The 29th state of India got the light of the day; all thanks to the UPA government, by keeping an eye on the upcoming polls has started developing the vote bank that will help it come back to power yet again. Call it “tokenism” or “appeasement”, one thing is certain over here, you only get something from the government if you fall under their definition of a vote bank. Be it the Muslims getting poll-sops or SCs/STs/OBCs getting reservations in every other thing. It is all done with an eye on that elusive seat at the centre or in the respective states, which added another name to its numbers, also opening gates for similar demands to rise soon.
Now, when we are part of such a system moves in and around power politics and people who would be only help their cause to get to that elusive dream of ruling the population. Imagine being a small community (small in terms of comparative analysis over the entire 1.2+ billion population), living in the remotest part of the country. Do you think, the whole brass of politicians would ever arrive at your doorstep??
Can you imagine a certain Rahul Gandhi coming to your house to “enjoy” a meal at your house ?? Or Narendra Modi coming and talking about all the “development” he could bring to you ??
It would be naïve of you to even think of doing that.
Meet this community of “nomads” or de-notified tribes who are just nowhere in the picture all thanks to being not in the voters’ list. They are not in the interest of your Modi or your Rahul. They don’t have any address and for the same reason that they don’t possess any Voter Id card. Now, when you don’t have that, or more so, when the whole community doesn’t have any, then you are just a nobody.
There is a village in Gujarat, wadia tribe, where women are forced to enter prostitution just to make ends meet. Even the male members of this community have to become the pimps for them!!!
There are many of these tribes, suffering from not being able to continue their age-old trade of entertainment in the form of roadside shows, snake charmers, puppet shows, etc. but with new-age entertainment and regulations that stop them from continuing with their profession. For example the age old snake charmer has to stop it all, due to the law prohibiting him in doing that. But what about any alternate source for their income?? Many of them are forced to either beg or enter into a life of misery doing work that they are not accustomed to.
But yes, even with all this darkness flowing in and around the poor and helpless nomads, there are people who go out of their way to change things. Their efforts are what fill in your life with optimism, and you start believing that there is light at the end of the tunnel of this darkness.
One such woman is Mittal Patel, who has been a pillar of strength to communities like these by bringing their names in the electoral lists (from that of the police records, where they have been stereotyped as criminals from the time of British rule) helping 30,000 people get their voting cards, trying to get girls in the wadia tribe get married, marrying off 8 girls and engagement in March 12 in 2012, in order to stop them from entering into the ill-trade of prostitution, running 26 schools all around for the tribes.
There is a foundation established named VSSM in order to carry out the work, which has affected 9 districts helping people all around the state of Gujarat. Here’s how Mittal Patel describes about the problems faced by people and her efforts in the same direction.
She is just 30 and her works speaks for itself. Hats off to her ever growing dedication to help the people who figure nowhere in any political parties’ manifesto.
Dreams will become a reality, is what the vision of Mittal patel is. The community of Nomads or de-notified tribes constitute of 10% of the population, scattered all around.