Friday, July 04, 2008

Field visit report of Jinju

Field report 4

Place: Musahar community, Anei Village, Baragaon Block
Date: 1 December 2007, Wednesday

1. Ramesh and his family
2. Munna (husband) and Gangajali (wife)
3. Majinu (husband) and Meeta (wife)
4. Ghurahu (husband) and (wife)
5. Vije Klumar and his son
6. Working place of Majinu’s family ---- around Bramin’s house


1. Ramesh and his family
Ramesh is living with his wife and children in one mud house. In front of his mud house, one brick house for his family is under construction. Ramesh bought 1,000 pieces of brick at 1,800 rupee from the brick kiln. There is one more mud house next to Ramesh’s house which is Pradahan’s house for which another brick house is under construction.

► Family
- Ramesh: weaving at Muslim’s handloom in Anei village
- Wife: working in the paddy field
- Eldest daughter: Sima (10-11yrs), usually goes to school, but when both father and mother go for work, she has to look after her siblings at home instead of going to school.
- Second daughter: 5-6 years ago, died one year after birth. She had fever at that time.

Today, Ramesh is winding yarn at home and will go for weaving tomorrow. His wife went for reaping in the field early morning. Sima is looking after her siblings at home.

2. Muuna (husband) and Gangajali (wife)
Munna has tilled potato plot the day before yesterday and got some pain all over his body since that night. He has not worked since yesterday due to his illness. He got 50 rupee as daily payment. There is still some paddy to be reaped in the field where he is working.
He was making a list of musahar in Anei village including name, father’s name, and ration card issued. He said that the list would be sent to Lucknow, capital of Varanasi district.
Jigar does not deny me any more. Whenever I meet this baby, he denies me with closing his eyes or turning his head around. He has been afraid of me as if I would give him offence.

2. Majinu (husband) and Meeta (wife)
Majinu, Meeta and Majinu’s parents are doing agricultural work near the Bramin farm owner [Kamlakar Shukla]’s house. Majinu’s eldest daughter brought only steamed rice for their meal to the working place. Meeta has made fuel with cow’s waste for one hour and half at upper caste Radhe’s home in the morning and moved to this place to join the agricultural work. Since last October, she has been working for Radhe and is provided one meal per a day and will get 20kg wheat and one Sari for 7-8 months labour excluding rainy season in October next year. Meeta and Majinu’s parents are working hard, while Majinu is talking a rest beside them.

3. Ghurahu (husband) and Malti (wife)► family member: 3 sons and two daughter, one son died.
Dines: 13 year-old son, reading in 8th grade, sometimes works in the field but usually read books.
Second son: died one week after birth
Sansan: 8 year-old son, reaping in the paddy field these days, and goes to school as well.
Ramji: 5 year-old son
Pinka: 4 year-old daughter
Rima: 2 year-old daughter

livelihood▪ agricultural labour: Ghurahu has been working in Bramin Haribans Shukla’s paddy field for last 2 years. He gets one forth of output as wage. After Ghurahu’s father passed away, he started working in the field at 14-15 years old. When he had some problem with heath, he started weaving to make a rupee for the treatment. Before working in Haribans Shukla’s paddy field, he has worked in many other fields only in Anei village. 2 years before, one Bramin field owner has paid either cash or grain which was available as it might chance. When he was not properly paid, he moved to another field for work. However, he did not answer differences among many Bramin farm owners whom he has worked for. He prefers cash as a payment since he can get health treatment with cash.

weaving: quit weaving 3-4 years ago since he could merely managed 400 rupee a month which was too low to support his family. Sometime he earned 400 rupee in either two months or three months. He has worked in Gunciam’s handloom in Raipur village and was paid 400 rupee for one small carpet same as Munna. However, he had to take loans to manage food and other living expenses for his family while he was weaving. He made a loan from time to time from Bindu who belongs to Chamar community of Anei village 4 year ago and has 7000 rupee debt. He did not pay it back yet. He doesn’t want to make a loan any more, and is merely engaged in agricultural work.

Q: Is it enough to feed your family merely on agricultural work now?
G: yes, it is enough.
Q: How many meals do you take a day?
G: once or twice a day. These days we have take twice meal a day but only steamed rice with salt.
Q: then, is this meal enough for your family to live?
G: No, not enough. Only streamed rice cannot produce energy for us. We eat only rice during the harvest period of rice, while eat only wheat during the harvest period of wheat. We never get both at the same time. How can we eat enough food?
Q: then, do you think it is enough for you to support you family under this condition now?
G: no, not enough.

At first, he said he is feeding his family enough through his agricultural labour. However, come to think of his living condition and meal, nothing is enough. When he has no work in the field, he has to sit back home.

