Inside stories from shyamgadh and Nidana…

The people in the two villages of shyamgadh and Nidana who lived in the abject poverty are not in a position to attend panchayat meetings. Most of them are even not aware of the functions and the activities of Gram panchayat and hence cannot realize the importance of panchayats. Although we were told not educate the people but I was not able to stop myself to inform them about the functions and activities of Gram panchayat and their independent  importance in the decision making. There were many incidents of the biasedness of the Sarpanch in distributing the benefits of any schemes, where the people who are close to them are directly benefitted from a schemes even when they do not deserve or the schemes is not applicable to them.  The responses I received from the people were also quite reasonable and justifies why they don’t attend the panchayat meetings and gram Sabha as there priority is to earn money to sustain their family and sparing one day for the meeting will cost them a day’s earning. I decided that it is important to explain them about the importance of the meetings since it will benefit them in the long run.
The gender based discrimination was clearly evident from the fact that people name their daughter as marni (which means die) and batheri (which means enough).Gender discrimination was apparent to the extend that we feared if a male can even interview a female member of the community.We decided all the female interviews will be taken by Aparna and minu. It was really very hard for us to not educate or ask them to stop such discrimination.