Charkha Feature English

Finding strength in singlehood

Ground Report |Sarita Brara: Finding strength in singlehood; Sarita Devi left her alcoholic husband after she could no longer tolerate his violent and abusive behavior. It was a difficult decision as she had no help and had two small daughters to take care of. But she chose a life of struggle over one which entailed mental and physical torture every day. She toiled as a farmhand or did some odd jobs to make ends meet. She worked hard to educate her daughters.

No luck for artisans

Fifty kilometres from Madhya Pradesh’s Dindori district, on the Jabalpur-Amarkantak route, lies the village of Patangarh, the birthplace of the illustrious Gond painting. It was because of Jangarh Singh Shyam — a pioneering Gond artist from Patangarh that this traditional style of painting received recognition and artists from the village were able to successfully exhibit their work widely across the world. Most of the women and men from this village are proficient in this art form.

The way to change

The way to change; As soon as the sky starts turning dark in Arand village in Chhattisgarh’s Mahasamund district, a group of women gathers at the village junction. Carrying sticks and torches, this all-women group patrols every corner of the village till 10 in the night to ensure that no one consumes or makes alcohol in their houses. Known as the Swatantrata Sangram Senani Budhanshah Mahila Commando Group.

Wrecking lives

Every summer, Jetun Bibi, who is 70 years-old, and several other people migrate from Kalakote tehsil, Rajouri district of Jammu to the higher altitude pasturelands of Sonamarg, Ganderbal district of Kashmir, which is at 8,960 feet. “Chettiar and Deghani villages in Kalakote tehsil are home to about 50 families from the Gujjar-Bakarwal community.

Battling with Patriarchy

Madam, Please make her understand that she should go back to her in-laws and adjust a little, a famous psychiatrist, Dr. Binda Singh, from Bihar, was once told by her patient’s family. The Patient was survivor of domestic violence. As per Dr. Singh, families place a high value on marriages and consider them as one of the most important social events.

Rising Cases of Violence Against Women

Waiting since morning inside Kashmir’s only women’s police station in Ram Bagh area of Srinagar for her abusive husband, 30-year-old Rukaya Jan and her three minor daughters were growing restless. Despite summons by the Station House Officer (SHO), her husband had not appeared before the police till noon. Although this was her third visit to the police station, her husband had not visited even once.

Covid Warriors! Kudos To Our Policewomen On Covid- Duty Who Risk Their Lives To Keep Us Safe…

Sakshi is one of the 204 women police officers roped in for COVID-19 duties in Kangra district, one of the worst affected by the second wave of the pandemic in Himachal Pradesh. Aarti, another women constable, deployed in Behin village shared that their duty demands them to move from place to place. “Sometimes, we have to stay in schools, panchayat bhawans, or even police stations.

When The Internet Couldn’t Reach, This Travelling Teacher Turned The Entire Village into a School

As the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on the world, stories of frontline warriors who have gone above and beyond to bring hope in this time of crisis come to light. One such warrior in the field of education is Kalyan Mankoti. Hailing from Aso village in the Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand, Kalyan used to travel for hours, covering 35 kilometres.

No luck for artisans

Fifty kilometres from Madhya Pradesh’s Dindori district, on the Jabalpur-Amarkantak route, lies the village of Patangarh, the birthplace of the illustrious Gond painting. It was because of Jangarh Singh Shyam —  a pioneering Gond artist from Patangarh that this traditional style of painting received recognition and artists from the village were able to successfully exhibit their work widely across the world. Most of the women and men from this village are proficient in this art form.

A Simple Gardening Idea Helped Women From 12 Villages Earn Rs 3 Lakh During Lockdown

In the last 18 months, COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted lives and livelihoods across rural India. A report suggests that rural communities are eating less and often not able to afford nutritious food like pulses and vegetables. In Madhya Pradesh’s Chhindwara district, a unique initiative taken by women from 12 villages is not only helping communities fight hunger but generate income by turning barren land into a nutritious food garden.

Extend a hand

As per the Indian Census 2011, 2.68 crores people out of the total 121 crores population have been enumerated as ‘disabled’. While 0.81 crores are from urban areas, 1.86 crores i.e. 69 per cent of the disabled population reside in rural areas of the country. Some of these areas are so remote that the challenges faced by the disabled rural population never reach the policymakers. The life of Mohammad Qasim.

