Sunday, 8 March 2009

Sunday Blessings - He made them Female

Today, March 8th is
International Women 's Day
In my country the woman is worshipped as a goddess
but she is also shoved into a backstreet kitchen
to breathe the choking fumes of family needs and demands
and cover her face with the tattered veil
of her family pride
She is ensconced in the lap of luxury and
raised on the pedestal of power and position
She walks the pebbly path of daily existence
weaving her way through home and work life,
A woman of substance
Queen of the corporate world
Excelling in the sphere of
the arts, science, sports,medicine
business and technology

Ever so often she is lucky to be alive
as she might fall a prey to female feoticide,
infant mortality dowry death,
violence, crime and human trafficking,.
But she will not be satisfied just
sitting on the edge of time
She will wear a smile on her face
and with hope shining in her eyes
walk through the corridors of the universe .

This is Simran.
The little girl I tried to tutor.
Her mother, who is a product of learning disability and excessively doting parents, is unable to recognize her needs.
Simran came to me for a couple of days and then her mother stopped bringing her , saying she could not afford the transport ($1 per day).
I too don 't have the means to go to her house to
coach her with her lessons.
I am just praying that she
does well in her exams.
Simran will be 8 years old in
She is a very bright and intelligent child.

Bija Devi (Seed Goddess)

Seeds of a quiet revolution
Bija Devi is the custodian of hundreds of varieties of rice, wheat and pulses - seeds she preserves for future generations........Aditya Ghosh

Bija Devi had a tough time recently explaining what gehu (wheat) was to a group of German students who had come all the way to her farm to learn about what they thought was a long-lost variety of wheat.
Bija Devi’s seed bank at her farm near Dehradun in the foothills of the Himalayas has over a thousand varieties of ‘lost’ cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables, and over 500 varieties of rice alone, though she’s clueless about their scientific names.
Bija Devi (as she is known) has worked as a farmer since she was seven, has never been to school and isn’t sure about her own age (she says she is in her early 40s).
But she has become a focal point in the field of rescuing and conserving crops and plants that have been sacrificed to modern farming. She began under the guidance of green activist Vandana Shiva, who started a movement across the country to save seeds for future generations. Bija Devi’s work now attracts researchers, students and scientists from all over the world and agricultural universities in the US and Europe send her their students as summer trainees for six months.
“She has to learn some English terms fast,” laughs Vinod Bhatt, additional director of the farm run by ‘Navadanya’ (nine seeds), an initiative to promote organic farming and conservation of seeds. “There are little secrets about many of these seeds that only she knows since she collects them herself, educates farmers about their cultivation and germinates them regularly so the seeds do not die,” says Bhatt.
Farmers queue up for seeds too, at her 40-acre farm. “I had to plead with them to sow older, indigenous seeds rather than the newer, high-yielding hybrids or GM seeds. The latter produce larger crops but require considerable input of pesticides, fertilisers and water,” she explains.
“When they used our seeds,” she adds, “they gradually realised how the soil was retaining its fertility, and the crop was free from diseases and pests. Now they come to us on their own. We don’t charge for giving the seeds, just ask for a pledge to cultivate them.”
Her farm is a central seed bank for farmers in 16 states, with 34 similar community seed banks set up across India. “I am no scientist,” she says, “but I know that chemicals and hybrids have harmed the soil to a great extent. But we can still restore fertility and conserve water if we act now.”

24 Fertilize my soul:

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

Amrita, what a fascinating post. The culture of India is complex beyond my ability to understand, yet I think through your blog I am getting a glimmer of understanding, just a beginning.

I hope your former tutee will do well on her exams. Only 8 years old yet the exams are quite important? Before the trouble with your eyesight and hearing, did you teach in elementary school? That is a fun age to teach.

Sita said...

So strange that the woman in India can be both the goddess and the punching bag or disposable cloth. Many people do not realize that India is at heart a matriarchal society. Ravi speaks about that in his book "Walking fron East to West". Recently, an Indian woman was killed by her father-in-law here. She had come to Canada with her new husband hoping to bring her own poor family here after a while. She withstood abuse in order to 'save' her family, not relaizing her in-laws had 'tricked' her. They isolated her from everyone. Her family went into debt to pay her dowry. Yet because her family were unable to give anymore, she was killed.

Few people understood that behind the cruelty of the husband and FIL was the MIL pushing the buttons. So sad.

I am grateful to Christ that in Him, there is no male or female, Jew nor Gentile...we are all on level ground standing before Him.

Today, He would celebrate along with us, those women who have sacrificed much to make life easier for the rest of us...
women like Rosa Indira Gandhi...Amy Carmichael...
many women who boast of their 'feminism' today are merely angry women out for revenge...but many also are women born out of Proverbs 31..wise, humble, compassionate, merciful, just, godly, righteous...
Thank you, God.

madison said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog.
What a great post about the women in your country. Very informative.

Sita said...

By the way, I love that painting with the young woman carrying the basket on her head...beautiful!

