It is not normal in Uttar Pradesh villages to have land in the name of women. However, Phoolkali, member of Suraj SHG under Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana has broken all norms and hierarchies prevalent in her village Kapurpur in Chattoh block of Amethi district. This illiterate woman belonging to Scheduled Caste family has faced all sort of subjugation including untouchability and discrimination before she became member of the SHG. SHG was a turning point and nobody could hold her back since she joined SHG six years ago. She has stopped wearing the purdha. Her children, a boy, and girl are both going to school. Husband, an MNREGA worker consults her in all family matters and decisions are always taken jointly. Though she never went to school, her primary goal is to educate her daughter as much as she wants. Though the family owned only three biswa land, she had availed loans from SHGs and had been cultivating about 3 bigha land by taking land on lease. Agriculture has become the major source of livelihood for her family. Her greatest achievement is the purchase of two biswa land in her name and construction of a house in it. She owns three buffaloes and two goats too. Her determination, courage, and volunteerism helped her to become a leader in agriculture and she is also the President of the village organization of SHGs of Kapurpur village viz., Shiv Shakti Mahila Gram Saghathan. Phoolkali is a shred of evidence as to how SHGs break barriers and helps to unfold the true potential of woman irrespective of her caste, educational and economic status.
PS Mohanan and C S Pandey, December 2018