Charkha Feature English – 2022

Meet the Man Who Turned Disability into Ability

“He will be good for nothing without his arms. It is better that he dies otherwise who will take care of him?” was the reaction of Shreenarayan’s father when the doctors told him that his son’s arms will have to be amputated if he is to survive. Shreenarayan Yadav was just ten years old when he suffered an electric shock while trying to pull a wire from a tube well perhaps to water plants.

58th Year of Excellence

EXCELSIOR HOUSE is a diversified news and information group, which primarily indulges in newspaper publishing. The multifaceted and multi-product Group has an expertise of more than five decades in the field of information management.
Daily Excelsior — the flagship of the Group is the largest circulated English Daily of Jammu and Kashmir with circulation of nearly 3.75 lacs.

Powerful and fearless girls of uttar Pardesh

Tell us about yourself,” asked a group of adolescent girls sitting in a room in a remote village in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya (erstwhile Faizabad) district. “What do you want to know?” I usually expect a question about my age or marital status.

Teaching deserving children and opening windows for them

The Museum School provides quality education to underprivileged children in Bhopal. This is a story about how the school has brought change in the lives of the students and how it has today become a symbol of hope, offering space for underprivileged children to learn, explore, and prosper

Charkha Announces The Winners Of The SGMA 2022

Charkha Development Communication Network, a non-profit organization working towards the social and economic inclusion of disadvantaged rural communities through the creative use of media, announced the Sanjoy Ghose Media Awards 2022. This year, all the five awardees are women writers – Shefali Martin (Rajasthan), Seetu Tiwari (Bihar), Archana Kishore (New Delhi), Ruby Sarkar (Madhya Pradesh) and Rehana Kausar (Jammu and Kashmir)

Rajasthan’s rural life museum enchants visitors

The mention of tourism in Rajasthan conjures up images of grand palaces, carved doorways and ornate museums with gold-laced thrones, rich brocades and silver carriages. The image of western Rajasthan is of golden-hued sand dunes stretching up to the horizon. Promising to create a different but lasting third image is Arna Jharna: The Thar Desert Museum on the periphery of the vibrant desert 15 km from Jodhpur. Envisioned by the late folklorist Komal Kothari the museum is a celebration of the traditional knowledge systems of the desert and the life of the unsung villager. 

The man behind introducing guava cultivation in Paroo, Bihar

Successful experiments in farming have benefited the farmers across the world. Harinath Shah, a resident of Dharphari village in Paroo block in Muzaffarpur district in Bihar, has done one such experiment by introducing the cultivation of guava on sandy sand in his village. After working as a labourer in Kolkata for several years, he had to return to Bihar after the demise of his wife in 1990.

A Barefoot journey to lifelong live learning

An engineering class is underway. The 45 students are grandmothers from 10 different countries. None of them have formally studied science. In fact, most of them are semi-literate. Dressed in a ghaghra odhni, their rural instructor Magan Kanwar doesn’t speak any of their languages or even English. But their communication is perfect, as she instructs them on assembling

‘Couldn’t Watch My People Sleep on Empty Stomachs’: Teacher Feeds Over 2 Lakh Poor

One of the foremost challenges faced by the poorest of the poor in our country is poverty which leads to hunger. There are several organisations and individuals who, in their own small ways, are helping people fight hunger and malnutrition. One such group that has taken a unique initiative to address the issue calls itself the ‘Roti Bank’.

Beris – a neglected indigenous water harvesting system

World Water Week is currently being observed across the world. Started in 1991 as the Stockholm Water Symposium, it is celebrated to explore new ways of mitigating the challenges of water scarcity and a different theme is chosen every year with the objective to address global challenges such as poverty, food security, climate crisis, water scarcity and the loss of biodiversity among others.

