Tag: Village

Beyond beef, pork and BAN…

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Television, Newspaper and social media are filled with beef, pork and chicken since a few weeks in India. Eat Beef!!!Ban Beef!! Ban pork!! Ban Chicken!!! What’s happening?? Why have we been concentrating on what people should eat and not??? But there are no highlights on number of people who go to bed with no food or inadequate food every day in our country…

Is not life much more important than just eating? What will happen if one does or does not eat something? How far is it justified to hate someone for their eating habits? Is it not important for us to love one another? If we will love people on the basis of their behavior and attitude we can’t love…we can only hate…

Promoting hatred and fighting each other in the name of religion has become a trend in certain parts of the world including our country. Why are we fighting in the name of religion? If anyone believes that God promotes religion, then leave it to God to defend his cause. We are too small to defend God. Don’t defend God, he does not need you to defend him and kill one another in the name of religion.  How does that promote peace and harmony?

Talking about holiness. Not that which goes into the mouth defiles a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defiles a man – Matt-15:11. What a person eat does not make a person good or bad but how one speaks, behaves and his/her attitude makes him/her good or bad. That means we need to concentrate what comes out from us rather than what goes inside (other than in terms of health). It is good to stop eating something if that disturbs anyone, but how far is it right to kill a person who ate something in his house without causing harm to anyone?

There are more important things to worry, rather than someone’s eating habits. Unfortunately, our media focuses its attention on the sensational news rather than the harsh realities. All around, there are millions of Indians who do not have a square meal each day, a huge population lives in extreme poverty, children die of malnutrition, mothers in childbirth, access to a social life is a dream for majority of the People with Disabilities, millions of children have no access to proper education (we may be happy with the literacy rate in our census data). There are so many more important and pressing issues that need our attention and priority.

Come to our villages and see lives…”India lives in its village” – Mahatma Gandhi. If you don’t agree then experience it. Visits to many of the villages in Jharkhand, Odisha and few other states are very limited due to the fear of Maoist presence in the region. But reality cannot be understood unless one goes to the ground. Only when we step out will be able to see, think and experience something different. Right now all banning Beef does fulfill some political agenda and satisfies somebody’s greed while realities remain unchanged.

Looking at these realities might actually save lives.

Rather than focusing on what goes inside let’s think about what goes out. How we live our life and contribute to the society and behave to our fellow human beings are important than eating?

By saying this, I don’t mean I am perfect but all I am saying is to focus on the things that matter and we will grow together. Time to look beyond beef, pork and BAN….

Thank you

God Bless..

Sublime Solitude…

Beautiful sunset and a peaceful evening at the lake….

& My soul adores the “Author of Creation”….

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Irrigation structure and rice fields in the village

Thank You

God Bless…

 

Water- the Elixir of Life or May be Not…

This was my first visit to Chukru, a small village in the Palamu district. Although I had heard quite a bit about the village, it did not prepare me for what I saw and heard. Here is an account of my experience of my field visit, a very familiar but tragic tale.

Chukru is notoriously well known as the village, with record number of people affected with Skeletal Fluorosis, a condition caused by extensive exposure to Fluorine content in the water. A limited exposure would lead to the dental condition, Fluorosis but a chronic exposure could scar you for life. But Chukru is not only famous for this issue but also the extensive amount of work done on paper and feeble attempts in reality both by government and non- government agencies.

It is said that almost every NGO who initiated work in the Palamu district (one of the most backward districts in the state) had visited the village, made promises only to never come back. The people of the village, frustrated have lost hope and are afraid to trust any more.

I had visited the village because our staff shared that they were finding it difficult to reach out to people (we work with people with disabilities and their rights) as they didn’t want to even access their rights which were available.

Here are lives of two families I met, which is a representation of almost every family in the village.

Upendar is 9 years old, a happy go lucky kid just catching few minutes of play before school started. As I stopped to chat with him, I found that both he and his brother Ajay have been victims to this dreadful condition. Although other discussions held in the village showed that most people who were affected, manifested symptoms only after their twenties.

As we talked, his mother walked in nonchalantly (not a usual sight in the village, especially when there are strangers in your house). She didn’t seem expectant at all, giving me the feeling that she was used to people interviewing their family. Still determined, I sat to talk to her as well. She shared of her three children, both the boys were the ones affected.