Between science and superstition

New diseases are often accompanied by misconceptions, superstitions and rhetoric. During the 1974 smallpox epidemic of India — one of the worst epidemics of the 20th century — most of the rural areas believed it to be the wrath of a regional goddess called ‘Sheetla Mata’. Even today, if someone is infected with smallpox, people claim that the goddess is upset with the infected person and that they should worship her to get rid of the disease.

Cyber Crimes On The Rise Against Women In Jammu And Kashmir

Farah Zaidi, a social activist from  Kulgam district in North Kashmir was trolled online by men after her interview was published online where she talked about  ‘eve teasing’ In October 2020. 25-year-old Zaidi, who was pursuing master’s degree in gender studies from University of Kashmir at the time of the interview, spoke  about the ‘masculinity crisis’ – a growing insecurity among men as they see women competing with them in every field.

Finding strength in singlehood

Sarita Devi left her alcoholic husband after she could no longer tolerate his violent and abusive behavior. It was a difficult decision as she had no help and had two small daughters to take care of. But she chose a life of struggle over one which entailed mental and physical torture every day. She toiled as a farmhand or did some odd jobs to make ends meet. She worked hard to educate her daughters. Today, one of her daughters is a graduate and is preparing for job-oriented

Hopes from the Jal Jeevan Mission

Irfan Mughal Munira Jan, a resident of Seri Khawaja village in border district of Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir, has spent 60 years of her life walking miles to fetch water. “I have always been on duty, like a soldier, to fetch water for my family,” said Munira who is now 70 years old, unable to walk and still without a water connection in her house. She wonders if her dream of having a water-pipe connection in her house will ever come true. Walking a long way to collect water is a daily reality in rural India.

Valley of Death Roads

As per a recent World Bankreport, India with only 1 per cent of the world’s vehicles accounts for 11 per cent of the global death in road accidents, the highest in the world.The country accounts for about 4.5 lakh road crashes per year, in which 1.5 lakh people die. In the last 10 years, 13 lakh people have died while 50 lakhwere injured on roads in India. Another study by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways claims that the socio-economic costs of road crashes is Rs 1,47,114 crore, which is equivalent to 0.77%

The way to change

As soon as the sky starts turning dark in Arand village in Chhattisgarh’s Mahasamund district, a group of women gathers at the village junction. Carrying sticks and torches, this all-women group patrols every corner of the village till 10 in the night to ensure that no one consumes or makes alcohol in their houses. Known as the Swatantrata Sangram Senani Budhanshah Mahila Commando Group, it was founded by Saraswati Dhurav who was disturbed by the increasing cases

In Just 1 District In Rajasthan, 979 Schools Lacked Electricity. Here’s How It Got Fixed

Rightly so, because the abodes of learning do dispel the darkness of ignorance by igniting the young minds through knowledge. But in India, many schools in its rural areas are immersed in darkness in absence of electricity. Similar was the case of 979 schools in Nagaur district of Rajasthan which

Rising Cases of Violence Against Women

Waiting since morning inside Kashmir’s only women’s police station in Ram Bagh area of Srinagar for her abusive husband, 30-year-old Rukaya Jan and her three minor daughters were growing restless. Despite summons by the Station House Officer (SHO), her husband had not appeared before the police till noon.

A battle without a leader

The pandemic has revealed the importance of having smooth coordination between the Union, State, and local government bodies (Municipal Corporation and panchayats) in managing crucial tasks pertaining to disease control and shouldering the responsibility of making resources available to its people.

Painting their destiny

Mamoni Chitrakar was born in a Muslim community of traditional Patachitra artists in a village called Naya in Paschim Medinipur. Patachitra is a folk form of storytelling through painted scrolls which the artists unfurl as they sing the narratives. Despite being a unique oral tradition, there were a few markets for it even.

Inspiring A Greater Change

The story of gender empowerment in India is not a particularly happy one. Gender discrimination pervades all levels of society, women’s rights continue to be denied through social, cultural and political instruments which normalize their exploitation and commodification. Most girls suffer life-long vulnerability and face adverse consequences.

