We are not a ‘resort’…
But then, what are we?
Well in brief, our primary activity is to run a ‘composite-farm’, within a moderate area of about 12 ½ acres, as an experimental-space.
The project-area lies within one of the harshest and driest parts of West Bengal, in the arid and unproductive district of Birbhum.
However, the choice is a deliberate one – since that is where our experiment lies.
While the agrarian population of more productive districts usually have a historically-evolved tradition of agricultural expertise, as well as politico-economic support for agro-industries, the traditionally-arid regions are always at a disadvantage, on both accounts.
Our primary intention is to try and reinstate the dignity of landless and lower-caste labourers of the vicinity; first by respecting their individuality, skill and understanding, and then, by providing them round-the-year salaried employment through agriculture-oriented activities.
Our project is adjacent to an old forest-tract originally known as the Choupahardi Jungle, which has been severely depleted by human interference in recent times.
The other part of our work is to try and rejuvenate the flora and fauna within the project area, through a ‘minimum-intervention’ process, whereby Nature is allowed to renew itself on its own terms, with minimal human interference.
The special feature of the project is that it houses an untamed patch of wilderness and an unobtrusive composite-farm, within the same space, in harmonious collaboration.
We also host a guest-house within our farm-project, for like-minded people to come and spend a few days to appreciate, enjoy, and learn from a unique space, where wilderness and human habitation tries to coexist as a composite whole.
However, we are strongly averse to being associated with popular classifications such as ‘resort’, ‘holiday-inn’, ‘eco-tourism centre’, and so on!
You would ask why we have such an aversion, when we do have a guest-house for visitors, along with beautiful surroundings?
After all, a ‘resort’ is a much sought-after destination for ‘tourism’!
Well, that’s where the catch lies…
B A B L I is not ‘a tourist-centre’!
And that is why it is extremely important that you clearly understand the character of the space, the objectives behind our work, and the specific ‘culture’ that is part and parcel of the whole experience, if and when you plan to reserve guest-house rooms at BABLI…
A s the byline of this website states, all our activities and endeavours are essentially a part of “AN EFFORT AT LIVING IN HARMONY WITH NATURE”
Which means that there is no effort on our part to try and ‘organise’ the natural space, within which the project has been growing in an organic process over the years.
We do not try to MANIPULATE Nature to fit our needs – on the contrary, we constantly endeavour to LEARN from Nature, and figure out how we can fit into the massive and complex HARMONY of life, which is ever more palpable and real within a space like BABLI!
If we strip off the linguistic flourishes from the descriptions above, the character of our project, in blunt terms, would have the following highlights…
- IT IS NOT A MANICURED GARDEN:
The whole area is covered in undergrowth; dry leaves and twigs that scatter naturally on the ground are allowed to disintegrate on their own, providing a haven for termites, ants and insects who actively participate in the natural process’ of denudation and rejuvenation.
- THE FLORA & FAUNA COME BEFORE HUMAN HABITANTS, IN THE ORDER OF IMPORTANCE:
So, the birds and the bees, and yes, even the snakes and the scorpions, enjoy TOTAL FREEDOM to live and thrive – they are the PRIVILEGED CLASS within the project – after all, it’s their natural space, where we humans have barged-in!.
Human habitants are expected to not only respect, but ‘make-way for’ the jungle and it’s creatures.
This includes the STAFF who live and work in the project, AS WELL AS THE ‘GUESTS’ who come to spend time at the guest-house.
So, for example, a bee-hive that may have grown just above the entrance of a guest-house cottage, is allowed to thrive naturally, and the guest occupying the cottage has to learn to coexist with the bees – it’s not a difficult thing to do – it is only a matter of a mind-set!
- THERE ARE NO ‘SERVANTS’ AT THE PROJECT:
Every staff-member at BABLI enjoys an equal status – we are not divided into ‘SUPERIORS’ and ‘MENIALS’ – everyone is equally a part of the whole ‘family’.
So, if you can’t carry your own bag, don’t be surprised if the Project-Director comes forward to give you a hand.
Also, for the same reason, there is NO GATE-MAN at BABLI – we believe in opening our own gate – and remembering to close it – so that the farm animals do not stray outside!
- THE GUEST-HOUSE IS ONLY A SMALL PART OF THE PROJECT:
The farm is NOT A BACK-DROP FOR GUEST-HOUSE – it is the other way round…
The ‘composite-farm’ and the wilderness it encloses is the PRIMARY FOCUS of the project – the guest-house is merely there to provide a ‘window’, through which a visitor can look into the experiment.
Are you still unsure as to why we are averse to words like ‘resort’?
Well then, read on…
E ven though the word ‘resort’ can have a wide range of application per se, by usage it has taken on a rather restrictive connotation, which do not gel with our intentions and objectives.
Let’s look at a few definitions…
“A place frequented by people for relaxation or recreation”
“A place to which people frequently or generally go for relaxation, recreation or pleasure.”
“A resort is a place used for relaxation or recreation, attracting visitors for vacations and/or tourism”
While the word “relaxation” is common to all the above definitions, the latter ones have the added adjectives “recreation”, “pleasure” and “tourism”… all of which are volatile terms that can take on various forms and colours!
Various forms of loud, electronic music and party-style merrymaking, or, outdoor sports which are popular in urban cultures, such as badminton, cricket and so on.
Tying an empty tin-can to the tail of a hapless puppy, or, howling at the moon in the middle of the night, in an effort to emulate the HBO werewolf!
Asking attendants to procure unsolicited goods, being oblivious to local cultures and customs, or, expecting ‘special favours’ in exchange for ‘special’ payments.
Some of the above examples might sound ridiculous – but they have actually been chosen from a long list of sour experiences that we have had at our project – incidents which have made us progressively more allergic to being bracketed with the
The elaborate explanations on this page hope to unambiguously clarify that our project is, by no means, a tourist-centre.
So, if you are visiting the farm as a guest-house boarder, please DO NOT EXPECT
tourist treatment… Instead, try and come with an open mind, and you might experience something truly unique; something that our city-oriented existence has consistently taken away from us!