The Hush Post: At a time, when women empowerment is an oft-repeated word and concept spoken of in seminars and practised in urban India, there is a different reality of a different India.
A grim reality had come to light in Bundelkhand where a poverty-stricken 60-year-old man Acheylal Aharwar ploughed his land but how? In the absence of tractor for want of money and no oxen, his two daughters 13-year-old Ravina and 10-year-old Shivani took the place of oxen. Ravina is a student of Class 8 and Shivani is in Class 7 and they thought they would put their vacation to some use.
Every morning the trio makes it to the farm in Badagaon village of Maurainpur in Jhansi district.
“We are waiting to sow the land with sesame (oilseed) crop,” says Acheylal.
“With some good showers and overcast sky promising to drizzle well, we saw a flicker of hope for a good crop and so we decided to do it ourselves. We never did such a task before,” says Shivani, “But thought we could this time round.”
“This, because they have no choice,” says Ramadhar Nishad, a farmer leader from the area.
Another farmer leader Shivnarain Singh Parihar, who also lives in Mauranipur town, said Acheylal lives in a house made of mud in Badagaon with his wife and two daughters. The other four daughters are married.
Acheylal said that he has a white ration card that gets him 20 kg of foodgrain each month 5 kg per person in the family. He has appealed for a red ration card that makes him eligible for government housing, toilet schemes, etc.
“I had presented my case at the tehsil diwas on May 15 this year. There is no response yet,” he says.
Chief development officer (CDO) Nikhil Tikaram Fundey said, “The matter has not come to our notice. We will get the case details and the application by the farmer checked.”
Nishad said, “Acheylal is not only poor but also under a debt of Rs 1.5 lakh from various money lenders. Even the clothes that he and his family wear are often the ones that villagers donate them. Villagers also donate him grains or some other crop produce from time to time.”