Sanjoy Ghose Media Awards 2022

Charkha Development Communication Network announces Sanjoy Ghose Media Awards 2022. These jury-based awards aim to celebrate the work of people committed to a new perspective on the media’s role in empowering young girls and women from rural communities. These awards are inspired by Charkha’s founder, Sanjoy Ghose, who worked towards the social and economic inclusion of marginalized rural communities through the creative use of media. Started over two decades ago, these awards support a cadre of development communicators who may ultimately create the most influential models of sustainable change.

Uncertain future of RMSA Teachers in J&K

Several schemes have been implemented by the central government to promote quality education and increase enrolment rates in the country.One such scheme was Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) which has been recently absorbed under Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) (2018-2019). Originally, RMSA was launched across India in 2009. As the scheme commenced, many schools in Jammu and Kashmir began upgrading and issued the need for additional staff. According to a report, by 2014, 110 middle schools were upgraded to high schools and about 550 subject-specific teachers – 320 in Jammu Division and 230 in Kashmir Division, were recruited.

Sanjoy Ghose Media Awards 2022

Charkha Development Communication Network announces Sanjoy Ghose Media Awards 2022. These jury-based awards aim to celebrate the work of people committed to a new perspective on the media’s role in empowering young girls and women from rural communities. These awards are inspired by Charkha’s founder, Sanjoy Ghose, who worked towards the social and economic inclusion of marginalized rural communities through the creative use of media. Started over two decades ago, these awards support a cadre of development communicators who may ultimately create the most influential models of sustainable change.

Sanjoy Ghose Media Awards 2022

Charkha Development Communication Network announces Sanjoy Ghose Media Awards 2022. These jury-based awards aim to celebrate the work of people committed to a new perspective on the media’s role in empowering young girls and women from rural communities. These awards are inspired by Charkha’s founder, Sanjoy Ghose, who worked towards the social and economic inclusion of marginalized rural communities through

Sanjoy Ghose Media Awards 2022

Charkha Development Communication Network announces Sanjoy Ghose Media Awards 2022. These jury-based awards aim to celebrate the work of people committed to a new perspective on the media’s role in empowering young girls and women from rural communities. These awards are inspired by Charkha’s founder, Sanjoy Ghose, who worked towards the social and economic inclusion of marginalized rural communities

Growing mental health concerns among youth in Poonch

In 2013, 29-year-old Waseem Iqbal completed his graduation from Government Degree College in Poonch- a border district located approximately 230 kilometres from Jammu City in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. He then shifted to National Capital to pursue postgraduation in Geography from Jamia Milia Islamia. In 2019, he also cracked the National Eligibility Test (NET) in same subject.

The artistic identity of a marble town stands at the crossroad

The Jaipur-Ajmer highway bifurcates into two, with the road on the left leading to a 17th Century town, now called the Marble City, owing to the large-scale production and export of this elegant stone. As you go further on that road, on the left of a wide green signboard marking the entry to Kishangarh, is the picture of a bejeweled woman in Rajasthani attire. Her association with this town is way deeper than marble and goes back a few centuries.

Rajasthan folk artist breaks gender stereotype

A typical folk performance from Rajasthan took place at Jaipur’s Jawahar Kala Kendra, with musicians wearing colourful Rajasthani turbans playing various instruments – harmonium, khartal, bhapang, morchang, dafli and the likes. The classic vibe of a regular folk performance from the desert state

How Covid-19 Impacted Pregnant Women And ASHA Workers In Uttarakhand

In April 2021, during the second wave of Covid-19, a curfew was imposed in the state of Uttarakhand, just a month before Laxmi Devi, 26, delivered her first child. Laxmi, a resident of Pipaleth village in Narendra Nagar block in Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, was one among several new mothers in this hilly region, for whom availing maternity services

How Collectives Are Transforming The Lives Of Women Across India

On Sanjoy Ghose’s 25th death anniversary, Ashutosh Tosaria takes us through a microstory how collectives are transforming the lives of young girls and women across the country – an idea in which Sanjoy believed strongly. Two hours from Kolkata, a group of thirty young girls and women, all in the age group 16-22, had gathered in a village in Baruipur.

