In this Posting we can tell you that the first rains of the monsoon season have arrived, so the annual rice plantings have begun, that schools all over Purulia District are opening again now that the heat wave is finally over, that we will now be starting a cultural programme of regular concerts at the Community Centre and that we are running an advanced sewing course for some local girls. We’ll also tell you about the ToTo’s, the new electric cars that are now to be seen all over Purulia.
But first, here is a short video that Shanta produced. It tells about some of the things we have been doing at Prabhatalloi over the years.
In each of the last three years we have suffered from drought and especially high temperatures throughout the dry season. In fact, ever since last November, people living in Purulia Town have had to buy in their water for household use. This year, here in Dabar, things have been different because we now have a riverside pump and irrigation system. We have been able to replenish three of the communal ponds so it’s easier for people to keep clean and they have a chance to cool off sometimes. The water station across from the school is also very popular with people passing, by such as school children and villagers herding their cattle, sheep and goats to pasture.
The first rains preceding monsoon arrived over the last two weeks. Even though there were only three short but very heavy downpours, the rains transformed the colour of our landscape to green. The farmers wasted no time in going out and plowing the softened earth to prepare it for the year’s rice harvest.
The schools all over Purulia District have opened again. They were closed first because of the severe heat and then for school holidays. And our school started again too. Getting to school is difficult now because the roads are already muddy and broken up but the children pitched in where necessary and are glad to be back.
The new Community Hall opened in April with a four-day Kirtan festival and competition. Over one thousand people attended on each day and 42 teams participated. We rented the building for a marriage ceremony and this will be another way we will use it in future.
We now also plan to organize a regular series of performances by local artists at the Community Centre. We hope to encourage new local performers, most recently a bicycle acrobat, and also help to preserve and promote the much-loved local music and dance, such as Baul and Jhumur. The first Baul concerts have been very popular, over 300 people attended the first one, even though we had not publicize them widely.
Seven of the local girls asked for more advanced training in sewing and tailoring so Shanta organised a three month course which will run until August.
All of a sudden, you now see many electric cars in Purulia, called ToTo’s (pronounced “ToeToe”, or “SlowSlow”, some might say). They have three wheels, like the famous tuk-tuks you see all over India. They can run all day on one overnight charge. They are quiet and the fares are cheap. In most other places, like the tuk-tuks, they would serve as a cheap alternative to taxis. However, here instead they have supplanted bicycle rickshaws. Now, since the Toto’s arrived, you see very few bicycle rickshaws aside from ones delivering goods.
Sanjay Kumar Mahato