04 June 2014
Photo Credit: Phiroza Tafti
My overall impression is that the women of Amelia have developed a unique sense of confidence. I definitely attribute this with the exposure to Greenpeace activists one can see that approximately one third of the villagers attending the meeting were women. A very rare occurrence for an average Indian village.
While crossing a river en route to the North (Patchim) Tolly, I asked a local women to hold my hand and she responded warmly. While returning after dark from another meeting I once again asked the wife of our host, Athwariya to hold my hand and she was so obliging.
The women in Amelia are very hard working and genuine. They have come into their own and can hold a discussion or an argument and stand their ground with determination. At the last meeting I attended, the woman who opposed the presence of another woman who had sold her land. Even when Priya Pillai said that she can still ask for her forest rights, the earlier woman refused to back off.
I asked a local lady who was plastering the walls if I could click a snap of her and she gave me a big smile and said, 'Of-course why not," in spite of the fact she was standing on a ladder. I saw a colourful quilt (sujini) put out to dry and asked my walking companion how laborious it was to make and she replied with pride, that it needed more than a thousand stitches to complete.
Phiroza Tafti is a volunteer with Greenpeace India.