The family had also spent a lot of money in treatment and finally gave up as they did not get any medical help.I told her that I had met her son and that he was a bright kid. She beamed as she proudly declared that she was determined to give both her sons good education, as it was the only source of hope.

The other family I met were a couple both very old and had lived with this condition for almost 30 years. In addition to this, they also do not have any children and are dependent on each other. Both of them shared they had adjusted to this life and have no expectations of any change.

A crowd had gathered around us and people were enquiring was this the meeting that was supposed to happen. I was surprised as we did not plan any meeting, when we found out that another “NGO” had come to hold a meeting to discuss the issue. People shared that this was a non-stop happening as the village has been a constant attraction. They asked me what would I do, I didn’t have an answer.

We explained that we are not here to solve their water crisis rather to work with people who are already affected. We enquired if the people had taken any steps, they shared that they had protests, marches but each time same promises were made to shut them up. I have no clue what we will be able to do in this village as everyday people are still drinking the same infected water and just waiting for the worst to happen, a destiny they feel that cannot be changed.

We, in the project don’t want to be just another NGO with promises, the magnitude of the problem scares me but am reassured by this very familiar verse “My Grace is sufficient for you, My strength is made perfect in your weakness”. I am not sure of the way forward but one thing I know is that for any sustainable change to happen, it is absolutely necessary for people to be part of that process. I believe that there is light at the end of this tunnel in Chukru; it’s just a matter of time till we reach there.

If you are reading this, I would appreciate any thoughts, feedbacks and experiences you might have on similar issues.

Thank you

God Bless.Photo5972

Community Based Recipe Demonstration…

Harvest of finger millet did not end the millet promotion activity for this year. People of our villages have long forgotten most of their own indigenous recipes. As we are promoting finger millet as a drought resistant and highly nutritious crop, we needed to make sure that Finger Millet getting into their mainstream food. We had already developed a recipe book for the community but most of the women could not follow the instructions given in the booklet as they could not read. Hence, we decided to do community based demonstration of millet recipes.

Yesterday, for the first time we demonstrated finger millet recipe in one of the hamlets of Champi village.  16 women participated in the programme and showed great interest to learn some of the recipes. It was a great time for us in helping them to cook and learn and it was also an opportunity for us to strengthen relationships with the community. This was the first demo in village and we would be doing it in all the 30 villages in coming months.

There are some of the photographs of the event, have a look….Thanks…

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Arrangement before the demonstration
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Mr. Jogendra setting the fire
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Preparing Dalia (porridge)
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A woman sharing the prepared food with participants

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Finger Millet Puri was the last item we demonstrated
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A woman distributing puri among participants

God Bless…

Ancient Act of Basket Making

As part of our field visit I had an opportunity to visit a village called Champi. This is a small community called ‘Turi” and their main occupation are to weave basket and sell it in the local market.

The tradition came to this community when there were lots of bamboos in the village and they developed the indigenous habit of weaving basket many generations back. When asked, where do they get bamboo from ? they told me that lots of bamboo bushes used to be there in the village but now they are buying it from  neighboring villages to do their occupation.

In 1980s,  government gave permission to some paper factories to use bamboo from the forest for paper production which turned forest full of bamboo into wasteland. Even though they buy bamboo to do the occupation they can’t leave the habit of weaving because it is their tradition and it is the way to remember their ancestors and ancient act.

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But the question is how long it would continue? When asked they said only way to save this indigenous occupation is plantation. They have the answer! But who will do it? They have to do it but they need help! This is another responsibility for us now to help this community to save their occupation by helping them to save the forest and ultimately conserve environment. Livelihood through a proper management  is the answer for long term development of the community.

Abinash Biswal

Holiday @ My Native land

During my holidays, I spent few days in my village where I was born and spent my childhood.  The name of my village is ‘Podaruan’. The village is 12 kilometers from the coastline of ‘Bay of Bengal’.

Nothing has changed much since my visit three years ago, particularly, the main attraction of my village the ‘River Devi’ which is filled with  memories of my childhood.

‘River Devi’ which is a tributary of ‘River Mahanadi’ (The longest river of the Indian state of Odisha) flows through my village, adding elegance to it.

always have  a strong attachment to this river as I had spent my wonderful years of childhood on its bank.

As the magnificence of the river is known to very few, I am glad to bring you some of my photographs of it.

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The road you see is my village road

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This is my village photo taken from far. The building you see is the Village School.

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  This photo was taken from the terrace of my village house

Abinash Biswal