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. Now staying ‘far from the city crowd’ doesn’t sound like an ideal option.
Who would like to take the risk of falling sick in a village or town given the near collapse of health infrastructure due to the rising COVID-19 cases?
Last month has seen a worrying surge in cases in rural areas of Rajasthan. Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Kota, Alwar and Bikaner are the worst hit districts in this western Indian state. The village chaupals, which witnessed elders recalling the harrowing tales of the devastating famine of 1856, now swear that this deadly virus is indeed a greater demon.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.