The Beacon in the Dark

Posted: November 13, 2014 by Ansu in Kritika @ KIIT, Writes...
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The ancient Indian scriptures have described ‘Prakruti’ or ‘Nature’ as a woman who gives birth and nourishes all the living organisms on this Earth. Man without woman is incomplete but it’s sad that even today she is considered to be man’s subordinate or slave. With passage of time human beings have developed but their humanity has under-developed. Earlier when man was not so developed our scriptures say women was a respected mother, wife, sister and daughter. But today it’s a matter of shame that woman is only looked as a mean to satisfy man’s vulturous desires, she is expected to oblige the atrocities done to her and she is called just a ‘Child bearing machine. Today when we talk of woman empowerment, gender bias,50% reservation, woman education and protection they sound more like an electoral promise rather than a since effort to change the society. Had there been sincere effort then everyday news like ‘A women in NCR is Gang raped’ or ‘The police excavated 4 female fetus from the hospital bin’ or ‘ A bride burnt alive by in-laws’ won’t appear. But among this dark cloud of inhumanity there must be a silver-lining somewhere, in some part of this world. My hope to find such a place is not dream  in whose search I am still roaming…….

…Roaming roaming I once reached Jhuma village, a typical Maharastrian village few meters away from the famous Shani Shingnapur temple. From outside  it looks like any other village of India but what made it authentic Maharastrian was the dress-code of the villagers. The men were in all white dhoti and white shirt with a ‘Gandhi-topi’ on their head and women were wearing sarees in the same way as men wear dhoti and have their nose pierced with a nose ring. They were wearing flower garlands (‘Gajara’).I had heard a lot about how Maharastrians respect women and especially this village was considered as an ideal village where women is treated as a women and not as someone who ‘owe-men’. My host for that night was Mr. Ramdhin Patil the village headman. Mr. Patil was a very learned man and so was his wife Mrs. Patil. God has been too harsh to this ever-helping couple as even after 35yrs of marriage they don’t have any child of their own.Mrs. Patil was a very cheerful lady and was always eager to help young children like myself without any selfish motive. That night Mr. Patil told me the history of Jhuma Village and actual reason behind Mrs.Patil’s this selfless service.

Mr. Dhinanath Patil, Mr. Patil’s father was the village headman then when Mrs. Patil got pregnant. Mr. Patil (senior) ordered his wife (Mr. Patil’s mother) to get the child’s sex determined. Sex determination though illegal was a rampart practice in those days. Unfortunately the family came to know that Mrs. Patil is carrying a girl child. Being the head of the family as well as of the village this child was not acceptable to senior Patil so he ordered the child be dropped immediately. Mrs. & Mr. Patil both were against this decision, their life was made a hell and with pressure mounting from outside too the matter was going out of control. The poor child finally succumbed to an internal conspiracy. Mrs. Patil was poisoned and the poor ‘Barbie’ died inside her mother’s womb. Since then the couple didn’t have any child. “Mr. Ramdhin after becoming the village headman worked against all odds to make Jhuma village an ideal village of the state where woman is respected like nowhere else” this is what I had googled about this village before coming here. But the reality seemed to be something else.

Mr.Ramdhin took me to an isolated building that night at the dead-end of the village. There late in midnight I saw Mrs. Patil nursing a young adolescent girl, beside her few more girls of same age group were sleeping. There was an old widow singing some bhajan near the window looking at the sky with tears rolling down her wrinkled cheeks. Next to the old widow few married women were sitting with pale face and burnt hands and legs. Amongst all of them was Mrs. Patil working tirelessly with a smile on her face. That sight of misery shattered the deepest corner of my heart. “What is this?? Is this the place where woman is respected like nowhere else or like everywhere else?? “Probably Google was wrong this time that’s what I was thinking when I was proved wrong yet again. Jhuma village no doubt was suffering from the disease of inhumanity towards woman but since last one year there is total change in the scenario due to the village’s sincere effort to change. Mrs. Patil like a crusader was leaving no stone unturned to make this village an ideal place for women.

Since the time see lost her child she took up this task of saving girl child. Against all odds in the middle of the night she nursed the sufferers in that haunted house. The old widow narrated the story of transition of Jhuma Village. According to her the 8odd women including her are last victims. The small girl whom Mrs. Patil was nursing was raped by a group of brats who are now in jail due to Mrs. Patil’s sincere efforts. The brides who were discarded from the houses of their in-laws are learning to live independently by stitching clothes and making clay pots. The widow is non-other than Mrs.Patil’s mother-in-law. She was repenting for her sins. Today when the entire society abandoned her for being a widow it is Mrs. Patil who gave her shelter forgetting what she did to kill her child.

“Mrs. Patil you are an angel in human flesh” I uttered spontaneously after hearing all this. In reply she said “Today woman is backward because she is not imbibing her inner strengths. Woman is allowing herself to become a toy of joy for men because she things man is more powerful. In this world no one fights for other’s rights, everyone fight for themselves. Woman should also fight for what is her right. Expecting 50% reservation or national & international programs or Women days to change our life is a foolishness. If woman can discover her inner strength then why only Jhuma village every village in the country can be an ideal village.” Those words were very touchy. The question that still remained was that if Mrs. Patil was the main revolutionary then why Mr. Patil was credited? The answer is probably the ‘selfless ness’ character of woman. Mrs. Patil imbibed strength from her husband’s support so she gave her credit to him; this is called “Bharatiya Nari Sanskriti”.

Jhuma village and many such villages have got miles to go before they can finally be an ideal place where woman is again respected for being  a mother, a wife, a teacher, a sister and a daughter.  Jhuma village and Mrs. Patil is definitely ‘A beacon in Dark’ an inspiration to carry forward the message of save womanhood. And as far as I am concerned my search for an ideal village is still on…..

 

words of Ansuman

the team @ Kritika | KIIT

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