Friday, July 20, 2018


Training On Organic Farming:
A two day training on Organic Farming was held at Ghatsila area on 8th and 9th April, 2018. The programme started with registration of participants who were invited from among the

working villages of Swadhina of East Singbhum, Jharkhand. The participant arrived at the venue at 9 a.m. Introducing the programme of the workshop Ms. Saswati Roy, Secretary of
Swadhina explained that this training is a very important one because of it is very crucial for all of us to safeguard ourselves and as well as our earth. Organic farming at one hand save our health in the sense it can provide us with chemical free vegetables and fruits. On the other hand it saves the health of the earth from the pollution which happens due to over use of chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides.

Thereafter, Ms. Smriti Sarkar conducted an interesting session on Organic Farming using the Training Booklet named “Jaiba Chaas” prepared specially for training on the subject. She explained that Organic Farming helped all lives present on earth – human, animals, birds, and fish, by way of providing them with required safe food and nutrition. Moreover it helps preservation of ecological balance, sustain healthy environment and repair the damage already caused by the so called modern forms of hybrid chemical based farming.

Ms. Rina Acharjee, the next facilitator expained on “compost fertilizers. Explaining her personal experience on this she said Swadhina had earlier helped villagers to make a large number of compost pits in Patamdah rural area in the East Singbhum district. This can easily be replicated in this area, she added. Explaining the technical details she said it should be ideally 3 feet long, 3 feet broad and 3 feed deep pit. All available waste like dry leaves, hay, paddy husk, cow dung, chicken or duck droppings and, anything that is naturally available. It should then be covered with lose soil, after adding a little water just to make it moist.

Hereafter there was a lively session on the question raised by the ERM team “what are the organic fertilizers the Swadhia using at present ?”. Yeshoda Mardi, one the village participant and also who herself maintain an kitchen garden explained various types of fertilizers. She was one of the 6 participants who attended Organic Farming training held in Tirupati. Some of the fertilizers were using: “Rotten Fruit and jaggery”, “Fermented Rice”, “Egg Shells”, “Rotten Fish”. For pesticides, simple things like neem leaves, tobacco leaves, common village oven ash etc.

Ms. Sreemoyee Bhattacharya, ERM made a very interesting power point presentation on organic fertilizers and pesticides and the immense benefits we get through them.

There was a very informative discussion on Green Revolution which was fostered in India a few decades ago. No doubt it helped producing high quantity of food grains in the country, and, it also provided great profit for the farmers. But the irony is that it also made long range damage to the soil due to heavy usage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

The second day session was held on May 9, 2018, at the Benasole village, a few kilometer away from Ghatsila. The session started with a small ceremony as this was the birth anniversary of poet and nobel laurette Rabindranath, and the participants sang together the poet’s song “ Aguner Parashmoni”.

Sri Laduram Mahato who was supervising earlier the Kitchen Garden programme of Swadhina in the area explained the formation of the garden. He explained that there is a need for
maintaining a specific area for the garden. The recommended size is 24’x14’. Each bed should be 4’ broad. There should be 2’ passage in both the sides and  middle. It is suggested that there should be bamboo made fence all round, and, discarded fish-net is available in the market for nominal cost. This net can be used for covering to prevent small chiken harming the saplings. Soil should be made very lose and “Rotten Fruit Fertilizer’ with half cup : one large bucket  ratio can by sprinkled with hand, a week before sowing the seeds. The idea of kitchen garden is to have many varieties of vegetables – the idea is not quantifying the yield. But to have limited number of plants of many varieties so that there is regular vegetables in the kitchen for all in the family ! A few marigold can be planted on the sides which will prevent insects and pests. Neem water can be sprinkled from time to time to prevent the invasion of insects and pests.

Each participant was given a small seed packet as a token of involvement.

The training came to end with the participants singing together a social song.

