They just don’t know to wield weapons in self-defence, they can also run community kitchens, if need arises.
The members of Durga Vahini, Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s (VHP) young women’s wing, have joined community kitchens, which are preparing puri, sabzi and sukhdi (a traditional sweet) for food packets to be distributed in the flood-affected districts like Banskantha, Sabarkantha, Patan and others.
As rainfall has receded, the dispatch of relief material is at full swing. Durga Vahini member Krishna Jani (17), a resident of Harij in Patan district, said she joined around 70-80 women at a community kitchen. “It’s almost a week, we are preparing food, either at somebody’s home or some society, and packing them along with pickle for distribution among the flood-affected of Jasvantpura and Khakhal villages, some 70 km from Harij. For this, we have received donations, besides there are our individual collections,” said Jani, a Class XII science student, who was busy helping her mother, also a Durga Vahini member, and grandmother. She is among the 100 girls who recently participated in a week-long Durga Vahini Shaurya Prashikshan Varga camp ofNorth Gujarat region, organised for young women in the age group of 15-35 years, in Patan’s Golapur village in May. At the camp they were given a rigorous training in using rifle and dand (baton) niyuddha (martial arts).
Mala Raval, national convenor of Durga Vahini, said apart from self-defence, the girls are well-trained in dealing with calamity, be it natural or man-made. “They are also given lessons in humanity. Helping the flood-affected is their initiative.” Some of them are also delivering the food relief material themselves in flood-hit areas.
Jani’s mother Mallikaben (30), who drives a school van, helped delivering the food to areas, which are open for vehicles. “It is of great help as we do not have to wait for someone to dispatch the food to villages,” said Kalpanaben Vyas, North Gujarat’s organising secretary of VHP’s Matru Shakti Wing.
Another Durga Vahini member Megha Panchal (19), an Industrial Training Institute student in Patan, is also collecting necessary household items to be donated among the affected people.
“Now, we are collecting clothes and other items like plastic sheets, water bottles and utensils for distribution in the flood-affected areas,” she said.
Since July 25, nearly 20 trucks of food packets and other relief materials like slippers, plastic sheets and medicines have been sent to 118 villages of Patan, Dholka, Varahi, Dharad, Bhildi and Vav from Ahmedabad. The focus is now on schoolbags, kits and water bottles for children, veterinary kits, carpets and blankets, said VHP Gujarat Mahamantri Ranchodbhai Bharwad.