Giridih is a small town bustling with people who love to eat in a chain of food joints called Bewakuf, Bewakuf No 1, Shri Bewakuf and Maha Bewakuf. People who loved and watched the ‘family’ film Vivaah so much that it had a super hit run of 6 months and where ‘mineral’ water brands like Baba Jal, Kempti, Vailleys give a run for money to Bisleri.
Giridih is also split - into CCL (the govt. owned Central Coalfield Ltd.) and non CCL areas. The CCL areas are rich for its natural resources of coal deposits under the ground and the non CCL areas are rich for its natural resources of forest, timber like sal, bamboo, khair over the ground. But… the people who live here are far from being rich. So close to these rich resources and yet so far removed from the benefits of this proximity and so utterly poor.
The reasons for this are several but the perpetrator only one – the sarkar raj.
In the CCL areas the reasons are:
This town is supposed to be administered (provide civic, health, education services to the inhabitants) by the govt. owned Central Coalfield Ltd. (CCL). But CCL does this in areas where its employees are concentrated and the rest of the people ‘do not exist’ …… for CCL.
The reasons of deprivation, unique to the non-CCL areas are:
The rest of the reasons remain the same 2, 3 and 4 as in the CCL areas mentioned above.And then there is Jago (it literally means ‘Wake up!’). A team of locals, hugely committed to slowly but surely enabling the people – by creating awareness on what is happening around, why it is happening, the implications in their lives, arrive at what they want to do about it and how they can tackle it. The Jago team comprises of Surojit, Kiran, Birju, Mahendra Das, Ravi Das, Sunil, Ramesh, Bhimlal Das, Amiya Devi, Namita Kumari to name some and is headed by Baidyanath. Each of them use their strength and convictions to inspire an awakening amongst the people. Surojit is an ever-smiling and affable person who can make the strictest and most difficult people listen to him. Kiran has overcome economic and family pressures to work with the girls’ and women’s groups to encourage them in taking charge of their own lives. Amiya Devi is a firebrand known for collaring a local official with as much ease as getting the shy and oppressed village women to confide their problems, hopes and dreams and then inspire them to realising them. Mahendra puts his writing and musical talents to script, direct, act in street plays and write, compose, sing songs with social messages. He works with groups of boys from the different villages to reach out to the people with songs and plays. Baidyanath is a quiet man of convictions, leading this team towards a future when the people are awakened and charting the course of their own lives.
Labels: childhood, jharkhand, natural resources