The flow chart below illustrates our systematic approach towards the all round development of Braj as a model rural society based on the traditional Indian culture of harmony between natural resources and human needs. In resource poor areas people and environment are often trapped in a downward spiral. Penury of natural resources often forces the less privileged to consume the few resources available to them. In the Braj region, this led to the awry consumption and destruction of the natural environment and ecology. The result is deeper poverty, depleted soils, deforested hills, polluted waters, disease, and despair. Our model demonstrates how the replenishing of the natural landscape will eventually lead to overall growth of the Brajwasi, physiologically as well as financially.
As evidenced in the writing of numerous historians and scholars, the Braj ecology and natural landscape is made up of four essential elements –
This forms the basic premise in our model. Any efforts towards reinstating the glory of Braj as a traditional rural society must essentially start from the restrengthening of these four pillars of the quadrangle of the Braj landscape.
As an immediate effect of replenished water tables, acres of available pasture lands, renewed forest cover, and clean and pure water flowing in the Yamuna, the cow-based economy and organic farming will tend to flourish. The Foundation aims at a wholehearted entry into these areas of rural development as a step 2. Already we have started basic interventions at this level as background work. With the support of M R Morarka Foundation (Jaipur), BAIF Pune and other such organizations, The Braj Foundation is developing an extensive program to revitalize the cow-based economy of the region and promote organic farming.
The growth of organic farming and animal husbandry will tend to provide a natural impetus for the development of related industries such as food processing, dairy, cultural and spiritual tourism and small scale enterprises such as handicrafts.
This will impact the Braj society beneficially in terms of employment generation, enhanced facilities for pilgrims and tourists, improved health, hygiene and sanitation, promotion of arts, crafts, and other folk art forms of Braj, and heritage conservation.
The protection, conservation, restoration and maintenance of the ecological, architectural and cultural heritage of Braj would not only ensure the sustenance of rural life but also improve and enhance their standards of living. The Foundation is in the process of creating a Comprehensive Rural Tourism programme using the historic significance of Braj villages and sites. The plan would work towards reviving the Braj artisans and their handicrafts in order to provide them additional income; create haats for their sale in Braj area and beyond in places like Delhi, Agra etc. A comprehensive plan is also being drawn to revive the cultural festivals of Braj to integrate it further into the national tourism circuit. This would not only boost rural tourism but also support the local economy and create jobs rather than eating into the natural resources and environment of Braj.
The Braj Foundation recognizes the importance of the ecological, architectural and cultural heritage of Braj not only for the local community, but for the global community as a whole evidenced by the fact that it attracts over 50 million tourists annually. It’s for this reason alone, that Braj culture and heritage must be protected, conserved and restored.