How harrowing life can be for a woman without family support can be gauged from the plight of Mamta Devi, a resident of Shahdol in Madhya Pradesh. She lost her husband 10 years ago. Since then, she has been living a life of misery. Her husband’s employer Madan had offered them land to live on, but when Mamta’s husband died without having cleared his dues, Madan started pressurising Mamta to leave the land. Later, Mamta learnt that the land actually belonged to the state government.
Madan, as per Mamta, sent his goons and demolished Mamta’s house, but she was undaunted and vowed to fight on. She approached the local administrative authorities and following their intervention, was able to remain on her land. However, with her house destroyed, she found shelter in a shanty made up of tarpaulin sheets. Her makeshift shelter has had no roof, no walls, no doors, no water and no washroom for years. She has been living in this hellhole for the past nine years under constant threat of eviction from here too.
After visiting her house, we were intrigued by empty buckets being placed here and there. Later, we came to know that those buckets were there for collecting rainwater that keeps on gushing into Mamta’s house. The chances of the culprits who broke her house down being made to rebuild the house are vanishing with every passing day. Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation has tried to draw the attention of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan towards Mamta’s troubles and called for his intervention in providing her a proper residence, but nothing has been done yet.
As per Mamta, Madan and his goons did not stop at trying to drive her out of her home; they tried to destroy her livelihood too. The hooligans broke her only source of income: a sewing machine. Sewa Nyaya Utthan Foundation has gifted Mamta a brand new and modern sewing machine.
Her house is in such a dilapidated condition that it is next to impossible for her to go out for work. By presenting her with a sewing machine, the foundation ensured that she had something to work with right away and some means to piece together her life.
When one of our team members reached Mamta with the sewing machine, she nearly cried out of happiness. It is this happiness on the faces of the downtrodden that keeps us going and is our ultimate prize. We have pledged to support Mamta in the future as well. Do support us so that we can save more people like Mamta from a life of pain, fear and despair.
Meanwhile, our struggle to get her a proper house, remains.