CAS 1. (March 29, 2019): Power of Collective Action :

Village: Digia | District: Sitapur | Block: Misrikh | Village Organisation: Shakti Mahila

My name is Shashi, I am a member of Ganga Mahila self-help group, and the name of my village organization is Shakti Mahila. Today, I’ll be telling you a story of how collective action can bring about a change in rigorous conventional practices.

During the festival of Nagpanchmi in our village, there is an old traditional practice which has been going on since ages it involves beating of a cloth doll with a stick or a whip at the time of the evening on the crossroads.

One day during our VO meeting, I discussed this practice with our members, we came to the conclusion that we must bring an end to this practice as the doll here resembles our daughter. This age-old practice puts a clear light on the way woman and girls have been looked upon and treated in patriarchal society.

On the day of Nagpanchmi, the women of our village organization went to the crossroad where this practice was about to take place, we stood together and made the people understand of how wrong this practice is. After a very long debate and discussion, people agreed to put an end to it. Instead of beating the doll, the people unanimously decided to put a swing and decorated it with flowers, the doll was put on it and swayed. Seeing this the young girl present there very happy and everyone together sang a song –

तोड़कर ऐसी रिवाजे आगे बढ़ते जायेग े!

जिससे हो नारी दमन वह रीति ना अपनाएगे !!

The successful and collective efforts of Shakti Mahila Village Organisation put an end to the age-old evil practice, the entire village took an oath that they would spread the message across and celebrate the festival in a new way by celebrating their daughters in the entire block.

Ankit and Sara