LockdownTales Ep #1: Poems, Rhymes, Stories And Songs Of Hope To Reduce Stress Of Kids Secluded From Outdoor Activities

When the whole world is under distress due to Corona pandemic, 22- year- old, Shloka, a resident of Malviya Nagar was concerned about the children especially from underserved communities who are compelled to cut-off from the external world. To release the stress of these children, Shloka and her friends who are a part of volunteer group of Child Rights and You (CRY) decided to make small videos reciting poems, stories, DIY ideas etc for them and shared it on social media.

Shloka had never thought that she would get such a beautiful response against the poem which she recited. The very next day a 13-year-old Shama (name changed) who resides in Bharat Vihar Basti sent a video in reply to Shloka reciting another poem to her. The video of Shama came as an encouragement for these young minds and their small efforts turned into a campaign.  

In the midst of these trying times, while we reach out to each other with messages on social distancing and self-isolation, this group of youngsters were thinking about the huge impact this will have on our children from privileged and underprivileged spaces alike. Not having the volunteers come for sessions, not being able to go to their hobby classes, having limited or no access to their friends etc.

“Keeping this in mind, we the volunteers from CRY are developing a series of online resources both in Hindi and English that our little ones can get access to. My team has all kind of videos from easy cooking, good daily habits, maths tricks, easy at and craft. Our aim just to engage children and make them realize that they are not alone in times like this and that we, their mentors, are looking forward to watching them learn and grow even while we can’t physically meet them everyday”, said 20-year-old, Areeba Khan, who resides in Okhla.

The campaign has already started getting a lot of responses and volunteers and their friends across the capital are now making more and more such resources for the children.

Another volunteer said “I felt heart-warming when we started getting responses on our videos. It also gave us the opportunity to engage ourselves to do something productive, while being quarantined at our house”, said 19-year-old, Mrityunjay Kandpal.

Children who might not have experienced such situation where they are restricted to go out for days might be facing certain uneasiness as well. With the intent to add some fun and learning in the daily routine of these children our volunteers have decided to produce small engaging fun videos.

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Folktrails Ep #4: Tale of a Band bringing soulful music from the forests of Bastar

In this episode, we are going to hear the music of Bastar, which is based on the sounds of the jungle. Bastar is one of the biggest tribal belts of India famous for its greenery, ancient culture and also infamous for Naxal problems. The band named after its region Bastar preserves hundreds of years of old music traditions of tribal people. The band is also promoting peace in the Naxal affected region.

Photo- Bastar Band

The band founded by veteran theatre artist and Padam Shri Awardee Anoop Ranjan Pandey. As the band was originated in Naxal dominated area, the founder had to face a lot of struggle to form a team and take the band to national and international platforms.

The tribes have preserved their music for thousands of years and the music is still pure and unchanged. They discovered this music from their encounters in the jungle. Bastar Band’s journey started with documentation of the varied music found in the area. The founder of the band Anoop traveled across the Bastar region to explore the music and collected a number of songs and indigenous instruments. He then formed a team of tribal people from across the region.

It was not easy to form a band in the Naxal affected region due to in conducive circumstances. The objective of the Bastar Band is to bring peace in the area and they go by the cry ‘Banduk chhodo-Dhol pakdo’ meaning ( Quit guns and pick up drums). The presentations of Bastar Band have been widely acclaimed throughout the world. The band had gained a lot of popularity after performing at the opening ceremony of commonwealth games hosted in India in the year 2010.

Photo- Bastar Band

So this was the forth episode of folk trails. Leave your views about the episode in the comment section.

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Shocking! Look who is behind the death due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome in Bihar

The outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Bihar this year, which claimed the lives of more than 180 children, portrays the bad healthcare and infrastructure of the Bihar government. A few months after the outbreak, a group of journalists and social workers came up with a survey, showing the real cause behind this outbreak. The survey released on November 13 at Muzaffarpur says that 96.5 percent of children who were affected by Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) belonged to the underprivileged section and scheduled castes and tribes. The survey revealed that 97.8 percent of the family of children affected by AES could not earn more than Rs. 10,000 a month. The mainstream media had criticized government hospitals for allegedly not providing proper health care, but the survey revealed that 92 percent affected families appreciated the job of doctors and hospital staff. Pushya Mitra, a senior journalist and one of the prominent persons behind this survey tells us more about the findings of the survey. Please Subscribe and share this podcast.