Connected by a thread Story of Arai Malikan village

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) has reached every nook and corner of the country enabling connectivity between some of the most far-flung, remote villages with cities. The existence of these roads is considered a mark of development and is believed to open more avenues

Sanjoy Ghose’s ideals enliven collectives

Two hours from Kolkata, a group of 30 young girls and women, all in the age group 16-22, had gathered in a village in Baruipur. They were told that the visitor from Bengaluru would like to understand their work as the leaders of girls’ collectives they manage in their villages. Language was a potential barrier in our communication, but none of them seemed worried. Two of the leaders spoke English and Hindi and decided to help me converse.

Collectively Stronger

Two hours from Kolkata, a group of thirty young girls and women, all in the age group 16-22, had gathered in a village in Baruipur. They were told that the visitor from Bengaluru would like to understand their work as the leaders of girls’ collectives they manage in their villages. Language was a potential barrier in our communication, but none of them seemed worried. Two of the leaders spoke English and Hindi and decided to help me converse.

Why Today’s youth are so depressed??

Feeling sad or moody sometimes is a part of life. Young people tend to feel sad and worried about life events such as exams, fights with family or friends, changing schools, or shifting home. Sometimes, the feelings of sadness go on for weeks or months and affect everyday life. If youngsters often feel miserable and find it difficult to get motivated, they may end up suffering from depression. As far as my personal opinion is concerned, unemployment is a big reason which is pushing youth into depression. We shouldn’t give so much stress to ourselves because of this factor. Due to this, we forget to live our daily lives. As a result, today’s youth are so disturbed that they don’t even have time for themselves. 

The artistic identity of a marble town

Miniature paintings, especially the Bani Thani portrait, are the hallmark of Kishangarh, but their beauty in details is being threatened by commercial art The Jaipur-Ajmer highway bifurcates into a road on the left that leads to a 17-century town, now called the Marble City, owing to the largescale production and export of this elegant stone. As you go further on that road, on the left of a wide green signboard, marking the entry to Kishangarh, is the picture of a bejeweled woman wearing Rajasthani attire. Her association with this town is way older and deeper than marble and goes back a few centuries.

Human vs wild: Kashmiris bear the brunt of deforestation

One day in July 2021, as Ghulam Nabi, 49, stepped out of his house to perform his ablutions before offering namaz, he was attacked by a full-grown bear. Ghulam—a resident of the remote Baila village in Mandi tehsil of Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district—sustained such serious injuries to his face and head that, even a year later, he has not fully recovered. “Soon after the injury, I was taken to the subdistrict hospital in Mandi and later transferred to SKIMS hospital in Srinagar.

From a shy housewife to an entrepreneur

I used to rarely step out of my house. Whenever an unfamiliar guest would visit our house, I would go away from the living room. I was hesitant in meeting new people and strike a conversation and very uncomfortable in approaching a new situation,” said Seema Jaiswal.

60-YO Helps 1000 Kashmiri Women Earn From Embroidery During Pandemic

The erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir has recorded the second-highest unemployment rate in the country at 46 per cent. The successive lockdowns and clampdowns in the last three years have given a severe blow to the private sector, soaring the unemployment rate. Amid these repeated inconveniences, many have been trying to revive and boost their economic status in their capacities. Coming up with business strategies that would sustain the most unstable situations has become the utmost priority for such people. One such individual is Zamruda Bano, from Kulgam district in Jammu and Kashmir, who has created a livelihood not only for herself but for others.

On or off stage, folk artiste Mamta plays her own tunes

A typical folk performance from Rajasthan is underway at Jaipur’s Jawahar Kala Kendra. There are musicians wearing colourful Rajasthani turbans playing various instruments – harmonium, khartal, bhapang, morchang, dafli and the like. There is this classic vibe of a regular folk performance from the desert state – colourful, rooted, melodious and soul-stirring. But, there is something different here.