A beacon of hope

Katudevi Peetharam, the sarpanch of Darbari, a newly formed panchayat in the far-flung desert district of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, is quite busy these days. After causing destruction in urban regions, when the second wave of COVID-19 entered rural India, this elected representative became quite vigilant.

Unsung heroes

In October, after the body of a COVID-19 patient in Sundergarh town, the district headquarters of Sundergarh in Odisha, reached ‘Ranibagicha Swargadwar’ cremation grounds, the administration realised there was no one present to help with the cremation. The son of the deceased waited from morning till 4 in the afternoon when the sub-collector and executive officer of Sundergarh Municipality contacted Siddhant Panda, Shishir Kumar Behera, Manoj Kumar Tripathy

Rural areas turn to quacks

Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported a 13 per cent decrease in new COVID-19 cases in India. However, the number of new infections in the country remains the highest in the world. As the pandemic continues to hold sway over large swathes, rural areas with no proper health infrastructure are bearing the brunt. This has forced villagers to turn to quacks (medical practitioners who have received no formal training) for treatment.

Every Day Is “Environment Day” For The Chhattisgarh Green Commando

June 5 is celebrated as World Environment Day to remind people about the importance of nature. The need to remind humans that the environment that nurtures them, helps sustain their existence must be protected reflects upon how the world has forgotten to live in tune with nature. Nevertheless, there is a global community working hard to protect the environment by not only creating awareness among people but calling for political attention towards it.

Policewomen at the frontlines

Sakshi is one of the 204 women police officers roped in for COVID-19 duties in Kangra district, one of the worst affected by the second wave of the pandemic, in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh. Hailing from Palampur, Sakshi was deployed at the Behin village, a containment zone under Dehra police station, till May 24. After that, she moved to Shantala Containment Zone for some days before being stationed at the Police Lines in Dharamshala.

For our future

Our children deserve quality education in a safe learning environment at par with the children who study in urban areas,” believes Majid Khan, a resident of Chandyal village in Balakote block of Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir. While sharing his concern about the deteriorating quality of education in his village, Majid questioned, “For how long will our children be deprived of a proper educational

From water carriers to water entrepreneurs

Imagine having to travel 7 to 8 kilometers every day to fetch water from a village because the water available in your vicinity is simply undrinkable and has dangerously high Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) levels. Well, this is what Jyoti Sharma a resident of Pandya Mohalla of Deeg sub-town in Bharatpur district of Rajasthan has been doing for years. For Jyoti and nearly 350 families living in this area, it had been a daily struggle

Doctors without borders

After testing positive for COVID-19 in the first week of April this year, 27-year-old Bisma Jan was extremely worried. She was more concerned about her parents’ health than her own. “I was not in favour of my old parents taking me to the hospital as I feared they would be risking infection. I called the toll-free number of Ehsaas International where I was connected to a doctor in Saudi Arabia.

Good Samaritans step up

Last year, when the novel Coronavirus raged havoc in our country, many people based in metropolitan cities opted to shift their parents or vulnerable family members to their native villages. For these places were considered safer and not much affected by the pandemic. One year later, the deadly virus has crossed urban boundaries to hit the rural hinterland with a vengeance. 

Digital divide

Once again, schools and other education institutes across states have been shut soon after they reopened in January following a hiatus of almost a year. The interaction between students and teachers has returned to the online platforms. Several students, especially the ones with no access to smart phones and internet are once again unable to manage online classes. With ever-increasing number of Covid-19 positive cases and deaths across the country.

Valley prepares for the next wave

The second wave of Covid-19 has caught the entire country unprepared. Alerted by the extreme situation in states like Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Kolkata, medical practitioners, and heads of non-profit organisations in Jammu and Kashmir have started preparing for it in the newly formed Union Territory (UT) as well. They have appealed to the people on social media to strictly follow all the precautionary measures.

Remove the stain

Last year, when the entire country was locked down to contain the first wave of the novel COVID-19 virus, a survey by the Menstrual Health Alliance India (MHAI) had revealed that women’s and girls’ access to menstrual hygiene products and toilets for managing menstruation was severely challenged. In a patriarchal society like ours, where it is difficult to discuss Menstrual Hygiene Management

Water woes

How long can one live without water? Today, the world is threatened with questions of existence without water. Worst scenarios are being drawn by professionals to make people aware of the eminent water crisis. Many believe that the water crisis could lead to World War III. Little battles, however, are being fought every day. Regions, which were once abundant with water resources, are struggling for fulfilling their basic requirements.

