Parched Bundelkhand ‘pawns’ wives | india | Hindustan Times
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Parched Bundelkhand ‘pawns’ wives

The protracted drought in Bundelkhand has not only been forcing people to commit suicide but also coercing many to ‘mortgage’ their wives and daughters to moneylenders in a bid to survive, reports Pankaj Jaiswal.

india Updated: Sep 07, 2009 02:39 IST
Pankaj Jaiswal

The protracted drought in Bundelkhand has not only been forcing people to commit suicide but also coercing many to ‘mortgage’ their wives and daughters to moneylenders in a bid to survive.

The Uttar Pradesh unit of the Congress has constituted a team to investigate the case of ‘selling’ and ‘mortgaging’ of women in Jhansi district of the Bundelkhand region.

The team is to reach the region on Tuesday. Jhansi is 300 km southwest of Lucknow.

“Wherever there is poverty and hunger, such social aberrations are born. What would you say to the incident of a mother selling her infant boy to earn few hundred rupees?

“Last year in Mahoba when the mother was asked why she sold the child, her reply was, ‘the only other option was seeing the child die of hunger’,” said Bhanu Sahai, of Jhansi. Sahai is Uttar Pradesh Congress committee general secretary who was co-convenor of the Bundelkhand Sukha Adhyan Dal (drought examination group).

About three years ago Bhagwati Devi and her husband, Chandrabhan killed moneylender Mahesh Chandra in a village in Jhansi district.

The couple was in debt and the moneylender had started exploiting Bhagwati Devi.

In another case, some people were caught by the police in Tikamgarh district of Bundelkhand (in Madhya Pradesh) for attempting to buy poor women.

Raja Bundela, a television and Bollywood star, who is president of the Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha, said: “This has been going on for years in the drought-affected and neglected region. Debt-ridden poor people are forced to mortgage their wives or daughters to private moneylenders. If a man is not been able to repay his debt, then he has to give the mortgaged woman to a moneylender.”

The practice is so common that a book has also been written on the social evil by an activist in the region.

However, the administration, generally attempts to suppress such cases just as they deny farm suicides.The protracted drought in Bundelkhand has not only been forcing people to commit suicide but also coercing many to ‘mortgage’ their wives and daughters to moneylenders in a bid to survive.

The Uttar Pradesh unit of the Congress has constituted a team to investigate the case of ‘selling’ and ‘mortgaging’ of women in Jhansi district of the Bundelkhand region.

The team is to reach the region on Tuesday. Jhansi is 300 km southwest of Lucknow.

“Wherever there is poverty and hunger, such social aberrations are born. What would you say to the incident of a mother selling her infant boy to earn few hundred rupees?

“Last year in Mahoba when the mother was asked why she sold the child, her reply was, ‘the only other option was seeing the child die of hunger’,” said Bhanu Sahai, of Jhansi. Sahai is Uttar Pradesh Congress committee general secretary who was co-convenor of the Bundelkhand Sukha Adhyan Dal (drought examination group).

About three years ago Bhagwati Devi and her husband, Chandrabhan killed moneylender Mahesh Chandra in a village in Jhansi district.

The couple was in debt and the moneylender had started exploiting Bhagwati Devi.

In another case, some people were caught by the police in Tikamgarh district of Bundelkhand (in Madhya Pradesh) for attempting to buy poor women.

Raja Bundela, a television and Bollywood star, who is president of the Bundelkhand Mukti Morcha, said: “This has been going on for years in the drought-affected and neglected region. Debt-ridden poor people are forced to mortgage their wives or daughters to private moneylenders. If a man is not been able to repay his debt, then he has to give the mortgaged woman to a moneylender.”

The practice is so common that a book has also been written on the social evil by an activist in the region.

However, the administration, generally attempts to suppress such cases just as they deny farm suicides.