Srinagar, is one of the most peaceful villages in the country despite obvious religious differences. All credits for this go to two 600-year-old shrines. The place is known for an ancient Hindu temple next to an ancient Muslim shrine. Despite being the majority, Muslims celebrate the Hindu festivities with equal joy. Locals encourage the cultural exchanges too. Hindu children are free to study Islam and vice-versa.
- Mattur, Karnataka
This small village in Karnataka knows how to hold on to the Vedic roots of India. Children that graduate Mattur School, have Vedas on the tips of their fingers and it’s no surprise that they know Sanskrit like the back of their hand. What is surprising though is the fact that these motorbike riding and jeans wearing people of Mattur use Sanskrit as their tongue. To add on to the irony, every Brahmin family has at least one IT professional. If this isn’t the perfect blend of ancient and modern India, then we don’t know what is. Sankethis, a community of Brahmins that migrated from Kerala, has been living in the area and their daily life revolves around Sanskrit. The culture of using Sanskrit in day to day life evolved from there.
- Pothanikkad, Kerala
While modern India is still dreaming of eliminating illiteracy, Pothanikkad village of Kerala has already made it true. The village wears 100% literacy badge like a medal. From primary schools to city standard private high schools, Pothanikkad has made every effort possible to curb illiteracy.
- Hiware Bazar, Maharashtra
Once a place that suffered from acute water shortage, Hiware Bazaar, a village in Maharashtra, is now the village with the highest GDP in India. All this because of Popatrao Pawar’s dedication and efforts. He banned all the addictive substances and encouraged people to invest in rain water harvesting, tree planting, and cattle. Now, the village is the richest village in India with about sixty millionaires.
- Shani Shingnapur, Maharashtra
Far away and unstained from all the crimes and frauds, this small village in Maharashtra is deemed so safe that people don’t bother to lock their doors at night. It’s even more interesting that some homes don’t even have a door. If this is not the evidence of safety in the village than you might be convinced after knowing the lack of police station in the area. Even the bank in Shani Shingnapur is lockless.
- Tilonia, Rajasthan
This small village of Rajasthan prides itself with The Barefoot College that teaches women the art of independence. From sewing to welding to solar engineering, this university teaches it all. And these female solar engineers of Tilonia have electrified 20000 homes through this training.But the project is not confined to Rajasthan. Now, the institute trains women from underdeveloped countries like Afghanistan, Bhutan, Sierra Leone, Fiji, etc and boasts of having over 700 solar ‘mamas’ in 70 of the least developed countries in the world. These women, from isolated and non-electrified villages, learn how to install, repair, and maintain solar units.
- Nalbari, Rajasthan
Even with water scarcity looming over this desert district of Rajasthan, this village panchayat in Bikaner managed to build the largest number of public toilets much before Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan. The reason behind this success is primarily because the government officials ran the campaign “Banko Bikano” focussing on pride and dignity of women. Officials emphasized on asking women that if they feel shy of lifting up “Ghunghat” amidst elders then why don’t they feel shy of lifting up their skirts while going out to relieve themselves. Today the entire district is open-defecation free and the behavioural campaign launched in this village is used as a case study in sanitation for other villages.