The Past of Bargarh

Tribal dominated area of Chitrakoot district Bargarh is located 15 km away from Mau development block headquarters in south-east direction. Population of hundreds of villages close to Bargarh is tribal dominated and comprises 70 per cent Kols, 20 per cent scheduled castes and other backward castes and 10 per cent upper castes. This area has hills and forests. Main tourist attraction here is a temple of local god 'Paranoo Baba', located on a hillock. Bargarh boasts of a railway station, as well as a market, where people purchase items of daily consumption.

Natural resources in Bargarh include tendu leaves, from which beedis are made for smoking. The forest resources are managed by the Uttar Pradesh Forest Corporation. Sand prepared by breaking boulders is used for making glass. Nearly 75 per cent of tribals and scheduled castes are engaged in breaking stones as labourers. Sand, boulders and stone slabs are sent by the contractors outside. Keeping in view the utility of these natural resources, the government had set up a glass factory here, but the factory could not run because of political reasons. As a result, labours are not getting proper wages and the condition of women is worse.

Because of remote location of villages, women are exploited mentally, physically and socially. As a result, women became victim of lack of education, illness and economic backwardness. The following are the main inhibiting factors in the development of women:

  • Control of influential people and government's forest department over natural resources. Women contribute a great deal in 'production process' of these natural resources as they help their men in preparation of sand (by breaking stones), stone slabs, boulders, etc. Cartage, cutting and finishing (of stone slabs) is done by women. In return they get very meagre wages at the rate of Rs 25 to 30 a day.
  • Because of poor economic status, women are frequently victim of physical exploitation.
  • Population is increasing on a very fast pace because of lack of knowledge of family planning.
  • There are no facilities for women at government/block level. And whatever they are available, lack quality. As a result, women (and children) suffer from illiteracy and illness.
  • Guardians of women (men) are plagued with vices like gambling, liquor, ganja, smoking, etc., because of illiteracy. As a result the families face financial crunch and they often remain at loggerheads. The victims of this are invariably women.
  • The families show great concern over the marriage of girls, but they do not show the same concern for education of girls. The families treat girls as a burden and try to marry of the girls as soon as possible to get rid of this burden. Early marriage of girls makes remaining life of girls a hell.
  • Purdah system (practice of covering head by women) is deep rooted among the people here. As a result new brides do all the work, including labour, with their heads covered. After coming back to homes, they can only see boundary walls of their homes. All the roads for them to come forward are close.
  • Instead of revealing the diseases, women have habit of hiding them for their entire lives.
  • Diseases continued over the generations because of lack of knowledge regarding primary health care as well as upbringing of children among women
  • Nearly 10 per cent of the total population is suffering from respiratory diseases out of which women account for half.
  • Diarrhoea and malaria often take epidemic form.
  • Women are unable to take benefits of government schemes because of lack of knowledge about them.