A week into the journey and writing is on the wall, putting words on paper is no easy game. I have completed six districts over seven days and could only write one post.
Second district on the road was Bilwara, I was visiting here after five years. This is where I started my journey as a political reporter covering the 2009 general elections.
Before I go further a disclaimer; I have worked as a Communication Consultant with the former MP from Bhilwara, Dr CP Joshi for couple of years(2012-2014).
Over the years, the textile city has changed for good, roads have widened, city looks cleaner and my work area, the bus stand, is better than what I saw in Ajmer.
“There is no dearth of jobs, I am a graduate and been working for last five years,” says Kanahiya Lal Saini who works as office boy on contract in a government office. Prod him a bit and he says, “Amenities have improved over the years, but for me just the road matters, it takes me from point A to B and then all depends on your pocket. You get what you can pay for.”
Conversations with few more people suggest that locally they are content with the way things are happening around them, facilities are improving and the local representatives are accessible.
“I have taken the MP Subash Baheria in my auto a couple of times, you can see him around riding pillion on two wheelers,” says Amar Singh the auto driver. I ask him about his growth and he adds, “I have upgraded from a daily wage earner to an auto driver, next move is to move to jaipur and drive my car taxi. Ola , Uber get you more money.”
At the hotel where I am staying, I meet a bunch of professionals; they work in different educational institutes in the city.
One heading the electronics department at a private University says that there is a dearth of students joining engineering course. “Last year we could just manage less than 100 students for all the branches that we run, year before that we barely got into triple digits. Youngsters are opting for regular courses and not engineering.”
As I wander around, a friend calls and directs me to meet Ajit Jain. You can’t leave without meeting him, he orders and I comply.
Even before he could share Ajit’s number one of the teachers in the group offers me a ride to Bhawana music shop that Ajit runs.
He is one of his kind, no one can match his commitment for developing Hockey in the city. We come to know he is at ground near Arihant Hospital.
The ground is abuzz with activities, Chak De song plays in the background as eight teams comprising of players from 6 to 60 years fight it out for a local tournament.
“All the arrangements are done by local people, I just motivate them and play my part,” says Jain who collected 20,000 rupees by auctioning the ten teams for Rs. 2000 each. His team owners are shopkeepers, lawyers and local LIC agents.
Jain is Chak De India’s Shah Rukh Khan for young kids of Bhilwara interested in hockey. Over the last 14 years has created 4 academics in the district and trained over 400 kids. “I have played competitive hockey for just five minutes,” he chukles as he proudly shares that one of his wards has been picked among 32 probables for 2024 Olympics by Sports Authority of India.
His philosophy is simple, “you need intent and not investment to achieve your goals. I started alone and did my work honestly, now whenever I need support it comes without any hassle.”
I move around and ask people the mundane question, “has he got any local support from authorities, businesses or politicians?” . He doesn’t need to go to them,” says Sampat Ram, local resident. I ask him do they get any support from these three? “ Sir, our local businessmen have become politicians, we too prefer it this way. We now have to deal with just two(politicians and authorities) and one has to get elected by our votes so it’s relatively easy.”
This sums it up the state of affairs for Bhilwara.