Towards Self-rule and Forest conservation in Mendha-Lekha Village, Gadchiroli
Mendha village is a perfect example of what a socially unprivileged but strongly united, and motivated community can achieve following the path of non violence (ahimsa), learning to be informed (adhyayan), and self-rule (swaraj). This is an example of a village where villagers would escape into the forest when any outsiders came to visit them about four decades back. Today no government schemes, including those related to natural resources, can be implemented without the permission of the village. As a matter of fact, no one can even visit them without their explicit permission. This has been achieved through a long journey with many ups and downs. At the centre of the journey has been the understanding that the crux of what a community achieves depends on the strength of its governance system and local institutions.