Shaiju may go to school

Day2: 29th June 2011 Location: Kappiset, Pulpally

By the time the Mahindra jeep stopped in front of State Bank of India, Kappieset we had stopped thinking why had they placed the bank in such an outskirt. As we jumped off the jeep, a rain came near and whispered a secret into our ears. It seemed as the children who were inside the classrooms of a nearby school saw it and were jealous about it-at least their staring eyes on us said it.

As we walked in rain to the office of the same school, they could have understood what the secret was, otherwise they could not have come out to see both of us walking wet in the rain. The tribal extension office in Pulpally was just near the tribal school and pre-metric hostel.

From TE office we came to know that the promoter in the nearest tribal settlements was Bindhu ‘Chechi’. Moving through wet tarred road in search of Bindhu Chechi(not the protagonist of the day) we could not help not to notice the school kids who are now busy throwing  stones on mango tree making us jealous this time. Later the tarred road descended to stoned one as our hope of finding her did.

As we moved through the thick pepper plantations with yam crops sprinkled among it, the only two emotions that surfaced in me were: one the resentment of not getting a camera to capture this wonderful journey and the other –fear of being chased by a dog at anytime (a whiff of which I encountered in most of my walks to tribal settlements). So I covered my back with the notebook to find my partner looking at me in an ‘apple smile’.

Smile-I had seen a glimpse of another genre of smile as we are about leave pulpally. The smile over my face that resonated to a laughter of a mad man walking by me, when the speaker standing over the junction presented before his audience the starkling fact that a wild elephant can even smell water kilometers away. Another glimpse of smile that I could imagine was that of the elephant when it stood behind the man working on his land without making any sound just before it killed him.

We had reached the fields by then. The lady who came running over varambu was guessed as the Chechi without any mistake. As we moved to her house, I can’t help to notice the well-built houses contrary to our imaginations which had built pre-historic catacombs.

After the talk we moved to visit tribal hamlets. How nice of me to summarize whatever she said to a word -talk. Who will then know about stories of unwed mothers, their poverty, children getting addicted to drinks, often smuggled for labor? Oh! How many times did the newspapers reported these, what more, what else?

Chechi was not so comfortable in moving to hamlet which doesn’t come under her responsibility. But the social worker in her could have spurred her to join us. Down the steep slope, we found two tribal youth sitting on the road. One had studied till 10th the other till 6th. Reasons for their dropping out were different and important to our study. The guy who studied till 6th had still bear marks of the unfair corporal punishment in his mind while the other who studied by working in week days had to stop studies as course got tougher by 10thgrade. By the grace of God, one of their teachers happened go by that way on a   bike thus one’s academic fate  was redirected as a readmission and others  rested in his stubbornness leaving shadow as the inks on my book

varambu

Continuing the journey to a tribal hamlet crossing the beautiful country side paddy fields through the varambu a group of trial children came running against us. “Hey hold on for a second, why you kids hadn’t gone for classes today?” On hearing thus their wonder on seeing us not only died down but their naked legs moved like the wings of a swarm of bees and ran past us. But Shaiju did not run   away from us like them. He stood their only to be questioned on not using his educational rights which could not stop him from running.

the tribal hamlet

The first house we saw as we reached the colony was that of Shaiju. Couple of kids who were wrestling in mud ran for cover.The attention of whole the hamlet turned towards us as if we were some extra-terrestrial beings. As we reached outside Shaiju’s house, we could see few faces coming outside the dark inner rooms.  We met his grandfather and mother talked about his schooling, the hamlet , the lack of drinking water, the rain .. But I could not take my eyes from his cute young sister just not because of her chuckling but the seeing her enlarged head. The one I have not forgot as similar pesticide infected child cases had caused a big public outrage in Kasargod district of Kerala. Later Shaiju’s father who came from the field said that she was a covered by local media couple of months back and got large public attention. Later, they came back from Calicut Medical College when Doctor suggested an advanced surgery.

shaiju s mother and sister

Bindhu Chechi and both of us were walking back home as it already started raining and it was far off from main road when we met the people from Panchayat office, “You are Bindhu Chechi right?  A case of Cholera outbreak has been reported and we are moving to colonies for chlorination and as the promoter of this area you are supposed to join us, and…”

As we took the Jeep for Pulpally for images starting parading over my mind- the ghost of Malaria that once frightened the British and first surge of Travancore farmers to Wayanad,  the face of Shaiju s sister , the fighting between young kids we saw at anganavadi,  above all  Shaiju going to school. By the time we reached our houses media had already started combing tribal hamlets for news and News channels had placed reporters throughout the place.More to come- Reporters , Ministers and Schemes.

 

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DAY 1 : 16th June 2011 Location: anywhere in Wayanad-forests, hamlets, offices

“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who doesn’t ask question remains a fool forever.”- A Chinese proverb.

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We had some questions to ask and some places to go for it.

“How are those children studying?”

“They got peripatetic school”.

