Silent Revolution

Women change village contour


Far from the maddening crowds, din and bustle, a silent revolution is taking roots in many villages of Bihar and Jharkhand. The better halves are proving themselves better than their male counter parts. They have not only been fighting against the social scourge but also chiselling new course for them and the family. No hunger; no ignominy! Entire village contour is changing, slowly and steadily.

They have thrown off the veils, if any, and have come out to work hand in hand with men. They have been setting shining examples wherever they have taken up the challenges on themselves. Males are playing a second fiddle. Some have taken up abandoned arid land pieces to grow vegetables; others have started dairies and have earned a fortune. The self-help groups (SHGs) are just working wonders. It is mainly because of the rise of woman power that Bihar has notched up the growth rate of 11.7 per cent. Even Jharkhand, which remained in the vortex of political instability and a chief minister is under scanner for gobbling up some Rs. 4000 crore, has recorded a growth rate of plus 9 per cent. It is not for nothing that the economists all over the world have lauded this woman effort. A United Nations report rightly said that India’s GDP would grow more than four per cent if Indian women are as well-represented in the workforce as they are in the USA. This lack of female participation is endemic across Asia Pacific and costs nearly 90 billion, the UN report said.

The village women are knitting a new revolution silently and rewriting the history of poverty in the twin states. They seem to be caring two hoots for the government props or recognitions. Their medals are their glowing faces and brimming confidence and enthusiasm to scale new heights. The daughters and sons of these liberated women no more go to tend goats or cows in the woods nor do they work as domestic helps for their bread. In certain areas the state governments, however, have stepped in to aid these brave women. In the field of white revolution the governmental agencies take their milk and afford them reasonable prices. In other areas women themselves have developed marketing networks to sell their produces. This is one area where NGOs have stepped in to add their efforts to create proper marketing outlets.

This silent revolution has, however, a gray area of somewhat lopsided development. Most of the revolutionary women come from economically poor and deprived section of the society. So called upper caste women in villages are yet to throw up their veils. The ‘Kisan chahchi’ of Muzaffarpur, Premvati Devi of Jiling village in Lohardagga or Sunita Toppno of Jharkhand (she has been rescued from a New Delhi sex racket), all are from the backward castes. These are, however, not to suggest that upper caste women are not marching forward. They have been scaling new heights in white collar job and other activities in re-emerging Bihar. The wind of change, however, is yet to touch the upper cast women in villages in comparative degrees. The point we are trying to emphasises is that upper caste women are yet to come to crop fields or other village activities for self employment. The 50 per cent reservation for women, in panchayats and local bodies of grassroots governance has drawn them out. It is beside the point that their husbands lord it over them. BJ has been trying to highlight success stories of these brave women. The October, 2009 issue of this net magazine was dedicated to these brave women. Once again we are carrying success stories of women, sent by correspondents or culled from English and Hindi newspapers of Bihar and Jharkhand.


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