An eco-friendly purifier helps tribal families get clean drinking water

Rajasthan is known for its erratic rains, scorching heat, dry wells and receding water table. Water scarcity in the region has made safe piped drinking water a distant reality for its inhabitants. Sirohi District, situated in a mountainous and rugged terrain, also has its share of water problems. The south and south-east parts of the district lie between Mount Abu, the only hill station in Rajasthan

Barefoot College :50 yrs of Empowerment

I always had a desire to study but my dreams were put on hold after I completed Class 3. Soon, household chores and family responsibilities took precedence in life and the quest for studies took a backseat. But when way back in 2003, I got the opportunity to revive my dreams albeit, in a different way, I made the most of the opportunity.

Unsuccessful attempt at visiting Rumbak village after GLOF last year

Last year, on August 22 outburst of an artificial lake near Rumbak region impacted the villages of Rumbak and Zingchen in the Union Territory of Ladakh. As per the authorities this flood was a result of “an outburst of a glacial lake formed on the peak of a mountain towards the upstream of village Rumbak.” There was reportage about this low-scale disaster in local newspapers and channels and some national news portals also reported the event.

Endless struggle to attain food security

With a population of 7,000, Chikri Ban village, which lies 10 km from Mandi block in the border district of Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir, suffers a boundless struggle to access subsidised food grains. Several factors, including long distance from the nearest Fair Price Shop (FPS), poor road connectivity, extreme weather conditions and absence of a proper transportation system, continue to prevent locals from claiming their benefits under the Public Distribution System (PDS).

Endless struggle to attain food security

With a population of 7,000, Chikri Ban village, which lies 10 kms from Mandi block in the border district of Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir, suffers a boundless struggle to access subsidised food grains. Several factors, including long distance from the nearest Fair Price Shop (FPS), poor road connectivity, extreme weather conditions and the absence of a proper transportation system, continue to prevent locals from claiming their benefits under the Public Distribution System (PDS).

Lack of Awareness On Menstrual Hygiene Among The Gujjar-Bakarwal Community

Last year, in collaboration with Sakriya Charitable Trust, a Bengaluru-based organisation, I organised an awareness camp on menstrual hygiene at Sawani High School in a remote area of Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir. Women and girls from the Gujjar-Bakarwal community were invited to the camp.

Where girls drop out of School

Girls belonging to low socio-economic backgrounds have to overcome several, multifaceted hurdles to attain education especially in rural areas. While many of these hurdles are universal, few are region-specific. Remoteness of a village is one of the biggest hindrances that young girls have to overcome to be able to claim their right to basic education.

Girls drop out of remote Poonch village school for lack of roads

Remoteness of a village is one of the biggest hindrances that young girls have to overcome to be able to claim their right to basic education. Chikri Ban village in Mandi block in the border district of Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir is one such place where young girls have been struggling hard to get educated.

How Covid-19 Impacted Pregnant Women And ASHA Workers In Uttarakhand

In April 2021, during the second wave of Covid-19, a curfew was imposed in the state of Uttarakhand, just a month before Laxmi Devi, 26, delivered her first child. Laxmi, a resident of Pipaleth village in Narendra Nagar block in Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand, was one among several new mothers in this hilly region for whom availing maternity services had become

Keeping Kalbeliya tradition beaded together

I grew up in Ganahera village on the outskirts of Pushkar city. From the time I can remember, I was very fond of dancing. I would break into a dance whenever I heard a song.  I always dreamt of becoming a famous dancer. I used to watch a couple of girls in our community and my mother and aunt dance. I was probably in class I when I became a child bride. He was much older.

The Kalbeliyas of Rajasthan

Most famous for their ‘snake charmer’ dance, the Kalbeliya tribes have another precious legacy they are desperate to preserve and earn a livelihood from – the unique bead jewellery that is part of their costume. Tiny, shiny colourful beads strung together into exquisite jewellery. You are mistaken if you thought only women wear ornaments made of these beads.

