A UNIQUE STRUGGLE FOR INDEPENDENCE
They are buying their seedlings from as far away as Howrah and selling their produce at far away markets in Gorakhpur. During the last 4-5 years the income levels of fisherfolk families have gone up in the range of Rs. 4,000-Rs. 20,000 per family. The turnover in 2001 was Rs. 77 lakhs and on an average it is Rs. 30-35 lakhs per year. Earlier the land which used to be freed up because of drying up of ponds was used by upper caste or powerful people for cultivation. Now, after getting organized, the fisherfolk have established their right over this land too and get an additional income from farming. Last year, for some families, the income from agriculture was more than from fishing.
The fisherfolk like to call this struggle of claiming their due rights over ponds and being in control of their own business as a struggle for independence. 58 years after the country became independent, some communities are getting a taste of what it means to be independent. And most of the communities around the country have yet to go through this process. They are still awaiting
their chance of getting a taste of their independence.
By Arundhati Dhuru
A-893, Indira Nagar, Lucknow-226016, U.P., India
Telephone: 91-522-2347365, Mobile: 91-9415022772
(Note: The author is a consultant working on behalf of Oxfam to organize this community and is one of the two advisory members in the eleven member management committee to look after the affairs of well being of the community).