Shifting Sands: from silence to speech
“Why should I marry my Mamu’s son (Maternal Uncle)? Isn’t he my brother? Won’t that create problems for my children’s health?” says Salma in a hamlet. There is no road to take you there. No electricity. No water. Its just forty families living here by themselves.
“I will study and get myself a job. I don’t want to be dependent or be dominated. Not because he brings home the bread!” says Sweety, living in a hamlet with her husband and his father! Sweety is in the final year of Graduation – one and only in her hamlet!
These are Stories from the remotest parts of the Indian Desert. I met 13 change carriers in the whole of last week. I have been on a project documenting 13 girls who have shown courage to take change beyond them. They took to education and today each one of them is negotiating her space in the male-dominated and feudalistic society of Rajasthan.
“ You make time. No one gives you time”, says Sweety when asked how she manages to study with all the household chores and work at the Farm.
“ I want to be a policewoman! I want to protect and safe guard the women of the village,” says Basanti, who once only knew to graze sheep in the field. Today, she is taking her High School exams at 20.
Imagine how audacious these girls have been! They journeys have been marked with courage and strength at every step they have taken. They have broken several Social Norms, starting a cycle of change –their decision to study, to convincing their parents, to negotiating their age of marriage from norm of 12 to 20, negotiating their first child, getting themselves a job.
Just to set the context: Being born as girls in a patriarchal society their fate was submitted to a lifelong subservience – first to the father and brother and later to the men they were to be married off to. They were to be illiterate, grazing sheep, helping with the household chores, looking after their younger siblings and later their own little ones, working at their fields - A life of unsaid words. A life of Silence.
But today this life is a little different. It is the courage of these women and their families who have supported them(sometimes no negation and silence is the biggest support). Here, starts their journey to learn further, learn new with newer perspectives and newer references and newer tools. Along the entire course, they, expanding the canvasses of their lives with new rational and logic and generational knowledge of tradition and culture.
A successful change is often beyond the seen and beyond heard. It goes deep down in both the change-maker and the change-carrier. Often it is only to be felt first by the people around and for them to join the movement.
Today, you read these stories. You would have never heard of them otherwise, if it weren’t for Pulsewire!
Need I say more?