Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Prajwala by Sunitha Krishnan

The safety of girls & women  in our country is a growing concern.So many girls  & women go missing year after year.Their missing complaints if filed ,are simply closed shut.Many families are better off without the girls & women  as they are themselves poor .Brother,fathers,uncles,aunts,granddads,-all are involved in selling off girls & women.Many times,it is they who violate the girl and or the women & then sell them in the flesh trade.They are exploited sexually & tortured horrendously which leaves scars for life.Girls as young as three to four years old are being violated physically as also mentally .Today it is some female,& tomorrow it could be any one of us.That is why ,an urgent need, to become aware & then prevent such abuse of the most horrific kind.

People in high places are selling off girls & women for prostitution . This is illegal trafficking of humans.If & when  some fortunate ones are rescued,their family members refuse to take them back fearing wrath of the community,society etc.So ,they are left to fend for themselves.They  are then sucked into the same cesspool from which they were rescued.

Prajwala means eternal flame.Prajwala is housed in Hyderabad. Prajwala manages 17 schools in Hyderabad for  5000 children .Prajwala has rescued 2500 survivors.Nearly 1500 survivors were personally set free by Sunitha Krishnan herself.Prajwala coordinates rescue work among governments,NGOs & corporations. Her efforts in this regard has led to partnership between NGOs & companies like Amul,Taj Group of Hotels & Heritage hospitals.The rehabilitated women have found jobs in the aforesaid companies.Prajwala has forged ties with UN & other NGOs in setting up printing & furniture shops wherein nearly 300 survivors have found a fresh lease of life !

In this regard,Prajwala is doing exemplary work. Prajwala an NGO,  is co founded by Dr.Sunitha Krishnan. She is the face of Prajwala. Prajwala rescues girls & women who are sold off in the flesh trade. Prajwala gives them shelter & rehabilitates them..Prajwala trains rescued  girls & women by training them in crafts like carpentry housekeeping, masonry,printing & welding. Psychological care is also provided to the survivors to overcome the trauma of sexual abuse & torture.

Image courtesy :Wikipedia
Dr Sunitha Krishnan

Sunitha Krishnan is herself ,a survivor of gang rape which happened when she was barely 15 years old.She is well educated with a Environmental Science,MSW in Psychiatric Social Work & Ph. D in Social Work.She is more than amply qualified for her pioneering work in this regard. Sunitha Krishnan has made the world take note of the scourge of flesh trade.She has been awarded many international & national awards for her pioneering work in this regard.She has been awarded the Perdita Huston International  Award for human rights-2007,Real Heroes award-2008,Vanitha Woman of the year-2009,Indiavision Person the year-2011,Global Leadership Award-2011,IRDS Safdar Hashmi Award 2012 for Human Rights,Stree Shakti Puraskar,Government of India ,etc.The UNODC -Real Heroes award for combating human trafficking has been conferred on Sunitha Krishnan in 2008.

Prajwala is doing a job, which we as a society and community, would just like to wish away.Hence, funds are extremely difficult to come by for such work though it is outstanding.Hence,I am doing my bit by writing about the awesome work that Sunitha Krishnan is doing by fighting against flesh trade which has brought & continues to bring untold misery to millions of women & children ,the world over .As someone rightly said ,"Progress is not wifi on every street .....progress is hen no thirteen year old will be sold on the streets."

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The blue file

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda 

 A young executive was nervously biting her nails.She had just been reprimanded in front of her colleagues & bosses & many who were outsiders.The outsiders were the the claim settlers.The claim settlers are the ones who settle insurance claims after processing the insurance claims.

 The executive,that is Sia was just staring into space-thinking hard.She tried to visualise the sequence of events.She & her colleague had made all preparations for this meeting.They had to go by what their lady boss,the Manager had told them to do.They had drafted letters,got them signed after corrections & re corrections by the Manager,kept the papers ready in files,numbered the files,& kept all other papers related to contentious issues in one blue file.Everything had been shown to the Manager.Her approval was sought & then only all papers & files were neatly piled in the conference room.

 The manager was too overbearing.She was just passing orders while she chatted & pushed the files.She never tried signing anything remotely related to claims .She was afraid of getting caught by Audit,Vigilance etal. She signed only reminder letters ,bills which were checked & rechecked by accounts departments ,etc. Sia had been scolded many times for her letter drafting.The manager would often wonder loudly if Sia attended school as the manager opined that Sia's drafting skills were pathetic & overflowing with errors-grammatical & even otherwise.Even Sia's collaegue had to bear many such brickbats.Both Sia & her colleague just managed to bow their heads & nod whenever their boss fired them.They had no option.After all ,she was the boss.Their promotions were  at her discretion.

