Till… it’s her land too
Mehru Jaffer, December 26, 2013
It takes a village woman like Archana to get her rural sisters to demand their right to livelihood in the agrarian Gorakhpur region of Uttar Pradesh.
Unaware of their legal rights and entitlements, women farmers end up suffering. That’s what many years of fieldwork in the environmentally sensitive, agriculture-dependent region of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh have taught Archana Srivastava, the 40-year-old Advocacy Coordinator at Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group (GEAG).
And she understands this all the more acutely as she herself belongs to a rural family from the neighbouring Mau district. Not only is the region prone to both drought and flood, it’s natural resources have traditionally ‘belonged’ to the local feudal landlords. The only viable recourse available to vulnerable communities, particularly landless women farmers, are the various government employment and livelihood schemes, but their experiences on ground did not inspire confidence.