Monday, June 26, 2006

Anjalidi is sitting in the middle with us at Mathurapur, June 3 2006
Today Anjalidi called me. And I was surprised. She is a member of the local administration i.e. the local panchayat in Mathurapur block 2. She is the head of the departments of education, culture and sports. It was a surprise because generally Anjalidi remains very busy throughout the year. When asked how she is, she replied " janoto di' ekhon khub kaj hochhe ekhane, tai niye ei kodin byasto chhilam..." - the pressure of work has increased and she was very busy. Still, she found out time to try to call me and other "dada"s i.e. Ritesh, Rahul, Debamitro several times, but couldn't get anyone except me due to the bad connection.

It feels good when a person from whom you never expected that he/she would remember you remembers you and calls you. I asked her about the NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) in her block. The district of South 24 Parganas falls under this act. According to it a person who registers with the local panchayat or the village 'samsad' (there are a few criteria for the registration process) will get 100 days' job at Rs 68 per day. And if the local panchayat or the village samsad isn't able to provide him with any job then he will get unemployment allowance. Currently the job cards are being distributed over there. But when we had gone to the visit we didn't hear of any such thing from the villagers and we had visited nearly 9 vilages. So who are getting these facilities? Is this again the same case like that of ration cards? Those who really need the money won't they get it? I don't know. But what I do know is that the government has alloted a big sum for this act and it would be pity and a failure of the goverment if the money doesn't reach the proper hands.

26 June 2006.

Friday, June 16, 2006

i had always thought that life could be lived in two ways,eiher u
live or u exist, but on 8th june i came across a new category. i met
few ppl who just struggle to survive.their lives are a constant battle
against social, economic and personal faliures. faliure.isnt it an
ambigious word.arent faliure and suffering synonymous with life.i am
yet to find a person who has no pain.i am sure we all feel our pains
and sufferings to be very special. in some ways we are never
satisfied.human nature is to complain,to never enjoy what one has and
to pine for the unattainable.
but now i will never complain.8th of june was my first experience
with extreme poverty, helplessness and hopelessness.i met ppl from
rashbehari slum, who are surviving each day, fighting not only with
various evil social forces but with internal problems, such as
helplessness, uselessness and feeling of abandonment.thier houses were
not homes but pigeon holes, with no window and proper sunlight.more
than five people were sharing a single room.the kids were half naked
and looked pathetic. though i was encouraging them to study yet
something within me was against what i was can i ask
half naked ,ill fed children to study?.i mean ,u need to fill ur
stomach then only u can study newton.these kids have lost hope of any
kind of goodness in life. most of them didnt want to study. only few
wished to continue and prosper. i have never been in such a dingy,
clustrophobic and pessimistic atmosphere.
yet there was something beautiful and enchanting about them. they
all managed to laugh and smile.they didnt grumble on their fates.
wherever abhik and i went we could find a welcoming smile.i was rather
confused with the role i was supposed to play.i didnt know how to
comfort them.words somehow felt short so i took recourse to the
langauage of love.i hugged them, held their hands, patted them , asked
them their names, their likes and dislikes.i spoke with them in broken
bangla and they responded lovingly.
to be very honest i hardly see any improvement in their livelihood
in near future.i am not confident how many will earn well or be able
to carve a niche for themselves in society.their future, if not dark
is dim. they are going to fall many times before they rise. the
process of improvement is very slow and discouraging.the only ray of
hope lies in giving them unconditional love and affection.