Bhayukharia (Jamnagar), Sep.23 : While many political leaders in the Indian Parliament have been hesitant to empower women, Bhaukhakharia, an obscure village in Jamnagar District of Gujarat, boasts of an elected all women Panchayat (village council).
By addressing the issues that concern villagers in day-to-day life, the members of the Panchayat have ensured that they will never be viewed as ornamental members.
Residents of the village had elected all the seven members of the village council unanimously.
It is worth mentioning that the warrior Rajput community dominates the village and the women cover their face and head with Duppatta following old tradition here. So, keeping in view the conservative lifestyle prevailing in this village, the women being in a commanding position to handle village affairs looks commendable.
Women in the village believe that there are certain issues that cannot be taken up to the male head of the Panchayat, hence, a lady has been elected to head the village council.
Members of the Panchayat keep track of road maintenance besides performing other social responsibilities. They also prove a major convenience to be approached by village women for personal problem which they find it uncomfortable to explain to men, otherwise.
The men folk of the village play a supporting role for these women.
"If the women take up a task, it gets done properly. Had men been in our position, we wouldn't have let them known some of our personal problems. Hence, at times, we face problems. Being in Rajput community we cannot talk to just any man and now ladies being in the Panchayat, a lot of things are being executed," said Pujababen Jadeja, a member of Bhayukhakharia Panchayat.
Moreover, the Panchayat also has a computer at it disposal in the village office.
The young girls in the village are happy with this set up and are also proud to be residents of Bhuyakhakharia village.
"I always wanted to see a system which the women manage and now our elders have decided to give a chance to ladies. All these developments are good for us and our society. The ladies who used to be housewives are taking care of an entire village. I'm very excited to see this and when I say that I'm from Bhayukhakharia they say that you are from the same village where women run the Panchayat!" exclaimed Parmeshwariben Jadeja, a youngster.
Menfolk in the village appreciate the empowerment of women, terming it a good step in the right direction, which can help the village to progress and recognise the crucial role of women in society.
"If our women come out of the Purdah system (covering head and hiding face from elderly and unknown men), the village will progress and their problems can be solved as well as ours," said D. R. Jadeja, a resident of Bhayukhakharia. By Suresh Parekh