Uprooting a girl from her familiar surroundings when she gets married, separating her from her family and friends, assuming she will merge seamlessly with her new family is a traditional, social expectation; carrying the ‘amputation’ even further is the custom in Belliguda of renaming a new bride with the name of her parental village; this completes the obliterating of her identity
Whatever progress is made in the livelihoods and economic spheres of life, women in villages will only experience significant empowerment when violence—physical, emotional, psychological and other areas-against them is totally eradicated
Making a tentative beginning at goat-rearing, the women of Unnatipatha Cheli Samiti taste success and cannot be held back. They now monitor the health of the animals and deal with the markets too; thereby increasing their confidence and decreasing their dependency on men.
Expressing her anguish at customs and cultural practices that are blindly followed, a young 14-year-old bride’s gut-wrenching questions remain unanswered: “Why does the world have so many expectations from women? Why do we have to listen to abuses all day, even after killing ourselves to match up?
As important as it is to identify and support viable livelihoods in villages, equally vital it is that issues of gender and sex, gender and patriarchy, and gender and violence are discussed in safe spaces such as SHGs, Clusters and Federations, helping women live lives of equality, dignity and freedom
ONE EVENING, DURGAPRASAD, A CONTRACTOR from Mohgaon, came to visit Kumharra village to discuss matters with the sarpanch of the village. As he entered the village, he heard a voice resounding in the village: “Bhaat baad mein khabo, natak dekhan jabo (Have your food later, come to see the play)”; “Aao aao natak dekho…natak dekho…bin paise ka natak dekho (Come, come to watch the play…watch the play….watch
Initiating new techniquesin farming, the women of Samnapur have started taking the lead in agricultural practices such as introducing the cultivation of vegetables, growing paddy through SRI, going to the market to sell vegetables and asserting their identity as farmers in their families and in society, thereby bringing about asea change in the way they are perceived and in their confidence as decision- makers.