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Meet Kasturi: ‘The Lady Manjhi’ who dug 25-feet deep well in parched Bundelkhand, UP

Living in the forest was a struggle, the only source of water nearby was a jhir (oozing water from rocks) that involved the collection of water drop by drop, said Kasturi

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(Representational Image) Image Source: Parched land
  • Kasturi, ‘The Lady Manjhi’ dug a well for 40 families after they were denied the access to a hand-pump by her upper-caste neighbours
  • It took her almost five years to dig the well completely
  • Living in forest was again a struggle, the only source of water nearby was a jhir (oozing water from rocks) that involved the collection of water drop by drop

Remember the chills you had when you first got to know about Dasaratha Boater ‘Mountain Man’ aka ‘Manjhi’ who alone with hammer and chisel cut to a street cast in high mountains! Here’s another story of strong will and impeccable strength that made a tribal woman dig a well almost single-handedly in the dried up area of Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh.

Meet Kasturi, ‘The Lady Manjhi’ who dug a well for 40 families after they were denied the access to a hand-pump by her upper-caste neighbours.

Talking about the daily struggle she and the other families went through to get even a single pot of drinking water, Kasturi said, “We are tribals and lived in Duddhi village. But we were not allowed to use the hand-pump by the upper caste residents. Arranging for a pot of drinking water was an everyday battle we had to face for the quest of survival,” reported TOI.

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It took her almost five years to dig the well completely. Speaking to TOI Kasturi iterated, “I told my sons that I will move to another place. In a few days, I made a hut near a forest area.”

In spite of being criticised by her sons and being constantly ridiculed by the villagers, Kasturi never gave up.

Living in the forest was again a struggle, the only source of water nearby was a jhir (oozing water from rocks) that involved the collection of water drop by drop.

Activist Amit Soni, who works for the Saharia tribe to which Kasturi belongs, said, “This was not a permanent source and often an entire day was needed to collect a pot of water.”

Initially, she would dig at different places but couldn’t succeed. She would often think of giving up but then had no other option.

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However, in January she was joined by her sons, daughter-in-law and daughter and by April almost 40 families joined her.

“In the mid of June, 25 feet deep well was ready but there was no water. Still, we decided to dig it further thinking that rain water would be conserved during monsoon. However, a week later, we hit a rock and water oozed out,” she added ecstatically.

– prepared by Bulbul Sharma, a staff writer at NewsGram. Twitter:  iBulbul_

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The history and development of Indian Handicrafts

Handicraft production was the second biggest source of employment in the pre-British India

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History of Indian handicrafts
History and development of Indian handicrafts. Pixabay
  • Handicrafts are the products which are mostly made by hand.
  • The history of Indian handicrafts can be divided into three eras: Pre British, British era, and Post Independence.
  • Clay craft is the earliest form of crafts to have existed in India.

New Delhi, September 28, 2017: Handicrafts in India have a long history. From ancient to the contemporary times, handcrafters have preserved this art. This art has been passed on from one generation to the next. Pottery making, in fact, is one of its forms, whose existence can be traced back to the Harappan Civilization.

What are handicrafts?

Handicrafts are products that are produced either completely by hands or involve tools. Mechanical tools could also be used as long as the manual contribution of the artisan remains the central component of the produced object. The production of these crafts require great skill and represents a particular expression, culture or tradition. Handicrafts could hold a number of values, some of them being aesthetic, cultural, decorative, utilitarian, religious, functional etc.

Historical Perspective of Indian Handicrafts:

To understand the historical perspective of Indian handicrafts, we need to go back in time. Let’s take a look at the development and decline of the artisanal production under three different time periods: before the arrival of British in India, Under colonial rule, and after India got independence.

History of Indian Handicrafts Before the arrival of British:

Art and crafts, as we have already mentioned, has been a tradition in India since long. Textiles, the most important of the Indian handicrafts, reached the zenith of perfection during the Mughal period. While under Mughals, it was the art of weaving and silk spinning that scored refinement; it was metal works, ivory works and jewelry that reached great potential during the Gupta period. The handicrafts production during that time can be divided in four broad categories. The first category dealt with the village economy under the jajmani system, in which the products were articles of daily use. The second category was integrated with the urban areas, where artisans produced crafts mainly for the purpose of sale. The third category concerns the dadni system, in which the merchants advanced cash to the artisans for production. The final category includes the Karkhanas, where skilled artisans produced luxury crafts under the command of kings or high nobles. Handicraft production was the second biggest source of employment in the pre-British India.

