Reviews

‘A Silent Revolution: The Journey of the Srinivasan Services Trust’ review: A model of development

“It is an incredible thing to empower people by making them part of their own story of change rather than [being] just passive spectators,” Snigdha Parupudi writes. It is this story of transformation and empowerment spearheaded by the Srinivasan Services Trust across rural communities that Parupudi’s book, A Silent Revolution , effectively documents.

Working for change

The Trust, which is the social arm of Sundaram-Clayton Limited and TVS Motor Company, was established in 1996 and has since then worked as a catalyst for change towards the development of rural areas predominantly in Tamil Nadu, as well as in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra. The book describes the model of community development the Trust follows as a ‘unique one’ that creates real, dynamic and replicable change which is empowering and self-sustaining.

What makes the book thought-provoking is how the author has chosen to document this journey. Instead of limiting the book to a collation of facts and timelines, Parupudi delves into the workings of the Trust through the lived-experiences of those who have spearheaded the change as well as reaping its benefits.

Parupudi’s extensive research and fieldwork is evident as the book is filled with anecdotes from people she met while documenting the work of the Trust. Padavedu in Tiruvannamalai, described as the ‘nucleus of SST’s work’ is where it all began in 1996. In 2005, the Trust adopted an inclusive model where the community was to pitch in for every project they undertook. The aim was to create a sense of ownership and the book illustrates through several voices how community participation was vital.

“We can only sit back and marvel at the sheer scale of what is possible when people are given the opportunity to shape their own destinies,” writes Parupudi. From walls being built for anganwadis, to encouraging women to come together and form Self-Help Groups, the book acts as a window of sorts into many key areas of focus ranging from health, education, sanitation, infrastructure, and self-reliance through income generation.

Overcoming hurdles

An empathetic narrative is built as the author tries to unpack the structures under which a developmental programme of this scale thrives. Despite their overall success, the book does not shy away from talking about the roadblocks along the way and how they were dealt with. This forms a major chunk of the learning for the Trust that has contributed to its evolution.

Despite being a pioneering model, Venu Srinivasan, Chairman, TVS Motor Company and Managing Trustee SST, says in the book that instead of passing it on, he would rather people used their system as a starting point and incorporate what they know well to create more silent revolutions.

For several organisations that are looking to broaden their horizons and focus on social development, A Silent Revolution is the apt starting point and an invaluable resource to learn about SST’s unique model that paves the way to dignity, prosperity, and hope.

A Silent Revolution: The Journey of the Srinivasan Services Trust ; Snigdha Parupudi, HarperCollins, ₹499.

poorvaja.sundar@thehindu.co.in


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Printable version | May 14, 2022 10:43:57 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/a-silent-revolution-the-journey-of-the-srinivasan-services-trust-review-a-model-of-development/article37226810.ece