The participants were : Yeshoda Mardi, Lalita Purty, Sarth Soy, Kapura Tudu, Saraswati
Mardi, Dipika Soren, Champa Murmu, Sunita Murmu, Jamuna Soren, Bali Soren (Benasole),  Soma Karmakar, Sabia Sundi, Mari Bari (Fouzi) Karmi Kisku, Sulekha Kisku (Kadamdih)
Papia Sharma (Latia) Madhumita Sarkar (Mosaboni) Supriti Murmu (Burudih), Rina Acharjee (Purulia), Laduram Mahato (Hurumbil), Saswati Roy (Ghatsila), Smriti Sarkar (Kolkata), Sonia Bhattacharya, Sreemoyee Bhattacharya, Soumi Ghose (ERM)

Friday, July 13, 2018

(Mosaboni District) , East Singbhum Jharkhand

children are happy to receive the pack of new school uniform
Sohda is an area nestled among the hillocks. The people of this area are mostly tribals working as labourers in the nearby mines. Some also work as agricultural labourers or forest gatherers. A large number of the population belong to the tribal community. Though there are primary schools in the vicinity, a kindergarten school is unheard of. And moreso, the people can hardly think of affording a good pre-primary school for their little children.

Beginning of a dream
With support from Garcha Anirban Foundation, Swadhina ventured on a dream project - to help the children of the area be a part of good education system. It began with discussion with the local women. They showed a lot of enthusiasm and interest. The local Panachayat Mukhiya, Sukurmoni Hembrom, promised every
Panchayat Mukhiya Sukurmoni Hembrom inaugurating
cooperation and help. Announcement leaflets were printed and distributed in the area . Young people of the area were scrutined for the role of teacher. Application forms were also distributed among those who were interested in emrolling their children.One by one, mothers came in to enroll their children.

On the other side, books were bought, uniforms were purchased and other necessary preparations were made by the Kolkata office team of Swadhina. All these could take place due to funding support from Garcha Anirban Foundation.

Fianlly, Good Hope School supported by Garcha Anirban Foundation began to function.

Formal Inauguration: 
The formal inauguration took place on 27th of May 2018. It was attended by 26 adults and 21 children. After a small inaugural speech by Swadhina Secretary Saswati Roy and encouragement talks by Swadhina President Smriti Sarkar and Vice President Rina Acharjee, the parents were handed over the books and uniforms. Children were given toffees. They were introduced to their teacher, Mr.Bhavesh Mahato.

Student Profile:
Altogether 36 children have been enrolled in the school. There are 17 girls and 18 boys. 26 of the children belong to extremely backward Tribal families. The parents mostly work in the adjoining Mosaboni mines in various capacities or are small time farmers.

Teacher Profile: 
Bhabesh Mahato is a young man from the locality who is chosen as the teacher. He is a graduate in Science. Madhumita Sarkar - a member of Swadhina's committee is chosen to be the supervisor for school related activities.


1. Om Lohar                             19. Mahi Murumu
2. Janaki Banra                          20. Mahesh Karmakar
3. Janho Kalandia                      21. Vishnu Karmakar
4. Dasmati Banra                       22. Rahul Tudu
5. Baya Banra                            23. Khusi Banra
6. Supriya Hembrom                  24.Sarthi Mann
7. Bijay Banra                            25. Echa Mann
8. Bablu Banra                           26. Sukmoni Gagrai
9. Darpan Karwa                       27. Sawan Purty
10. Somoy Banra                       28. Malti Tudu
11. Sukhmoti Banra                    29. Krishna Tudu
12. Birsha Purty                          30. Dasma Hembrom
13. Monika Banra                       31. Ghanshyam Banra
14. Nelson Banra                        32. Rajlakshmi Mann
15. Sukurmoni Banra                   33. Aman Soy
16. Muliya Banra                         34. Rakesh Majhi
17. Dibru Banra                           35. Khushi Majhi
18. Nara Banra                            36. Ramo Hansda
                          37. Sawan Baskey

