So he is building these village federations now. He has an appropriate technology development centre in the village. Over 21 schemes are ready. A few weeks ago, he made a presentation to 40 Panchayat leaders who are likely to form 3 federations. The District Collector attended. They are talking of budgets of Rs. 5 and 6 crores per cluster.
Elango is optimistic for India. What does he think of the recent attempts to nibble away Panchayat's powers? "Look, the system will come up with the necessary resistance," he says. "In Tamil Nadu alone I have personally identified 1000 honest, successful Presidents. We have begun to network and stay connected. This number will only increase. I am sure similar is the case in other States. I am starting a Panchayat Academy to teach the Presidents their powers and villages' entitlement. All these will rouse people's expectations. There is an emerging force not visible to the media and most people. It is at work changing India from below. This force cannot be stemmed."
It is 8 am. People are astir all over Kuthambakkam. They are all at some task. The streets are clean, the fields green and strangely in these times of drought, ducks are cavorting in its several ponds. Young men on swift motorbikes are racing out of the village on errands, with goods, to jobs. Signs of prosperity in village India? You are counting the bikes as they zing past, one, two... ten.
Keep counting --and wish: "Won't a few have Elango on their minds?"
--Click here to read an exhaustive interview with Elango where he explains his stand on village-centred development.