Newsletter from Jagriti Vihara February 2015

Dear friends,
We are glad to inform you that our project »Grassroot Democracy among Adivasi women in Jharkhand« has been progressing in accordance with our plan. The women whose activities have been confined to a few remote villages have started showing interest in the plight of the women living in the villages of the other districts of our region. They frequently asked about the functioning of the Panchayats (village council) having women as their elected heads.
   In the beginning the women who were very shy and silent listeners have started very relevant questions. They want to know how women can influence the male dominated society. Some of the women who can read and write want our suggestions regarding choosing the right political parties whom they could vote for during the elections of Legislative Assembly of the state.
   When the core group of Jagriti Vihara participates in the meetings of the villagers a few women want to know why the panchayats in Jharkhand have not been given the power as mentioned in the panchayat raj Act.
   Another question that women have asked frequently is regarding the increasing violence against women. Certain young women want to know the reason why the groups of shameless and cruel men rape women.
   Seriously speaking it has been very difficult for us to answer these questions during the short periods of the meetings. Anyway, Jagriti Vihara makes efforts to go deeply into the questions and try to look at the problem from different angles. We feel that we have to find ways and means to be more effective in spreading awareness about the activities and efforts made by different groups of women and men to work for the empowerment of women as the primary condition of gender equality.
   We thank our friends who have been supporting us to do such an important work among rural Adivasi population in need of sympathy and help.
   We want to express our gratitude to the organization ESUL for their financial support to repair the girl’s hostel and the school building. Both have been repaired and are functioning well. We would now respond to our pupils who want us to paint the classrooms.

With warm greetings,
For Information group of JV

Newsletter from Jagriti Vihara May 2015

We are now slowly overcoming the shock we experienced after getting the news about the devastation caused by the earthquake and the tremors in Nepal and in the three Indian States, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal. Panicking jolts were felt across large parts of North India, from Rajasthan to the States in the Northeast.
   Earlier the whole of the northern part of India had faced the devastation caused by unexpectedly heavy rainfall and hailstorms. The crops standing in the fields were fully destroyed. Distressed by the damage and unbearably heavy financial loss several farmers committed suicide.
The prices of food grains and vegetables have been increasing fast as the result of the shortage of food grains, fruits and vegetables. We are anxiously worried about this price-hike. We must find ways and means to cope with the eventual hardship.
   In front of the staff quarters on the campus we are, presently, preparing a plot of land for growing vegetables. As the soil is stubbornly infertile we have to take many steps to transform it and make it usable.
   Our pupils, the girls living in the hostel, had been working hard in order to do well in their Annual Examination. As they said they had performed quite well in the Examination Room, but when the results came they were slightly disappointed to see the marks obtained by them. The teachers feel that they have to improve their Mathematics and their Hindi. Anyway, they are very happy to get new text books as well as an extended opportunity to go ahead with their studies.
   Let us not forget to mention that we are very thankful to Mr. Per Nordqvist, the Chairperson of JVV, Sweden, for his recent visit to Jagriti Vihara to prepare, in collaboration with us, the Annual Report of the project “Grassroot Democracy among Adivasi Women in Jharkhand”.

With warm greetings,
For Information group of JV

Newsletter from Jagriti Vihara August 2015

After the disastrous heat waves of the summer even the monsoon has been indifferent to the hopes of the people. The erratic rainfall has caused anxiety among the farmers. Our volunteers who have been assisting the villagers in carrying out different development schemes feel that the farmers are the most fragile victims of the climate change.

Presently all of us at Jagriti Vihara are engrossed in thinking about a shocking message which we got only a few days ago. On Friday, 7th August 2015, in the middle of the night, in an Adivasi village called Kanjiya Maraitoli, a big gang of people armed with sticks, clubs, spears and etc violently entered some of the houses and ruthlessly dragged 5 women out of their houses. After bringing them to a Dhamkudia (local youth centre) they mercilessly tortured all the 5 bewildered women to death. The victims were between 40 to 60 years of age.The news about these brutal murders spread like wild fire. The police rushed to the site and arrested 25 persons. Surprisingly, none of the murderers had escaped. On the contrary, they were agitating against their arrest as they had convinced themselves that they had done the right thing by killing the most dangerous witches who had dealings with the Devil and had used magical powers to harm the people in the locality.

It is really sad that even in the present day world there are such dark corners which have not yet been penetrated by the light of knowledge and reason. We, therefore, expect cooperation from our friends and supporters in order to help people get rid of ignorance, superstition and fanaticism.

The monsoon session of the girls school at Jagriti Vihara is in progress and the rest of the activities are going on as usual.

With warm greetings,
For Information group of JV