“Success is not final, failure is not fate. It is the courage to continue that counts.”
Darasi Kala is a tiny village 18 KMs away from NH 7. Not many trucks ply on this road, but the ones that do bring with them smells, sights and signs of faraway cities and places. Everyday Priyanka and Prachi walk by this highway towards their school and wave their father goodbye. With no farm land, Bhuvan Bhalavi their father works as a labourer. One day he came across Agrini’s volunteers and became a member of an SHG. With good leadership qualities in him, he soon became the president of his SHG. Being a MNREGA labourer, Bhuvan often faced corrupt practices by Panchayat level. One day a Agrini volunteer taught him to use MNREGA’s MIS system to access information of labor payments done in his panchayat during an SHG meeting.
Payments details were shocking for him as the major chunk of payment was paid to people who never worked on ground. On the other hand many genuine laborers had been waiting for their due payments since many years. He decided not to be silent about it and started mobilizing other laborers, filed complaints with the authorities and when nothing happened Bhuvan decided to go for a hunger strike. His hunger strike attracted a decent media attraction and district administration was forced to conduct a social audit. Social audit unearthed lacs of corruption in panchayat office and ensured pending labor payments to many laborers. Bhuvan was now a leader and his friends asked him to contest panchayat elections for the post of sarpanch.
Sadly in India, elections are driven by the power of money. Bhuvan having no money in hand fought like a warrior, he and his friends contributed a few thousand rupees, published a manifesto, conducted many public meetings, but with no money to buy voters, Bhuvan lost this election. Bhuvan still works as a laborer, but with his head held high and no fear in his mind. He is still fighting for rights of his fellow laborers. The people of Darasi Kala are eagerly waiting for the next election to come as they know who is their next Sarpanch. Priyanka and Prachi are proud of their Daddy.