The Case of the Satipatis of Dang District
Dang is a predominantly tribal district with 94 per cent tribal population. Migration of the landless posed many problems for the District Administration while implementing the voter education programmes. The other issue was with regard to the Satipatisect.
The Satipati sect in the District does not participate in any of the government programmes, to the extent that they are not even registered for ration cards. They do not believe in the government machinery and believe that nature will provide for them. There are more than 3000 eligible voters in the sect, who do not therefore, participate in the election process.
The District Administration repeatedly approached them and after some time was able to get initial success from a few families who were persuaded to get themselves registered as voters. The administration was able to convince them that the EPIC could also facilitate them to obtain benefits of the various government programmes for them.
The administration never tried to touch the sensitive part of their belief or manipulate in getting them enrolled in the voter list. Instead, they used the services of the recently appointed government employees who belonged to the sect. When the community members saw that the educated young people from their own sect were able to improve their economic status once they got a job, they started believing that it was in their interest to accept these changes, and they started taking more interest in participating in the electoral process as well.