Unfulfilled dreams of physically disabled people in Mandi, Poonch

Late Fatima Begum died waiting for her a house of her own. When she was alive, Fatima, who was physically disabled, lived in a dilapidated room in Sawajian panchayat in Mandi block in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir without any state assistance. Although she had some support when her husband was alive

Lives that Matter

Recently deceased Fatima Begum, had to spend a life full of miseries while she was alive. A resident of Sawajian panchayat in Mandi block in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, this physically disabled woman spent years in a dilapidated room without any support. As long as her husband was alive, she could receive some assistance, but when he passed away in 2017, she was left to fend for herself. She struggled to make ends meet as she received no benefit from schemes meant for people with disabilities.

How Women Are Changing The Course Of Bihar Politics

Last year, the Panchayat elections in Bihar witnessed an increasing number of women contesting the elections. Altogether, the voting for the Panchayat election took place in 11 phases. While the first phase began on September 24th, 2021, the last phase was held on December 12th, 2021. As per a report, according to the commission, five to ten percent more women than men participated

A laudable initiative to end discrimination against the girl child

Ratanpur, a village in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar, recently saw the planting of a fresh gooseberry sapling (amla), named as Sonam in front of a small dwelling. For the first time in the village, something was dedicated in the name of a girl child. It is not unknown that boys are given preferences in every aspect of their upbringing, be it education, food

The Increasing Human-Wildlife Conflict in Poonch

A year ago, forty-nine-year old Ghulam Nabi, as a routine, stepped out of his house to perform ablution before offering Namaz (prayer). As soon as he started walking away from his house, he was attacked by a full-grown bear. A resident of Baila village in Mandi tehsil of Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir, Ghulam received critical injuries on his face and head and is yet to recover fully.

Living without a shelter

Ulfat Bi, a sexagenarian, is a resident of Mankote tehsil in the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir. In 2019, she had applied for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). Her neighbour, Mohammed Shakeel had assisted her in submitting the required documents to reap the benefits of this scheme, but three years later, the status of the application remains unchanged.

21-year old with sign boards on Ladakh streets is helping change how residents manage waste

The Union Territory of Ladakh, with its exponential rise in tourist footfall, is grappling with the problem of waste disposal. The locals, on the other hand, get rid of their garbage by burning it. The waste produced inside their houses goes into the ‘bukhari’ or heater, also known as the ‘thab’ in the colloquial Ladakhi language. The garbage that builds up outside the house is usually burned in the open fields.

Bihar’s Weavers Are Still Reeling Under The Impact Of Covid-19

Priyanka Devi and her family from Rampur village in Gaya district of Bihar have been weaving blankets from sheep wool for several generations now. The Covid-19 outbreak and its subsequent lockdown, however, has made it difficult to sustain this age-old occupation. “Due to lockdown, we had a hard time selling our blankets.

Rural Women from Jharkhand Benefit Through Lemon Grass Cultivation

Rural women from nondescript villages in Jharkhand’s Dumka district are treading on a new, self-reliant path by growing lemongrass along with traditional crops like wheat, paddy, pulses and oilseed. As part of a project called Jharkhand Opportunities for Harnessing Rural Growth (JOHAR) implemented by the Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS)

Life in the Human- Wildlife Conflict Zone

In July 2021, Ghulam Nabi, 49, like any other day, went out of his house to perform ablution before offering Namaz (prayer). As he moved a few steps, a full-grown bear attacked him. Ghulam, a resident of the remote Baila village in Mandi tehsil of Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir, received such serious injuries to his face and head that even a year later, he has not fully recovered.

