PG in Environmental Science and also in Mass Communication and Journalism. Working with Media since 14 years. Have an Experience of both Print, Electronics and Web Media. Environment, Tourism, Civil Aviation, Higher Education and Corporate World are areas of interest.
Stories by J.Mahesh
 11 Oct, 2020

COVID impact: Maha’ folk artistes vying for two square meals

Kolhapur, Maharashtra: Numerous artistes and troupes performing Tamasha, a traditional art form from Maharashtra, have been struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. With shows cancelled and social distancing rules in place, the artistes have been forced to stay at home during their peak earning season. They say that though the lockdown rules have now been relaxed, the government hasn’t done anything to address their issues because they are not a sizable vote bank.There are two distinct types of Tamasha, Dholaki Fadcha and Sangeet Baaricha, stated Dr Ashok Jadhav, president, Maharashtra State Tamasha Theatre Owners Association, Chaufula, Daund tehsil of Pune district. The Dholki Fadacha troupes visit villages to put up performances mostly in annual religious fairs while performers of Sangeet Baaricha perform in permanent theatres called Kala Kendra, he added. He informed that there are around 70 Kala Kendra centres in the region where around 11-12 thousand artistes work.  Artistes earn their yearly income in four months and owing to the lockdown, these months were impacted, added Dr Jadhav. The artistes, who used to earn around Rs 15,000-20,000 per month, have to now depend on ration provided through the Public Distribution System.  Dr Sheshrao Pathade, an Aurangabad-based Tamasha artiste and journalist, stated that Tamasha performances usually take place in the span of four months, from Holi Poornima in March to Buddha Poornima in June. He added that it’s usually the time when several villages in the state organise religious fairs. Some stage performances are also organised after Dussehra in October, but the frequency is low and this is when the artistes start practising for the next year’s shows, he mentioned.Forced to do odd jobsShital Pawar, a member of a Kolhapur-based Tamasha troupe, stated that almost all the artistes headed back to their villages this yearafter the cancellation of all shows. Like her fellow performers, she used to depend solely on Tamasha for her livelihood. Now she works as a farm labourer in her village in Beed district. “I used to feed six family members from this art, but I am hardly earning even 25% of what I used to earn,” she added. Rajesh Kamble, a backstage artiste for a Kolhapur-based Tamasha troupe, is now selling vegetables in Aurangabad. He also works at a spice company at night to make up for the shortfall in earnings. Another artiste, Dhananjay Jadhav, who hails from Chaufula, is now working as a construction labourer. He added that some people are now working as drivers and peons. Dr Ashok Jadhav meeting state cultural minister Amit Deshmukh. Credits: Mahesh Joshi Dr Jadhav stated that they had approached the chief of the Nationalist Congress Party Sharad Pawar, MP Supriya Sule, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and state Culture Minister Amit Deshmukh to present their demands. Though they were assured that their demands would be met, a number of issues in Maharashtra, like infighting in the ruling coalition and the mystery around Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, have put their demands on the backburner, he added. Meeting with NCP MP Supriya Sule. Credits: Mahesh Joshi“The political parties feel proud and excited when they attend cultural events but when it comes to helping them, they move away. They don't feel good speaking about Tamasha as we don't have prestige in society,” he alleged.Jadhav added that as the lockdown is being removed, many places like malls, restaurants, bars and even marriage halls have been allowed to function but they don’t care about the artistes. “We are ready to follow physical distancing rules and work. However, we aren’t a politically influential community in any constituency and this is the reason that no one considers us,” he stated. Should plan in advance: ArtisteReshma Musale, a Pune-based Lavani artist, criticised the people associated with the Tamasha industry for their "non-practical approach towards life."She said, “The performers fly in the sky for four months. They earn a monthly salary as well as some tips and incentives. However, they are not aware of saving money.”She supported the government's decision to ban public gatherings as it is necessary for the welfare of the state, she added. Reshma Musale, during one of her performances. Credits: Mahesh JoshiTamasha artistes and other unorganised sector workers have to think of such crises in advance, and COVID-19 is just one of the many crises that these industries face, she mentioned. However, she added that most Tamasha performers enter this field at a young age and are often not able to complete their basic education and the government should provide them loans with subsidised interest rates and education facilities for their children.Mangala Bansode, a member of Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Lok-Kalawant Tamasha Mandal, an association of Tamasha artistes from Kolhapur, stated that they haven’t received any support from the state cultural department and since there are no immediate signs of resumption of entertainment programmes, the government should offer them support. 

