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How these Dalit and tribal women from rural Madhya Pradesh are making themselves heard

In 2008, a few Dalit women from a village in Dabhora block in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh were denied their basic right to fetch water by local goons. The prevailing apathy in the country's system meant their pleas to the local police and administration went unheeded.

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How these Dalit and tribal women from rural Madhya Pradesh are making themselves heard
Women from Bahini Darbar with the newsletter (Image source: Milaap)
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In 2008, a few Dalit women from a village in Dabhora block in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh were denied their basic right to fetch water by local goons. The prevailing apathy in the country's system meant their pleas to the local police and administration went unheeded.

Cornered into fending for themselves, the women instead of blaming the existing system, took the matter in their own hands. They started Bahini Darbar, a 10-page newsletter, which covers the issues of Dalits and tribals in Rewa. The monthly, handwritten in Bagheli, also educates locals of their rights. Copies of the handwritten newsletter are then distributed among locals for Rs 10 each.

In the last seven years, Bahini Darbar  has grown leaps and bounds with the number of women running it increasing from 15 to 35 and the newsletter reaching 700 villages in Dabhora block. All this was achieved by the women without having access to a printing press. The women have turned a centuries-old malaise of casteism into an opportunity and are leading a movement of literacy and empowerment.

A few Bahini Darbar copies




The mouthpiece has filled in the vacuum created by the mainstream media which habitually fails to cover such grave issues in the country.

With the Bahini Darbar going from strength to strength, they could very well bring a revolution in the rural Rewa and bring balance in socio-economic power equation. Could Bahini Darbar replicate the success of Khabar Lahariya? They certainly can. Conviction and a copier machine was all they had to reach this far.

Also read: How these woman journalists in rural Uttar Pradesh are inspiring change

The group is now trying to pool in funds to educate more women and reach out to more locals. Here is how they are crowdfunding for Bahini Darbar.

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