Monday, June 18, 2018

Swadhina-ERM Project Initiation Meet

Project Initiation Meet
A one day meet of Project Initiation of ERM projects for Swadhina was held at Ghatsila on May 7, 2018. Ghatsila is a little rural town near Jamshedpur in East Singbhum District  in the Jharkhand State. ERM staff, Swadhina Staff and key village leaders from the Swadhina working area of the project were present for the event. The participants gathered sang together a Tagore Song  “Aguner Parashmoni” (let light shine on our ways) to begin the meet. Thereafter the participants self introduced themselves. On behalf of ERM  Ms. Sreemoyee Bhattacharya, Ms. Sonia Bhattacharya and Ms. Soumy Ghose were presented. Swadhina was represented by Ms. Smriti Sarkar and Ms. Saswati Roy. Swadhina project workers present were Papia Sharma, Madhumita Sarkar,

Ms. Saswati welcomed the participants. The village participants interacted on the activities and impact of  Swadhina Activities taken up so far in the area.

Following pointers emerged while discussing the issues –
 1.     There was a Animal Rearing Training. As a follow-up of the training many started rearing goats and pigs with matching grant from Swadhina. This gave them specific income generation support for the family.

2.     Participants also could get hands on training on  animal health and treatment. This helped them in reducing the death rate of animals through vaccination programme. It has also helped them avoiding financial loss, because of loss of animal resources.
 3.     Organic Farming training could give them knowledge about environment and health hazards due to over use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

4.     Organic Farming training could give them hands on know-how on making of natural organic fertilizers – like rotten fruits, stale cooked rice, jaggery etc

5.     Many have already started Kitchen Garden which helped the families financial savings on vegetables purchase, as they do not buy vegetables from outside market. Also it helped in nutritional support in the family.

A very lively discussion followed upon the talk by ERM staff members present . Here are gists:

The issues that the ERM-Swadhina project wish to address should have a commercial implication for the villagers – they must be able to accrue some financial benefits out of the activitiy.
  For example:                                                                                                                                             
- how to market the kitchen garden produce in a commercial viable manner
- how to make the sale of compost and other organic fertilizers and pesticides
- how to raise plant nurseries in the kitchen garden and sale the plants.

There was a good discussion on Measuring the Success of the Project. The pointers came to the fore were:

- By the end of the project, around March 2019 , an impact study need to be conducted, to measure and monitor overall progress of the project components.

- Among the respondents at least 75% should the direct beneficiaries .

- The progress should be monitored in terms of percentage of usage, for instance at least 85% should use the smoke-less chullah, to term it a fully successful initiative.

- For selection of beneficiaries, at least 75% of the women members should agree on the need assessment

- Similarly for training, at least 75% of the trained persons should be able reap the follow-up benefits i.e. kitchen garden for those who already received organic farming training.

There was a very free and detailed discussion with the ERM staff on the entire project and future project perspective with the village leaders and Swadhina local staff and volunteers present on issues like Reporting, Quarterly Financial Returns, Time Table, E-Mail updates etc.

The programme ended with the Swadhina theme Song “Manush To Ek Din Jagbei “ (People with arise and awake, there will be all round development if we work hand in hand)



Thursday, April 12, 2018


World Health Day 2018
World Health Organisation had declared April 7th to be the World Health Day, about seven decades ago. And from then on the day is observed the world over with focus on health issues, challenges and triumphs.

Swadhina observed the day with the women residing in some of the remotest regions of Jharkhand. The observance included two segments – an Orientation on Women’s Health for Women leaders from different rural regions and tribes and a Health Check-up Camp for Women.

On the World Health Day, 7th of April 2018, the health orientation took place at Indian Delight Hotel at Ghatsila (East Singbhum District of Jharkhand) and was attended by 30 women leaders from the remote forest villages of Kadamdih, Amainagar, Benasole, Fauji Basti, Dungridih, Latia and Sohda, which are located around Ghatsila. The women represented different tribal communities like Santhal, Munda, Ho, Oraon and Mahali. The orientation was conducted by renowned retired doctors from Calcutta medical College – Dr.Mrs. Sreelekha Karmakar and Dr.Dilip Karmakar.

The programme started with Tagore’s song “Aguner parasmoni” sung by all the participants. 