► health careMalti delivered all the children at home. The health condition of all children is fine. Ghurahu and his eldest son Dines have been at the PHC due to symptom of vomiting and diarrhea 2 years ago. They got treated with glucose, some tablets and injections. He has never been at the private hospital.

► ration card
Ghurahu have got red ration card. He buys ration from the ration shop either on 4th or 5th of every month. According to Ghurahu, the ration shop opens two days a month for musahar people. He was neither asked to pay money for the issue of ration card nor paid money. To buy the grains from the ration shop, he usually borrows money from 3-4 upper caste Thakur in Anei village and pays back with his labour. If he borrowed 25 rupee from Thakur, he would work at his farm for a day. He did not manage money for buying rations this month yet. He will try to save cash, but if he failed, he would go to borrow 95 rupee from several Thakur.

Q: Do you usually borrow money from Thakur or manage rupee for yourself?
G: If we can save some money, we would not borrow money from Thakur.
Q: How can you save money?
G: I do some work in the field one day, and then I will ask my farm owner to let me do another work to make rupee. Then I work at his home to manage 95 rupee to buy grains from ration shop. If I need more money for treatment or something else, I do either more work at his place or borrow money from Thakur.
Q: Do you frequently work at farm owner’s house to make rupee? What kind of work do you do at his house?
G: I do any kinds of work I can like feeding cattle and so on.

[He did not mention exact name and his experience. He was talking as if he talked about the third one. Like him, musahars who are merely engaged in agricultural work find it difficult to make cash for managing other food, clothes, or health treatment.]

► Land issue“We have demanded on our land for farming to District Magistrate before. Two government officials, Lakhbal and Nayab tehsidar have visited the musahar community but they have merely measured the land for house. We have complained again on our land for farming, but I don’t expect to be distributed our land for farming soon.
“Through our generations, our father and grandfather and much former generation all had no land for farming. That is why we don’t have any land for farming either. We have right to have land for farming but no relevant government authority have come to allot land for us so far. The District Magistrate should send superintendent officer to our community for distributing land for farming.
“We have been demanding on our land to the all village heads who have worked in our village. After being 18 years old, I got a right to vote for the village head. Every village head said and promised to give us the land for farming before he elected and even after. However, no village head kept his word.
“I will not cast a vote for present village head again. There were two candidates for last election; the former village head Ajay Shukla and present village head Hosila Singh. All musahars including me have cast a vote to present village head Hosila Singh since he promised to distribute land for farming. He, however, has done nothing for it. I will never cast a vote to him. If there is an intelligent musahar candidate educated for next election, I will support him.
“No one has come to our community to listen our story so far. What good is it your writing like this? The Block Development Office said we could get blankets for winter before, but they did not provide it. We did not obtain anything. Is there any use in talking and writing like this?
“Some activists [Mangla and Anupam] are fighting for us. We are expecting to get something we want through this fighting. I don’t know how to fight since I was not educated. However, if anyone helps and supports us for fighting, I would join and fight together. 2 months ago, I joined one meeting in Alahabad. Many people came and spoke out. They said “you must unite in order to fight for your all rights.”

5. Vije Klumar and his son Nakharu
Vije Klumar was making pot for hitting his house. In winter, musahar put the pot with straws firing in it inside the house for hitting. His wife died 4-5 months ago and he has only one son living together. His parents also passed away. He is weaving at Katwaru’s handloom in Raipur and came back home around 3 pm since he has to do housework including cooking. He has red ration card and now living in brick house which belongs to his uncle. He is demanding on his own house but people used to say that he doesn’t need his house because he is living in a house. He usually buy ration from the ration shop every month. When he has no money to get the ration, he borrow some money from other in the community. Last month, he had no work.

6. Working place of Majinu’s family ---- around Bramin Kamlakar Shukla’s house
Both Munna’s family and Majinu’s family are working in Kamlakar Shukla’s paddy field. According to Kamlakar Shukla’s wife, both of two families are paid one forth of total output as wage. In Anei village, there are two kinds of payment for agricultural labour. In the case that people are paid one forth of total output like these two families, they don’t pay any other expenses than their own labors. In the case that the farm owner pays 50% of total output, agricultural labourer has to pay 50% of all kind of expenses like seeds or fertilizer etc.


After short talking with Ramesh, I met one old man from chamar community of Anei village in front of Munna’s house. He has retired in 1994 from the textile department in Mumbai. He had worked as a superintendent. After getting the news from TV regarding Jigar’s hunger situation, he came to musahar community to look into Jigar’s condition. He wanted to give a lecture to enlighten the musahar especially focusing on importance of education.

No comments: