Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Bihar's Dalit woman to address UN meet in Bhojpuri.

Her frail frame disguises the steel within, which not only saw her tame the abusive menfolk who battered their wives after getting drunk but also earned her an opportunity to address a United Nations meet in faraway New York.

For Girija Devi, 59, a Dalit Mushar (a rat-eating caste) woman from the dingy Bhirkhia-Chipulia village, about 30 km from Motihari, the headquarters of Bihar's East Champaran district, it will be a long journey to New York where she will address the 15th session of the UN's division of Advancement Of Woman and department of Economic and Social Affairs later this month--in Bhojpuri.

Life has changed for the once demure housewife who suffered humiliation at the hands of the male members of the family, including her husband Singheshwar Manjhi, who used to get drunk and took it out on her, ever since she received the invite from the UN body on January 30.

Journalists from the print and electronic media continue to stream into the village every day to see the woman whose courage changed the lives of her community and report her success story.

Girija, a mother of four, was communicated the invitation by 'Action Aid', an NGO, with which her 'Mushar Vikas Manch', which she formed six years ago, works in close cooperation in the fight against alcoholism.

Girija, who can barely sign and speaks only in Bhojpuri, lost her nerve when she came to know of the invitation
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