14. Facing the ‘Fog of War’

After leaving Kanpur, Kamal and I stayed in Ayodhya for one night. We reached the village on 30th November. This time I had planned a long stay in the village. There was no scheduled return journey. The plans which had taken many years to prepare, it was now time to put them on the ground. When it comes to modus operandi, I resemble more of a military commander and less of a social worker. It sounds a bit absurd, but that is the truth. If I speak in a military language, Vyavastha Parivartan is my strategic objective. For Govind Ji it is a synonym of Ram Rajya and Nature Centric Development. To achieve this strategic objective, I have devised Mission Tirhutipur as my operational plan. Now I have come to the village to accomplish the tactical targets under Mission Tirhutipur.

When it comes to warfare, strategic objectives are at the top. They are supposed to be as stable as a mountain. The executive body at the highest level decides about many operational plans from time to time to achieve the strategic objectives. If strategic objectives are like mountains then you can compare operational plans as old solidified earthen mounds. They are susceptible to change but not easily. The third level of military planning is tactical.  To realize a single operational plan, a number of small tactical targets have to be set. Their nature is like heaps of sand. They change with the slightest intervention of time and space. Fighting in its pure form happens only at the tactical level. Often this is the point where the ‘Fog of War’ occurs.

The ‘Fog of War’ happens in every battle. No matter how skilled a commander maybe, he cannot escape the ‘Fog of War’. When the battle begins, a state of confusion and indecision creeps in. It appears that things are not in control. Often commanders fail to ascertain  ​​the strength and weakness of their own and of the enemy. However, If the commander is experienced, he quickly finds a way out of this situation, while others falter into the fog and suffers the brunt of defeat.

‘Fog of War’ is not confined to battlefields alone. It also arises in our day-to-day life, especially when we are faced with a new challenge. Whenever it happens, we feel that we are walking on a mountain road amidst fog and mist. We do not know which of our steps will take us towards our goal and which will throw us in the ditch. We proceed with a conjecture. To deal with this situation, we have to make quick decisions. Plans made in advance are of little use in this phase.

In the context of Mission Tirhutipur, our action at the tactical level started on December 1, 2020. Kamal Nayan immediately took up the public relations front, while I stayed at home and engaged in the work of supervision and coordination. My first priority was to set up an improvised complex on 1.5 acres of land in Tirhutipur. I had limited funds, so I was relying on the idea of the Geodesic Dome. In this connection, I took the journey of Kanpur once more on 6th December.

In Kanpur, I finalized a sample of the Geodesic Dome connector. To understand how bamboo struts can be used in making the dome, one day I visited the bamboo market of Kanpur along with my friend Suresh Agnihotri Ji. We enquired about different types of bamboo and their cost. I also visited the chemical market of Kanpur to purchase 5 liters of polyester resin. I was planning to do many experiments using this item in a combination of fiberglass fabric and thermocol which I had already bought from Delhi.

After completing all the works in Kanpur, I returned back to the village on 10th December. During my return journey, I was carrying a person along with other luggage in my car. His name is Harsh Vardhana. Let me tell you that Harsh Vardhana is my younger son. He is a student of the ‘Indian Institute of Science Education and Research,’ Mohali. Due to Corona, online studies were going on in his institute. Seeing this, I had proposed to him to come to the village. Here, the online classes could be carried comfortably with the works of Mission Tirhutipur. He accepted my proposal and joined me in Kanpur.

Harsh started to assist Kamal as soon as he reached the village. Both were doing a basic survey of the village. One day they asked me if I am planning to open a school. I said, “No, there is no such plan”. On this, both of them told me that there is a discussion all around that I have come from Delhi to open a  school. This information bothered me a bit. I realized that there was a communication gap between me and the villagers which in itself was a matter of concern.

My concern was gradually increasing on other fronts as well. As soon as I came to the village on 10th December, I had started the preparation for Dome construction. But in the meantime, I came to know that the land on which the dome is to be built is often submerged in floods. The only way to avoid this was to raise the ground. With no other option left, I called a JCB  machine on 17th December and constructed an earthen platform measuring 40 meters long, 16 meters wide, and about 3 feet high. It cost me a total of Rs 65,000. This was an unexpected expenditure and it completely messed up my dome budget. Now, there was a stalemate. I was not able to decide whether to stop or proceed with the dome work?

When I was in a state of confusion regarding my dome, Kamal and Harsh informed me that the survey work has been completed, and now they wanted to make a documentary film on Mission Tiruhutipur. They were asking me to write a script for the film. Since I was occupied on many fronts, it was not possible for me to focus on scriptwriting. Therefore, I told them to start shooting without a script. I thought that shooting would divert people’s attention a bit. But the opposite happened. Over the next ten days, as the shooting progressed, the confusion about the school grew further. People saw shooting as preliminary work for the opening of the school.

All these confusions and worries were probably not enough that God gave one more on 30th December. It happened that when Kamal and Harsh were returning after shooting in the evening, a ruffian from the village abused them without any provocation. The incident took place around 6.30 pm. It was impossible to ignore such an incident. So in the next three hours, there was a befitting reaction from our side and the matter reached the police station. While all this was happening I felt that I am very much in the ‘Fog of War’. There was a real danger of derailment from the noble ideals of Mission Tirhutipur.

Please join me on next diary to know how I pulled myself out of this Fog of War. Goodbye.

Vimal Kumar Singh

Convener, Mission Tiruhutipur

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