Introducing Namme Muthur

How did a small, little village in Sidlaghatta Taluk of Chikballapur District become a part of our lives…….

Yes, it was a close association that Sanjoy had with the 2,000 strong village where the primary occupations are sericulture, dairying, grape cultivation. Sanjoy nurtured the idea of a, ‘intelligent village’ in muthur when he was DC in Kolar. He had taken great interest in the village and started the high school, got the village tank de-silted, run regular medical camps and, among many other things, organized the ‘Agri Expo’ in 1998.

He loved the village and needless to add, the village loved him. Sanjoy camped at the tank bed, visited the school, ate at the houses of the villagers and drew up concept maps for the development of the village. Architecture, area planning, sanitation, info- kiosks, newspapers, health centres…….. the list went on and on.

But when things changed, the farmers were more sad than everyone else. For they had lost the opportunity for the development of the village.

So what did we do? It took time to come to terms with a life without Sanjoy. But then with the help of the persevering Usha Shetty who took on the mantle of helping the people of Muthur, it was time to do something.

The first year we held a cricket match. The students of the High School who also came from the nearby villages challenged the students of Malur in a 20-over cricket match called ‘Sanjoy Das Gupta memorial cricket match’. The village came together to celebrate the presence of Sanjoy in their lives.

Six years on, we introduced a concept of ‘Namma Muthur’ or ‘Our Muthur’. Very simply put, the concept aimed to offer ownership of Muthur to anyone who wished to co-own it – with the villagers. Anyone who had any resources to offer or share, was invited to join the ‘Namma Muthuru’ movement.

What have we done in 6 years?

Since there was no medical facility within the village and the nearest Govt. PHC was at Melur being 4 kms away, and the Govt. Hospital at Sidlaghatta 9 kms away, a starting point was health, sanitation and environment.

• For over a year, doctors from the Community Medicine Dept. of Baptist Hospital, Bangalore made weekly visits to the village, spending a couple of hours to provide medical services.

• Two Dental camps (once with M S Ramaiah Dental College in September 2008 and once with V S Dental College in November 2009), Cataract Eye Treatment camps (with Globe Eye Foundation, Hoskote in August 2009 & Feb 2010) and a Cardiac camp (with Manipal Heart Foundation in November 2009) were organized with the help of Rotary Club, Koramangala.

• The Bangalore chapter of the Indian Epilepsy Association performed a street play in June 2008 to create awareness about epilepsy.

• Mala, a local women was appointed as a medical worker with some training from the Baptist team. With no funds available to pay her, her salary for 2009-10 has been sponsored by Praveen Shetty of Bangalore.

• A Govt. subsidy scheme for biogas-based cooking stoves was implemented in January 2009 and 15 households set up solar cookers.

• The village has been introduced to solar powered LED lights in February 2009, thanks to Shrinivas Shetty, Director, Mysore Mercantile Co. Ltd. He donated one of the units manufactured by his company to the Primary & Middle School to facilitate evening Sanskrit classes.

• “Pore Roga Rahita Grama” – Going one step higher to the Gram Panchayat level, an endeavour to create a cataract backlog free zone was launched on 6th of March 2010 in Mallur Gram Panchayat, which Muthur is a part of. Globe Eye Foundation, Hoskote (GEF), a community ophthalmology hospital, conducted this programme in the 4 villages coming under this Panchayat. Over a period of 2 months, two field workers trained by GEF went from door to door, identifying cataract patients and directing them to the hospital’s camps held in the village every fortnight. The database created by them will enable tracking of cataract cases and their treatment, as they keep maturing in the future. This effort is the first of its kind in Karnataka.

• A tree planting and sensitization drive was undertaken in the two village schools in August 2009. Janet Yegneswaran, of the NGO “Trees For Free”, not only gave 50 saplings to each school (consisting of lime, bitter lime, nellikai, nerale, neem, honge, akash mallige, gasgase, chekke, netropium, ticoma argentina, sampige, basavanapada, etc) but, as an active member of Rotary Club, Koramangala, she was instrumental in arranging medical camps for the village.

• A team from Nimhans De-addiction dept. conducted awareness programmes for school children in Muthur on the dangers of addiction and also had sessions with the teachers on handling children with addiction, in Feb & August 2010.

• Donations from various individuals have enabled gifting of stationery materials, cricket and hockey equipment, and a telescope from Indian Institute of Astrophysics to both the schools.

