ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Questionable Fact

The book review titled "A Palimpsest for Development" by Venu Madhav Govindu (EPW, 25 July 2015) has discussed, among other themes, community development (CD) as an "important component of American foreign policy." The origin of CD as a state policy is hardly known. It emerged from an experiment carried out in Africa by the British colonial power to combat the force of African nationalism. In Africa, CD tried to instil the idea of realising citizenship beginning in a small unit where through daily activities common loyalties and common interests could be expressed.

The book review titled "A Palimpsest for Development" by Venu Madhav Govindu (EPW, 25 July 2015) has discussed, among other themes, community development (CD) as an "important component of American foreign policy." The origin of CD as a state policy is hardly known. It emerged from an experiment carried out in Africa by the British colonial power to combat the force of African nationalism. In Africa, CD tried to instil the idea of realising citizenship beginning in a small unit where through daily activities common loyalties and common interests could be expressed.

The book review has posed a riddle drawn facilely from the memoirs of Chester Bowles, the American ambassador to India. Apparently "Nehru acceded within two hours of discussion" with Bowles and in 1952 CD was launched formally. This reading is flawed. The American influence was just an influence of proximity. There were other influences and together they led to CD becoming independent India's first programme of rural development.

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