Archive for ‘Field Notes’

September 20, 2010

Field Notes – 17th September 2010

Field Notes

17th September 2010

Went to Kantalia:
Took a procession through the bazaar. Police inquired about our antecedents. Speech, songs at the bus stand. 40 – 50 people attended. Rs. 88 collected. Signatures for support.

Next stop: Sorat city
Songs, speech. 30 – 40 people. Collected Rs. 60.
2 good examples of complete payment of Rs. 100 for NREGA.

Night halt: Pali
Speech, procession, songs – at two venues. The city was partially closed because of advocates’ strike. Decent response (30 – 40 people). Collected Rs. 91. Staying the night at Nagar Parishad hall, Pali. As I type this report we are having a lively bhajan cum dance session, where the local women have also joined us.

– Aditya Vikram Rametra, A volunteer with MKSS in the yatra travelling in Rajsamand, Bhilwara and Pali

September 20, 2010

Field Notes – 16th September 2010

Field Notes

16th September 2010

Started the day in Jwaja market around 11 a.m. sang songs, made a speech, and did a play. Collected Rs. 75. 30 – 40 people attended.
• Started getting people’s signatures on a cloth. (Continued subsequently and diligently by Chaitanya).
• Some volunteer addresses noted for Jaipur Dharna (continued subsequently by Bhairu Lal, and others).

Next destination: Soratha Chouraha
Received large complaints about NREGA (late payment, low wages). Quite a few people volunteered to attend Jaipur dharna. Collected Rs. 144. enthusiastic crowd (70 – 80). Speeches by Lal Singh and Paras; sang songs. Puppet show by Punna Ram.

Stopped at Kabra, Kotda, and Ramgarh en route to distribute pamphlets.

Next stop: Sendhra
Few people. Stopped on the highway. Had free tea from Rajasthan Patrika journalists. Some press coverage. One strong supporter of BJP in the audience spoke against Congress and NREGA.

Next stop: Bar chouraha
Puppet show at the bus stand. Speech by Paras; sang songs. Large gathering (50 – 60). Some heated discussion with a govt. teacher, local leaders reg. NREGA work quality, discipline. Collected Rs. 75. Some people couldn’t sign the cloth, and asked if they could attest their thumb impressions?

Next stop: Raipur
Took a procession for around a Kilometer through the market and mohallas. Songs, slogans, speech by Paras and Lal Singh. Good response by people (90 – 100 people). Collected Rs. 146.

Night halt: Kalakot.
Great food & chaas! Great audience at 10 p.m. near the temple (around 100 – 120 people), who sat in silence and complete attention for over 2 hours. Speech, songs and 2 plays. Some people complained of NREGA low wages, and erratic payments.

– Aditya Vikram Rametra, A volunteer with MKSS in the yatra travelling in Rajsamand, Bhilwara and Pali

September 20, 2010

Field Notes – 15th September 2010

Field Notes

The Mazdoor Haq Yatra was conceived by the S R Abhiyan as a set of truck yatras of 20 – 30 people each (grassroots activists, volunteers, peasants, workers etc.) across different parts of Rajasthan for a fortnight (Sep 15 – Oct 1), and culminating in an indefinite ‘Dharna’ in Jaipur from Oct. 2nd. Five such yatras were planned for five different zones of Rajasthan (comprising 3 – 4 districts each). The aim of these yatras was to generate awareness about NREGA workers’ issues and problems, and to mobilize support from the masses so as to pressurize the state government on the following:

• Raising the Min. wages per day from Rs. 100 to Rs. 200 for NREGA workers with immediate effect
• Linking of Min. wages of workers to general inflation / consumer price index, so the wages increase with the general price rise.
• Recognizing the fundamental right of NREGA workers to form unions, and to get them lawfully registered
• Strengthening the checks and balances in the NREGA set-up so as to effectively deal with issues like corruption, partial and / or late payments to workers, job card delays etc.

With these aims in mind, different teams had to prepare a set of activities that they would showcase, perform along the yatra. These included: puppet shows, street plays, songs, speeches, and slogans. A novel concept of making graphs, charts and other visual aids depicting rising salaries of Govt. employees, skyrocketing prices of daily necessities, and the Rajasthan state income and expenses, were added to the repertoire.

The MKSS team was supposed to cover the districts of Rajsamand, Bhilwara and Pali in their yatra.

Our journey started from Bhim on 15 Sep, around 11 a.m. We went around with our slogans and songs. We then presented some statistics about rising prices, increasing salaries of government servants and the pathetic state of Rajasthan Govt. revenue and expenditures (by Nikhil Dey). Also showed a short play. The response in the Bhim market where this happened was quite good. We collected Rs.14 from people towards donation for the Yatra.

Next stop: Badnor. We sang songs; speech by Lal Singh. Good response of people (around 50 – 60). Fund collection: Rs. 42. People complained about low wages in NREGA (50 – 60)

Stopped in Ajitgarh en route, distributed pamphlets, and made announcements on our truck loud speaker.

Stayed the night at Jwaja. Review meeting at night, another play rehearsal. Feedback from yatris.

– Aditya Vikram Rametra, A volunteer with MKSS in the yatra travelling in Rajsamand, Bhilwara and Pali

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