History of Indian Handicrafts Under Colonial Rule:

Under the British rule, production of Indian Handicrafts faced a rather sharp decline. When the East India Company was in power, it forced monopoly over the production of artisans from Bengal, and the price of these products were fixed 15-40% lower than their actual market price. What came as the biggest blow to the Indian artisans, however, was the removal of most of the Indian princes and nobles, which as an effect, led to the destruction of the artisan’s major market.

History of Indian Handicrafts Post-Independence:

The plight of the artisans and the cultural importance of artisanal production was taken into accord after India got independent. The establishment of All India Handicrafts Board in November 1952, to look at the problems and find solutions concerning Indian Handicrafts; the Handicrafts and Handloom Export Corporation of India Ltd in 1958, to promote handicrafts exports; Opening of Crafts Mueseum in 1953 in Delhi, to develop people’s interest in handmade Indian goods, all alluded to the idea that India had finally realized the importance of its art and crafts, and did not want to leave any stone unturned for its development.

A brief history and development of different form of handicrafts in India:

  • Clay craft and pottery: Clay craft is the earliest form of crafts to have existed, in India or in the world. A simple earthenware made of clay or ceramic has been created and used by the rural population for centuries. Potters have had an integral traditional link with the villages. The earthen pottery has only been developing, with the addition of new colors, figures of gods and goddesses, and decorative elements like flowers.

Main centers: Uttar Pradesh (Nizamabad and Chinhat), where the pottery is dark black; Bengal which produces large figures of gods, especially on the occasion of Durga Puja; In Kashmir, Srinagar is the place where special glazed pottery is made; Terra-cotta roof tiles are a tradition in Orissa and Martha Pradesh; both Rajasthan and Karnataka are popular for their black pottery; Manipur in the northeast is also famous for its pottery.

History of Indian handicrafts
Clay craft or pottery. Pixabay

  • Wood craft: Wood craft is widely produced and used throughout the country, with the most important products being household furnitures, carts and decorative objects. Baskets for storage and Toys, both for play and decoration are also made on a large scale.

Main centers: The elegant use of wood by skilled craftsmen can be seen in the houses at Gujrat and Kerala. Kashmir acquires a special position in this category of craft, with the walnut and deodar being the most favorite woods there. Saharanpur in U.P is also quite famous for its wooden furniture and objects of decoration.

History of Indian handicrafts
Wood craft. Pixabay

  • Metal craft: Copper was the most widely used metal in India before Iron joined in. Utensils, jewelry, dagger, axe heads etc in the harappan finds suggest that casting of copper objects made use of moulds. Bronze was also an important metal for the artisan production. The skills of craftsmen on metals are of various types, such as embossing, engraving, moulding etc.

Main centers: Kashmir (Srinagar) and Ladakh (Zanskar) are the two main centres. In Uttar Pradesh, Moradabad, Aligarh, Varanasi are the main centres of metal craft. Kerala specializes in the bell metal, whereas Bidar in Karnataka is noted for its Bidri work. Tribal groups in India also appear to hold their specific metal craft traditions.

History of Indian handicrafts
Metal craft. Pixabay

Also readMedha Tribe which masters in Weaving unique Bamboo Handicrafts are facing threat of extinction in Mysuru Region

  • Stone craft: Stones, without a shadow of doubt, have been there with humans since the earliest. They have been crafted into various products such as tools, decorative objects, sculptures and even jewelry. Statue of Yakshi of Didarganj is one fine piece of stone sculpture and dates back to the Maurya period. Majestic Qutub Minar in Delhi, and forts at Agra, Delhi, Jaipur are all works of stone craft.

Main centers: Rajasthan due to a large availability of stones tops the list of most prominent places for stone works. Salem district in Tamil Nadu also makes it to the list along with Gaya in Bihar. The stone cutters of Orissa also share a long history with the craft.

