Inequality is one of the major factors that is one of the concers of division,disparity and discrimination. I feel it i sthe most challenging as well as a serious problem that we are facing today. It is also catagarizes people in to certain frames and there is the problem.
We know that these categories are harming the society, yet we are not ready to denounce them. This is resulting in unjust and unfaireness in the society. Inequality doesnot allow justice and fairness , rather it brings other dimentions like profit and development which expolite people.
The field immersion was an experience to witness, to acknowledge and to reflect upon inequality that has been dividing the community in the name of development and profit. The whole experience with the villagers could be put in the justice lence where I was able to make some introspection that would lead me in to reflection.
I would reflect with the concept Anthyodaya of MK Gandhi which clearly states that the betterment of the last and the least indiviual in the society would bring about a swaraj that is of a just and fairer society.
As part of our immersion programme I was palced with an NGO called AFARM and were guided to be part of some of the villages near Pune. Thus I enterd the village Bandewadi – Sriram Nagar, Haveli Taluka of Pune District. A small village with 450- 500 families was a typical village that was influenced by the modernity and development. The accesseabity to NH48 and to Pune city has made this village to develop into a better village.
The emergence of industrial growth in the nearby areas, real estate boom due to the extention and growth of Pune city and easy accessability of transport has brought in many people from other places as residents as well as migrants in the village.
The observation as well as the converstaion that I had with the vilagers halped me to see that the village that looked normal from outside had inequality in a subtle way. It was also multi-dimentional which is vast and has gone deep in to the lives of people. At times it was not only subtle but also invisible. I would like to see this componant of inequality that is very much verymuch evident among the Maratas and the others ( dalits, OBC’s and migrents) in the village
The village had a structre and was divided according to the caste.The upper caste- hindu maratas were the sons of soil and were the dominating caste and class. Then there were the dalits living outside the village in Kude Vasti with another margianalized group called the Sathes. The OBC Sauthamalis lived separately in the other corner of the village. The migrents who were economically well off were living in Laukik Apartments and the the economically disadvantaged lived in the village as tenents in the village.
The agricultral land was compleatly owned by the upper caste Marata men. They had the best water resources that helped them in irrigation. They were able to cultivate well and thus increase their income. The lower caste and the migrents were deprived of land and other resources. They worked as daliy wage labourers in and around the village.
Religion and culture were another componets that made the lower caste vulnarable. They did not have their dalit gods insted they are some how forced to incorporate themselves in to the mainstream hindu religion. The celebration of Gauri-Ganesh, Satyanarayan Pooja and every dalit house having a special place for the hindu deity was some thing that I noticed.
The land, the income generated due to the close proximity to the NH48 and because of this income the education that the Marathas received has palced them into a special class compared to others. This is verymuch visible through the lifestyle, through the way of going about with modernity and the intrest for the specilized as well as higher education.
The technological initerventions in agriculture, irrigatiopn and transport have put them in to advantages situvations over others in the village. On the other hand the dalits and the OBC’s including the lower class migrents live in a very poor conditions. The lack of choices that that they have for the education does not allow them to dream big. Due to lack of economical as well as social conditions they are deprived of the benefits that the maratas enjoy.
The class based advantages situations have made the maratas politically strong. Their affinity with the political parties and people have helped them to get the desired benefits in terms of various subsidies, government interventions in the various development projects concerning their land and business.
The anothe important camponat that I saw was from Gender lence. There is highest inequality with regard to gender and other aspects regarding to it. Patriarchy was very much eveident among the Maratas as well as the others. Women had minimum role in the social, religious, political and any other decision making spheares.
One of the intresting part that we witnessed for the whole of 7 days of Ganesh celebrations were, none of the women from the village were near the ganesh pedal and none were allowed to do the arthi. Women were very comfortable with this act.
The opportunities for female were very much lower compared to male in the village. There was sensatization with regard to education but some how people were not ready for the higher education of their girl children. ( only a few who have joined the masters programme from the Marata community.) The wage inequality was another important aspect that could be connected to gender inequality. Women were paid less that the men for the same amount of work and even in the factories for the same skilled work.
Intrestingly due to the reservation system there has been importence given to women who hold the decision making power in the village. But it is their husbands who decide what decision the women have to take. The concientization and women empowerment have very less effects on this matter.
Economic inequality was another important aspect that disturbed me much. There was huge gap between maratas and others. The land that the maratas owned has made a tramendus difference because of the business opportunities that have comeup in the area. Sadly the lower sections of the community can do nothing about it.
The lower sections of the village are been marginalized and the underpriviledged for years.The wealth, the income, the inequal opportunitues have divided the village. I feel the gap between the rich and the poor is not onl continuing but also increasing, on a rise.
These twelve days have made me to think and reflect about the inclusive and wholistic growth, where equity principal is taken into consideration and betterment of the society is achived. This is possible through enlightening the minds i.e. the education which can bring about a change by countering the inequality and making this world a better place to live.