This event was sponsored by NAVA – Networking Alliance for Voluntary Actions, and on behalf of the organisation Diptendu Mukherji, Director shared the objectives of the programme.    He said that women’s health related issues are extremely important and these need be tackled in the rural areas with urgent attention. He said that this year a series of Orientation on Women’s Health are being planned to be sponsored by NAVA which will be organized by Swadhina in rural areas of Jharkhand, Orissa and Bengal.

Ms Smriti Sarkar welcomed the participants as well as the facilitators Dr Sreelekha Karmakar and Dr Dilip Karmakar who traveled to the Ghatsila from Kolkata. She said, as women’s health issues are not given importance in the family, most of the women and adolescent girls cannot express their problems to others members of the family.  To address this issue Swadhina plans to organize this kind of health orientation programmes. 

It was perhaps for the first time that different tribal communities were having a one to one discussion on health and medical issues related to women. Apart from the learning process, it was also an eye-opener where the women came forward to discuss different gynecological issues which are normally never brought forward within the family or society. Dr. Sreelekha explained in detail the different causes and effects of gynecological issues. Present at the venue was an experienced nurse from Chittaranjan Hospital of Calcutta, Ms. Chaitali Mandal. From her life-experiences, she too shared different aspects of women’s health.

Dr Sreelekha Karmakar discussed about Reproductive and Child Health.  During pregnancy women face many problems which never taken care by the family members.
During pregnancy nutritious food should be taken by the pregnant mother and she should visit a doctor or hospital to register her name and take TT vaccine for both mother and the child, iron tablets and calcium also to be taken by the mother.  If the pregnant mother feels that her legs are getting swollen she should consult to a doctor.  
A participant who is seven months pregnant was feeling uneasy and was examined by Dr. Karmakar. This was a live demonstration to the participating women. 

Next discussion was on Breast cancer.  At present many of the women suffer from breast cancer.  Due to lack of awareness women feel shy to discuss this issue with others.  Dr Karmakar discussed about this issue in details.  She also advised that if any one feels such lump or tumor in her breast she must share it to her family members and consult a doctor immediately. After this discussion she also discussed about AIDS.  How HIV-AIDS spreads, what are the symptoms and what measures to be taken to prevent. 
She also discussed about menstrual health and hygiene.

The programme concluded with some suggestions given by the doctors.  After the programme all the participants joined a fellowship lunch.

Health Check up Camp
On 8th April, 2018 a health check up camp was organized by Swadhina at the Community Hall of Benasole Panchayat of Jharkhand.  Dr. Sreelekha Karmakar and Dr Dilip Karmakar from Kolkata examined the health of 40 women and children who attended the camp from adjacent villages namely Benasole, Fauji Basti, Kadamdih, Amainagar and Sohda. 

Here blood pressure of the participants was measured by the doctors. Besides diseases like cough and cold, skin problems also examined and prescribed medicines for remedial measure advised.  It was noticed that most of the aged women suffer from blood pressure problem, weakness, giddiness, waist pain, arthritis, eye problem etc. Dr Sreelekha prescribed medicines for them and also advised them to visit any Govt. hospital for further follow up or regular treatment. Dr suggested taking plenty of green vegetables, pulses and other natural low cost nutritious food, which are easily available and accessible in the villages.  Dr. Sreelekha also advised pregnant mothers to take iron tablets regularly.  She said women should keep her healthy because a family’s good health depends on a house mother or a house wife.  She has to take care of all the family members.

As a follow up activity it was planned that Swadhina volunteers Yeshoda Mardi and Papiya Sharma will visit these villages on weekly basis with blood pressure measuring instrument and report to the organization.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Swadhina Women's Day Observed in remote vilages



This year’s theme of the UN on Women’s Day was very much dear to the heart of Swadhina : “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”.

This year, International Women’s Day comes on the heels of unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. Sexual harassment, violence and discrimination against women has captured headlines and became the prime issue of public discourse, propelled by a rising determination for change. People around the world are mobilizing for a future that is more equal.

Swadhina Team very decisively planned to have this year’s events organised in various rural areas of our working area.