Education: A powerful weapon

There are several powerful women, who have shattered the patriarchal norms and have shown the rest of the world what women can do if they have equal rights. Chhavi Rajawat is one such name that has done exactly that and more. India’s first woman sarpanch with an MBA degree, Chhavi was the sarpanch

Need to Strengthen the Higher Education Infrastructure in Mandi

Last year, the Union Cabinet approved the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 with an aim to build a robust mechanism in transforming both school and higher education sectors. Describing students as the prime stakeholders in the education system, the NEP 2020 claims to look at the students as “citizens of today” and not just a future resource to contribute to the development of the country. The rural and remote areas of our country are faced with several development challenges of which education needs immediate attention.

A tale of change

The black soil, locally known as regur in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district, may be ideal for growing cotton, jowar and bajra, but its ground water is not potable. A drinking water quality report by the district’s health department in 2014 revealed that 4,387 of the 14,664 water samples collected were contaminated.

Cut off at the last mile

The residents of Uttarakhand, which was established as a state 20 years ago, are still struggling due to a lack of basic transport infrastructure. Various villages such as Dumak, Kalgoth, Kimana, Palla, Jakhola, Lanji Pokhni, Dwijing, and so on, lack proper transportation facilities. These villages are home to around 500 families who have to walk for miles to manage their livelihoods. When it rains and snows, the roads are not even walkable. Furthermore, the pedestrian roads and bridges that connected these villages were damaged in the floods in 2013, and are yet to be repaired.

The plight of migrant laborers

Last year, on March 24, the Central Government imposed India’s first nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 virus. These restrictions brought everything to a halt — industries were shut, trains and flights were suspended, schools and offices closed.

Say ‘no’

One of the biggest challenges being faced by India today is the issue of early child marriages. As per UNICEF, approximately one in four young women in the country are married or are in union before they turn 18. While marriage is often considered a happy union, for thousands

Will the valley thrive?

Worried about the dying art forms of Kashmir, particularly its handicrafts, a group of young men from the valley have come together to promote its different art forms in national and international markets through an online platform.

Challenging People In Power, Organising First Woman Gram Sabha, Meet Sonal Dolma!

Last year, the news of a group of tribal women stopping the Himachal Pradesh Agriculture Minister Ram Lal Markanda from entering Lahaul and Spiti district’s sub-divisional headquarters Kaza had made it to the national headlines.

Connecting dots

Chalhan is a nondescript hamlet located one and a half kilometers from the main road in Shalla Gram Panchayat of Gohar block of Mandi district in the hilly state of Himachal Pradesh. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for the residents of this village who own five to seven bighas of land on an average.

Rain, Snow, & Animals – Women Postmasters Brave All in Himachal’s Toughest Terrains

Raksha, a Gramin Dak Sevak posted at Sarsoo Post Office in the Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh, walks 10 to 12 kms every day — trekking on the meandering trails in the mountains to deliver mail to people residing

Against all odds

Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi while speaking at the centenary celebrations of Aligarh Muslim University said that there has been an unprecedented increase in the rate of Muslim girl education in the country. It is due to the government policies, he said

Breaking chains

Azaadi hai toh sab hai (where there is freedom there is everything),” said Rehana Begum, who along with her husband and children, was rescued from a Municipal Corporation toilet compound in 2017. Originally from Purnia in Bihar, the family moved states looking for work opportunities.

An echo of silence

Worldwide, an estimated 12 million girls are wed every year before the age of 18. In India, as per UNICEF, 1.5 million girls get married before the legal age of 18 every year. Fortunately, the combined efforts of the respective state governments and non-government organizations engaging community level

An arduous journey

Pooja Mudhane, a nineteen-year-old girl from Virar — a town in Palghar district of Maharashtra — was exposed to the ugly reality of caste system when she was in Class-III. The school had announced the final exam results in which Pooja had secured top position.

