In Search of Independence

savitaCIP
Posted August 30, 2018 from India

I am working for the human rights issues of Civil population living in the cantonment areas in India. Cantonments are the settlements established in british raj. Due to complex governance structure civil population in the cantonment areas  in India are living an excluded life. I am born and bought up in the army governed  area as my grand father was working in one of a army depot. and enjoyed all civic amenities and safety. when he got retired we had to leave the government house  and settled  in an civil area. Near my house there was a big slum named shivajinagar. from my balcony i used to observe the family life people were living in the house. Since it was just a small rooms most of the household cores goes out side only. during this i observed the illicit relationship of the  children & parents were they used to use the abuse words to each of them. that incidence force me to think why the children use such words, what kind of education they are getting. what values they got that made them like this. when though deeply i learned that there is no pre education centre, the parents were alcoholic, the area was dirty with no roads and drainage, no responsible govt. and living in such conditions since generations.

My education has taught me the constitutional rights every human being received and learned that its governments responsibility. Then why this situation here is this. Why we don't find any  education centre here and stepped out to find the solution and reached the cantonment office. 

Here for the first time i learned that the cantonment boards are the local self governance for the area but do not work as like any other munciple corporation as these are are special government due to army. But what my education and learning i received did not allow me to sit and struggled to get the answers. Inspite of approaching many human rights activists , beaurocrates and other civil society i did not get any answer. And decided to find out my own solutions. and started working in the communities with the people residing in the slums.

Challenges

There were many challenges in front of me. firstly no one was believing that things in the cantonment areas can change. The existence of military will not be allowed any thing to happen. This is what people were experiencing since generations. It was an impression that talking about our human rights and demanding to the government is talking against government and hence people were feeling threat to talk about their own problems. There was almost non existence of local self governance. Though physically some office was existing community people were not aware and dare to reach the place. The political elected members were also not aware about the Act which was passed during British Raj ,under which the governance was going on in the board . Hence even they could not actively participate in the governance and influence or address the community issues. The state government was ignoring saying that it is not under their jurisdiction. In such condition it was very challenging to make people to step out and organize for their human rights.

When i did not find any answer i approached one to one person made them to realize about the existing human right and the responsibility of the government and encouraged to get organize for addressing the issues. Many of them initially did not turn. but one by one i could form a small team who came together and show there readiness to discuss and understand the issue in search of solutions. We our self started studying the cantonment Act , Indian Constitution , Universal Human Declarations and searched out the basis on which we can demand out rights. By using this knowledge we educated many other community people and increased our community connections and started putting up our issues to the government simultaneously that took up a shape of people's network to make difference and create favorable atmosphere for people to live a dignified life.

Achievements - Now in all 07 cantonments in Maharashtra state Community people do not feel threat and confidently speak about their problems. visit the office bearers with  demand letters. The cantonments got sensitize and listen to the people. The main achievements we got that the state government which was ignoring due to jurisdiction has implemented the govt. scheme ICDS ( Integrated Child Development Scheme ) for the first time in 2012 which was benefited to thousands of children and pregnant mothers. Though we got one national program in the cantonment area, we will be struggling continuously till we do not get equal provisions as like Municipal corporation and get space in the national plan.

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments 15

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Jill Langhus
Aug 31, 2018
Aug 31, 2018

Hi Savita,

Welcome to World Pulse:-) Thanks for sharing your story and telling us about your advocacy work at these cantonment centers. It sounds like some groundbreaking work being done there. Good job for being a part of empowering these people. Looking forward to hearing more about it. Hope you have a great day!

Tamarack Verrall
Aug 31, 2018
Aug 31, 2018

Dear Savita,

This is monumental work that you have been accomplishing. "i did not get any answer. And decided to find out my own solutions. and started working in the communities with the people residing in the slums". These are the words of a visionary activist with her heart open. I loved reading that from observing inequity and lack of basic human rights you took it upon yourself to create change. Welcome to WorldPulse dear Sister.

Dawn Arteaga
Sep 04, 2018
Sep 04, 2018

Savita, Thank you for sharing this - I agree with Tamm and Jill - your work is groundbreaking. It takes so much courage to look at a system that is entrenched in old ways and do the hard work to bring about change. The world needs you! Thank you for what you are doing. Hope to hear more from you soon!

savitaCIP
Jul 10
Jul 10

Thank you Dawn for your comments. Will connect to you soon.

Beth Lacey
Dec 18, 2018
Dec 18, 2018

Just reading this post. Welcome to the World Pulse Community.
Beth

savitaCIP
Jul 10
Jul 10

Thank you beth for warm welcome.

Adanna
Feb 13
Feb 13

Thank you for sharing your story Savita :)

Love,
Adanna

Polka
Mar 10
Mar 10

Welcome and thank you for giving us a glimpse into a world I did not know about. You are making a difference by simply writing and letting the story out.

savitaCIP
Jul 10
Jul 10

Thank you polka.

Anita Kiddu Muhanguzi

Hi Savita,
Thank you for sharing about your work. You are doing amazing work and may you continue to impact your community.
Thank you and you are most welcome to this platform full of amazing sisters.
Stay blessed

savitaCIP
Jul 10
Jul 10

Thank you anitaji.

Urmila Chanam
Apr 13
Apr 13

Dear Savita,
I am inspired by your relentless effort to secure human rights for your community. I pray for more power to you and I see you are on the right path- using your voice, experience and devotion to secure peace, facilities and infrastructure from government schemes.
Love
Urmila Chanam
India
urmila.chanam@gmail.com

savitaCIP
Jul 10
Jul 10

Thank you urmila. Today we again learned more about the orange campaign. Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing your story.

Nusrat Ara
Jun 29
Jun 29

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and observations. Keep writing.

savitaCIP
Jul 10
Jul 10

Thank you nusrat for your encouragement.