| Union minister of state for agriculture Tariq Anwar interacts with women farmers at the convention on Saturday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Patna, Nov. 30: A silent but steady uprising is blowing through villages of Bihar lately.
The thousands of women in villages across the state are not only assisting their husbands in farming but also taking the lead when the man of the house is unable to take the plough in his hands.
“Pati char saal se viklang hai. Chaar bachchon ko posne ke liye hal utha liye aur roz aath ghanta khet mein hi rehte hain. (my husband is physically challenged for the past four years. I have taken up the plough in my hands and toil in the agricultural field for eight hours a day to eke a living and take care of my four children),” said Rina Devi (24), a farmer in Sheohar district.
According to the findings of a recent study quoted by Oxfam India at a Women Farmers’ convention organised in Patna today, women work nearly 3,300 hours in a crop season, while men work for 1,860 hours.
Chameli Devi of Gaya takes care of farming when her husband works as a construction labourer in Calcutta. Things took an ugly turn when her husband fell ill around four months ago. “I sold two bulls for the treatment of my husband. I got him admitted to Kurji Holy Family Hospital in Patna,” said Chameli.
There’s hardship at every step for these women farmers. Marriage at an early age (12 to 16 years), giving birth to four to eight children on an average, taking care of the kitchen and meeting daily expenses of the family on a very limited budget are few of the challenges most of them face.