Strengthening the Public Healthcare infrastructure in Border areas

The several questions that should bother each one of us regarding the health care services in our country, the most crucial one that we must ask ourselves is – should there be a moral obligation to make healthcare accessible to everyone as needed or it should be treated as a commodity and subjected to similar marketplace influences? In our country, where a large number of people are living a life of abject poverty and under unsafe conditions

She, the change

Two Indian Air Force women officers broke the glass ceiling on January 26 by becoming the first women pilots to participate in the Republic Day parade. They represent the valor of millions of women of our country who, in their respective ways, are challenging the patriarchal patterns of our society.

A long walk

Uttarakhand, which has been separated from Uttar Pradesh with the expectations of better roads, health, education, employment and livelihood, is still craving for the basic needs. Even after 20 years of establishing the state, the residents of this mountainous state are struggling for the basic necessities of life. During the outbreak of COVID, thousands of migrated youths came back to their villages for employment.

A glimmer of hope

In Odisha’s Balangir district, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA) has given villagers hope to earn and feed their families during the pandemic. Twenty-five-year-old Jadupati Biswal, a second-year postgraduate science student at KIIT University, Bhubaneswar, now works as a daily wage labourer in Belpada block. After returning to his village due to the sudden nationwide lockdown in March, Jadupti had no option but to sit idle.

Meet Ramzan Sheikh, The Young And Empathetic Arbiter For Children’s Rights

19-year-old Ramzan Sheikh from Maharashtra is a second-year student pursuing Bachelor of Arts. Born in a lower-middle class family, Ramzan’s life has been about struggle and compromise. His father is a daily wage laborer while his mother is associated with a non-profit organization ‘Saryjani Mahila Utkarsha Sanstha’ engaged in TB control and Family Development programmes in the bastis of Bhiwandi. Having lived a life full of struggles, Ramzan is empathetic towards other young children and works towards supporting them through their challenges.

Fighting For Child Rights And For Herself, Meet Fiza Yusuf Sheikh

How do we measure merit and accomplishment? Why is the applause reserved only for the rank holders and successful students? Is academic success the only criteria of meritocracy? When you meet the 17-year-old Fiza Yusuf Sheikh from Bhiwandi you realize the unjust system of merit which is often a product of privilege. This teenager has done commendable work in her community, from stopping child marriages to persuading parents to seek immunization for their children but has failed to crack the Secondary School Certification (SSC) exam. 

A cause of concern

Did you know that Jammu and Kashmir have a very important place in power generation? Well, the estimated hydro power potential of the UTs are around 20,000 Megawatts (MW), of which about 16,475 MW have been identified. This comprises 11,283 MW in Chenab basin, 3,084 MW in Jhelum basin, 500 MW in Ravi basin

Fighting For Identity

A few years ago, the residents of Mumbai were barely aware that a forest existed within the city, let alone the fact that Adivasis lived in it. One can only imagine the problem of identity that young Adivasis would face living in a city. With one part of life enveloped within forests and another amidst the chaos of a city, the Warli tribe has spent their life navigating this identity. Life of Manisha Dhine, a local Adivasi girl from this tribal community in Aarey, is a reflection of their struggles to fight for the right.

Jasoda – A Role Model For Girls Of Her Village

Western Rajasthan is known for its beautiful sand dunes. But harsh climate, formidable distances and water scarcity pose a lot of hardships and challenges for the people living in this part of the state.  The limitations, however, are not just limited to infrastructure deficiencies or climatic conditions alone.  There are a lot of traditional barriers as well specially when it comes to girls’ rights. 

The Osian block of Jodhpur district is no different from many other Rajasthan villages deeply steeped in old mindset.  To cultivate a change is not easy but ‘if winter comes, can spring be far behind’!  At least 13 villages of the five panchayats falling in the Osian block have started witnessing a breakthrough, thanks to an initiative launched

Rural women are unaware of the risk of breast cancer

Hailing from a rural area in Bihar, Kusumlata had to have her breasts removed due to breast cancer, as otherwise it posed a high risk to her life. Though she was saved, her life became more traumatic after the mastectomy. After the breasts were removed, her husband stopped caring for her, because he no longer saw his wife attractive enough.

