Folk voices of Dalit women in Varanasi
Shruti Nagvanshi/Prashant 19/3/2008 12:51:53 PM(IST)
Varanasi: Savitri Ba Phule was the first Indian woman, who becomes a teacher and founder of the first Shelter home for the battered women victims. When her husband died Savitri went against the social traditions by accompanying the dead body and also lighted the pyre. For saluting the struggle and continuing the movement of Savitri Ba phoole, Ms. Shruti founded Savitri Ba Phoole Women''s Forum (SWF), every year they celebrates 10th March as Indian Women's Mukti Day (Mukti – Freedom), as this is the death anniversary of Savitri Ba Phule.
Savitri Ba Phule Women's Forum has initiated discussions on caste discrimination, gender discrimination, patriarchy, Brahminical oppression etc. and thus empowers the women members to withstand these evils. On this 10th of March 2008, Savitri Ba phoole Mahila Panchayat celebrates this death anniversary in different way on the place of celebration and raising slogans and taking oaths. They organize Folk Schools in the ghettos of Dalit with the Dalit Women.
In this Folk School first they discuss about the concern of Savitri Ba and then they gradually started de-censoring of themselves. SWF organized folk schools in 4 villages on 10th and 11th of March, the villages are- Belwa and Ahirani Village of Badaganw Block, Village Aura and Aayar of Harahua Block of District Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
In the villages of these two blocks the situation of dalits are worse there are lots of cases of malnutrition and hunger Deaths. In this acute poverty region SWF is struggling by joining hands of all dalit women together. In this series they are organizing folk school for awareness and taking together for struggle of establishing rule of law.
The concept of the Folk School is as- Essentially, the folk school approach is to improve equality in a society by improving the speech capacity of the poorer and the weaker section of the society. Improving their capacity to talk back and thereby creating a two-way discourse in the society is the way the concerns of the weak are brought to social discourse. The more silent the poor and the weak are, the less they will get from society.
Matters of justice depend very much on the capacity of concerned people to un-censor themselves and to speak out constantly. Normally there are many unwritten rules through which people censor themselves. For example, some topics may be considered taboo in some societies or sub sections of societies.
For example, as an effect of feudal culture it is often observed that families of hunger victims hesitate and have subjective reservation to express themselves in respect of their acute poverty and hunger situations to which they have been going through. For example it may be an unwritten rule that some "lower class people" do not talk back to "higher class people". It may also be that some unwritten rules of censorship are enforced by punishments.
For example some groups of people, if they talk about themselves and the wrongs that they bear they will be punished either physically or by other means. In all these instances the capacity to un- censor is an essential component of seeking justice. When a small group of people begins to un- censor themselves others watch and soon begin to un-censor themselves as well. In this manner taboos invariably dissolve.
Sunday, April 6, 2008