Nelada Siri, a 'labour' of love chronicled by women

‘Nelada Siri’, a book slated to be released today, highlights the experience of labourers, especially the changes experienced by women after the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

The MGNREG Act aims to enhance the livelihood and security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing 100 days of employment and wages in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

The book is based on the lives of a few illiterate women workers who have narrated their experiences. These have then been converted into a book format. The book is being published by Janavadi Mahila Sanghatane. The preamble highlights the life of workers.

Janavadi Mahila Sanghatane district president Devi said that untouchability is vanishing in villages after the implementation of MGNREG Act. The two class culture (one for upper class and another for deprived class) does not exist anymore. The Act not only provides them a job, but also teaches them how to live in harmony, she said.

The article ‘Nadedashtu doora; Dudidashtu kelasa’, shows how women can change the village for better if they stand united. The book describes how women workers successfully transformed Gulaghatta village in Malavalli taluk into a liquor-free zone.

Men seek higher pay

In Mandya district, 90% of the workers under NREGA are women. This is highlighted in the article ‘Gandasareke Kelasakke Baralla’ (Why men do not come to work?). It says that men are shy of doing unskilled work while women boldly work in the fields. Several such experiences of the employees have been gathered and brought into a book format.

The book also has a male perspective that mentions that they cannot come to work as the wages paid are same to both men and women. If the authorities pay at least Rs 50 more than the women, they will join work, they state.

S Smitha, editor of ‘Nelada Siri’ said that even though the government introduced the scheme, members of various organisations were successful in taking it to the people. “The experiences shared by the women has been presented in a book format. This is not limited to only Mandya district but is applicable to the whole country,” she opined.


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