Sense of place in rural Rajasthan, a case study of Nallu and Tilonia villages

Authors: Sayali Gokhale*, Independent
Topics: Cultural Geography, Environment, Rural Geography
Keywords: Rural Geography, Sense of Place, Natural Environment, Environmental Practices, Rural Schools, Education
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper argues that sense of place in rural Rajasthan, is strong and has evolved in a complex and multifaceted manner. This paper uses the case study of two villages and proposes that the sense of place in these villages has evolved through the interaction of Time, Natural Environment, Available Resources, Environmental Practices and Collective Decision Making.
This paper also explores how educating the rural kids through introduction of new environmental management practices that might initially seem out of place, help strengthen their attachment to their school and village in the face of changing environmental, economic and social conditions.
Viewing children as a catalyst for positive change we introduced new environmental practices and workshops in a government school in Nallu village and a school run by an NGO in Tilonia. Keeping in mind the compatibility of the management practices to the indigenous environment, rural mind set, available resources and sustainability we focused on three major aspects affecting the rural life: Water, Waste and food. Leveraging the noble concept of Shramdan (voluntary donation of labor), introduced and practiced by Mahatma Gandhi, we encouraged the kids to perform most tasks themselves. Shramdan is a behavioural concept still prevalent in rural Rajasthan and constitutes a major aspect of collective decision making and execution in these villages.
Although seemingly placeless environmental practices were introduced in the village schools, these practices in fact helped strengthen the attachment the kids had to their school and village.

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