Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Efforts for bringing the village in mainstream

Pimpalzira Pardhi settlement is slowly changing its outlook and nature to start a new way of life. The community here is now thinking more on earning their livelihood through hard work instead of traditional 'professions' of hunting and doing thefts.Pardhis on this settlement has not yet left thefts and hunting completely but slowly moving towards other professions.
As told by Harish Bhosale, the Beda tried to do collective farming at nearby land. " They also took some crops like brinjals, popaya and ladies finger in last few seasons. Some people have started sheep and goat farming to earn bread and butter for the family while some others are taking cotton in their land. They are now thinking on fish farming in the well just behind the settlement which will not only satissfy some need of food but also earn some pennies for them. We are thinking on banning the hunting thoroughly. Many people have already stopped begging even," Bhosale said. Moving ahead from where they are, Pardhi people lead by Bhosale has prepared a combine saving group of men and women.
Harish is now planning to organise a cleanliness campaign at Pimpalzira. equipments for daily cleanliness at house and village will be provided and some prizes will also be given to people doing good work for this. I am also thinking on propogating de-addicition programme by doing some street plays, he revealed. Now, Harish is working on the development of Pardhi and Bharadi community at settlements near Pimpalzira. People at Pimpalzira and other Bedas are now striving for getting electricity and water connection. One can see these people busy in filling in various forms of resepctive departments by their hands or with the help of some others.
The man who worked tirelessely for bringing good days to his people has also brought changes in his family also setting an example for others. His wife Sangita was totally illiterate at the time or marriage. When their first child started going to school, she also felt about getting the education. Harish taught her for one year or so and now Sangita is successfully writing his name, can do signature as well as can read. She proudly says that her husband behaves differently than how other Pardhi men treat their wives. Sangita now goes at village school and also take care that every student should get afternoon meal adequately. Pardhis do not believe in using a toilet and hence sanitation is still a big problem. Now, Bhosale himself is building a laterine at his home showing a way for others. It is not that every problem of Pimpalzira has been sorted out totally. People in main Pimpalzira village are still allege that thefts by Pardhis have not stopped. Addiction, disputes, quarrels have not yet ended completely. Inspite of all odds and many failures, Bhosale has not put down his shoulders. After all demoralising incidents, he vows to work more from here till the sunlight becomes fresh and clear.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Enlightenment at Pardhi Beda in Amravati district

No one can change the entire world and all persons around him even after taking enormous efforts. But everyone can light at least one small lamp in his or her corner to end the darkness surrounding him or her and thus things can be changed. This has been proved by a small but slightly more enlightened activist in Pardhi community who is not only striving for changing the destiny of his family but also of some Pardhi settlements including his.

Harish Bhosale has, with his efforts, definitely brought about some transformation at the Pimpalzira settlement in the Amravati district. His family do not have any educational background but his father whose main profession was nothing but hunting, sent his three sons and a daughter to a school. Harish completed his HSSC in horticulture and presently working in MIDC. He used to be worried seeing the plight of Pardhis at his settlement and that gave rise to a will of working for his people.

He started working for an NGO and tried to send maximum students of Pimpalzira to schools. Pardhi community has become a symbol of addiction, disgust, repulsion, unhigenic living. It is also identified with quarrels, thefts and crimes and many other things. Harish took the inititative and told students and their parents about importance of education, cleanliness and health care. He asked some teachers from Zilla Parishad schools to come to the settlement to convince students to go to school. The result is quite visible now and most of the students are going to schools. Parents are also insisting on giving education to their wards which they were not fortunate enough to get.

Lack of hygine is the most visible thing at any Pardhi settlement but Pimpalzira is proving to be an exception to that. Gradually but definitely, the 'Beda' is transforming into a clean place to reside as everybody is taking care of personal and collective hygiene. Meetings were taken to stop addiction and decision was taken to give up liquor consumption at the settlement. After many months of consistent efforts, some Pardhi people at Pimpalzira have given up liquor. All these things had it positive impact on the settlement as quarrels have come down and cases of domestic violence have reduced.

Harish has, with the help of some other youths, formed a Panchayat and it was decided that every dispute will be sorted out at the Panchayat and no quarrel will turn into a crime. "In last 10 years, not a single case against any person at Pimpalzira settlement has been registered in the crime diary of police, thanks to the Panchayat and people's contribution to it," told Harish. Working since last 10 years, Harish Bhosale has, with the help of some NGOs, turned the Pimpalzira settlement's outlook and mindset. Wandering from one place to other is the destiny of this unfortunate community. But now, Pimpalzira Pardhi settlement residents have settled down in real terms. The Beda has 40 families and 38 out of these have got their houses in government schemes like Gharkul or Indira Awas scheme. The settlement is now on the verge of making a new beginning.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The silk route for Vidarbhian farmers

