Archive for September, 2013

Khushiyon Ki Diwali

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Diwali is an Indian festival of lights which brings joy and  happiness in one’s life.  A Hindi poem from childhood comes to my mind whenever I think of Diwali, as below:

Deep jalao deep jalao
aaj diwali re
khushi khushi sab haste aao
aaj diwali re

Naye naye mein kapde pehnu
khaun khoob mithai
haath jod kar pooja kar lun
aaj diwali aayi

The meaning of the poem in short – Today is Diwali, we celebrate lighting lamps with happy smiles. Lets wear new clothes, eat many kinds of sweets and pray with folded hands.

IIRD distributes Diwali gifts in the form of sarees(Indian wear), blankets(since winter in Aurangabad gets severe after Diwali) or something as per the current needs, to the elderly destitute women registered for the Jeevan Aadhar Program. The funds are usually donated by well-wishers or angel-donors.

This year also, we are planning to celebrate Diwali by bringing happy smiles to these faces and invite donations from those willing to. How awesome will that be  If some of us can cut down on the fire crackers and share something with these people in need! Lets light a lamp(bring some light) in their lives and bring a happy smile on their faces.  If  Diwali is the Indian Christmas, lets strive to be Indian Santas.

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Religious harmony

       Try talking to a villager about religious harmony and he/she will give you a blank look. They have better problems to deal with like hunger, poverty, epidemics etc. The paint color of their houses signify their religion – green for muslims, blue for dalits, saffron for Maratha etc – I wonder if religion means anything beyond that in the villages.

       The other day, I came across a farm in the Tondoli village of Marathwada which had a muslim ‘Darga'(worship place) in the middle. The farmer is a Hindu who claimed to light lamp in the Darga every day. The family feels that the darga is the ‘Barkat'(Urdu work for ‘Blessing’) of the farm – how cool is it when we have riots in different parts of the country on a piece of land for building temples and mosques!!Image

A few organic Pest control methods

Patta(Twin row) method of cropping, ie cropping a group of crops along with the main crop, protects the main crop from pest attacks. The group of crops in between the main crop attracts both friendly and harmful  pests to them. The harmful pests which are herbivores feed on the crop whereas the friendly pests(carnivores) feed on the harmful pests, the patta method thus creates interdependence between the two types of pests thus protecting the main crop. The group of crops consists of at least 5 varieties and can be chosen from cow pea, okra(Ladies finger), Jowar, Tur dal etc.

Solution made from the Neem tree can be sprinkled on the crops from the time they are saplings – pests spare the crops because of the repellant property of the Neem. A lot of farmers vouch on the efficiency of this method.

Mixed cropping is another method. Some examples are Onion planted along with Tomato. Tomato plants are protected from pests because of its proximity to the onion plants. Another farmer bets on Cauliflower and chilli planted together, the chilli plant helps to repel pests on the cauliflower.

When there are simpler solutions available for the pest issues, why resort to pesticides that adversely affect humans and Mother Earth?

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Land title on woman’s name?

‘Why should the title of the land be registered in the woman’s name?’ was the question that came to my mind when I was involved in the discussions for the Housing project of IIRD sponsored by the Habitat for Humanity. The question was running in the back of my mind whenever there were references to the Housing Project.

During the interactions with the women who had applied for the housing scheme, some shocking facts came to light. One of them have been abandoned by her husband a couple of years ago, she is doing all odd jobs(teaching in kindergarten, stitching, making bags etc) for supporting herself and her two sons. The land she lived with her husband was his and when she was abandoned, she moved in to her parents’ home.  Her parents were upset that her husband is now asking for a divorce(Were they expecting him to patch up and get back to her? I don’t know). During the same visit, I came across more women who were in a similar situation and listened to umpteen similar stories.

If I can find so many women with similar stories in the same village, I wonder how many in total will be present in all the villages in India? How shocking is it!

So having the title in woman’s name will make the man think twice before he abandons her. Though this is a solution cultivating fear and insecurity in the man, I wish it helps at least some women in future. An ideal solution will be to make responsible husbands in the society where wives  will be considered  precious and not as a toy. Too difficult for an urban woman to accept that such incidents still happen in the villages these days!