Community Feast on Makar Sankranti
In its Monthly Planning Meeting held on January 8, 2018 the PGS team resolved to organize Community Feast on Makar Sankranti (14th January) at 10 locations (Antreji, Chapar, Dhoos, Amiliya pal, Maanpur, Jokhahai, Survadalapur, Nai garhi, Hardiha, Rajgarh). These locations have been identified on the basis of ongoing Community Grain Bank program. Following activities have been planned on this occasion:
- The target community members will collectively organize this community feast. The community members will contribute the recently harvested crop - especially rice varieties, urd, moong and til . The community will organize a Navaanna Puja (new grain worship program) on this day;
- At each location one PGS team member will participate and will donate 5 kg. gur for preparing sweets at his respective location;
- The event will provide an opportunity to learn more about the functioning of ongoing community grain banks program and collect feedback from the community members to improve its functioning;
- PGS team members will document each and every new idea emerging out of the deliberations of the community members during the entire event towards achieving the goal of sustainable freedom;
- PGS team members will also document the traditional practices and beliefs associated with the Makar Sankranti prevalent within the bonded communities e.g. (i) on this day contractors pay advances to stonebreakers for recruitment, thus the day becomes the dooms day for the labourer as he succumbs to bondage situations; (ii) there is a traditional practice to visit daughters’ and/or sisters’ in-laws place and gift them the navanna and sweets, often they are forced to take illegal loans for the purpose; (iii) female members of laborers’ families are engaged for preparatory works for sankranti celebrations at employers’ house and in the evening they get sweets and other items which they take back home where she distribute the items to her children and then they enjoy differently and at different time; (iv) there are families where adolescent children have been forced to migrate outside for work, how do they celebrate the Snakranti in the absence of their children, PGS team member should try to document the psychological state of their parents’ mind; (v) on this day the labourers arrange marriages of their children and inform it to their employer, who in turn assure them that all arrangements will be taken care by him and consequently a new loan is burdened on them; etc.
- Besides, new community grain banks will be started at 5 locations (Sudnipur, Bahadurpur, Amarsapur, Kataha and Kotwa) with three quintals of rice and one storage container on Makar Sankranti through individual donations. We are motivating more members from civil society to donate for the Community Grain Banks in the memory of their loved ones on this day, as the day is considered auspicious for Anna Dan (grains donation).
- The community members will invite each household through door-to-door visit and in course of that they will ensure whether any member is facing a situation of hunger risks, and if so, he will immediately be given grains from the Community Grain Bank as per the rules.
- During the door-to-door household visit the community members will also ensure that no member is forced to take illegal loans for arranging grains for his family during the present lean farm season, and if found so, they will also be given grains from the bank immediately.
- Incidentally the Makar Sankranti is falling on Teras (the thirteenth lunar day). Hence, at one loacation i.e. Antreji, the Community Feast will be organized in the form of Teras Chaura in which at least 100 group members from 5 communities (Antreji, Kanhaiya, Baithakwa, Nai Basti, Newadiya Pal) will participate. During the teras chaura issues like atrocities, land issues, fictitious legal cases, wage payments, migrant labour issues, food security, housing, health problems, etc. will be discussed.
- The registration for collective marriage will also be done during the community feast event.