Felisol said...

Dear Amrita,
Your blog posts always give me a lot to think about.
The seeds, vital to everyone's life, being manipulated and destroyed for the population.
A woman understood the danger and took care of the good seed.
The right to education.
Little Simran should have equal right according to the UN charter signed in 1948.
How long shall we have to wait?

Well done,bringing these topics up.
From Felisol

Ash said...

Poignant post. So very true!

Happy Womans Day!

Paresh Palicha said...

I too pray for Simran. God must have got a better plan for her. We'd think positive, na? Otherwise, helplessness eats our heart.

David said...

How beautiful are the feet of them who bring good news.
is there any way I could help with the transportation expenses for a while?

monsoon-dreams said...

very apt post on women's day!where did u get such beautiful snaps and paintings from?hope u r fine,dear.

Amrita said...

Hi Penni, I can understand how you feel. I live in a very diverse and complex culture , a multihued society each sub-culture and religion garnished with its own peculiarity, but its like the air i breathe.
But everybody keeps discovering new things about their world. America too is a melting pot of various nationalities and cultures.

Yes I taught middle school before I became unfit to teach. Love this age.The Indian education system puts a lot of pressure on the child. There are exams even in grade 1. Both the parents and children ar on edge.There is hardly anything for slow learners and children with special needs.Gradually educationists and parents are making changes.

Thank you Sita for that bright and robust comment.Women in economically backward countries suffer more as they only have their husbands to support them. They suffer in silence because they have no where to turn to and if they do society will shun them or take advantage of them. Only the self-reliant educated ones seek practical answers. Many NGOs are coming up to rescue women in peril.

Hi Madison good to hear from you.

I got the photos and paintings (except Simran 's) from Google dear MD and Sita. I like the one with the ladies sitting in from of the Taj Mahal, very symbolic.

Dear felisol, you made the right observation about the Seed Lady. i was so touched by her story i had to share it here.I have visited farms like that aound where she lives. tow of them by Christians. One has an orphange for the abandoned and endangered children of leporsy pattients and the other has an orphanage for boys and these young man are taught the methods of modern farming and enviroment conservation.
If Simran 's family was living in the west, the social services would have taken the children away from them.

Hello Paresh,That 's right can hope for the best and do whatever we can.Even a small action can set the ball in motion. Our country is so full of need, but we can light a tiny candle of hope in someone 's life.

Thank you so much David. I shall send you a email.

JoAnn's-D-Eyes said...

Hi Amrita,

Thank for reminding me of the International Woamns day I almost forgot about that, its an interesting post..

I could not react on anything, because of an (1 week!)internet disturbing I am back now!
greetings JoAnn's-D-Eyes/Holland

Michelle said...

Great post! Love the photos! Happy Woman's Day! :)

Lille meg said...

Thank you for sharing this about the women in your country!
We in the vest don't know much about how it really is.
Oh yes, something comes out, but not always the truth.
It is more necessary in your country to celebrate womens day than here in Norway.
Thank you for this post!

Joseph Pulikotil said...

HI Amrita :)

Lovely photos and excellent narration on the good and bad side of women in India.

On the one hand some women are dominating in their chosen fields and on the other hand many women are being ill treated.

I hope the Women Rights Bill will be passed in the Parliament without delay.

Have a good day :)

David said...

i rec'd your email, will see what I can do

KOSTAS said...

Marvellous physiognomies, very beautiful creation with the girl and the basket, but also the bright eyes of small Simran lit up the full kindness smiley her person!
Splendid post

Gerry said...

I am Gerry from Phoenix, Arizona and I read on Mary's Giving Tree blog that you would like old books. I have a lot of books, so I would like to send you one now and then. Please reply by email what kind of books you prefer and send me your address. I did read your profile but you just said fiction or bio, I have some of both. You can also find my blog through my profile, Daughters of the Shadow Men. I love your bright photos, am very interested in books about foreign countries. I recently read
Shantarum about life in Bombay or Mumbaii now, a huge novel I just loved, but I dont have a copy of it. Gerry I am 78 years old and also do a Youtube video blog. My channel is GerryKing40.

Crown of Beauty said...

This is such an excellent, well thought out post. Your blog is one I always look forward to read, although I sometimes leave without putting a comment. Touching stories about Simran, and the seen lady. What a great culture India has. Teach me how to specifically pray for your country, Amrita.

Crown of Beauty said...

Sorry, I meant "seed lady" on my comment above.

Amrita said...

Hi Gerry, thrilled you came by and read my blog. I am so pleased to meet you.

I like reading biographies and inspirational books. I will visit your blog and send you an email.

There are very good Indain athors to be read. Many of them have won International prizes like the Booker Prize.

Amrita said...

Hello Lidj, thank you for your comment.

Becky said...

Amrita is there some way I could pay you some each month to help her??

Amrita said...

Thank you so much Becky

Julia Dutta said...

Absolutely superb post on woman's day!
How are you, Amrita?