Teeja fought for her land, Oxfam India helped her become a leader

Teeja fought for her land, Oxfam India helped her become a leader

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Farming was Teeja’s life, @OxfamIndia helped her become a leader. Read her full story http://bit.ly/1f2f6AZ

Teeja Devi, 55, was born in Bargadavaan village of Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh in a family of farm labourers. The youngest of four siblings, her father died even before her birth. So from early childhood farming became part of her daily life.

She studied till class five after which she was married in a nearby village. Life was not easy in her new household either. Her husband was jobless. From doing her daily household chores in a joint family to helping in tilling the land, Teeja performed all her duties.

There was just a bigha of land on which she grew millet, corn, wheat, paddy and lentils. But when it came to division of family land, her husband was handed over fallow land, while the other brothers kept the fertile land, as well as some prime land near the main road.

Teeja took up the challenge and after many difficulties managed to get the farmland redistributed fairly among the brothers. Later, she also managed to get her husband his rightful share of the prime land. She now lives in a house built on this land with her husband, son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

Teeja brought about many changes in her farming techniques after she came in contact with the Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group. She was designated a model farmer and also became a member of Aaroh Mahila Kisaan Manch (partner of Oxfam India). 

Getting involved with such organisations further helped her develop her potential as a woman farmer leader. Through them she got information about organic pesticides, and organic manure, which she had not known before. She also got trained to make organic manure, pesticides, dyes, and even organic urea with the help of cow dung, cow urine, jaggery and gram flour. 

Teeja’s husband (she calls him 'Maalik'—meaning master) has never interfered in his wife’s work. Rather he is very proud of her achievements. He has always co-operated with his wife in all her social work and fight for the rights of the villagers. He, along with other villagers, also encouraged her to fight the elections for the panchayat membership.  

Teeja has been an active leader of the Aaroh campaign, which has helped her not only improve her knowledge and understanding but also to mobilize other women farmers. For the past 25-30 years Teeja has been on the board of members of the gram panchayat.  

 

Written by: Shobha Shukla, Citizen News Service - CNS

Photo credit: Rahul D Citizen News Service

 


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