Article written by Eshwer Kale published in the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) (Vol. 52, Issue No. 3 dated 21 Jan, 2017)
(English, VCD, 25 mins)
For a village so small, remote and relegated to eternal poverty, one would expect its inhabitants to welcome the Watershed Programme with open arms. After the all programme brought with it the much needed funds and employment. Yet the village Garamsur chose otherwise. The â€˜power centresâ€™ of the village felt threatened by this programme which sought to empower common people. Ostensibly, the issue raised was charaibandi or ban on free grazing, but in reality, the village sought to be divided on caste lines. A group of dedicated people from the village took up the challenge. They mobilized women’s Self help groups. As the groups flourished, more and more women joined in, women even from the dissenting families. This was women’s power. The change in attitude came in slowly, but surely. The entire village joined the Watershed Programme and completed the programme before its deadline! This is a moving story of the triumph of sincerity, hard work and perseverance over village “powers” and certainly of the important role which can be played by women in bringing about lasting changes.