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On October 18, 2003, in Hinsdale, Illinois, representatives of 15 organizations from around the US participated in a one day conference-- “Understanding and Catalyzing a campaign for Gram Swaraj in India”. The primary insight from the conference was that for India to become a developed nation it will have to pay more attention to its villages, where the vast majority of its people live. To realize this dream and make a difference, IDCA was formed in July 2004 in Chicago and registered as an Illinois Not for profit Corporation. Following this 2005 we received 501 (c)(3) tax exempt status from Internal Revenue Service of the United States of America.
India has more than 638,000 villages; the people in these communities live a sub-standard existence, lacking basic needs such as food, water, housing, sanitation, health care, and education. Without the necessary infrastructure to provide for these needs, individuals are unable to make a livelihood in a dignified manner. To further development in these key areas, organizations must create an awareness that promotes overall sustainability of the village and community over individual benefit and emphasizes the importance of harmony among people of different castes and religions. Non-profit organizations need to work together to promote judicious application of modern science and technology and respect for the ecosystems and a clean environment. The creation of job opportunities in rural areas can reduce migration to cities, helping to address myriad urban problems. IDCA is committed to act a a platform where all the organizations can come together and talk to each other, share their ideas and efforts thereby realizing our potential to the maximum.
The village movement is as much an education of the city people as of the villagers. Workers drawn from cities have to develop village mentality and learn the art of living after the manner of villagers. This does not mean that they have to starve like the villagers. But it does mean that there must be a radical change in the old style of life.( 248) In [my picture of independence], the unit is the village community. The superstructure of independence is not to be built at the village unit, so that the top weighs down on and crushes the forty crores of people who constitute the base….A village unit as conceived by me is as strong as the strongest. My imaginary village consists of 1,000 souls. Such a unit can give a good account of itself if it is well organized on a basis of self-sufficiency. (249) We stand today in danger of forgetting how to use our hands. To forget how to dig the earth and tend the soil is to forget ourselves. To think that your occupation of the Ministerial chair will be vindicated if you serve the cities only would be to forget that India really resides in her 7,00,000 village units. What would it profit a man if he gained the world but lost his soul into the bargain.
from Back to Village by M. K. Gandhi
"Let new India arise-let her arise out of the peasants' cottage, grasping the plough; out of the huts of fisherman,the cobbler, and the sweeper. Let her spring from the grocer's shop,from the oven of the fritter-seller." - Swami Vivekananda