The road not taken

Well, it wouldn’t be wrong to state that India is one of the fastest developing nations today, be it in terms of industrialisation, education, health or fashion. However, there are still certain ‘basic’ domains where the country is lagging behind. The Border Roads Organisation was established a long time ago to secure India’s borders and develop infrastructure in the remote areas.

Collective Silence on Violence Against Women Rings Loud in the Kashmir Valley

On a cold December morning, the family of 65-year-old Noor was mourning the death of their 21-year-old daughter who had been abducted from a marriage party by two men in October and then raped. After the incident, she was admitted to a hospital in Srinagar

Miles to go

As an immediate response to the intensifying water crisis in the country, a unified Ministry of Jal Shakti was launched in May 2019 by the Central Government — soon after attaining power for the second term. The previously existing departments

A ray of hope

According to reports published in different national newspapers, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is likely to announce a three trillion electricity distribution reform programme in the Union budget. As per the report, the objective is to help reduce losses and improve the efficiency of power distribution utilities.

Market to the rescue

Kohiti Bai, a resident of Dhaneli village in the Naxal-affected Kanker district of Chhattisgarh, was at the mercy of quacks for her treatment of an unknown ailment. It was during a random health check-up at the Haat Bazaar (local market) Clinic at Tarandul, where she was diagnosed with high sugar levels.

Meet 16-Year-Old Zosha – A Child Rights Advocate From Mumbai

Born into the most ordinary circumstances, 16-year-old Zosha Khan’s story is full of strength and spirit. This young girl from Goregoan, Mumbai city in Maharashtra trying to make a difference by advocating for Child Rights. Her father is a salesman in a furniture shop and mother, a home maker. She has three siblings. The family finds it difficult to make ends meet with meagre salary that the father gets. But that is no deterrent to Zosha who thinks ‘will assumes more power than money’ and is herself a living example

Limitless And Emboldened: Rutuja Raorane’s Journey Has Just Begun

In a widely acclaimed interview with the Science Times in 2011, Stephen Hawking famously advised people with disability to focus on things which their disability does not prevent them from doing. He said, “Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically”.  It is a piece of profoundly powerful advice from one of the greatest thinkers ever lived. Rutuja Raorane, an 18-year-old from Kankavli, Maharashtra, India embodies this advice. This is an account of a young change-maker who has been channelling her life experiences in creating a positive impact around her. It is her story of determination and a yearning to be independent. Rutuja was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at the age of 3.

Electricity a must for Digital India

In 2018, the Indian Government had announced electrification of all inhabited villages in the country. This massive accomplishment had filled new hopes in lives of millions of people residing in the rural and remote areas. After waiting for several years, a power line had finally reached their area. After completing the first most important process of electrification, the task at hand for the Government now was to connect each household with the power line.

Creating a safe space

Joe Biden, the newly elected President of the USA had vowed to enact the Equality Act in his first 100 days of commencing the office. The said Act would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protection for LGBTQ+ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, federally funded

The Teenage Activist Who Uses Gandhian Methods To Fight For The Rights Of

Saloni Todkari, a class 10 student, immediately after joining her new school at Kalyan was informed by her teacher that bindi and bangles were mandatory for girl students. Saloni and her friend Rekha (name changed) who wore neither the bindi nor the bangles, failed to understand the teacher’s insistence while the rule book of the school didn’t mention it. The overzealous teacher would often reprimand them and would offer these two ‘erring’ students the accessories from her stock – only to be rejected. Their behavior was soon

Break the cycle of abuse

Last week on November 25, people from across the world protested violence and abuse against women on International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women. In the context of the ongoing pandemic, a United Nations report suggests that all types of violence against

Instrument of progress

In 2011, Panchayat Elections were held in the then state (now a Union Territory) of Jammu and Kashmir after a long gap of 33 years. The event promised hopes to the residents of J&K who were more than eager to participate in the democratic process of electing their local leaders. But the hopes died within the next five years as the representatives

Bring back the rare and precious

Himachal Pradesh, the scenic Himalayan state in Northern India, is known across the world for its natural beauty, adventurous treks and fascinating cultures and traditions. The state also flaunts a rich heritage that includes a wide variety of arts and crafts that dates back to second century B.C. Over the years, while some

Rain, Snow, & Animals

Raksha, a Gramin Dak Sevak posted at Sarsoo Post Office in the Sirmaur district of Himachal Pradesh, walks 10 to 12 kms every day — trekking on the meandering trails in the mountains to deliver mail to people residing in some of the most far-flung villages. Travelling to some of the backward villages means passing through dense jungles on foot

Left out in the cold: The Chopan shepherds of Jammu & Kashmir are without identity or many rights

Around this time of the year, in October, the Chopans make their way down from high altitude pastures, with sheep that they will hand over to their respective owners. Once they do that, they will retire to a life of stillness in their little huts and wait for the summer to come around again. 

