TRIBAL PEOPLE dancing to the tune of film song ‘Darya Kinare ik Banglo’? Not much surprising. After all, it’s a folk song set in a rustic background. But ‘Kajrare, Kajrare’ and ‘Kaanta Laga’? Well, it suddenly made people sit up and watch with amazement; tribal boys and girls jiving to the songs with gay abandon - and accurately copying the movements of Amitabh, Abhishek and Shefali.
For an occasional visitor from a city, it is hard to associate these songs and their movements with the people living in predominantly tribal and remote Palaspani village in Ghora Dongri block of Betul district.
But don’t we know that ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’? They certainly have in this — and other far-flung villages — of the region. Village shops selling one-rupee shampoo pouches and youth carrying camera cellphones could be two indicators of the change.
The occasion was a two-day ‘Mahila Sammelan’ for women empowerment and the accompanying mela organised for some 40-odd villages by the NGO ‘Society for Rural Upliftment Betul’ (SRUB) at village Palaspani under Pachama Panchayat, off Padhar Road.
Still, women empowerment alone was not the purpose of the mela. It also disseminated information about disaster management, healthcare, prevention from AIDS and care for senior citizens. A medical check-up camp was also part of the mela.
While the stall of the Disaster Management Institute (DMI) provided information on how to prevent natural calamities (or what actions to take after them), the Bhopal-based NGO United Reformers’ Organisation (URO) conducted the medical check-up camp and distributed medicine. ‘Helpage India’ and ‘Water Education and Social Action’ (WESA) provided information on the issues they are working for. Two vaidyas displayed herbal medicine and counselled patients.
But to maximise people’s participation, organisers held sports competition and a cultural evening, too. At least 200 people in different age groups (including male and female senior citizens) enthusiastically participated in sports like kabaddi, musical chair, jalebi race, Matkaphod and 100-metre dash etc. Also organised on the occasion were on-the-spot painting competition (again for different age groups) on disaster management, and the traditional Rongoli.