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 4min Read
COVID impact: Maha’ folk artistes vying for two square meals

 28 May, 2019

With Rain God, Love God too deserts Maharashtra farmers

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Usually the village has record of at least 2-3 marriages on every single Muhurats. However, only 12-13 marriages took place in Ghatnandra village of Aurangabad district in Marathwada. Drought has not only affected crops in farms, but also delaying marriages of youth villagers. As marriage is not an issue of priority, parents are trying to postpone it. Girls are not ready to marry farmers despite having a big land, as they are witnessing water crises and situation arose during drought. April which is most favorable month of marriages in Maharashtra has 9 wedding dates. But Ghatnandra and other villages in this region will witness slack of marriages. Drought affected Marathwada is facing problems of marriage of male youths in rural areas. Girls are not ready to marry a boy in villages. Parents are also not willing to marry their daughters in rural areas. Hence, situation is such that around 20-25 males are waiting for marriages in almost every villages in this region. But due to prestige issue and male dominancy, no one is speaking openly on this topic. However, marriages of rural youths is a big problem in this region, said Prof. Dr. Smita Awchar (Cell- 94222712127), Expert in Gender Bias, Department of Sociology, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad. Marriage is a sensitive topic in Marathwada. People avoid talks on it as almost every second home has an unmarried youth. When we tried speaking some parents in Amthana village of Aurangabad district, they denied to have a talk on this topic. Later we visited Ghatnandra with a population of around 12 thousand and a marketplace, this is last village located on Marathwada and Khandesh (North Maharashtra) border. Here we met Revannath (Cell- 9503976913) and Chandrakala Wagh family. Bhatji (or Panditji, one who performs religious rituals) by profession with some land, Revannath has 3 sons and 2 daughters. Eldest son Dutta got married around 22 years back. At that time there was no trend of refusing groom from village. Even there was no problem during their second son Sanjay’s marriage around 12 years back. But they faced lot of problem for marriage of youngest son Ram. They spent almost 5 years in search of girl, but no one was ready. However, in 2018 Ram married a girl from Chalisgaon village of Dhulia District who is physically challenged. Revannath’s cousin Manohar has 2 children Vinayak, 44 and Gajanan, 38 staying in the same village. They hold a marginal land and work as Bhatji. Manohar and his wife Kamalbai waited eagerly for their son’s marriage. But couldn’t completed dream. Manohar died around 8 years back and Kamalbai in 2017. No one was ready to marry these brothers. Situation is same almost everywhere in Marathwada. Deepak Jadhav (Cell- 9822659688), founder director of Marathajodi.com, a matrimonial firm having 20 years experience of matchmaking in Marathwada with head office in Aurangabad said, delayed marriage of males is treated as social stigma. Jadhav has a form to be filled by marriage aspirant male or female. There is a column of expected partner with various options like Government officer, businessmen, teacher, professor, doctor, engineer, CA, IT engineer and farmer. Deepak Jadhav receives around 4000 enquires per year. However, mere 3-4 parents tick farmer’s option. Jadhav said this is enough to explain situation of farmer’s marriage in Marathwada. He said, around 99.99 percent girls and their parents are not ready to marriage farmers. Even girls belonging to farmer family are not willing to marry a farmer boy. He added that up to year 2016 he could finalize around 75 marriages. This figure is continuously declining and now not more than 20-25 marriages could occur. He said, marriages are not priority issue. Parents and even boy and girl ask parents to postpone it till drought got over. Jadhav blames media for falsely projecting situation of villages. “There was everything fine till a decade back. But trend tremendously changed. If girls are not ready to marry rural boys, what they should do? Parents need to change their mindset. Likewise farming there is no guarantee of jobs in cities”, Jadhav added. He asks people to save water and adopt practices that consume less water in fields. Bhaskar Gawande (Cell-9822647792), another farmer from Chitte Pimpalgaon village of Paithan tehsil, Aurangabad supports Jadhav’s views. He said, when it comes to marriage, it doesn’t matters that how many acres land does a farmers owns. Both boy and girls parents knew realty of farming.  