Hence 4 such programmes were held at
Benasol Village Panchayat Bhavan, near Mosaboni in Jharkhand State          
Ghatsila Little Angel School Hall in East Singbhum in Jharkhand State
Bhuruduboni Village Primary Schol Hall in Mayurbhanj in Orissa state
Laka Village Loyola School Hall in Barabazar, Purulia in West Bengal State
Here are narrative reports of the events based on notes shared by our team mates attending them.

Benasole:East Singbhum, Jharkhand
Benasol  is a tribal village amidst forest. This is a copper mine area, though most of the mines are now inoperative. Our programme was to start at 9 in the morning. We camped at Ghatsila, a place about 10 kilometres away from the village. We finally got an auto- rickshaw (a small motorised 3-wheeler) which was small for our team of 5 and along with the large bags containing banners, posters, hand mike it was indeed an adventure-ride ! It was a slow moving vehicle and by the time we reached the venue it was already well past 8 a.m. The venue was local Panchayat Community Hall.  We were seated  in a large circle.

The event started with a welcome address by Ms. Smriti Sarkar who is the Chairperson of Swadhina. We already carried with us Hindi handout on the theme of this year’s Women's Day.  Ms.Yeshoda Mardi  a local tribal leader did the interpretation of this simultaneously into local tribal language that is Santhali. Thereafter  it was a time to rejoice. Many women came forward to sing traditional songs in their own tribal language i.e. Santhali, Mundari,  Ho, Oraon and  it was also time to plan out the various ways by which women's lives can be transformed and empowered. The pointers found were -  Women's Education,  Social Awareness,  Health - especially of  Mother and
Child , Animal Care - especially domestic animals since they form the part of income generation in this area and Kitchen Vegetable Gardens,   which can not only give them a supplement income but also can boost the nutritional need of the family. There was a small Felicitation function to honour Ms. Sarathi Soy – a tribal mother. Even though she is not educated she had struggled hard to see that her two girl children get proper education. She was given a small token gift. This gave encouragement to all present to promote child education for the girl child. It was then resolved to open an education support centre for girls willing to go for hire high school studies. At the end of the event,  each participant was gifted two packets of vegetable seeds- a symbolic gesture so that they can go back home and sow the seeds of hope ! The program concluded with all the participants holding hands and singing together  We Shall Overcome in hindi language. All the participants shared the snacks packets distributed at the conclusion. 32 participants attended held on 8th March 2018.

Ghatsila, East Singbhum, Jharkhand
International Women’s Day was observed at Little Angels School, Ghatsila at 3.00pm on 8th March.  33 teachers, social worker, students and Swadhina workers participated in the programme. Saswati Roy welcomed the participants.  The programme started with a Tagore song “Aguner Parasmoni”.  Rina Sircar explained the significance of the observation of International Women’s Day.  After her talk many of the participants exposed their talents in different field of art and culture like singing songs, dance performance, reciting own poem etc. and it was like a celebration - of liberation, empowerment.  At the end of the day all joined together in singing the Swadhina theme song- ‘manush to ekdin jagbei jagbei’ (people will arise and awake)  The meet ended with sharing snack packets distributed among the participants .

Laka Village, Borabazar, Purulia District, West Bengal
On the occasion of International Women’s Day a programme was organized by Swadhina at Laka village of West Bengal.  100 women and men participated in this programme.  Swadhina is working in this area since last several years towards women’s empowerment through events like observation of  Environment Day, Children’s Day, Literacy day, organising different training like animal rearing, vaccination, kitchen Gardening etc. Recently Swadhina organized a Health and Nutrition training and participants of today’s programme were also present in that programme.  Swadhina also very recently organized an Environment Festival named Basundhara Mela at Taladih village.  Many local women participated this festival through them we created awareness on environment protection.  For animal rearing we arranged goats for 40 women.  The 50% of the cost of goat  was provided by Swadhina and the rest given by the beneficiaries. Same was also done for the pig rearing programme.  Till date Swadhina provided pigs for 9 families. In near future many more families would be benefitted from this programme.

