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Indian farmers selling wives and daughters to survive drought

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Archived_Member16, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
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    source: INDIA Indian farmers selling wives and daughters to survive drought - Asia News#

    Indian farmers selling wives and daughters to survive drought

    Nirmala Carvalho

    09/14/2009

    As farm production collapses, thousands of women are sold to pay off debts. The authorities say reports are overblown but politicians are struck by incredulity. Father Anand, from the Indian Missionary Society, says no one should be surprised by what is happening. The affected area “is one of the most backward regions of the country,” with a male-dominated patriarchal society.

    [​IMG] New Delhi (AsiaNews) – Debt-ridden farmers in Bundelkhand (Uttar Pradesh) have reportedly been compelled to sell their wives and daughters to moneylenders in order to survive the drought that is currently ravaging much of India. The situation is such that State authorities have launched an investigation. The National Commission for Women is also sending a team to investigate the reports.

    India’s farming sector was dealt a heavy blow this year with half of the country reeling from drought. In a number states entire farming villages have been abandoned and scores of farmers have taken their own lives. But never before had there been reports about women and girls being sold to pay off debts or help families stave off hunger.

    Victims in this trade have said that women can cost anywhere between 4,000 (US$ 75) to 12,000 rupees (US 225); the prettier the face, higher the amount the woman fetches. Officially, the sale is garbed up as a formal marriage contract (Vivaha Anubandh).
    In Uttar Pradesh, this has led to heated exchanges between the State’s political parties. The ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has come under severe criticism. Kumari Mayawati, also known as the ‘Dalit queen’ because of her low or untouchable caste origins, leads the party.

    State officials have said that the issue has been blown out of proportion. They say that claims that thousands of women are involved in this kind of people trafficking are unproven, and that those making them are doing it for partisan reasons. Politicians at both the local and national levels are incredulous. However, Father Anand, a priest with the Indian Missionary Society and a former director of the Vishwa Jyoti Communications (VJC) in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, is not.

    “It is not shocking to hear that women are being sold in the Bundelkhand region. This is one of the most backward regions of the country,” he told AsiaNews.

    “I have toured various parts of Bundelkhand in the last two decades along with my street theatre troupe trying to bring awareness on social issues,” he said.

    The group he headed, the VJC, is dedicated to human rights protection through the promotion of education, culture and the arts. It sponsors groups that travel from rural village to rural village.
    “When we visited the villages of Banda, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Chitrakoot and Jhansi districts, it was a tough job to get the women to come out of their houses,” he said.

    “Once outside, their faces are fully covered. They watch our programmes with their index and middle finger holding the edges of their sarees around their eyes, opening up minimum space to see what takes place in front of them. Although we couldn’t see their faces, we saw fear, looming around; fear of the men folk, who do not allow any woman to talk or interact with outsiders.”

    “These women have to walk miles to fetch water and fuel. They tend the cattle and do jobs in the fields. But all this is done with faces covered—like the horse on the road with a cloth around its eyes, so that it sees nothing else, but only the road just in front”.

    “The ghoonghat (veil) is a symbol of the hegemony of men folk, not allowing the woman to see anything around her, but only her husband. She is just a victim of his passion and desires, a commodity to be used and sold after that.”

    The selling of wives and daughters are symptomatic of Bundelkhand’s backwardness and underdevelopment. For Mgr Frederick D’Souza, bishop of Jhansi, “Bundelkhand is one of the most backward and neglected regions of the country, and whilst I am deeply saddened” by the media coverage, I “hope this will bring some awareness of the poverty and backwardness in the region and galvanise the authorities and other people of good will to help.”

    For the past 30 years, the Church has been involved in the area, the bishop said. Our “sisters have been in the forefront in starting self-help groups for women, vocational training for girls, crèches for babies and infants, and many other non-formal technical training activities with the focus on helping our woman and giving them a sense of self worth, dignity and economic independence.”

    The Jhansi Catholic Seva Samaj, a social welfare organisation sponsored by the diocese, has been working with women of all ages, social background and faith.

