For Dr Syeda Hameed, a member of the Planning Commission, the best way to make policies is to get out of the air conditioned offices and see things for real.
Her book Beautiful Country: Stories from Another India, formally launched here on Friday by Governor H R Bhardwaj, is a chronicle of several tales of grit and hope in different parts of the country.
Former Officer on Special Duty at the Planning Commission Gunjan Veda co-authored the book. “After writing this book, I realized that the only way to survive is to defeat the forces of fundamentalism and celebrate our syncretism.
In the journey that led to this book, we met many people who have risen above the odds,” said Dr Hameed.
In Dharmapuri, Dr Hameed met women patrons of a health centre who are running the place with no water supply and electricity.
“We never really set out to write the book. We could not make policies sitting in Yojana Bhavan. There are many government programmes that have problems. But we saw things that were going right as well,” said Gunjan.
“For instance, we discovered that Kumbhalgarh Fort has the second biggest wall in the world after China. We discovered so much about our country,” she said. Governor Bharadwaj said that policy planning has to be centred around the poor.
“I often wonder if planning has served the post-Nehru India well. We have not been able to serve the poor, and many have not been mainstreamed,” he said.