In looking back, memories bring alive the passion, drive, excitement, joy, total involvement and conviction about development work that each member of PRADAN shared…"We did it anyway!"
T he first time I met Vijay Mahajan, I was in for a rude shock. This was 30 years ago and Vijay was probably 27 years old. I thought he would be a big man with a big belly, probably between 50 and 60 years of age—hence, I was a little wary of meeting him. Nevertheless, when I did meet him, I thought, ‘Arre, yeh to ekdum hamare jaisa hai—bindaas and ekdum laid back.’ I was relieved
After our initial contact, he invited me to one of the project locations of ASEEFA, to explore the possibility of my joining there. The purpose of this in Vijay’s mind, I think, was to understand the ‘development wallah’ and to gauge the level of his/ her excitement to be in the field. In those days, there was a lot of lift irrigation work that was being implemented around Gaya and he wanted me to see that. Therefore, we started from Gaya in an old pick-up van kind of thing, which carried many other things besides us, including PVC pipes, material, etc. Through the journey, I realized that Vijay was not only a manager but also a hands-on worker. He was teaching things, telling people what to do, what not to do, training people on the job and guiding people all at the same time. He performed many roles at the same time, and was not content with being a mere manager.