Abstract:Rural development model in the country in the post-Independence era has beendesigned as an appendix to industrial society. Rural settlements and rural economyhave been visualised as entities in transition. The shared vision by the leadership and people who run the country has been that of an urban and industrial society.Hence rural development programmes are designed to develop staying capacity in ruralareas until most finally move to urban areas or their rural settlements are converted into urban areas. Such development model is by design unsustainable and athreat to environment.In Gandhian thought perspective Indian society has to be by and large rural society. The throughput of economy has to be of lower order. Economic prosperity has to belimited to decent and dignified living. The technology suitable for such a society has to be devised. That is the challenge. Such a society is also by designsustainable and environmentally healthy.
Prof. Sudarshan Iyengar, Ph.D. Economics, an activist turned researcher andacademician has recently completed his term as the Vice Chancellor of GujaratVidyapith, Ahmedabad (2005-14) a deemed university founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1920 for imparting education based on Gandhian Philosophy. He has served as Director ofthe Centre for Social Studies, Surat (2004-05), and Director of Gujarat Institute ofDevelopment Research (1999-2004). Presently he is Distinguished Chair Professor, Gandhian Philosophy at IIT, BombayHe actively participated in rehabilitation of tribal people displaced in the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Project during 1980s and 90s. He was active in 2001 in relief andrehabilitation of people affected from severe earthquake in Kachchh.
Notably, he is currently Vice Chairperson of the High Level Dandi Memorial Committeeand a member of the National Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission, by Ministry of Culture,Government of India.