A Permanent Route

In August last month, Jammu & Kashmir Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam shared that with the help of the centre, Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and Ladakh UT administration are planning to connect all picturesque tourist resorts through a new 600 km-long highway circuit. The `8,000 crore road project will aim at connecting

Disabled children struggle to study amid pandemic in Kashmir

Mohammad Saeed Bhat, a resident of South Kashmir’s Dialgam area in the newly announced Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, had enrolled his daughter, Iflah Saeed, in one of the schools in Srinagar’s Solina area meant for disabled children. After passing Class 8 examination, 15-year-old

Impoverished Workers – trapped helplessly in a bitter coil

The life of migrant workers in Maharastra’s sugar plantations is hard, working logn hours with no child care support or social benifits, only to fall deeper into debt. Thousands of children of such workers are bereft of an ideal nurturing enveronment as their parents struggle to keep the famiilies afloat.

It’s 7 am on a chilly December morning. The sugercane fields of Someshwar in Pune District’s Baramati reverberate with the sound of powerful hacks. Meera Gade, her sister-in-law, Pushpa and their fellow agricultural workers have already been hard at work for three hours straight, since the crack of dawn, cutting sugarcane.

Keep the spirit alive

The law of love could be best understood and learned through little children,” believed Mahatma Gandhi who always had a special place for children in his heart. His immense belief in children has, undoubtedly, inspired generations and the values he had advocated continue to guide the young minds even today. One such young mind following the teachings of Gandhi is Maharashtra’s 16-year-old Saloni Todkari.

“Non-violence is a successful strategy. It is a tool that we use to fight for our rights such as right to education and right to healthy childhood,” believes Saloni who has been protesting against injustice using Gandhian methods since she was just 12 years old. Saloni’s journey into “activism” began when she had started attending the Baag Shala (garden school) of Maitrakul — a residential study centre for students run under the aegis of Chhatrashakti Sanstha. Maitrakul is an abode for children from the weaker sections who find it difficult to pursue school education due to challenging circumstances at home.

Including Communities for Successful Implementation of Schemes

The efficacy of any government is often measured by the successful execution of the social welfare and infrastructural schemes launched during its tenure. Money is invested and resources are utilized to conceptualize, design and implement these schemes on the ground

Ear to the ground

Farmers across several states are opposing the Centre’s agriculture-related ordinances. In Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana, protests have been staged against the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection)

Leave no one behind

Vinayak Sonar is 14-year-old. Every day his friends visit his home to invite him for an evening stroll around the village — a regular ritual for this young group of boys. One day when the boys asked Vinayak to come along, something was different. His mother Chandrakala Sonar told them that he was washing utensils and will join later.

No One to Heal

Covid-19 – the global pandemic has exposed the lack of basic health care facilities not only in developing countries, but many first world countries have also faced criticism for lapses in their health services. As per a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), developed countries like the USA spends 16.9% of its GDP on healthcare (out of pocket and public) while India, on the other hand, spends only 3.6% on its total healthcare – the least among BRICS countries. Despite spending a good percentage of GDP on their healthcare, the US witnessed a nightmare.

Among the poor and marginalised women and children suffer the most

Be it the occurrence of a natural hazard or a human-induced event, it is the people belonging to the lowest strata who suffer the worst consequences. The vulnerabilities even in these disadvantaged groups are not homogenous, the challenges faced by sub-groups are also different. Women and children, for example, are the ones who suffer the most. The impact of the ongoing pandemic, COVID-19, on the lives of several women is heart-wrenching.

Need to protect education in J&K

Muhammad Ayub Kataria As the nation celebrated Teachers’ Day on September 5, teachers across the country couldn’t help but wonder how Covid-19 pandemic has changed the education scenario in the last few months. It transformed the space in which the teachers and students operated – conducting classes online became the new normal. One would believe that the struggles have been similar across states for the entire teacher.