Main centers of Indian handicrafts
Stone craft. Pixabay

  • Ornaments and jewelry: From grass jewelry to that of gold and diamonds, one can witness great diversity when it comes to ornaments and jewelry in India. Gold, gems, silver, diamonds, other metals and precious stones are some materials used for making ornaments. Bones, horns, sea shells, lac, glass etc are also used in many  parts of the country to create ornaments. The Harappan finds revealed a number of ornaments, indicating their existence since long. There are many references in Ramayana and Mahabharata of gold being precious objects.

Main centers: Western ghats and Matheran in Maharashtra are noted for grass ornaments. Gujarat and Rajasthan share a rich and long tradition of jewelry. Kashmir is one of the most prominent places, again, with its exquisite jewelry, Varanasi and Awadh of U.P. are famous for gold studded jewelry.

History of Indian handicrafts
Ornaments and Jewelry. Pixabay

  • Textiles: India had had one of the richest traditions of textiles made from different raw materials. It won’t be wrong to say that Indian textiles tend to reflect Indian culture and religious beliefs. Bengal was the chief center of cotton production and Carpet weaving reached its zenith at the time of Mughals. The most commonly knows fabrics are cotton, wool and silk. The three main techniques used for patterning are weaving, embroidery and dyes.

Main centers: Orissa and Andhra Pradesh are famous for ikat fabric, Gujarat and Rajasthan for bandhani, U.P. and Bengal for jamdani fabrics. Rajasthan is also noted for Masoria fabric.

Indian handicrafts
Indian textiles. Pixabay

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Crimes Against Women Perpetrate in Every two Minutes: NCRB Analysis

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Crimes against women in India
Father, left and mother, center of the Indian student victim who was fatally gang raped on this day three years back on a moving bus in the Indian capital join others at a candle lit vigil in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. VOA
  • Any kind of physical or mental harm towards women is deemed as  “crime against women”
  • Domestic violence is the most dominant crime against women
  • Andhra Pradesh state is the highest to report crimes against women in the period of ten years

Sep 20, 2017: A report released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) suggests that crimes against women have increased violently in the last ten years with an estimated figure of  2.24 million crimes. The figure is also suggestive of the fact: 26 crimes against women are reported every hour, or one complaint every two minutes, reports IndiaSpend analysis.

The most dominant crime against women with 909,713 cases reported in last decade was ‘cruelty by husbands and relatives’ under section 498‐A of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

‘Assault on women’ booked under section 354 of IPC is the second-most-reported crime against women with 470,556 crimes.

‘Kidnapping and abduction of women’ are the third-most-reported crime with 315,074 crimes, followed by ‘rape’ (243,051), ‘insult to modesty of women’ (104,151) and ‘dowry death’ (80,833).

The NCRB report also listed three heads, namely commit rape (4,234), abetment of suicide of women (3,734) and protection of women from domestic violence (426) under which cases of crime against women have been reported in 2014.

Andhra Pradesh has reported the most crimes against women (263,839) over the past 10 years.

Andhra Pradesh state is the highest (263,839) to report crimes against women in the period of ten years. Crimes reported for insult (35,733) ranks first followed by cruelty by husband relatives (117,458), assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (51,376) and dowry-related deaths (5,364).

West Bengal (239,760) is second most crime against women state followed by Uttar Pradesh (236,456), Rajasthan (188,928) and Madhya Pradesh (175,593).

Abduction increased up to three folds over the recent years,  with Uttar Pradesh being the worst affected state. Cases rose from 15,750 cases in 2005 to 57,311 cases in 2014.

Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter @Nainamishr94


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

 

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JNU Ideologues are Spewing hate in the name of Dissent and nurturing Anti-India ideologies

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JNU
JNU has become den for left politics. VOA
  • By Amit Srivastava

Sep 16, 2017: With the help of media propaganda and public opinion manufacturers, JNU has become an epitome of left politics – Viciously nurturing the anti-India ideologies and placing them into state establishment through their sympathizers.

They hate a lot of things that are Indian or having Indian identities. Their perpetual anathema is cleverly placed with covert name of ‘dissent’. It would be interesting to know, how they instill a failed and violent ideology like Marxism through inroads of hate.

Before 93rd amendment for OBC quota in higher education, JNU had very progressive admission policy with weightage number for backward districts, castes and also for women. Though these deprivation points still exist, but since half of admission is done on caste lines, these points are less relevant now. Owing to its admission policy and standard entrance exam, JNU has been providing excellent higher education opportunity for the students from remote rural areas at par with metro educated students.

