Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatan : 1999-2015
Celebrating – 16 years Journey of Dalit Madiga Women’s Collective – Dec 28, 2015 @JMS, Pothnal, Raichur District
JMS was initiated as a small social experiment in and around an insignificant village called Pothnal in Manvi taluk of Raichur district in 1999. This journey of 15 years is a story of a social experiment aimed at catalysing the birth of a grassroots Dalit women’s voice to resist and counter the hegemonies of caste, class and gender.
The two-pronged strategy that guided the process was – ‘sangharsh’ (struggle) for rights and ‘navnirman’ (reconstruction, re-creation) for dignity. Through a process of social mobilisation and collectivisation, interrogation of the structures of oppression, using organised power to confront head on violence related to caste and gender, the Madiga women have battled an uphill struggle for justice, equality and dignity.
The Madiga women have come a long way from being unable to sit even for an hour at the sangha meetings to entering the thresholds of gram panchayat to demand their entitlements, obtaining bank loans for their collective activities, monitoring local PHCs and anganwadis and importantly raising a strong, collective voice against violence.
The sixteen year journey from being ‘unorganised Madiga women agricultural labourers’ to becoming Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatane(JMS) , can be described as a social experiment of moving with the community at their own pace ushering in processes to increase their ownership and control over the very processes of this social experiment.
E. Premdas and Akhila