 Sia's collegaue ,Shashank asked her,"You are sure,the file was in the conference room ? " Sia nodded & yet she failed to understand how it disappeared from there. Shashank & Sia started rummaging their tables,the cupboards ,the tables of their neighbours & yet the file, just refused to be traced.Their colleagues opined, that it must have gone to table of the General Manager.A clerk was sent for to search it there.The blue file was not there as well.

 Shashank said,"Sia ,I think one last ditch effort is to go & ask our boss if the file is on her table."Sia looked at Shashank in disbelief. Sia argued,"Shashank ,she has fired me & now if I go & ask her if that file is on her table ,she will throw me out of the office .Shashank said "What is the  harm in trying ? She is addicted to scolding us.We have to find the file.She is not going to search for us.That is our job."

 Sia very reluctantly knocked on the door of her boss' cabin.'Come in ,Sia." her boss called out."Sia,please collect that blue file -it was lying in my cabin.You never told me ,it was here ." Sia collected the blue file & walked out of the cabin. Shashank asked "Did the Manager apologise ? " Sia said ," No ,she said that we never told her that we had kept the blue file in her cabin " Shashank said,"Yeah,now I remember.We had taken the file for her approval.She said that we must leave the file on her table & she will get back to us." And she did get back to them & how .Both Sia & Shashank had a good laugh  because they had got the file back.They knew ,next time around,any papers go missing,the first place to search would be the Manager's cabin !

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The women in my life !

This is my blog post entry for Celebrating Girls,Celebrating Women contest on Women's web. 

When I was born ,my dad was away, with his friends.My paternal granny was very angry with my dad & she chided him no end.My paternal grandparents who stayed with us were thrilled with me -the first grandchild ! I was pampered no end.The birth of a girl ,  that is me ,was a cause of celebration !

I was brought a bottle to drink milk when I saw my baby brother sucking from a bottle & screamed for it.My granny would filter chaas or curds for me as I hated malai  which I do, to this day ! They wanted me to have curds -perhaps to cool me down. Gran would soak jalebis in water to soften them as I refused to eat hard jalebis ! All would comment ,"You are spoiling the girl ".And my gran continued to adore me.As I would retort back & argue at every statement ,many said that I was like my gran.The real test for my grandmom  was when I came of age.We are a very orthodox sect.So ,I was told to sit away for three days.One of our family friends learnt about this & talked to my granny.Next time onwards,I was treated normally as on other days of the month.Looking back,I feel ,my grand mom was simply waiting to embrace the new age beliefs that period or not ,a woman is the same, on all days of the month.

My bua or atya wanted a girl child.She became mother to two boys .This made her more near to me as she thinks I am her daughter as well.I am the only girl child in my family as also my bua's family.When I got my job,I brought sarees for my mom as also my atya. My bua was overwhelmed & she went about declaring this to the world ! Even now ,she buys clothes & other things  for me & I in turn, keep her in mind when I go shopping.Sometimes,we even shop together ! My bua could not study beyond school as money was hard to come by .That was the reason, she complimented me, when I became a double graduate .She feels, that it is she ,who has graduated not once but twice !

My mom has supported me through thick & thin.She keeps chiding me for arguing & fighting with my hubby & kid.She has taught me to cook & most important ,she still searches things for me when they are supposedly lost - which is most, of the times ! She took care of my baby while I went to office.She is very level headed & has ensured that I act practical, in life !

My  saas or mother in law is a gem of a person ! Whenever I go to her home,I just sit idle & gorge on food.I never get to do any work as I visit her once in a while ! She is thrilled, that I manage to wrap a saree on myself on occasions.She is content with the fact, that I am there, to take care of her son.

My bhabis are very understanding & we are like friends exchanging notes on kids,their studies,recipes,jobs,hobbies etal.In fact,sometimes,I feel more closer to them than to my brothers !

My only child ,a daughter & my neices ( again -the only child in their families ) are the youngest members in our families .My daughter was named by her paternal grandpa as she was the first girl grand child .The way they get treated, makes me wonder ,who is being discriminated & how  ! My daughter eats very few things- so bhindi fry is a weekly item through the year ! Another is paneer & chhole. Just for three persons,I end up cooking so many things.It is frustrating.I & my hubby have to keep adjusting to my daughter's whims & fancies.Even, when we go out for dinner,my daughter makes it very clear that she would prefer Punjabi or pizza or burger & we both end up eating stuff which she loves ! If this is the condition of the food ,one can imagine that all other things also are her way only.She is forever on her smartphone though she is a teen.My husband keeps chiding me that I must discipline her.He cannot do as he is busy touring,he says.The real reason, is that he cannot bear to annoy her & be in her bad books.

