Bharat Vikas Parishad is set to change the situation of tribals in Maharashrtra
Few people know that like Madhubani paintings of Bihar, Kalamkari of Andhra Pradesh and Phad paintings of Rajasthan; Warli paintings of Dahanu also has its special place in the world of art. This painting has attracted the attention of the world. That is why this area has found a place on the map of tourism. But after going to the villages of this taluka, one comes to know that despite being only 110 kilometers away from India’s economic capital Mumbai, this area is extremely backward. In Palghar district, the tribals population is in abundance. But the most tragic situation is that despite being an industrial zone this tribal-dominated area is still craving for basic infrastructure. Education, employment, malnutrition and health facilities are a major problem here. Though the efforts of government schemes and private institutions are getting good results but still it is not enough to satisfy expectations.
Though this area has rich production of coconut, chikoo and chili, the poverty of tribals here is worrying. Even today, they live in huts with thatched roof. They do farming, but their earning is not enough to enroll their children into good schools. Last year Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde arrived at a function organized at Acharya Bhise, at Dahadu. He said that the education imparted to the children should be such that they can get a job or any other employment immediately after finishing school. Acharya Bhise Shikshan Sanstha has been educating tribal and poor children for the last 35 years. The Christian missionary organizations are also active here. But in the meantime a meaningful initiative has been made by the India Development Council. The Mira Road Branch of the Council has started implementing the plan at Palghar and Dahanu to motivate the children to go to school, especially for the children of brick kiln laborers. A hostel for these students is on the cards. The efforts of Council President Harshad Joshi, former president Santosh Sharma and Mr Chaturvedi have been remarkable in this direction.
Harshad Joshi says that the most serious problem in tribal areas is faced by brick kiln workers. Their children are also forced to work for wages. These labourers do not live in any one place. They keep on moving around in search of work. In this process, the place of their homes is also changed. The biggest disadvantage is for their children. They do not go to school. After the survey, India Development Council felt that if hostels were made available to them, their studies could be made possible. Their parents could stay anywhere but the children’s studies will not be interrupted. Parishad is constructing the first hostel in the village of Dhaniwadi, where one hundred children will be accommodated. They will be admitted to nearby district council schools. At present, the development council is now trying to convince tribal families and children to understand how education is necessary for them.
Workers of Bharat Vikas Parishad regularly visit the villages of Dahanu and Palghar to assess the conditions there and implement the scheme to help the residents. In the past, the decision for the renewal of Paljgaon Municipal Municipal School was made after noticing the broken structure of the school. After repairs, the building was painted all over again. Today it has become safe to run a school. The schools which had their electricity supply disconnected due to non-payment of electricity bill will get it back; the council is in constant touch with the officials and the power department so that electricity can be restored because it is finally the students who have to bear the brunt of the loss of education. In many of those schools, where there was no toilet facility, the same were provided. Last winter, council members distributed about five hundred blankets and sweaters among the school children.
The Meera Road Bharat Vikas Parishad is active not only in this area but also in the Mahajanwadi, another tribal area. Firstly, there was the responsibility of renovating the school here, which had been inaugurated in 1951 by the country’s first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Morarji Desai. They had planted a tree in the school premises then, which is still present there. This school was started by the Tribal Service Board in 1946. Initially, it was run in a hut which was later converted into a building. But that too had reached a worn-down condition. The development council not only gave the school a new look but also made a digital classroom. Computers and laptops are also provided. Last year, notebooks, books, shoes, etc. were distributed among children of this school. The Council recognises that the tribal children were left behind because the society did not care for them properly. People forgot their responsibility towards them in the scramble to look to the Government.
The council in collaboration with other organizations is arranging for mass tribal marriages every year. Mr. Joshi said that traditionally tribal couples here don’t get married but live together without marriage. Such couples often separate after a time. Both lives get ruined in the process. But the experience shows that after the committing to stay together for life in presence of fire, increasingly they have developed faith in the institution of marriage. The chances of staying permanently with each other have increased. The cost of marriage per couple goes up to four thousand rupees. This expenditure is made by the Council members. Some members also contribute the full wedding expenses of many couples as a part of social responsibilities.
This branch of the council is also supporting the run-away children housed in Titwala. The children are either working as daily-wagers or are falling in wrong hands. Those children have no arrangement for themselves. Attempts are being made that their parents should be informed and those who have no knowledge of their families should be given education.The initiative is being supported by the Jiwan Sanwardhak Foundation. This foundation has been active in different areas for many years and is providing shelter to such children. The upcoming plan of the council is to adopt a village, where it will provide every facility including electricity, water. By training people in skill development, they will enable them to make a living for themselves. Bharat Vikas Parishad is making a meaningful effort to change all this and set things right.
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