The programme organizer Ms Rina Acharya presented a talk on the significance of the day.  Quiz, songs in tribal language, recitation, group dance - all their performance made the day very eventful and enjoyable to the participating women. 
After the closing of Women’s Day programme 12 women from very needy families were provided 5 eggs for hatching for duck rearing activities.  From this they would be able to get Khaki Kambel ducklings from those eggs. 
 The programme concluded with the Swadhina song “manush to ekdin jagbei, jagbei” by all the participants and a snacks packet was given to all participants.

Bhurudubani, Mayurbhanj, Orissa
Like every year,  this year too International Women’s Day was observed by Swadhina, Orissa.unit.  This was organized at Vurudoboni primary School a remote area of  Orissa. 

49 women and a few men participated in the same.  The programme started with a rally from Vurudoboni junction road to parimary school at 2.00pm. Ms Nirmala Sahu inaugurated the programme with a folk
song.  After that she explained the significance of the day.  Local ICDS worker Heera Tudu spoke on wormen’s right in Santhali language.  Social worker Monorama Tudu shared her experience of how the local women could enhance their income by self-helf group. Mukhiya Fudu Majhi and Ram Majhi spoke on women’s rights and they also said that the women must be aware about their rights. 

Rashmi Rekha Majhi said that till date women are bound by illiteracy and superstitions and other social norms.  We have to break these barriers and women have to take initiative to
stand against these social evils.  Some of the participants sang song in odia language. To make the programme meaningful from Swadhina two women were felicitated with a wall clock each for their contribution towards educating their girl children . Even though they are working as day labour having very meagre income, still they continued their daughters’ higher studies and upbringing their children. The programme concluded with  a tiffin packet distributed among the participants.

documentation : 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

                    अंतराष्ट्रीय महिला दिवस 2018 : स्वाधीना

आज तो हर एक को पता है कि 8 मार्च अंतराष्ट्रीय महिला दिवस है. येह दिन हम सबके के लिए बहुत ही महत्वपूर्ण है. इस अवसर पर हम महिलाओ की सफलता तथा संघर्ष के बारे मे बात करते है. हर साल सन्युक्त राष्ट्र्पुंज इस अवसर पर एक विषय चुनते है और उसी पर चर्चा किया जाता है, विभिन्न कार्य्क्रम रक्खे जाते है. इस साल उन्होने जो विषय चुना है, वह है:

समय है अब: समाजसेविओ कि प्रयास से बदलती नारी-समाज गांव हो या शहर, नारी समाज मे बदलाव दिखाई दे रही है. शिक्षा हो या कृषि-क्षेत्र, अंतरिक्ष हो या खेल का मैदान – हर क्षेत्र मे महिलाए आगे बढ रही है. चाहे गांव हो या शहर, सशक्तिकरण की दिया जल रही है. और इस बदलाव मे समाजसेविओ कि प्रयास सराहनीय है. समाज के रुढीवादी सोच की सामना डट्कर करने वाले इन समाज सेविओ को अलग, अलग अग्निपरीक्षा से गुज़रना पडता है. फिरभी वे समाज को बदलने की प्रयास से पीछे नही हठते. ऐसी भी परिस्थिति होती है जहाँ महिला समाजसेविओ के चरित्र पर भी उंगली उठाई जाती है – उन पर सामाजिक नियमो को तोड्ने की आरोप लगती है. पर वे अपने लक्ष्य मे स्थिर रेहते है.

आज दिन है उन समाज के साथियो के प्रयास को और भी आगे बढाने की. 8 मार्च अंतराष्ट्रीय महिला दिवस कि प्रतिज्ञा यही है. स्वाधीना खास कर आभारी है उन महिला साथियो कि जिन्होने दूसरी महिलाओ को आगे बढ्ने मे मदद की है. उन्ही के कारण परिवर्तन की दिया जल उठी है.

लेकिन उनके काम को सराह्ने के साथ साथ यह जानना भी ज़रूरी है कि किन, किन प्रक्रिया द्वारा वे यह कोशिश करते है.

