Have you ever been to Zawar area in Udaipur? Probably not. Situated a few kilometres from the highway connecting Udaipur to Ahmedabad, Zawar has a difficult and hilly terrain, sparsely dotted with village cottages.
Suggapahari women were shaken to the core when news of countrywide lockdown reached their remote village in Kathikund block of Jharkhand. People who had some idea of COVID-19, opined in favor of the lockdown. But the women farmers had bigger concerns. How will they earn money now? No money means no food most of the times, as produce from the field is not always enough to feed the entire family. And without food, sustaining for an indefinite period of time is impossible.
If we had asked Jalso the same thing, just two years back, she would not have said the same. Her SHG, composed of members of 12-13 women members from the local tribal communities, had practically stopped functioning. Low capital, irregularities in saving and loan repayment had been plaguing the group for quite some time. Gradually the members lost their interest in the proceedings of Jay Maa Bhagbati SHG.
These were some of the most common answers we got while analyzing how the COVID-19 lockdown has impacted people in some of the far flung villages of north-eastern Jharkhand, also referred as Santhal Pargana. And even without conducting a survey one could tell that more than 70% of the rural poor depend on remittances to run their household expenses or to fulfill their aspiration of leading a ‘better life’!