My neices are very loveable & affectionate just like other girls.They are doted by their grandparents,parents & all others.I am sure ,positive discrimination ( enshrined  in the Indian Constitution) favouring girls  & women  which is part of our family tradition, will continue to get stronger by the day ! Well ,this is what celebrating girls,celebrating women is all about !

Monday, March 11, 2013

Seva for all

There are a lot of needs in this world which remain unfulfilled .Many charitable organizations are making Herculean efforts to address the needs. Philanthropy is many cases is very specific.Some will address needs of homeless kids by providing shelters & educating them & yet another one will take care of older people who have nowhere to go.I have always dreamt that there must be one organization which can devote itself to wants of many -the kids,senior citizens,etal.

This is because ,I feel that kids & elder get along so fabulously -they get so attached to each other in no time.My daughter is a case in point.She is always enquiring from my parents whenever they go back to my brother's home,"When are you coming back ?"Elders can help with the studies of the youngsters & guide them in life.Youngsters can assist the elders in learning new age fundas like operating the mobiles,computers,etc.In effect ,they can complement each other.

One of my e-mates sorry, friend on my email list had sent me this mail about Sevalaya as they were looking for funds. As I read about Sevalaya ,it became clear, that this is the one, which was very comprehensive as it caters to  orphans,senior citizens, rural women.Moreover ,it is for all irrespective of caste ,creed, religion,gender etc.It is in rural Tamil Nadu, in Kasuva hamlet near Thiruninravur,to the west of Chennai. Sevalaya means temple of service.It is service for those who have  nowhere to go as they are too poor.

Sevalaya has separate homes for destitute boys & girls- the Swami Vivekananada Boys home & the Mother Teresa  Girls home respectively.It runs a medical centre-Mahatma Gandhiji medical centre for the inmates of Sevalaya as also for the villagers .This is so, as the nearest hospital for the hamlet is nearly 6 km away in Thiruninravaur.

Image courtesy : Home page of Sevalya 

Sevalaya runs a school- the Mahakavi Bhartiyar Higher secondary school which provides free education to the children of the Kasuva & the surrounding villages.Even uniforms are provided free of cost.The villagers being very poor, could not afford to send their kids to school. Sevalaya's gesture of free education has changed all that .The result is that nearly 1450 kids are now enrolled in the Mahakavi Bhartiyar Higher secondary school. Sevalaya also runs the Swami Vivekananda Library & reading room for making reading popular among the youth.The library is free.It also has a mobile van, to carry books to the villagers for free ,once in a week.

Crafts like book binding ,screen printing ,tailoring ,wire bag making etc are a part of the school syllabus in Sevalaya. This is possible through the Kasthurba Craft centre at Sevalaya .Rural women are being trained in tailoring, with the result, that many women have been gainfully employed- on their own & in export units.This is empowerment of women which is the the utmost need of the day & age ! Moreover ,it is in at the grass root level, in the villages !

The old age  home is run by Sevalaya for those elders who have no one to take  care .These elders cannot opt for old age homes where they have to pay for being cared for.Hence Sevalaya runs this old age home -Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa Old Age home for such senior citizens.The elders keep themselves busy by watering the gardens,cutting vegetables ,making envelopes etc.

The Vinobhaji Goshala is another foray by Sevalaya.This houses cows which yield milk & those which are past the milk yielding age.The milk is consumed by inmates at Sevalaya & the remaining  milk is sold in the nearby villages to supplement the numerous activities of Sevalaya. Organic manure is made at Sevalaya by vermin compost method.It is used in the garden & marketed as well.A green gesture  symbolising waste management .

Sevalaya is the brainchild of Mr.V.Muralidharan & his friends who were inspired by the  ideals of Mahatma Gandhi ,Mahakavi Bharatiyar & Swami Vivekananda. Sevalaya's first home for children opened on 29th May,1988.Many corporates,clubs,public associations & well wishers from India & abroad fund the numerous activities of Sevalaya.

The success of Sevalaya has prompted Sevalaya to establish units in 2011 & 2012 - in Vadanallur village in Kanchivaram district & another in Aayular village respectively. Sevalaya has a dream project -of starting its own University !

Sevalaya has been swamped with many awards - Bharathi award,Best Green Campus award,Pramerica Award,Best "Social Reformer" ,"Karuna Ratna",Mudhalvan award,Seva Ratna award,& many more.

Sevalaya works on three basic principles - service for all without any discrimination,free service & service with love & affection.This is service, in its truest sense !

