” I want to go and work in the village”, Mustu Bhai would often tell me, and then one day after year and half working in Safai Vidyalaya, he finally took the jump to follow his dream.
Mustu khan, 25 year old, is a graduate from Gujarat Vidya pith, a university in Ahmedabad, founded by Mahamta Gandhi to create and support youth so that they could go back and work in the villages. Today every year approx 600 students graduate, out of which just 3-4 students would like to go and work in a village. University started a program called Gramshilp to encourage its students to go and currently Mustu is one of those 18 gram shilps. The name Gramshilp means the architect of a model village, and true to its name Mustu after leaving his job goes in a search for village where he could serve. After several days of exploration, fate took him to a village deep inside the forests of Gujarat.
Jaldeep, Jayesh Bhai, Jayshree, Abhay, Mumtaz
Mushtu and Mumtaz with Jayesh Bhai
Yesterday Jayesh Bhai took me with few other Gramshilpi to visit him. With us were Jaldeep Bhai, working in Pedhamli village and Jayshree – currently working as a teacher in one of the Ashram school in Mehsana. We reached Virampur by car and from there we had to walk 4kms inside the forest and mountains to reach Mustu’s village Khatisitra. A place where hardly 500 people stay scattered in the mountain range, with no roads, electricity or any other technology. When Mustu first came he slept under a tree for first few days and then later with the help of few villagers he built a shade for himself. Determined to serve, wherever needed, he didn’t leave the place even after he got married a year later, and today he and his wife Mumtaz work together in nurturing little children with education and values in their own home. Recently they also got solar lights for more than 100 homes with the help of a volunteer Agastya, who so moved by their commitment that he took it as a personal challenge to get lights for every house and thus reached out to common people in cities to contribute towards this project, with the help of his group ‘Someone Somewhere’.
Be like this tree which doesn’t loses its beauty even after it fell down and gives shades to others
I wondered why would people had come and stayed deep in these forest in the first place. What must have been their dreams and aspirations, I am sure they saw the simplicity and yet hard work here as a sacred way of living. That night as I gazed at the starlit sky, sitting next to the fire, I admire the commitment and faith of this beautiful couple, who have created such a beautiful space here in such a short time. I also realized we don’t need to own much to feel abundant, just trust in nature and the arrangement in life.
In awe and deep Faith of the potential of every human being today.