• A civic education programme run by Bangalore-based NGO, Children’s Movement for Civic Awareness (CMCA) was launched in the High school for the academic year 2010-2011. We are looking for sponsors for this year long programme.

• The Primary school in Muthur was painted by 20 business school students from the University of Washington, Seattle on Sep.18th 2010. They not only paid for the paints but also painted all day and mingled with the school children.

• Mrs. Vinaya Marathe from Bangalore has undertaken to bear the higher education cost for Amrutha, a meritorious ex-student of the Muthur school who has completed her P.U.C.

• Apart from this, the villagers are also being helped to approach the local administration with requests ranging from a pucca road to connect to Malloor to weekly visits by a Govt. veterinary doctor for their large livestock population.

• A rainwater harvesting system for the high school has been funded by Rani Sati, Bangalore, Gram Panchayat, Mallur and Indigo Infocom, Bangalore. It has been implemented with help from Mr. Shankar Rao, Mr. Madhu & T S Sreedhar of Refurb India in February 2011. The latter has also organized talks for the students on preparing for examinations, through his organization, Jaycees in February 2011.

• Light for Education, a Selco Solar concept, had been launched in the Muthur high school as a Rotary Club of Bangalore Koramangala project supported by Retail Reach, Infosys Technologies Ltd in March 2011. While it was given initially to the 10th Std. students, the rest of the school was given the lamps on 12th July 2011. This unique programme provides a solar light for every student in the high school.

• At the occasion of the solar lights distribution, Retail Reach also sponsored the planting of 21 varieties of medicinal plants on a small patch in the high school premises. All the school children are actively involved in the care and upkeep of this little herbal nursery titled ‘Sanjeevani Vana’.

• Our work has now extended a little to the Mallur Gram Panchayat level, with help being rendered to Panchayat members in water and soil conservation efforts through rainwater harvesting, tree planting, etc. In this connection, Deloitte Consulting Services observed their Impact Day (a day when all their offices worldwide put in 1 day of voluntary service) on June 10th by having a team of 100 employees visit Mallur and plant 2000 saplings. They also took children from the local Govt. school in a procession around the village, telling residents to avoid plastics and distributing cloth bags. They gave stationery & biscuits to the children and also made a donation towards sports goods for the school. Not only that, they also donated a bookshelf and 750 notebooks for the Muthur high school on 19th August.

• Manjunath Gudigar of Deloitte has been the moving force behind all these initiatives. He had been regularly visiting the Muthur primary school since Feb. 2011, on behalf of NGO Junior Achievement, to conduct their activity session, More Than Money, with the 7th Std kids.

• A civic education programme by Bangalore-based NGO, Children’s Movement for Civic Awareness (CMCA), aimed at engendering Active Citizenship among children, has been running successfully since last year in the Muthur Govt. school, which was the 1st rural chapter for CMCA. This year, the neighbouring Mallur Govt. school joined the movement on 8th August, forming the 2nd rural Civic Club of CMCA. Children of both schools recently attended the CMCA mela in Bangalore.

•As part of CMCA activities, the children made their own mud Ganeshas this year, with soil from the village kere, using a mould lent by Ganesh of Clay Station in HSR Layout, Bangalore.

In the pipeline

•We are following up with the Zilla Parishad for a community toilet facility under the Total Sanitation scheme for the SC colony in Muthur where houses do not have individual sanitation

• We are looking for volunteers who can come regularly to take spoken English classes with the school children.

• A water management plan which will help capture, mange and conserve the use of water resources in the area.

• A microfinance scheme to be worked out, through the Sthree Shakti groups in the village, to enable the villagers to buy solar based LED lights for their homes.

• Rainwater harvesting project: The High school has applied for a govt. subsidy for this (already implemented in the primary school); ideally to be implemented throughout the village.

• Looking for donors for a public toilet facility, a water tank, a community hall, etc.

These steps are small………. compared to the ideas that Sanjoy had – but that we will never know. But what we do know is that every small step brings with it an element to improve the quality of life for the people at Mutjure………..because we believe that yes, it is Our Muthuru or Namma Muthuru. We are grateful to all the help, support, financial and ideas that we have received. We couldn’t have done this alone.



Shangon Das Gupta. 2006. Copyrights Reserved. Designed by Kaveri Communications