21-YO With Sign Boards on Ladakh Streets Is Helping Change How Residents Manage Waste

The Union Territory of Ladakh, with its exponential rise in tourist footfall, is grappling with the problem of waste disposal. The locals, on the other hand, get rid of their garbage by burning it. The waste produced inside their houses goes into the ‘bukhari’ or heater, also known as the ‘thab’ in the colloquial Ladakhi language.

No Treatment for Rural Poor — A Tale of J&K’s Kishtwari Rural Areas

The lack of proper healthcare infrastructure – centres, doctors and paramedical staff in several remote villages in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir has made lives of residents of this hilly region difficult. Left with no option, they are forced to travel 200-250 km all the way to Jammu, even for basic treatment.

Silence of the looms

Priyanka Devi and her family — from Rampur village in Gaya district of Bihar — have been weaving blankets from sheep wool for several generations. The Covid-19 outbreak and its subsequent lockdown, however, has made it difficult to sustain this age-old occupation.

Lemongrass proves an income-booster for rural women

As part of a project called Jharkhand Opportunities for Harnessing Rural Growth (JOHAR) implemented by the Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS), women from four blocks – Dumka, Shikaripara, Masalia and Ramgarh – are being encouraged to cultivate medicinal plants. In these locks, 1200 elderly women are cultivating lemongrass as their primary source of income.

Long way home

In 2019, Ulfat Bi, a resident of Mankote tehsil in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, applied for the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY). Earlier known as Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY), it was revamped as Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) with effect from 2016-2017

Ajmer Girls are Rewriting the Rules of Patriarchy through Football

A group of adolescent girls from rural Rajasthan are moving the goalposts against patriarchy. In our world, where dreams and aspirations of young girls are often limited due to absence of resources, this group of girls has come together to fight the system and create

Lack of Awareness on Menstrual Hygiene among Gujjar-Bakarwal Community

Last year, in collaboration with Sakriya Charitable Trust, a Bengaluru-based organisation, I organised an awareness camp on menstrual hygiene at Sawani High School in a remote area of Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir.

A hospital too far

The lack of proper healthcare infrastructure — centres, doctors and paramedical staff — in several remote villages in the Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir has made the lives of residents of this hilly region difficult. Left with no option, they are forced to travel 200-250  km

Lacking Awareness on Menstrual Hygiene

Last year, in collaboration with Sakriya Charitable Trust, a Bengaluru-based organisation, I organised an awareness camp on menstrual hygiene at Sawani High School in a remote area of Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir.

Rewriting the Rules of Patriarchy Through Football

group of adolescent girls from rural Rajasthan are moving the goalposts against patriarchy. In our world, where the dreams and aspirations of young girls are often limited, these girls fight the system together, creating a space for their goals. Even with opportunities

Politics of Gender

Last year, the panchayat elections in Bihar witnessed an increase in the number of women contesting the elections. The voting for the panchayat election took place in 11 phases. While the first phase began on September 24, the last one was held on December 12. As per a report

Airwaves To The Rescue

“Who on Earth will marry you and how are we going to arrange for a groom for you? This is what I hear all the time from my parents and relatives,” said Madhu (name changed). Madhu is from a village in backward Mewat region of Haryana and is constantly taunted, harassed and discriminated

Take a Pause – Plan for Sustainable Tourism

Poonch, the border district of Jammu and Kashmir, is slowly gaining popularity as a tourist destination. Known to some for its pristine beauty, this place is endowed with natural resources. The tourism department has been continuously promoting several

Factors behind decreasing fertility rate in Jammu and Kashmir

Ruqaya Jan, a resident of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district, had married when she was thirty-six. In India, where girls are forced to marry as a child, Ruqaya’s decision to focus on her career was a tough one. With less opportunities in the valley, she had to migrate to Delhi.

Infertility on the rise

Ruqaya Jan, a resident of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district, had married when she was thirty-six. In India, where girls are forced to marry as a child, Ruqaya’s decision to focus on her career was a tough one. With less opportunities in the valley, she had to migrate to Delhi.