    “Hindus make up more than 65 per cent of the [state’s] population, Muslims around 30 and Christians are not even 1 per cent,” the prelate said.

    “Our welfare ministry never discriminates on the basis of religion; our mission seeks to serve the people, helping help them to live with human dignity. But the work is hard, going against age-old traditions and customs that seem unshakable.”


     
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  3. Randip Singh

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    Although I appreciate the news item, I have one problem with it. It is written by Catholics whose main aim is to convert.

    ...this sounds like the Catholic religion to me....substitute region with religion.
     
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  4. Sagefrakrobatik

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    I would have to disagree with you. Why would he make that comment of a particular region when the whole Country is primarily Hindu and Christians make up less of the population than Sikhs. Besides he even said it was not about religion. The fact is that this practice was happening in Afghanistan where the farmers who grew opium had to supplement there incomes because of droughts and other agricultural irregularities that they too sold their daughters for money.
     
  5. faujasingh

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    We can appreciate their zeal and dedication to help the poor with the bible in one hand and a loaf in another however we also need to understand that in order to reach the loaf the bible will have to be accepted first. This is conditional seva. This might not be published along but thats how business is.
     
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  6. spnadmin

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    faujasingh ji

    I think it is a kind of "conditional" seva if your theory is correct. A good meal, some shelter, but with strings attached.

    And, randip singh ji should call attention to the possible biases by considering the source of the document. I did not think of it that way. Now I am glad he did.
     
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  7. harbansj24

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    Yes, this is conditional seva.

    But we should atleast learn from the catholic missionaries and try to adopt their motivation, zeal, organisation and sincerity of approach, before we can talk of unbiased seva.
     
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  8. harbansj24

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    This issue has been elegantly dealt with in simple but beautiful novel "Baba Naudh Singh" by Bhai Vir Singh.
     
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  9. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    When the White Man first came..he had the Bible..and the Natives had the Land...
    Soon after..the Natives had the Bible..and the White man had the Land !!
    Now the White Man has the Bible and the Loaf...( made from centuries of looting the Land)......??? what do the Natives have ?? NOTHING...except something called "independence"...!!! he he EH ??:crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy::crazy:
     
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  10. Randip Singh

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    No. This article is written from a site whose main is to convert. The concern is secondary.

    When 50,000 Sikhs mobilised to feed victims of the Gujrat Earthquake, they did it without judgement or prejudice. I am not saying Sikhs are perfect, but at least they do not have ulterior motives to convert.
     
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  11. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Gyani ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    Very well put. The natives also have drinking, drug and have caught many diseases and have many other problems now that did not exist before the white man came flaunting his Bible. The same Bible thumper also has given the natives the licence to open casinos on their lands all around the US which is only benefiting the white man still holding the Bible rather than the native community.

    There are "Indian smoke shops" in Las Vegas and all around the country where cigarettes are sold between $15.00 to $20.00 less a carton than any other stores because the Bible thumper who owns the Cigaratte companies and the legislature decided that the Natives do not have to pay any local or federal taxes. This is a nice way to get addicted to something that sells much cheaper than in the other markets.

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  12. faujasingh

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    Hahahahaha ..Gyani ji .tussi great ho...very well said...I had been speak to one of my white clients of white origin and he said this.I have seen documentries on the national geographic where the commentators go to the extent of saying that the europeans were a curse to the world !

    Now we dont blame all whites..I have some good white friends and all of them agree that changing someone's culture also disturbs the eco cycle of that land.

    A few years ago, I dont remember whether in gujarat or madhya pradesh, in there were riots between tribals . One group was neo convert to christianity and another was as what they had been, followers of Nature, in christian term 'pagans'. The riots happened because the 'pagans' followed a certain custom of not cultivating the land during a particular time, the neo converts were advised by the missonaries to stop the custom. There was an altercation between the 2 groups and things just erupted.

    Anything foriegn clashing with the local customs does cause feud. The tribal faiths do not have any method of conversion or missonary zeal. They are opposing missionaries since they know that thier traditions are in danger.
     

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