Ironically, left parties with help of communist faculty members also exploit this opportunity as they get fresh cadres who could easily get disconnected caused by the language difficulties, cultural shock and administrative difficulties. A person with deeply rooted Indian value system won’t accept valueless violent ideology of Marx. Brainwashing such person is not easy. Hence the process of indoctrination begins with very first day of admission at JNU.

Earlier, admission process in JNU was cumbersome and lengthy. Comrades used to catch new comers in the name of admission assistance. Now, this opportunity is lost as there is single window admission process is adopted by JNU administration. Another step to trap the new comers is artificial scarcity of hostel. You are on their mercy of ‘these seniors’ who offer you to stay with them. And sometimes 6-7 students stay in 10-by-15 hostel rooms. More freshers in one comrade’s room means more problem, hence more opportunity to brainwash them.

First stage of abomination start with inciting new-comers to hate individuals including hating own self. This hate is designed to suit the social conflict theory of communism. If you are a general category student, you must hate yourself for being born in ‘upper caste’ and must accept it wholeheartedly than only you would be ‘ready’ to abuse political opponents on caste line.

If you are from OBC-SC-ST and Minority, you must hate those ‘upper caste’ guys living with you in the same campus, no matter they’re even poorer or more deprived than you. Irrespective of rationality and humanity, you must hate them; because they’re born in bourgeoisie castes, and you should assume yourself as proletariat, even if you are richer and dominate than most of them. This hate is mandatory. Selective crimes are extrapolated to justify it. Incidents like Khailanji, where Dalits were burned alive, are used to consolidate this hate. But details of culprits are purposefully hidden and ignored as they don’t belong to ‘general caste’ and this may derail the hate direction.

Minority students have to hate Hindu co-students as per the conditioning of the leftist mentors. Hindus are blamed for their all problems. OBC-SC-STs are encouraged to hate Hinduism too. If there are complacent with it, they’re encouraged to shun Hinduism and accept more exploitative Islam, Christianity or atheism. At same time, Muslims and Christians students are encouraged to be more religious and fanatic for their respective faith. This is why JNU communists encourage Islamic or Christian festivals but gets reprimanded if students celebrate Hindu festivals in the campus.

This abhorrence has another intense level of inculcation. Female students from remotely rural areas are too attached with their families. Girls won’t be a good ‘recruiting’, ‘facilitating’ and a devoted comrade, until they respect family system and existing social ethics of the society. Hence, they’re taught that they’re the master of their own body. Their vagina belongs to them and their father has no right to say with whom they shall sleep. This typical teaching is very crucial and preached through woman comrades in very delicate ways by living with them, fanaticizing with them with instilling a false sense of empowerment and freedom among them… only to sexually exploit them for own leaders or an allurement for the new recruits.

JNU’s left ideologues are not limited to a close campus. Congress governments have been giving them important posts in order to devise new divide-and-rule policies. After debacle of 2014, these master-less Maoists of JNU are left with no one to support. Their political existence was long gone.  Post General Elections 2014, they engineered several caste-riots, devouring state-funding and abusing the same state. Unfortunately, they failed into it too.

Within JNU, they opened another sister concern named ‘BAPSA’ – an organization that not only abuse Hinduism on daily basis, but also abuse the students who belong to Brahmin or ‘Savarn’ castes. The right to live with dignity for these ‘savarn caste’ students is violated by BAPSA and left-relict in name of Social Justice. Ironically, JNU administration allows such caste abuses in name of sociological studies. Much grave violation of thousands of students’ fundamental right to live with dignity is violated every day.

However, these avant-garde social terrorists still think that they can potentially harm the ruling BJP party by taking Bhimrao Ambedkar’s name. Now a days, Student wing of Naxalites, DSU used ‘Jai Bhim’ along with ‘Lal Salam’ in order to immunize itself from the responsibility of offending content it circulate within JNU campus. It is high time for Ministry of Human Resource Development and JNU administration to stop the violation of personal dignity of students. We must not allow the abuses and exploitations just for the sake of intellectual pleasure and useless showoff of tiny campus victory.

Amit can be reached at Twitter @amisri


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.