Daya..the warrior Goddess
Daya..the warrior Goddess5 mins 190 5 mins 190
What is the distance between me and her. How much are we alike. How much are we not alike. ..The fire in her and the fire in me. that was common between us. I still don't know many know Daya. for she did not want to be renown. she did not want to be in lime light and be spoken about. she wanted things to happen. she was dedicated to them. She was the first among them who got educated. trained but she wanted everything that was then happening around to stop and make every mistake. erring..right.
I was a research scholar when I met Daya. I was a community health nurse and she was the Asha worker of the tribe which lived in the deeper parts of Halayangadi. The bus would not reach those part even in 2008. and we had to walk miles to reach the bus stand.
It was the Public health Nurse who introduced me to Daya. Meeting her was nothing special then. but today When I look back. I was then being with a warrior woman.
Dr. Hemlatha told me then. be sensitive to the people there. their emotions. do follow their cultural principles and show tolerance.
I said yes. ..and I did not have to be told that. I had my bleeding heart for the people. an innate love that emanated from my bringing up.
Daya and me used to walk distances. up hill. down hill through the single wooden log that connected lakes. sea shores which extended far.
In the forest. Daya would talk their language and then translate it to me. Children would run and come when they see Daya. and woman would open their huts half. we would sit down and then the story goes.
Initial clash we had was when Daya announced for immunization and I could see people turn deaf ear. Women would say her don't you have other work. men would shout to her. It took long time to make the line between belief system and superstitions.
The next time I saw Daya in riot was when she found the kids from tribe working in the hotel. Daya was a lioness when she attacked the hotel owner. She shouted. I will report you. If you make these children work and not allowing them to attend school.
Hotel owner told this is the only hotel here and let me see what you can do if I shut it down.
She never was scared. She wanted the kids to go to school.
The PHN a mature lady. used to tell me. Aruna ma'am don't go and jump in issues. these are the issues of the tribe. it was there. it is and it will. what can this girl this Asha worker do. .she think she is Jansi rani..of the forest
I told her that changes have to come one day or other. Her efforts will bear fruits
If she is alive. .
She is in battle with big shots you don't know whom she is trying to bring down. don't sink with her
I understood the depth of the words when I attended the panchayat meeting with Daya. that was the first time I looked at the long register she was carrying. .
She had names of little girls. and every day she did a roll call when she visited the community and if ever she found a girl missing. she reported it and went to roots to curb it.
Daya told me the content of the discussion that day. the missing girls from the tribe.. .there are people from city involved in this trafficking and the only way out was to educate the families about the plight of these girls who would mostly land up in rackets.
I realized. when it comes to hunger. roof and clothing. no amount of education stands. ..people do things to just sustain. But Daya was never ready to give up. She started small cottage industries. where women were taught to sew clothes. make cloth puppets and many other small bamboo arts and she collaborated with local vendors. festival organizers to find those goods market
She enabled the small food processing units where men and women could work. The tribe could survive with their own resources thus. Their cross. their water crystal.clear and their beautiful little life thrived.
These things never happened in a day. There were long struggles.
But Daya a simple house wife. mother of three children taught me Each failure is a call to success. never succumb to insolent might
There were nights when we traveled to houses to conduct deliveries of women in labor and I could see Daya quarreling with the man who drank the money janani Suraksha yojana gave the woman to attend the near by hospital or public health center. Not one time. several rounds of arguments...
We had carried women with complications through twilight and dawn to save the mother and child and there were countless times Daya would insist the family planning measures.
The Anganwadi which we inaugurated was just her effort. She dedicated her every moment to bring love and light and I learned my practical in this tough way.
I have seen Daya dressing bad diabetes wounds with maggots of elderly people. She never hesitated in using indigenous natural medicine and I appreciated their healing powers
She knew the Herbs. she was the mother. nature and healer.
Later these days I just smiled when I saw the news paper clipping my friend sent. Daya looked bit older in the photo of national award ceremony
Daya. I just wept. remembering the smiling young woman who used to tell me stories. of the forest goddesses..and I felt she must be one among them who could guard her tribe. her territory. her pride. Daya when I write on you today. I am still with you in those fights. Those perils which would protect the less privileged. the vulnerable. of the society. ..to bring about a tomorrow of equality and equity
Daya walks among. ..them and rise and enable rising. ..