To understand ‘Development’ by questioning its basics.  


Be it the social media, corporate board meetings, government panels, public forums or international dialogues, everywhere ‘Development’ has taken the center-stage, making people come up with innovative ideas, inclusive frameworks, diverse teams and multi-dimensional strategies to solve age-old as well as newly found problems. More and more people are now thinking beyond their individual selves to participate in the whole social process of solving human challenges across the world. Though the transition is extraordinary, it also comes with its limitations if proper ‘preparation’ is not done before ‘action’.

“The Basic Questions

The process of preparation requires us to ask a few basic questions:

  • What do we mean by development? How exactly do we define it?
  • Why do we need development? Is it essential to follow this path, or is it optional but we consider it essential?
  • If we need development, how do we decide the direction of development? For example, development may mean eating packaged machine-based food, and it may also mean eating self-grown home-made food.
  • While we decide the direction of development, how do we consider our relationships with each other and with plant, animal and material world?
  • Lastly, thinking beyond Roti, Kapda, Makaan, Bijli, Paani and other essentials, what are the intangible outcomes of development that may give meaning to our existence on this planet?

“About Prashn Vikas Ka (PVK)”

‘प्रश्न विकास का’ is a dialogue meticulously designed for asking all these questions one by one in rural context and for reflecting on them collectively, both while being in a circle and while being on-field talking to villagers about their life experiences. On one hand, the dialogues shall try to find new answers to its central questions, and on the other, the dialogue shall also try to re-evaluate the direction of development we have taken so far as a society. In the process, the dialogue shall consider ideas like ‘Localization’, ‘Self-reliance’, ‘Globalization’, ‘Industrialization’, ‘Governance’ while keeping in mind the modern tools such as ‘Technology’, ‘Education’, ‘Infrastructure’, ‘Tourism’, ‘Entrepreneurship’ etc.

The Methodology:

  • A participatory, experiential and simplistic approach.
  • There would not be any experienced person or role model from rural development field to influence our thinking.
  • We would all be on our own doing the unlearning, re-learning, forming theories and experiencing realities while being on-field.
  • We will get our chances to explore the modern upcoming village of Bir and also spend time with villagers who have consciously chosen to maintain their traditional lifestyles.
  • We shall also take the help of silence, meditation, reflection and documentaries.
  • In the end, our intention would be to come up with our own understanding of how the villages should be ‘developed’ so as to maximize collective happiness and harmony.

“How will the dialogue help?”

The Dialogue helps to understand the ways of living of our traditional communities, and the impact/influence of Government programs or Market intervention on these communities. In parallel, the entire experiential and reflection-based process of the Dialogue encourages its participants to re-look at their present working approach from a fresh perspective. By the end, the participants become capable of observing how Self-Reliance, Governments and Markets are interconnected and how they as representatives of the Markets can contribute into the space of Rural Development.

“Facilitator’s Profile: Ashish Kumar

Ashish graduated from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee in the field of Electrical Engineering in 2009. Post studies, he pursued his corporate career for a few years before deciding to move on to his passion to work with rural communities. Since then, Ashish has lived in the villages of Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and worked for many rural projects related to Education and Livelihood sector.

Presently, Ashish lives a simple and peaceful life in Bir village situated in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh. He has chosen Education as his primary medium of service while he continues to explore more with an aim to simplify his lifestyle and benefit the society as much as possible.Through his explorations and interactions, Ashish has realized that the concept of development needs rethinking so as to grasp the basics first before thinking about projects or policies. At personal level, he finds simple living with minimum outer dependence for products of daily needs preferable to his lifestyle. He also believes that his life is more about purifying his inner self by serving people with great love in smaller ways than solving big issues or establishing large enterprises.

Ashish strongly believes that we need to create spaces wherein people can develop their abilities to think critically and understand the world by using their own experiences. This dialogue is an effort to do just that!


Some of the amazing pictures from previous dialogue.


Through this Dialogue I have realized that we have been raised in a world which is material and manipulated/exploited ans we are so ingrained that it is difficult to come out of it, but not impossible.
After this workshop I am taking back a lot of learnings and it all starts from working on self.

– Tanvi B

Teach for India, Pune

Development doesn’t mean to make life dependent on money and luxury. Development means to make life interdependent on each other’s skill in exchange of each other’s skill. Development means to be least dependent on factors which are not in your control. For now, you can say that ‘money’ is that factor which every being uses but cannot control its features..

– Rithwik Singh

NGO Professional, Mumbai

I realized that life is not just about money and material possessions. After visiting rural communities and meeting people during the dialogue, I realized how people can live simple yet happy and hopeful life. There is a lot to change in the system and I hope people like me take up the issues and work towards them.

– Saloni D

Corporate Professional, Mumbai

My learnings:

  1. Self-reliance and its advantages
  2. How to be happy and contented in life
  3. Necessity for understanding every aspect of today’s commercial world

– Md. Azharuddin

 Architect, IIT Roorkee

Having studied Rural Development during my post-graduation, I had come here with previous understanding, but this six day dialogue changed my life. It will help me to lead my life the way I want to.

– Praveen Y

NGO Professional, Maharashtra

Development can mean different things in different contexts. The dialogue has helped me to systematically breakdown typical parameters that lead to development, in turn gain a deeper, more holistic understanding of where we should be headed to as a society.

Peer learning was another wonderful part of the journey. The Dialogue is a good place to figure out how a skewed definition of progress could lead to more destruction than development. I would definitely recommend this dialogue to anybody who wants to know more about development, even before plugging into the sector..

– Nupur P

Corporate Profesional, Mumbai

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An initiative of Tathaastu Social Initiatives, a Society registered in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh (India).