Ground Tales: A tale of malnutrition-free village

Manish Chandra Mishra

Madhya Pradesh is ranked amongst few of the worst states of India in terms of nutrition and infant mortality rate. But there are some great initiatives taking place in small villages to overcome these issues that are worth sharing. Kotagunjapur, a village inside Panna Tiger Reserve has conquered malnutrition with kitchen gardens. The village that does not have access to roads and electricity has now attained freedom from malnutrition, something that even bigger villages and cities have been unable to achieve. Villagers realized that they are extremely poor and cannot afford dear vegetables from the market because of which their kids and women were not getting proper nutrition, leading to increase in malnutrition. Some social workers helped them develope kitchen-gardens in every household where they could grow iron and vitamin-rich vegetables and herbs. In a period of four years, the condition improved drastically. The villagers started getting fresh vegetables every day and that showed a positive impact on their health. The story about zero malnutrition villages is still untold. Ground Tales spoke to the social workers and the residents of Kotagunjapur to know more about the model and the struggle to make the initiative popular amongst villagers. We also interacted with activists behind this initiative who played a pivotal role in popularising the kitchen- garden concept to tackle the problem of malnutrition with a zero-budget plan. Listen to our podcast at http://www.groundtales.com

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Ground Tales: East Pakistan’s refugee recounts the horror of 1964 communal riots

In light of discussions over NRC and ridding India of “outsiders”, Ground Tales spoke to a senior citizen Sunil Sarkar who came to India as a refugee in 1964, after the riots in Pakistan and was welcomed with open arms India. Now a citizen of the country, he recounted his ordeal disclosing how the horrors of those days still haunt him and India, his new motherland gave him a new life.

Folk Trail Episode #3: This indigenous tribe’s cuisine works like medicine

Baiga, an indigenous tribe of India, hardly takes medicines for common ailments as their day to day food itself has more healing properties than modern medicines, without the side effects. They eat a number of green leafy vegetables available in the jungles, but unknown to the urban folks. The herbs, coarse grains and local vegetables provide complete nutrition to the body and heal the ill in no time. Dayaram Rathodiya, a Baiga, spoke to Ground Tales and revealed the age-old secrets. Please like, subscribe and share our podcast.

Anant Mandi: Bhopal’s organic Mandi provides marketplace to local farmers

Anant Mandi, a unique marketplace for organic farmers and lovers of organic food, founded by youth and farming enthusiasts of Bhopal. The Anant Mandi aims to promote the practice of ecological farming, healthy and local food and sustainable living in urban lifestyle and to bride the gap between farmers and consumers. Farmers from various districts like Hoshangabad, Dewas, Sehore, Vidisha, and Bhopal bring their produce at this Mandi. The organisers have also initiated a Swap Sale Stall ‘Adlaa Badli’ with the intention to promote the culture of ‘exchange and sharing’ instead of ‘buying new’. People can bring clothes, books, stationery, accessories, kitchen-ware etc and exchange items at the stall. As a cherry on the cake, delicious snacks and drinks made of organic fruits and vegetables are also served at the Mandi. Anant Mandi is organised on the last Sunday of every month at Gandhi Bhawan.

GroundTales: Hellish life of people living near the backwaters of Sardar Sarovar

Thousands of families suffering from floods in Madhya Pradesh as Gujarat Government refuses to open the gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam. The dam has reached its peak and due to the backwater, a large part of Madhya Pradesh has been drowned. The affected people are not ready to leave their homes as they allege that the government has not provided them proper rehabilitation and compensation. They are living in a very bad condition with water-logging in their homes and fields and lack of electricity. Social worker Medha Patkar and other affected people share their ordeal with Ground Tales. Listen to our podcast