Story of Change
When this journey started, it did not appear that in future long story of change would be written in future. As the time changed, more people joined, strength increased, a process of change in thought started and analytical capability developed among people. Soon a period of change started. There is no parameter to determine this change as this change is qualitative and not quantitative, and this can be felt only by visiting the field.
Gramonnati Sansthan started several programmes like land rights, women development, rural drinking water, environmental cleanliness, conservation of natural resources, people’s health, etc. A huge change can be witnessed since these programmes started. For example, farmers are raising their voice over land measurement and its occupation, encroachment on drains and chak road (an unsurfaced road connecting fields), patta problem, women rights, etc. Level of knowledge has increased among people and their economic condition has also improved. The category which the society had defined as oppressed and kept on margin, is now successfully leading.
Change among women is clearly visible in the development blocks and villages where women power development programme is going on. They are now intervening in issues, raising question over domestic violence, trying to put an end between discrimination among boys and girls, emphasising on girls education. This change is not only visible in external lives, but also in private lives of the women associated with the organisation. Women have taken a step in small groups and they have formed women federation. Thus they have emerged as a power. Women have unitedly raised voice against several wrong traditions, which have been exploiting women for long. Today women associated with the sangha (association) are leading their issues without any support. They do not hesitate in visiting police station or court on the issues like family disputes, divorce, dowry, property, etc.
During a meeting, Ramsakhi, a woman in a village said: “Villagers used to address me as banjh (infertile) as I did not bear a child. They used to taunt me and never invited me to any auspicious occasion. As a result of continued work in my village, now I don’t get to hear taunts.” The village women, who had never ventured out of their village, rode cycles and visited other villages to create awareness about women’s freedom. This became an example of change and a source of motivation for women. Deviating from the roles that the society earmarked for them, women did lots of work. Today women are organised. They discuss all the issues and can be seen taking or giving training.
Whether it is issue of cleanliness of the village, environment, or cattle health villagers have become aware. This awareness has not been created on village level alone. Efforts have also started to understand the government policies and get the same implemented. It cannot be said that the change has come across fully. But it is certain that during the past 10-15 years, a big change is visible.
Tools like workshops, training, public hearing, campaigns, etc., have been used in this long arduous journey, which continues till date and will continue in future. It is hoped that there shall be a dawn when inequality, anarchy, violence, exploitation, etc., will cease.