‘Ode to a lyrical blessing…’

In a nation where numerous Babri Masjid demolitions, Godhra riots massacres and Ishrat Jahan fake encounters are replicated each day at an ideological level; the sight of an elderly Muslim female humming the holy ‘naazm’ to add auspiciousness to the inauguration of a ‘beauty parlor’ by a Hindu woman was a rare cynosure to the eyes. The scene is set in a village of Haryana- Pataudi- and the occasion is of another milestone achieved by the Self Help Group project of Deepalaya. Not only it speaks volumes about women empowerment but also depicts an instance of otherwise redundant secularism. The delightful part was to witness the mob of Hindu women accompanying the aged amma in her lyrical blessings. It was a celebratory occasion for the women of the community- who spared time from their household chores, dressed up in their favorite festive attires and gathered to commemorate the opening of an independent business enterprise of their fellow community member. The young Shalu, oozing with confidence is just one among the many women who promise to extract the best out of this new beginning and train a lot more girls into following her footsteps. The Self Help Groupproject of Deepalaya is like a blessing in disguise for these village women who have spent most part of their life under the disciplinary norms of patriarchy. Deepalaya not only provides them vocational training in areas of stitching, tailoring, beauty and personality development but also creates within them a hope to lead an independent and secure life. The recent awareness program on domestic violence has created a spark amongst the women and they are participating in it secretively owing to the resistance in their household. The proceedings that started with evoking the ‘allah,’ consummated in thanking the ‘prabhu.’ Their God knew no religion unlike the lobby of the mass propagators of communal disharmony quite abundant in the Indian land.

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