COVID-19 exposes fissures in our education system that discriminates against rural kids

On July 29, 2020, the Union Cabinet approved a New Education Policy (NEP) that has proposed drastic changes in the school and higher education. The Union education minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal, while announcing the NEP, described it as the beginning of a new era in the field of education and said it would be uniformly

Chhattisgarh fuels rural economy using cow dung; also makes vermicompost more accessible

Farmer Rati Ram Kumeti of Mungwal village in Bhanupratappur development block in Kanker district does not own any cattle. But, she’s making money by selling their dung. She’s a beneficiary of the Chhattisgarh Government’s Godhan Nyay Yojana, under which cow dung is procured from livestock rearers and converted into organic fertilizer.

Marriageable age : Law reform proposals are just not enough

Geeta is 13 Living in one of Jaipur’s urban slums she attends a nearby government school. She enjoyes school but often has to skip classes to help her mother, Malti, a domestic worker, employws in several houses. Malti, a widow from Bengal’s Cooch Behar ,needs to work to bring up her three chidren – all girls.With the pandemic and fear of coronavirus infection, She now wants Geeta to droop out school and get married so that she will have one less mouth to feed.

Children have found a way to channelize their energy by participating in Covid-19 rescue and relief work

In early April a tweeter user had put up a post saying that his children have given away all their savings towards Prime Minister Care Fund. A number of children have joined hands with citizen’s groups and NGOs to reach out to the communities who had lost their livelihood due the lockdown.

Lack of Girls-only Institutes in Poonch

In June, people in a village in Rajasthan’s Jaipur were protesting the establishment of an English medium Government school as it would mean that the existing girls’ school is converted into a co-ed.The reason for the protest was the fact that the parents of girls do not feel comfortable ‘allowing’ their daughters to study with boys. Not just in rural Rajasthan but parents in even metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Surat etc.

No promises

Rampuriya, a small hamlet in Rajasthan’s southern hilly district Pratapgarh, has been able to largely escape the Coronavirus onslaught. Till last month, there were around 182 reported cases, out of which 160 had recovered while three lives were lost. Had there been cases like the rest of the country, the total lack of basic health care services in this remote region would have made it challenging for the administration to control the situation.

Walking an extra mile

As all education institutes had to be shut in the wake of Coronavirus, a programme Har Ghar Pathshala was recently launched by the Himachal Pradesh Government. For the last few months, the programme is being implemented by holding digital classes, forming WhatsApp groups

Leave no one behind

It was the third week of March. The teachers had almost completed the syllabus and the schools were busy preparing for the final exams. Computation of the average of the unit test scores of each student was being done. At that juncture, the novel Coronavirus had advanced and bared its fangs in India.

Against all odds

Barack Obama once said, “You know, we’re in a sports centre. Imagine if you have a team and you don’t let half of the team play. That makes no sense. Isn’t it?” Similarly, the communities that don’t give their daughters the same opportunities as their sons, they are most likely to lag behind.

Stories of hope and despair

Reverse migration of the workers and the distressing visuals of their hardships while returning to their villages during and after the lockdown have raised some important concerns. Be it the video of a migrant worker improvising a wooden cart and pulling his pregnant wife

Go the last mile

It is rightly said for Jammu and Kashmir that it has always been more than just a mere place. The state, now UT, breathes within its locals and visitors alike with a pulse that they can sense, a heartbeat that they can feel and an expression that they can personify.

The tough get going

Earlier this year, in April, as Asia’s largest slum reported its first Corona positive case, everyone had predicted that it might soon become one of the largest containment zones as it was already an overpopulated area.

Busting One Menstrual Myth At A Time In Rajasthan Villages

A total of 12 Gram Panchayats of Talera block in the Bundi district of Rajasthan collectively represent the Barad region, which shares its border with the Chittorgarh and Bhilwara districts in far south-west direction.

Adolescents in Rajasthan villages discuss periods and reproductive health

A collective effort by a local organisation and an international organisation has led to adolescents in villages breaking taboos by openly discussing and spreading awareness about periods, sexual and reproductive health and rights.