:::all things bright and beautiful:::

... from the land of hope

I have been lucky, honored (and all those corny sounding words whose meaning is nonetheless genuine and appropriate here) to be part of a training session for elected women from gram panchayats (village governance) of different states.

So the latest update from our quite forgotten villages is "hope". The villages from some regions it seems have kept up with changing times. Some however (esp. Bikaner) are still catering to the stereotypical thoughts of "village life" in our heads. They are still struggling with survival issues - water, food, basic health amenities.

Hope, though, blooms. These women, some literate, many not have learned and shared through songs, movies, and discussions. They learned about their roles and responsibilities, they became aware of gender inequalities... the rules and traditions that enforce them. They realigned their thinking and fought with social conditioning in their heads. They shared experiences (which were similar... after all people are people everywhere). They derived immense strength from being together and from all the similar situations, challenges, problems they faced.

How many will cause a major positive impact once they return remains to be seen but the very fact that there is such an encouraging start towards a better future at the grassroot level makes me happy.

I could feel that the place of learning and the organization was like an epicenter. The ripples of all things good and positive in the form of these informed women spreading to the far corners of our country forms a pretty pattern in my head.

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