A farmer sells his land for marriage, health issues, Childs education and for many pity reasons. Hence, girls parents look for monthly income instead his immovable property. Even a grocery shop, wheat mill or cutlery shop owner gets a girl for marriage, but farmer can’t. Gawande said that this situation arose after 2016 drought. There is no certainty of crops. He was expecting 200 quintal soybean, but got only 65 quintals this year. Bhausaheb don’t want his sons to face same circumstances. He taught his son bachelor of engineering in Aurangabad and asked him to stay away from farming. He said that there are 25 to 30 unmarried boys waiting for response from girls.   Girl power is on the rise in Maharashtra. In 2016, the sex ratio at birth in the state was 904 girls per 1,000 boys, which improved to 913 for newborns in 2017. This is the highest in three years – the figure for 2015 was 907, down from 914 in 2014. This sex ratio based on registered births was 900 five years ago. https://www.dnaindia.com/mumbai/report-more-girls-were-born-in-maharashtra-in-past-2-years-2592988 In districts like Aurangabad it was 898 in 2016 and 899 in 2017. Though the figure rose as comparative to 2016, it’s still much less. Dr.Smita Awchar (Cell- 94222712127), said as there is imbalance in gender ratio. Girls because of less number are at upper place. They have choice to select boy. Dr. Awchar cited various reasons for not marrying village boy. There is financial insecurity. Village boys are unskilled. They can’t do anything than farming. Girls are not ready for hard work. In fact their parents do think same. There are no basic facilities like road connectivity, toilets, gas, power supply and mobile connectivity, enough water etc in villages. How a girl grown in sophisticated atmosphere in city will adjust in such place?, she questions. Dr. Awchar advocates skill development courses for both boys and girls in villages. She also asks youths to adopt business approach. There is of demand for rural food items, handicrafts in urban areas. But there is always been demand and supply gap. If one could bridge it, they will get another way of source of income. Kishore Shitole, (Cell- 9822099881) Founder director of NGO Jaldoot dedicated for water conservation projects in rural area and governor nominated member in Dr. BAMU Senate frequently visit villages. He said, water is basic need for every activity either in city or villages. But rural area in Marathwada is running out of water. Girls don’t want to take risk to go in villages. They prefer company worker than a land owner. There is glamour of city. Cities are land of opportunities. Even if it comes to education of their kids, there is no good facility in villages. Villages lack behinds at every front. However, he also suggests that if one decides, he could change the scenario. But as expectations can’t become a rule, merely such things could happen. History of drought and marriages -Mohini Pandurang Bhise, 18 years girl of Bhise Wagholi village in Latur district committed suicide to avoid her father’s expenditure on her marriage. Mohini had an unmarried brother and a married sister. Her father was a marginal farmer. She completed 12 th standard from village school, after this parents started search for groom for her. There was no crop in farms. But the boys showing interest to marry Mohini demanded huge dowry. As Mohini was aware of father’s condition, she decided to end life by hanging herself with ceiling fan.  -Sarika Suresh Zute, 17 years girl of Jawla Zuta village in Parbhani district committed suicide by hanging herself from ceiling. Her nephew committed suicide after he was unable to repay bank loan. This set negative impression on Sarika and she went into frustration state by thinking similar condition of her father. Sarika studying in 12 th standard in Beed was well familiar with her family’s financial crises. She was also aware that her family will start search of boy for her marriage after 12 th. Marriage will need lot of money. Father will borrow loans from somewhere. Hence, to avoid this cycle, Sarika eneded her life. She left 2 brothers. -Dolkheda Budruk, Jalna district a village situated at Marathwada- Vidarbha border. Out of 1200 population, there are 25 girls and 20 boys looking for marriages. But due to three years consecutive drought, the villagers in 2017 decided not to arrange any marriage or religious functions in village as it consumes huge water. Vilas Raut, Vinod Raut, Madhukar Navle, Sakharam Dolas, Punjaram Pawar are the youths who put this thought and villagers agreed for it. -Lasur Station village in Vaijapur tehsil of Aurangabad district has set new example of instant village. Usually, the marriage ceremony goes for at least 2-3 days in Marathwada. But more days needs more water for guests. To overcome water crises, the village has adopted new formulae of instant village. It includes short cut in rituals and traditions.

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 9min Read
With Rain God, Love God too deserts Maharashtra farmers

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