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The doll.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by 

Mini was scared .She was a little girl,  all of eight years.She refused food though her amma had cooked her favourite bhindi fry.Her mom asked,"Shall I make maggi for you ?" Mini said ,"No." Her dad said,"Come ,beta.I will feed you today."'No ,appa .I want to watch tv." Her mom looked for her toy - a doll which had been gifted by her Uncle.The toy could not be found.

She kept watching tv & that too without interest.She would look here & there & just wander around.Her parents could not follow what had happened.A week went by & Mini was still subdued unlike the chatterbox that she was.She would turn in her bed & get up frequently .Her parents asked her many times if she was having dreams .She would just keep quiet & try to cover the whole body with the bedsheet. Slowly ,she returned to her original self.Soon, all was forgotten.Mini tried to forget as well.She succeeded to some extent. Her dad was transferred to a new place, on his promotion.

Mini was all grown up now.She had completed her MBA .She was working with an MNC.Her parents started looking for a match for her.One day her dad said,"Remember the Guptas ? We stayed together in that township in Tarapur ? " Mini was suddenly jolted,"Yes,daddy." How could she forget ? She had tried to & yet it was buried deep in her mind.Even physically.Her dad said,"Their younger son is an Engineer & is working in US.They asked if you are ready to meet him.?"  "No ,Daddy," let me enjoy being single for some more time.It is just now that I have become independent.Let me explore my freedom." Her mother chipped in ," Just meet him & then you can decide if you are ready to get hooked. Marraiage will not be immediate."Mini said," Ma,please don't insist." Her mom & dad kept pestering her over the next few days.She had realised what had happened with her that night.She had felt ashamed.Was it her fault ? No,she was sure that she was not to be blamed.She felt  a longing for that doll after so many years.

Mini wanted to tell them that she would not have minded meeting other boys.The sons of Gupta family were not welcome.Actually ,the elder one.She recalled how, that night, some neighbours including Guptas & her parents had gone for a movie leaving the kids in Gupta's home.Gupta's eldest son was in Medical college in the first year.He was home for the weekend.His  grandmom was at home.There were many kids in that house that day-maybe ten or eleven.They started playing hide & seek.Mini had taken her favourite toy ,the doll with her to keep company. Gupta's eldest son was seeking out all the kids.It was his turn.He put off the lights in the room.All screamed.Then he started finding them all.He called out to Mini.He said,"Mini ,please come out-I know ,you are behind the table."Mini started moving towards him.Then she remembered her doll.He shouted,"Mini,come here.You are out." Mini said,"Bhaiyya,I am searching for my doll."'He replied,"Its with me." Mini was able to make out in the dark ,that Bahiyya was holding her doll in his hands.She went to get her doll.He grabbed Mini & made her sit on his lap as he sat on a chair.He handed her the doll.She got busy with the doll.His left hand gripped her waist tightly.His right hand began working on her frock.Slowly,he slid his hand inside her frock & started fiddling her genitals.She felt awful.She shouted,"Its hurting." He laughed & his hands began twisting & pinching her insides.His fingers entered her soft insides .It pained her She felt, she would urinate then itself.What will Bhaiyya think ? .'His hands moved to her chest & pinched her chest many times.'She kept struggling to move away & his grip kept tightening.She screamed.Somebody switched on the light. Bhaiyya hurriedly pushed Mini away from his lap .He got up & started playing with others .Mini was not the same anymore. She felt the pain.She did not know what had happened.Why did Bhaiyya hurt her ? Was this some sort of game ? Was she a doll, in the hands of Bhaiyya ? She never hurt her doll.She loved her doll.If she was a doll,why had Bhaiyya pinched her chest & at other places ?

She ran to the bathroom & urinated.She felt relieved.She wanted to change her clothes.Her knickers felt wet.She waited for her parents to come back .It seemed like eternity.When they returned,she went away with them to the safe confines of her home.

Mini  hated her doll.Because her doll was with Bhaiyya ,she had gone to Bhaiyya & he had hurt her.Maybe ,if the doll was not there,she would have been spared.She threw the doll away.From that day ,Mini had stopped playing with dolls.She gave them all away.Her parents were happy that Mini was growing up.Little did they realise what had caused all this growth.

Mini came back to the present. She decided to confide in her parents.She bared her past to them.They were shocked.Mini said," How can I even think about meeting Gupta's younger son.? "Her parents agreed.They felt sorry that they had been unable to read the signs into her behaviour. They called up the Guptas  to inform their daughter was  keen on her job & so giving up her job & moving to US was not possible.Mini was glad that she had shared her pain with her parents who had understood her.She decided that she must start helping those who had survived nightmares like her.She joined an NGO .She came to terms with her agony.She being with the NGO, helped her to share the pains & also ways of overcoming them.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...