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A school for change  

By Sarita Kumari, Bihar

The wave of educational reform sweeping Bihar has somehow missed Mansara Mushar in Kiratpur block in the flood-ravaged region in Darbhanga district. Here poor children largely from landless families had no school to go to. Until Narayan jee, a social activist took up the gauntlet to construct a school, ably supported by the community. Today it is not only thriving but also raising questions about the state government’s lack of attention to this forgotten region. more...

Breaking stereotypes in womanhood

By Dinesh Sahu, Chhattisgarh

Unlike in large parts of our country, women in the largely tribal society of Chhattisgarh do not need to battle the high odds on account of their gender. The equality between the sexes is interwoven into the social mores of tribal culture. This is amply evident in the stupendous success of the ‘Mitanin’ programme, which takes the basics of healthcare to the remotest parts of rural Chhattisgarh. more...

Livelihoods in Bamboo

By Shailendra Sinha, Jharkhand

With seasonal migration of labour from Dumka district in Jharkhand, in search of livelihoods during the ‘lean’ periods of agricultural activity, an ‘organic’ option of income-generation has opened up. The creation of a wide-ranging, attractive products from bamboo which grows freely in the forests. The marketing and design inputs by organizations like ESAF have plugged into the demand in urban areas for these eco-friendly range. In this tribal heartland, then there is much to celebrate about. more...

The wonder of the ‘Greenhouse effect’

By Stanzin Kunzang Angmo, Leh

Long harsh winters and short summers leave the Ladakhi farmer with very little option of growing vegetables, so essential for the nutritional needs, even survival of the people. There has been a dramatic turn-around in the situation with both the government and non-governmental organizations coming together in a unique initiative to build hothouses across this arid cold desert. Now vegetables like spinach, tomato, brinjal and condiments like garlic and chillies are part of the average Ladakhi palette. more...

Fire in the Forest

By Kumar Singh Toppo. Chhattisgarh

The adivasis and forest dwellers are known to befriend the forests, which meets their daily needs plus gives them the chance to sell the forest produce in markets. So why is it that adivasis in Kanker are lighting fires which destroy this immense natural wealth? The intention is not malafide but there is obviously a disconnect somewhere more...

The quantum leap in Bihar

By Sudha Kumari, Bihar

A sea change is evident in a state, which has for decades been marked by backwardness and no-where is this more evident than in the way Education is being promoted. What remains unseen in this visible progress in the field is the foundation built up painstakingly over the decades by the aanganwadi system, which has played a nurturing and motivational role in the education of village children. more...

Lawlessness in Forest Rights

By Aloka Kujur, Ranchi

Across Jharkhand, claims to land rights by forest dwelling communities have been met by indifference, inaction by the authorities. This despite the provisions of the Forest Rights Act 2006 which upholds the rights over forest land of these communities who have accessed it and cultivated it down the generations. Instead of the adivasis and other original inhabitants of the land, its is the middlemen who are benefiting by making a quick buck on claim transactions. more...

The putrid waters of the once-pure Jhelum

By Zeenat Zeeshan Fazil, Srinagar

The river Jhelum is part of Kashmir’s heritage, eulogised down the ages by Emperors and poets. Today, it is choking. Effluents, silt, sand-mining and heavy population along its banks along the course from Pakistan have taken a heavy toll on its ‘clear blue waters’. One of the biggest challenges is illegal construction taking place at a frenetic pace. There is a Water Resources Act in place but it needs to be acted upon. more...

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