By Stalin S
Visit to Bellari village at Muraliganj block in Madhepura forced me to think how a disaster can destroy the positive thinking of a society about its future. Giving birth to a child is the happiest moment in the life of women.
Giving birth to a child is the happiest moment in women’s life. But if the situation compels the same women to think the same to be the saddest moment in her life then it makes us think about the tragic impact the flood has created in to her life.
Reena Devi (34), from Ranipatty Balwa village who took shelter in the banks of canal situated at Bellari, narrates her story of how she escaped from the flood waters. When flood occurs she was pregnant more than eight months. In that condition she and her husband with their three children waded through neck height water and reached Bellari.
“I was about go to bed when I heard some sound outside. When I came out of my house I found that water is rushing in from both sides of our village. Within no time the whole place was filled with water. We left all our possessions behind, carried our children at that night and waded through almost five feet water to reach Bellari. Still the memories of that night haunts me,” says Rani Devi.
For first few days it was really difficult for them to find one meal a day and there was no place to sleep and no milk for children. And after all these struggles on 31 August she gave birth to a girl child and named her Dukhi Kumari. The name Dukhi Kumari means “The Princess of Sadness”.
While asking her about the reason for giving such a name for her new born she said, “can’t you see what is happening to us? We are living like beggars, no place to sleep, no food for my kids, no clothes to change and we are living with the generosity of some people here. So is there any other name, which suits her better than this? Now you are the first person who met her after the flood with some medicine and food for all of us and talked to us.” she paused. Her eyes never showed any rays of hope but it revealed the ocean of uncertainty about their future.
More than six deliveries took place in this particular village. The village women helped them during deliveries. There were no hygienic conditions or medical assistance during their deliveries. It all took place in the small tents they live. The basic necessities and rights of women were forgotten or denied.
This is not only the story or life of Reena Devi alone. There are hundreds of incidents taking place in each camp everyday, which will fill our hearts with pain. Caritas India along with Jana Vikas Samiti (JVS) distributed food materials and conducted medical camps for the people in this camp just to support them. Last one week JVS distributed food items for the people in different villages.
While returning to the centre after the distribution the faces of struggling children, elderly people struggling to cop with the situation, children waiting in the queue for one-time meal and of course the faces of new born babies like Dukhi Kumari flashed once again in the memory and I am sure it will remain there for a long.