Friday, 15 March 2013

Mittal Patel

She has started an organization called VSSM (). She has been working on giving an identity to all nomadic tribes like the meer group where she has started a school. These people are present in India but do not have any identity because they did not have any permanent address. The physical state of the school is not too great as there are thatches in which studies go on. But they do learn. This school was started just about 2-3 months ago, there is a school that has been going on for 3 years. The aim of these schools is to try and build the mentality of the children to go to the mainstream school. There aim is to send these children itching the time span of 6 months and 1 year. The students in the meer group school seemed very motivated to learn, there was a lot of participation.
There are 40 nomadic tribes in Gujarat, 4 million people are part of these tribes. 28 of these tribes are notified criminal tribes by the Britishers which still stays in India. But the other 12 are denotified by India. VSSM has given identity to 60 thousand people out of the 4 million. They are given the identity by reference, mittal patel is the reference. She even had to make the conditions for the IDs for the government! They have worked in 9 districts out of the 28 in Gujarat. When asked by when will they be done with all 28, she answered first let us be perfect with these 9 at least.
There is political awareness in these tribes and so they all get together and demand several things from the government, it is not fulfilled by saying it once, not twice but several times and then the government does listen to them.

A tribal woman, Jyotsna, less than 30, with which Mittal Patel is working said "she gave my son education, gave us ration cards, voter ID card". She describes the problem of her house saying "when I put a utensil under water when the water falls from the ceiling, water starts falling from somewhere else! This tribe specialises in making bamboos and so he hits were mad of bamboo. And do her tribe is called Baspoda, Bas means Bamboo. "Mittal patel made my girl go to school. She is a great woman". She said "you people think what to cook, we have to think how to get water to cook!". When asked how the government has helped her, she says government only eats money, it does not give money. Mittal Patel has been working here since 3 years.

She used to be a normal journalist researching nomadic tribes. When she asked people where this tribe lived, no one answered. She searched the newspapers and it was written there these are criminals. She went to that place using the newspaper cutting. She was motivated to do this work only after she visited them and saw their state. When a child was crying when she visited that place, when she told her mother, why don't you feed her, the mother shouted back "we don't have food to eat since 3 days, how do you think I will feed her?!". That was the moment she decided to work for the nomads.

The biggest problem for this community is water, food and shelter. There is shelter but it can even get burnt in peak heat in a place like Ahmedabad. This is the physical problem, the social problem is that no one recognises or likes them. Politicians ask citizens what they would like to earn votes but no one asks these people because they don't have the right to vote.

Besides saying so many great things about Mittal, the tribals welcomed her very nicely...

Quote of the day - "There should be a heart in doing things, that is how you can achieve everything" - Mittal Patel

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