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Women farmers in India are sowing the seeds of change for a more ecofriendly and sustainable agriculture.
Till a few decades ago, most people in India grew vegetables and fruits in their own gardens. Then something changed. We shifted from ‘farming for food’ to ‘farming for money’. The start of the ‘green revolution’ meant that production increased but so did the farmer’s dependency on chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides.
This shift in farming – from lifestyle to livelihood – also resulted in women keeping away from most farming decisions even though they were involved in the various tasks of sowing, reaping, harvesting and filling up the granaries. They aren’t called ‘farmers’ and they don’t benefit from training on farming concepts and schemes but some women in villages in Alipurduar, West Bengal have managed to change this for themselves.
Bimala Barman from Paschim Borochowki village is an enthusiastic member of the Annapurna women’s self-help group. She looks after the group’s rice bank that is set up in her house. This 14-member group is futuristic to say the least. They collect surplus rice from each of their members’ rice produce and save it in their rice bank. They give this to people in the village, including their members, during the lean season when people don’t have enough to eat. The same is returned after the harvest.
Bimala’s neighbour Kalpana Sutradhar has a farm, which mirrors a natural/forest ecosystem – where there is enough food for both man and animals. She grows multiple crops that complement each other so she has food year-round. On a small plot of land, she has placed several pots of water buried under the ground, which supply constant regulated moisture to the soil. The rest of the farm is irrigated with rainwater, which she catches in a pond that is also home to many kinds of fish.
Read more on how women are sowing the seeds of change, at our content partners, India Water Portal. India Water Portal is a website that shares knowledge and builds communities around water and related issues in India.
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As parents, we put a piece of our hearts out into this world and into the custody of the teachers at school and tuition and can only hope and pray that they treat them well.
Trigger Warning: This speaks of physical and emotional violence by teachers, caste based abuse, and contains some graphic details, and may be triggering for survivors.
When I was in Grade 10, I flunked my first preliminary examination in Mathematics. My mother was in a panic. An aunt recommended the Maths classes conducted by the Maths sir she knew personally. It was a much sought-after class, one of those classes that you signed up for when you were in the ninth grade itself back then, all those decades ago. My aunt kindly requested him to take me on in the middle of the term, despite my marks in the subject, and he did so as a favour.
Math had always been a nightmare. In retrospect, I wonder why I was always so terrified of math. I’ve concluded it is because I am a head in the cloud person and the rigor of the step by step process in math made me lose track of what needed to be done before I was halfway through. In today’s world, I would have most probably been diagnosed as attention deficit. Back then we had no such definitions, no such categorisations. Back then we were just bright sparks or dim.
When Jaya Bachchan speaks her mind in public she is often accused of being brusque and even abrasive. Can we think of her prodigious talent and all the bitter pills she has had to swallow over the years?
A couple of days ago, a short clip of a 1998 interview of Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan resurfaced on social media. In this episode of the Simi Grewal chat show, at about the 23-minute mark, Jaya lists her husband’s priorities: one, parents, two kids, then wife. Then she corrects herself: his profession – and perhaps someone else – ranks above her as a wife.
Amitabh looks visibly uncomfortable at this unstated but unambiguous reference to his rather well-publicised affair with co-star Rekha back in the day.
Watching the classic film Abhimaan some years ago, one scene really stayed with me. It was something Brajeshwarlal (David’s character) says in troubled tones during the song tere mere milan ki yeh raina. He says something to the effect that Uma (Jaya Bhaduri’s character) is more talented than Subir (Amitabh Bachchan’s character) and that this was a problem since society teaches us that men are superior to women.
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