On his mission to discover rural India,British Foreign Secretary David Miliband got to understand,a little,the tough life of the rural poor,spending a night in a Dalit womans hut at Simara village in Uttar Pradesh.
His stay in Shivkumari Koris house,incidentally,coincided with Dalit Chief Minister Mayawatis birthday.
Shivkumaris village falls under the Amethi Parliamentary constituency represented by AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.
Except poverty,I had nothing to share with them. About two years ago,my husband died. I have five children including two daughters. I struggle to make both ends meet, she told the The Indian Express about four hours after Milibands visit. The foreign secretary was accompanied by his friend and Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi during his stay in Shivkumaris hut.
Though Shivkumari didnt know who Miliband was,she was happy with the visit of the two high-profile leaders. It was their sudden visit to my hut. The arrangements of mattress and pillow etc were made by the Trust (Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust) people. After their departure,a vehicle came and took those items, Shivkumari said.
According to her,Rahul wanted her to tell the changes in her life after her association with the Self Help Group (SHG) in her village. I told him that I had borrowed Rs 1,000 for the medical treatment of my son from my Samuh (group). Dawa Ke Liye Paisa Liya tha. My son had spots in his eyes, she said.
She added she could not control herself and wept inconsolably before them. She recalled that her talks with Rahul did not go beyond a few minutes.
Shivkumaris hut has no power connection. She has few utensils to make meals for her children. I work as an agricultural labourer and earn between Rs 30 and Rs 40 a day, she told both the leaders.
The job card under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme was handed over to me about a year back but I could not get any work, she told this reporter while showing her job card.
According to villagers,the visit came as a complete surprise. The meeting of the Self Help Groups was being held in the village. Around 10.30 pm,the motorcade of Rahul Gandhi reached the village and interacted with the members of various SHGs, Sumitra Kori,who is associated with one of them,said. She added both the leaders sat on the wooden cart and heard the plight of the members.
Another woman Bachana was happy with the visit of Rahul Gandhi. What was your position before your association with the SHGs? What is your experience after being associated with the SHGs, Bachana recalled the questions that Gandhi asked them. She told her MP that her association with the SHGs has given her enough confidence to face the problems in her life.
Later in the morning,both the leaders visited the Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Pariyojanas training centre at Jayas and heard about the training being imparted to women. The members told their story as to how they persuade their husbands to leave their addiction to khaini,paan,liquor and bidi.