Social Scientist. v 14, no. 155 (April 1986) p. 33.


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JAGANNATH PATHY^

The United States Intervention in Third World Rural Policies

DURING THE 1950s and earty 1960s, several U.S. foundations, notably the Ford Foundation, spread the message of community development to Third World governments (Srinivas and Panini, 1973 : 199). Douglas Ensmingerof the Ford Foundation played a crucial role in selling the strategy to the Indian government. He enjoyed ready access to the Prime Minister, cabinet ministers, Planning Commission, and top bureaucrats. Recently he recalled : I fed program ideas into India through the same channels. To keep me informed the Planning Commission sent me.... its working documents... with an understanding that ideas and suggestions from me were always welcome. The Planning Commission always expected feedback of my critical observations following a field trip-nnd this I did. (cited in Rosen, 1985-53L

In fact for over fifteen years, the office of the Ford Foundation in New Delhi was regarded as a participant in the generation of ideas and in developing new rural development program strategies. In 1952, Ensminger procured $2.2 million from the Ford Foundation for village development projects and training centres for rural leaders in India and Pakistan. In a few months, the mammoth community development programme was formally launched with an average annual assistance of $5 million from the Ford Foundation and a total of about $14 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and US AID (Chandrasekhar, 1965; 155).

Likewise in the late 1950s, the Comilla experiment in East Pakistan was carried out by the Ford Foundation with technical help from Michigan University. TheĽ Pueblo projects in Mexico, Lilongve land development programme in Malavi, Jezira stettlement scheme in Sudan, and the Rural Reconstruction movement in Thailand, are some of the well-known foreign inspired community development experiments. Notwithstanding marginal differences between these projects, the common objectives were to increase agricultural production by stimulating farmers to farm on modern lines and thereby, bring rural society into the matrix of the national and international economy. This comprehensive self-help movement was expected to lead the Third World to a 'take-oflP stage of development. It was designed to promote a better quality of life fov the whole community and to evoke coYnmunity participation in all developmental activities. In some countries, the Panchayati raj



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