Our next stop was the city of fishes-Madhubani. Amazing scenic beauty welcomed us and the greenery soothed our eyes. The land famous for its paintings is at present suffering from severe power shortage. Artists here, find it difficult to continue with this legacy of artistic heritage as their daily schedule comes to a halt as soon as the sun sets. People here start their day with the break of the dawn and cannot do much later in the day as there is no resource available for them to continue with their work.
A play was staged in the village chowk (square) under a solar street light, which incidentally is the only light in the village and that too next to the mukhiya's house. We were a bit sceptical if we would have any audience but in no time the entire village turned up at the chowk (around 200 people). All of them thoroughly enjoyed the play and so did our theatre group. We finished dinner at around 11:30 and launched a few sky lanterns.
The event in Madhubani was supported by Sakhi, an organisation which works for the upliftment of women and also promotes fish farming. The event started with the lightning of the lamp as a symbol of enlightenment and a hope that renewable energy would lighten up the lives of the people.
Important dignitaries from the development sector were part of the programme and the most important member of the event was the 80 year old, Mrs Godavari Dutta. She has also been honoured by the Rashtrapati Award for her excellence in painting, social welfare and development. Even at the age of 80 she paints, though with some difficulty.
Despite her bad health she came for the programme as she saw it as the beginning of a new era for a place which has lived with darkness for a very long time now. According to her, the problem of electricity is so huge especially in a country like India which faces nine months of terrible heat.
The audience mostly comprised of women whose main source of livelihood was through the medium of these paintings. Some of them shared their problems and expressed hope that Greenpeace’s Urja Kranti would bring a change in their lives. The performance by the theatre yatris was full of energy and the audience had a good time.
Greenpeace was also presented with a Madhubani painting which depicted the various uses of renewable energy. The painting completely lived up to the description of being immensely precise and expressive.
Urja Kranti has been instrumental in bringing about awareness among people. The hope and enthusiasm can be seen with people coming in and voting for the pledge to demand their rights and ask for clean and uninterrupted energy. They want to preserve their rich heritage and live peacefully under the roof of a clean and safe environment.