- महिलाओ की आर्थिक स्थिति मे सुधार – निजी नाम पर बैंक अकाउंट द्वारा, निजी नाम पर बीमा द्वारा, स्वरोज़गार द्वारा.
- महिलाओ की सामाजिक सुरक्षा का प्रबंध- घरेलू हिंसा के खिलाफ समाज-चेतना बढाना, शादी की पंजिकरण, ज़मीन और समपत्ति पर समान अधिकार कायम करना.
- महिलाओ की स्वास्थ्य और पौष्टिक सुरक्षा – समय-समय पर स्वास्थ्य- जांच, गर्भकालीन सुरक्षा, पौष्टिक खान-पान, घरेलू बगीचा द्वारा पारिवारिक पौष्टिक खान-पान मे बढौती.
- महिलाओ की शिक्षा द्वारा सस्कतिकरण – बेटोयो को आगे पढ्ने और बढने का समान मौका, महिलाओ मे प्रयोग-शिक्षा मे बढौती, साक्षरता मे बढौती.
हालांकि यह कार्य सुनने मे तो बडे आसान लगते है. पर समाज मे इनका प्रयोग करना बडा ही कठिन है. और यही कठिन काम, वे बडे दृढता से करते आ रहे है. इस नारी दिवस पर् हमे यह प्रतिज्ञा करनी चाहिये कि हम सब इसी प्रयास मे शामिल होंगे और उनकी मदद करेंगे ताकि नारी सशक्तिकरण पुर्ण रूप से सम्भव हो.

Monday, March 12, 2018


Vasundhara Mela : Earth Festival
This is a unique festival organised regularly by Swadhina – a civil society organisation for women, for the past several years now. This is unique in many count. This event is organised by women of

When I reached Purulia bus stand it was a bit dark- quite early in the morning. The bus towards my destination was to start in half an hour, I was told. I located the bus and boarded, occupied a window seat. My destination was Sindri about 50 kilometres away. The bus goes through many rural forest areas and quite time consuming.

 After about two hours I reached Sindri.  I called my co-worker in Taladih village over my cell-phone, and,  after a few a attempts could converse with him. I was told to wait at the Tapan Motorcycle Repair shop. It was a small place and was easy to locate the shop. Here the mechanic named Tapan was a nice person, offered me a cup of tea and asked me to wait. He also assured that , in case needed,  he could drop me at the Taladih village, about 12 kilometres away. 
In about 20 minutes time a motorcycle reached the shop and the rider took me to the Taladih village. This is the venue of the Vasundhara Mela – Earth Festival. The theme was the Relationship between Women and Mother Nature – including the role of women in agriculture. The programme was organised as a part of the women & children development progject riun there supported by TWA/EPO. The place indeed wore a festive look. There were rows of stalls. Stalls exhibiting various vegetables provided by the mother-earth, crops, lentils, spices, household implements, traditional musical instruments made of natural materials – not plastics and synthetics, and so on.

There was a photo exhibition on various birds and animals – including the extinct ones. The pictures of dinosaur and dodo bird drew many visitors ! There was a good photo exhibition on dresses of India show- casing the vibrant colours of dresses of various states of India – once again stressing that despite our varied culture we are One. The photo exhibition on fruits and vegetables was also a good crowd puller.

 The central attraction was a Respect Tree event. This was a symbolic function to show our respect to
mother nature wherein a tree is decorated nicely and women and children go around it chanting song praising tree and nature. They also place incense sticks and candles under the tree.

Then there was a competition among women on traditional rituals like “blowing conch shells” , “drawing welcome decoration on the ground” (alpana/rongoli/kollam).

There were competitions like “quiz on agriculture”, “instant talk on a social issue”. Of course, this being a tribal village, group songs and group dance were a natural feature. There were also exhibits on women’s contribution to agriculture, women and environment.

Then there were discussion on social issues affecting our mother earth like “cause and effect of drought, floods, deforestation etc,” for which I led the discussions. Laduram Mahato, our village vet took sessions on animal care and vaccination.

In all it was a three day of festivity, fun, learn and paying respect to our mother nature – Vasundhara. The dates were 26,27 and 28 January, 2018. - Rina Acharjee