By Mandar Moroney

State Silk Park in Amravati, the first of its type in the country, is heading towards a thorough guidance place for farmers as well as tourists and educational spot for students. The silk directorate and silk park in city are empowering farmers to earn their alternative income using silk route. The Silk department was a part of Khadi Gramodyog board earlier. In 1997, with the view of developing silk industry in the state, a separate Silk directorate was set up which has its headquarter at Nagpur. Under this directorate, a silk park has been formed in the city which was inaugurated last year. The silk park has now become the asset for the city as well as farmers esepcially in Vidarbha. The park has 18 acres of land and out of that, highly productive Mulberry variety has been planted on eight acres. There is also a silkworm rearing house, cocoons and silk thread formation centers at this park. Here, directorate has developed all these things to give demonstrations to farmers who are willing to do this business. Eggs are developed here at the park using Mulberry leaves, scientifically, after which silkworm starts weaving the Cocoons around itself. After a period of 20 to 25 days, these fully woven cocoons are taken out from trays and then are dried into the drying machine where all worms are killed. Then separating these died worms, cocoons are heated and converted into silk thread using machine. The entire procedure can be seen at the Silk park as all machineries and equipments are available here to do the same. Recently, the silk directorate has started arranging trainings of farmers at this park to give the detail technical knowledge about this supplementary business. " We take 30 people in one batch lasting for seven days. We give them knowledge of every little thing necessary for beneficial silk farming and increasing the productivity. Along with theoratical knowledge, they get the chance to see actual work at the park and to understand its method. In addition to that, we arrange their tours at the places of farmers who are doing silk farming, successfully," informed P. N. Chalpelliwar, Assistant Director of Regional Silk Office, Amravati. According to Chalpelliwar, Mulberry farming is more beneficial than cotton or soyabean farming. If farmers have some acres of land, irrigation facility and adequate indoor area, then this side business is of good profit as there is no threat of whims of nature in it. Even if land is not available, farmers can take silkworm eggs from department and can bring back cocoons to it. Silk department provides eggs, variety of Mulberry, gives training of doing this work, various things necessary for it and also buys back the cacoons from farmers. As there are no middlemen in it and government is giving assurance of buying cocoons, there are no chances of cheating of farmers, says Chalpelliwar. Presently, Government is giving price of Rs. 15,000 per quintal of cacoons to farmers, he claimed. Till now, 150 beneficiaries have taken benefit of silk park and are doing this business. The department is aiming at developing the park and has planned to construct farm lake, nursery and to avail demonstrations of 'silk to milk' supplementary business. Schools now also have started bringing educational trips of students here and the frequency will increase after complete development. Chalpelliwar appealed farmers as well as other people to take benefit of this novel park in Vidarbha.

Monday, January 5, 2009

tribals learning diamond faceting.

Moving away from traditional jobs like honey hunting and bamboo arts or working as labourers on government works tribal youths in the district are going down the 'Diamonds Way' these days to get a cutting edge to life. Government along with a private institute training tribal youths of
faceting to diamonds so that they can stand on their feet in future. Tribal pDevelopment department has the scheme of training tribal youths in delicate and cumbersome
work of faceting the raw diamonds. Shri Chandan diamond institute from Amravati and tribal
development department took initiative in that and decided to implement this programme.
Additional Tribal Commissioner G.P.Garad and Vishwas Sherekar, Director of the institute,
finalised the thing and confirmed to implement the programme. Now Chandan Diamond institute is
running a three months programme from Jan 1 and 50 students have been enrolled in that. Tribal
department selected 50 youths from Dharani, Chikhaldara, Chandur Bajar, Teosa, Chandur Railway
along with some from Pardhi community. These youths are getting all practical and theoratical
lessons in the institute and opprtunity to work directly on diamonds. On a raw diamond, student
learn to do Brutting, Table Cut (one facet), bottom making (24 facet), top making (32 facet)
after which a polished diamond is created having 57 facets. Youths are getting first hand
experience of working along with thorough basic knowledge. " I am dreaming of making a diamond cottage industry here in Amravati as like Sachin Diamond Park
in Utna town near Surat in Gujrat. Presently, around 3 to 4 lakh workers in Maharashtra are
working at Gujrat as labourers. I want to settle those trained labourers at here in Amravati and
also dreaming for creating small scale industrialists. We will give jobs to these trained
students in April this year," informed Sherekar. Chandan Institute is aiming on making small
industrialists in diamond faceting. Sherekar has also shown readiness to provide raw material and
buy finished products from these small industries. He has aimed to train around 1000-1500 persons
in future and to settle them in industry.Students who are undergoing training since Jan 1 are learning details and intricacies of diamond
work under the guidance of experienced teachers who have worked in diamond industry for more than
10 years. Playing with eye glass, tang and machines tribal youths are trying to shape diamonds as
well as their careers. " I have accepted the challenge of giving jobs to 80 percent of these
trainees and hoping for fulfillment of that," said Sherekar.