In Rajasthan, a visually impaired man puts his life on the line to get a concrete road built.
Video Volunteers (VV) runs India’s only reporting network that’s focused exclusively on providing broad coverage from the poorest, most media-dark districts in India. We currently have 206 individuals trained across India’s most diverse and marginalised communities, who all earn a living as a VVCommunity Correspondent (CC). Our goal is to grow our network to ensure India’s poorest and most conflict-ridden districts have a video producer and news outlet.
“That boy wouldn’t have died had there been a road in the village. Two-three women also died in childbirth. I couldn’t take this,” says Hanuman Gujjar, a visually impaired man, about why he started a campaign to get the three kilometre road to his village concretised.
Hanuman lost his eyesight at the age of eight. With a single-minded determination that comes from overcoming obstacles all his life, Hanuman took on the challenge of improving life in his village.
The 300 odd residents of Gandayata Village in Rajasthan’s Sawai Madhopur District could not remember a time when there was a concrete road leading up to their village. In its absence, they walked through fields; narrow dirt tracks. Everyone from the Auxiliary Nurse Midwife, to farmers to the school teacher and the Village Head were exasperated by the inconveniences faced. Pregnant women, and sick people who had to be transported 8 kilometres to the nearest hospital in makeshift cots. Farmers found it difficult to get their produce – red chillies the area is famous for – to the markets.
In February 2010, Hanuman, along with other community members, started a five-year-long concerted effort to fix this situation. The problem was two-fold. The only possible road would have to built through fields belonging to the powerful Gujjar community. They were not willing to part with the land even after the community collected money to pay them. On the other hand the authorities responsible kept passing the buck between them.
Meanwhile, the community, who are mostly wage workers, had lost hope and had more or less left Hanuman to fight the battle on his own. Hanuman persisted, and escalated the matter from the Village Head to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Revenue Officer, Land Record Officer, Governor, and finally the then Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot. At regular intervals, they drummed up the local media’s interest in the issue as well.
It was in 2015 that matters came to a head. At a lok adalat (government-run legal camps), the community submitted multiple applications to the Sub District Magistrate demanding a decision on the road. Hanuman Gujjar submitted an application threatening to commit suicide if the matter was not resolved in 8 days. “On 8th August 2015, we got our road,” says Hanuman. The threat had convinced the landowners to part with a section of their farms.
The new road had made a remarkable difference to the lives of the community. It is evident as they beam at the camera, praising Hanuman for his dogged determination. The story is an inspiring example of not being bound by physical limitations.
“Researchers Find 12,000 Pieces Of Microplastic Per Litre Of Arctic Ice”
“80-Kg Polythene Waste Removed From Cow’s Stomach After A Three-Hour Surgery”
“Pacific Garbage Patch Is Now Three Times The Size Of France”
These are a few news headlines from the past couple of months. No matter how much we try to deny it, over the course of time, plastic has become a part and parcel of our lives and it is destroying the environment and also endangering lives of animals.
While we have been made to believe that plastic is an indispensable part of our lives, it is destroying everything around us. According to UN Environment, about one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute around the world. Also, up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year. This means that almost half of the plastic created in the world is thrown away after a single-use.
All this plastic now ends up either in landfills or in the ocean. The marine life is heavily endangered because of plastic. Reports of aquatic animals dying of plastic pollution are increasing every day. A study from 2015 found around 44,000 incidences of animals getting entangled in plastic debris since 1960s. Plastic, that disintegrates into smaller pieces, are often eaten by smaller fish, which the ultimately ends up in our stomach. That is carcinogenic for human beings.
It is in this context that Indiabulls Home Loans has decided to do its bit and contribute to a plastic free environment. Setting the tone in its own offices, the company has decided to do away with single-use plastic bags and bottles at work.
As a special Independence Day initiatives, they have come up with a beautiful video #PlasticSeAzaadi. In the video, set against the backdrop of an Independence Day celebration at school children discuss the demerits of plastic use and how it is detrimental to the environment.
As with many important matters in life, it is children who recognize the right path and set the example. If they can, then why it is that adult can’t?
The Logical Indian appreciates Indiabulls Home Loansfor such a noble and necessary initiative to make our world a better place. We might not realize now, but the effects of excessive plastic could lead to ultimate destruction of Earth. We are ready to give up plastic, are you?