The Women Tribe

The Women Tribe

On March 07, about 40 tribal women from Yeoor and their children thoroughly enjoyed their evening playing games and having fun. They were participating in the programme specially organised for them by city-based NGO Sevadham on the eve of International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrated on March 08. The special guest of the evening was Suhasini Joshi, the famous film and TV actress who lives in Thane. Joshi was an apt choice for the programme celebrating women’s day because she is easily one of the more recognisable women achievers from the city. So much so that even the tribal women and their children instantly recognised "that famous face" they have seen on TV so many times, and were rather excited to have her among them.

Most tribal women are uneducated and would hardly understand the significance of women’s day. The fact that they played games with each other was also a rare phenomenon, because the tribal women normally do not mix with each other socially. The idea behind the programme was to bring together these tribal women and help them understand their role in their community. Sensing that this happy interaction between the women might not last after the programme, Joshi said, "You look so happy today. So why stop at this one day? Even after we leave, you must come together once in a while and organise such programmes." She asked the women how many were educated among them and told those who raised their hands to spread the knowledge by teaching others in their community.

The tribal women didn’t just play – they played to win. Prizes were given away to the top three winners in every game played. Besides, Sevadham’s partner in this effort, the Inner Wheel Club of Thane Hills, distributed useful items to the women and children. Bananas, Chikoos, Biscuits, Blouse pieces, and notebooks for children were among the things provided.

Savitri, one of the rare among the tribal women because of her education, came forward to thank the organisers on behalf of the entire community. She said in her tribal dialect, "We are obliged to have your patronage and support, year after year and we sincerely thank you for the same." The response of the tribeswomen to the programme shows that IWD’s ultimate objective of promoting equality and empowering women will be achieved only when women from the secluded communities begin to understand their role in the society – not by paying mere lip-service to women’s rights at seminar and functions.

A Dance Dessert
On Sunday morning, at 10 am, 300 people sat enthralled at Vasantrao Naik Hall as the trio of Mother, son and daughter-in-law, all accomplished performers, got together with a few other experts and presented an unforgettable show. The occasion was the annual day show of the Brahaman Vidyalaya branch of the reputed Shree Ganesh Nritya Kala Mandir.

First, sixty students of Kathak, aged four to thirty, presented their shows on the different aspects of Kathak. Then came the power packed performance of Manali Deo, who is the chief coordinator of the academy’s Thane branch. Manali was supported by her husband Pandit Mukund Raj Deo on tabla, and her mom-in-law and guru, Manjiri Deo who accompanied her on padhant. Vocals were by Padmakar Despande, while Atul Phadke played the harmonium. Those present described Manali’s performance as breathtaking. With Shivratri around the corner, she started with Shiv Vandana, a devotional song, in honour of Lord Shiva. Later she performed pure Katkak, which, in the dance parlance, is known as "taal-teel-taal". She concluded her performance with a thumri, a special dance form that conveys various emotions uses expressions and gestures.

For Kathak lovers, the performance of the students followed by their teacher’s show was like a full course royal meal, which ended with a scrumptious dessert. But then Sunday meals are never ordinary affairs.

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