“Peripatetic?” “Hmm…Schools deep inside forests. We really wonder whether they exist anymore…coz..a teacher will have to go by jeep inside the forest”

“Bike?”  “No you got elephants on the way.”

We had to remains fools for some time.

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That was neither the first question we asked nor the first place we went that day. An hour back we were at Wayanad district Collectorate gate. While moving through the gate covered by SFI protesters (over commercialization of education in Kerala), our minds were filled images of ‘Baboos’ who is going to take the last zip of patience out of us for a piece of paper.

Three blocks upstairs, we stepped into anthills of files and sung thus:

“Madam, we are from Delhi University, on a project related to tribal education in Wayanad. Could you please give us some details on the distribution and whereabouts of tribal settlement in Wayanad? Also, the statics on the number of students who are into different courses?”

We were quite sure beforehand that this is going to be ‘the ‘song of the month and had well rehearsed every notes of it.

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It was drizzling when we were walking to Kalpetta Bus station holding the only umbrella we got. I could hear him thinking about what we knew before we went to the TDO in Collectorate – data from Google, scribd and that there exist some office for tribal development there. Now we know how the whole fingers of government move for tribal development.

Tribal extension office was just above the Bus station. As we jumped over the drainage flooded with muddy water of a ceased rain and reached the office, we saw them- tribal people.

‘Promoters’ where talking to him, over covering his medical expenses. He was quite scrambled in papers and formalities when we pinched his curiosity by popping into the office.

“Hi… (and the song)…” Later we kept apart the questionnaires we had created before we boarded from Nizzamudhin and started talking to them plainly

Nothing much of data came out of them, rather we had shut down our brains for their hearts. Stories as they move around different house informing the government schemes, lack of interest of parents , schools deep inside forest and last they talked about Cherian Sir- who did a study about tribal language –the only one in Wayanad so far.

It was about 3:30 PM. We called him up and caught buses for Rajiv Gandhi Ashramam Vidyalaya, Kaloor.

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I could hardly see the beautiful outskirts of wet , green and dark Wayanad Life Sanctuary as   I was being pushed again and again to the window pane on every pothole the bus  jumped into while sitting under the elbow of a 5th grader. The culprit and 40-50 kiddos like him made us think how cruel the ‘Wagon tragedy of 1921’ could have been. Thus I had no option but to ask him, why he had to carry whole books back home everyday but to be lectured on the recent transformation the school education in Kerala had undergone.

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“Hi, we got trouble with the clothes you had stitched. They are not fitting in for children. What can you do?”

“Ugh? Sir, We- Delhi-Survey- Tribal”.

“Sorry come in. I mistook you for the tailors who were supposed come around same time

Assembly at tribal school

Thats how we met Cherian Sir-from Trivandrum, kept his lost days of reading in British Council Library and other literary rites alive in his memory. But we rather felt he had renounced all of it as he could found it weighing less for a greater cause of educating the improvised. Why else he had published books for tribal to converse in Malayalam knowing that would give him a monetary loss. W e talked a lot – about the customs, systems, culture, the backbenchers, and the need of feedback (not ventures).  He made us in touch with a famous personality, whose name I would reveal in some other day’s post.

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It was raining heavy and dark when we  reached back our hometown Pulpally, around like 8.00 PM. But the town was deserted and silent only the motor of the Bus left some echo around. Later the bus mechanic told us that a wild elephant had gone mad and is causing trouble for the whole region. He added that the beast already took one life and injured couple.  So it’s all party Harthal tomorrow and official cautionary notice to avoid travel had been put up in some areas.

A pang of fear descended on us. But we could see the last rickshaw in the town down a street light ,as if God send ,waiting for us.

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At the end of the day it made us think that the every instance that we met today where a precursor or mother of tiles that we are going to meet later while completing the whole jigsaw- the ‘Baboos’, tribal man, the kiddo in bus,a visionary and an elephant.

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Orientation to study in Delhi University

 Sprouts is organising an orientation to study in Delhi University with the help of CIGI at Wayanad .The event will be serving the needs of daring 12th grade passouts who would like to think about arts and science honours courses as their career options aganist the conventional ones.

There will be lectures ,video clips and ratings by DU students. Programmes will be as follows:

  1. Venue:IGC Hall Opposite Head post  office ,Kalpetta                   

      Time :11 am -1 pm

      Date :2nd June 2011

2.  Venue: Vijaya higher secondary school ,Pulpally 

      Time 2pm-4pm

    Date: 4th June 2011.
    For further details ,please contact,
    Arun:09540838714
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Sprouts in DU

Sprouts to mobilize and attract youth has expanded its services to Delhi University .This through their website www.duevents .wordpress.com .In this all in one site you could find almost every events in every  spheres happening in and around the DU campus and Delhi.

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Welcome to Sprouts

 

Sprouts is a dream in action.The urge of seed to come out of the dark ,cold earth to see the beautiful flowers and butterflies over that garden.

Through this educational venture ,people spend their summer break in educational camps for the unprivileged.Here we connect to worlds- the one up and the other down.

Welcome are the virtuosos to spare their time for the spread knowledge the truth.

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