How these Dalit and tribal women from rural Madhya Pradesh are making themselves heard

12, Oct 2015

Monday, 12 October 2015 – 4:00pm IST | Agency: dna webdesk
In 2008, a few Dalit women from a village in Dabhora block in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh were denied their basic right to fetch water by local goons. The prevailing apathy in the country’s system meant their pleas to the local police and administration went unheeded.
Cornered into fending for themselves, the women instead of blaming the existing system, took the matter in their own hands. They started Bahini Darbar, a 10-page newsletter, which covers the issues of Dalits and tribals in Rewa. The monthly, handwritten in Bagheli, also educates locals of their rights. Copies of the handwritten newsletter are then distributed among locals for Rs 10 each.
In the last seven years, Bahini Darbar has grown leaps and bounds with the number of women running it increasing from 15 to 35 and the newsletter reaching 700 villages in Dabhora block. All this was achieved by the women without having access to a printing press. The women have turned a centuries-old malaise of casteism into an opportunity and are leading a movement of literacy and empowerment.


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