Baghuwar is not a story of individual triumph; it is the story of what a community can achieve. Having won several awards as a model village, the wide, treelined roads to the schools and toilets in the village are testament to the success story of Panchayati Raj. There are no open drains, all families have indoor toilets, the Dalit basti cannot be told apart from another locality. Thanks to the three tanks, the water table in Baghuwar has risen from 100 to 70 feet. The villagers credit the community and the village panchayat for the development, but those who know the village well, have a name to offer — Surendra Singh. For 35 years, Singh has worked for Baghuwar as either its sarpanch or deputy sarpanch. “We keep track of development funds under government schemes, and we claim every paisa we can for the village,” he says. “The quality of life is better here,” says RS Narolia, who returned to Baghuwar after retiring as deputy director of agriculture in 2003. How does the village panchayat work so well? “We have a tradition of collectivism here. We have not had an election. Our panchayat heads are always nominated,” Narolia explains.
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